The Turkey

The Aztecs of Mexico domesticated the Mexican subspecies of the wild turkey (called guajolotes). Spanish explorers took some of these back to Europe in the mid-16th Century where they became common farmyard animals. These domestic turkeys eventually completed the circuit and came back to North American turkey farms from Europe.:

This is a story about a turkey. However, this was not an ordinary turkey. This turkey did not want to be a turkey. He wanted to be an eagle.

He often thought to himself, “self, I do not like myself. Self, this is one boring life I live.”  Day after day he would trot around the yard with all his turkey friends gobbling gobbling and gobbling. He would eat all the food that was given to him and he would watch himself getting fatter and fatter.

He would look to the sky and see the eagles flying around. Soaring above the trees. “So beautiful,” he thought. “I want to be like that. I want to be majestic. I want to be  an icon. I want people to look at me with awe. I want to be a national symbol and for people to look at with me with thanksgiving in their hearts.”

Majestic bald eagle over the Des Moines RIver in Iowa:

As much as he flapped his wings he could not get off the ground. It wasn’t that he did not practice, because he did. Some days that was all he did. He would run around the yard flapping his wings, never to get more than a foot or so off the ground. “God, why would you give me wings but not let me fly very well? Why would you let me see the eagles soar but not let me join them?”

Many of his less ambitious friends would talk behind his back. “Who does he think he is?”  “Look at that fool trying to fly like an eagle!” “Doesn’t he realize he will never be anything other than what he is?”

Many days and months passed by and nothing ever changed for the turkey. Every day it was the same thing. Wake up, eat, walk around the yard, eat, try to fly.  Every day he would ask the same questions. “Why God why? I want to be more than this. I want people to look at me in awe and be thankful that I am here. I want people to love me.”

Soon the weather started to get colder. Many days people would come and grab some of his friends and he would never see them again. The turkey continued to eat and grew bigger and bigger. One day a family came and walked around the yard looking for the perfect turkey. They found one in the turkey of our story.

The father looked at his family and said, “This turkey is beautiful. He will be the perfect symbol for our thanksgiving dinner  .”  The little girl looked at the turkey and said “I love you turkey. You are so beautiful.”

The turkey gobbled and gobbled. He was so happy. “Finally,” he thought, ” I am being appreciated. I may not be flying like an eagle yet but at least people are seeing me as special.”

The turkey was taken to the family’s home where he was promptly killed and cooked for dinner. Before they ate the family prayed. “Thank you God for this wonderful meal. Especially this beautiful turkey. We will forever remember this turkey in our hearts on this national holiday.”

List of 25 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes - Photo Gallery | SAVEUR. I don't have a Turkey board so I am placing these under the Chicken one:

You see, God gave the turkey everything he asked for. He was looked at with awe and beauty. He was a national symbol. The people gave thanks from their hearts  for the turkey. He was made exactly how God wanted him to be and exactly how he wanted to be seen. He just didn’t realize that who he was was exactly who he was made to be.

What do you ask God for? Have you ever asked for a pure heart? Have you ever asked God to show you the way to be more like Him? Or are all of your asks and wants more about you? Have you ever thanked God for who you are, for who He made you to be?

 

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 – 

2019 TCS New York City Marathon

 

 

 

 

The wife and I flew to New York City Friday for her to run the New York City Marathon 11/3/19.  As some of you may recall, she ran this race four years ago and was highly disappointed in her time because she hurt her hip half way into it.  At mile 16 when I saw her, she was limping and was in pain but she still finished.

This was her revenge race and she did awesome, but was hurt again.  Here is a video and pic of her at mile 16.2 this year,  smiling and waving. Much different than four years ago. This is called Thunder Alley because the runners come off Queensborough Bridge where it is frighteningly quiet and then hit the crowd of noise. 

 

Her goal was to be under 3 hours and 30 minutes.  She just set a personal record at Boston earlier this year at 3:32:28.  She was on pace to be under 3:30 until mile 21 when her upper thigh/groin started to hurt.

