December 26, 2007

Great Gift

Laura is good to make me a list of things that she would like for Christmas. This year she wanted the Josh Groban Noel CD. Well, I had not gotten it and it was December 23. She kept going on about it so I knew that I had to get it for her. On the 23 we ventured to Wal-Mart. Laura was off getting a few groceries and Victoria and I were looking for the CD. I thought I was sunk. WE COULD NOT FIND IT!!! OH NO!!!

Finally after about 20 or so minutes of searching Victoria found a copy. PHEW! Now to pay for it and get it out of the store without Laura seeing it. We bought it in the electronics department and then Victoria hid it in her jacket and Laura was none the wiser.

Christmas morning it was the first gift that was opened. We normally listen to Christmas music while unwrapping and so we got started to Josh Groban.

I loved Josh's rendition of the song I'll Be Home For Christmas. It made me think of my friend Chance Mace who is serving God and Country in the Middle East. I was home for Christmas because of the brave women and men like him who willingly serve. Because of their faithful service I got to celebrate Christmas any way I wanted to.

I was home for Christmas because you all were not! I pray that next year you will be home for Christmas.

God Bless our troops! Thanks for all you do; I appreciate it! Thank you for the great Christmas gift!

Our Last

As we have been marching toward the Military Chaplaincy, we have been marking our journey with our last (everything) here. It is such a bitter sweet journey. We are so excited about the certainty of God's call into the Military Chaplaincy, but we understand that we have to leave this place, a place we love, to answer that call.

Sunday morning we had a church wide breakfast and a visit from "Santa!" (Thanks Ralph) Santa hands our gifts to all the little children and the church gives us a gift as well. This year we received a beautiful pewter server and a monetary gift also. All the gifts they have given us in our almost six years here have been wonderful. We use these gifts regularly and will use them for many more years to come. Following our time of food, fellowship and gift giving we had a short Sunday School lesson and were off to get a good seat for worship.

For worship, the children of the church presented their Christmas presentation. They did a FANTASTIC job!!! Just as FANTASTIC was the choir cantata that was the second part of our worship. What a great day of worship, fellowship and food!

Monday we had our last Christmas Eve Service here. Laura sang Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant and I spoke from Isaiah 52:7. I will remember this service for a very long time.

Laura and I thank God for allowing us to be here. We have had many great experiences here and that is why we are marking our journey and enjoying every "last." We realize that our journey leads us away from the warm embrace of those who love us here. This personal journey has made me ponder the reality for Jesus. He left the warm embrace of his Father and all the Heavenly beings to live among people, to love all people and to give himself fully to the call of God.

I am so glad that Jesus was willing to journey from the warm embrace of the Father to the warm embrace of Mary, Joseph, Simeon and all the others who have loved and accepted him.

I pray that God has experienced the warm embrace of your heart. May God bless your journey of faith as you seek to follow God's plan for your life.

I know that wherever we go we will find the warm embrace of others, but we are enjoying a little more time with some good friends. So I leave you with a picture of Victoria, Laura and Me as we were celebrating our last Christmas here.

December 20, 2007

"Répondez s'il-vous-plaît" (RSVP)

When you receive an invitation to an event you are normally asked to respond or RSVP. Recently, I received an invitation to attend the NAMB Missionary/Chaplain Commissioning Service. I responded and reserved my place for the event.

This caused me to think about an invitation we have all received. As you know, some years ago Christ came into our world, and because of his coming, we have been invited to be a part of his family. The invitation requires a response. Have you responded and reserved your spot yet?

God reserved a specific time and place to make himself known in the world, and it was confirmed by the birth of Jesus. God wants to reserve a time and place to make himself known to you personally.

Thank you for inviting us all Lord! I accept! I hope you will accept God's invitation into an unbelievable relationship.


December 19, 2007

I'm Thankful

Thanks to all those who left comments on my last post Ring I appreciate your words and well wishes.

While I am very excited about what is ahead, I am just as excited about the things happening at our church. I am so glad that things have worked out where I will be here until the beginning of summer. The extra time allows us the opportunity to get some things off the ground and running and to finish up some things that we have been working on. God has been working in all our lives and it has been wonderful to see. God is so good!

