Graduate Level Class

To all my readers,

I am currently taking a graduate level class on speech and language development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I will be using my blog once or twice a week to post my writing assignments. I realize that this is a bit more in depth than you are used to reading from me, but who knows you might learn something new and interesting!

Thanks for taking the time to read:)

Dear Younger Self…

One of my friends on Facebook, posted something interesting yesterday. I’m sure she had seen it somewhere and thought she’d repost. The gist of it was, if you could go back and tell your “younger self” something, what piece of wisdom that you’ve gleaned from your experiences would you

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now share?

Hmmmmmm……….. I thought I’d give this a try.

Dear Younger Self,

Younger Self, I have so many things to tell you. You probably won’t listen, because you think you know everything and have it all figured out. Um……your Older (and hopefully wiser) Self has to tell you that you do NOT have any real idea of what you are doing. OS is going to give you some advice. Keep your mouth shut and just read it!

1. You do not know all the answers and that is okay. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to always know what to do. Most people are in the same boat, just trying to figure out life, one day at a time.

2. Do your best and let the rest go. Striving for perfection can cause stress related illness. It’s not worth it. Most of your real learning will come from living through your mistakes, anyway. If you get knocked down, stand back up.

3. Be kind to yourself. You have to live in your own skin, why not be comfortable with it?

4. Be a friend, enjoy people. Make memories.

5. Be thankful for what you have. Open your eyes to even the smallest miracles.

6. Laugh a lot. Laugh out loud. Laugh until you can’t breathe. Even snort if you have too!

7. Accept that there is always happiness mixed in with sadness. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

8. Love. The greatest of these…..

9. Find a mate that you like hanging out with. Make him your best friend.

10. Spend time with God, get to know Him……without Him there is nothing else.

11. The girls in the magazines are airbrushed.

12. Read a lot. Never stop learning.

13. Children will change your life, forever.

14. Don’t go through life in a rush, you have to slow down to really enjoy it.

15. Do what you love, and the rest will follow.

16. Pray daily.

17. Play music often. It speaks to the soul.

18. Help others that can’t help you back.

19. Listen. You learn more by listening, and no one wants to hear you talk all the time.

20. Eat ice cream without guilt. Don’t ask questions…just do it.

Love, Your Older Self


Perfectionism Is Poison

A fudge cake

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The cake fell flat.

The cat puked.

Ants have migrated to the kitchen.

The flower bed is…well, a mess.

I didn’t get enough rest last night.

I need a haircut.

The kids didn’t finish their school work.

I didn’t read my devotional today.

That thing that happened really annoyed me.

My nerves are frayed.

And I’m still waiting for my 21 year old body to return…any day now.

I hear the hiss in my ear.

I want the perfect life. I strive for the perfect life.

I fail at the perfect life. Big sigh.

I gripe at times. I hold onto resentment. I long for more.

I play out in my own mind what I think should happen. How life should be.

Perfectionism is the poisonous venom of a serpent.

I’ve been bit, and it stings.The wound is raw… and painful.

The realization hits me. Again. This life will never be perfect.

And yet, I still search.

What is wrong with me? I wish I could just let it go. Be happy with the way things are.

Wouldn’t life be easier if I didn’t care about pet fur, and folding laundry? If everyone would follow the schedule, and pick up after themselves? If I had a new vehicle and a snappy wardrobe? If I looked like I did when I was younger and had more energy?

Each day I do battle with perfectionism.

The fangs sink deeper into my flesh.

I need to break free from the bondage of perfectionism. It really is bondage, pure and simple.

The fear of not being perfect, is really the fear of not measuring up to (impossible) standards.

God did not give me the the spirit of fear. His desire is not for me to be a frustrated perfectionist.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7  NIV

He loves me. Imperfections and all.


Keeping it real, in our jam about perfectionism. Won’t you join us?


The Waiting Game


Image by urbanlegend via Flickr

My husband and I co-facilitate a Grief Share group at our church. It is a group that helps those who have lost a loved one, to death. Since, we have both been in that situation, we can relate to those who come to the class. This past Wednesday we discussed waiting, and what that means. Many of the things that the counselors discussed can be applied to other life situations, not just death. Anyway, this week’s discussion got me to thinking…

“Instead of focusing on what I’m waiting for, I should be focusing on what I am becoming as I wait

Many times in my life I have found myself waiting. Waiting to grow up. Waiting to drive. Waiting for graduation. Waiting to live on my own. Waiting for a job. Waiting to get married. Waiting to have a child. Waiting to move states.  Those are “big” waitings. Sometimes the waiting is not so big, but significant nonetheless. Waiting in the check-out line at the store. Waiting for a package in the mail. Waiting to hear back from a friend.

