Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Blogger: Sarah Roap & Weighted Down

 Today, I introduce you to Sarah Roap. I was blessed to share dinner with Sarah, while at She Speaks in July. Sarah's story shows how God turned her from a food addiction. However, her words are pertinent to each of us. God is using Sarah's story to connect with others, after she connected with Jesus, in this communication-saturated world. Leave Sarah some love through the comment section.  Thanks Sarah for being this month's guest blogger on Dawn's Dialogue. 

I am a good ol’ girl that was born and raised near Huntsville, Alabama.  I am 28 years old and have battled with food addiction and weight my whole life.  At the young age of 24, God started sending me down a path to cure my obesity and I want to share that journey with the world. Through the strength of Christ and the tools He gave me I lost 150 pounds.
Photo Credit: vividBreeze 

When I was morbidly obese and weighing a whopping 285 pounds, I would over eat all day everyday.  There are many different reasons that we over eat.  One reason is because we are emotionally eating.  We are using food to fill the void that is meant for Jesus to fill. 
Food made me feel better temporarily. I am pretty sure it had to do with the feel good chemical reactions I got by eating these foods. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates can release serotonin.  Dopamine is released when eating protein rich foods.  Phenylethamine is released when we eat chocolate.   I could sit here and tell you about all the different hormones that are released that make us feel good when we eat certain foods, but the bottom line is that I needed those feel good hormones in my body to make me feel complete.  I was missing and seeking something.  Food would cure my emptiness, but only temporarily. 
Photo Credit: Dew Photography

Food became my drug and I was addicted to it. It is described well in Proverbs 25:28 which says,
    “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” 
I know how that man feels: frantic, anxious, worried, desperate, distressed, distracted, susceptible, weak, helpless, defenseless, exposed, and vulnerable. 
Galatians 5:22-23 says,
    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” 
Did you read what I just wrote and quoted from the Bible, the sacred scriptures of Christianity???  If you call yourself a Christian and realize that you have received your salvation from the blood of Jesus Christ, then you have the fruit of the spirit IN YOU! This is great news! If you are anything like me when I first read this scripture and trying to apply it to my lack of self-control at the time, then you are wondering where it is in you. 
I used to joke about the levels of each fruit of the Spirit that I had in me and when it got to self-control I would show that I had a pinch and then laugh it off.  I quickly realized that I needed to ask God to make the fruit of self-control in me stronger and I did this through lots of prayer. 
My advice to you about your food issues, whatever they might be is to pray, pray, and then pray some more.  He listens and He is faithful.
The Bible tells us about prayer in Romans 8:26
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
Photo Credit: Dew Photography

“Dear Lord, help me please.  Right now, in this moment I need you to fill me up because I do not feel as if I have the self-control that I need to make the right choices.  I know that I will only be completely fulfilled with you and not the things of this world.  Thank you Lord for giving me options, but please give me the wisdom and clarity I need to make wise choices. Amen.”
Prayer works. Our Heavenly Father wants to help you; you just have to ask Him for help.  Psalm 63:5 tells us
    “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”  
I am not going to lie, it is hard and it sucks.  I have to constantly check myself and my heart every single day.  The days when I try to resist temptation by myself, I fail miserably.  On the days when I seek God to help me resist temptation, I am pleasantly surprised that He is there!  It gets me every time too that I have a really great day with moderation and I have kept my diet in balance… it is the sweetest blessing!
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”  Psalm 107:9
 To read more about my journey and daily struggles that I write about in hopes to inspire others to use the strength of Christ you can visit my blog at

Sarah Roap
"Encouraging people to drop the baggage and gain a life"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Encouragement Cafe: Receiving a Precious Gift...

 Today, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to guest post over at Encouragement Cafe. 

In today's post, I honestly shared about the precious gift given to me this past year: 

The Safety to be Real...

The amazing thing is back when I wrote this post for Encouragement Cafe; I hadn't even started reading Jamy Whitaker's book, "Get Real" but it definitely fits with the theme
 of my Encouragement Cafe post. 

Don't you just love when God affirms, confirms and reaffirms His message to us? 

I would encourage (pun intended) each of you to hop over to Encouragement Cafe today to read more...

Have a blessed day and thanking you for connecting with me in our communication-saturated society.

