Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Counting

Happy Monday! It is again a day of new counting. Join me?

26. Old flannel shirt . . . my Daddy's.

27. Shining summer sunflowers

28. Laughing with cousins Saturday, what a gift.

29. Family dinner at Pioneer Villa . . . fellowship and oh how delicious the food. :)

30. A summer job, lived long and now finished.

31. No big injuries as I watched over kiddos the past three months.

32. Daddy's birthday . . . his life held with such value. (I love you, Daddy! So much!)

33. Sister got her license! An answered prayer. Nerves relax.

34. Fresh, succulent blackberries and blackberry milkshakes . . . MMM!

35. Sweet August . . . memories

36. Playing freeze tag, choosing to be young.

37. A sky punctured with radiant stars.

38. Celebration service at Church . . . a new man giving himself to lead us.

39. Five young, energetic boys in Sunday School.

40. "Grace greater than all my sin." alleluia

Live! It's a brand new day. :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Sunday, August 30, 2009


So, I wanted to get another post in before my 1000 gifts post tomorrow (Lord willing). :) I was cleaning out one of my drawers yesterday, and I found a sheet filled with C.S. Lewis quotes that I had typed out from the book Mere Christianity, which I HIGHLY recommend by the way. :) Anyways, I wanted to share with you a quote that I really like, one that makes me desire to reach further, to be more like my Savior. It goes like this:

"Every now and then one meets them [men that Christ has made new]. Their voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognizable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of 'religious people' which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. (We must get over wanting to be needed: in some goodish people, especially women, that is the hardest of all temptations to resist. [how true of me at least]) They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognized one of them, you will recognize the next one much more easily."

Oh, Jesus, make me new.

Today was a big day. It was the "installation" service of a new associate pastor to my church, a celebration. It is the day that I found out that one of my dear older friends has the healthy use of only 30% of his heart, bad news. It is the day that I figured out that yet another church member has cancer. It's hard to be made new, to stand strong upon a Rock that never fails, when the torrents fall heavy, and heart splinters under its weight. I'm really not feeling that discouraged right now, but I think that if I dwelt on it, it would hurt. Last Sunday for special music, a young mom with twins and her aunt beautifully sang the song "In Christ Alone." Here's a link to hear it on youtube. It's beautiful! Part of the lyrics go like this:

"This Cornerstone, this Solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm."

I love that. I love that He's the Solid Ground now for the storms that might come later. I love that the Rock is SOUND for all the future storms that I WILL travel through. Guaranteed. It is also capable of holding us through our present flash floods and storms. He is enough.

Other lines that stick out are "Light of the world by darkness slain / Then bursting forth in glorious day / Up from the grave He rose again." I love this: "Jesus commands my destiny," and "Sin's curse has lost its grip on me." alleluia. If you want to be blessed, take some time to read the lyrics and listen to the song. It's incredible!

I hope your Sunday was a day on the Rock, resting in the One who has made all the difference. :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

PS See you tomorrow for more gift tracking Lord willing! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Child Heart

I wanted to share with you an adorable story my mom told me yesterday. Now my mom is one of my heros. She's an RN (registered nurse) who is working for this little 10 year old boy with a ton of disabilities. I believe he has cerebral palsy (?), is legally blind, completely deaf, and probably has the amount of brain usage as a toddler. He must be fed and have his diaper changed. Well, anyway, my mom so very lovingly takes care of this kiddo around 2 - 3 days a week, and often times, she is able to get some smiles out of him. Sometimes, he even tries to wrap his arm around her. She's told me that sometimes, when he seems to be really uncomfortable, she'll say a prayer outloud for him (my mom is such an incredible prayer warrior . . . but that's another story!), and he seems to visibly relax. (Have I told you before that our God is a miracle worker?!)

The parents have this child go to a school for kids with disabilities where he's able to do some things. My mom normally goes with him during the days she works, and school is going on. I love to hear stories of some of the other kids that go to the school. They're so in need of love and so beautiful, even if the world has tagged them "abnormal" and "disabled." I think some of those kids are a lot closer to heaven than we are some days. Anyway, yesterday, mom was telling me a story about this little boy I'll call Justin. He's a young blind boy, maybe 8 or 9. Yesterday, he turned toward my mom and told her these precious words,

"Julia, I like your haircut."

