Thank you to Our Veterans

I felt like I had a bit of posting overload today, on Veterans Day, but maybe it’s simply because it means more to me today than it ever has.

See, I’ve always been thankful for our veterans, but when you learn a new story, receive a new testimony, and it’s all wrapped up in a life you never knew even living so close to you, your heart grasps a whole new level of gratefulness.

So many never share their stories.

Too many are haunted by their demons.

Even more just ask the question, “Why?”

To unravel these mysteries, it would take too many lifetimes to start, but I have one plea to those who served,

“Please, tell your stories. Share your pain and your victory. Maybe you can’t relive, but if you remain silent, it’s easier for us to forget.”

To reinstall the honor and respect from the young may take decades to come, but I have one plea to those coming behind,

“Please, listen to the ages. Read. Research. Ask. Be curious and be hungry for knowledge. For if we never grasp the value, it’s easier to forget.”

Lives have been lost. Scars have been branded, and tears have been shed to bring you freedom.

Let us not take it for granted.

Let us never forget their valiant sacrifices. ❤️🇺🇸❤️

Let the Lion Roar

Each one of us has a purpose here.

Each one has a place.

You may not believe it, but maybe you simply need to receive it.

You may not have found it yet, but maybe you just need to look around.

It may be a burden of responsibility that makes your knees quake.

It may be a cross of strength that causes your heart to shake.

Today it may not seem heroic, and it may not feel significant.

But find your niche and settle into your target.

Take your aim and discover your point.

Stand tall. Be stable and become tenacious.

Find your roar and call out to the generations.

Someone is awaiting your achievement.

Someone is longing for your legacy to find theirs.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Isaiah 54:13

The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.

Proverbs 28:1

Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness

Every life is entitled to breathe.

Every life is entitled to be born.

Every life is entitled to live.

Why would one rejoice when that is stripped away?

Why would one celebrate when that is refused?

There can only be two reasons for this jubilee.

That one is deceived and doesn’t recognize the error of the deception…

Or that one is evil and doesn’t care to take a breathing, striving life…

If one does not realize the mistake, truth can be revealed and transformation can set in.

But if one sees and hears evil and calls it good, if one ignores what is true and demands for pure hell to rule, blessings are stolen and joy is desolate.

For no one can survive under the iron arm of animosity. No one can endure under the heavy hand of antipathy.

When the innocent are lost, barren mothers weep and lifeless graves mourn.

When life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is given a chance, life wins.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:4

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

https://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/family/pregnancy/womb-surgery-saves-triplets-1799928

Rejoicing or Outrage

It has been amazing to me the opposing views that have come forth in the last week.

It has been amazing to me the rage and violence tolerated on one side and the utter silence on another.

I stand in awe at the sheer anger that is spewed; yet, I stand in equal shock at those who seal their lips tighter than a vault.

Questions fill my head as I observe the atrocities.

The animosity that breeds fury and fire is excused and even encouraged by those of power; yet, if the tables were turned, they would scream injustice and insurrection.

The muzzle that breed reticence and restraint is demanded and expected by those in favor; yet, there should be eternal gratitude for decades of prayerful ascent.

Where is the justice and truth?

Where is the appreciation and joy?

Where is the value of a life, freedom for a breath, and protection of a right to chase life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Where is the love and security for the innocent among us?

Will you have rage or rejoicing fill your heart?

The result is the evidence of good vs. evil.

Woe to those who call evil good, and goodevil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!

Isaiah 5:20-21

What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Romans 9:22-24

Let It Burn

Sometimes, we’ve got that thing that hinders holding us back.

Sometimes, we’ve got that thing that makes us pause, and it’s slowing us down.

Sometimes, to get rid of it,

You’re gonna have to let it burn.

Fire purifies. It refines.

Fire cleanses. It redefines.

Let it burn away the dross.

Let it burn away the residue.

You will be brought for as precious silver.

You will come forth as brilliant gold.

I will bring the one-third through the fire,

Will refine them as silver is refined,

And test them as gold is tested.

They will call on My name,

And I will answer them.

I will say, ‘This is My people’;

And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”

Zechariah 13:9

But who can endure the day of His coming?

And who can stand when He appears?

For He is like a refiner’s fire

And like launderers’ soap.

He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;

He will purify the sons of Levi,

And purge them as gold and silver,

That they may offer to the Lord

An offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:2-3

Finding Time to Breathe

Will it ever let up?

Will it ever relent?

Time keeps ticking.

Life keeps moving.

There is no release.

There is no reprieve.

Normal is never returning.

Yet, was it ever here to begin?

What was will never again be.

So, why are you surprised?

Why are you dismayed?

It has always been as it is now.

Sometimes, stronger.

Sometimes, lesser.

But never really much contrast.

Never really much disparity, indeed.

So, why must you fight it?

Why must you rage?

