I find enormous inspiration, comfort and encouragement in devotionals, especially when I feel overwhelmed. I read several devotionals, and it is awesome how often I get exactly what I need to near, exactly when I need to hear it. But unlike purely inspirational quotes, devotionals help us get closer to God by helping us get more in touch with our feelings and our nature. Devotionals bridge the gap between real life and scriptures by showing how scriptures apply to our lives, and help us to see God working in and around us every day.
Inspiration, and God’s word for that matter, don’t hit is over the head. We have to seek them, reflect on our lives and our needs, and then wait and listen. As a teacher I know those are the 2 toughest things to do. How can we wait and listen when our lives go so fast… and when we have to manage our lives and the lives of our children and Families?
I read several devotionals, so I can usually find one that really hits me on any given day, but sometimes nothing speaks to me and my life. These are the days where I re-read those devotions I found non-applicable more closely… to see if I’ve got a blind spot in my own life. We really need to meet our own needs to be able to help others. And as I have learned to slow down, my heart has become much more open.
I am a work in progress, and journaling helps me document where I started, so that someday I’ll know how I got there. As I embark on a new venture, helping others to learn, grow and heal through writing, I will continue to post here. Enjoy! God bless.
As many of you know, my friend’s daughter Joran was in a horrific accident in March 2010, and since that time Katheryn has been caring for Joran as best she can, at home for the most part, rather than putting Joran in a nursing home. I’ve been one of many friends and neighbors helping the family, and we have all been witnesses to Joran’s incredible story, an amazing testimony to the power of prayer, faith, hope, and love. I feel blessed to be able to help this amazing family in any way I can. Please visit www.HopeForJoran.org for continuing updates, photos, and inspiring videos as Joran continues on her amazing journey to recovery. Now that the website is live, I’ve renamed this category “HopeForJoran.org” and although most new posts will go to the website, I will continue to post short updates here because Joran and her family are such an incredible inspiration to all who meet them. If you are able to help the family in any way, please use the contact form on the website. Please continue to keep Joran and her amazing family and friends in your prayers. God bless!
Happy New Year Joyful Transformed Life
This year I didn’t write a Merry Christmas post, or even a Happy New Year post. It wasn’t out of “political correctness” and it wasn’t even because I worked on Christmas day… after all, I still managed to send out Christmas cards and post appropriate status updates on Facebook. I guess I didn’t post a greeting because somehow, I wanted to do something more. So I’ve been offering this prayer for you since New Year’s Day…
Prayer for a Joyful Transformed Life
Happiness can be fleeting… Joy is not dependent upon our circumstances.
New only lasts until something newer comes along… Transformation is permanent.
Years are a means of counting groups of 365 days… Life is how we experience our days.
My Dear Friends…
From this day forward I pray you will have a Joyful, Transformed Life. God bless you.
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
~ Jane Howard ~
I am so thankful for my friends and family, for my health, and for inspiration all around me. When I see what others are able to do with God’s help, it inspires me and humbles me and renews my faith.
I am so amazed to see how much progress Joran is making!! Not too long ago, she had a tracheotomy tube. Now she’s doing physical therapy and even eating solid food by mouth. Her family hasn’t taken no for an answer when they were told she wouldn’t get better. Joran is getting better every day!! There’s no telling how many little steps it will take and when she will plateau, but just having the trach out is a huge blessing for her and the family. Maybe the feeding tube will be the next to go?
Joran may never run a marathon. Then again, she might surprise us all. And she actually IS running a marathon of sorts. If she can improve enough to support her own weight hopefully she won’t need the Hoyer lift forever. Imagine being picked up and swung in the air by a machine just to go from bed to a wheelchair. It’s amazing to think how many baby steps it took to get this far, and she and her family haven’t quit yet and they don’t intend to. I feel so honored to witness such an inspirational scene unfolding before my eyes and so privileged to help in any way I can. Please keep Joran and the family in your prayers as she starts intensive physical therapy. Please pray for her and the family to have the strength they need to keep going. Happy Thanksgiving. Count your blessings! God Bless.
Please continue to offer prayers for Joran and her family. Joran is making progress, but caring for her is an around-the-clock job. PRAISE: Joran recently had her tracheotomy removed, so she is at less risk for infection. PRAISE: The family was recently able to trade their car in for a Handicapped-Accessible Van. PRAYERS: While the van is a blessing because relying on PalmTran had been difficult, the first month with the van hasn’t gone smoothly. Kay and Joran were stranded when the lift stuck with Joran in midair; the alternator had to be replaced and the lift needed to be serviced; and a few weeks ago the van was broken into, and the thief stole the one thing that’s been bringing the family a little happiness on van rides: the stereo. PRAISE: Joran is speaking, her color is good, and she is eating some blended food by mouth. PRAISE: With all she has on her plate, Kay is still helping other caregivers with her tips, tricks and recipes. And inspiring all with her faith, hope, and love. God Bless.
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought… how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves
No, Freedom is not Free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill;
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant “Amen”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands.
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No. Freedom is not Free!
©Copyright 1981 by Kelly Strong
This beautiful poem has been sent to me in many emails over the years, probably because a poem as poignant as this one rings true to millions of people who have lost a loved one.
There is always a story behind the story, so I decided to research the author, because it’s often listed as “author unknown.” I was touched to find “Freedom Is Not Free” was written by U.S.C.G. Commander Kelly Strong, a fellow Floridian whose dad served two tours in Vietnam. I’m reposting it here with a special Thank you to Commander Strong for his words that have helped millions to remember that Freedom Is Not Free.
Meet the author here: http://iwvpa.net/strongk/
Happy Father’s Day.
I’m missing and remembering my dad this Father’s Day, and I am especially grateful for all he taught me and the time he spent with me. This photo was taken one night after Dad got home from his day job, and before he started hitting the books himself for the night.
My mom took this photo of my dad and I over 30 years ago. Little could we know then that someday I would be looking at this photo and remembering the sound of my dad’s voice. Take pictures, because you never know which of today’s moments will be tomorrow’s most cherished memories.
And as my dad would say, if you are having tough times, take heart because “it builds character.”
“Train up a child in the way which he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6
Remembering D-Day… On this day in 1944 my grandfather was among those who landed on the beach in Normandy. More than twenty years later, I was born in the land of the free and the home of the brave, because he fell in love with my grandmother while he was in France. Truly, there are always angels among us. May God continue to bless and protect our Veterans as they bless and protect us. God bless the U.S.A.
Wow, what a powerful poem. As a daughter, granddaughter, sister in law, friend, and supporter of veterans, I pray this Memorial Day Weekend that the Men and Women of our armed forces know how much we love and appreciate them. God Bless our Veterans and our Troops.
by Patrick J. Phillips
When this life I’m in is done,
And at the gates I stand,
My hope is that I answer all
His questions on command.
I doubt He’ll ask me of my fame,
Or all the things I knew,
Instead He’ll ask of rainbows sent
On rainy days I flew.
The hours logged, the status reached,
The ratings will not matter,
He’ll ask me if I saw the rays
And how He made them scatter.
Or what about the droplets clear,
I spread across your screen?
And did you see the twinkling eyes,
Of student pilots keen?
The way your heart jumped in your chest,
That special solo day-
Did you take time to thank the ones
Who fell along the way?
Remember how the runway lights
Looked one night long ago
When you were lost and found your way,
And how-you still don’t know?
How fast, how far, how much, how high?
He’ll ask me not these things
But did I take the time to watch
The moonbeams wash my wings?
And did you see the patchwork fields
And mountains I did mould,
The mirrored lakes and velvet hills,
Of these did I behold?
The wind he flung along my wings,
On final almost stalled,
And did I know it was His name,
That I so fearfully called?
And when the goals are reached at last,
When all the flying is done,
I’ll answer Him with no regret-
Indeed, I had some fun.
So when these things are asked of me,
And I can reach no higher,
My prayer this day-His hand extends
To Welcome Home a Flyer
This prayer posted in memory of
US Navy Lieutenant Matthew Ira Lowe
“Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” ~Ronald Reagan
God Bless The U.S.A. (Lee Greenwood)“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me, and I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God Bless The U.S.A.”
Arlington (Trace Adkins) “We’re thankful for those thankful for the things we’ve done, we can rest in peace, cause we are the chosen ones, we made it to Arlington… Yeah dust to dust, don’t cry for us, we made it to Arlington.”
Sometimes the most amazing things are not before you, but above you. Even when you spend considerable time looking up, if you’re not looking at just the right time, in just the right way, you can miss it. Special thanks to my sisters who have helped me to see what I might have otherwise missed. This beautiful rainbow was directly overhead, a rare and brilliant display, and I might have missed it entirely had I not been in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. De Colores, my sisters. God bless.