The Last Leaf

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painting by John Edwards

 

I watched her clinging to life. The last leaf on the tree.  I didn’t know if I should feel sad for her or if I should admire her.

Should I feel sad for her? I mean, she is the last leaf. All the other leaves are gone. Her husband, her kids, her close friends, her distant relatives. All of them were gone. Why was she still clinging to life?  Why would she want to hang on?

It was then that I thought I should admire her.  She was strong. She had more to say. Yes, she longed to be with her friends and family but she wasn’t done with this life yet.

She gave me hope.  She gave me a reason to continue. The cold winds blew, she held on.  The rains came, she held on. The snow came, she held on. I knew if she could do it that I could do it too. There wasn’t anything that could take me down. I had a story to tell. I had a reason to hold on.

Every day I looked at that leaf. I wondered how she could do it. Some days were worse than others.  At least that’s how I felt. I swear that she smiled at me. Even in the worst conditions I felt like she was smiling. I wondered what she was up to. I wondered what did she know that I didn’t know.  Where did she find her joy?

Winter faded to spring. The warmer weather brought the green buds to life. The leaf held on. The new leaves overtook the tree.  I had to look hard to find her but she was still there.

Then one day she was gone. I saw her on the ground.  I imagined she stayed long enough to teach the new leaves what she knew. I could see her looking around with a smile on her face. I could see her saying it’s okay. I could see her saying it is now my time and then letting go of the branch.

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I had to pick her up and take her home. I put her in my scrapbook along with the picture of my grandma. She reminded me a lot of my grandma.  Tenacious, stubborn, lived longer than most of the people she knew, and she passed down her words of wisdom. She passed down her Bible, with all her underlined and highlighted passages. Words that spoke to her.

I know it may be silly, since she was just a leaf, but she taught me a lot. She helped me to remember a lot. She helped me to be thankful for what I have. She taught me to cling to life.  It is precious.

I am thankful for that leaf. I am thankful for my grandmas and grandpas. I am thankful for my parents. I am thankful for my teachers. I am thankful for all the military. I am thankful for all those that have come before me, that have paved the way for me.  The ones who gave me words of wisdom and taught me lessons. The ones that encouraged me, that gave me life, that gave my dreams life. To all of you I say thank you.

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If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.

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In The Time That You Gave Me by Bradley Walker feat Joey Feek – 

My Last Breath Here (Joey’s Song) by JK Nick Nichols – 

Tears Of Joy by Phil Wickham – 

See You There by Joey Feek – 

To Say Goodbye by Joey & Rory – 

Live On by Olivia Newton John – 

After You’re Gone by Iris Dement – 

Love, Me by Collin Raye – 

Sing Me To Heaven by Bradley Walker – 

The Last Leaf by Blackmore’s Night – 

Last Leaf by Tom Waits – 

Last Leaf by Ok Go – 

Last Leaf On The Tree poem spoken by Dr. James Dobson – 

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I Know What It’s Like

 

I know what it’s like to feel all alone

I know what it’s like to be a stranger in your own home

I know what it’s like to have words to speak

Only to  have them not come out when our eyes meet

I know what it’s like to have your heart broken

By words that should’ve been left unspoken

I know what it’s like to walk the streets of NYC and feel like the only one there

I know what’s it’s like to have someone who loves you say they no longer care

I know what it’s like to  lose and to mourn

I know what it’s like see the joy of a life born

I know what it’s like to fake a smile

I know what it’s like to go the extra mile

I know what it’s like to be rejected

I know what it’s like to feel neglected

I know what it’s like to struggle with fear

I know what it’s like to shed a tear

I know what it’s like to feel like I don’t matter

I know what’s it’s like to wonder why I can’t hear the laughter

I don’t know what it’s like to be crucified on a cross

I don’t know what it’s like to die for all those who are lost

I don’t know what it’s like to perform a miracle

I don’t know what it’s like to be thought of as only mythical

I don’t know what it’s like to look down from Heaven above

I don’t know what it’s like to shed a tear for all those I love

I know what it’s like to be at the bottom of despair

I know what it’s like to feel His hand there

I know what’s it like to be forgiven

I know what it’s like to be still and listen

I know what it’s like to feel His touch and my heart leap in my chest

I know when I move on from this life in His home I won’t be a guest

I know what it’s like to experience His grace

I don’t know what I will do when I actually see His face

I know what it’s like to look the devil in the eye

I know what it’s like to thank God I am still alive

Do You Know by Tonic – 

Life Ain’t Always Beautiful by Gary Allan – 

Good To Be Alive Today by Michael Franti – 

Beautiful Life by Seventh Time Down –  

Awful Beautiful Life by Darryl Worley – 

Good To Be Alive by Andy Grammer – 

Good To Be Alive by Jason Gray – 

Good To Be Alive by Meghan Trainor – 

Good To Be Alive by Skillet – 

Your Choice

When I first started this I was thinking it would be about old friends or old relationship,  like Adele’s Someone Like You song.   Then I heard RaeLynn’s Love Triangle and it went a different direction. Hope you like. Dads, be there for you kids, no matter what. They need you in their life.  The statistics of how children turn out without a father in their lives are not good. Be there. Be thankful for them. Love them.  Be thankful for forgiveness. One of the most important things you can do as a dad is to love their mom. Show them what a real man and a real father and a real stick it out, work it out relationship should look like.

