"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Friday, May 27, 2005

New Poems for Children

I've posted a poem on Topsy Turvy Land called Concrete Map, originally on the Inspiration Station. A new one, Guard Dog Rules, is in the new edition along with an illustration done by Kevin Scott Collier. Click here to read!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

God’s Design

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.- Hebrews 10:36

Throughout my teen years and into adulthood, an underlying thread of discontent made its way into the tapestry of my life. I loved God and longed to serve Him in a greater capacity.

When Don became pastor of a small church, we started a Sunday School program, but had no one to teach the adult class.

My husband pleaded with me. “Donna, won’t you consider teaching the adult class?”

The thought of teaching adults petrified me. I’d taught Sunday School for years, but up until that point, my oldest students were four-year olds.

As the new pastor’s wife, I wanted to help any way I could, so after praying about it, I agreed. We ordered the material and I opened up my first book. I thought, Oh, no – this can’t be right. The first series of lessons was entitled, “Sex and the Christian.”

I taught the whole book with a red face and perspiring palms. To this day, my students tease me about my obvious discomfort.

And even though I’ve been teaching for years, I learn something every Sunday. Sometimes I feel like a fraud, because I’m sure I get more out of my teaching than my students. I’ve become more disciplined in my own Bible study, and for every minute I spend in the actual classroom setting, I’ve spent many more in preparation.

I want to be the best teacher I can be under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Even though I felt inadequate at first, God honored my effort. I believe He equips us for the tasks He has for us. One example of this is in the Old Testament, when God chose workers to build the Tabernacle.

Exodus 31:1-3 – “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.”

Isn't that a wonderful thought? God filled the workers with the Holy Spirit and gave them the skill, ability, and knowledge for their work. My desire is to be filled with that same Spirit to be equipped for the awesome task of sharing His word.

Teaching has taught me. I’ve learned that while singing will always be my heart’s cry, my experience as a teacher has been more fulfilling than I ever dreamed.

Teaching God’s Word has been a colorful thread in the tapestry of my life. When my life is laid out before God, I pray it will be a vivid display of submission to His will.

Recently my husband has been trying to talk me into preaching one Sunday. I’m still praying about that one!

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the opportunity to minister for You. I pray that I will be willing to step out in faith to do Your will. In Jesus' sweet, precious, Holy Name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Review of Seeds of Deception for Blog for Books

A friend of mine agreed to let me post her review:

Georgiana Preskar has given us a source, Seeds of Deception, that makes some very enlightening information available to parents who care about what their children learn at school. The author uses an easy to read, comfortable format, but the book is not pleasant reading since the facts are so disturbing. For example, Ms. Preskar makes wild claims about connections between homosexuality and Hitler's agenda and then compares that phenomenon with mind control in our schools. However, and much to my chagrin, she has researched these claims very well and provides some very convincing documentation.

I am a Christian and a public school teacher who hesitated to read this book, anticipating accusations against "those humanist teachers who are out to get your kids," which is what I often see and hear in Christian circles. In reality, most teachers are very interested in your child's well-being, and the author respects the integrity of the teacher. However, this book identifies the hidden sources of influence that are capable of destroying every Godly thought that you have lovingly and painstakingly nurtured in your child.

Please read Seeds of Deception. In spite of some distracting editing oversights in the text, the book can educate and inspire parents to counter the deception behind a number of the programs now in place in the public school systems of our nation. We are now without excuse for being ignorant of the agenda. - Reviewed by E. Horton

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Important Notice from Donna

My laptop has died. Let's have a moment of silence.....

Okay, I'm back. I did put a bunch of writing on a CD in March, so I have some records, but you know how it is. There's a lot on there that I'd compiled in the last two months - especially stuff to do with Topsy Turvy Land, the children's book. If you've contacted me for a copy or to do a review, contact me again please.

My most current mailing list was on the laptop. If you're on either the Topsy Turvy Land or the Devotionals by Donna list, be sure to email me so I can add you back on! Or even easier - sign up using the form to the right of this post!

If you know of friends and family who were on the list, please forward this on by clicking on the little white envelope in the bottom right-hand corner of this post.

I've checked into getting a professional mailing list, because the Devotional list is getting quite large. I'd already had fifty people sign up for the Topsy Turvy Land list!

