Friday’s New Angle #16

Another Friday, another New Angle! Hope you have fun with this one!! ūüėČ

    Remember, check back here tomorrow to find out the answer! 

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Friction to Thrive

There will be no sharpening of iron without friction. – rev. James Robison   

It’s a scary place to be…on the edge of a knife. Wondering what to do, where to go, knowing one step can determine our destiny. In that moment, all can be gained or all can be lost. The choice is ours to make. It is never happenstance. 

Friction shakes things up. Friction causes change, and friction causes a sharpening which cannot be found in the mundane moments of life. Yes, friction is needed in our lives to transform us from who we once were and propel us to who we are to become. 

Often, many will choose to avoid this moment of tension, this moment of inner conflict, this opportunity for change. Some avoid it out of fear. Some avoid it out of pain. Some even avoid it out of sheer laziness. Whatever your reason, I can assure you of this truth: no matter your situation, and no matter your reasoning, every time you avoid that moment of friction, you become dull. You lose your edge. You may even miss the mark for a lifetime. 

Sometimes, you can return. You might regain that sharpness. Sometimes, you can resume your cutting edge; yet, you are never guaranteed its return. You are never promised that repeated opportunity. There are some options which only come once in a lifetime, and all too often, those options come with friction. 

The decision must be made before the conflict arises. The choice must be made today, not tomorrow. We must have a made up mind before the opportunity comes knocking. Don’t let life overwhelm you. Never let circumstances dictate your destiny. You are not a victim. Your life is not simple happenstance. 

Choose you this day. Make up your mind, and chase your dreams. Make life happen all around you, and when you feel that friction, embrace it. Push against it. Stand tall in the midst of it. You will find it’s like a mighty sailboat, caught in the perfect winds on the sea. When the sails, the rutter, and the winds are all caught in perfect tension, that huge vessel will sail with great speed and with ease. 

So, find that place of perfect friction. Embrace those conflicts which come with tenacity and vigor. Thrive in that moment of tension, and sail on, my friend. Sail on. 


Wednesday’s Ode #17

  
I absolutely love Highlands, NC! At over 4,000 feet in elevation, it is the second highest town on the East Coast, and it is simply a wonderful little town. If you’ve ever visited Gatlinburg, Tn, we always say Highlands is everything Gatlinburg should be…without all the Tshirt shops and commercializations. It is simply beautiful, and if you’ve never been, I encourage you to make a trip! It is a definite favorite for me and my husband, as we spent our first and second honeymoons here, and due to the cooler temperature year-round, we come here at least 4-6 times a year, if not a good many more. 

  
It’s not a big city. It’s a quaint little mountain town with a little bit of “high society” living. They’ve got wonderful accommodations, restaurants and shops. One of my favorites is The Old Edwards Inn; the character of this place is incredible. They have a library, in which, you can actually find a book to sit and enjoy, high vaulted ceilings and even a hidden butler pantry where the staff may come to serve the guests. Their restaurant, Madison’s, has some of the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever put in my mouth…and being a Southern girl, that’s quite a bit! They have inside seating, a wine garden with outside seating, and even a rooftop terrace where you can choose to have your meal.   Now just imagine: a lovely rooftop terrace, with beautiful shutters, table settings and cushioned seating, overlooking the little town, and a gentle summer breeze blowing in the “heat” of summer with ceiling fans gently rolling. The temperature gauge rising no more than about 70-72 degrees, because you’re at such a high elevation! The waiter brings you a pleasant cheese and cracker tray for an appetizer, “just right” sweet Southern tea, mini biscuits and cornbread made fresh daily, and your meal consists of fish and chips and the best shrimp and grits you’ve ever tasted. They even serve the shrimp and grits in a mini iron crock; so, they stay warm throughout the duration of the meal. It is a fine Southern meal to remember! ūüėČ

  
   Doesn’t that look just awesome?! …It tastes even better!!

For dessert, you’ll want to walk down the street to Kilwin’s, where you can choose homemade fudge and chocolates, or you can choose from a mass variety of Mayfield ice cream. The pralines and chocolate dipped Nutter Butters, PB cups and Oreos are some of my family’s faves; however, my personal favorite is the turtle caramel apple! They take a Granny Smith Apple, dip it in caramel, roll it in pecans and, then, drizzle it with chocolate, and they will slice it right there for you; so, you don’t have to try to bite into that monstrosity! It is divine!!  If you’d like a wonderful cup of coffee with your dessert, you can also find it there; however, I prefer a cup of Buck’s Coffee, preferably a cup of white chocolate mocha, just across the street. Outside Kilwin’s is a brick patio with lots of umbrella tables and chairs where you can enjoy your coffee and yummy desserts, and on Friday and Saturday evenings, often times, they will have a live bluegrass, country (or other Southern genre) band playing. It’s simply a delightful ending for a great day. 