I do a lot of waiting in life. Now, that I think about it, I probably “wait” a lot more than I “do”. With that being said, it seems like I should really rethink the statement that the counselor made.

How many times have I been impatient? Wanting to move things along at MY speed? How many times have I asked (told) God to get a move on? Unfortunately, too many. It is easier to hear that God is working on me, than to actually allow it. As, I’ve gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I realize that more times than not, it is the waiting that makes me who I am….who I need to be in Him. Those are the in between periods where God does His work. Sometimes the waiting is painful, because I have a lot of junk in my life that God has to chip away at, clean up, make new. Other times God shows me Himself, in the peace before the storm. The waiting fortifies me for what lies ahead.

I used to think that waiting was useless…let’s get on with it already!  I thought waiting was passive, a thumb twiddling kind of a time. How wrong I was. Waiting is work. Waiting is hard. Waiting is change and growth. Waiting is learning. Waiting is longing. It is in the waiting that endurance is cultivated.

An Olympic runner does not jump out of bed one day and try out to be on the Olympic team. She trains. She pushes. She gets injuries. She gets back up. She runs. Day after day. Weeks, months, years go by…until she is finally ready. When she goes across that finish line, she knows it is only because of the hard work she endured before, that made this moments possible…during the waiting.

The waiting, makes the ending all the more sweet.

So, when you find yourself in a waiting stage of life, remember this: God is in the waiting, and it is exciting to think about what He is going to do WITH you, and FOR you.

God, Are You There?

sunrise on a beautiful morning

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A decade has come and gone, and yet I still remember those early days…

God, are you there?

A whisper in the darkness… my voice deep with emotion.

Do you hear me?

Heart heavy with the grieving

My emotions bleeding out all over the floor.

Too exhausted to even raise my head,

I lay prostrate-

the scratch of the carpet against my face.

Whispers to The One who promises me He will never leave me

I am humbled and broken.

The living room becomes a most holy place

as I quietly worship, through tears, the One who I know is a defender of widows

and a father to the fatherless.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”  Psalm 68:5 NIV

The loss of my first husband and my journey through the valley of the shadow of death is just part of my story.

All glory be to God, that it was not the end of my story!

He takes the broken. The bruised. The hurt. The sad. The angry. The bitter.

The Great Physician performs surgery on the heart,

and breathes new life into a grieving soul.

After stumbling in the darkness of grief, I know that joy comes in the morning.

I also know that joy comes after the mourning.

Joy does come again.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18 NIV

She-Speaks Button

The She Speaks conference is about women connecting to the hearts of  other women, and more importantly connecting to the heart of God. If you might be interested in going to this conference, please visit Ann Voskamp’s blog at A Holy Experience, where she is offering a scholarship opportunity for the conference.

My name is Dawn. The name means “sunrise” and is often used to signify new beginnings.  That is what God did for me. I am a new beginning through Him.

I am living, breathing proof of God’s tender love and mercy.

When the pain is so great that words are not enough…

God will meet you there.

It is because of this, that my heart’s desire is to help others who are suffering through the loss of a loved one.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5  NIV

Letting Go

Vlčice (Wildschütz) - old gravestone

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This week, we are discussing “letting go”. (Click on the Walk With Him Wednesdays/One Thousand Gifts on my right sidebar if you want to read more.)

Letting Go…

So hard for me. I struggle. I cry. I’m stubborn. It hurts.

I hold on until my hands ache. My muscles spasm. I can hardly breathe.

NO, GOD!!!

My grandmother laid in her bed. Family gathered around. We knew her time was short. She was ready to go home, but only days away from being 20 years old, I didn’t want to let her go. The memories washed over me, salty tears coursed down my face. I watched, sadly, as the funeral worker came to the house to take her away. She was buried on my birthday. The day I turned 20. The day I told her goodbye.

In November of 2000, the hospital lights glared as I stood over my husband’s bed. The nurse asked me if I wanted my husband’s wedding ring? And did I want to say a final goodbye to him before they took him away? My pastor friend was there. A friend from Sunday School. I explained to my 5 year old son that Daddy was with God now, and he wasn’t coming back.

I got the call early, before I left for work. It was a chilly March morning, that day in 2002. My aunt’s voice carried hundreds of miles across the phone line. “Dawn, I called you first. Will you call your sister? Your father is dead. He took his own life.”  The air sucked out of my lungs. “What?!” My brain was numb as I attempted to process what she had just told me.  My dad left….and he didn’t even say goodbye.

