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“You can lead a horse to water but  you can’t make him drink”

You can share the deepest truth, but you can’t force one to think

You can light a brilliant candle, but a friend can close their eyes

You can prepare a wondrous feast, but can’t give an appetite

You can give the greatest gift, but one must choose to receive

You can share the greatest truths, but one must choose to believe

What we can do yes we should, there is no regret there

Though we may not see results, we persist and cast our cares

For “It’s never for nothing when we love with no return”

some things are freely given and just cannot be earned

Oh the beauty of free will is a double-edged sword

Would that we would wisely choose to love…

..and let love be it’s own reward

as we leave results

to the Lord.

Light your candle in the dark

Let it shine, let it glow

Who is warmed or sees the light

Just might not be ours to know.

 

 

a few thoughts tonight that just happened to come out in a poem.

Blessings to you and yours~

Shine on 🙂

Heather

 

Oh, and here’s a song I listened to sooo many times in the 80s 🙂  Never for Nothing by Margaret Becker. Such a great song that I could hear in my head and heart as this poem kind of spilled out. Gotta give credit where credit is due.  The lyrics to the song are awesome…way outshine this little ditty of a poem, but just sharing the litty ditty anyway …

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday

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Just a few thoughts tonight. Spoke with a dear friend about his place right now. Lots of constant trying to move forward but maybe not seeing the movement because there’s so much ground ahead and goals to move toward, to move forward, to press on to the what’s next with little rest between that and what’s behind. It’s like the journey is so big that it’s hard to see the progress of how far he’s come.

But I’m thinking,in taking a moment to look back a bit, we might just be amazed at how far we’ve come. Perspective is so powerful…  Sometimes we don’t realize how far we’ve come until we stop to remember where we’ve been.

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And I’m also thinking that sometimes it’s good to stop to realize that everything is not all  up to us. It’s so not. Even when it feels like it is. And even when so many things are. Up to us, that is.  There’s still so much that’s not. We do what we can. I’m believing God can do what we can’t. He’s good at filling in gaps, that’s for sure.

Am thinking taking a little time to reflect, to be thankful, to b r e a t h e,   b r e a t h e,         b r e a t h e can inspire in ways that no spinning of our wheels, or juggling balls, or running marathons ever could.  There’s a definite place for all that…for the doing of what we can, for giving it our all, but am thinking that at the end of the day, there’s gotta be a little time, a respite, a filling up.  REST is a necessary part of thriving. Striving, yes, there’s a time for that, for working hard, pushing through. But REST…rest is that time  of repair that equips us, that sustains us, that fills us. God is a Master at the filling up of the empty cup….of filling in the gaps, of breathing life back in…inspiring. He says, “Come to me all who are weary, and I’ll give you rest.”  Rest is that filling up of the the mind, the body, the spirit, that is such a necessary part of any goal or vision or mission. It equips for the journey, sustains and allows for the taking of the next step.

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And another thought.  Sometimes in the journey, unexpected turns can kind of knock the breath out of us. It can be as instantaneous as a kick in the gut, or a slow seep of just feeling like we can’t get enough air in our lungs. It’s like you’re moving forward and have covered so much ground.  You’ve worked incredibly hard for so long, faced and overcome obstacles, moved forward, and you feel like you’re so close to the destination that you can touch it. And then?  Then, the terrain dips down to a huge valley you didn’t even know was there.  It’s sobering and disconcerting, not to mention deeply discouraging. And it makes you feel like you’ll never get to that destination.  You just didn’t see this diversion coming…. and instead of realizing how far you’ve come, all you can think about is how very far you have to go.

 

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But  you know what?  In order to get to the destination,  you’ve gotta go through this once-unseen-valley. It’s part of the journey. It doesn’t change the destination. That dip in the terrain was always there. But you’re not all-seeing. You didn’t see it. But so much of life can’t be anticipated, but merely responded to…one step at a time. One mile at a time. One breath at a time. You’ll get there.  It’ll come. It will. One step at a time. Some things aren’t ours to figure out, just to respond to well. I love the quote by D Bonhoeffer that says, ““There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.”  Nothing need be wasted. Just gotta be sure to be respond well and be thankful for the leg of the journey we’re on…knowing the lessons learned in the distance traveled prepare us better for what’s ahead. And gratitude,…gratitude lightens the load and quickens the step.

