(Not so) Whimsical Wednesday

Listened to this song for the first time today. Don’t know why I haven’t ever heard it before, but it speaks a message today. On this 18th anniversary of a horrific day in our history, I will remember. I will cherish, and I will never forget.

It’s not about a political party. It’s not about a race, a religion, or a heritage. It’s not even about a personal opinion or thought.

This was a day that radicalism thought it could rule. This was a day when hatred filled hearts surmised they could win. This was a day when evil consumed souls believed they had the upper hand and could bring down a powerful, mighty nation.

9/11 will forever be a day of remembered terrror, heartbreak and death. Yet, 9/12 will forever be a day remembered of a nation uniting to bring rescue, support, encouragement and comfort. The two days shall ever be etched in the memory blanks of my legacy.

This is a realization of what purpose can expose. This is a revelation of what a common bond can bring. This is a testament of what unity can do.

For evil and for good.

Never forget these days in your retelling of truth and of history. Share the brokenness, revel in the heroics and cherish the patriotism. Never forget, a people bound together in one cause, one focus, one goal can accomplish the unthinkable.

America, never forget.

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Friday Afternoon Serenade

I read a beautifully written piece the other day by a fellow blogging friend, Modern Serenade, and as I was standing on my back porch this afternoon I thought I’d take his idea and write about my own Friday afternoon serenade.

An airplane flew overhead as the neighbor’s air conditioning unit seemed to kick into overdrive. The wind begin rustling through the trees, and the crickets began their evening rhythms. The dogs across the ridge must have seen a stranger or a critter run by, because they started up in a bit of a panic only to subside after a few minutes. Maybe it was a squirrel that crossed their paths, but his squawking was a bit delayed as he gave a good fussing to some young creature or fellow walking by. The wind rustled through the trees again, as if to attempt to quiet his tirade. I believe it worked. Then, the dogs barked a few times again, and our cats came swirling around my feet with a meow or two just to get some attention. A mosquito buzzed by my ear and landed on my hand as I swatted him. “Smack!” That will be his last bite today; unfortunately, he got me twice. I hear a car driving through the culdesac, probably a neighbor coming home from a long day’s work. The wind rustles a bit stronger through the trees, it seems to be telling the weary soul, “Welcome Home.” My son just joined the chorus as I hear the bass through the subwoofers booming a bit through the walls of the house.

Whish-bark-meow-buzz-smack-vroom”

Another mosquito says goodbye to this life, and I grab the bug repellent; so, I might enjoy a few more moments of the evening serenade before turning in. Even the spray adds a swishing noise to the symphony. The temperatures tonight are quite delightful. … There goes the wind and the crickets again.

“Whish-boom-smack-swish-which-chirp-chirp-bark-boom”

Ahh, there’s the little bird to join in while another plane travels overhead to it’s unknown destination, and finally, the cicadas have come to add their part to the harmony. I was wondering what was taking them so long.

“Whish-boom-chirp-chirp-bark-vroom-whish-tweet-tweet-chirp-chirp-buzz-buzz-cacah”

…a crow couldn’t miss out while he was flying by. 😂

A beautiful symphony given to us by our amazing Creator God. Sitting here, listening and watching just brings a sweet peace to my mind and a gentleness to my heart. It causes me to breathe deeper and smile a little longer. I’m so thankful for my restful place of solitude. It truly brings healing to a weary soul.

I hope you will step outside and listen to the serenade around you, and if it’s just too noisy with human chaos and manmade distractions, take a little drive to a park, an open field, a hiking trail, a lake or a waterfall. Get off the asphalt, and see what you might bring into vision with, not only your eyes, but with your whole being.

Happy listening, and Happy Friday! 😊

Thank You, America

It seems to be a phrase that is ridiculed more than appreciated these days, but today, I will proudly say, “Thank you, America.” I don’t care who you are, or where you have come from, if you live in this country, and if you call yourself an American, then, you should say the same…and even though, it may not be a popular sentiment, even if you are not an American citizen, you should still say the same.

Too many in today’s culture take so much liberty in bashing the bad of this country. Too much joy is taken in attempting to destroy the history, and the heritage and the legacy upon which this nation was built. If someone stands for patriotism, freedom and anything “American,” too many snarks and ridicules can be made, and everyone is simply expected to accept it as some sort of tolerance and penance for years of a presumed “superior conceit.”

I will never attempt to argue the perfection of America, nor will I say it can do no wrong, but if you cannot take pride in the country in which you preside, why live there? Just as a mother has to admit the foolishness of her child if that child is to grow beyond the wrong; yet, it should never negate the love and protection that mother holds for her once newborn babe. Seriously. I could stop and restart a whole new blog on that little soapbox right there, but I won’t. Not today.

