Archives for category: Uncategorized

DSCN2045.jpg

“We want big directional signs from God.

God just wants us to pay attention.”

~Lysa Terkeurst

 

Wordless Wednesday

 

 

 

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than

sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

~Martin Luther King

 

LIGHT VALUE OF ONE

Some ignorance is bliss. Like when you don’t know something that your child did but it was all worked out and you find out ten years later and are mortified, but realize that everyone survived and lessons were learned without you having to be the key interventionist.  There’s an element of bliss in that. Or when you don’t know about a meeting that you were supposed to go to but didn’t really want to go to but would have gone had you known.  Or ignorance is bliss when you get to walk in sweet oblivion of conflict that doesn’t concern you and it’s all worked out by the time  you get wind that there was even an issue in the first place. Or ignorance can be bliss when you have little awareness of the price of something and you just get to enjoy the beauty without the expense.

Yes, some ignorance is bliss. It frees from responsibility for a lack of awareness. But some ignorance is not bliss. It’s downright dangerous.  Ignorance that moves to quick judgements and rash words is dangerous. Ignor-ance that ignores principles of respect, truths, consequences and makes blanket statements that rile the masses…this kind of ignor-ance is lethal. People die because of words. Not even just the ideas behind the words.  They die because of ignorant reactions to the words. They die because of perceptions that might or might not even be consistent with what the words were intended to mean in the first place.

tombstone

Seems to me the most dangerous “ignorants” are those who don’t even know that they are. People who make rash decisions without thoughtful consideration or contemplation or education (not formal, just a desire to learn) are often those who are the most extreme…because balance takes into consideration views other than our own. Balance comes with a weighing of more than one side. Balance comes with awareness of variables outside of our own sphere of importance.  Ignor-ance IGNORES. It becomes more and more extreme the further it gets from being aware of views that differ from it’s own.

There are good things to overlook in life. But there are basic rights that should never be overlooked. In a country that calls itself “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”, there should be freedom to speak and stand. Brave stands up for the oppressed, but doesn’t glorify that which is making them oppressed.  Acceptance of diversity is different than a glorification of differences. That builds walls once again. To me, “Brave and Free” are  balanced. “Brave” guards, protects, …”Free” accepts and respects. The walls they build are to protect, the walls they tear down are to accept.

DSCN4774

It’s hard to stare into the trauma of all that is going on in the world. And it’s crazy, because we can literally do that in this day and age….Through social media we have a birds eye view (or skewed representation) of things going on all over the world. Good things. Terrible things. Like the ignorance that is bliss, some can be ignored. But some things…some injustices should never be ignored. Ignorance is like darkness in which extreme views  breed and grow and thrive.  Awareness is a turning on of the light that dispels the dark views. It’s calling things what they are while still having the heart to protect and accept… It’s having the courage to not just see, but to speak words that protect and accept balanced views that protect and accept human rights.

Teeter-totters are children’s playground gems. Up and down, up and down, up and down they go. And in the middle is a fulcrum, a strong base on which the teeter totter rests. May we become fulcrums in a world with extreme disparities that serve as eyes and ears that listen before speaking, see before reacting, and consider before counteracting. May we turn the light on the darkness of ignorance and avoidance. May we not turn away when it’s too hard, but be tenacious in our determination to keep the light turned on.

I do not want to be ignorant…therefore, I can’t ignore injustice. And it’s rampant in the streets. And people are dying…not just physically. Some ideas and philosophies are so full of hate that it’s my view that they’re eating people from the inside as well. As a Christ-follower, I must hold tight to the belief that God is love and calls us to love Him and love others. Period. No room for narrow-minded views that plow over and trample people under their feet (or tires). No room at all. Hate kills. It kills. And giving credence and tolerance to ideologies that kill is dangerous and ignorant because it ignores the power that hate has. Because hate has power. We’ve seen it through history.

I know there are no easy answers. Just giving my two cents to scratch the surface, and lighting my one little candle. Because I know that one candle plus one candle plus one candle ….makes a thousand candles and a flood of light. This darkness is not gonna thrive in the perimeter of my little light because I aspire to be a lot of things…but never, never ignorant. And the world needs  light. Who’s to say what impact a little light can have, even for a person who’s full of hate?  Who knows what a little light can do. Yes, the world needs light shed on darkness. The temptation is to fight hate with hate. Doesn’t work. Just makes more darkness.  And the world desperately needs people to stand with their lights turned on.  Darkness cannot be ignored, but light…light won’t be ignored. Light changes how everything is seen.

I started out with a MLK Jr. quote that was new to me. But this quote is one of my favorites, and a go to for me at times. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  One candle at a time.

