anxious for nothing

I love bread dough. There is something instinctively comforting about warm, rising dough that is as fluffy as toddler cheeks. I love the ppfffffff sound of punching the dough down after the first rise and then dividing it into little loaf portions and tucking them into their pans.  I love folding in mozzarella and sauteed onions and so many herbs that they fall out when you lift the dough into the big loaf pan.

I love watching it rise.
And…I really love eating it. Hello, my name is Shannon, and I love, I adore, I highly esteem, I less-than-three carbs and gluten. Don’t tell our naturopath. 

Baking bread used to be so intimidating to me. Silly, hmm? It was unfamiliar territory and seemed like a big process. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to tackle it.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

– Philippians 4:6

So tackle it I did, and then got a little braver. I learned to play.



I learned to make new things, and discovered the love of stretching strips of pizza dough over calzone filling, rolling long thin triangles into crescent rolls, and layering other strips of dough together with a ridiculous amount of cinnamon sugar in between. Nothing fancy, just comfort food…but I’m harboring a longing to try homemade hotdog buns soon. We’ll see.

Recently we learned to make doughnuts, and I loved cutting out floury circles, and – the best part – little floury doughnut holes. Oh, joy! Oh, bliss!
Oh, dentist!

Just kidding. No cavities so far.



Playing is messy but so necessary. We need it from the earliest of ages. When we are little and don’t have enough play and touch and interaction, many things that should just be routine are anxiety-provoking, unfamiliar territory.

Fear comes into play. Literally. 

We learned a little – just a tiny bit – about this during some adoption trainings. We’ve learned quite a bit more, as usually happens, through actual experience. 

Our first experience was during our first trip to Spaghettia in March of last year. We gave Reagan some playdoh – all kids like play-doh, right? – and when she squeezed it, she cried. She was scared of it. 

We thought, Hmm, that’s weird, and found different toys to play with. 

We’ve been home together for almost a year now, and we’re learning more and more. It’s tricky; there don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules about sensory issues. Not all symptoms or characteristics may be present. A child can be both hypersensitive and hyposensitive. And – I just love this – “Inconsistency is a hallmark of every neurological dysfunction.” 

Well. Thanks so much. That’s just great.

Anyway, we’re doing lots of play. So many things are new and intimidating, and we focus on making new things familiar so they lose their fear. Messy play, creative play, textures, temperatures, movement, sound…sensory play. Of course, we never called it that before. We just called it…play. The only difference is that we don’t take it for granted anymore.



…My object is to show that the chief function of a child – his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life – is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in this way; and that, therefore, the endeavor of his parents should be to put him in the way of making acquaintance freely with Nature and natural objects.

– Charlotte Mason, Home Education

She loves playdoh now. And not just for eating.
(Kidding. She’s only eaten it twice…I think…) 

Tonight after bedtime, Chamberlain came downstairs with a splinter in her fingertip that, while certainly painful, somehow magically did not become so until after we tucked her in. Vince and I took turns poking with the tweezers amid her shrieks and tears, but to no avail…we can’t pinch the splinter out, the tweezers can’t grasp it, and it’s unavoidable…the dreaded implement must be used.
You know the one. 

The fearsome sewing needle. (gasp!) 

Say it ain’t so! 

Actually, I’m not saying it at all. I’m handing her a stuffed doggie that happens to be within arm’s reach and what I do find myself saying is, “I think Pup has a splinter, too. How about you check him with the tweezers -” putting those useless things into her right hand, “while I look at your splinter a little more?” 

It was a stroke of divine genius that didn’t come from me at all. And it worked. 

She is engrossed in Pup’s right paw while I am holding her left paw and poking it with the needle. She has no idea I’m even holding a needle. She hardly notices that I have exposed the end of the splinter and she is jabbering to Pup about how he must be more careful in the woods around the rosebushes… 

I ask her if we can trade. She looks at me with surprise and hands me the tweezers and takes the needle that she didn’t even know I had and continues Pup’s surgery. One more pinch on her rosy fingertip and the tweezers grasp the splinter…and it’s out. 

We look at it together. Out in the open, it’s just a tiny little thing.

Cham toddles back to bed. I toddle back to the kitchen, thinking about what just happened…and He tells me: 

You are the one holding Pup. 

I almost dropped the tweezers. What?
He explains. He says that as we learn about these kids…all six of them…and we look for their owies that need healed and the things they need to learn, and we kiss them and cry over them and are engrossed in their need for restoration and growth…He is holding the needle. He is working on us. 

There are owies and impurities inside me, and He is calmly, carefully, quietly pulling them out as I jabber on and on to Him about the pups that I’m holding. Things that used to intimidate me are almost normal now, and I don’t even cry over other things that used to scare me, and I’ve hardly noticed because my attention has been focused on these pups.

As we teach and comfort our kids, He is pulling fears out – these little bitty things that cause so much pain – and brings them out to the open so we can look at it together.

He sends us toddling off, free, showing us new ways to play so we can be anxious for nothing…because He loves to watch us rise.


anxious for nothing — 12 Comments

  1. love the beauty of making donuts together. Wonderful memories of doing the same with my brother and warms my heart that y’all share it as well <3

  2. I read this before – and then life exploded. But, wherever I turned, there was that same verse. And, look, after a crazy week – here I am back again – and there is God’s beautiful promise. Thank you!

  3. Love this post! Your expression of God’s process of freeing you from fear and giving you an understanding heart towards the little ones in your life. It’s great when we can see (sometimes) God’s perspective and the joy that gives.

  4. Just recently had a “revelation” of the like – we are “children” in His sight – and He teaches us, instructs us, disciples us, nourishes us, cherishes us, forms us, trains us……………all the while we are hardly even aware of it – ’til it’s all over and He says “____ is what this is called”. And that characteristic is formed and we’re ready for the next…

    I appreciate you’re sharing about the one He created just for you.

  5. As always, there is so much truth and refreshment here, Shannon. Thank you. Last week my son’s pediatrician recommended we pursue a diagnosis of autism because there were multiple things about our boy that worried her. I agree that a diagnosis would be appropriate, but by God’s rich mercy I am not worried. Autism was one of those things that really scared me when I first started researching adoption, but without me even noticing God has lifted that fear. I’ve just been busy loving and caring for our four children who each have their own unique needs, including a sweet little boy who happens to have Down syndrome and is very likely on the autism spectrum. Hearing the doctor voice her concern while having such a peace and joy in my heart gave me a small glimpse at how the healing love of God has been busy silently vanquishing my fears. Thank you for clarifying my experience with your eloquent story of Pup and the sliver.