How Grateful Are You?

I do not own or possess this pic. (Google search)

It’s that season when everyone is “supposed to be grateful.”

There are commercials, radio broadcasts, and talk shows proclaiming who’s grateful and why.

There are magazine articles and social media posts sharing the gratitude of the heart or how to show it.

But it always makes me wonder, “Why do we have to show our gratefulness only at this time of year?”

That may sound like a ridiculous question, but let me take a moment to explain…

Gratefulness is not simply a coat we should take out of the closet one season a year.

It’s not something we should dig out if the winter clothes to cover our shivering hearts.

It’s not a trinket we should wrap around our necks for the he holidays for all to see so beautifully.

Gratefulness should be a chosen lifestyle.

It should be an attitude we allow to arise in our souls with the sunshine and to glow through the night as the moonlight.

It should be as a keepsake with which we can’t depart.

Something we must carry with us at all times, whether there is someone to see the display or not.

Gratefulness should be a lifeline that sustains us on the highest mountain tops and the darkest valleys below.

It should be the countenance of our face that glitters in every season.

It should be our very heartbeats that remind us of every blessings, every beauty, and every gracious moment that has touched our lives.

It should be the very breath we breathe for every day we remain on this revolving planet.

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving…

1 Timothy 4:4

A merry heart does good, like medicine,

But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

Contemplation

Somethings in life just don’t make sense.

You can look at it sideways, upside down, and with one eye half open, and it still won’t seem rational.

You can shake it, turn it, flip it, and it will be just as complicated.

You can kick it, throw it, even stomp upon it, and it will not be put on solid ground.

Somethings in life just won’t unravel, no matter how hard you try.

There should be a beginning and an end.

There should be a start, a go, a pause and a stop.

There should be a forward, a return, a left and a right.

Somethings in life just refuse to be easily understood.

If you keep beating against that wall, all you will receive is a busted head and five bloody knuckles.

If you keep walking down that street, all you will find is pain, suffering and utter chaos of soul.

If you keep turning over those rocks, all you will discover are the same nasty worms, devoured soil and littered weeds you found before.

Somethings in life will remain in darkness.

Somethings in life will rebel against any sanity.

Somethings in life will have to be contained in phantom answers if you are to crawl to rest.

So, let the tears roll down the shoreline, and let the shattered dream fade with the night.

For in the morning’s light, you can find hope.

As your heart is seeped in peace, and your mind is consumed by His grace.

Penned – MG – 10/29/21

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 nkjv

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

Was The MadHatter Really Mad?

If you make the hats feverishly, does that really make you mad?

And if you turn the room upside down because of the words that you say, does that make you insane?

And what if you imagine such a thing, and it comes to be a reality, does that make you a Magician or a dreamer?

If you sail the seven seas and yet are afraid of drowning, does that make you fearless?

And if you hike the highest mountain, does that truly make you an adventurer?

And if you dive into the deepest cave, yet long for the sunrise, does that make you a warrior or a defender?

If you are always present, does that mean you are never lost?

And you are always looking down f I’m above, does that make you a true intellect?

And if you are dying to live, does it truly mean you are alive or are you simply breathing in?

You can be a MadHatter, or you can be the Cat.

You can be the trees, or you can be the wizard.

You can be the pirates, or you can be the boys.

Life is a perspective.

The rules are debatable and full of consequence.

Which one will you choose?

Penned – 10/3/21 – MG

For the Lord is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 100:5

When You Have To…Make it An Adventure

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.

We he original Mrs. Mac’s, on Key Largo, has the most amazing key lime pie!

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.

Skippers food is decent,
but this blonde sundae is to die for!!
The key lime wasn’t so great.

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.

Gus’s Grille at the
Marriott in Key Largo is great!
The apple pie is delicious!
The key lime pie is scrumptious!

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.

The Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory has the absolute best key lime in the Keys!
Their expanded garden is a wonderful place to sit and take a breather,
and of course, to enjoy your slice!

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.

The pictures just don’t quite do it justice.
The dimensions of this tree are mind-blowing!

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.

Matanza’s By the Bay is absolutely amazing!!
Be sure to get the salted caramel cheesecake and the pb pie…OH. MY!!

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.

Philippians 4:8
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that
take our breath away.

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.

Philippians 4:6-7

Happy Father’s Day

For so many, Father’s Day can come with a roller coaster of emotions. Every little girl or boy wishes to have a Daddy who loves them, protects them, guides them and defends them, but sometimes, that’s just not how life turns out. And sometimes, we’ve had to say goodbye long before we’re ready.

Sometimes, rolling into the Father’s Day weekend, every thing can be just fine, and then, all of a sudden, you just cloud up and rain. You feel grouchy and agitated for no particular reason. You just want to sleep a little more, isolate a little longer, or pull back a little deeper.

