Encouragement

A Blue Moon

 

 

We hear the old saying that somethings happens only “ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.”

  • There was A BLUE MOON last night.
  • I decided to get up before day break to see it.
  • When we truly examine ourselves, it seems like more often than not we tend to sleep through unusual events that occur in our lives.
  • We may miss entirely the lesson that is being taught.

If we are alert to her message, nature all around us speaks about life.

  • She has words that apply to both your life, and mine.
  • There are lessons to be learned, if we are observant enough to see them and listen to what is being spoken to each one of us.

The definition of A BLUE MOON means an extra full moon.

  • Whether one month has two full moons or one quarter of a year, or a season has four instead of three.
  • This month just passed, July 2015, there was a full moon on both July 2nd and 31st.
  • A BLUE MOON comes along about once every two and one half years.
  • The last one was in 2012 and the next one early 2018.
  • They are not extremely rare, but happen infrequently.

What was the lesson of July’s BLUE MOON?

  • To me, it was to be alert and watchful.
  • Don’t just cruise through the events of your life.
  • Pay attention to the occasional happenings you experience.
  • Whether the times are difficult or joyful: observe, make good decisions, and put to practice in a positive manner any new lessons learned.

Sometimes we are so asleep with what preoccupies our time that we miss the small things of life that are before us.

  • The companionship of a family member or friend.
  • A phone call to someone that is important to our lives.
  • The pleasure of playing with a young child or spending time with a teenager.
  • Sitting with a loved pet and stroking them.
  • Listening and enjoying the words of a beautiful song.
  • Turning the television your tablet or phone off, and giving your full attention to someone who may need it.

In short: giving our time to someone else.

  • Don’t let this be a rare or infrequent event in your life.
  • Some opportunities only come along “ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.”

 

“What am I to do?

I expect to pass through this world but once.

Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can render to 

Any soul of man or animal, let me do it now.

Let me not neglect or defer it,

For I shall not pass this way again.”

–An Old Quaker Saying

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Encouragement, Poems/Songs

Life Happens

 

It is the middle of the night and here I am writing to whomever may read this.

  • Many loved ones (friends and family) are on my mind right now.
  • Life has happened to me and to them.
  • Life has effected even you.
  • We all are on this road that has twists and turns, beautiful scenery but also stormy, difficult and sometimes devastating roads that must be crossed on this journey called Life.

We make a plan, start our journey, see our goals being met and are peacefully enjoying the trip.

  • Suddenly out of nowhere we stumble across obstacles on our pathway.
  • So much of the time, this is the way Life goes.
  • There’s a line from a song that comes to mind...”I didn’t promise you a rose garden.”
  • With roses there always come thorns.

When this happens, what do we do?

  • Some of us too many times make poor choices.
  • I feel safe in saying that all of us at one time or another have wanted to choose what really is a selfish way out.
  • We take the easy road and quit.
  • We give up or make a wrong turn.
  • We live in denial.
  • We grieve and have a life long pity party.
  • We seek escape by working too much or indulging in too many pleasures.
  • We may hide ourselves in front of our electronic devices.
  • We blame ourselves and withdraw from life.

When this happens, what SHOULD we do?

  • The poet Robert Frost put it this way: “The best way out is always through.”
  • We pick ourselves up and STAY ON THE ROAD.
  • Choose a good support system: faith, prayer, family, friends.
  • Talk to yourself in a positive manner.
  • Fill your mind with the things that encourage you.
  • See the beauties of nature and listen to the message she teaches us all.
  • Put the words angry and bitter out of your life.
  • Leave dreary, negative entertainment alone.
  • Always believe in yourself and others.
  • Be of help to someone else.
  • Let your life and love shine.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Keep on, keeping on.

The good news is: no matter how disturbing and restless the night…

  • The morning always breaks through to dispel the darkness.
  • This truth was brought home to me in a very significant and powerful manner.
  • It was a long, painful and tortuous night.
  • At times I felt my heart would burst and I would not survive the approach of a new day. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 kjv).
  • You will make it through.

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark.

At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky

And the sweet, silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind.

Walk on through the rain.

Though your dreams be tossed and blown.

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart.

And you’ll never walk alone.

Walk on, walk on

With hope in your heart.

And you’ll never walk alone.

You’ll never walk alone.

(You’ll Never Walk Alone: Rodgers and Hammerstein 1945 from the musical Carousel)

This Song has been an important part of my thought life for many, many years.