She had to stop and walk/run the last four and a half miles but still finished at 3:34:31.  She did a great job and was not disappointed even though she wishes her leg would not have started hurting so she could have pr’d.  Look at her finish results, she was 3329 place out of 28465 USA runners and 7173 out of 53508 overall runners.  Top 14% of all runners. Can you believe there were 25043 runners from other countries?  That is crazy.

We had a great time being alone together for more than a dinner date for the first time in forever.  It was nice to have some one on one time.  Very proud of her.

Saturday she did not want to site see so I took the subway to see Yankee Stadium and do a little site seeing on my own. I wanted to see places we did not see four years ago.

Here are the pics of the leading  push rim and women and men runners.

Here are some more pics.  Enjoy.

Hiding In The Dark

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I don’t mean to give you a fright

But did you hear that  tonight

The moon will be hidden from view

And you will feel them coming for you

You may think it is no big deal

In fact you might even say they are not real

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But they are and deep inside

You know there is no place to hide

Right there hidden in the dark

You will find your true heart

You will walk by that computer aglow

Temptation to look at porn will be your foe

But you will find the strength to walk on by

Knowing there is no pleasure, it’s all a lie

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Then on your phone you click on Facebook

Find an old friend, just for one look

After all, what could it hurt

But then you start to flirt

But you say you can’t do this

Your marriage is at risk

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So you take a drive right by that old bar

You slow down and park your car

What could it hurt, just one beer

But you’ve been sober two years

And you know alcohol is just a thief

You know you have to get in your car and leave

But then from the alley some people catch your eye

You see the homeless and decide to change a life

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You talk to them like the people they are

Listen to their stories, for we all have scars

Buy them something to eat and go back home tonight

Yes, the demons are close, they might even be in sight

You might say they aren’t real but we both know

That’s not the truth because I’ve been to that bottom so low

I’ve got those demons and they can be hidden from view

You see, I am really no different than you

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But like the moon when the clouds part

There’s a light that shines in the dark

That’s where I go when the demons come

I don’t believe the lies that I’m worthless, scum

I’ve made mistakes but I know I’m forgiven

My sins paid for by the one who has risen

The liar has been defeated, victory won

The blood shed for me by God’s begotten son

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Truth Be Told by Matthew West –

Keep Me In The Moment by Jeremy Camp –

The Hope Song by Citizen Way –

Nobody by Casting Crowns –

Hope In Front Of Me by Danny Gokey –

Maybe It’s Ok by We Are Messengers –

Love Not Hate- Trick or Treat, Halloween Night

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History of the birds:

Love, Not Hate: Part 1

Love, Not Hate: Part Two

Love, Not Hate: Christmas Eve

Love, Not Hate: A New Chapter

Love, Not Hate: A New World

Love, Not Hate: The Division

Love, Not Hate: The Reconciliation

Love, Not Hate: Tragedy At Mandalay Bay

Love, Not Hate: Continue To Love

Love Not Hate: Love On Trial

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All the little birds wanted to trick or treat

But tonight, their nests they would not leave

It was Halloween night all through the land

But you see, trick or treating had been banned

The parents said the world had grown too dark

And they placed walls around their cold hearts

The land had been taken over by evil and hate

The parents told the little ones they would have to wait

You never know if that bird behind that hockey mask

Is looking for candy or up to some sinister act

Or that bird dressed in that scary disguise

Is carrying a gun or even a knife

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The little ones had tears in their eyes

Please let us trick or treat tonight

The little ones begged and said you can protect us

And talk to the neighbors you haven’t spoken to since Christmas

You stay inside and don’t do what the Eagle has said

It was out of love his blood was shed

The eagle said do not live in fear

But it’s what you do keeping us locked in here

How can we spread love and dispel hate

If you keep us locked here in this cage

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Then the parents were quite surprised

Those words hit home they realized

And they soon came to understand

They have let fear and hate rule their land

In fear they had locked themselves in their nests

Letting hate take over while love took a rest

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They didn’t even talk to their neighbors or their friends