Currently listening to "Twenty-First Time" by Monk and Neagle


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Diamond or Cubic Zirconia: The Choice is Yours

"Paul did not just talk about a relationship with Christ: he lived in relationship with Christ"
--Joyful Journey, Teri Lynne Underwood

Just a note of update to those who read Dawn's Dialogue, I am still in the book of Philippians during my quiet time. However, here lately Philippians is also slipping into other parts of my life. Some of this is intentional on my part and other times the author of Philippians,
Paul, keeps showing up in my other readings.

Photo Credit: Teri Lynne Underwood Website

 The above quote is from one of my intentional ventures.
As part of my quiet time, I have added Teri Lynne Underwood's devotional book, "Joyful Journey." Must say, I love having Amazon Prime because I get to read books for free. Plus, I found out that the author does get some money even though I didn't buy their book. A win-win situation. :-)

Ok, now back to the quote:
 "Paul did not just talk about a relationship with Christ: he lived in relationship with Christ"

How often do we spend time blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, and every other type of social media talking about relationship with Christ, but not living in relationship with Christ. For some of my social media buddies, this has meant reorganizing their social media life. Scaling back on how many blogs come to their email and time spent on their computers. I applaud each of them for doing what is necessary to make their relationship with Christ more than just talk.

Yet, my social media buddies are not the only ones who struggle with these interruptions. I have seen my own walk hampered, at times, by the glitz and glitter of social media. However, compared to the diamond of Christ these diversions are nothing but Cubic Zirconia.

As we continue to traverse the path of balancing the ministry of reaching others for Christ through social media, which includes talking about relationship with Christ, and living in relationship with Christ; let's make a pact.

A pact to pray for one another:

Pray for each other to protect our time: we only have 24 hours in each day. 
Pray for each of us to live more "IN" relationship with Christ and less just talking about it. 

What prayer would you add to our pact? Share in the comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11/2012 My own remembrance...(Repost from YKP LLC)

I know that I don't normally post on Tuesdays. However, I am sharing my first post on remembering 9/11. I will have my regular post of Dawn's Dialogue on Thursday. 


One of the hundreds of "I Remember" cards on display
 at the National Marine Museum in Quantico, VA
Photo Credit: Dew Photography

 I shared these pics on my personal FB but in honor of all the lives lost, I am posting them as my blog post for YKP LLC today. This past April, my Sweetie, nephew and I visited the National Marine Museum in Quantico, VA. There is a display of remembrance to the events of September 11th, 2001 at the museum.

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

My feelings and emotions were somber & solemn, as my hand ran along the steel beam. It wasn't feeling the cold steel but knowing this beam came from one of "the towers" is what made the moment surreal. Seeing the piece of concrete from the Pentagon brought back more personal memories for me. 

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

My in-laws were working for the government in Washington DC back in 2001, out of all the events of that fateful day; one thing stands out the most for me...not knowing if my in-laws were okay. Then the flood of relief came, even if in a brief cryptic message from my father-in-law. His reassuring words, "We are OK but at an undisclosed location. We will be back in touch when we can. Love you." We had heard his voice, but he couldn't tell us where he was and we had no idea how long before we would hear from him again. It is weird how hearing a voice can be so comforting and unsettling at the same time. What if there were more attacks? Was this 'undisclosed' location safe?

Our family did the one thing we know is best in all situations, we prayed. As I stop today to remember, it is a prayer of offer I thanks, for keeping my in-laws safe, and a moment of condolence I give to the survivors of those who lost their loved ones.
Photo Credit: Dew Photography

Share in the comments the one thing you remember from 9/11:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Who is paying the tuition?

"He learned his lesson, 
just sorry that others had to pay his tuition"
---Debbie Viguies, Lie Down in Green Pastures

While reading, Lie Down in Green Pastures: Book #3 in The Psalm 23 Mysteries, the above statement struck me hard. A person in the story caused a large group of people to get hurt unintentionally. Many people probably flew right past those words. Not me. They hit me hard. 

Because in my life, there have been hard lessons and others paid the tuition.

My Mom bought me a copy of the companion guide for Bill Hybels book, "Holy Discontent." She bought it at one of those 'dollar stores.' It amazes and delights us when we can find a Christian author's book at a good price. On the other hand, as a writer it saddens me too. Especially, when they are relegated to the dollar store.  

The guide is "Living and Leading from Your Holy Discontent." I read the book, "Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision" a few years back. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek's 'seeker-friendly' services have always rubbed me wrong. But that doesn't mean, he has never written anything worth reading.  Then in 2007, Willow Creek apologized for the way they did church for 30 years. You can read more about that here and here

"The Seeker service church model produces numbers not disciples," states Willow Creek Pastor. 