 

When I left it wasn’t your choice

It must be strange to hear my voice

After all these years

After you cried a million tears

“I’m sorry I was wrong.”

“I should never have left you for so long.”

“I’m sorry I decided to leave.”

“I know that must be hard for you to believe.”

“I felt like there was no other way.”

“When I packed my bags and left that day.”

“Your mom has raised you well.”

“You’re beautiful inside and out I can tell.”

I could also tell I had scarred her

Her first question, “Why didn’t you try harder?”

“Wasn’t I worth trying?”

“Do you know how many nights I spent crying?”

“I promise daddy, I could’ve been better!”

“Don’t you think I was worth one call, one letter?”

“I know you and mom had your troubles

But why did you keep me outside your bubble?”

“Do you know many nights  I yelled into my pillow at you?”

“Do you know how many days I wondered what did I do?”

I just stared at her, how could I cut her out of my life?

There was nothing I could say, she was right

She had so many questions that hurt me so

But nothing like the pain I caused her I know

I cried my first tear

I let go of all my fears

All the times I could’ve

All the times I should’ve

I let them all go, left the past in the past

Here she was in front of me at last

I asked, “Will you ever forgive me?”

“I did dad, a long time ago can’t you see?”

“I prayed for you!”

“I waited for you!”

“I did have so much anger and hate

But God taught me that love was the only way.”

“As hard as it was I slowly learned to forgive

So that I could learn to live.”

“I opened up the walls surrounding my heart.”

“Here I am dad, willing to give us another start!”

I lost it all, I crumbled in her arms

I promised her I would never again harm

If God could help us reunite

Then I knew I had to give Him my life

Thank you for mended relationships

Thank you God for fixing this

Never again will something come in between

I will spend the rest of my life letting her know how much she means

Love Triangle by Raelynn-  

Perfect Story by Idina Menzel – 

Every Other Weekend by Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire- 

Two Houses by Matthew West – 

Family by TobyMac – 

Hey Mom and Dad by Sloppy – 

Song For My Father by Sarah McLachlan – 

Forgiveness by Matthew West – 

Forgiveness by TobyMac feat LeCrae – 

Forgiveness Is A Miracle by Jason Gray – 

Sammy The Squirrel

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Sammy wasn’t like the other squirrels. While they were busy gathering nuts and seeds for the winter, Sammy would be exploring. Sammy liked traveling around the city and getting life experiences.

Sammy didn’t save for the future. Sammy lived in the here and now. Sammy thought all the other squirrels were missing out on life. Sammy didn’t understand why they worked all day storing nuts and seeds.

(I know what you are thinking. That you don’t have to read any further because Sammy is going to die because he isn’t prepared for winter. However that is an old story and this is a story for a new generation.)

Sammy traveled throughout the city and learned to not be afraid of people. Many people, especially the little ones, thought Sammy was cute and they fed him their food. Sammy ate french fries and potato chips. Sammy ate pizza and hamburgers. Sammy ate chicken fingers and tacos. Sammy loved human food.

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It wasn’t long before Sammy was packing on the pounds. It wasn’t long before Sammy couldn’t travel as far as he once did. Sammy missed parts of the city but he was just too tired to go very far.

Winter was getting close and all the other squirrels were finishing storing all the food they had worked all fall to get. Sammy watched them from a distance. Sammy was miserable. All the human fast food was making him sick but he was so addicted to it. Sammy couldn’t stop eating it. The more he ate it, the more he didn’t feel like doing anything at all.

Some of Sammy’s friends finally stepped in and said he had to change his ways or he would not make it through the winter. Sammy asked them how. They said Sammy, you just have to start. Put one foot in front of the other. Then tomorrow you take a few more steps than today. Walk away from the bad choices of yesterday and walk into the better choices of tomorrow. You can do it Sammy and we will help you.

Sammy and his friends started walking each day. They shared their good food with him and Sammy made better choices. Sammy started to lose the weight and Sammy started to explore the city again. Sammy said no to the human food he was offered and Sammy started storing his own food for winter. Sammy’s friends even let him borrow some of their food and he made it through the winter.

