Pieces Of Me: Favorite Blog Posts of 2011

This how I mostly look, on a daily basis.
Hi my name is Dawn.
 This is my camera and constant companion.
Well, it is hard to believe the year is about to end. Thank the Good Lord, for that. Last year at this time I really did not know what a Blog was or that there actually were so many Blogs in the Blogosphere! Who knew?
But here I am to share with you my favorite posts from my short 7 month history of Blogging. I wanted to choose posts that had the most meaning to me as opposed to most popular post, because that’s how I roll. Also for the record the two most popular posts currently are my two guest posts for the Inspiring Women Series! Apparently I am the least popular on my own Blog! Ha! Thank you Jenny and Susie
I do not expect you to read all of these gems – That is way too much of me for anyone! I would be encouraged and blessed if you picked one or two, you have not read before and left a comment after you read it! Thank you for joining me on this journey! Purty Puhleeze?
So without further adieu. Drum roll please, here they are in no special order 
(OK, scratch that they are actually in chronological order) :
The River, The Journey and The Guide ~ My hubs and I join our daughter’s Girl Scout Troop for a white water rafting trip. Tongue in cheek humor and Dawn perspective, throughout. 
Bloom: The Only Way Out Is Through ~ Disappointment, disillusionment and trusting God.
You Mean I’m Supposed To Rejoice? ~ God’s will for the rain and sunshine days is the same. 
Being The Change I Long To See ~ My desire to soar as an eagle despite feet of clay.
The Unlikely Bloom: His Purposes Prevail ~ God’s faithfulness to give unexpected blessings. 
The Sacred Rocker ~ How a shower gift became Holy- A mom’s nursing story. 
You Have Now Entered Another Dimension… ~ Discovering the Blogosphere.
A Magical Day  ~ A sidetracked mom story involving one wedding dress and three generations.
In one short post (miraculous)!
The Elephant and Me (That’s Just Gross) ~ You know how to eat an elephant don’t you? 
Sheltered ~ Hurricane Irene, God and birds. Yeah, that. Check it out. 
The Boy, The Man and Grace ~ A salvation story. 
God, Google Earth and The Three O’s ~ A casual conversation in the car with my girl goes God.
Bird Bath Blessings ~ God takes pleasure in us.
Don’t forget to enter my special New Years Eve Giveaway!
Now that is a post you want to check out! 
Happy Friday before New Years Day! 

Inspiring Women Series Announcement


 Did you say “Inspiring Women”?
Wow! I can’t wait to spread the news!
Tomorrow! Tomorrow? Yes, Tomorrow!

Dear Friends, I am excited to announce this next series which I will be launching “officially” tomorrow!
I am squirming in my seat, as tomorrow’s guest has already submitted her post and I am chomping a bit at the BIT to share it with you! I am overjoyed at this next direction in my Bloggy Experience and hope that it will bless, encourage and inspire you! Each month I am inviting one special guest to write a post, be interviewed or share a special something of their own unique portion for my friends here at Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith. I have diverse interests and I greatly enjoy the unique way God gifts each person and love to learn, share and hear about various perspectives from other women, especially those who truly inspire me. 
So stop by tomorrow for a very special Guest Post by an inspirational lady
 (who definitely INSPIRES ME!) who will share how you can think BIG for the New Year AND through the Holidays!
Do you want to catch a fresh vision for your life and be inspired for the season AND beyond?
Then stop back tomorrow for my first Guest in my Inspiring Women Series!

Shhh! It’s a SURPRISE! 

Oh – AND I will also be having my very first FREE GIVEAWAY! 
I pray you have all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and are continuing into the holidays with gratitude, peace and joy!

I am thankful today for the many women God has brought into my life, who have challenged, shaped, encouraged, inspired, molded, and impacted me in the ways that continue to influence me!
Thank you Lord for each of these:

