Saturday, November 18, 2017

WEDDING FUN & a message for the world

A couple of weeks ago I was so happy to attend pre-wedding festivities, the wedding, and the reception for a friend and colleague. She's Indian, and her culture really celebrates weddings! She invited me to share in all the different ceremonies and fun times so I could learn about her culture and experience something new.

One of the most personally moving of these experiences came at the wedding. While all the family and friends had been gracious, I still felt a bit like a fish out of water. Especially at the temple. I had no idea of where to go or what to do. I only knew from my friend that I had to cover my head, take off my shoes and sit on the floor. I didn't want to do anything to offend anyone. So I was hanging out on the fringes, by myself. I was approached by a woman with her husband and daughter who thought I looked very familiar and couldn't figure out where she knew me from. I knew we hadn't met before because I was so far from home. She asked me why I was standing there by myself. I related I just didn't really want to get in the way and wasn't quite sure of where to go. She took me by the hand and said, "Oh no, you come with me," and off we went. Yasmine took me under her wing and helped me feel a part of the wedding. She made sure I could see when the Groom/Bride families met outside the temple, I sat with her family for tea (and lunch after the wedding), and she continued to watch over me and sit with me once we went inside the temple for the wedding. I'm so sorry I didn't get a photo of her and her family.

A peek of Yasmine in the lavender, just in front of the woman in magenta

One of my friends, when I told her this story, said, "God sent an angel to guide you!"
Yes, indeed. And here's the truly amazing part of this story - you see,
Yasmine is a Muslim, who befriended this Christian, at a wedding at the Sikh Gurdwara temple.
Graciousness, hospitality, love of family and friends - isn't that what the world needs more of?

This post excerpted from the full version - more of the festivities and more photographs, available on Dawn Switzer Photography. Link at top right. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Project Something Beautiful: GRATITUDE

Gratitude is one of my two "touchstone" words. I start each day in prayer, in "gratitude and grace for everything You have done for me." Starting the day with gratitude sets the tone. If I can continue to live each day, each moment, in gratitude I am in a better place; I am a better person. I have so much in my life to be grateful for that I am overwhelmed on a daily basis. Once I started to consider the things I'm grateful for, this post became much longer than I had anticipated. What's on your Gratitude List?



Photo by Cynthia Dawson




Sunsets over the ocean

And finally, technology... technology has allowed me to find a wonderful group of photographers, some of whom are participating in Project Something Beautiful; and allowed me to complete this blog post while traveling with friends in a 5th wheel, accessing photos I've stored in the cloud. Life is indeed good. And I am so very grateful.

This post is part of a series and a blog circle titled "Project Something Beautiful," exploring our lives and emotions. I'm so excited to collaborate with this wonderful group of talented women. For more on GRATITUDE, check out Tina's blog here: Love Came Down Photography

Monday, September 25, 2017

Project Something Beautiful: STILL

STILL. Calm. Quiet. Reflect. Peace. God. Breathe. Me. Rest. Difficult. Fleeting. Worth fighting for.
I am blessed to be able to start my day being STILL with God ~ to me, these go hand in hand. I read his Word, I write my prayers, I meditate, I reflect, I breathe. And I feel the stillness within, and peace.
But then the day moves on and that stillness is left in the dust as I take care of the seemingly millions of little things and some big ones. There always seems to be one more thing that needs to be done; one more something. One more way to keep moving. One more thing for my brain to focus on, to worry over. One more, one more, one more... I want my stillness to be with me throughout my day. I need that grounded feeling to stay balanced. By dinner time, usually earlier, my morning stillness has evaporated, not to be found again until the new day dawns. And my soul is unsettled.
If I can only stop for a bit in the midst of all the movement and recharge. I need to be still. I remember a meditation prayer taught to me about a year ago by Rev. Judy Yates Siker during a woman's retreat ... and I take some time to breathe.

 Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know
Be still

And I am made whole.

Meditation ~ Psalm 46:10

This post is part of a series and a blog circle titled "Project Something Beautiful," exploring our lives and emotions. I'm so excited to collaborate with this wonderful group of talented women. For more on STILL, check out Britney's blog here:  Britney Wharton Photography

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Project Something Beautiful: HOPE

I think there are great similarities between Hope and Prayer. I cannot see either one; I cannot hold either one; I cannot control either one. Hope and Prayer are brother and sister, cousins, lovers, you & I. Hope looks forward, to the future.

Hope is ethereral. Hope is eternal.
Hope is like a mist moving softly through you.
Hope is growing, reaching, blooming.
Hope is living, for I cannot live without Hope.

My husband and I recently overheard a man near us at dinner saying that he knows statistically what will happen in life, so basically that's it. What a sad statement. He is living a hopeless life, full of darkness, pain, and status quo. I want to live a life full of Hope. If I didn't have hope I don't know how I would have made it through the end of 2002-2003. My husband almost died from Multiple Myeloma (just writing that still shakes me to my core). He was a week in ICU, then treatment, surgeries, & therapy; finally, underwent a stem cell transplant the end of 2003. Statistically he should have died. Without Hope and Prayer I would have been lost. We would have been lost.

I see Hope in every day dawning.
I hear Hope in a child's laughter.
I lived Hope through my husband's illness.

In the end, I trust in Hope and Prayer. On a breath releasing both to God, and they float away.

This post is part of a series and a blog circle titled "Project Something Beautiful," exploring our lives and emotions. I'm so excited to collaborate with this wonderful group of talented women. For more on HOPE, check out Britney's blog here:  Britney Wharton Photographer

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Unusual Miracles?

God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.
    -Acts 19:11  (NLT)

This passage struck me today because, really, what are UNUSUAL miracles? By the very definition, aren't all miracles UNUSUAL? If something becomes "usual" is it still miraculous?

When Jesus or Paul heals or casts out demons - can that ever be called usual? Usual is mundane, everyday; miracles are not. Perhaps the writer meant usual miracles for Jesus & Paul, as they did them frequently. But still, they are anything but usual for the individual healed. The person who can now walk or see or is freed from leprosy or who is now in their right mind after years of of insanity - would they consider this a usual miracle? And I don't think Jesus and Paul and the other disciples lost sight of the glory of their connection to God.

The ability of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit to heal us and transform our lives is truly miraculous. It is the unusual and the sacred that touches our lives. It is Grace.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Messages from my phone

The other day I was looking at my Instagram feed, listening to my Christian playlist shuffling on my iPod, and saw this beautiful image by missymoore. The saying spoke to me and her image is just beautiful. (shared with permission)

" 'Press on, stay, strong, & keep believing' I'm sure someone else needs to hear this. Someone like me, who is praying for specific things and trusting God with His answers. This is all apart of walking out our faith and trusting our Heavenly Father with His perfect plans. I have this sitting on my kitchen counter as a reminder to not waiver when I worry and to believe that the best is yet to come."
Our conversation went like this:

Me: "I just copied that to put into my planner so I can see it! And, Jason Gray's 'Sparrows' song just started playing on my iPod. "

Missy: "wow! Crazy! I just looked at the song lyrics...sounds like God is trying to say something! 😊"

Me: "O yes, he was speaking to me for sure!"

The link to the Jason Gray "Sparrows" is here: Jason Gray Sparrows

Sometimes God speaks to us through others we have never met in person, using technology that sometimes can cause more distance between people. Today I'm grateful for those I've never met in person, who share their faith, through photography, using social media for the greater good! Blessings to you missymoore!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Meditation on Psalm 46:10

I was introduced to this meditation by the Rev. Dr. Judy Siker at a day-long retreat titled "Cultivate Contentment" October 15, 2016 at St. Peter's By The Sea Presbyterian church near where I live. 

This had a profound impact on me. I was amazed that it seemed so simple but was so powerful. I have shared it with a few others. Someone recently mentioned that they needed a reminder, so I thought posting it would be helpful to (hopefully) more people.

Repeat each phrase slowly & quietly, breathing between each phrase, slowing down to listen to the words & for God's voice.

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know

Be still


Thank you Rev. Siker for this lovely meditation, and to my friend VR, who invited me for the day!!