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So here’s to the valleys where we’re made to stop a bit and realize how far we’ve come. Valleys we may see as detours that are crucial parts of our journey. Valleys that help us see not only what we can do, but what we can’t. Valleys that make us realize that we do indeed need to get some rest.  And valleys that remind us that we’re not alone, no matter how alone we may feel. Sometimes when the valleys are so low, we can’t help but look up. Thankful for the looking up. And for visuals like stars that shine bright in the dark of night. Shine bright. (Philippians 2). Yep. Stars shine bright in the night.

Thankful for prayer too. Prayer and words spoken and words not…and for the God who fills the gaps of the here and now in the middle of whatever we’re going through. Thankful that He is but a prayer away, no matter what ground we’re standing on or where we’ve been. And He can make all the difference in where we’re going…and how we see where we’ve been. Nothing is wasted when placed in the hands of the One who loves us most. Yep. Am thinking so. And just wanted to remind my dear friend of just that.

Blessings ❤
H.

 

‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

 

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Silent Sunday

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“God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.”

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

 

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 We are “His and held…”  Love that.

He is  “Sovereign Still”. And good. He is Good.  Love that too.

“Live to bring Him praise.” Aspiring to that.

A few early morning thoughts in the quiet with a thankful heart. So many needs everywhere…out “there” in the world, in my community, at work, church, in my own home and heart. Thankful that God reaches in right where we are…’for those who have ears to hear…, eyes to see.”  His Promises are still good and His heart is for you.

Blessings ~

H

 

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Silent Sunday

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I drove home at sunset today.  Just as I was rounding the corner, I saw this dandelion standing tall against a vast field. The light caught it just right. I grabbed my camera, parked the car for a minute, and snapped a few shots.

On this Thankful Thursday, am thankful for the little ‘insignificant’ significant things. I’m thankful for dandelions in November that catch the light of a sunset. I’m thankful that even a dandelion can stand out in a vast field if the light hits it just right. Sometimes it’s not only about the ‘thing’, it’s about the light that that ‘thing’ is seen it. Light changes everything. It’s an ‘eye-of-the-beholder’ kind of thing…love that.

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Little things like grains of sand,  beads on a string, drops of water, dandelion seeds, and tiny webs on branches…they are all little insignificant teeny-tiny things. But grains of sand make up beaches, drops of water make rivers and oceans, and seeds cover the earth. DSCN6183

And it’s a vast, vast earth out there and up there in the heights of the sky and the depths of the sea. But it’s full of little ‘insignificant’ significant things. Even smaller than grains of sand are the molecules, the atoms,…it’s pretty mind blowing and amazing and beautiful.

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We might have those times of feeling insignificant or unnoticed…like a grain of sand on a mile long beach, a drop of water in an ocean, a leaf in a forest.  But significance is in the eye of the beholder.  And the Bible talks about how God knows about detail…about the significance of the little teeny-tiny things. In you. In me. It actually says that He knows the number of hairs on our heads.  He knew us as we were being formed in our mother’s wombs. He knew us before we were.  And all of that blows my mind and makes me smile at the same time.

Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  Love, acknowledgement, appreciation, and a drawing near can make one who feels so insignificant or invisible, feel like a stand out (in a great way!)    So if you ever have days of feeling a bit insignificant, (and am thinking we all do), I encourage you (and me) to seek out the One who knows our significance. After all, He created us.  ..and loves us through and through, through it all. Love changes things. It does. It’s kind of like a light that shines down on the most insignificant, little, teeny-tiny dandelion, and makes it beautifully stand out against a vast field. Yep. Love changes things.

Just a few thankful thoughts after seeing a little dandelion on the side of the road.

