Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter, please join me……
Over the years, people have told me to write a book about all the things I have overcome. I reached out to a few people that I trust, asking their opinion and everyone was encouraging and said they thought it was a great idea.
Sitting at Mayo gives you a lot of alone time and I use that mostly to talk with God. One morning as I was just BEING STILL thinking about the day’s appointments and having my morning talk with God, I was asking if this is the road He wants me to go down.
He said “No, I want you to blog”. As I rolled my eyes and said , “Everyone blogs.” He stated very clearly to me, “ Everyone writes a book, your blog will be more raw, vulnerable and real and it’s about you but it’s also about connections with others”
Whoa! Alright Lord, I have thought about going down this road and some people have encouraged it in the past but NOW it’s a step in obedience that I need to walk out. I will say I am a little scared but excited too and so the journey has begun.
Obviously, the first thoughts are – who would want to read my blog, what should I talk about, how can I make it interactive and hopefully draw out great conversations, is this stupid as I don’t know how to blog, are people really going to care what rolls around in my crazy thoughts and how the heck do I even start. So after hours of setting things up and feeling a little old with the technology at times, I have begun. Now, where do we start chatting…………
Let’s rewind a bit and allow me to tell you where the name “Choosing Excellence” came from as that was a journey in itself. In 2014, my son, Jake, and I had the opportunity to go to Israel with a church. How crazy of a thought as we had never been on vacation and where do we go but someplace full of controversy, out of the U.S. and somewhere that was NEVER on my radar for a vacation. In fact, I was telling Jake I wanted to go to Hawaii but he kept telling me that he felt God saying this is where we needed to go. As we trusted God for the finances and seen Him work miraculously in making this trip happen, I had no idea what I would experience or if I would even enjoy it. Really? Israel……Hawaii….doesn’t sitting on a beach, full of bright vast colors, “living the dream” sound better? I thought so. People around us were afraid for us going there so I had decided to call around and see if I could get an extra life insurance policy “just in case”. Well, interesting enough, I went through a broker and 27 different insurance companies turned me down because of where I was going. WHAT! The fear had started to set in as that made a statement in itself but I kept pressing through praying for God’s protection and still not knowing what to expect.
The trip was phenomenal! There isn’t enough time to discuss Israel in this post but here is a couple highlights from the trip. My now good friend, Susan, was also on this trip with us. As we were walking back from a brand new archaeological dig, a camel decided to chase her down and spit some gross green junk in her beautiful long blonde hair. Next, you see her trying to wash it out with bottled water. To say it was hilarious, is an understatement. In fact, I am chuckling right now, sorry Susan 🙂
Then the jewelry store owner in our hotel, who Susan thought looked like a dark skinned, dark hair Nicholas Cage, asked Jake if he could marry me. The three of us kept laughing at him and he was actually serious. He offered Jake two camels, four chickens and said he would fly Jake and my daughter Michelle to Israel any time they wanted to come visit. Come on, this is a joke, right? Nope! Our tour guide said, “He offered Jake a comparison of $100,000.00 so he could have you.” Well, dang, I am worth more than that! What I have come to find out is that in countries where dowries are to be paid to families, livestock is the most prestigious gift that can be given even over money so it was valued at quite a bit more. Even after telling him, NO, every time he saw Jake, he would discuss this even more. The Israel trip will need to be another blog………
After getting home, processing all the sites, the history, the military information, all I could think about was what a terrible person I am for calling myself a Christian and I barely know my Bible. People were talking about the facts in the Bible and aligning them with sites we were at, what happened at those sites, how history was prophesied and then came to be and I was pretty clueless. I felt stupid, ashamed, unworthy, and actually depressed. Anyone that knows me, knows I research just about everything as I want to be informed and try to make a good decision. I was speaking with another girlfriend, Jess, about the trip and all the places I researched that I could take Biblical classes, at colleges, online, do study groups and so on. I needed more. I didn’t want to be this Baby Christian I suddenly got slapped in the face with. Jess introduced me to another friend Janine and said, “I believe this is going to be a Divine appointment.” So I met with Janine, babbled on and showed her all the research of where I could take classes and I thought I had it narrowed down to two options. However, Janine opened the door of “Inductive Study” to me. Studying inductively will be another blog……..more to come on that.
So I spent almost the next year meeting and studying with Janine once or twice a week, digging into Scripture, asking all my dumb questions, and trying to be a sponge as much as possible until she pushed me and told me I was ready to go out on my own and teach! another blog in the making………
You see, I had gotten divorced for the 2nd time in 2013 and was a broken spirit in every way you could imagine. I was begging God to help me find who Donna was and is today. Not the person that others think I should be, or remember who I was prior to this marriage, or the people who wanted to label me a failure for where I was in life at my age, but I would constantly ask God – who am I, Lord and help me to learn your desires for my life and not mine. Then again, in one of those STILL MOMENTS pleading my heart to God to help me find my identity, HE said, “Donna, if you want to know who you are and MY desires for your life, you need to start Choosing Excellence in your life and I will teach you, but first you need to start with Philippines.”
So here you have Part 1 of how Choosing Excellence became a ministry name for me even though I had no idea where I was headed.
Someone encouraged me the other day with a text saying, “I think if you share from your heart, you can’t go wrong. There is no way of knowing who is reading and may desperately need it right then. You are so tuned into the Father, I think you will sense that someone may need a certain message for the day.” Wow! Those words of affirmation provided me what I needed to finally push forward and begin this journey.
I hope, through any writing or punctuation errors I make along the way, if nothing else, you hear my heart. I believe we are challenged and pulled in so many directions these days, society has driven who we are suppose to be. I would like to engage with you all, in this journey of Choosing Excellence in our daily decisions, won’t you join me?