Beautiful. Classy. Timeless. What every icon should be…

paigemadisonmckinney.com/2018/12/28/my-top-5-style-icons-and-why/

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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”

I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”

I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Potter”
— Read on suespen2paper.com/2018/12/14/i-am-devotional-style-short-stories-the-potter/

Beautiful!

17 Years … Have We Forgotten?

Written yesterday, on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11…

Consumed with memories today…

I will never forget the feelings as I sat on the bed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Tn, on this day 17 years ago. We were in town for a funeral, and I was holding JGrizz in my arms. He was only one month old. My mother knocked on my door to tell me what happened, and I didn’t believe her until I turned on the news. I sat in disbelief, shock, fear and grief as I watched all of the events play out. It felt like a nightmare, a terrible, never-ending bad dream.

How could this be happening in our nation, America, the home of the free and the brave? It was so overwhelming; it was almost hard to breathe. We went to The Blue Hole (a beautiful rock filled area on the Ocoee River) later that day just to try to collect our thoughts and the gravity of what this horror meant for our country.

Then, just days later, I watched with pride, honor and respect as men and women began pulling together as communities, people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life began looking past themselves to something bigger: the rebuilding, the protection, and the defense of a beautiful nation. Firefighters, police officers, welders, construction workers and so many others would come in droves from all over the country, on the backs of big rigs, stop at red lights in NY and be cheered on by the business men and women who were waiting to cross the streets to try to carry on a “new normal” workday. The builders rebuilt and mended the broken walls while the New Yorkers tried to make some semblance of understanding of their, now, broken city. Hope was slowly seeping into every crevice, chasing away the shadows, as love ones were pulled from the ruble, as small miracles were found along the way.

Everyone went the extra mile, wanting to leave no one behind. Everyone worked hand in hand, side by side, to restore the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness upon which this nation was founded. Bravery, chivalry and just sheer, raw, unapologetic guts and strength were applauded that day and each day thereafter.

It was a horrific tragedy, an unimaginable crisis that brought this nation together that year, because the pain, destruction and new purpose for healing was bigger than any trivial opinion, any mindless political jargon, and any petty argument brought about by boredom and self-exhalation. Let us NEVER FORGET what happened that day and the days, months, and years that followed. Let us never be so consumed with the frivolous manic speeches of today’s media and the inessential accusations and fallacies that it takes this kind of world shaking for God to once again get our attention as a nation.

Pray now, church.

Let us NEVER FORGET.

*I do my own not possess either of these pics. Found in a simple google search.*

Be Resilient Like a Chicken Nugget

Friends and I were laughing as one shared the hilarious story of “slinging food” at her children on a Wednesday night on the way to church, because as a school teacher, she leaves school at 4:45, goes down the road to pick up child #4 drives across town to pick up her other day three children and husband from home, drives through fast food to get everyone chicken nuggets and make it on time to Wednesday night church! 😂 We all laughed till our sides hurt as she shared all the “mom tactics” to having children clothed and in their right minds with a dinner in their tummies, and her own self in her right mind; so, they could behave and have fun while in the evening program. One of the statements she made was, “Let me tell you. Those chicken nuggets are resilient! They bounce off windows and don’t splatter. They are easy to handle for little fingers. You can get the 20 for $2.50 and have change to spare, too!”

It was such a comical moment, and, honestly, I’m not a great fan of chicken nuggets, but our kids loved them in their early years, and that simple statement made me start thinking…

Chicken Nuggets ARE resilient! We could learn a lot from that little nugget…

1. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. It’s ok to have a little tough skin to survive through life’s ups and downs, but be sure to stay soft on the inside. Keep your heart humble and your soul full of grace and love. Don’t be so tough on the outside that you harden all the way through. Nobody wants to encounter all that.

2. They don’t fall a part easily. In this day and age, we’ve got to have a little strength to who we are to survive. We can be, and need to be, cushy soft on the inside to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patient and with those other fruit of the Spirit. However, all the hyper-sensitive, can’t disagree with someone for fear of “hate speech” actually makes us a weak people and a crippling nation. Toughen up, people. Be resilient and live life full of strength and grace!

3. They come in large quantities for inexpensive prices. Be able to give the good parts of yourself away to lots of people and don’t be too demanding of what they give back. Now listen, I’m not giving you permission to be used and abused. If you tend to be a doormat, please understand, this point isn’t for you. What I’m talking about is giving your love in a hug, an encouraging word or time spent with a friend. I’m talking about sharing laughter, making a memory or spending time with those you love. Share these things in large quantities, and don’t be demanding of a condition to be met for you to share it. People need to know you care.

4. You can’t eat just one. Be the kind of person who is contagious, magnetic and engaging to those around you. Be the sort of friend others aspire to be. Be the type of leaders others seek after. Be the person of whom others just can’t get enough.

5. They are great in just about any sauce or condiment. Diversify your tastes, your likes and your knowledge. Extend your horizons. Learn something new. Try, taste, or even listen to something different than before. You never know, you might like it, and you may even find a new friend along the journey.

Yes, It Matters

So many hurting souls, wondering if anyone cares. So many broken hearts, believing no one is there. So many desperate minds, consumed with empty thoughts. So many lonely bodies, searching for someone who can’t be bought.

Too many children losing their innocence in the mire. Too many mommas overwhelmed with competition and strife. Too many daddies forgetting where their home is. Too many elders forsaking legacy for the abyss.

They ask if their heart is worthy. They desire for more and get less. They pursue the instant pleasure, never realizing their prison cell. They seek for answers, for value, for meaning. They receive nothing but words of demeaning.

Hear me now.

I scream it from the mountaintops. I write it on the wind. I paint it in the sunset. I sing it through the waterfall.