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Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  It’s a quick, early-Friday-morning “Thankful Thursday” blog. Lots more thoughts  (surprise, surprise!) but gonna end for now. Gotta get ready for school/work. But one more thought…for the people in our lives…maybe one hug, one kind word, one little act of acknowledgement  can make the insignificant feel…not.  Maybe being noticed, shining the light on, per say, can make the feeling of being invisible,… just disappear 🙂  Am thinking so.  Blessings to you and yours today ❤

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”        Psalm 136:26

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”      Zephaniah 3:17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 

Thankful Thursday

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Wordless Wednesday

 

https://wordpress.com/tag/silent-sunday

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I think I finally understand the meaning of “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”  FDR may have been coming at it from a different set of circumstances and perspective (global perspective vs. just-me, myself, and I perspective)…  But I really get it. And a man in a red coat on a woodsy path, along with a hugely oversized raccoon helped me “get it”, and speak it and do it…”speak softly and carry a big stick”, that is!

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You see, I went for a long walk the other morning.  Was beautiful. I wanted to see the sunrise in the morning, but it was cloudy at 7 a.m., so I went down by the river where I often go. And I walked, and I sang, (didn’t think any humans were there to hear me 🙂  ) , and I prayed, and thought, and took photos.

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I walked a long time, and went further down the path than I had ever gone. On the way, I questioned my wisdom a few times because it’s deer season in the south, and there were gunshots coming from across the river…close gunshots…and I was easily heard in the rustling of the leaves with each step. But am guessing I was not so easily seen with a gray sweatshirt on.  Red would’ve been a much better choice I decided.

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And then I heard a crazy, crazy animal scream at the top of a ravine, and my first thought was, “I wonder if there are mountain lions or cougars in these hills”. And then there was the moment when I got to what appeared to be the end of a path…it opened up onto a hill …but there was a house there, with abandoned vehicles, sheds, and a very big and quite concerned  dog with a low and loud bark. He made it obvious that I was an intruder. I kind of decided that although there was another marker pointing to a path on the hill top (Jolly Mountain), that it might be a wise thing to turn around. And after taking a few shots (photos, ha!) in the clearing, I turned around.

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So, exaggerated or not, these present and possible dangers probably made my heart rate go up quite a bit more than the walk itself. (My Fitbit can attest to that!) But those first few seeming threats were NOTHING compared to what would  meet me on the trail on the walk back.

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I was walking along and lost in thought when I saw a man about 1/8 mile away. He was wearing a red down coat and was standing still, looking my way, and staring.  Self-defense tactics that my husband had shared with me in his undercover narc days surfaced a bit in my brain, and soon gave way to confusion as the man in the red coat started yelling something at me.  So I stopped the rustling of the leaves and listened. And finally, I heard…and then,…I saw.

On the path between he and I was a HUGE, I mean HUGE raccoon. And it was daytime, and that concerned me a bit. Nocturnal animals should be asleep by now. It concerned the man in the red down jacket too. “I think he’s rabid…be really careful!!!”  So, the man in the red down jacket was no threat, but there might be a much scarier threat lurking. (My husband’s self-defense tips just wouldn’t apply to defend against a crazed raccoon…)

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So…Hmm. Okay.  I kind of froze. Not out of total fear, but I needed a bit of think time.  And a stick. I needed a stick.  (The man yelled that, too. “YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET A STICK!!” he yells…not softly at all.)  And he walked on further, and then stopped to see if I’d make it by this huge raccoon in the middle of the path. (He was kind to wait, but to be honest, I kind of wanted this man who I originally thought was a threat, to do the chivalrous and self-sacrificing act of actually coming to rescue me and ensure that I was safe…,ha. And that’s hard to admit for me and my seemingly-independent self. )

So…I walked softly, prayed softly, (but heartily), and got a big stick.

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…and I walked on toward the raccoon and when I got a little bit close, I proceeded to take the ‘high road’, and as the raccoon went toward the river, I walked way up off the beaten path on higher ground. Thankfully, as I walked on by,  the raccoon disappeared into a hole just beyond the lower side of the path. The man  in the red coat walked on, and I breathed a prayer of thanks,…quickened my pace,… and continued to hold on to that stick, and decided to ‘walk with purpose’ rather than linger and take photos.