These things have just got to be in heaven! 

Now, if you’d like to work off some of those delicious calories you’ve added to your waistline during your stay, they have a ton of shops for you to find any number of items, and they have a numerous amount of hikes for you to explore. You can stop by the Highland Hiker and pick up a local booklet of all the Day Hikes Of Highlands, and explore till your heart is content. You can check the local weather and head out for a delightful, cool climat-ed, adventure. 

We, personally, love Dry Falls, Glenn Falls, Sunset Rock and Whiteside Mountain. Dry Falls had recently had a remodeling of the parking lot and walkway, and it’s an incredibly easy walk to a beautiful waterfall which you can walk behind. When it has had a lot of recent waterfall, the roar can be so loud that you can barely hear each other talk while standing behind it. Glenn Falls is a little bit longer of a hiker but definitely an easy one. Many people who go to this one say they’ve always ended up at the bottom of the falls, but haven’t ever been to the top. Upon starting out, there is a sign to the falls on the left, and to another location on the right. Choose the left; then, a little bit further down the trail, there is a fork in the road where you must choose the right side path in order to get to the top of the falls. The left path takes you to the bottom. We always choose the top of the falls, because we like to put out feet in the water, but please, please be careful here! There are no boundaries once you cross over the overlook area. You can get as close to the edge as you’d like, and if you have adventurous boys like mine, your mother’s heart can very easily suffer about three heart attacks during your enjoyment of the view and the cool waters!! 

 …WAY too close, JGrizz!!

If you are visiting the area with your significant other, Sunset Rock is a must! You drive to it, and walk just a tiny path that opens up to an incredible sheer-faced rock that overlooks the town of Highlands. The view from here at sunset definitely earns its name! If you’d prefer to just drive to the many water falls, you can pick up a map, head out and literally drive under Bridal Falls and drive around to see many others. Just beware of the very curvy, and often, very narrow highway you must travel to see these. You might want to have a designated driver who doesn’t want to sightsee and drive! Haha. 

If you’d prefer a bit longer hike, Whiteside  Mountain is a great choice. We hiked here during our honeymoon week and saw our first Peregrine Falcon face to face. The little snapshot camera I had (these were the days before iPhones and digitals!) didn’t really do it justice, but he was about 3-4 feet from us and just seemed to sit there and simile for the camera. The hike is pleasant, and the views are simply breathtaking! 

If you are on the East Coast and have never been to Highlands, it is well worth the trip!! It is a beautiful town that is surrounded with breathtaking sights, and the weather, especially in the summertime, is a very welcome delight! If shopping, hiking and sightseeing is your kind of thing, this is definitely a must-see!

Designed For This Season

No matter the season in life that you find yourself, God has designed you specifically for that season! He has known you before the beginning of time. He formed you. He created you. He has molded you through the years and designed you for the moment you are in right now. Even on your worst day, in your worst season, and yes, even in those death moments, when you wonder if He’s even near, He knew you would be there. He knew what you would need to survive, to make it through and to escape those dark moments.

Trial. Sickness. Childbirth. Teen years. Dying parent. Loss of job. Location move. Loss of friend. He has equipped you to get through it. He has trained you and provided for you the means to conquer and to win!! I used to wonder why God would have allowed me to be a child of a neglective father, a daughter with an opposing personality to my mother, a person who is very flexible, sensitive, quick to shed a tear, and tender hearted toward things that, sometimes, maybe seemed odd to¬†“tougher-minded” people. I didn’t know then that He would one day have me marry a man called to the ministry, that I would encounter people from all walks of life, and be called upon to reach them in some way. I had no idea those wounds, those places of pain that were so hard to endure throughout my youth, would be the very things which helped me to relate to those around me, those who were hurting and wondering if God even cared for them. I never thought that my eyes that so easily shed a tear would one day be the very things that helped me see another’s pain. I never knew, those many years ago in my childhood, that my love for writing would birth a blog-writing passion as an adult, and that passion for writing would be projected from a pulpit on Sunday mornings and end up reaching people I hadn’t even personally met. I never knew that my easy going, yet, love for details-type personality would be tailor made for my strong-minded, type-A, leader husband, and that this same personality would help me to raise our two very strong-minded, independent, and adventurous boys, but it is, and¬†this has been the perfect compatibility to make for a fun-loving, safe, secure and warmth centered home.