Did I mention he was blind? :) I love how innocent and precious Jesus has made children. I love how He invites them close to His heart. I love how I am called to be a child. I am called to be innocent, moldable, teachable, obedient. Often times, I feel so child-like. So young. But sometimes, it's when I am young that I can truly experience the security and love of God Almighty being my Father. A precious, indescriblable miracle.

I hope you can smile today . . . :) May our child-hearts be turned towards the Light, the King.

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Monday, August 24, 2009

One Thousand Gifts

Today is "Multiple Gifts Monday" . . . a time to count the gifts from our Heavenly Dad's hand. I'm on my way to one thousand. Will you join me?

11. Fresh, buttery corn on the cob

12. Bright blue eyes of giggly Child

13. Streamers cascading and rising on ceiling, a surprise

14. A new day of summer vacation . . . only two weeks and a day left . . . each day a gift.

15. Answered prayer . . . a child has been found

16. Light shed on who I am . . . it's sharp but good.

17. Meeting Book-lover . . . soon to be friend Lord willing.

18. Fresh blackberries

19. Walking through a field in bright sun

20. Small, brilliant balloons

21. Visitors in Sunday School yesterday

22. Sister's birthday and life

23. Blog updates by Friend(s)

24. Homemade ice cream

25. The promise that "Jesus commands my destiny." alleluia

Put your hand to your heart today and feel its pulse. In VBS this year, one of the leaders told the kids that the beating of their heart was a reminder of God's incredible love for them. Feel it . . . may God's love pulsate throughout your heart and soul. Have a glorious day!

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dearest Sister . . .

Dearest Sister,

It is your birthday today, and ya know what?! I'm so glad to be your sister. I hope your day was a sweet one . . . I love you truly. :) Never ever forget!!!!!

Love from,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Number Six

"Pick a number between 1 and 66," I told the 9 year old girl I babysit yesterday.

"Six." She answered. I was surprised she didn't ask why as I turned to the sixth book in the Bible. Now I am a true believer in divine appointments and circumstances, and I think this was a divine situation indeed. Previously, I had read Ann Voskamp's daily post which can be found here. It spoke of courage and how courage and humility are tied together. Anyway, a little later, I had asked Girl if she'd give me a number and "six" brought me to Joshua. Later, these are the words I read:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NIV

By nature, I am not a strong person. At all. I am very weak, very "nice," very safe. I keep a big space between danger and myself. I have this strong admiration for strong people though, especially strong women. For instance, I met a very strong Lady yesterday. She has a lot of love but knows how to be firm in love, knows how to raise four kiddos while they're daddy is fighting for us. And you know what? I want to be strong. It didn't really hit me until last night and this morning that I'm commanded by God to be strong. To be Courageous. To NOT be discouraged. And how can I be all this? Because "God will be with [me] wherever [I] go." WHEREVER! I want to tell the truth, even when it hurts. I don't want to apologize for being used by God to convict even when it's uncomfortable.

Well, I better wrap this up. I need to start bouncing into action and get somethings done besides publishing a post. :) Have a lovely day! Be strong!

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae ;)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Leftover Stew

Okay, so I really don't have much to say, and yet, I have everything to say in the same post. Hmm . . . so this might turn out to be a little like leftover stew . . . the ingredients being a little of this and a little of that and whatever's leftover, you know?

So, today I met this fantastic family that I'll be working for occasionally. It's mom, big sis, brother, little brother, and little sis. Dad's in Iraq . . . missing those kids and his wife I'm sure. I can't wait to serve 'em and love 'em, hope that God uses me, uses my broken pieces.

As I think about some of the past posts I've written, I feel like I've kinda distorted my image. Sometimes, it's quite easy for me to do that. I so enjoy writing, crafting words into webs of art. Often, I go through tough circumstances and imagine myself talking about it later to a big crowd or writing about it as if my story gives me value. But words and stories are nothing when wrapped in paper. They must be real. Transparent. Open. Full of rough edges and sometimes even loose strings. And sometimes, sometimes experiences are sacred . . . words spoken have power to break sacredness. I must remember. Forgive me when I get carried away with poetry and forget to write out the true lining and throbbing of my heart. I want to be real.