Your soul matters to the One who created. Your heart is full of strength and value. Your mind can, by Him, can be easily understood. Your body can be full of vitality and livelihood.

Hear me now.

Yes, It matters.

YOU matter.

Penned – MG – 7/02/18

The Gift

You came in without warning. You stole my heart and promised we’d be forever. Our days together were sweet, thrilling and unforgettable. We learned to love, to endure and to persevere with one heartbeat.

We didn’t just survive the storms. We learned to thrive and to conquer. They shouted, “Dreamers!” They mocked, “Too good for truth!” We grasped hands and promised to squelch their sneers and scoffing.

The years came like a blur. Children, diplomas, anniversaries and goodbyes. It was a fairy tale others dreamt to have. We were fighting the odds and winning with a high score.

The squall rolled in without alarm. We trusted what had been would always be. We held our hearts in our hands and exchanged the promise once more. For we knew this is not the end.

What will be will always be.

Penned – MG – 5/31/18

*I did not make, nor do I possess any rights to this video. Simply shared from YouTube.

Just Hang On

Sometimes, life with God feels just like this…

But I promise you, all His promises are true, and He ALWAYS has our best interest at heart, because He loves us more than life itself. 💗

Just hang on. This will be the best ride of your entire life!

Motherhood Would Be Easy If Not For This

This. If you are a mother who still has children at home, you need to read this. Especially if you have littles in your home, this is a must read. I promise, you will feel strength once you’re done. Jennifer Batchelor, the author, has an amazing way of bringing grace right to our hearts.

My favorite quote is, “I’ve yet to find a hack for parenting, though. There is only the slow, long, daily work of getting to know each child as an individual, and then tailoring your methods to meet them where they are.” She is so very right. When we get to tailor our lives to some other mother, or create in our child the responses we see another child has, we are destined for failure. We must find grace for the moment and remember, we all go through seasons in this life. We just have to learn to thrive in them rather than just survive.

What she shared is so very true. We must learn to lean into our hard. Reading her post led me back to a blog I’ve read so many times. This person has taught me the art of leaning so well; although, I’ve never met her in person, and now, she has simply left a beautiful legacy for us to read and remember. Kara Tippetts shared her heart time and again through this blog as she braved the struggles of cancer that wracked her body with pain, fear and doubt; yet, she came forth triumphant and victorious. She opened her heart through her writings so honestly and with such vulnerability that I stand in amazement time and again. I encourage you to read, Braving Broken to start. Her story still challenges me to find that grace everyday and live it to the fullest. 💗

When Your Load is Heavy

Where do you go when your load is heavy? Who do you turn to when the weight of the world seems to be on your shoulders? What do you do when all feels lost, and you don’t know what to do?

Sometimes, life just stinks, and there’s not a thing you can do to change it. The rain has been coming for weeks, and now it’s pouring, and you find yourself without an umbrella or raincoat; then, the lighting strikes, and the thunder rolls on and on.

Poemhunter.com

What do you do in moments like these? What is your reaction, your response, your thoughts in the midst of the torrential rains? Do you run for shelter or fight the elements? Do you grow angry and frustrated or just sit down and wallow in your tears of pity?

My thoughts turned here as my heart grew heavy today while I read a post from a friend who is having open heart surgery this morning. It was sudden, no real signs of trouble, but she just didn’t feel right. She has significant blockages, but her arteries are too small for a stent. The doctor said he is going to do as many bypasses as he possibly can to assure the best life she can obtain. She is a single mom of two college age children, about to finish her degree and just landed a great job.

I struggle with these questions as I listen to an update from another friend who has had an incredible year of troubles. Her body just developed a disorder where her arteries naturally create blockages. She’s had over a dozen surgeries and procedures over the last year, and she’s not eligible for a heart transplant. She now goes to cardiac rehab simply to obtain the best life she can possibly have with the condition,  and even this treatment can cause heart to have an episode  due to over exertion and stress. She is married, and her husband is currently overseas completing his job assignments while she is in the states dealing with all of this without him.

My heart wrestles with these scenarios and ponders the possibilities as I read yet another status from a friend who daily struggles with a condition of Anaphylaxis where she can simply awake in the night and have to inject 2 or 3 epi’s into her body just to have the time to get to the ER before she takes her last breath.

Each one of them have their own fears, doubts and questions as these circumstances play out in their lives. Each one have share both their hopes and their trepidations in living with these conditions. And each one amaze me time and again by their unfailing faith in their God. For all of these dear friends of mine know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I cannot adequately tell you of the hope He brings in times of struggle. I cannot clearly express to you the peace He gives in moments of crisis and distress. I cannot give you a description that truly describes the abundance of His unconditional grace which you will find when you believe.

Yet, I can tell you this. When you believe, and when you completely surrender your heart to His, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You will realize the hope my friends have found.

I pray you find Him, and I pray He reveals Himself to you in such a way that you have no doubt, no question, no way of denying what we have found to be eternally true.

True POWER

Where do you find your power?

Where do you find your strength for living?

Where do you search for might when all seems lost, and you feel you can’t take another step or even another breath?

Ok, so this will be controversial, but I’m not really looking for a debate or a fight. Just gonna share with you what I know to be true in my life.

Some chase after fame, fortune or prestige. Some run after men/women, programs or jobs. Others seek for friends and family to bring them encouragement and stability. Still others try to find their strength, and even their peace, in a bottle, drugs or sex.

I’m here to tell you, all those things will fail you. All those things will, eventually, leave you broken, desolate and hopeless. Only One can bring you all the hope, peace, strength and power you need. His name is Jesus, and He loves you right where you are!

If you don’t know Him, just say His Name. Just ask Him to reveal Himself to you today. He’s pretty good at that. 😉💗