All you can do is open your eyes and let wisdom reside.

All you can do is exhale and find time again to breathe.

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Parenting 101 – Balance

Joey and I have talked about this from time to time, and as I began to blog this morning, I ran across this thought in one of my notepads.

Thought I’d share it for a parent out there who needs to hear it…

There is a great balance in the weight of parenting. It truly takes both parents to survive.

You’ve got to find your niche. Find your balance. One of you will be good at one thing; the other will be better gifted at others.

Here’s a simple illustration:

One of our sons had a project to be done. It was started late, of course. I helped till midnight. I’m a night owl and pretty detailed. I stayed engaged till the job was done, and for this reason, I was very knowledgable of what was needed for the completion. This isn’t bragging; it’s just the facts as we both could see it.

The next morning, Joey dealt with a cell phone issue for another son. There was no blow up. No arguments. He just prompted the convo, said what needed to be said, and it was done. And honestly, it all came out much smoother than I would have ever made it to be!

It takes two. As parents, you have to figure out your weak spots and allow the other parent to balance you. Be honest. You’re not the best in all things, and neither is he.

You don’t have to be all things to your child. That’s God’s job. Be who He called you to be. Immerse yourself in His gifting.

I can’t scream this loud enough: Stop fighting to be “supermom/superdad.” You’re not created to be all things for all moments. If I could shout this from the mountain tops or paint a thousand billboards to make this message clear, I certainly would.

This isn’t a competition. You don’t have to be the best, nor do you have to demean your spouse to make you look better! You figure out what you can do and learn from your spouse on the rest. You don’t have to be the only hero.

When you struggle to be the hero, you only become a narcissistic hinderance in your child’s life.

Read up on narcissism. I guarantee you. You don’t want to go there! 😉

Happy parenting!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:14

Finding The Silver Lining

The moment I took this beautiful picture of the sunbeams bursting through the darkened sky, I was headed into the funeral home.

The other day, I posted a blog of finding fun and adventure in times when nothing seems to be going right and plans are tough.

After a day that refused to end, I had to drive 30 minutes, to meet up with my son because he was in need; so, we met at a new station for yummy coffee and snacks to make the drive a little less tedious along the way.

Sometimes, you just have to search for those silver linings in the midst of the hard.

Sometimes, those silver linings are what brings a glimmer of hope along the desperate path.

It seems as if life just closes in at times. Those difficult moments become strenuous and pressing, until they are like four walls of concrete that have been given permission to move to the center, all at the same time.

I believe I’m not the only one who can attest to this fact; the past two years have confirmed this reality.

It feels as if the days are getting longer, lingering beyond the set hour to make it seem those midnight bells will never ring.

Sometimes, that silver lining can be allusive, hidden, even to the point of appearing as a mirage on a desert floor.

Sometimes, you’re gonna have to squint your eyes and grit your teeth, maybe even tilt your head a bit to see past the darkened day to that silver lining just beyond the rain.

Yet, if you will seek, you will find.

If you will knock, the door will open.

If you will but thrust your grasp into the hand of the One who holds tomorrow,

You will find the silver lining.

For He will make sure of it.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7 & 8

A New Fall Resolution

Fall is coming! See it peeking through!

It’s the second day of October, and I’m over here goal setting. I know it’s not the first of the year, and well, those “New Years Resolutions” don’t usually pan out anyway.

I’m just going to make a commitment here, kind of for accountability. Of course, it’ll be more for my own accountability, as those of you reading don’t usually “get on to me” anyway (lol. 😉😂), regardless, I’m going to put it out there. … of course, now that I’ve said that, there are some of you contemplating the task. Haha!

As I talked to a longtime friend yesterday, I was reminded of somethings that I’ve allowed to fall to the wayside of my life. And I am committing now to try to blog at least 2x a week (and to increase that after the first of the year). I’ve been SO slack the last two years…

Covid kind of turned my life upside down a bit, not because of the sickness nor the shutdowns, as Georgia has remained pretty open the whole time, but rather because our lives went into a bit of overdrive for a season. Our church remained as wide open as we could, in various stages, and we tried to get to all our people via internet, phone calls, drive-in services, in house services, etc. So, my “job” overran much of my writing space, and we just started doing what we needed to do to keep our people connected and to know we still loved and cared for them even if they couldn’t get to church.

Then, this year, when everyone hoped to “return to normal,” things didn’t seem to slow down one bit! Early in the year, we had a major staff transition, and much of that “work load” fell to me until the new staff member had transitioned. And so now, about 6 months later, things are lightening just a bit. Whew! I’m so thankful! And all of this was combined with continued Covid issues, confusion from the media on all fronts, continued families going through things and really, this part has probably been amplified on various levels because of Covid. … Side note here: I HATE Covid. Just wanted to make that clear.

