Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Way Back


With four older brothers and sisters, when I was a child I recall being a little fearful that Mom could easily forget about me when we were out and about town.   I remember one summer day when I was about four, we were at a busy shopping center, and Mom was helping my brother with a pair of shoes.   Somehow, I wandered off.   It wasn’t long before I realized I was in unfamiliar territory…without anyone I recognized!  I went to the front of the store, but when I realized Mom wasn’t there, either, I ran outside, and by that time I was really wailing.   I ran down the sidewalk toward the busy highway.

A lady in the store followed me out and ran after me.   She took me by the hand and promised we’d find my mother.   She took me back into the store to the front counter.  I stopped crying and looked around, just in time to see my mom poke her head around the display.  I ran as fast as I could back to the arms of my mom!

In this turbulent world, there are days in my life when I feel just as lost and just as scared as I did those many years ago; a small, panicked child running down a sidewalk straight toward the busy highway.  But my Heavenly Father comes after me, He takes me by the hand, promises me safety, and he leads me back to Him…and I go running back to His loving arms.

It doesn’t matter what we’ve done, where we’ve been, or how far we’ve run, our Heavenly Father has His hand extended, and His arms opened wide.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities
.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guns, Wizards and Vampires

I’m aware that this is one of those posts that makes folks refuse to come back to visit me.   

All school shootings over the past years have been horrific.  The Newtown, Connecticut, shooting has been the hardest for me to deal with, I suppose, because of the ages of the children.  I have a lot of questions; I have precious few answers.   I know that God is in control, I know that it was not His will that this tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary happened, but He did allow it.  I don’t know why. 

There’s a lot being said about gun control.  If someone thinks banning guns will stop guns from getting in the hand of the bad guys, they need a reality check.   If someone is determined to kill, they will.  Would we next outlaw fertilizer (bombs) and box cutters (hijacked airplanes)?   If someone is determined to get a gun, they will; just the same as if they want cocaine, meth, or heroin.

We all know we are living in perilous times.  We’ve heard it said that we removed God from schools, and now we have these atrocious acts of violence in the classrooms, that until a few years ago were both unheard of and unimaginable.    I believe it to be a truth, that once prayer is removed, the hedge of protection that went with it is gone.   When I was in elementary school, one of the things we did every morning was say the Pledge of Allegiance, and in second grade, I remember we learned, and recited every day, Psalm 100.  I can recite it to this day.  We always said the blessing before lunch...unheard of in today’s public schools…much to the detriment of this country, and especially our children. 

We have a nation of people who happily (and blindly) elect Godless leaders, and sadly, Christians are part of those blind voters.  We have placed the Bible in a position of being an archaic piece of fiction that is no longer valid, and according to our president, obscure.   We have embraced institutions the Bible calls abominations.  We offer our children “entertainment” in the form of violent video games which we allow them to play unlimitedly, while parents spend endless hours online or in front of a television, on cell phones, and playing our own video games.  We have embraced vampires and wizards in the names of Twilight and Harry Potter, and call them innocent entertainment, forgetting that the Bible clearly states that witchcraft and divination is evil. 

America has denied the very existence of God…not always in words, often in deed.  Christians have played a big part in our demise by keeping our mouths shut and bowing to the pressures of evil instead of standing strong for what’s right, in faith and belief, and in the fear of God.   Oh yes, we’ve lost the fear of God!  

There’s change on the horizon.   It’s not a change that any of us will want to embrace, and I believe it is at that time, finally, and if the Lord tarries, America will fall on her knees because, frankly, she’ll have no place left to go.   My friends, indeed, Jesus is coming soon.    


cross-flag_zps53420760
  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Musings...the Cold, Wet Edition


It’s definitely Monday.
Cold.
Wet.
Monday.

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I am glad for a little winterish weather; it makes things seem just a little more Christmassy.  I wish I were in Gatlinburg right now, though.  Well, not today, they’re having severe storms, but I’d like to be there for a few days in the Christmas season.  I’m missing the mountains right now.   If ever I were to leave my beloved Shoals, I would live in the mountains.

I am in a bit of quiet mood today, remembering Who is in control and not letting the cares of this world affect my mental stability...which is questionable on even the best of days!   Ah, but He did give us a sound mind, didn’t He?  (II Timothy 1:7)  There are days when I must hold on tightly to the knowledge that He already knows my cares…and He does, indeed, have a plan.   And if you ever...if you EVER wonder if God really answers prayers, take it from me, HE DOES!   I am humbled by His grace and mercy.

Did I mention chilly…damp…Monday?   I will definitely need to build a fire tonight.   We woke up to our high today, and the temps are slowing dropping.   I woke up last night to the slow, lonnnng rumble of distant thunder complete with the driving rain hitting my roof and pouring off my window. 

I would insert something intelligent or funny here, but I’m blank…and I have to be honest and say I’d rather be curled up in my bed under my warm blanket watching “You’ve Got Mail” or “Home Alone”…or some other sappy movie. 

I’ll end with one “Dear …” Musing:
Dear Hardee’s:
Someone needs to teach your cook staff how to make a low carb burger.   It’s not a piece of meat thrown into a box on top of a tomato and a couple of pieces of lettuce!  By the way, if someone is ordering a low carb burger, it’s an almost guarantee they don’t want fries with that.

Have a beautiful...wet...cold...Monday...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Cent Tuesday


A smorgasbord of capricious and arbitrary thoughts…

I have a secret. Well…it’s only a secret to those who don’t know. But I’ll be sharing it with the bloggy world in January.  I have to admit, it doesn’t really affect anyone but me, though those who love me are happy for me.

Once upon a time, I enjoyed (for some perverse reason) Operation Repo. I lost interest when I figured out it’s just a show of reenactments!

While I’m pretty sure Facebook is not “good” for the world, I have to say I enjoy keeping up with friends and relatives with whom I would otherwise have very limited (or no) contact.

Conversation overheard on campus:
Student:             Hey, Professor, do you have a minute?
Professor:          (Hesitantly) Uhm, yeah.   What do you need?
Student:             The answers to the final?

I’m not an Obama fan, I think there’s no secret about that.  I did like, however, his response…the red line…to the chemical weapons threat in Syria. 

While reading some of the stories in Genesis, I just don’t know what to say.   Noah cursing Canaan because Canaan's dad told his uncles Noah was drunk and naked, but yet Canaan was the promised land?   Lot’s wife a pillar of salt?  Was that literal or was that a spiritual/heart thing?  Lot’s daughters?!  Oh my!   Interesting reading, for sure.

Who has the patience for Twitter?   I really can’t express anything I need to say in 40 characters or less.  Obviously.   Have you ever seen my Six WordSaturdays?   I’ve never only used six words.   I think I’ll try it just once.   NOT.

I have only heard the story, The Hundred Dresses, once in my life (in third grade) but I still remember the main character’s name:  Wanda Petronski.  I remember the gist of the story as well.  I’d like to read it again…

“Actually” is a word that is overused these days.   Awesome is, too.   But I’ve already covered that.   Don’t even get me started on “literally” when it is figuratively.   

And seriously!   Some people don’t have a clue when to use “me” instead of “I,” and think they are being all grammatically correct...never mind.   Every time I get on a grammar rant, I make some big mistake on my post.  (The good Lord knows I hate my own typos and mistakes, but don’t mind laughing at yours.)  So I won’t even mention it’s vs. its, your vs. you’re, or ending sentences in prepositions.   Nor will I mention those run on paragraphs with no capitalizations or punctuation.  

Ah, well.  I did mention them, didn’t I?

Have a good Tuesday.
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Musings: The Merry Edition

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Dear December:
Didn’t we just say goodbye to you?   Welcome back!

Dear Christmas:
I resolve to remember each and every day this month exactly Who you represent.  I have also decided to enjoy every day of December and not stress about the “small things.”  

Dear Jesus:
Thank you for my redemption…my mind doesn’t fully comprehend the mercy You showed us on Calvary. 

Dear Complaints:
I plan to use you less and less.   In fact, you may just go away, I don’t need you anymore!

Dear Gratitude:
Welcome to my life.  I’ve needed you for quite some time.  I pledge to water you and nourish you, you and let you grow like kudzu around my heart and soul.

Dear God:
I am deeply grateful for the Baby Jesus.  I appreciate so much You giving Your son for me.  I have no words to adequately thank You…but I do…thank You. 

Dear Early New Year Resolutions:
I resolve to be thankful every day, not just for the days in December, but every day for the rest of my life.   I wish to be more like Jesus.   I promise to endeavor to be less quick to judge and make unnecessary comments about others.






Cool Text: Logo and Graphics Generator

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Six Word Saturday



I can't believe it's 
December
already!!

Time is just whizzing by!

 What happened to the days when it seemed like 
Christmas took 3 years to come around again?!


I'm joining Cate's Six Word Saturday today, where you describe your life (or something) in a phrase using only six words.   I cheat every time and more than six words.   I guess it's good I don't play along often, yes?  

