About Dawn Aldrich

Dawn Aldrich is a children's author and inspirational blogger. Besides writing she enjoys building family memories with her husband, Peter, their two grown children, and her young grandchildren. To learn more about her book, Auntie's House (2009, Halo Publishing) or to read her inspirational blog, Dawn's New Day please go to http://www.DawnAldrich.com or http://blog.DawnAldrich.com.

Where We Belong
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Delight yourself in the Lord …

 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 Psalm 37:4

“There’s something delicious about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell where they’ll take you. Mine took me here…where I belong.” Beatrix Potter, the greatest children’s author of the 20th century, belonged at Hill Top Farm in rural England. She found inspiration and freedom to write about the many adventures (and misadventures) of her animal friends surrounded by beautiful, lush, rolling hills. It’s where she was most herself and where her passion as an artist flourished. 

We all long to find where we belong, don’t we? As small children we belong to a family. We live where they live, find our identity in who they are and take our rightful place in the birth order amongst our siblings. As we mature, we find everyone in our family is different. Our eldest brother likes sports and our middle sister lives for fashion while we find we are most ourselves playing the piano. We’re shy. They’re social. We like solitude. They like crowds. We’re most obviously different. And so, our journey of belonging begins.

In part, the journey can answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When we’re first asked, we usually don’t have a clue. To some extent it answers “What do you like to do the most?” But more so, it’s a journey of the heart and soul.

Belonging, is knowing your purpose – doing what God created you to do – where your heart soars. It’s a place that feels like Paradise.

So how do you get there? First, deal with your heart-wounds alone with God. Once you do, you can put the past behind you and move forward on your journey. Next, lay down your passion, your deepest desire before God in prayer.  Ask God if what your passion is truly His desire for you. Most usually, His desires align with our greatest passions, but how we are to exercise our talents/passions needs to come into alignmenet with His will. This may take time listening to God and examining our own hearts. Finally, step out in obedience to God’s leading.

Our passions make our hearts soar and create a place in this world where we belong. When we’re doing what God purposed us to do we’re welcoming the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth – a bit of Paradise.

What’s your heart’s desire/passion? How do you live it out? What steps are you taking to discover God’s purpose for your life or the life of your children?

Blessings,

Dawn Aldrich
Author of Auntie’s House
Host of Penn’s Pals

There is No Substitute
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“Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.”       Deuteronomy 11: 18-19 The Message

We choose churches for many reasons, one being how active their children’s and youth ministries appear. While these ministries help engage our children with their faith, I fear parents sometimes substitute their personal responsibility as the family’s spiritual leader for these programs.

I’ve seen this from many angles: as a daughter of divorce, a Sunday school teacher/youth director and as a parent.

More children than ever are raised in broken homes – absent a father, mother or both. And, when they step foot into a church, brought by a grandparent, aunt or uncle or neighborhood friend, the teacher/youth leader is most often the first and only reflection of Christ in their lives. The church leader becomes their spiritual parent, creating a haven where these children find grace, mercy, and companionship; a place of purpose, joy, and spiritual growth.

Watching my children transform from helpless infants into stubbornly independent toddlers, I realized firsthand, a parent’s great spiritual responsibility. As a parent we are our child’s first reflection of God. How we treat them, what we teach them through our actions, words, and deeds determines their world view and their God-view, regardless how wonderful their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders are. What we emulate at home matters most. Yikes!

So, if we’re so messed up, how does God expect us to teach them His ways? God says it best in Deuteronomy 11: 18-20. Devour God’s Word until it becomes part of who you are. Then teach these things to your children all the time – morning, noon, and night. And if you do, His Word becomes part of them and things will go well (paraphrased).

In other words:

  • Make God a priority in your own life – develop your relationship with God first. We cannot teach our kids what we don’t do ourselves.
  • Intentionally teach your children God’s Word and Ways – show them God’s presence in everyday occurrences (creation, relationships, etc). Do your kids see you reading the Bible, praying other than grace? Is Bible reading and praying part of family time?
  • Reflect God in every part of your life – not just at church.
  • Be real – when you mess up, admit it and ask their forgiveness. Kids need to know we’re not perfect.
  • Show mercy and compassion – keep the doors of communication open with unconditional love. Set healthy boundaries and discipline with love.

It is our number one priority and privilege, as Christian parents, to reflect who God is to our children. We’re not perfect but we are their first encounter with the One, true, and living God. Embrace every opportunity. There is no substitute!

Embracing Every Opportunity,
 
 
Dawn Aldrich
Author of Auntie’s House
Host of Penn’s Pals