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.*

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Desperate Living

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our successes of today or our failures of yesterday that we accept the notion “all eyes are on us,” and that our success or failure will determine the destiny of those around us. Can I tell you, this is so far from truth! Yet, so many get caught up with this misconception from time to time.

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Truth be told, this mindset actually stems from a source of PRIDE! To have the belief that our actions, or lack thereof, can determine the destiny of someone else is placing ourselves in the position of God Himself, and He doesn’t give us that kind of authority. Sure, our actions can effect someone else, and they can bring pain and difficulty, or joy and freedom, into a part of that person’s life; however, God is the only One who holds the key to someone’s destiny! What we do, does matter; please don’t get me wrong. Yet, over the years, I have watched too many people who believe their actions can make or break another person’s future. To allow ourselves the privilege of this kind of thinking is to simply think too highly of ourselves and our impact on other people.

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We are all just living desperate lives of survival here, and we are all simply called to love God and to love our fellow man. We are instructed to reach others for His Kingdom by showing them His love and goodness. When we lay down our pride and work together to this end, we become a unified front against the desperation of this earthly life. We become the Body of Christ to fulfill His purpose and His glory and to put the enemy to shame!

So, let us never think too highly of our successes nor too lowly of our failures. Let us always encourage each other to see the greatness of our God rather than the greatness of ourselves. Let us lend a helping hand to lift up those who might have fallen a little lower, and pray without ceasing for those who have risen a little higher. Let’s put our hands into the hands of the Father as we keep traveling on together, one step at a time, toward our promise land.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:3-5

You’re Weird! … I’m Weird, Too!

We all have our quirks and our peculiarities. My husband is so comfortable in his; I have to be honest, sometimes, I’m downright jealous. I know, I know. I shouldn’t be jealous of my own husband! I just wish I could be okay with my oddities all the time.

I love fall and winter weather, but I am incredibly cold-natured. I hate raw tomatoes; however, I love to eat anything made with tomatoes, as in spaghetti, pizza sauce and chili, and  I love to make stuff from tomatoes such as salsa and vegetable soup. I love to sleep with socks on, and I can sleep just about anywhere, but if you wake me up about an hour after I go to sleep, I may not even remember our conversation by morning. I also have a love-hate relationship with the snooze button. I love to meet new people, and carry on long conversations with one or two people; yet, I am an extreme introvert, and I have to revive myself by having long moments of solitude.

Yes, I am a quirky individual, and after 40+ years of living with myself, I am still trying to be okay with these traits. I know, we all have quirks and differences to our personalities, and so many people seem completely okay with theirs, and I am, genuinely, so happy for them. Some even seem a little too comfortable…to the point of rudeness to those around them, and I suppose, this one fact alone causes me to hone in too strongly on my own idiosyncrasies for fear of possibly becoming like them.

I am so concerned with not being rude or offensive to another person, even unintentionally. All my life, I have been conditioned to be kind and accommodating, and I have always had a pretty adaptable personality; so, the moments when someone is offended or bothered by something I have done or said, I am profusely apologetic, sometimes, even to a fault.

Yet, as I grow older, I am learning that this over concern for other people’s opinions can, often, actually be derived from a source of pride and vanity. You see, no matter how “nice and sweet” a personality trait may seem, on the flip side of it is an uglier, less delightful sounding trait. It can be used for either extreme, and we must realize what the root is in order to come back to center, Christ’s center.

Just as the opinionated, outspoken person can be seen as both truthful and rude, overbearing and bluntly honest, depending on the positive and negative extremes, the tolerable, quiet spoken person can be seen as both graciously kind and fearful, flexible and weak. All of these (negative) extremes come from a root of vanity and pride, ambition and envy, and we must recognize, acknowledge and surrender these qualities to God before we move to the extremes of either side.

When we refuse to let the flesh reign in our lives, and, instead, allow Christ to rule and reign, we will find that we will no longer worry over what people think, and we will worry most about what HE thinks. We will no longer err on the sides of brashness and  fearfulness, but rather, we will walk in complete boldness of who we are in Christ, even with all our quirks, failures and peculiarities.

When we surrender our all to Him, we will begin to actually see ourselves as He sees us, not as the world sees. We will begin to believe as He believes and act as He acts. When we are totally surrendered to Him, we will become a mirror of His life, because it will be His Spirit living in us and through us. ❤

Wednesday’s Ode #6

Today, I would like to give my tribute to America. Yes, the land of the free and the home of the brave. I love my home, America.