For more Six Word Saturday entries,
Visit Cate HERE!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Musings: The Giving Thanks Edition


Dear Pastor:
That was pretty slick!  I liked how you preached the “In Everything Give Thanks” sermon, and then tell us you’re leaving!   There’ll never be another Doc, and I am so thankful that I have had the pleasure these many years to hear you speak.   (See, I was listening.)

Dear Self:
Really…the toaster oven is not the best place to rest your cell phone as it charges...even if the only reason you put it there was to keep the heat from the dishwasher from affecting it.   I assure you, 25 minutes of toaster oven heat is much worse.   I’m thankful that my phone still seems to work fine, including my camera.

Dear Carbs:
Why did you sneak in that half of Logan’s roll I ate?   Had it not been for you, I may have eaten two…or three of those rolls...I’m thankful I only hate half. 

Dear Logan’s Roll:
You really aren’t as good as I remembered you were from the last time I partook of your refined white flour and yeast baked blend.   I am thankful that you will not tempt me too much anymore.

Dear Pittsburgh Steelers:
Seriously?   But then again, if I were getting paid as much as you, I’d wear some silly looking Honey Nut Cheerios Bee-looking uniform, too, if it were demanded of me.   I’m thankful it’s not demanded of me.

Dear Hustle Bustle:
I can hardly believe that by the end of this week, you will be in full force.  I wish people understood that they don’t have to go far into debt, stressing and straining their budgets to give more than they can afford, because this season is not at all about making retailers rich.  It’s about Christ, and His gift to us.   I am very thankful for Jesus, who stepped out of eternity to give His life for me, so that I could be redeemed.   Forever, I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We Are Not Afraid


I ought never forget who I am in Christ, and I do not have to worry about my future, it’s already secured.   In fact, I am instructed to not worry about tomorrow:  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  (Matthew 6:25)



Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I woke up this morning dismayed and fearful, but I have God who has promised to never leave or forsake me.  (Hebrews 13:5)
   
Never.   
That’s a long, long time.  

For all of us who love God, we know that all things work together for good because we are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)   That’s ALL things…an ungodly man in the presidential office is included.



We are not to be afraid:
The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)


God is in control:
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.’ (Isaiah 46:9-10)

I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’   (Isaiah 45:4-7)

Do you hear what I'm saying?
Our God is in control.

He's even in control of those who don't give Him control,
or even realize that He is, indeed, in control.

Yes, it rains on the just and the unjust, and America will reap what we sow.   But He is a great and mighty God, sitting on a throne that is balanced on justice and righteousness.   We are to do exactly what the Bible instructs, we are to pray for our leaders, and continue to walk with Him, renewing our minds daily and serving Him.

We may not always like what happens to us from the reaping, but God will not forget us...He will never leave us nor turn His back on those who serve him.

Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it.
Isaiah 45:8



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I wanted to see the elephant win the tug of war, but that didn't happen.  Sometimes it helps just remembering that God did use a donkey for a very important purpose... (Numbers 22:28)



God bless our broken America

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Musings: The No Theme Edition


Dear Reality TV:
I can’t figure out the attraction to Honey Boo Boo.   Somebody needs to taze that mother and shock some sense into her!  (For her fans, I mean that figuratively, not literally.)   I think that family only serves to give those outside the south one more reason to make fun of us.

Dear Voters:
I am weary of this presidential election.   Even though I fully believe it’s the most important election in the history of the United States, I’m ready for it to be over.   I don’t believe people understand the importance of this particular election.   Christians shouldn’t forget, ever, that it rains on the just and the unjust, and if this nation completes its journey to hell in a hand basket, no one will be exempt to what happens next.   We know that no matter what, God is in control; however, we may not like the reaping of what’s been sowed.

Dear Folks Who Disagree:
I realize that those are “fighting words” above.  There are none more blind than the ones who are fully invested in the deception.

Dear Winter
I’m already tired of being cold.

Dear Reader:
Do you ever wonder if storms such as Sandy or Katrina or Rita are God’s judgment?  Why or why not?

Dear God:
Please have mercy on every person in the path of the “Frankenstorm” Sandy.   I ask that you calm the storm, and redirect it, and above all, I ask that you spare lives.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vacation Photos


I can't believe that this time last week, I was packing my things, we'd reached the end of our vacation!   We'd been gone a week, and I was ready to get home.    I can't believe how quickly this week has passed by, either. 

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Vine on Clingman's Dome

Our trip was wonderful, other than our first night in Bryon City, NC, where we spent the night at a “Bates Motel” type of dive, a very creepy place on a hill, complete with the Grandpappy of all Granddaddy long legs, no phone, an unlit shower, holes in the wall, and holes in the blankets…I mean…the blankets were so thin they were extremely holey!   When I opened my curtains for my “scenic view” I was promised online, my view was a solid dirt wall approximately two feet from my window.   Did you see me say, “no phone?” My room didn’t have a phone!   Granted, I never use hotel phones unless I’m calling the front desk because I need something…oh wait.   We definitely needed things!   The towels were much like the blankets! 