You see, each of us are handcrafted to think a certain way, talk a certain way, and even to act/react a certain way. God has designed us to fit the plans He has for us. Now, we can mess all that up, and we can reject His plans for our life, and we can even delay His best when we stubbornly hold onto those things which He desires us to lose. However,¬†if we submit our lives to Him, even through our screw-ups, He is continually working things out for our good.¬†Even through tragedy and other people’s sins toward us, God can still work His good into our lives. It doesn’t mean God makes these tragedies and these wounds happen to us; yet, He does know they will come. He does know when they will happen, and I can’t answer all the whys that we each may have in those moments; however, I can tell you He is a God who knows our pain, feels our pain and can comfort us in your pain. I can tell you He is a God who can take our pain, our tragedies and our failures, and He can mold and create a beautiful work of art from it! He is a Master Potter, a Master Artist…He can work a masterpiece from just a muddy lump of clay!!

Sometimes, I see it as a fine tapestry, which if only seen on the backside, it appears to have no pattern, no design and definitely no beauty that could be apparent to anyone of reason; yet, when that same tapestry is turned over, the most beautiful artwork will appear. When that same tapestry is hung in a great hall to be viewed by many, it brings great admiration and even reverence for its beauty. When placed in the mighty hands of our Creator, our lives can be as this beautiful tapestry. He miraculously weaves and interweaves His beauty to bring forth His beautiful plans for our life.

If you find yourself, in this moment, wondering why your past is as it is, and you wonder if there could possibly be any good to come of your life, I encourage you to just place your hand in the hand of the One who created you. Just take that little step toward Him, and you will find He is already there, waiting on you to call His name. Submit your life to the One who intricately formed and designed you for His purpose and His plan. He can see so much more than we can see. He knows so much more than we could ever know. Why would He not be the perfect One to guide and direct our lives?

Why Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason

This is so good. I couldn’t not choose to reblog!!

john pavlovitz

SadGirlwindow

That phrase.

We’ve all received it personally gift-wrapped by well-meaning friends, caring loved ones, and kind strangers. It usually comes delivered with the most beautiful of intentions; a buffer of hope raised in the face of the unimaginably painful things we sometimes experience in this life.

It’s a close, desperate lifeline thrown out to us when all other words fail:

Everything happens for a reason.

I’ve never had a tremendous amount of peace with the sentiment. I think it gives the terrible stuff too much power, too much poetry; as if there must be nobility and purpose within the brutal devastation we may find ourselves sitting in. In our profound distress, this idea forces us to run down dark, twisted rabbit trails, looking for the specific part of The Greater Plan that this suffering all fits into.

It serves as an emotional distraction, one that cheats us out of the full measure of our real-time grief and outrage. We stutter and…

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The Facade

There She Goes

You know the one
She’s got her recipes plastered on Pinterest…all her beautiful cakes and dishes…Her creative parties and house decor…All those perfectly clean rooms and floors…
You know, supermom.
She’s got her status posted everyday of how wonderful life is, how precious her little angels are.
She adores her husband and he adores her.
She wrote just last night of how he brought her flowers for no particular reason.
Her ring is a true rock and her clothes always looks perfect and that hair…
Geez, does she go to the salon everyday?!
She’s not just supermom; she’s super wife!…Super-woman!!
She’s got to have it all and have it all together!
Or so you would think…
Yet, you didn’t see her last night snap at her husband and go to bed angry.
You weren’t there last week when she screamed at the kiddos when they spilt the milk.
You didn’t even know she ran back in the house this morning, make up streaming, baby spit up in her hair, Cherrios crushed down her new blouse, the car out of gas….because some Fridays just really start as Mondays.
You don’t realize she stresses out before every group event, because she’s really an introvert and worries about being accepted.
You don’t recognize the tears that brim as she smiles and slightly turns away so you can’t see.
You just don’t see her under the facade…
She awoke again terrified in the night …another nightmare…
She went straight to the babies’ rooms, scared that he had found her after all these years.
She’s suffered such abuse, such neglect, she wonders if anyone could ever truly care.
She wanders through this life simply surviving breath by breath, minute by tiny minute.
You never see her there, in the dark, all alone.
It’s all a facade.
It’s all a fancy charade to obtain a moment of sanity.
She dances with the emotions and she paints on the portraits.
All the while, she keeps the pain, the agony, the death, hiding there inside.
It’s time to coax her from the shadows, to give her hope for what might be.
It’s time to let go of our perceived perfection and love her for who she is, to help her dream of who she can one day become.
We must show her the hope she can have in Him.
We have to reach her, to be His hands extended, or she’ll forever be lost in her pain.
We’ve got to see past the facade to show her He died that she might live.
We must take off our own masks to let His love pour in; then, she may know His love and mercy that will sustain her, give her life and fill her with her with perfect peace.  
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Daily Prompt: Facade