I got a call from my husband, Scott, in January 2009. We had been married for just a tad over 3 years. Scott had a good job (he worked remotely) with a company that he had been with for 22 years. We were in the process of building a house out of state. Exciting times…..until that fateful phone call. His company was letting him go. No fault of his own. Economy. Since he worked remotely, he couldn’t be put in a new position. I was trying to process the news….we were a single income family, we were in the middle of building a house, what were we going to do?!  I had to say goodbye to the life that I had known.

Letting go. Saying goodbye. Starting over.

My knuckles were white from the grasping hard.

And yet… it is when I let go, give up, release, that I can watch God in action. When I stop wrestling with Him for control, I can see Him at work.

When I stop saying “me”, and start saying “YOU”, I give Him glory.

Letting go is not easy. Humanly speaking, I don’t know if it ever is. But, it is only when I let go and rest in Him that I fully begin to understand who God  is.

Psalm 344.I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears…..8. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. 17. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. 18. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

God is good. All the time. Even when we have to let go.


Growth Can’t Always Be Measured With A Ruler


Image by alancleaver_2000 via Flickr

I still have a long way to go.

Growing. Stretching. Absorbing. Changing.

Some days I think I’ve got it all together. Whatever “it” is. I’ve got it all figured out. I’m on top of things.

Other days I know I don’t. I wonder if I ever did.

I look at other people. I think maybe their lives are right. And good.

Even if they aren’t.

I measure myself.

I come up short.

I want more.

More of what is good. More of what makes me happy. More of things going my way.

More. More. More.


The dark emotion washes over me like the cold waves of a surly ocean. I am overcome.

I breathe deeply. I don’t really like this place.

I snip at my kids, ignore my husband, don’t even want to pet the dog.

Who am I?

I breathe again.

Ann Voskamp reminds me in chapter 8. I know this woman’s words are a gift to me from God Himself. There is no other explanation. God speaks in many ways–and sometimes it is through a Canadian woman, a farmer’s wife, a home schooling mom of six. I am humbled.

On page 143, her words sear through me. Cutting me. Straight to the place that oozes with the ungrateful. The worry. The stress. The parts of myself that I don’t like to show.

“Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness.  How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel, the brow with the lines of distrust. How I don’t fold my hands in prayer…weld them into tight fists of control…… Do I hold worry close as this ruse of control, this pretense that I’m the one who will determine the course of events as I stir and churn and ruminate? Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. And stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable I am? Or is it more? Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.”

And on page 146, ” Stress isn’t only a joy stealer. The way we respond to it can be sin.” ……”I’ve got to get this thing, what it means to trust, to gut-believe in the good touch of God toward me, because it’s true: I can’t fill with joy until I learn how to trust: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow.” (Romans 15:13)

I breathe again.

And I work on giving thanks. I need to give thanks. I must give thanks.

In order to see.

#155  Rainy days

#156 Warm light spilling through the kitchen

#157  Green showing through melted snow

# 158  Children laughing





Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG

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The backpack is far too heavy for me. I am hunched over from the struggle of having to carry it. It strains me almost to the point of exhaustion.

I’m weighed down by everything I have shoved in there.




The Daily Routine.

The Mundane.






The past.

The future.



The things of life, that I worry over.

Each one seemingly so important that I feel I must carry it.

These things that I continually shove in my own personal backpack.

Sometimes it is so full I can’t even zip it shut. Just when I think there is room for nothing else…I squeeze another worry in.

I cannot continue like this.

“Father, this is so difficult for me. I don’t want to worry, but worry creeps back to me. I say I trust You. I give you the backpack, but then I take it back again. The worry feels comfortable to me…even if it is painful.

Father, will you help me? Help me to trust you more. I need your words from Matthew 6:34 to soothe my tired back. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.”

Lord, you are so much more capable to carry my burdens than I am. Forgive me for not trusting you more.

You Just Don’t Know

a hospital room (Denmark, 2005)

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I have several friends that have lived with or are living with devastating news. I was thinking about that yesterday… One just never knows what others are truly going through…. Job loss, financial devastation, medical diagnoses, depression, a bleak prognosis, family members who take their own lives, death, divorce, children who refuse to listen. There are so many people, going through so many things. One just doesn’t know.


Never assume that you know me

Because what I’m dealing with

is not what you see.


Many times because of pride,

I refuse to show

the hurt inside.


A diagnosis, illness, pain

cover me like

a gray, winter rain.


I go through each day

doing what I should

Not knowing what to say

Wishing I could.


I want to cry

I want to scream

I sort of try

to not act mean.


I need a hug

I need your smile

I need you to go

that extra mile.


When the prognosis, diagnosis…

Is too much for me to bear

I need your friendship

I need you to care.


Thank you for being my friend.


——-Dawn Gibson