• Dana L. Butler

Ask Away Friday {with Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings}

Hi my dear friends!

I’m teaming up with the #AskAwayFriday crew again this week for another fun 10 question exchange.  I have enjoyed coming up with questions for Stacey this week, as well as answering the questions she had for me — which I thought were really fun and insightful.

Doing an occasional #AskAwayFriday post is reminding me how, in asking insightful questions and hearing hearts and stories, my own heart comes alive a little more.

So, without further ado, here are my answers to Stacey’s questions.  When you get done, I’d love to have you click over to her place to read her answers to my questions as well.

1. Being from the mid-west also, I too love a good thunderstorm. There is something about the majestic beauty of them. What is it about them that you love?

I love the beauty, majesty, strength, volume :), and unpredictability of thunderstorms.  I love the adrenaline rush I get from a particularly loud thunder clap (am I crazy?!).  I love the power of storms and how they reflect the power and creativity of God.  One of my dreams ever since I was a kid has been to see a tornado in real life — off in a field somewhere, not hurting anyone, and not close enough to “come get me.”  🙂 I have an uncle who’s a meteorologist and I blame him for my fascination with wild weather.

2. Where would you like to see your blog get to in 2014?

Ya know, I’m not entirely sure.  It’d be fun to grow my readership, though I don’t feel like I “need” that like I used to.  I came to a realization this year that what I want most deeply is to learn to more authentically be who I am in my writing, to write my heart without letting fear hold me back from saying what I really want to say.  So I think that’s my primary goal for my blog and my writing in general — that they would be an accurate representation of my deepest heart.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely. 🙂

3. If you could pick anywhere in the world, where would a dream vacation be for you?

Hmmmm… Probably someplace like Hawaii.  I love the beach — LOVE it — plus I’ve never been there before and it’d be so fun to go.  But I’d wait a few years till my kids are a little older and traveling with them doesn’t feel so much like boot camp! 🙂

4. What dreams would you like to accomplish in 2014?

The answer to this question for me is closely connected to my answer to question #2.  In my writing, as well as in most other areas of my life, God and I have been on a journey together over the last year or so.  He’s been taking me deeper in experiencing freedom to be my truest self — who He made me to be, in my core.

I find that what holds me back from freely giving expression to who I most deeply am is usually fear, and/or an unhealthy desire for people’s approval.  So my number one goal for 2014 is simply to let Him take me deeper in learning to be who I really am, unhindered, living to please Him and not “shoving” my true thoughts and opinions in order to keep people happy.

Along these lines, my “one word” for 2014 is freedom.

5. How many more children would you like to welcome into your family?

First off, I love the way you worded this question.  Also, you may wanna ask me this again in a year or so because I MIGHT have a different answer.

But Stan and I have recently been thinking we may be done having/adopting babies.  Prior to the last year or so, we thought we wanted a fairly large family — between 6 & 10 kids.  But Isaac and Maia are both turning out to be strong, opinionated (albeit SWEET and AWESOME) little people, and in a very okay way, we’re finding our hands full with them.  In addition, I have had some health issues — nothing major — that have left my body without the stamina I feel like I’d require in order to want to prolong our “raising littles” season any longer than it already will be given the 2 we have.

Like I said though, ask me again when they’re a little older — we may feel differently.  We’ve also considered the possibility of adopting a couple of older children either from the US foster care system or from an orphanage overseas.  If we do that, it will probably be 5 – 10 years down the road for us.

6. What tunes do you have rockin’ out your playlist?

Well, up till the last week or two, we were jammin’ out to lots of Christmas music around here.  Our faves are some good ol’ Manheim Steamroller and the Piano Guys, who have a new Christmas album and it is absolutely awesome.

Otherwise, we generally listen to a lot of worship music.  It generally helps keep my heart-perspective straight and the atmosphere of our home more lighthearted.  Our faves are Jenn Johnson and pretty much anyone else from Bethel Church in Redding, CA… I also love Jon Thurlow and a little Jimmy Needham, on occasion. 🙂  You can search YouTube and find stuff by any of these guys.

7. What is your favorite book to read to the kids?

This is a great question.  Isaac is super into non-fiction — so anything in the realm of “how things work” or “what makes it go,” along with airplanes, space shuttles, farm equipment, trucks, trains… you get the picture.  One of his (and therefore my) all-time faves is Little Blue Truck. 🙂  And at 6 months old, Maia pretty much reads with us whatever we read.

She has a surprising attention span for “big kid” books, though her desperation to grab and tear pages is starting to become a problem. 🙂

8. What advice would you give to someone who struggles with religion?

Well, you know this is the question that’s been rolling around in my heart ever since I first read your list of questions. 😉

And here’s the thing: when it comes to heart issues like these, I’m not really into giving much advice, per se, without asking a heap of questions and hearing a person’s story first.  So even though I might not be precisely answering the question you asked, I think I’d have to say this:

I’d sit with that person, hopefully over some good coffee, and get to know them.  I’d ask them about their life experiences.  Their church background, if any.  Their past experiences with God, and/or with people who professed to be Christians.  I’d take some time and just learn about their journey, their heart, their questions.  Then I may [or may not (yet)], say something like this:

“God loves you.  Adores you fiercely, actually.  He created you with desires in your heart that He’s deeply committed to fulfilling.  But it’s only when we stop chasing those desires, turn around, and respond in surrender to His loving pursuit of our hearts that He can begin to satisfy us and make us whole, from the inside, out.  If you want to know Him, ask Him to make Himself real to you, to show you how His kindness toward you is woven throughout your life story.  He’ll do it.”

I might also suggest that the person begin reading about the life of Christ in the Bible — maybe in the book of John — and ask questions about the things he/she reads that stick out or seem to rub him/her the wrong way.

9. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to adopt or foster children?

I’d encourage them to talk to lots of people who’ve walked one or both of those roads, to ask lots of questions.  To find out about the painful parts of various people’s foster/adoption journeys, as well as the rewarding parts.  I’d encourage them to do lots of research, know their options, and work with agencies that they’re confident are ethical.  Adopting (privately) and fostering (through the state) are such radically different experiences.

I feel like, beyond what I’ve already said, the input I’d give would differ a lot depending on whether a couple was interested in fostering, or fostering-to-adopt, or adopting privately.

10. What is something that you look forward to doing with your kids when they are older, like tween/teen age?

Oh gosh, there are SO many things I look forward to doing with my kiddos once they’re older.  The first one that comes to mind though is road tripping.  I’d love to do a summer-long road trip around the country — stop and see national landmarks, visit relatives in various locations, and of course, spend time at the beach.  While not wishing away the present season, I really do long for the day my kids are old enough to enjoy and remember doing things like that together as a family.

Alrighty!  Don’t forget to hop over to Stacey’s blog and check out my questions and her answers.

Happy weekend, y’all.  You bless my heart.

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