  • I heard it for the first time when I became a member of the seventh grade choir in Junior High School.
  • The music and lyrics have stayed with me since that time.
  • The words are beautiful, true and challenging.
  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has in many ways been my “go to” song when Life Happens.
  • I know I don’t walk alone.
  • That thought has been my constant companion through the rough times; the darkest of nights.
  • It can be yours. 

“The strongest people are not 

those who show strength

in front of us, but those 

who win battles we know nothing about.”

–Anonymous

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

Storms

It is now shortly after 4:00 a.m. and a STORM is raging outside of the security of my home. 

  • The winds are howling, the thunder clouds clashing, the lightning flashing, the rain assaulting the four walls that provide shelter for myself and my husband.
  • For about an hour now; this Storm has raged on and on.
  • It started with a loud clash of thunder, brilliant lightning and the sound of wind chimes working overtime.
  • Our power has jumped on and off a couple of times.
  • We’ve already had two inches of rain.
  • This Storm is coming in waves; sort of like the tides.
  • It loudly announces it’s presence, after a while it seems to silently fade away only to return again with more force.

Many times I sleep through a Storm in the night, but this one said; “not tonight, I have things to say to you.” 

  • It spoke of the security of my home….of my life, and of Storms passed.
  • I was reminded, again, of a Stormy night many years ago when I thought my heart would literally break in two….a night I might not even survive.

This Storm of nature, just like the Storms that come into our lives, arrived on the heels of a good day, a day of blessings. 

  • When we’re on the mountain top, we must be aware that the trip down can bring us into a valley.
  • Storms can do that.
  • They effect our lives for the good, and if we let it we will be influenced for the worst.
  • The out come is determined by our personal perspective.
  • Will you let your spirit drown in the Storm, or will you rise above it?
  • Your times and choices are in your hands.

This Storm reminded me of something I observed one time as I was making a drive up into the Rocky Mountains. 

  • Before our destination was reached a strong Storm erupted.
  • We hadn’t been in the rain very long when I noticed a corral with about eight horses in it.
  • What caught my attention was the fact all of these horses were tightly huddled together in one corner of the pen and every one of them had their noses pointed in the same direction.
  • This group of horses were all facing directly into the wind….they were all turned into the Storm.

That’s what a ship at sea will do…..turn into a Storm.

  • The bow of a ship is designed to cut through the waves, to give it more strength.
  • The strong forces of the waves are more easily dispersed along the sides of the ship.
  • When the stern faces a Storm the craft itself is more exposed and may take a damaging blow to itself and makes all who occupy it more venerable to harm.
  • We too have more strength when we choose to turn and stand in the face of the Storms that come into our lives.

Sometimes, as with the Storm outside of my home tonight, we have a warning of it’s approach. 

  • Yesterday the air was hot and heavy….you knew something was going to break in order to clear things out.
  • But, at other times, we are hit with a Storm we were not expecting and possibly not prepared for.
  • It can come from an unexpected phone call or just about any other avenue that you have experienced.

Tonight’s Storm told me “I was safe and secure, that I had nothing to fear. My home and my life has a strong foundation. All this uproar will pass. Tomorrow will come. The air will be fresher and the sun will once more make an appearance. There will be more Storms to come, but you have grown in strength with each one that crosses your life. You can make it through the Storms of tomorrow because you depended upon ME to make it through the Storms of yesterday.”  In Scripture there is a well known account of a Storm. 

  • I have applied this story many times to my life experiences, and shared it with others when they were in the midst of their Storms.
  • As Jesus and His disciples were on the sea, a great Storm raged.
  • Most of the time the emphasis of this account is on Jesus sleeping, His disciples’ fear, Him calling for peace and calming the Storm.
  • What encourages me is the beginning of this story.
  • In Mark 4:35 Jesus has a journey to make to the other side of the sea.
  • He says to his followers: “Let US go to the other side.” 
  • In Matthew 8:23 the Word says “When He entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him.” 

Take time to reflect on this:

  • He knew there would be a Storm.
  • He entered the boat first.
  • He was with the disciples (US).
  • There was a purpose to be fulfilled across the sea and He knew that all would arrive safely.
  • If you have a personal relationship with the Savior, you can depend upon the fact that He is with you in your Storms.

Last night’s Storm is now over. 

  • The air is cool, clean and fresh.
  • As you read these words, know that you too can have a freshness and renewal in your life.
  • If you would like to know more about surviving and growing through the Storms, please thoughtfully read my blog of this past February entitled “OPPORTUNITIES.”

“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman,

“we must do one thing; there is only one way:

we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”

(Streams in the Desert)

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

Be Yourself

January 31 ,2015

We all live in a demanding world today.