Speaking of real, brokenness is a condition I'm quite used to by now. It's a very hard condition to experience yet one laced with grace. But you don't always feel the grace. No. Sometimes, you feel deep pain. Sometimes, you don't feel anything at all . . . and sometimes, that's what hurts the most. I am a broken, prideful, sinful, weak person, but Jesus is holding me up, redeeming me. He is changing me. Breaking me. Speaking Life to me. Singing over me. And one day, I will live with Him forever. I will truly be who I was meant to be before the beginning of time. And you will be too, if He is the Lord and Savior of Your life.

I don't want to present you with the picture of who I want to be. I want to show you who I am. Not sure how that's going to work, but I'll see what I can do. :) Anyway, the night is fleeing from me, and I must end this leftover stew. :) Have a wonderful night, wherever you are, whoever you are. :) You are precious in the sight of God. It's true . . . I know. :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

PS Christina Marie, I love you! Thank you for your post . . . it made me smile. I hope this random-ish post makes you grin. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

1000 Gifts

Almost each Monday, Ann Voskamp from makes a continuing list of things she's grateful for, gifts from the Father. I'm going to start my own list today. Hopefully it will continue as Mondays come and go. Here goes, the start of my list as I make my way to one thousand gifts . . .

1. The sweet innocence of an eight year old boy

2. The brilliance and newness of the morning

3. Swimming in ICY cold water . . . and surviving. :)

4. A long letter from friend

5. Sunday picnic and hike

6. Being given a makeover by a nine year old girl . . . hair and nails included :)

7. Water spurting down clefts and stubborn rock

8. Sweet, yellow dahlias

9. Open access to the mercy seat

10. The prayers thrown upward as church gathers around broken, needy people

Well, I must be off. Work is calling quite shortly. :) May your day be littered with gifts . . .

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

Well, hello. Happy Saturday! I am so thankful for weekends. My my. Weekends = Blessings. :) Weekends are definitely one of my favorite things. I am so glad that God allowed us and designed us to take some time to rest. Here's a few of my other favorite things that I'd like to share with you:

1) A Holy Experience: earth is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God -- This has to be one of my FAVORITE websites right now. Practically each morning, normally after a walk with my mom and sister, I check out this website and read Ann Voskamp's daily post. They are beautiful! Ann has such a talented gift to mold and paint words and such a gift to encourage and uplift. She herself is truly beautiful because you can see God shining through her. She writes each weekday and posts one section of writing for the weekend. There's even beautiful, peaceful music to listen to as you read. It's worth checking out; I'm telling ya! :)

2) (in)Courage -- I actually read about this site from Voskamp's website and really like it! Basically, it's a group of women who gather together and post some pieces of writing. It is so uplifting. It's definitely a fav.

3) David Nevue Piano Music - - This man is so talented and his music so peaceful and lovely! Let's just say I'm a fan. :)

4) Balancing Beauty and Bedlam - - Okay, so I haven't had much time to check this website out, but what I've seen thus far, I've so enjoyed! I'm one of those thrifty folks I suppose you could say who enjoys reading about creative ways to keep costs down. I'm in for the small price tag and the big deals. This website is full of cute and fun ideas! This woman's husband has been unemployed for awhile, and she's trying to pinch the pennies as she relies on God during this "God-watch" as she puts it. This is a fun site to visit.

5) Suncatchers, Wildflower in My Heart, & By the Light of a Thousand Stars by Jaime Langston Turner. -- I am such a fan of this author! She is incredible! She's one of the few Christian authors who doesn't seem to feel obligated to twist all of her creations into romantic adventures, which is a personal plus! I also really enjoy her work because of her writing style! She's incredible!!! I still remember some descriptions she used in her books, like when she mentioned the moon being a bowl of cream and a husky voice that she described as being the kind where you feel like you have to clear your throat for the other person's voice. :) Her characters are so developed as well. She's definitely one of my favorite authors!