You can’t really put your finger on it at first, and then, the tears roll down like a drenching spring shower, and you realize you really do miss him. Maybe it’s because he was bigger than life, filling the void deep within. Or maybe he was too absent, dropping in whenever he felt suited him, but left you waiting by the door with your bags packed foe a visit way too many times to count.

Or maybe, it’s never a missing or actual longing for him because he was so broken that he tried to break you in ways only nightmares can speak of; yet, the tears come for what could’ve been, should’ve been, and for what never could have been imagined…

So, for all those whose Father’s Day weekend brings with it a bit more complicated feelings than what you’d hoped for, know there is a God who sees you, and He longs to fill that void, heal that brokenness and mend those wounds that you’ve tried desperately to hide or ignore.

He truly is the best Dad a girl could hope for!

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing…

Psalm 68:5-6

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Stop to Smell the Roses … and Count Them, Too.

I love roses. Really, I love flowers of almost any kind, but I’ve always been partial to roses, poppies and Gerber daisies.

Particularly, in red and hot pink… but these orange roses above are absolutely beautiful as well!!

And lately, I’ve been drawn to them more and more while being reminded of the phrase, “Stop to smell the roses.”

See, life has just been crazy busy lately. Busy in good ways, I suppose, but busy nonetheless. And I find my heart longing for a pause…

A pause for refreshment. A pause for reflection. A pause for renewal.

In everyday life, and especially, in the busy days of life, if you don’t have those pauses that bring refreshment, reflection and renewal, you might very well die. If you don’t die, you might drown in the heaviness around you. If you don’t drown, you might just grow resentful or depressed or burnt out.

You’ve got to pause. And you can’t pause with chaos in your head. You’ve got to pause away from the frantic. You’ve got to pause out of the panic. You’ve got to pause beyond the emotion and turmoil.

Get alone till you’re not alone anymore.

Sit still until you are still.

Breathe until you do breathe.

And then, inhale even deeper and smell those roses.

And then, take another minute to count them.

I promise you. If you’ll do this often, you’ll find you can face tomorrow a whole lot easier. … doesn’t mean tomorrow will be easier. It just means you’ll be a little stronger to face it.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.

Psalm 145:5-7

Monday Musing on Tuesday

[*I do not own nor possess this pic.
Simple google search.]

Sometimes, you’re going to appear insane simply because you disagree… or at least, those in the River of conformity will say.

Sometimes, you’re going to sound crazy simply because you won’t comply… or at least, those in the push for an agenda will claim.

Sometimes, you’re going to wonder if you might be going nuts simply because you won’t say yes… or at least, those in the camp of trend, popularity and fame will declare.

Never allow those around you, and especially those against you, to convince you to jump off the cliff simply because every sheep on the planet has.

Make up your own mind.

Choose one Sovereign authority and follow Him.

His Truth is Absolute, and absolute Truth is, itself, exclusive.

Don’t lose it.

Don’t give it away.

And certainly, NEVER sell it to the highest bidder!

Truth is a precious gift. A precious commodity.

Hold on to it.

No matter the cost.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32

What Do We See and Who Do We Seek?

Today’s been one of my reading days…

I’ve been catching up on articles that have surprised, challenged or even overwhelmed my thoughts on normality and what “being good” is all about… no, I don’t look at life through sheltered eyes, and sin really doesn’t “surprise” me.

Yet, what overwhelms my heart is the truth of Scripture that tells us (paraphrased), “The fields are white with harvest, but the laborers are few.” …and they are SO few. We are so burdened with the cares of this world, I’m not sure how many lost we actually see in our day-to-day, and if we do see them, do we just keep on walking by trying not to offend?

What boggles my mind is the rampant demand in our culture to call good evil and evil good. There is a new “common norm” that is flowing like a rushing River. All those opposed to it are hailed as evil, trying to build a dam to stop the flow, and some in that parade even give the confusing claims to Christ while shouting everything He hates is good and everything He loves must be from hell itself. Others stand on the wall of the dam screaming at the water, describing all the nastiness in the liquid but never giving it hope to see that the dam isn’t there for its detriment but rather for it’s transformation to something better.

What challenges my soul is how I can reach out in love AND truth to share His story, even if it might be just one life at a time. How can we create a culture that loves God, hates sin, seeks His perfection while compassionately love the imperfect-ed around us?

Can’t it start with just one? Doesn’t it start with me and you turning our accusing fingers back at our own hearts and kneeling at the foot of a bloody cross and repenting?

Oh God, help us to have eyes that SEE the lost. Help us to have a heart to CARE that they’re lost, and help us to have the courage to SPEAK Your Truth! Your children have been silent for far too long…

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven , and I will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

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