They didn’t spread love to strangers and love they did not defend

The light they carry they had let grow dark

But their children’s words had ignited a spark

They realized they had made their homes a coffin

Because of their children, the parents’ hearts softened

Then they said we will go out on this Halloween night

Instead of letting hate rule we will let our love be the light

Tonight we must start to let love grow and hate decline

Yes, tonight in the darkness our light will shine

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Hey Papa by Natasha Bedingfield-

Fire Away by Disciple-

Dreaming by P.O.D. –

In Our Blood by Tyrone Wells-

Community by Kira Willey –

 

 

Shadows In The Dark

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I have a story to tell you

It is hard to believe, but I swear it’s true

I hardly believe it myself

But it is a story I must tell

You see just last night I saw shadows in the dark

I swear it’s true, cross my heart

I know you are thinking, “How can there be shadows with no light?”

I say you are correct, but this world isn’t always black and white

So sit down and listen, let me tell you my story

It won’t take long, in case you are in a hurry

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You see I was walking home, it was the darkest of nights

No where could be found a single light

(Except of course from the windows of a few brave souls up that late)

But their light didn’t cast a shadow for this was my fate

The wind ripped through the trees

I was scared, (but keep that between you and me)

I knew deep down in my bones

I just knew I wasn’t alone

I could feel the enemy all around

They made such a terrible sound

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The gnashing and gnawing gave me a fright

I could hear them, but they were out of sight

I had chills up and down my spine

I felt as if I was running out of time

It was right then and there I said a little prayer

God, if you have just a little time to spare 

Even though a lot of bad I have done

Do you think you could help me out some?

It was then I saw the first shadow

He took the lead so I decided to follow

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Soon I saw ten or fifteen more

I felt a peace that wasn’t there before

They told me their names

No two were the same

There was Integrity,  Honesty, Compassion and Loyalty

There was Kindness, Forgiveness, Responsibility and Humility

There was Hope, Love, Faith, Joy,  Courage and Trust

They told me each one of them also lives in us

They told me we are so distracted by the darkness of this place

That we often do not see them, even when we are face to face

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They walked me to where I needed to go

They left before I could thank them though

I am thanking them now by writing this to you

My friend when you are lost and don’t know what to do

When you are in despair

And think there’s no one who cares

Think of something good, something you can not see

No matter the darkness, there is a light in you and me

There is a light that can penetrate the darkest of dark

You just have to believe with all your heart

That in  your darkest of  darkest nights

There are shadows that can only be caused by the light

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Save My Life by Sidewalk Prophets –  

I Wanna Go Back by David Dunn – 

No One Can Steal Our Joy by Tenth Avenue North – 

Rise by Danny Gokey – 

The Cure by Unspoken  – 

The Fun House Of Mirrors

sites at the local fair ground - I never liked to funhouse.  But if I was with friends I went in them and rode rides anyway.  Nana

“Step right up, come on in, only a dollar” shouted the carny. He looked right at me and my friends. “Come on in boys, this will change your life” and he winked at me. I don’t know why but my gut was telling me something was wrong. My friends wanted to go in and since I didn’t want to be left out, I went in with them.

It wasn’t much at first. A conveyor belt going the opposite direction. Oooh scary right? We made a tight turn to the right and the floor started shaking. Everyone started to laugh but the feeling inside me was getting worse. It was then the lights went out. We started reaching out, touching each other to make sure we were all still there. We slowly inched forward and hit a wall, promptly piling into each other.  Then the lights came on and that was when the fun began.

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We were looking at ourselves, all four versions of each of us. We looked at each other like what the crap, a couple of my friends used some other choice words. In one mirror there was me, looking as normal as I am now, if you can call that normal. In the second mirror I was a hideous monster. What the heck? The third mirror I was a baseball player, uniform, glove and all. How could this be? I only was wearing the clothes I came in with. The fourth mirror showed me as an old, decrepit old man, all by myself. It was then we realized there was no exit. We did the only thing we could and started to push on the mirrors. The only one that moved was the second one. We all looked at each other and kind of shrugged and took a step through. But we weren’t all together on the other side.

