"Surrendering is like drinking milk and honey my friends..."

Mom I made a new club at school today. It’s called the Heart Club. Oh really? And  what exactly is your mission? I ask. She responds in the sweetest little 6 year old-nugget of a voice. “We sprinkle kindness on the playground.” All at once, I cry and smoosh her with kisses. I mean, ya’ll! I can’t! Is this for real?

I sit in the front seat of my car with my 5th grader. We are dropping off a beautiful young women that our family is falling in love with. I drop my head in defeat and cry. I’m burdened. I’m wondering if she will eat before school the next morning. My very cool, very capable 5th grader chimes in quietly.  She says… “Yeah, but mom what your doin right now is really cool.”  I want to smoosh her with kisses too but this is totally not an option. She doesn’t realize with her few quick words that she is God’s cheerleader. 

Sometimes God wraps wisdom in small packages. In these moments, I have no doubt that He speaks words of encouragement through their seemingly little words. 

The heart change in my home is blowing my mind people! I see it changing in a glorious way. This! This is my hearts desire for the one’s I hold nearest to me. I see HIM moving.

A year ago today a swirly, whirly ache moved in the pit of my stomach. I knew we, my family was on a path that sickened me. I/we weren’t doing enough. I knew He was calling me to move, to live outside of myself, to get uncomfortable, to be over exerted.  I knew that if that ache stewed in my pit, peace would not reveal itself. I am grateful for His stirring. I am grateful for His growing peace. It's being watered like a new garden. And it's growing in His time. 

I am grateful for His wisdom showing up in small packages. I am grateful for the burden that He lays on my heart. I am grateful that He trusts me with this burden. 

And as I send my littles on their way for a new day this morning, I am reminded that the work is never finished…as she complains about her warm breakfast, freshly cut fruit, and that I have not purchased her spring pictures promptly enough? (helpless emoji) God’s ability to insert humility in my life is both annoying and amazing!  

I send encouragement to you today as you may have something stirring. The stirring, the call to action is His will for your life. Surrendering to it is like drinking milk and honey my friends, oh so sweet.

The past two weeks have been particularly challenging. Highs and lows that are hard to put into words. Hearing this song today; I cry.

Falling short as a servant, wife, and mother; I am reminded as the words play, of my hearts desire. Remembering His hope. Remembering how I need YOU.  Every hour I need YOU, my one defense, my righteousness… tis true... how I need You. 

 

      "Lord, I Need You"

Bowing here I find my rest

Without You I fall apart

You're the One that guides my heart

 

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You

Every hour I need You

My one defense, my righteousness

Oh God, how I need You

 

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more

Where grace is found is where You are

And where You are, Lord, I am free

Holiness is Christ in me

 

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You

Every hour I need You

My one defense, my righteousness

Oh God, how I need You

 

Teach my song to rise to You

When temptation comes my way

And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You

Jesus, You're my hope and stay

 

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You

Every hour I need You

My one defense, my righteousness

Oh God, how I need You

 

You're my one defense, my righteousness

Oh God, how I need You

My one defense, my righteousness

Oh God, how I need You

Lyrics by: Matt Maher

If this is a day that you have fallen short, my friend...well you're not alone. 

This is The Village. 

I lay awake thinking of you tonight. I'm trying to fill my mind with other things but I can't. I can't close my eyes to what I've seen. I can't close my heart to what I feel.  I can't put out this burning desire to change the written path for you. 

Will you receive your stamps this month? I know better now. I know even when it arrives it won't be enough. I know that system will run dry. Who will fill in the gap for you?

I'm learning that poverty is real. I'm learning that poverty is like a maze. It's like a maze with walls at every turn. It's like a generational plague that doesn't discriminate. It doesn't discriminate by creed or color. I'm learning that you, you are innocent. And you were born unto it. And even when you pull desperately out of it you will be one death, one lost job, one health care bill away from it's captivity. 

Im learning that there are hungry babies tonight one short car ride away from where I lay restless. Countless babies. I see your sweet plump cheeks and your quiet smiles and I wonder if you'll have a warm breakfast in the morning.   

I am restless indeed but I warm, I am safe and secure and I am well fed.. I am blessed beyond my deserving. Sickening thoughts about my wasteful habits linger.

I'm wondering if each of you know that you are loved by me. Do you know that you are loved by a God that will father you for an eternity? I'm falling in love with each of you and there's nothing I can do to stop it. I am praying for you by name. And I am praying for you of which I know not your name.

I'm speechless and yet I have so much to say. I am so grateful for His divine web. But I am scared to death that I am not enough. I am breathless with fear for you. We need an army. We need a miracle. You are one but there are millions of you.

Surely, undoubtedly, I am not enough.

Poverty is real, hunger is real. I loath the thought of your hunger and your fear. I want to wrap my arms around you and make it better. I cry out for hope tonight. I cry out for change.  

Nothing stays the same. Today marks the day. 

