When you have to go to Fl for a memorial, stay in a place you’ve never been but want to explore.
When you have to go, but a hurricane is barreling in, drive on down to The Keys and stay a night in comfort, away from the howling wind.
When it’s raining in paradise, make a drive to a fun dive and remember the sunset from yesterday.
When the dockside you want isn’t open and other places are too full or the hours are funky, just stop searching and try to enjoy the mediocre food you find at a cool dive.
When you get burned from the less than desired cuisine, have a do-over at the hotel convenience … sit out on the balcony and enjoy good food, good service, and sweet conversations with both the waitress and your love.
Feels like island time already.
When you have to plan for the days ahead and make some decisions, sit out by the island waters, under a tiki hut, in a bamboo chair swing, and let the coastal breeze wash all over you.
When you can’t bring your boys with you, and they made because they missed the adventure, you stop by a favorite to bring our home to them…and enjoy a slice yourself in the beautiful garden out back.
When you have a free place, save a little money and head back to your original destination after the storm has blown through.
But take the long way through the swamps. It’s a prettier, more laid back experience.
Remember, you’re here for the adventure.
When you find your place to be amazing, but the beach town to be a little less than, go exploring nearby.
Remember, you’re here to make a memory.
When the days have been upside down and the busyness of life is taking a toll, take a little stroll along the seashore…or maybe two or three.
Along the way, stop and smell the roses, or take in the sight of the massive, gigantic trees, as it were.
When you see that the feasts prepared are good, but maybe not great, find the one suggested and let it remind you why you make a meal an event.
Amazing food, beautiful scenery, and fun conversations can bring the two of you back to younger days, deeper love and a stronger friendship.
When you have to go to a memorial, to be there for a friend, make it an adventure along the way.
Remember, it’s not always about the destination. Sometimes, it’s more about the time spent together and dreams fulfilled.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
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!😉
It’s been amazing to me how God’s goodness has just followed me throughout my whole life. This doesn’t mean my life has been perfect, nor does it mean that it’s been devoid of pain and sorrow. That’s actually very far from the truth. However, looking back through the years, and even at the very beginning, His goodness was there, almost lurking in the shadows at times.
I can see His hand at work so many times, comforting me, shielding me, overshadowing me and even uplifting me to be encouraged and reminded of this. I hear often, from people who want to reject Him, ask the question, “If He’s so good, why do bad things happen? Why do people get hurt? Why doesn’t He rescue all from evil?” To completely, and theologically, try to explain the answers to these questions, it would take too long for this blog, and it might be too deep or too boring for some.
Yet, I will say this much, typically, these questions aren’t from true searchers who would actually accept God if they found Him. These questions are designed to set up rebellion in a heart and argument in a mind to the point of stubborn resolution that either there is no God or He’s just a deity that is too lofty for our minuscule life, and He never cared anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and I’d have to contend that you are not a true seeker nor a very good reader. You don’t do any research or read anything to truly help you find the answers to the questions you ask. But I digress. That will be another post for another day.
We live in a fallen world, and just as a person being sick doesn’t make the doctor less of a doctor, dealing with the evil of a fallen world doesn’t make God any less God. Having bad things happen in my past doesn’t nullify the Sovereignty of my God nor does it mean He loves me any less. There are a ton of reasons bad things can happen, and I won’t try to pretend to have all the answers for the Whys. I will say, the more I focus on Him and on His goodness, I see more and more of Him intricately intertwined into every piece of my life’s tapestry, and for this, I am eternally grateful!
I see the godly men He brought into my life when my own father abandoned me time and again. I see the godly women He brought into my life when my own mother and I could never see eye to eye. I see the friends He brought in when another would wound and scar my tender heart. He has always filled in the gaps when the entities of this world left my soul wrenching in pain and agony.
God places specific people in your life to fill in those voids that others leave, those gaps where others have failed their purpose. Sometimes, we are too fixated on what was lost that we fail to see the refreshing fulfillment He places right before us. We have to get our eyes focused back on Him, and He will give us sight to see what we could never have imagined possible.
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” 1 Samuel 16:1
“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:11
I found this pictured quote posted the other day, and it seems I’ve shared it a gazillion times this week. It’s such a simple statement; yet, it seems so profound. Everyone of us, whether you’d like to admit it or not, has someone within reach who has walked the new and painful paths we must face throughout life, often times, that person is even within your orbit of living.
Whether it be sickness, terminal illness, relationship heartbreak, job loss, death of a loved one, divorce, tragedy, or whatever, there is someone out there who can relate. Especially now, with as much access we all have in cyberspace, the ability to reach out to someone who at the very least has a slight understanding, is exponential. There are resources upon resources to find knowledge, personal experience testimonies and short groups for any every dilemma one might face.
In many ways, it seems to be easier now than any other time in history to overcome what dilemmas and trials might come. Yet, our suicide and trauma rates seem to be higher than any other time in history. I have a theory to this, and please forgive me, I’m not an expert, and I’m definitely not trying to trivialize any pain or conflict you may have experienced in a particular scenario. However, I do hope this theory will resonate: more often than not, we hav become a society that focuses too much on “me and mine,” rather than, realizing there is a whole new generation coming behind us who need the wisdom, the testimonies, the experience and the legacy of both failures and achievements that we can give.
Understand, I am not stating this from of “high and mighty judgment,” never realizing the pain of depression, sorrow or suicidal thoughts or tendencies. I have been to low points in my life that I’d rather not share in this current post. I have
If it had not been for the grace of God, the prayers of those who knew and loved me, and the self-fortitude and remembrance in my own heart and mind of my higher calling and purpose, I assure you, I wouldn’t be writing this today, and you could be visiting me in the cemetery on a sunny day.
I can attest to the truth of this quote. You come through those hellish nights, and you persevere through those grueling, sun-scorched days of pain in order to help someone else along the way. Or at least, you should, because it is through your testimony of grace and endurance that someone else can find their strength to hope for a brighter tomorrow.
So, push on, broken one. Hum until you sing again. Struggle until you find your fight. Strive until you thrive. For there is some lost soul searching in the dark for just one clear footstep to help lead them out beyond the storm.
Be real while you grieve. Let the tears flow. Let the thoughts ponder. Let the grief run through your veins like a cold hard rain that just won’t stop.
Grief is never easy. It is never fun, or full of laughter or delightful. Honestly, grief sucks. Grief can make you feel like running far, far away or hiding in a corner until everyone is gone. Grief can even make you feel like crawling into that casket and being buried right alongside that person you’ve lost.
All those emotions, fears, anger, doubt and pain, it all comes with the territory of grief. It’s not a joy-ride, and it’s really not for the weak and whiny. Those who succeed best through the traumas of grief are those who allow those feelings to glow like rain. Those who live through grief and are able to help someone else through the same storm are those who allow themselves to be real and never try to live up to someone else’s expectations or demands on the grief.
Those who become stronger because of the grief are those who, while their hearts are being ripped from their very being, extend a look of compassion to someone else who is hurting, reach out with a gentle hand to wipe away a tear from someone else’s cheek whose heart is ripped out, too.
These are the heroes of grief. They are not mighty pillars of stoic strength, never shedding a tear. They are not mindless minions, never feeling, never crying, never screaming from the pain. They are simply common, ordinary people who have chosen not to cause someone else pain because of their own, but rather, they have chosen to be a wounded warrior, linking arms with the fallen and helping him to safety while their own body is ravished from the bullet wounds of agony and pain.