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There are many in this world who would scoff at those words, many who would sneer at my homeland, believing they would be better off without it. Yet, for those who long for freedom, those held under tight regimental control, where do their hearts long to go? Where do their dreams take them when they think of freedom? Yes, it is AMERICA! This land was chosen to be a place where “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”* This is the land of the free and the brave. This country was founded on freedom, on liberty and on the pursuit of happiness. For those who live in this land and get angry at these words, I truly wonder why they still live here! Why stay in a country that you so clearly hate? However, I digress. This post today is not meant to be a rant. It is meant to be a tribute; so, let me pay honor where honor is due! 😉

I LOVE this land of freedom! I can worship freely. I can go where I please. I can do as I please (within the laws of reason). I can choose to pursue whatever course in life I’d like. I can be whomever I choose to be. If I want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a construction worker, a CEO, a fireman, a retail salesperson, or even a fast food worker, I can be any of these. If I want to pursue a life long dream of singing or a momentary whim of sailing across the ocean, I can do it. The only things that will stop me is my own limitations of dreaming and my own will power to pursue those dreams. This is the beauty of freedom.

Yes, I know we’ve got our problems. I’m not blind. I know there’s people who don’t appreciate this land nor the people who work hard to make it what it is, but that’s not my point today. Sometimes, you’ve got to step out of the darkness to truly see the light again. Often, we must re-shift our focus when there’s so much turmoil and remember the reason we got in this to begin with. This country was founded for freedom. This country was founded on hard work and pride in a nation of diversity and respect for the pursuit of a dream. These are the things upon which this country was built. Let’s get back to the main thing! Sometimes, I wonder if we’ve forgotten the goodness and wonder in the dream of a better future, because we’ve gotten so entangled in the futuristic dream someone else said we should have… (another thought for another day!)

I LOVE this land of beauty! There is an “old” song, sung by Lee Greenwood, that perfectly sums up my love for the beautiful land called America. He says, “From the lakes of Minnesota, To the hills of Tennessee, Across the plains of Texas, From sea to shining  sea, From Detroit down to Houston, And New York to L.A., Where’s pride in every American heart, And it’s time we stand and say, God Bless the USA!” The beauty of this land is as diverse as the people who live here. If you long for snow, just travel north long enough, and you’ll find it. If the beach is more your style, just travel South, you’ll find it. Maybe green rolling “hills” (this term is relative to what you call a hill or a mountain) and Shenandoah Valleys are more your speed, or maybe you prefer peaks as high as the clouds, and tree as big as a house or maybe it’s beautiful plains that stretch for as far as the eye can see. Well, we’ve got it all, just find a map and start your travels! America is where it’s at! No matter, if you’re looking for the city and the night life or the ranch and the country life. It’s all here in this great big land of opportunity!

So, today, I call myself BLESSED to be an American, and I consider myself blessed to be living here in this wonderful land of the free! These are just a few reasons I love this wonderful place! There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Who’s with me?? 🙂

*Declaration of Independence (found here)

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In Retrospect

Don’t you miss the days when you actually had to have singing to sell an album…when the music had to be live and in sync? Don’t you miss the day when you had to act, sing AND dance to obtain the role in a movie? Don’t you miss the days when you had to be a true patriot to become president…when the politicians had to love God, Family, and Country to succeed in office? Don’t you miss the days when the kids started their school days with The Pledge To Allegiance and ended the day with their bedtime prayers? Don’t you miss the days of fresh milk, fresh farm eggs, fruits and veggies…when it was easy to find less ingredients with better quality?

In all our striving to achieve and gain more, I think maybe we’ve lost something and gained less. Sure, I love the new technology, the new lights and the new transportation. I am blogging via internet right now, and we drive two new 2013 vehicles; so, I am definitely not anti-improvement nor anti-success! I just think, sometimes, in all our seeking the new, we tend to throw out some really good “old things” …like quality service and hardworking attitudes and homemade biscuits and farm grown produce and character, integrity and authenticity. Yeah, this list might not seem to “flow” right when looked at first glance, but stay with me a minute.

I didn’t grow up on a farm, and I wasn’t raised to make homemade biscuits, but when I’ve visited a well working farm, and I’ve eaten warm, homemade biscuits slathered with butter and a touch of honey, it sure reminds me of home. When I sit down to watch an old western or an old black and white Audrey Hepburn movie, it sure makes me think of goodness in the world. When I see an old veteran, tattered and worn from the memories of the war, it surely makes me appreciate him a little more, and it creates within me a grateful heart that my babies still live in a free country today. When I do hear the rare moment of an elementary-aged child reciting his Pledge of Allegiance with strength and dignity, my heart swells with pride, and I stand a little taller, knowing someone else still holds my heartland dear.

Yeah, maybe I am just old before my time, and maybe I just need to get to caught up with the “latest and greatest,” or maybe, just maybe, I’m onto some profound truth….think about it.

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