Sammy lived a long and fruitful life. Sammy didn’t let his bad choices of yesterday rob him of his future. Sammy appreciated his friends and Sammy continued to make good choices. Most of all Sammy appreciated his friends and his life.

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Brother by NeedToBreathe – 

Here’s Hope by Owl City –  

Pull You Through by Maggie Rose- 

Most People Are Good by Luke Bryan – 

Lean On Me by Kirk Franklin – 

 

Who I’m Meant To Be by Anthem Lights – 

Let It Start With Me by No Other Name – 

People Helping People by Birdy – 

The Journey Continues

continued from The The Journey

“Look around you. Many of you do not think you are ready yet. You wouldn’t be here if you were not. Few will take this journey with you. Many will not. Look around you. Those that are not ready need the help of those that are. There will be many that will not want to hear what you have to say. Say it anyway. You will be persecuted, jailed, beaten, laughed at. Say it anyway. This is your journey. Each of you will have a different path to take but we will all be on the same journey.”


“Do not stray from my word. I will give you a list of do’s and dont’s. However, I know all of you will fail. At some point you will turn away from this journey and go your own way. You will go down roads I wish you wouldn’t. I will not be mad at you. I will not  leave you. I will wait for your return. Your journey will continue.”

“You must have the faith of a child. You must trust like a child trusts. Protect the innocence of the children. Do not follow the ways of this world. There is nothin in this world that can compare to the riches that await you.”

“You will hit walls. Smash through them. You will hit dead ends. Turn around. You will go the wrong way down a one way street. I will guide you back to where you need to be.”

“Love everyone you meet. Many will not love you back. Love them anyway. Plant seeds everywhere I send you. Some may sprout right away. Others may sprout long after you are gone. Some may never sprout at all. Plant them anyway. ”

“I will not lie to you. I will always speak the truth. I expect the same from you. You will be the light in this dark world. When you are not speaking, let your actions speak for you. Others will be watching you when you do not know they are. Lead them the right way. Do not be a hypocrite.”

“You will be hungry. You will see others hungrier than you. Feed them with what you have. Give them what you don’t have. Clothe them with the clothes you wear. Share your time. Volunteer to help the least of them. You may be tired but I will give you strength. You may think you are not making a difference but you are. ”

“Again I say you will stumble. You will make mistakes. You will make some of the same mistakes over and over. You may want to give up. Do not give up. Do not be discouraged. I will forgive you. I will love you. I will guide you back to me. I will put you on the right journey you are assigned to. Each of you have different gifts. Use those gifts. Do not be afraid. ”

“Lastly I leave you with this. My love for you has no ends. When you are lost I will search the world for you. When you are in the dark, look for my light. When you turn away from me, my voice will turn you back around. Show this world compassion, love, forgiveness.  Find joy in me. Be content in all circumstances. Be thankful for who you are because you are who I made you to be. Be courageous on this journey I have set you on. The one you have chosen to take. The one I will be with you on.”

 

“Who wants to follow me? Now let’s go on this journey together. I love you my children. Who will follow me? ”

That’s when I stood up and shouted, “I will follow you!”

I Will Go by Kutless – 

Send Us Out by New Hope Oahu – 

Fill Us Up and Send Us Out by Matt Redman – 

Lion Leads The Way by Pillar – 

Send Us Out by Brenton Brown – 

Send Me Out by Fee – 

Where I Wanna Go by 33 Miles – 

Where God Placed You by Flame – 

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go  by Alan Jackson – 

Wherever You Go by Audrey Assad – 

Whatever You’re Doing by Sanctus Real – 

The Journey

He stood in front of us. We had to number in the thousands but he did not seem nervous. He was not an imposing man but spoke with authority. I was hanging on every word he said.

“Today you have taken the first step in your journey. You will never take another journey more important than this. I must commend you being brave, for risking everything to be here today. There are many in this world that will never take this step.”

“I will tell you that this journey will not be easy, and that my friends is an understatement. You will be asked to do things you did not think you were capable of doing. You will be asked to make the impossible possible. Many times you will think your journey is over when it has just begun. Many times you will be asked to do things you don’t want to do.”

See what I mean. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. If I wasn’t sitting on the floor I would’ve been on the edge of my seat.

“Sometimes you will wonder if it is all worth it. Sometimes you will have doubts. You will doubt yourself, you will doubt my instructions. Sometimes you will forget my instructions and many of you will. You will go your own way. You will not want to listen to my voice. Keep listening anyway. ”

“Today, some of you will be asked to go by boat. You will have rough seas. You will have calm waters. Keep your guard up. Out of those calm waters a storm can rise. You will ask why but do not doubt and do not be afraid. Stay strong in my directions, stay on course, the waters will calm again. You will face many beasts out on the waters. Some will look dangerous and they are. Some will look harmless but they are the most dangerous. Some will look dangerous but they will help you. You may ask how will you know your enemies from your friends? Keep your eyes on the truth that I will give you and you will know.”