  • There is so much expected of us.
  • Society judges us on what they think they see.
  • What we really are doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
  • Instead we are labeled and put in a specific box that fits their perception of us.

They observe our ethnic group, personality, education, career, possessions, politics, interests, faith, etc.

  • True, these things are part of us.
  • But, they do not in every instance define us.
  • Each one of us is an individual and need to be honored for who we are, not for who they in their ignorance decide we are.

It’s all right to be different.

  • Take time to look at nature.
  • Flowers, leaves, trees, birds, and so much more all have an individual identity.
  • How dull it would be if everything we see is the same.
  • Mother Nature would be drab and boring.

In this world there is NOT a rule that says you must meet other people’s expectations.

  • Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”
  • When you are true to who you are, you have an inner strength and confidence.
  • We are not speaking about a blank check that allows you to run rough shod over others and live with selfishness and bad choices.
  • Instead we are alluding to the contentment you can have within yourself.

It’s not a coincidence that I love the poem The Road Not Taken* so much.

  • That poem is me, my life; my choice HAS made all the difference.
  • From childhood on, I knew that in many areas of life…..I didn’t fit in.
  • Did that bother me? A little, but not enough to change my direction.
  • Am I a rebel (my grandchildren would laugh at this)?
  • No, but I knew I had a path to take and I am comfortable with who I am.
  • God has a purpose for me and I need to listen to him, not to others.

In my personal life, I have dealt with people who have judged my personality and not accepted me for who I am.

  • For myself personally that has been painful to live with.
  • I like people and I want them to like me.
  • But, it is so ingrained within me to follow my path that I cannot compromise who and what I am to meet some else’s expectations or flatter their ego.

Years ago we experienced a situation with our oldest child that infuriated me.

  • We had just moved to a large well know city and she was entering the first grade.
  • The new school was very large.
  • It had six classrooms for each grade (one thru six).
  • Our daughter was not aggressive in her personality and tended to quiet.
  • The principal scheduled a meeting with us to inform us that she had decided our daughter needed to be put back into a class for slow learning children.
  • The reason was: “she seemed to be very quiet and did not ATTACK learning.”

To put this experience into perspective:

  • You need to know that the principal was older, unmarried and had never had children.
  • I was fuming. This woman did not know our child at all, but we did.
  • We wanted to prevent her from being labeled, which is a sore point with me concerning anyone.
  • We stood our ground and before long she was one of the brightest students in the class.
  • In high school she was in advanced classes and a member of the National Honor Society.

DON’T PUT YOURSELF OR OTHERS IN A BOX.

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Believe in who you are.
  • Don’t strive to fit in, be who you were made to be.
  • You will have a better sense of fulfillment.

To have victory over your life, you must accept who you are and bring your unique gifts to the lives of others. “To thine own self be true.”

“They laugh at me

because I’m different.

I laugh at them

because they’re all the same.”

(Unknown)

*Robert Frost – Mountain Interval 1920

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

The Pearl

November 29, 2014

Today, let’s take time to reflect on one of the most unique and beautiful creation of nature: the Pearl. The Pearl is not a gem. It is an “element” (pun intended) and in a classification of it’s own.

The gems which we highly prize including gold and silver come from the earth. They are formed by the pressure exerted upon them by the forces of nature. Which, in itself, is a lesson for us.

The Pearl…….a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk.

  • Just like the shell of a clam or oyster, A Pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in layers.
  • Being irritated by a parasite or something intruding into the shell, the mollusk forms a pearl sac of tissue cells and secrets a substance to cover the irritant.
  • This protection process is repeated many times, thus producing A Pearl.

This process also speaks of the irritations and difficulties in our lives.

  • We don’t want to let something invade our life that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
  • So, if we desire to live a life that benefits others and ourselves; we must work to protect our lives from whatever is attempting to intrude and be unprofitable to us.
  • This may be a long and tedious process. A Pearl is not created overnight, but is slowly developed by a repetitive building up of layer upon layer of protection by the mollusk.

Fine quality Pearls are most of the time iridescent.

  • Like the interior of the shell that produces them.
  • Our life, as seen by others, will reflect what we are on the inside.

In this modern age of “anything goes” there is so much offered to us that has absolutely no benefit.

  • Much of it causes nothing but harm and destruction.
  • It seems pleasurable at the moment, but unforeseen results come into our lives. 

Do we, as individuals, want to go along with today’s culture.

  • And, let that which is undesirable into our lives?
  • Or are we alert to what is damaging, so that we can put into process the tools to protect ourselves?