Grandmother’s -unfailing love and faithfulness
Mother’s -sensitivity and compassion
 Great Auntie Pep’s- humor and easygoing nature
 Rita’s (Step Mom)- gracious heart, patience and thoughtfulness
 Aunt Mona’s Chili con Carne- (It is my one awesome dish!), and many happy memories & visits
Cousin Dionne & Maria- for the sweet childhood memories
 “Cousin” Penny -who was my childhood hero and role model, 
I so looked up to her and I always wanted her long red hair!
 “Aunt” Susan’s sacrificial sitting by the pool and making my Summers special
Grandma L ‘s thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity. 
Joyce L – The vision to help others still remains – you are my memory of what that looks like,
even though you  probably wouldn’t recall this troubled teen who you tried to reach out to! 
Elaine- A boss who made it personal, and made a difference
Mama Sharon – Wit, intelligence, friendship, business savvy, sacrificial giving – and a “fox”!
what didn’t she show or teach me? 
Do-Do – My love for classical music came from you, 
and you modeled well how to grow older with style and punch!
Philly- supported me in all, professionally and personally
Sandy O – A model of excellence, wisdom, grace, strength and beauty
Sharon T – The gift of time and listening she shared, one on one early mornings over coffee
Karen B– always positive, uplifting, encouraging and REAL!
Lori R – always supporting my motherhood, her smile, wisdom and tenacity are a blessing
Ruth G- Her laugh, smile, hospitality, gracious example and heart are such a gift to me, if I ever do grow up I want to be just like her!
I could keep going (this list is NOT all inclusive!) and I am sure you could list the ways you have been blessed by the prayers, input and investment of others IN YOU!
Make your own list, I promise, God will remind you of your own many blessings…

Why, Thank You – Come Sit Awhile

This Gull was actually waving me over with his wing.

Well, this week wraps up with a round of applause and thanksgivings!

Yesterday, I sat in my car (Brrrr, chilly!)  by the water in Wickford, Rhode Island with a cup of Starbucks coffee, gathering my thoughts before returning to school, to cover my daughter’s teacher’s lunch time. I took some pictures (naturally) and dribbled coffee down the front of my creamy, white, turtleneck sweater (also, naturally) before I headed back to help out in the classroom. It had been one of those precious mornings, where you are getting ready to do something good and it all gets really ugly before you head out the door. Kind of like Sundays, getting everyone ready for church. You get the idea. I backed  out of my driveway, as the coffee cup spilled into the back seat, while some maniac (I remind myself that Jesus loves that maniac) almost runs me off the road- so Mr. Magoo! “Roadhog”!
Of course, I was off to lead my Moms In Touch group- naturally and running late. Shocking! During the group time, I realize we (our family) have accidentally overlooked a school event and now are double booked Friday night – to be in two places at the same time. While still in the school and realizing the umpteen things that need to get done when I return home, my daughter approaches me in the hall. Did I say approach? I meant assaults. She assaults me in the hall, thrusting a hand copied birthday invitation at me, as I am heading to her classroom, informing me of her strong desire to attend said birthday. It is her classmate’s three year old brother. “When?”, I ask. “Today.”, she says. I scurry to the front desk for Motrin. Luckily I am encouraged greatly by the wisdom and sensibility of the moms there. I also get the needed Motrin for the instant headache visitation. As I am in my daughter’s classroom, she asks if she can go to Midnight opening of “Breaking Dawn”. Headache becomes, nauseousness. She also presses me about the birthday party which starts at 4. I say the word that “should not be spoken” in the eyes of all children. No and No. Twice, I said it. I am on the receiving end of icy glares for the rest of  my time there. Thankfully, the Motrin has kicked in, and the teacher returns, I am released to the duties of the rest of the day. I return home, walk the dogs, grab a bite and get ready to tackle the To Do List. I am pleasantly surprised when I see a fellow blogging sister has included me for a blog award. A pleasant diversion from the day. I get ready for more errands after writing my Giving Thanks Challenge Post. I am blessed greatly once again by our school community – truly these moms give me hope! One of the mom’s who lives nearby is willing to take my girl along with her daughter to the PJ- Movie Night (Soul Surfer) at her school. Now let me tell you how thankful I am for a few, non-judgemental, encouraging, compassionate moms out there. Thank you, God! They get it. Really they do. It makes up for…well you know what I mean. Not going there. So, in the end, although it was a yuckiesh day. I was greatly encouraged and felt God’s gentle pat on my backside, reminding me, “No worries, I am here.”…and that presence makes a yucky day so much easier to take, in the end.