Blessings ~

Heather

DSCN1087.jpg

Silent Sunday

DSCN2115.jpgSummer sky, summer sigh

Periwinkle Blue

Summer Sky, summer sigh

Warm wind breezes through

Summer sky, lows and highs

Quiet winds resound

Summer sky, drawing nigh

Calmed by sights and sounds

 

(Not so….)  Wordless Wednesday

DSCN5387

Backyard view, Shelby, North Carolina

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

~Helen Keller

Amen ❤

Maybe because dear friends reflect the light we so need to see during darker times.

Maybe because sometimes we need others to remind us of what is true, who we are, who God is.

Maybe because perspective changes when we know we’re not alone.

Maybe because friendship is a gift that gives and takes at the same time…gives encouragement, takes a share of the load.

Maybe because courage to take the next step into the unknown can come from being encouraged by one that’s in there with us, through it.

DSCN2243

Shelby, North Carolina

And sometimes we might not want to share the darkness…we might want to pretend that all is light, that all is al-right or “fine”. We might want to isolate ourselves to protect others from any of the “darkness” going on. Not a good strategy I’d say, no matter how noble it may appear. Here’s a tidbit:…”isolate” comes from the Latin root “insulatas” which means, “made into an island.”  And we all know, “No man, (or woman) is an island” (John Donne).

DSCN9999

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Am thinking it’s kind of cool that friend-ship has the word “ship” in it because sometimes we need a ‘ship’ to go rescue a friend that has a mental blip when they think maybe they need to be an island…and that ship sails in and reflects and reminds and rescues one that’s emotionally needing to be drawn back in. In the same way that a ship navigates the very waters that isolate the island, friendship can permeate the walls that keep us locked up ‘in our own worlds’ and keep others locked out. Friend-Ships sail through those rough waters to bridge the gaps…

DSCN8866

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Yes,”Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” And here’s the cool thing that Helen Keller seemed to know as she wrote the above quote, There is often beautiful-pared-down-for-real connection that comes when things aren’t all smooth sailing. There’s an awareness of need, a gratitude for others, and a sincerity that often comes with darker times. Silver linings don’t only come on clouds. They come in stars. And stars shine when it’s dark.  They seem to shine really bright when they are furthest from the light.  Friends that walk along side in the dark can help us see clearly the beauty that’s there in the midst of the reality of what isn’t. They can remind us of the truths of scripture that are anchors to our souls and hope to our heart.

DSCN8453

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

So I’m not sure whether life is smooth sailing for you right now, or whether you’re on rough seas. Or maybe you’re finding yourself drawn to become an island. Am thinking we all feel that desire to just check out for a little from time to time. My encouragement is to draw near. Draw near to God. Draw near to friends and family who know and love you well. (Not perfectly for that’s way too much pressure for any of us to bear, but well….well like a deep well that knows you to the depths…and what they don’ t know, they’re willing to…)  Yes, draw near…fly that white flag of surrender if you find yourself isolated on an island and call in the ships.  Friendships, that is. Call. Seek. Move toward.

DSCN7987

Austin, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Take it from me…there’s treasure when the ship meets the island. Even Helen Keller who lived in darkness chose friendship and companionship over light and sight. That’s incredible! Am thinking she really knew what she was talking about for I’m sure she knew a thing or two (hundred) about isolation. Yes, there’s something to be said for smooth sailing, and light-er times. But oh, the depths of knowing that no matter what you’re facing, there are those who are with you in it. That’s a tangible heart-encouraging gift. And I’m so so thankful for it. More thankful than I’ve ever been for you see, I’ve had my turns at being ships and islands.  But recently took my turn as an island. And am so very thankful for the sweet ship that sailed on in. Thankful. Renewed. Back on track.

Blessings~

Heather

P.S. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) That’s the verse ringing in my ears right now. When we fly our white flag, He’s the “ship” that will always, always come in, no matter how far the island or stormy the seas. Love that.

 

 

 

DSCN2184.jpg

Silent Sunday

DSCN2258.jpg

So on this “Thankful Thursday” am thankful for a little ‘profile in courage’ of our own. This is Tala.  She does not like bridges.  Especially long bridges.  Even more so, very long swinging bridges where you can look under your four legs and see a stream flowing way down below. Nope, she doesn’t like bridges at all.

She made that clear in strong protest. I didn’t blame her.

DSCN2262

And once she belly-crawled to the steps, she did this again:

DSCN2258

 

So I called Hope and told her the situation because I was worried, way more worried than I let Hope know. With Tala’s strength and determination and the fact that there are dog-sized gaps between where the rope railing meets the wooden slats, well, I had this picture of us possibly making headline news on the Shelby Star for falling off the swinging bridge. Yes. Tala’s fearful reaction was making a literal ‘walk in the park’, so NOT….and frankly….dangerous!