This, this is The Village. 

"Today marks the day when nothing stays the same, you come to me as you are. As you are, as you are....today marks the day when nothing stays the same." Daniel Moody



Project Furnish Apartment

To say the last 2 weeks have been filled with restless-sleepless nights is an understatement.  I'm sure our Village's team of project leads share the same exhaustion. 

Our local non-profits and churches that commit to caring for our communities in need full time-365 days a year are my absolute heros! 

Planning, hauling, collecting, soliciting, gathering and encouraging has been fueled by thoughts of "our" sweet-single mother of six that was brought to our attention just shy of 2 weeks ago. Our mission: Project Furnish Apartment!

You'll see here; in the video, move in day!  You'll see mothers serving mothers, this...this is The Village! 

New Year

5AM and the house is still, it’s January 1. A new year has begun. I have a little one balled in the crook of my arm, her hair smells  like a  kitten, I breath in....hhhhmmm. I’m not ready to plant my feet firmly on the floor, metaphorically and physically. I might have had a margarita  bigger than my head last night, rare for me…but fun non the less.  I’ll lay here and linger. 

If I’m lucky, on this new years day, I’ll hear Your voice again. 

You met me here before. I don’t know the formula, the ritual; but I know this is the place where You like to meet me. In the quiet, stillness, in the newness of the day. I’ll lay here and wait. I’ll be lucky if I hear a small whisper from You.

The last time it was strong, mighty like a storm but just the same.... calm, clear as the ocean. It was Your voice, but it wasn’t a voice. It was loud but the decimal imeasurable. It was as far away as the stars but so close, inside of me somewhere close to the pit of my center. It was strong but sovereign. It was You, but it was me. I can’t find the line. I can’t find the words to describe from where it came. But You found me. And Your words lay upon me in honesty and truth. 

A time or two ago You commanded of me, “stop yelling”. I sat straight up in my bed. The tiredness left in an instant and the mission began. Like a child, I obeyed with a humble grace. And though I stumble, I move forward never forgetting what is required. 

A time or two before You commanded of me, “GRACE”. I knew in an instant where Your command be directed. I sat in my bed and wept. The guilt, the time I wasted lay heavy on my heart. With hope, would be redeemed with my obedience. 

A time or two after that You commanded, “The Village”..and tho I begged for guidance; this is all You gave in that moment. Non the  less, the gratefulness and the mission began. Not knowing big or small, non the matter, it wasn’t mine. It was/is Yours. 

"What is Your command this year?" I ask. How can I calm my busied mind and hear Your priceless whisper. 

Oh my, the mistakes I’ve made through this year, how will You command me to change. I ask like a child that hasn't a clue, all the while knowing.  

The blessings I have reaped through the year, I’m humbled. Can You hear my thankful heart? I tear and smell her sweet kitten smell. I reach for her hand and my heart is full. The blessings of this year, they are countless. 

And yet, I am overwhelmed quickly with the thought of the needs that surround me.  Where will I even begin? How will You guide my efforts? Will You be patient when I fall short. Will You be patient when I am lazy. Will You persist in your commands?  

Your voice hasn’t come this morning? I fill the quiet with my anxious heart and now it is way too loud for me to hear You. This is one thing I know for sure this morning. I will try again tomorrow.

I know I'm not alone. Aging with our Village is a blessing. With it, it seems that so many of us have begun to search for His voice and His call for our lives.   Unlike me, I bet you were quiet enough to hear His voice this New Years.  What did He say to you?  What struggles will come that He will most definitely walk with you, hand in hand? What amazing doors will he open for you?

Happy New Year Village.  

With Love, 

Danielle

The Beginning

I turn and look over my shoulder and there you are.  There you are, with your black hair and your tender brown eyes. Your gentle-sweet smile is honest and easy. You are familiar in a way that I can't explain. Have we met before? Are we meeting again for the first time? 

I pray for you not knowing who "you" are. 

How can I make everyday and every minute last longer with you. 

I find you. You are creative and full of joy. You are talented and intriguing. You are private. You are gentle. You are honest. You know how to grow this in me. 

You are nervous when I'm around. You are vulnerable. Don't worry, I am nervous too. 

Your hands are strong. I've learned every detail of them. They are playing. They are beautifully moving from one string to the next. They are sliding up and down each fret passionately and intentionally.  

You are here playing but you are somewhere else.  I know where you are. I know you now.  You are in the places you love most. You are in the mountains. You are in the oceans. You are somewhere without space and time. You are in peace.  You are in harmony. You are in love. 

For the first time, I believe the sky won't fall down on top of me.  And glance by glance, you begin to heal me. 

You are looking deeper inside of me than anyone has ever.  You believe in me. You make me laugh like no one else. You know me. 

My cup runeth over.  You are my mother, my father, my best friend, my mentor, my partner… you are all of this in one very simple, unknowing human body. You are my constant.

You are home. 

And this? This is  just geometry friends. This is the beginning.   

One minute turns into two minutes, turns into days, turns into nights, turns into months, turns into years. 

You build life with me. You make life with me. You mourn life with me. You are still with me.

Life moves full steam ahead like a heavy-swift wind: it's unpredictable and fleeting, how can I make everyday and every minute last longer with you…

Thank you Mr. Davis for my unconditional and my most important village. The beginning.

With Love, 

Danielle

 

An apology note to you...

Sometimes our insecurities are so thick that we often can't see the very people standing right in front of us. 

It probably started around age 8 and lasted through most of my 20's. Sometimes I try to imagine the amount of people I missed out on because of the blinding fog.

Indeed, you are countless. 

How could I have seen and appreciated your beautiful face and figure? I was way too busy being consumed with feelings of inadequacy. You were standing right in front of me. You didn't become a friend. You became an enemy, a competitor, a reminder of my imperfect looks. Skin deep, I was in judgement of myself. It was like a thick wall of self-consumption. It blinded me.  I'm sorry if I made you feel that it was your fault!

How could I have seen your kind heart? I was too busy competing with you. Why were you kinder than I? I was analyzing your motives.  All the while the judgement  and analyzing was being pointed in mine own direction. I'm sorry if I made you feel that it was your fault!

How could I have been energized by your enthusiasm? You were doing something bigger and better than me? That couldn't be. People were following you and not me. This was measuring my inadequacy. How could I truly see how amazing you were?   I'm sorry if I made you feel that it was your fault!

How could I have headed your wise words? I couldn't reveal to you that you knew more than me!  How could I ever tell you that I didn't know much about anything.  I'm sorry if I made you feel that it was your fault!

It didn't matter what the ailment: not smart enough, not pretty enough, not spiritual enough, not thin enough, not creative enough, not patient enough, not disciplined enough, not witty enough, not organized enough, not a good enough mother, not giving enough… it was all a distraction.

It was all a thick fog of insecurity. It was constantly getting in the way of letting me have a real relationship with you.  I'm sorry if I made you feel that it was your fault!

Today, the fog is lifting. 

Thank you God for allowing me to finally see the people standing right in front of me.  I mourn that it took so long. I lament that I missed out on you.   

To every precious heart, soul, and beautiful person I missed out on, "Im sorry"

I'm better now. 

With Love, 

Danielle

 

 

When I was seven my dad died. I remember in slow motion the day we were told that he was dead. Even at the young age of seven, I knew the meaning of death. I knew that he was gone and he was never coming back. 

After he died, my mind played tricks on me. For weeks, months; I could be walking in a store and I could hear him calling my name. If ever I bumped into a man or saw someone that resembled my dad, there was a glimmer of hope that it was him. Maybe, somehow, they were wrong. Maybe he had just disappeared and he was back…easy as that. 

I can’t say exactly how long those encounters lasted but I can remember them like yesterday. 

I’ve been having the same dream of him and I for 28 years. It goes something like this: we are together again sitting in a booth at a diner. There is a large clock on the wall above us. I am enjoying my time with him. I fee l warm and safe. I feel love beaming from him to me, me to him. At the same time, I feel rushed. I feel panicked. I know somehow when that clock hits nine he will have to go. I look at him as if he can change it, as if he can stop time. I search for ways to cheat the clock. In my frantic search the clock hits nine and the dream ends.

With Love, 

Danielle

Fall Service Project: Feminine Care bags

I am anxious to share The Village's fall service project with you all!

Let me start by telling you a little story. 

I was at my children's school a few weeks ago. I saw one of my oldests daughter's peer in the hallway. She didn't greet me with a smile or her usual sweet hello. Her head was tucked low. She had her shirt pulled down past her thighs. She was frantically heading to the nurses office. I knew in an instant what had happened. We all knew. As mothers, we've all been there.

I headed to the nurses office to see if I could help. The nurse wasn't equipped to offer the necessaries to our embarrassed pre-teen.  I did what any mother in my shoes would do. I purchased her a new shirt from the school supplies. I  gave her a hug and a word of encouragement. She was sent on her way. I was sad for her. I remembered feeling just like that when I was in school. 

I continued a conversation with our school nurse. She said that parents provide ample clothing changes and products for our kindergarteners but we have nothing for our preteens. She said she would welcome anything we had to offer. 

How wonderful would it be for The Village and all of our mothers to equip our nurses with a simple care packet during times like this!

So here you have it:  Everything that sweet-young pre-teen needed...in a bag: The Village's Feminine Care Bag. 

Help The Village equip all of our public, upper elementary and middle schools with these feminine care bags by going to our Target Wish List and purchasing one or some of our needs.

We will also be putting a sweet note of encouragement in each bag. Disclaimer: bags donated to elementary school nurses may not include the playtex sport tampons. It will be left under the nurses/school policies.  

With Love, 

Danielle