I have to be honest and say at this point my enthusiasm was starting to wain. I told myself I hope I don’t get picked to go on the boat.

He continued, “some of you will be asked to travel by plane. You will board the plane and not know where your destination will be. You will have turbulence. The engines may fail. I tell you do not fear. You will not die. Believe in my instructions and you will never die. When you land at your destination you may see horrors you have never seen before. Stay strong. I will guide you on what you need to do. You will see things that you won’t be able to forget. Things you would never see from where you are leaving. That is okay, but do not be anxious about them. Be grateful for what you have seen.”

“Some of you will travel by foot. You will have a long journey but stay strong. Keep my words in your heart. You will see many things along you way. Some will be great, others will be horrible. I will put people in strategic places along your journey to help you. They will feed you, clothe you, encourage you, and strengthen you.  You will meet people along your way that will pretend to be my helpers. They are not. Listen to their words closely. They will not align with mine. Listen closely, as I have said before, my voice will guide you.”

Well as enthusiastic as I had been, I can honestly say it was gone. I know I didn’t want to go by boat, plane, or by foot at this point. Excuse me sir, are there any other options? Yet, something was still telling me to go.

“You will meet people along your way that you will wish will always be in your life. They may die, they may just simply be on a different path than you are on.  Do not be dismayed. Remember the people I put in your life may only be there to help you in that time of your life. Then I will need to send them to help someone else. Most of the time it will not be because of something you did, but because of something I need them to do.  However, there may be times they leave you because they don’t agree with you any longer. Maybe it’s because they are listening to another voice that is not mine. Know when to walk away and when to hold on. Be thankful no matter what happens that they were a part of your life. They helped shape you into who I need you to be. ”

“My word will be everywhere you go. Anytime you are discouraged, beat down, lonely, frustrated, feeling unloved, disappointed and feel like you can’t go on, they will be there to help you.”

At this point he had his helpers pass out his instruction manual. He said not only do we have this hard copy form but he said we all can find it on our phones, tablets, computers, etc.  It can be found anywhere, we just have to look for it.

“Okay, who still wants to start this journey today.”

My hand immediately went up. Wait a minute, I pulled it back down. He looked at me and smiled,  I couldn’t help but put it back up again. I looked around and was amazed at how many people did not put their hands up. What were they thinking? They were thinking the same thing I was a minute ago. I guess I was just braver, better than they were.

That was when he looked directly at me. This time he wasn’t smiling.

“Pride and judgement are of this world. You are new on this journey and you will learn.”

How did he know what I was thinking?

To be continued….

Go by Everfound – 

Everywhere I Go by Tim Timmons – 

Go by Building 429 – 

One Word At A Time by Sanctus Real – 

Here I Am Send Me by Matt Papa – 

Here I Am by MercyMe- 

Be Ready When I Say Go by The Emperors – 

Send Me by The Planetshakers – 

Hope For The Hopeless by Papa Roach – 

Children Go Where I Send Thee by Mandisa – 

It’s Alright (Send Me) by The Winans  Phase 2 – 

Jeremy Camp Concert Dayton OH 11/12/17

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Me, Jeremy, Kim, Kylie and Leif

Yes, we went to another Jeremy Camp concert Sunday.  Anytime he is anywhere in Ohio we have to go. We love his music and the band and it is a great night of worship. If you have never seen him in concert, I would highly recommend it.  Which reminds me, we saw him in Virginia, we were visiting our daughter Kayhla and her husband, in August and I did not write about it. I will have to get that out tomorrow because the pics are at home and not on my phone.

Royce Lovett opened for him and was very good. He  did a four song set.

I think of all the times we have seen them, this was the best concert.  They did an acoustic set in the middle and played some of their older songs. It was good to hear them.

It was the last night of this tour and it was also, sadly, Walt Smith, the bass player, last show with the band. He is moving on to be artistic leader for Compassion International. He has been with the band for ten years.

Needless to say, I took more pics of him than I normally would.  And since he is on the same side of the stage  I got some pics of Leif Skartland, he has been with Jeremy 17 years. WOW!

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We love Leif.  Kylie takes drum lessons from him on Skype and has grown in her drumming skills since she started.  Super nice guy, everyone in the band is. After the concert he said Kylie could help him take his drum set down. She got to meet and shake hands with the other members of the band and got a big kick out of it.  How cool is that!

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Can’t wait until next time. Enjoy some pics from the show.

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Runnin’ by Royce Lovett-  

The Answer by Jeremy Camp – 

Word Of Life by Jeremy Camp – 

Never Stopped Loving by Jeremy Camp- 

He Knows by Jeremy Camp –