God has brought some good people into our lives. We have made connections with people in the church, at the local community theatre, and within the general community that will not end once we move from this place. What a wonderful blessing. As if God has not been good enough, He is giving us the opportunity to meet even more people who will undoubtedly impact our lives.

So, I say thanks to God for giving us the opportunity to be in a relationship with Him and man kind. I say a special thanks also to Laura and Victoria who make my life so wonderful, and I say thanks to all of you who have walked with us on our journey.

Now you know why I'm thankful.

December 13, 2007


Ring...(Caller ID 301-677-XXXX)

Last month I received a call from my recruiter telling me my application had been approved but for Reserves not Active Duty. I decided to send my packet before the December Accessioning Board for consideration for Active Duty. The Board was meeting yesterday and today.

Okay, here is the call I have been waiting for. Take a deep breath...Hello...

I must confess it was as though I was dreaming. I do not remember the name of the man I was talking to or exactly what he said, but his reason for calling was to welcome me to the Chaplaincy. Yes, I was approved for Active Duty. Phew! Thank you God! Today, God not only confirmed His call into the Army but a call to Active Duty.

What was the best Christmas present of 2007? A phone call confirming and affirming God's plan for the Dawson family.

December 4, 2007

Financial Hope

I was talking to someone recently and we were discussing my last post My Black Friday Is there hope for those of us who are in the deep red hole (debt)? Yes, there is hope!

My sister-in-law was doing Financial Peace University through her church. She and her children were visiting and she had to do some homework. Part of her homework was to watch one of the video lessons for her class. I happened to be sitting on the couch as she was watching and it peaked my interest. I saw how this course was helping her and I wanted help too. So I bought the course and Laura and I started going through it in April. May was our first month "on the plan".

So what is Dave's plan? The centerpiece is a written budget. Yes, I know the "B" word. I have to confess that I did not like the idea of a budget and was not certain about this zero based budget Dave Ramsey was promoting. Now, I LOVE IT! Basically the written budget is just the plan of action. With the zero based budget you spend every dollar on paper before you ever get it. You make the plan and then work the plan.

For a full explanation of Dave's "plan" you can pickup his books Financial Peace Revisited or The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan For Financial Fitness Both resources will help you no matter what your financial situation may be. For a wealth of resources and helps you can also go to Dave Ramsey's web site

God has blessed Laura and me through Dave's Financial Peace University. I believe God is using him, his life story and his ministry to give hope to all who will listen. Dave gives good sound financial advice based on Biblical understanding.

Can you have hope in the midst of debt? Yes! How? Make a plan and then work it. We personally have about $17,000 more dollars in debt to pay off, but we have a plan and we are working it every day, every week, and every month. You may think that you have too much debt and not enough income. Read Joel Maxwell's Story and you will be encouraged on your journey! There is HOPE!

December 1, 2007

My Black Friday

It has become a yearly ritual that Laura, Victoria and I go shopping on Black Friday. We live about an hour away from Richmond so we have to get up really early!! This year the alarm clock went off at 3:15 a.m. Of course the early wake up call was worsened by the fact that we did not go to bed until after midnight. We did decide to sleep another hour and then get up. So by 4:30 we were on our way!

Normally there are "have to get" things on our list but not so much this year. Because of upcoming expenses related to our call into the Army, we are having a "small" Christmas. Our shopping plan for Christmas: to buy Victoria one nice gift, three small gifts from Santa, modeled after the gifts the three wise men brought to Jesus (Yes, Victoria knows about "Santa" :-), and stocking stuffers. To buy Laura a few small gifts and stocking stuffers. To buy me stocking stuffers.

Stores on our list to visit while in Richmond: JCPenny, Target, Michael's, Pier One, Circuit City, Kohls, and breakfast at Chick-fil-A. Yummy!!

Here are a couple of differences about this Black Friday.

1. This year we were not standing in line for me. Usually we have to stand in line at Circuit City or Best Buy for something that I wanted. Not this year! It was great; I loved it!

2. I noticed that retailers were getting into the black while others were going into the red. So many people were using credit cards. We spent cash that we had been saving for Christmas. Wow! Cash, what a concept! (Dave Ramsey would be proud!)

Overall, Black Friday was a wonderful day despite the lack of sleep. Blessing to you and yours, and I hope your Black Friday was written in black not red!