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Cade's Cove.  (No, this isn't where we stayed!)

Why did we go ahead and stay there?   We made the reservations online, and we were just going to be there for one night.   It had good reviews.  I am certain now that all the good reviews were from the owners themselves!  But we had precious few options because we got a very late start, rolled into town late, and didn’t see much else that looked better.   I hardly slept a wink!   At 4 a.m., I woke having nightmares of killers being in the dark bathroom; after that, even dozing was out of the question.   I got on up, took my dark shower, and was ready to not only leave the hotel, but leave Bryson City, and I don’t believe I’ll be back…ever.   Thankfully, there was no Norman Bates to compete our visit.  We left before the sun came up.

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Blue Ridge Parkway
Our scenery after leaving Bryson City greatly improved.  The above is from the Blue Ridge Parkway.   Have I ever mentioned I love the mountains?


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There were plenty of scenes like this along the roadways and on the trails, too.  Notice there's no fall color on this particular photo.   We saw everything from pre-peak to past peak.  

If you will remember, last week Oklahoma had a huge dust storm.   On Friday, much of that dust storm had settled over East Tennessee, and gave the name "Great Smoky Mountains" a new meaning.   Even with a cloud of dust (which looked much like fog) the mountains were gorgeous.



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Ole Boy on Balsam Mountain  
As you can see, the scenery was pretty sharp.
The trees were brilliant, too.  ::::grin::::
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I don't know what kind of seeds these were...

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I was a little surprised to see a butterfly on top
of the mountains.  This was from Clingman's Dome.

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And this little guy was on Balsam Mountain.

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Maggie Valley, NC was beautiful!

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Cataloochee Valley
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I thought this was pretty cool.   It's one of those unintentional shots.
I got a picture of me in the side mirror, and a shot of the scenery
behind me, while snapping a photo in the Cataloochee Valley.




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photo Book

This is the project I've been working on! It's a Shutterfly book, and in order to get it free, I had to have it completed tonight! I sure hope there's no typos! 


 
Photo books are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Embarrassing Details

Along our Great Smoky Mountains journey, we rode through Newport, Tennessee, in Cocke County.  From the best I could tell, it's an unfriendly little town...at least the local Wal*Mart folks don't like to be bothered with questions.   If you ever stop there, I suggest you find your own shower cap!  But I digress.

The Newport Wal*Mart is set up much like the super center here, including the restrooms located in the same general area in the front of the store, with one exception that I didn't notice right away:  The men's restroom there was on the opposite side of the one here.   So, when I decided to go to the restroom before we got back on the road, I did what came natural...I automatically went inside the door on the left.   Now...you'd think I'd notice the man at the urinal right away, wouldn't you?   Uhm-no.   I was looking at the feet in the stalls to see which one was empty.   My initial thought was that the lady in the first stall (who was, by direction of the feet, facing the toilet) had on men's shoes.   Then, I glanced at the "lady washing her hands" I had seen in my peripheral vision, only to realize in dismay that was no lady, and for sure he wasn't washing his hands.  

I was completely in the restroom...with the door closed behind me...before I figured all this out.  I'm sure it was only a matter of seconds before the realization-then-mad-scramble took place, and I heard the man giggling as I fumbled to quickly get out of there.  

On another day...we decided to take some back roads and explore the outlying areas of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.   We came upon a small town called Chestnut Hill.   It was a very pretty area with very green pastures full of cows...which turned out to belong to the Bush Bean folks.   We didn't realize that until we happened upon this:  


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A country store...
We simply had to stop!

The visit turned out to be a little more than just a beany visit to a country store...it was a cafe and a full scale visitor center with a bean museum.   Believe it or not, it was beany interesting.   I didn't have my big camera with me (who knew I would need it??) so these two photos are with my little camera, and that's why they aren't the best shots.

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This was taken with my cell phone inside the museum.
We walked inside a giant can of beans...

Who would have thought a bean museum could be fun?