There I was, the hideous monster. I pulled on my skin and clothes to get them to come off but they were me and I was them. It was then I noticed a small light in the distance. I walked toward it and saw it was a cell phone. It had a note on it. PRESS PLAY. What I saw disgusted me and I wish I didn’t have to tell you about it, but I do. It was 15 second clips of my life. There was me eight years old pushing the other kids down on the playground. There was me twelve years old stealing a cassette from the local music store. There was me sixteen years old with my girlfriend. We were in the backseat and she said she wasn’t ready but I said we had already gone too far so let’s keep going. There was me at nineteen at a college party when a bunch of guys took a passed out girl upstairs and I didn’t stop them. There was me at twenty two when I didn’t take the keys from my friend and he drove home drunk, but he didn’t make it. There was me at home instead of visiting my dad before he passed away. There was me watching a movie instead of calling a friend who was home alone, waiting for me to call. There was me ignoring my wife because of past mistakes. Was I really this monster? Is this how others see me?

Then we were all back in the same room of mirrors. We all looked at each other like what was that? No one was laughing now. We pushed on the mirrors again but only the third one opened this time.

There I was, at Wrigley Field, pitching for the Cubs. The crowd was chanting my name. Oh yeah, this is what I was made for. They all love me. I was on the mound, World Series, game seven, bottom of the ninth, two outs, two on, two strikes. One more strike and I bring a championship to Chicago. The wind up, the pitch…and I heard it. My shoulder popped. Then I heard the crack of the bat as it connected to the ball. Then I heard the silence. Just like that it was all over. The game, my career, my life. I was so angry. I was mad at God. How could He bring me to this moment and then let it all go? One pitch. It was all over. What kind of God would do that to me? I shut everyone out. I drank myself to sleep every night. I didn’t know the women’s names I would wake up to. I didn’t care. I went from 60,000 people screaming my name to the deafening silence of my own thoughts.

There we were again. All six of us in the same room of mirrors. Mark said that wasn’t so bad. “Let’s get this over with,” said Scott. We looked at each other and hesitantly stepped into the fourth mirror.

There I was. A decrepit old man. No one there but me. A lifetime of choices led me to here. A lifetime of bad choices. How did I get here? I was a good guy once. I believed in God, once upon a time. I looked in the mirror and the mirror looked back. Was this really me? Then I was gone. There in my casket, all by myself. Honestly, all by myself. No one came to say goodbye. Not one single person! Was I that unloveable and selfish? Was I really that bad of a person? I guess the truth hurts because I must’ve been for not one single person to show up.

We were all back in the room of mirrors. A couple of my friends said how cool their mirrors were. They hope their lives turn out like that. I didn’t have anything to say. This time the first mirror, the normal mirror, opened and we walked through. A couple turns and a few distorted mirrors later we were at the exit.

“Hey boys, how’d you like it? Did you like what you saw?” said the carny. “The mirrors don’t lie boys. If you didn’t like what you saw, you still have time to do something about it.” That was when he looked at me again and winked and gave me something. I was too terrified to look at it so I stuck it in my pocket and left. He turned around and started shouting , “step right up boys and girls, come on in, only a dollar and it will change your life.”

I forgot about what he gave me until I got home and undressed. It fell out of my pocket. A small bible with a note inside. Read this if you want to change your life. Read this if you didn’t like what you saw in the mirrors. It is your choice.

Monster by Skillet – 

All Of Me by Meatloaf – 

Ain’t Much Left Of Me by Blackberry Smoke – 

These Things I Hate (Revolves Around Me) by Bullet For My Valentine –

Hate Me by Blue October – 

Faces by One Less Reason – 

Objects In The Rearview Mirror by Meatloaf –

I’ll Find Me by Steve Azar – 

Sing by Waiting Hill – 

I Remember Me by Jennifer Hudson –  

I Hope They Get To Me In Time by Darius Rucker – 

Mirrors by Justin Timberlake – 

Funhouse Mirror by Jill K – 

I Choose You by Point of Grace –