Today, I’ll just stop and say, “Thank you, America.” Thank you for every hardworking man and woman who seeks to serve and make this country a better place to live. Thank you for all those who put their “hand to the plow” and never look back, always striving to leave a better community for the next generation. Thank you for every person who hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow and instead of tearing down all shreds of goodness from yesterday, he or she digs deep to find a ray of sunshine within the clouds of gray. Thank you to every American who continually takes the next step toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; so, our children may dream and pursue those aspirations of their hearts just as our forefathers did so long ago.

Thank you, America, and God bless you!

Happy Labor Day to all! ❤️🇺🇸❤️

Hit By A Mack

Have you ever felt like you were hit by a Mack Truck? Maybe you’re not familiar with the term. Growing up in a rural community in Northwest Florida, we used this term anytime we felt like a sickness had just taken hold of us, or maybe when someone had had a rough night of sleep (or sometimes, even with an alcohol binge). We’d say, “I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack Truck!” Or “You look like you’ve been hit by a Mack Truck!” 😂

Now that I’m older, I’ve still used the phrase from time to time; however, once I realized what a Mack Truck really was, I’m kind of thankful that was just a phrase. For surely, being hit by a Mack Truck in reality would leave one much worse than what I have felt when using the phrase. When I’ve claimed this destructive weight has hit my life, I suppose, I’m almost whining in comparison to what it would really feel like for that 5-ton vehicle to slam into me.

Sometimes, we do overstate our life conditions, don’t we? Yet, when we’re in the middle of the storm, it’s often hard to see beyond the tornadic winds we are experiencing. So, if you’re feeling down today, or maybe you’re even feeling like a Mack Truck has invaded your solitude, just hold on a minute, and let the chaos pass.

You can make it through, if you’ll just not give up. If you quit now, you’ve let that 5-ton machine win, but it doesn’t have to end that way! Get up! Even if you have to crawl to the curb and signal for help. Sometimes, you may have to lean on someone to help you through rather than being “Mr./Mrs. Independent.” That’s ok, cuz we’ve all been there… both with the Mack Truck and with making it through with the help of a friend!😉

Yeah, You be YOU!

There’s not a lot I need to add to that. You be you, because God didn’t make you to be someone else! If He wanted us to all be the same, He would have created us as clones with no individuality and no difference of personalities, and definitely no difference of backgrounds, families or even race. Yet, here we are, and not one of us is the same!

So, why do we have such a growing consensus that demands everyone to think, speak and act the same? STOP IT! Let us all demand individuality instead of demanding conformity. Let us all expect uniqueness of those we encounter in this world instead of uniformity.

If we will refuse the cultural agenda to make us all identical robotic minions, we can turn the tide back to originality.

Be original. Be unique. Be like no other.

You be You!

Burn That Bridge

Yeah, I’ll probably just leave that right there…

When you take care of you, and you remove toxic, dangerous or destructive people from your life, it’s okay to burn a few bridges. It’s not mean. It’s not hateful. It’s not even a spiteful act on your part (granted, you don’t add a lot of hatefulness in words or actions😉). Just burn that bridge and move beyond.

That girlfriend who chased you down, and then, went a bit psycho when you needed some space… yeah, burn that number.

That boyfriend who beat you to a pulp, and then, said he was sorry, wouldn’t do it again… yep, need to light a little fuse.

That childhood friendship whose crises-to-crises living is sucking the life from your veins… yes, close that door, burn that rope.

That old flame who wanted you to cheat on your spouse just so he/she could “make you feel alive” one more time… yeah, you better take that lighter fluid and pour the whole can out.

Walk away.

Light that match.

Burn that bridge.

You’re better than that. You deserve more.

And those who truly love you deserve more.

Do it now before you second guess yourself.

Just do it … and breathe.

Hidden Strength

Strength isn’t always what you might think…

Strength, especially when it comes to women, seems to be such a divergent scale. Some would say women of solid vocals and boisterous actions are strong. Yet, I’ve seen those of the meekest demeanor muster a measure of strength to fight that made these shutter.

Some would say women of fierce glare and untamed tongue are full of valor. Yet, I’ve watched those with a gentle glance and words like a lullaby slice fear like a knife.

Some would say women of intense stance and stubborn rebellion are destined for such greatness. Yet, I’ve witnessed those holding a stable foundation and a submissive heart to truth become more ferocious and full of purpose than the others could ever imagine.

Strength is not measured in the affluent or vociferous generation. It is not valued in the vivacious muscle of a class. It is not even symbolized in the insurgency of defiance and contempt of a race.

Strength is signified by honor, integrity and absolute truth. It is manifested in unity and compassion for life itself. It is evidenced in a life consumed by liberty for all not just for one. It is revealed by mercy, justice and grace all intertwined in a purity of hope and love.

Strength comes by laying down our wants and desires for a higher purpose. It blossoms by releasing our ambition and selfishness for a greater cause. It grows by realizing this is not about me but rather about us and what will become of tomorrow as a direct result of what we do with today.

To Steal One More Quote from LOTR

Everything we do impacts another. Everyday we impact someone.

Will you be ordinary?