Monday, October 22, 2012

Great Smoky Mountains 2012

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Roaring Forks
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Roaring Forks
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Roaring Forks
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Roaring Forks

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Ocoee Dam

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Clingmans Dome

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Elk in the Cataloochee Valley
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Balsam Mountain


Just photos for now...
I am working on a Shutterfly project.
I'll have some vacation details later in the week!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thinking Back Thursday


When my daughter was 7, she played on a softball team.   One particular night, she didn’t want to go play, but I made her go anyway.   About the second inning, one of the coaches motioned me over to the dugout.   In my mind, Les was probably saying she didn’t feel well because she didn’t want to play.  When I got there, she was crying, and had one had over her eye.  I knelt down to talk to her, and she moved her hand and looked at me.   I was really glad I was already on my knees, because they got a little weak.   She had a knot under her eye the size of a grape, and her eye was already turning black.    Another little girl was swinging her helmet and smashed Les in the face.   Later, at Wal*Mart (still in her uniform) Les got all kinds of attention from everyone who saw her.

There is a hole in the bedroom door at my parent’s house that was once my room.   I was in college, and I do not remember why I was having a meltdown…but I was.   I slammed the door.   Hard.   So hard that the door somehow managed to go partially to the other side of the door frame…and stick.   I was trapped.   Six-year-old Les was going to help me get out and she took a hammer to the door, which I believe was my suggestion (only my idea and hers were quite different…and who knows what I was thinking?).   That was years ago.  I said I was going to get that fixed.  The hole is still there.   I can’t remember how I got the door back in place…but Les told me just today that I got what I deserved.   Haha!  I agree.

I think my temper is better than it used to be.   I hope it is, anyway.   I have not, after all, slammed any more doors….well, not hard enough to shove them through to the other side, anyway.   I don’t yell near as much, either.   Yeah, I was probably as pleasant as I sound.  I’m really glad God is patient with me…and my family, too.

A few of the (really big) things I said I’d never do or put up with when I was in high school, I managed to accomplish within the first four years of being out of high school.   Life is a really unforgiving teacher at times.  

Looking back over the years of foolishness, I realize that, indeed, God had His hand on me and showed me grace while still in my teens:

I climbed way up high on a rail road bridge…over the water and I can’t swim…with some friends one night.

I married a man I barely knew…and paid dearly for that choice.

A girlfriend and I got into a boat with a young, handsome  guy and two older men, at the young guy’s persuasion.   They took us to the middle of the river, where the young guy promptly jumped out and swam away.   The two men did not have good intentions.  I want to tell you that had I been alone with them (and I was stupid enough to have fallen for that “how about a boat ride “ trick, even by myself) I am not sure what would have happened!   Thankfully, my girlfriend was a smooth talker, and convinced the old men to take us back and we would be happy to meet up with them later…but that we had something really important to take care of first.    Both my girlfriend and I had praying mothers.

I think I won’t even tell some of the other completely stupid and utterly foolish things I did.   You’d worry about my sanity…as it is, I’ve told precious few people some of the things I got myself into.   I suppose it is better that way, don’t you?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Some Presidential Vote Notes

Some 58 million people tuned in to watch the first debate 2012 presidential election cycle between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.    

Some groups of people watched the same debate, and are polar opposites on who made sense and who didn’t.

Some minds were already made up before the debate. 

Some Christians will vote for a man and a party who supports things the Bible speaks strongly against.

Some Atheists/Agnostics will vote Republican.

Some will vote for Romney because he’s white; some for Obama because he’s black.

Some will vote only for the party for which they’ve always voted, no matter who the candidate is.

Some will believe everything they read/hear in the media without researching anything, and that’s true of both the right and the left.

Some people will pray for direction before choosing a candidate.

Some people think that God has no business in government. 

Some people will pray God’s will for America.

Some people will not vote.

Some people realize how important this election is, some do not.

I hope you are one of the “some” who prayerfully selects your candidate before casting your vote.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Musings: The Oct. 1 Already?! Edition

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Dear Lady at Wal*Mart Eye Center:
I guess it wasn’t some of your better thinking to be holding my glasses while telling me that screw couldn’t become loose like I was telling you, as it worked its way loose in your hands.   I’m not so crazy after all, am I?

Dear Hair Salon Owner:
It was just an odd feeling to have met you only 90 seconds before, and suddenly be left with your business and your five year old child as you left to run an errand…of sorts.   I can’t describe what I was feeling as I watched you get in your car and leave…but  I couldn’t have left if I’d wanted to…not with your little one there.   There are just too many “what ifs” in this story…

Dear Muscles:
I can’t believe that sorry excuse for a badminton game caused you to be sore.   It was, however, lots of fun.   J

Dear October:
While I’m very excited to see you, I cannot believe you have showed up here so quickly!!   Why, it seems you were just here…a few months ago…but not 12 whole months!

Dear Fall Color:
Bring it ON!!

Dear Rainy, Dreary Monday:
You are a day that the Lord has made!  I will rejoice and be glad! 

Dear Shock Wave:
Please stop crashing.   You are seriously cutting into my time wasting.

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