As soon as I get it compiled, I'm printing it out. Good old paper and ink. Thanks so much, and once again, I'm so sorry for the inconvenience!


Monday, May 09, 2005

Green-Eyed Monster

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. - Proverbs 14:30

Recently I received a book by snail mail - a gift from an author I met on-line. I took the book downstairs and propped it up on the bookrack on my new treadmill. I opened it up being careful not to break the spine. I love the way a new book feels. I love the way I feel - excited about the treasure hidden between the covers.

And what a treasure it was. The writer included an entire book's worth of information in the first chapter. My thirty-minute workout passed by before I knew it.

While I savored the spiritual morsels in the book, I had to quash an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach - something like literary nausea. Why would I ever try to write another word? Who was I to think I could communicate deep spiritual insights? I'm shallow.

As a first step to rid myself of this illness, I sent an email to the author praising her book. Then I prayed. And prayed some more. If I am to continue to write, I must believe God has a message contained in this container of clay that only I can write. I asked God to replace jealousy with trust. I do trust in His plan, His will, and His purpose for me, and my plea is for strength and wisdom to build on His blueprint for my life.

Admitting my feelings represents a healthy step in overcoming them. James wrote, "But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth" (James 3: 14).

Soon it wasn't difficult to admit I would not have wanted to write the book that induced such envy. Many tears and heartache had been experienced before the author wrote the first word. Deep insight came from passing through deep valleys. Mountaintop highs resulted in magnificent praise.

Paul wrote, "Let us not desire vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another" (Gal. 5:26).

When I read beautiful writing, I desire to give genuine compliments to the author, and praise to God Who inspired the author.

Do you ever find yourself in this same trap? Maybe the ministry isn't writing, but singing or teaching or preaching.

Let us praise God at all times for His goodness and His faithfulness to inspire beauty - whether it comes though us or someone else.

I have green eyes. I don't want them to be green with envy.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the burden to work for You, and ask that You anoint me to do the work You have for me. Help me to praise others and encourage them in their ministries. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Mentor Named Mary

A wonderful woman named Mary Preston was a mentor to me in my early years of singing, and instrumental in my learning to play the piano. She never had children, but she treated me as I were her own. I share this in honor of Mother's Day.

As a teenager I sang in the church choir. I enjoyed watching the pianist, Mary, as her fingers glided across the ivories providing the upbeat and lively accompaniment to our choir specials.

One Sunday Mary stopped me after church. “Donna, you have a good voice. Have you ever thought of singing a solo?”

The idea of singing by myself terrified me, but I went to Mary’s for the fun of it. We practiced for a while. Afterwards she served the most fantastic chocolate cake I’d ever tasted. I’m not sure how she convinced me – maybe it was the caffeine, but I agreed to sing a solo in church the next Sunday.

Then one day she invited me to her home. Two other women showed up. Mary announced, “These are your backup singers.”

Mary continued to mentor me over the next few years. She invited me to her home often, and on special occasions fixed her famous chocolate cake. Written out, the recipe covered an entire page of single-spaced notebook paper, and required a significant amount of time to prepare.

So what was a special occasion? Anytime I came over. Mary always managed to have a freshly baked cake for me, and we celebrated many truly special occasions – my first solo, the first time we sang as a group, the recording of my first album, which Mary and her husband financed, and eventually, my stepping out to sing in a group that traveled our tri-state area.

Shortly after I got married, Mary found out she had cancer and passed away within no time. After her death, I was blessed to bring her piano to my home and learn to play.

When I think of Mary, I recall her dedication to mentor a young woman like me. In Luke 6:40 (NIV), Jesus said, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Thirty years later, I’m still singing. I’m a pastor’s wife, and I learned to play that piano and now, like Mary was so long ago, I’m the church pianist.

Often I think of Mary and the encouragement and blessing she bestowed upon my life, and I’m reminded of a woman who sacrificed her time and talent to help a floundering young woman find her purpose.

I still eat chocolate every day, but despite my best effort, I’ve never been able to duplicate Mary’s cake. I pray I’ll be able to duplicate her ministry as a mentor to someone else.

And I’m sure to give that recipe another try!

*To make a cake similar to Mary's, click here.
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