6) Bethany Dillon music -- This girl is lovely. In many ways, I think we're a lot alike. She's actually releasing a new C.D. in the very near future. If you click on the link, you can go to her MySpace page and listen to some of her music. The first song on there, "Everyone To Know," is one that I like much. I like her style, and in most of her songs, her words are very deep, thought out. Another song you can listen to there is "Clinging to the Cross" - - that's another great one! "Change" is one of my favorites by her as well. The lyrics are great!

7) Ephesians -- This is a book I've been trying to study lately. I have a New Testament in the form of a magazine that I have been reading Ephesians in lately. I've been able to circle words and underline them and write notes, which has really helped me digest it better. I must be a visual person? :) It's been nice to just focus on one book and read it and reread it several times.

Well, these are but a few of my "favorite" things. Maybe I'll share some more another time? May your day be embedded with blessings. :) Smile today!

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

"I ask the Father in His great glory to give you the power to be strong inwardly through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God's holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ's love-- how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. Christ's love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:16-19 NCV

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I've been taught much lately. (Yes, I could have said that I'm learning a lot, but truth is I'm learning bit by bit, and I have been taught much more than I can handle at this point. I must take it in sip by sip.) I'm hanging out with two kiddos this summer, babysitting the girl and "chauffeuring" the boy as he puts it. smile. Truth is, it's probably one of the toughest jobs I've ever taken on, and I'm not referring to grunt work. I'm talking about love work. . .

These kids are beautiful. God's stamp and signature are written deep within their souls. They're strong kids, tough. Tender hearts are hidden behind callouses and raised walls. I've often been told when it was time for me to leave, that I'm a "good-good," that I'm no fun. I'm their target practice when they want to throw hasty, hot words as sharpened darts. I love to love people, . . . when they love me back, when they blanket me with words of gratitude and gifts of love. But LOVE is a trek uphill when it is not returned. [Though I must add, . . . small signs of love do occasionally spring to the surface, and I drink deeply] And believe you me, the trek is steep and rocky. But maybe, just maybe, Jesus is trying to whisper something in my ear. Maybe He's letting me know that He loves me, even when it hasn't been easy. When I've thrown up questioning words, when I haven't been grateful, when I've ran and hid in other shelters besides Him, when I've sought other avenues of pleasure to feed my hungry loneliness than to find fellowship in Him. Ouch. That cuts deeply. I need to think about that more . . . I know that's an old thought, but it's new to me - - when I've stepped into it and felt its heat.

Another thing I'm learning is that I'm VERY defensive. When the sparks fly, I raise my shield. I stand up. I fight back. I don't want to be falsely accused. I don't want to be the bad guy. Hmm . . . I'm so far from where I should be. There are so many places in me that don't look like Jesus (and that's one of them). The places are rough and ragged, unkept. But I'm so glad Jesus is bringing them to the surface. One of my Bible teachers at the school I attend constantly told us how Jesus has to bring the bad stuff up so He could wipe it away as it is done with gold for it to be refined. There's a lot of junk in me that must be brought up so it can be removed.

Well, these are a few of the things that I'm in the process of learning. I have a lot more to take in, to swallow. Inch by inch, step by step. :) Please forgive this somewhat sporatic post. :) blah :) haha :) Have a gorgeous day! May you sparkle, . . . like beautiful, refined gold. :)

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Waiting for the Whisper

The evening service at my church recently focused on the Junior Camp that my church had put on the previous week. The service provided a place for campers and counselors to share songs and memories. I can't tell you how gross I felt inside as I witnessed the service, the memories. You see, this was the first year in a long time that I couldn't go. I've gone since I was going into the 5th grade, and last year, I officially "graduated." I can't even express to you how awful part of this week was. I felt like I was SUPPOSE to be there, but I couldn't be. Camp was the week set apart. It was a time where I could get away from the stereotypical danae kids see at school. I could relax and love and laugh and breathe deeply and live deeply. It was a time where I could meet Jesus again. Where I could see His fingerprints on thick bark of strong, towering trees and in the lives of speakers. It was where I could be "athletic," where I could try my best, and it would be good enough. It was a place I was admired and loved. It was, well . . . set apart. It was a place for revival.