Will your deeds be extraordinary?

For good or for evil, we all must live.

Sometimes, My Heart Just Grieves

I’ve had several conversations over the past few week with friends who are going through incredibly tough seasons of life, and, as I think back through them all, my heart just feels heavy tonight. Many days, these conversations cause me to seek good, practical advice, Godly wisdom and a lot of scripture to encourage, admonish and uplift their weary hearts. Often, these stories told cause my spirit to rise up in righteous indignation over injustices done. I encourage them to fight, to never give up, to seek God, as well as, to seek their personal well being at all cost.

Yet, sometimes, like this evening, my heart just grieves over their losses and their pain. I wish I had a magical wand that could, somehow, make all the heartache, fear, doubt and turmoil just disappear. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

If you’ve not experienced sorrow yet in your life, well, just keep on living, because it will come. If I can give you a piece of advice, both for those going through the trial and for those who are listening to the story, find someone to lean on. Don’t ever try to carry your burdens (or theirs) alone. You aren’t meant to.

Especially, for those of us who call ourselves a Christian. God never set up the Body of Christ for you to walk through this life experiencing all the brokenness it can bring and travel that painful journey alone. Find yourself a good church family, a wise pastor, spiritual leaders, and pour your heart out. Let them pray for you. Allow someone to come alongside you and help carry those burdens!

If you’re the one always walking alongside helping to carry the weight, you’ve got to learn to lean as well. You can’t always lean on those hurting, because they may not be ready to help carry you; however, you can find someone stronger than you to lend a helping hand. You’re not Superman! (Sorry to bust your bubble!)

Learn to lean. It’ll help you stand stronger.

Learn to release tears. They will wash your soul and help you to breathe deeper.

Learn to grieve. It’ll help your heart be real.

Learn to take a hand. It’ll help you to walk steady on that road to eternity.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Listen to both and be encouraged today. 💗

Be True to YOU!

I found this quote on Twitter awhile back, and it struck a chord within my soul. We hear so much today, in social media circles and in pop culture, about “being true to yourself,” or “being the ‘real’ me,” and while these statements have an element of truth, the real place of authenticity is found when you are true to the most healthy, healed and whole version of you.

Too often, we can get caught up in a popular trend or the peer pressures of life that we lose the authenticity of our soul. [yes, even adults can have “peer pressures!” It just comes in a little different, more subtle ways.😉] We start becoming something or someone we’re not simply to please the crowd or to fit into the environment in which we live, work, or “play.” Or we get so consumed in a past wound, trauma or tragedy that we cannot release the pain, and we become someone we were never meant to be.

Let me be clear, I am not trying to trivialize or make light of any trauma or heartbreak you have experienced. Believe me, I have plenty of my own. Yet, I believe in this day in age, with all the psychobabble and selfish outlook that too many “in power and spotlight” (celebrities, talkshows, politicians, even some therapists and teachers) give to those who follow, we have less people seeking healing and renewal of their minds and bodies than ever before. We have too many in our culture who make excuses for their pain and use a blaming, justification or gaslighting approach to life; so, they don’t have to “own up” to their own struggles and wrongs. They can simply hold someone else responsible for their own actions and words, and they never have to change.

This should not be, and it makes for a very sick, dysfunctional and perverse person and, eventually, will lead to a very wicked and evil society. If you are going to be “true to yourself,” then, why not be true to the best you you can be? Why settle for second best or broken or damaged? Why not take a risk, push a little harder and work toward getting help, healing and resolution to those wounded placed in your heart and soul? Why not work on discovering a new, healthy, healed, whole you?

Is it too much work? Not if you want better than you have right now. Is it too hard? Actually, that’s a decision only you can make. However, I can tell you this. If health and healing is your goal, you will discover more strength, along the way, than you ever thought or imagined possible! Once wholeness is between the goal posts of your life, it will give you a thirst for accomplishment that you didn’t know you could possess, and that thirst will be unquenchable until everything else is laid aside for the “win!”

This may sound like a funny comparison, but it’s like being a kid when your granny is cooking a chocolate cake (or whatever deliciousness is your favorite), and you come in when she’s on her second batch. So, the house is consumed with the yummy smells of the dessert, and she asks you if you want to lick the bowl/spoon. You get just a taste of that chocolatey goodness, and it becomes all you can think about. You can hardly wait until she pulls that cake out of the oven, lets it cool and tells you it’s ready to consume. You become so anxious and impatient that she finally kicks you out of the kitchen in fear you will just jerk that thing right out of the oven and hurt yourself! 😂

That’s exactly how it is when you commit to being “you” in the true, healed and whole sense. You get that taste of strength, of peace, of joy and of renewal, and you won’t want to go back to the broken, desperate and desolate being you once were! You’ll long for that wholeness and become so consumed with the possibility that nothing will keep you from it’s revelation!

Are you hungry yet??

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)

He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth andrighteousness echo His name.” Psalm 23:3 (The Voice Bible)