Now I would like to thank Cecelia (Following My King) for my Blog award – Here it is:

I am supposed to tell a few things about myself…like I just didn’t give you TMI, already!
1. I take my camera everywhere. This terrifies even my closest friends.
2. I love being alone AND I love being with people.
3. I hardly watch TV, but do so with my hub as he loves it.
4. I love music with no words because my mind is always going with ideas and all kinds of nonsense.
Classical & Jazz are cool.
5. I have loved to write since childhood. Aside of Jesus Christ it is my greatest consuming passion.
6. I love to sit still AND yet I love activity.
7. I don’t like to sleep because it seems like a rip-off. 6-8 hours of doing nothing.
That’s a problem for me.
8. My Two favorite movies are “The Lord of The Rings” and “The Sound of Music”.
Yeah, I’m complex. HA!
Oh, and “Fiddler on The Roof” AND Star Wars.
9. I love to read but I am the slowest reader on the planet.
10. My mind is faster than a speeding bullet…in taffy. And I have the gift of ADHD.
11. I love kids. And older folks.  
12. Coffee enhances my personality and helps me focus.
I now award this most blessed award to the following lovely ladies:

Pam at In The Shadow of His Wings– she is my bloggy BFF

Suzie at Recovering Church Lady – She rocks and we are of the same spiritual mind- under construction by Him!

Denise at Refine Me– Denise was one of the first blogs I found and she has been a wonderful bloggy  role model as well as gracious commenter and writer in her own right.

Lois at Walking on Sunshine– I just feel like there is hope for me yet to cook thanks to her cooking step by step instructions and sharing her life with the Colonel over in her neck of the Blogosphere!

These women rock and I am thankful to God for them!

PS. There are more pics of the waving gull…not waving over on my Facebook Page!
Go like that page right now, please AND thank you!

In Everything Give Thanks: Group Writing Project

Well, today I am giving thanks for the opportunity to have participated in my first Group Writing Project which Courtney Chowning at Faithful Bloggers set forth a few weeks ago. Courtney challenged the Christian Blogging Community to consider Thankfulness, as we approach this season of giving thanks. Courtney issued the challenge and 13 Christian Bloggers answered the call!
 Tonight I will be curling up in a cozy spot with a hot cup of Joe and enjoying the devotional writing that my bloggy brethren shared in this free, down loadable e-book.

So, if you are looking some Thanksgiving inspiration to get your grateful juices flowing,  go ahead and download, print out and enjoy!

Also stop by their Blogs and share some thanksgiving encouragement! ‘Tis the season!

…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 

The contributors:

Extreme Blog Makeover

Out with the old and in with the new!

Talk about your perfect timing and God’s Providence. As a new blogger I couldn’t help but notice that my Blog-Site was lacking a few bells and whistles. It’s not that I wanted it to be the biggest, baddest Blog Spot in the Blogosphere, I just felt like there were some things I did not know how to make happen in this brave new world. Enter Heather ( http://www.creative-bliss.net/ ). She had made a post which I happened to catch on a Christian Bloggers network site (Facebook) that she would be taking on a handful of free Blog re-designs or new blog designs to kick off her latest endeavor in the Blogosphere.
Funny, I had just sent an e-mail for a price quote on  having a a Site Button made. However,since at the moment I am not working (just happily blogging away) I really did not think it was fair to be investing in what is currently a free enterprise, and an (sigh) exceedingly gratifying pastime. Not to mention the fact that there is not an excessive demand for a site button for my Blog at this time. Ok, let’s be real: forget demand, not even a request. In other words, I am pretty sure my Hubby (gracious, generous and kind though he is) was not going to appreciate me finding new and exciting ways to Bling my Blog at this point in time with some rationalization, “But Honey, Everybody in the Blogosphere has a Button for their Blog”. Well to my great surprise, I was one of the recipients who happened to be in the right place, at the right time and before I could say “Bling”, my blog went from something that was coming along to looking like something I dreamed. Can you hear the music ? Listen, it’s Cinderella playing in the background: “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”.

 This current faith journey God has me on is truly full of surprises! Heather listened and created my new site design with attention to the details and vision I could see in my mind but not produce myself. I love the new look and even got my own cute little Site Button. So, hey grab, one if you’d like! I am still “dreaming” about tweeking some of the details and parts of the site are under construction, but take a peak and also check out her work on her site (below)! When I return to my full-time profession in Fitness I will be letting Heather work on my site, God willing! If you are looking for a fresh new design, stop by and visit!
One final giant thank you to Heather, for all and especially for my “rock” signature!

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