But Hope gave good advice. It was this. “Mom, Tala doesn’t like to be left alone, so if you just go ahead, she’ll follow you.” So now we weren’t just talking about Tala’s courage, we were talking about my fear/courage.  Although I don’t have a fear of bridges, I do have a fear of a willful, scared dog flipping out on a bridge (figuratively AND literally) and me trying to come to its rescue.  So it took a step of courage for me to step ahead….but I did…and then….miracle of all miracles… (after a bit of wait time with me trying to act very nonchalant)…

 

…after I took a step.. so did she.  Phew.  Big exhale Phew.

So for the rest of the way, we walked really close, step by step, little by little until we made it to the end of the bridge. The bridge swayed a bit and there were moments of hesitation, but Tala persisted and walked close.

DSCN2263

It kind of felt like a long way, but long ways become shorter with each step and so pretty soon, we had gotten from point A to point B and had actually survived. I was so proud of little Tala’s courage.

Sometimes bridges are scary, not just for dogs. Bridges are transitions from one thing to another. To get from one side to the place where we want to go, well, sometimes it takes steps of faith on not-so-solid-ground where one must focus on that step and not set one’s sights on the other side of the bridge. Tala, this sweet and gentle natured dog, absolutely lost all composure and fought and laid down and refused to move forward when she looked at the L O N G bridge.  But the cool thing is, when she saw me go ahead, and looked at me, she was willing to take the first step onto that swinging bridge to follow me. Her fear of being left alone on the other side of the bridge was much greater than her fear of the bridge.

So it can be with transitions. Maybe sometimes we can do courageous things because of our fear of staying where we are and being left behind is greater than the fear of the challenge ahead. Better yet, we can trust the ones we’re with. Tala was fine as long as she stayed close. 

DSCN2173

After I crossed the bridge, I was thankful for the little venture and realized I want to be like Tala. I want to courageously move forward when the ground doesn’t look steady and feels scary. I know that I’m not alone…but I want to stay close to the One who is so worthy of my trust. Trust can look like a lot of things, but I think the deepest trust looks like courage to follow, step by step.

One of my favorite verses through the years has been Isaiah 52:12…It talks about how God goes before us and picks up the pieces behind… But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”  One of the beautiful things is that courage to walk through more difficult terrains often leads to amazing ventures, people, and experiences that would never happen had we let fear win. 

Just ask Tala :

 

So here’s to bridges and transitions. Here’s to having the courage to step on to them and the tenacity and trust to cross them. And here’s to choosing wisely Who we trust to go with us along the way.

Blessings~

Heather

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5,6

 

 

Thankful Thursday

DSCN0619

“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog – the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.”  Corrie Ten Boom

Wordless Wednesday

DSCN2054.jpg

It’s happened quite a few times in the past few weeks. After dinner and a day of teaching, I’ll get in the car to run a few errands, and find that the car isn’t going from point A to point B in an efficient way. Nope,not at all. It seems to take the long way and end up gravitating to one of a few places with wide open spaces where I can see the sun going down..kind of melting into the horizon.

DSCN2055.jpg

I don’t know what it is. Of course, there’s nothing like seeing a good sunset. It’s beautiful and calming, and always changing. No two are ever the same. It’s also a reminder that there’s way more ‘out there’ than my little microcosm. Lots lots more. Of course there is. But being reminded of it by appreciating how vast our world is and how small I am, well, it helps get things in perspective in such a freeing way.  Yeah, these little diversions aren’t a waste of time.

I can remember when my kids were little there were those moments in a day when they’d be playing and then just out of the blue run to me and give me a hug or kisses or flowers or reach for my hand. I remember so many of these sweet moments of them kind of touching base and then quickly returning to their play…, and those little diversions….those are what my sunset diversions are to me.  In the same way that my kids ran to me, it’s like me taking that time out of my day to just run to God and acknowledge Him, thank Him, experience Him. It’s an intentional time to be grateful for the grace to see another day, for the beauty that is so easy to overlook, for the many many things in my life I have to be thankful for. The needs and deficits can have a way of making themselves known…They can scream loud in a day. Yes, needs are like the squeaky wheels that demand to be recognized. But when I take a little time to recognize the awesome things that can be taken for granted, well, it just helps me exhale and breathe a little better for sure.

DSCN1553.jpg

I love the verse that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  It’s not just saying Know….or think on…or believe…the verse is saying taste, see.…experience…savor. Savor the favor. Savor the moments. Savor the grace. Savor, taste, enjoy.  Acknowledge that He is good. Acknowledge and experience His Presence. And somehow, I think that awareness that God is good, that savoring of His grace, so strengthens us  when it comes time to address the squeaky wheels and needs and drudgery that can be in a day. And there sure can be a lot of that in a day. But there sure is always a lot to savor too. Sometimes we may just have to take some diversions to see it…Love that. Thankful for that. Strengthened by that 🙂

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

the name of the LORD is to be praised.”

Psalm 113:3

“Of one thing I am perfectly sure:  God’s story never ends with ashes.”

~Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

%d bloggers like this: