Beautiful Easter Day

16 Apr

The beauty of spring 

9 Apr

My belief 

2 Apr

It is my belief we do not earn our way into heaven.
Still, we ought to live like we’re working on it.
Not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do. 

Times

16 Mar

There are times I still fantasize about one day sharing with particular people everything I ever hoped to share with them. As if time will be reset and we will go back and still have a chance to do everything we dreamed of together without taking away from anyone or anything that happened in between. I’ll see a sunset or a mountain, a bit of Americana, and think, “oh, this person or that person would like that” and I’ll want to show it to them so we can share the moment once again, just for a moment. 

But life doesn’t work that way. It’s a ray always moving forward. It doesn’t go back no matter how much we sometimes want it to, and there are no do-overs. Funny thing, we never know where it’s going either. Hopes and dreams fade away and new ones take over, but they’re never really gone. They just collect there in our subconscious in the land of unfulfilled dreams and every once in a while something happens or we see something that causes us to take them out and reflect on them a while. Some come back as fond memories of a dear friend as we reflect on someone we will always care about. Others are harder to put back away, or they never really left our conscience and we think about them every day despite our best efforts. I don’t know if that means they are really good or really bad, but of our difficulty with letting them go there is no doubt. 

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just nostalgic. A silly aging man wondering what life’s about. Or maybe this is just the natural outcome of a life full and well-lived. I’ve always been one for experience with a heart full of memories of people loved and lost, of goods times and bad, of adventures and boredom, setbacks and progress. It sure has been a full life, interesting in its lessons that were often unexpected and oftener still did not match common sense, but in which reality, strange reality, always played a part. 

These ponderings push the troublesome memories down for a while and let me focus again on the moment. It’s the flow of life. We drift along, occasionally get caught on a rock or a little algae for a while and then we move on knowing sooner or later another will come along. (And if it’s too much later we miss it, wondering if – even hoping that – we haven’t stopped caring.) We take the respite, breath and sigh, then move along. Regardless of anything else that has ever happened, the sunset or sunrise is still beautiful. And life, this strange wonderful unpredictable existence, goes on. 

Blessings 

11 Feb


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NIV

http://bible.com/111/rom.15.13.NIV

12 seconds of peace

10 Feb

No words left to speak 

2 Feb

You’ve lived your entire lives playing identity politics, but claim the other guy is divisive. You claim you are exercising your right to free speech, but use it to deny someone else theirs.

I do not claim to know the will of God, whether this is His plan or mankind’s own undoing. But I know witnessing your lack of integrity and self-awareness, and what these indicate about our country and the dark side of human nature makes me sad.

False peace

29 Jan

It is easy to get a false sense of peace and security if one has never faced evil directly. We encounter people we don’t like or who are unpleasant and we think that must be what evil looks like. We feel emboldened and empowered to stand up to this “evil” and think we can defeat it if we shout long or loud enough. Unfortunately what you see is not evil, but merely your own bias against someone you disagree with. 
Real evil does exist in the world and in the hearts of men and women. Some have faced it head on and do not have the luxury of childishly labeling those with whom they disagree. A demonstration or a speech will not stop it, but it will join you in those to maneuver closer and achieve its ends. There is an evil that allows someone to chain another human being to a bed and daily or hourly torture them before heartlessly killing them slowly. There is an evil that will herd children across a minefield to clear a path. There is an evil that will smile and speak of enlightenment, while sending assassins to secretly kill political opponents. And there is an evil that will buy you into submission until you are completely dependent and no longer capable of thinking or caring for yourself. It is this evil that allows one person to believe they can decide whether or not another person is fully human and deserves equal consideration for life. 

Not all of us have had to look into the hoary face of overt evil, so we convince ourselves that our lives and our opponents are harder than they are. But as I’ve said, not everyone has had such luxury. 

Yet nearly everyone has encountered evil in his or her daily life. It’s just that without the experience of having seen evil up close for ourselves, it is difficult to recognize it behind a veil of half-truths and seductive lies.

Evil does exist, as does virtue. The only way to stop the former is to be able to recognize it for what it is and crush it through acts which are often themselves terrifying. The only way to ensure we are really being driven by virtue is to be able to distinguish correctly between it, our simple dislikes, and true evil, seeing all of these for what they are.

Forests and trees

25 Jan

A man will never understand the forest until he truly knows trees.

He will never understand a tree until he knows both its details and context.

And he will never understand someone else until he truly knows himself.

Frozen beauty

9 Jan

20170106_145156

For more photos of winter’s frozen beauty, click here: https://sway.com/s/rY0dZamI12C3ohaG/embed (Opens in Microsoft Sway.)

The beauty of unfinished projects

9 Jan

20170106_150631Sometimes the greatest blessings are found in things not working out the way we planned. If our plans were always followed through, life would be little more than a paint-by-numbers and the completed work a forgettable dime store project. At the end of life, we would have a complete picture, but could no longer enjoy it. No, the only real value of such a project is in the doing. In progress, there is always a chance for a beautiful mistake, a wonderful unexpected change of plans, that makes the ongoing work a mystery, and creates potential for the final portrait to become a truly unique, priceless work of art. Of course, the end for us is the same either way, but the value we leave for others changes from zero to immeasurable. And our experience of the process changes from drudgery to a labor of love.