In 1895 there was a book written by Henry Van Dyke called “The Story Of The Other Wise Man.”** Like the other Magi, He sees the signs in the heavens proclaiming that a King had been born among the Jews. He sets out on his journey to see the newborn ruler, carrying treasures to give as gifts to the child – a sapphire, a ruby and A Pearl of great price.  

He stops along the way to help a dying man, which makes him miss joining the caravan of the other three wise men. Since he missed the caravan, he is forced to sell one of his treasures in order to buy camels and supplies necessary to cross the desert alone.

He arrives in Bethlehem too late to see the child, whose parents have fled to Egypt. He then saves the life of another child at the price of another one of his treasures.

He travels to Egypt and spends many years searching for Jesus there, also in many other countries. All along the way he performs acts of kindness and charity to those who needed assistance.

After thirty-three years, he is still a pilgrim, searching for the King he heard about all those many years ago.

He finally arrives in Jerusalem just in time for the crucifixion of Jesus. There he spends his last treasure, The Pearl, to ransom a young woman about to be sold as a slave.

He is mortally wounded in an accident, and is about to die, having failed in his quest.

Yet, he was at peace, because he had done the best he could. A voice whispers to him “Verily I say unto thee, In as much as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.” The Other Wise Man had found his King.

The word Pearl is a description of something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.

There is not another exactly like you. When each of us decides to rid ourselves of the irritations inside, we become a rare find for others and our life become more valuable to them and to our own selves.

Pearls have a softer exterior than the hardened gems of earth. It is said that they will take on a specific luster and color from the oils, minerals etc. on the skin of the one who wears them. What traits do you take on in your life for others to see?

In this life there are always lessons to be learned. What can you learn from A Pearl?

 

“The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks,

while in reality it is the only weight which is necessary to keep the diver down…

while he is hunting for pearls.”

(Richtner)

 

**The Story Of The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke, Publisher: Harper & Brothers

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Life's Journey, Seasonal

Fall

……October 11, 2014

 

We are now newly entered into the fall season and nature is changing all around us.

  • She is adorning herself with one last show of beauty before her winter’s rest.
  • The colors are everywhere. On the trees, in the countryside and even in our homes.

 

This is in many ways a refreshing time of year.

  • You can smell the cool crispness in the air.
  • The seasons change and the heat of summer is but a memory.
  • The days are shorter and the nights longer.

 

We decorate our yards and homes with scarecrows, pumpkins and fall flowers.

Children romp and play in piles of leaves that have to be raked up allover again.

It’s time for football, homecomings, hayrides, bonfires, wiener roasts and of course roasting marshmallows and making smores.

We try to soak in as much time as possible outdoors, before we have to be sheltered from the blasts of winter.

 

Just as nature changes her appearance, we are in the process of changing ours.

  • Most of us get busy cleaning out our closets and getting ready for a change in temperature.
  • Old summer clothes, pass times and entertainments are put in storage for another year.
  • Warmer clothing, coats and boots are now the prominent items in our closets.
  • Some of use even prepare our homes.  Check the furnace, collect wood for the fireplace, seal any areas where cold can intrude and maybe even protect outside water faucets.

 

At this time, maybe we need to think about cleaning out the drawers and closets of our lives. Too much stuff is there that is not needful for us to keep.

  • In fact, it’s probably been there far too long, and has become a point of stress.
  • Most of this “stuff” is clutter “we shouldn’t have let collect there to begin with.”
  • Things that we don’t know how to handle, so we just keep it stored in our memory, and it effects our lives.
  • Get rid of it and create space for newer and better things.

 

We enjoy life more, are more contented, relaxed, and rest better, when the old things we surround ourselves with are thrown away.

  • Clean out worry, disappointment, anger, fearfulness, old wounds, insecurities, disillusionments.
  • These things are a hinderance to the way we talk to ourselves and how we live our lives.
  • All of us carry unnecessary baggage. It weighs us down like a ton of rocks.
  • Life just seems a lot better when we let go and look at the world with different eyes.

 

As the seasons change, so does our lives change. 

  • Days, weeks, months and years pass; sometimes we wonder how it went by so fast.
  • Children want to finish school.
  • Teens want to be own their own.
  • Couples want to wed, start a family and the cycle begins anew, just as nature goes from one season to another.

That’s what life is: a cycle that is ever changing. 

RIGHT NOW you have the opportunity to go forward to the next season with a different perspective on life, YOUR LIFE.

After all………..“IN SOME LIVES WINTER WILL FALL.”

 

“God is forever and forever beginning again,

He is forever and forever getting:

New mornings out of old nights,

Fair beginnings out of dismal endings.”

(Anonymous)

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