I think another reason it's so hard is partly the fact that I've really seen some beautiful revival in the lives of some of my friends, and I figure that if I could have only went to camp . . . maybe that same revival would stir within me. It seems as if my friends' souls have been whirled and stirred so intensely by the Spirit of God. And me? Well, the Spirit's wind has felt oh so silent lately. Quiet. Vacant. I've tried to lay down on the dirt and blow the dust, hoping to stir within me some "revival," something to prove that God's still active within me, that I'm real. Not a fake. But the dust is thick. Stubborn. Still. Jesus, where are you? You promised You'd never leave, and I believe You. but I'm struggling with this barren dirt. This dry, desolate wasteland within my soul. Where's the windstorm? Where's the hurricane? Where's the proof that I'm still important? That I'm still on Your team? And then? Then, I lay my face down on the dust. My tears seep through the earth. My ear is suctioned against the specks of ground. And then I remember. The Whisper. It wasn't in fire or storm or fury that God spoke to Elijah. It was in . . . a whisper. Oh Jesus, I'm waiting for Your whisper. I'm waiting for the rain to soak this thirsty ground. Please, please reach down Your hand. I .. . . trust . . . You.

I am a traveler. Sometimes the paths get dusty and the soul gets weary. Do you know what I'm talking about? But I KNOW what's gotta be on the other side of this. So I trek on. I wait for that whisper. It's gotta be coming. It will. One of my friends gave me a reference to Deuteronomy 8 lately, and one of the verses there talks about how God made the Israelites hungry so He could feed them manna. Interesting thought, huh? . . . that sometimes God makes us hungry so He can feed us and feed us what we need too.

Well, I hope your day is beautiful. :) Keep your ear to the ground, and You'll hear God's steps and His whisper.

Yours truly,
just Simply Danae

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mason Jars

I wish I had some long, oak shelves of mason jars in my bedroom. You know what I'd fill them with? Memories, tastes, smells, dreams. And when I felt discouraged or disheartened, I'd unscrew a jar's lid ever so slowly and taste a summer watermelon, listen to a classmate's laugh, feel once again the outpouring of love shown on my last birthday, relive a valentine date night with my dad. Remember. I know memories can rarely be contained, but if they could be captured in simple containers, mason jars would be scattered around my room, near my bed, on top of my windowsill, lined up on the floor. Here's some of the things that would quietly and joyously be slipped within glass jars . . .

Times when I've laughed so hard with my sister that I've struggled to breathe, watching my classmates in school as they laugh and joke and live, being surprised on birthdays, the sleepover with my friends from church and the showering of prayer that was poured over me there, watching Left Behind 3 with my cousins and jumping when the car exploded (even though we knew it was coming), times when my family and I played Dutch Blitz together, my church's Christmas pageant and the unity that it brought, tying together a wounded church and wounded people, going to a Music Festival in Washington and hearing hundreds of kids (me included) lifting up voices to praise the One who sings over us, Yahweh, the precious moment on this past year's Good Friday when I was at a church service, broken and torn and feeling so unworthy and dirty and yet I felt a very real impression of Jesus, the impression of proven love on a wooden cross. Of course, these are only a tiny speck of hundreds of memories that I'd try to capture if I could. Maybe I'll share some more in future posts. For now, I'll just remember them. I'll capture them in words and phrases and try to remember, to relive in my childlike mind.

Anyway, have a beautiful day today! Remember that life isn't always about the big things, the big money, the big status, the big experiences, . . . sometimes, it's all about the little things. It's about the memories inlaid in our dusty journey. May you make more beautiful memories today as you walk hand in hand with the Maker of the Stars.

Yours truly,
Simply Danae

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Very First

As the cursor blinks and a blank page prods black lines and dots and spaces, my mind starts blanking out as to how I should begin my very first blog. So, I guess this is the way it will begin. smile. :)

I have no idea where I'll take this little room of space, but I'd love it if you'd follow along with me! I hope this to be a place where I share corners of my messy, desperate, beautiful life, as well as my journey of learning to walk hand in hand with the Maker of the Stars. And I want you to know now that I am truly nothing, just simply Danae, but in the power of Love Himself, I stand as a child, held up with hands that bare nail scars. So, enough said. :) I have officially begun a blog . . .

(Aren't you proud of me, Christina Marie?!)

Yours truly,
Simply Danae