Winter skoal

8 Jan

Let not the cold of the air make us cold of heart. God’s love abounds in every season when we open our hearts and minds, as well as our eyes.

Thoughts for the day…

26 Oct

Two thoughts from my dreams last night:
1) When it comes right down to it, we’re all swimming upstream, and we’re all headed home.
2) You can hide a lot of needles in a haystack…or old carpet.

A corollary to #2:

As much as you might prefer to pluck the needles the first time you find them, some  will inevitably get reburied in the search, and you’re just going to have to find them again. 

After I woke up, the brain wouldn’t stop churning so…

These two truths you cannot escape no matter hard you try: you will die, the pain of life.
These two you can, but only if you are fully committed to the effort: worrying about the first two, the joy of life.

What does it all mean? Life is hard enough on its own. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

Morning prayer for 9/11 and every day 

11 Sep

Let this be the day, Lord, You take me into Your loving arms quickly, painlessly, and carry me to Your heavenly home. Bless those I leave behind and help them find Your peace.

Forgive me and them for all our sins, and help us forgive each other. Have mercy on us so that we may become perfect servants of You.

If today is not that day, give me strength to make it through this day here and make the most of the life and blessings You offer.

Help me appreciate the mysteries of existence and the gift of Your loving grace.

As far as I am able with Your help, let my presence in the world honor You and be a blessing to my fellow man.

Though I may never understand evil or all the reasons for troubles, grant me the courage to overcome them and the wisdom to know all things are possible for the good in You. 

Let me serve Your call, whatever it might be today, and stay open to Your presence in my life and the lives of others.

These things and more that we pray to You privately, for You know best what is in our hearts, in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Fond memories

7 Sep

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning as men often do, I think of past loves. It can be pleasant remembering good times shared. When these daydreams get too distracting or I begin questioning the joy I have today, I reflect on the memory. Was my first thought of a past lover “I’d sure like to sleep with her again” or was it “I want to fall asleep with her again”? As I have admitted, I have been in love a handful of times. And for one or two of those I hesitate a second before answering. But in the end there is no doubt as it becomes ever clearer to me that I am where and with whom I am meant to be.

Suicide note for the world

2 Sep

I wanted to send this to a friend, but realized it’s too much to lay on one person. It’s coming from a place of darkness within, a place we could all find ourselves at some point. It’s a place I’ve been to myself, but less so now. Sometimes it helps to let it out, before you bring about an untimely end. Sometimes talking to yourself is the best way to talk to God. I know it works, because it helped me at one point keep from killing myself. God really does work in mysterious ways.

Please, if anyone ever talks to you about committing suicide, take it seriously. They might just need to know somebody cares and be crying for help. You could make the difference between life and death. Isn’t that something to feel better about? You never know if or when you are a guardian angel. If you are still here, your life isn’t over yet and there must be a reason for that.

“What whispers do you hear right now? I think I really want to die. I’m pretty sure I mean it. The only reason I’ve stayed this long is the thought of what it would do to the kids. Maybe if I went away and they didn’t know what happened it would be ok. I don’t want anything else, I just don’t want to live. God will love me anyway, right? This has been building for a long time. I don’t think I ever loved myself and not sure I ever could. Life will go on either way, whether I’m here or not. I just don’t want to hurt my kids by leaving the world this way. It would be easier if somebody did me in, but they’d know I let it happen anyway so why bother except to spare them from blaming themselves? It’s no one else’s fault. I was born this way, not wanting to be here, wanting to go home from the start. But my home never was here. I don’t fit in and never have. This world, it just is what it is and I’m not in it. I’m just here taking up space and wishing I could just go home to wherever that is. Away from other people, away from me and thinking about myself instead of God. I just don’t want to exist any more, not like this, feeling separate and alone away from Him, away from me. This existence is not my home. It is not for me.”

Just be happy for your life. You’ll never know when you were there for someone when they needed it most. Thank you Maryrose. May you have a blessed night.

Darkest moment

1 Sep

One of the darkest possible moments is recognizing evil in the eyes of a once innocent child. Do we start that way or is it learned? Either way when we embrace society more than virtue, we succumb. 

What’s good in the world…

30 Aug

The loyalty of a dog

A baby’s laugh

The genuine smile of a child. 

Morning dew

Watching the sunrise

Watching the sunset

Seeing a shooting star

A good friend you can count on

Occassionally basking in Sunshine

Feeling the presence of God

What do you find good in the world?

Spiritual battle One

29 Aug

There is a fallacy popular today that war or conflict is the greatest of evils. Conflict is inevitable. Perhaps the greatest evil is instead rejecting God’s truth for the fantasies of man.

Early morning friends

26 Aug

The struggle for life is real for every living thing.

Amazing what life you can find on your own front porch. The question isn’t whether or not it’s there; the question is whether or not you notice.

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