Sometimes real threats are all around us and we don’t even know it. We can be surrounded by things that might or might not be dangerous. We can be aware of them, or totally oblivious to them.In this oft-crazy world, it seems as though it’s getting easier and easier to live in fear. But fear  often lives in the what might happen. Faith walks in the now.  I’m thinking faith walks hand in hand with fear sometimes. I mean, my heart was pumping, and what if’s were popping up in my head.  I love the Elisabeth Elliot quote that says, “Sometimes fear does not subside and I must choose to do it afraid.”  Lots of times for this girl. Walking past this seeming threat of a possibly-rabid raccoon is way low on the list of things I’ve needed to “choose to do afraid”.   But it really reminded me of the toll that fear can take on us.

I’m thinking it’s a good thing to be equipped to battle our fears…with tenacity, wisdom, smarts, and …sticks…tools to help us guard our hearts and minds and bodies.  Sometimes we can guard against very present dangers. We wear seat belts. We take vitamins. We go inside during lightning storms and in the basement in the threat of a tornado. We take preventive measures to protect our children, adult or not.  Caution is a good thing…as long as we continue living and stretching and moving forward.

Fear can bring on a state of paralysis where we’re so afraid to move to the left or the right that we never take a step at all. I’ve been there. (Even on my walk I had a ‘moment’!)  It seems to me that the paralysis sets in when I feel as though I’m a bit at the mercy of a situation…or a rabid raccoon or barking dog or man on a path yelling at me.  But thankfully, we can arm ourselves with more than sticks.

The Bible talks about the battles we face being against principalities, against things that are forces that can’t be seen. Sticks won’t do much in this battle. But the “armor” that is spoken of in Ephesians 6 can battle those unseen things.  The ‘belt of truth’ (focusing on what is True rather than the feelings or exaggerated ‘what ifs ‘ , etc.)  , ‘the breastplate of righteousness’ (walking with integrity, making good choices protects people in countless ways….) , the ‘shoes of the gospel of peace’ (God’s grace changes everything…everything, and allows us to walk in places with a new perspective) , ‘the shield of faith’ (He can do what I can’t, that’s for sure. I can focus on fear, or faith…faith shield and protects my heart), ‘the helmet of salvation’ (Grace protects my mind and changes the way I think..), and ‘the sword of the Spirit’ (The unseen can only be battled with the Unseen…can do what I can’t) …these all combat and protect the heart and mind in a world where there’s way more to lose than the physical.

I don’t know what real or present dangers you are facing. These tiny ‘threats’ on my walk were nothing compared to some of the battles we all face with real and legitimate fears for ourselves, for friends, for spouses and parents and children.  But I think there’s wisdom to really prepare our hearts, minds and bodies to be aware of what’s around us. It’s a good, good thing to control what we can, and trust God with what we can’t. I thought back to my walk and how the whole time was spent in solitude….with no humans in sight at all, until the man in the red coat. It struck me that if I had been taking photos and not paying attention, this scenario could’ve turned out quite differently, because that raccoon was there, and I could’ve truly been oblivious to its presence until I was right next to it. But thanks to the warning of the loud man in the red coat, well, the danger was heeded off. I wonder how many things we’re guarded from daily, hourly, momentarily that we’re not even aware of. Yes, it’s good to control what we can, but I’m so thankful that there’s often  much protection than we’ll ever be aware of.

So, thought for the day?  Yes, “speak softly and carry a big stick…”  is good advice. For leaders of countries for sure…*sigh*, and for me. Navigating through volatile and heated situations and dangers is cause for self-control and wisdom and respect….and then, only if necessary, muscles and sticks to guard, guard, guard, protect, protect, protect, but not aggressively trample and destroy. In the woods, in homes, work places and amongst nations, am thinking FDR knew what he was talking about.

Just a few thoughts which surfaced on my LONG walk on a cold November morning.

Blessings to you and yours ~
Heather

 

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes,  you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand….”

Ephesians 6:12

 

 

 

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