I told someone the other day, I am just a bit weary. And it’s quite difficult to explain, because it’s not in anyway that I want to quit, or even change what we are doing!! I truly, absolutely LOVE what we do, where we are, and who we minister to (and really, that statement should be reversed: I love the people, the town, the job, and I’m so thankful God has placed us here.)

This might sound cliche, but it’s the truth. I consider this a high honor and blessing because there are so many pastors who are “running out of steam” and just quitting the ministry all together. That just breaks my heart, both for them and the people who followed them. When you’re called to ministry, it’s never easy. Really and truly, it’s not supposed to be. It’s a cross, but when you’re called, and you’re giving it daily to Christ, it shouldn’t be a weight that burns you out. But I digress, that’s a sermon for another day.

I do believe the “reprieve” is coming, and we’ve just got to hold on. Because it may not be until Jesus calls us home; however, in the meanwhile, we’ve got to find those “breathing moments” in the midst of the chaos. And I believe, THIS is where my weariness has come creeping in… Somewhere between the day to day grind, the grief of losing my father, the twisted up vacation we had this year (that really amounted to two days snatched here and there; although, we were gone a week), the various ministry trips, and truthfully, the lack of writing, has all equated to my feelings of fatigue.

Well, not that you needed all of that explanation, but I suppose, I’m writing it for my own benefit and remembrance… and maybe a bit of therapy. Haha!! … I know I desperately need to get back after it, my writing, if for no other reason but for my own sense of solitude and peace. Writing brings a sense of calm to my heart and a discipline to my soul, and it helps me to fall into a cadence of thinking that is needed in my life.

So, this is why today, October 2, 2021, I am making a resolution for change. It might not seem like much to someone whose writing doesn’t bring them joy, peace and strength, but for me, it’s like knowing that walking will help your overall heart health and not doing it means certain death. It’s either make the change immediately or slowly walk the downward slope toward dying. I choose LIFE … and life more abundantly!!

…And since I wrote yesterday, that’s two blogs down this week. Woohoo! Haha! 😂 Thanks for reading and indulging my New Fall Resolution.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

*UPDATE 10/17/21: I am adjusting this goal just by 1. After a couple of weeks, I am realizing that 3x – week may have been a bit too lofty of a goal after such a long stint of none and then once a month in the past year or less. So, as of now, I am adjusting to 2x a week, and I don’t think that’s unrealistic. I will strive to increase this in 3-6months. 😉

Monday Musings: Lessons Learned from 2020 and COVID-19

This has been quite a year for so many, and some would say this has been the absolute worse year ever, others would just say it stinks. I’m not sure there’s many at all who would say it’s been the best year; yet, maybe a three year old could have this perspective.

I will say it’s not been an amazingly wonderful year; it’s certainly had it’s challenges. However, I’d have to admit, it’s not been the worst year I’ve ever experienced.

Some of the worst years of my life were the year after my grandfather passed away, or the year we lost our first child after trying to conceive for 13 months, or the year I battled depression for a good half of the year… yeah, perspective always brings sunlight into the day.

Yet, there are some things this year of 2020 has taught me, and I thought I’d add it to my previous lists written near the beginning of all this

1. No matter what comes into my life, with God, I can walk through fire and I can stand in the rain…even if I have to grab the fire extinguisher and maybe a boat paddle!

2. Regardless what the days bring, you still have a choice to take another breath and move forward or clamp down on oxygen and lie down to die…I choose to breathe.

3. Despite the ugly, the tornadic, the chaos or the devastation, there is always hope, you just have to search for it…often times, it will be buried deep within.

4. Although, there may be confusion and uncertainty, if you know the right source from which to draw strength, you will have an endless supply…the Source is your key.

5. Life brings with it all kinds of ups and downs, doubts and fears, turmoil and challenges, questions and very few answers; yet, when you have a firm foundation, those specific answers may not always become easier to find, but the principles to these will be as sure anchor doe your soul.

6. Everyone needs a friend. Choosing to live out your life in isolation and avoidance is just a waste of life! … choose friends carefully, but choose them.

7. Having the courage to call out when you’re in trouble can be scary, and it definitely will make you more vulnerable than many of us like to be, but honestly, having moments of vulnerability brings humility back into our prideful flesh…and the courage it takes to ask makes us all that stronger.

8. Life has been known to bring us lemons, and sometimes, they can be the sourest ever grown, but if you’ll add a little sugar, you’ll find that lemonade to be quite refreshing… mind you, sometimes, you better add a lot!

9. No matter the clouds that brew overhead, always remember, there is a sun still shining. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but keep looking up, and it’s bound to eventually burst forth and warm up your skin.

10. If you believe there is no hope to ever be found, just stop in your tracks, take a deep breath, and place your hand to your heart to feel that beat…if there is still a rhythm, then there is always a glimmer of hope.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

1 Peter 1:13

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…

Ephesians 1:18