Well, I’m behind on Advent days, but this is in honor of day 6.


My husband and I recently decided to stay in town for Christmas, rather than travel to my family 5.5 hours south of us. This is because my husband’s family will be in our town.

It’s our first married Christmas. There’s some sadness about missing Christmas with my immediate family, but my husband’s family has become mine so, that’s a precious addition – and thus, I will be with “my” family either way. Moreover, marriage is a massive change to so many parts of life, I think it’s another area of stretching and renewing my mindset. And that’s beautiful.

Then, I got thinking about good ol’ Mary and Joseph and their journey from Naz to Bhem. I thought about the adoption of all future people into the family of God they were inviting. I thought about their sacrifice, their vision, their calling, and their unity.

Wow. I don’t know where their hearts most felt at home, but I theorize that after living so many places together, “home” was truly wherever they were together. Moreover, the presence of God united them, even while physically separate. It’s interesting, this spatial misconception we often have about separation and geography. We’re one in the spirit. We’re together.

We’re home.

Christmas gets Christmas-er the more we let our minds be renewed to think like God does.



Today begins advent.

I’ll be posting daily during this four week stretch.

My husband and I are going to name our Christmas tree every year in alphabetical order. This year our tree is named “Adventure.”

We love adventure.

If you’d like an advent book to lead your meditation this season, check out this one that my friends Jen and Jon worked on:


Endorsements for My Book: “Driving through Walls”

My book will be published soon. When I was a child I woke up really early on Christmas morning because of excitement and anticipation. Since it is still two months before publication, I should probably not stay awake from now until then – despite my joyful enthusiasm. I need my sleep to finish the journey.

I am in the midst of the editing ocean now. It is a great, tedious, and maturing journey.

To whet your appetite for the book, I’m going to drip-drop endorsements for my book onto you in the weeks ahead.

Praise for Driving through Walls

Thousands upon thousands each year go on pilgrimage to the land of the Holy One. There they see the divine majesty of the one who once trod that land. There are very few people who will take residence in that land called Holy, but rent apart by trauma, turmoil, and conflict. I, like Dawn, have lived there and loved that land. In this book you are given the opportunity to see it like it really is. You also see what, I believe, is the only way to cope here, the supernatural miraculous nature of G-d.

As you read Dawn’s inspiring words you will see how from a very young age the Lord was preparing Dawn to be in this place and do this work. Somehow I think this is just the beginning for Dawn, but spiritually this book will give you a chance to come here too.

The Rev’d Canon Andrew P B White, Vicar of Baghdad

President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation on the Middle East



In a fast-paced world of opinions and sound bites it is always refreshing to read a book that matters. Dawn’s story is a story of courage, compassion, wide-eyed wonder and, most of all, faith. She has experienced horrors that none of us ever want to ever see, and wonders that we all hope could happen to us. Her’s is a story that will encourage you and prompt you to seize God’s call on your life. I encourage you to read it with joy!

Dr. Paul Wright

President of Jerusalem University College

Mt. Zion, Jerusalem, Israel



You can help my book get published by pre-purchasing a copy and/or making a contribution. Anonymous giving is available. I need $1,335 by March 31, 2012 to get the book published. It will be released in MAY!!!! HOORAY!

Info here.

Baghdad: “It’s just what I always wanted!”

“It’s just what I always wanted!”

There is a famous Richardson family video in which I am eight years old and enthusiastically opening Christmas gifts in the sprawl of wrapping paper, sisters, and new toys on our living room floor. Upon the opening of many of the gifts I look at my dad with wild joy and exclaim, “It’s just what I always wanted!”  There is a measure of surprise in my voice, as if I am in awe that my parents knew what I wanted and got it for me.

Lately, I often think of that video as I delight in God. I finally got to unwrap one of the biggest gifts last week upon my landing in Baghdad, Iraq. Even though I’ve seen it sitting under the tree wrapped for 16 years, I’m still caught in wonder as I see that not only did God know I wanted it, but He got it for me! He really is a good father who gives good gifts to His kids.

This summer my youngest sister freshly observed that I am one of the people she finds it most easy to imagine as a kid, because my delight and childlikeness remains.  This is wonderful. After all these years, through struggle, through disappointment, and through success, I’ve remained Daddy’s girl. And I know it.

So, here I am in Baghdad, more than any other dream in my life, the dream to live in a war zone in the Middle East and see deserts turn into gardens is the one I’ve most thought about, dreamed about, and prayed about. God has shown Himself faithful and loving: not only to me, but to this nation. He loves this nation wholeheartedly, as He loves me wholeheartedly.  He is eager to give Iraq the Christmas gifts she’s always wanted.

And He will.

And her laugh will untie the ribbon, her eyes will pull back the wrapping, and her hands will grab hold of the gift. She’ll look at Her Father in joy. She’ll know she is the delight of His heart. And she will know she is worth the price paid.

I love this place so much. Yesterday we were driving in Baghdad and I had a moment when I realized why many friends said prior to my leaving, “I want to make sure I say ‘goodbye’ in case you never come back.” They were only partially joking. I shrugged off their words then, but now I realize they were on to something substantial. I want to see this place flourish and I’m ready to commit and invest my life in her Christmas day.

Being part of the Father’s desire to give gifts to the nations is absolutely worth it, whatever the cost, whatever the journey. The ecstasy of seeing nations open up their Christmas gifts is one of the best rewards I could ever imagine.

Merry Christmas Iraq! Father God is going to dazzle you with gifts in 2012!