This brings us back to the concept of learning the lesson but other paying the tuition. Willow Creek learned a lesson after 30 years of doing church that the seeker service church model was a mistake.  How many people over those 30 years paid the tuition for this lesson?

However, Willow Creek is not alone. There are other churches and authors out there who, I believe, will be learning a lesson while others pay the tuition. There is one that specifically comes to my mind. This is why as leaders, we must be careful, especially with today's technology advances. What we say, write or speak can easily be heard, read or seen by hundreds or thousands? 

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

Does this mean we submit to the fear of being wrong? 
No, it just means we need to be diligent. 

After teaching a once popular teacher's DVD series, it was shown that the person made a habit of teaching folklore and traditions that could not be proven as fact. It became necessary for me to step up and repent for trusting the person on the DVD wholeheartedly. My students paid the tuition for my learning the lesson of not blindly following a popular teacher. 

 Do you have a student that questions everything all the time? Do not be annoyed by that student. Instead encourage them to keep questioning. Empower them to be able to dig into their Bibles and test what is being taught. This student is a gift from the Lord for two reasons: 

1. They will make you a better teacher: When you know this person is going to be asking questions, you will study harder and trust God more. 
2. This person will spur other students to study their lesson and be prepared for class. 

The end product is not just a good class but people walking away with changed lives.  

I shared this scenario in the past, yet feel led to share again here. Many years ago, I worked with the middle schoolers at our church. This group of young people would never bring their bibles to class. Prior to me teaching them, they were given hand-outs for their lessons. 

Every week, the same scenario played out: 
Me: Where are your Bibles? 

Then the excuses would start pouring out: 
"I forgot it"
"At home, in my room"
"We wouldn't need them if you would provide hand-outs"

The last one really burned me up. I would spend time every week telling them the importance of having your own Bible and testing what is being taught to you. I would share with them about Jim Jones and the mass suicide. 

I would end by saying, "Don't be like the people with Jim Jones and drink the Kool-Aid.

To the reply of, "We are not that stupid, dumb, etc...."

That is how my plan was hatched with the help of a wise friend. When talking with her, she commented, "Why don't you show them how vulnerable they truly are?"

It all started by giving them their wish...hand-outs for class. 
If you could have seen their excitement. Finally, Miss Dawn understood and got with the program. They had won. Hand-outs for all. Now for class to begin.

Photo Credit: More Good Foundation (Creative Commons)

We were studying about Mary and Martha that night. What the students didn't know is I had changed the scripture a little before creating their hand-outs. It was a small change but still a change. I swapped Mary and Martha in the story. 
After giving them time to work on their hand-outs, we started going over them: 

Question 1: Who sat at Jesus' feet while her sister worked in the kitchen? 
Class answers, "Martha.
Me: "Wrong. It was Mary." 
Class: "No, it says right here...Martha sat at Jesus' feet.
Me: "Really?"

Can I be honest? It took more questions than I thought it would, before any became suspicious. 
All of their answers were wrong. 
It baffled them. They were getting the answers off of their hand-out. 

"Maybe, someone might want to check a Bible", I mentioned with a grin. 

Three or four jumped up to get the Bibles that were normally stored on the shelf. However, I had removed them before class.  

"Where are the Bibles?"

I just kept smiling. 

A couple students pulled out their own Bibles and all the others huddled around them. It was a sight while they worked on finding the story in their Bibles. 

Upon finding the passage, they replied with a sense of satisfaction:

 "Hey! Miss Dawn, your hand-out is wrong. You mixed up the names of the ladies."

This is when I replied, "No! You all just drank the Kool-aid!"

As it sunk in, their faces changed. Some smiled and others got angry. 
Each one remembered our numerous discussions of Jim Jones and the mass suicide. 
Don't know about Jim here.

I had a great love for each of them and felt it was my responsibility to make sure they learned an important lesson. As a matter of fact, this was the reason for fooling them...because I loved them enough to have them mad at me for tricking them to get my point across. 

Then I presented each of them with a sticker badge to wear which said:

Photo Credit: Dew Photography

In the grand scope of things, if my lesson helped my students understand the importance of testing a teacher, then maybe they it will protect them from paying the tuition for another's lesson.

P.S. My daughter was in this class and she was the angriest with me for tricking them. She refused to wear her sticker. 

Have you ever learned a hard lesson and others had to pay the tuition? Would you be willing to teach a lesson like mine with the middle schoolers? Why or Why not?  Share in the comments.