The First Bud Of Spring- A Love Story

 

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It was a long, cold, dark winter. One that she didn’t think would ever end. There was snow, rain, and sleet. A couple of times there was enough ice to nearly break the branches on the trees. The little girl held on. She waited for the warmer weather, the better times, the warmth of the sun. She knew it would come, it was just a matter of time. As she waited patiently, she would say her prayers, she would thank God for protecting her and her mommy and daddy during these cold, dark, winter nights.

Finally, the day had come. The first bud of spring appeared out of the ground. The bud peeked out of her shoot and could feel the warmth surround her. She was filled with so much joy that, at first,  she didn’t notice she was the only bud sprouting. After basking in the warmth of the sunshine for a few minutes she looked around, startled that she was the only one. Where was everyone else? Was she going to be all alone? Did she come out too soon? Was colder weather coming back and she would die because of her eagerness to sprout? She was filled with fear and doubt but she stayed strong. She knew God had a plan for her. It was then that a little girl saw her and started yelling for her dad to come see the new flower. The little girl was so excited that the bud could not help but smile. Her excitement was contagious.

A little while later another bud awakened. He also took a moment to take in the warmth around him. He then looked to see if the others had awakened and that was when he saw her. She was within inches of him and he knew he would love her. It didn’t take long for her to notice him either, even though it took the help of a little girl yelling “Look, daddy, now there’s two!”

 

They welcomed the spring with all the other buds that started to awaken. With all the other flowers around them, they knew they were meant for each other. When the rains came, he would lean towards her to cover her petals. When the strong winds came they would lean into it together, holding stems. They were inseparable. When the bees came they opened their petals for them so they could spread their seeds to other lands where there were no flowers. They also knew that the bees relied on their pollen to take back to their hives for food. It was a beneficial relationship.  Everything was new and exciting.

Then summer came. It was a scorching summer, one like they had never seen. There was no water. Many flowers died but not our couple. They shared what they had with each other. Every little drop of moisture was shared between them. Luckily, they were also planted where they had shade for part of the day. They counted the hours down together until they were cooled by the shade. Every once in awhile the little girl would come out with a can of water and feed them, helping to keep them alive. They were often too tired to open their petals wide enough for the bees to come but they did their best. They knew the only way to survive this summer was with the help of others. They prayed their prayers for rain, for cooler temperatures but it was not to be. Sometimes in life, God doesn’t answer prayers and there are reasons only He knows why. They had reached a point in their relationship that they were still together, but they didn’t talk much. Too much too worry about, too much life got in the way. When was their next rain drop, how would they make it through another day without food, why couldn’t they be like they were in the spring? Did they waste this whole season of their life? They knew better because they still shared the little water they had, they still  protected each other but the excitement was gone.

Before they knew it Autumn was here. They had made it through the difficult summer and were enjoying another season of their life. The rains came again, as well as cooler weather. When he looked at her she was still the most beautiful, most loving, most caring flower in the garden. When she looked at him he was still the bravest, strongest, most handsome flower this side of Eden. They held each other’s petals more each day, knowing that their days were winding down. They reflected on the spring and the summer. Days when their love was new and days when they didn’t know if they would make it. They thought of their seeds spread far and wide, soon to be new flowers that would spread their love and beauty around the world. It wasn’t easy, they had moments of doubt but they fought for each other, they fought for their love. They survived.

Soon the cold winds blew again. They held on for as long as they could but with each passing day, their petals would fall off. They knew it wouldn’t be long now but they held on for each struggling moment. Relying on each other to get by. Praying for just one more second. She was the first to go, as she was the first to sprout. He wasn’t far behind her.

The little girl, all bundled up from the cold,  looked at her daddy and said, “Look, daddy, the first two here are they last two to leave. I wonder if they were happy here, I wonder if they were in love.”

“Now, now,” said the daddy, “we know flowers can’t fall in love but if they could, those two would definitely have been like me and your mom. Through all the seasons and all the weather, the rain, the sun, the cold, they were standing right beside each other. Holding petals all the while.”

The little girl giggled. Through the cold, dark, winter nights she was safe as she anxiously waited for the first bud of spring to blossom again.

I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman –  

Then by Brad Paisley – 

Stand By You by Rachel Platten – 

Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice – 

The End Is Not The Answer by Three Days Grace – 

Worth Fighting For by Nine Days – 

When I Said I Do by Clint Black – 

Forever Changed by Carrie Underwood – 

Remind Me by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood – 

Would You Go With Me by Josh Turner – 

I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders – 

Meant To Be by JJ Heller – 

What Faith Can Do by Kutless – 

The Widow

She had mixed emotions as she approached the tree. She wasn’t even sure why she was here after all this time. She continued up the hill to where the tree was and sat in the shade of its branches. With her back to the tree she looked up and asked, “Why am I here?”

Yes, this was the same tree where she met him. She was okay before she met him. She had great friends that made her laugh. She did well in school and was the second best scorer on the basketball team. Her parents loved her even though her dad wasn’t around much. She was an innocent girl. She came to the tree to get a break from the summer heat.

That’s when he walked up to her. It was under this same shade tree that she let her guard down and welcomed him into her life. She immediately took a liking to him and opened up to him. She told him about all her fears, her concerns, her feeling unwanted by her dad. She knew he loved her but he was never around. Too busy working, too busy hanging with anyone but her.

That’s all he needed to hear and he knew she would be his. He was smooth talking and was easy on the eyes. She fell for him hard. It wasn’t long before she was doing things she never thought she would do until she was married. She started drinking. She started fighting with parents. She started sneaking out of the house. She missed more curfews than she can remember.

 

“Oh God, why am I back here?!!” she yelled.

She thought about the mess he caused of her life. Well, she knew she caused it but it was all because of him. He promised so much but fell so short. She thought back and could only shake her head and laugh. “I gave up so much for him. I was a mess. So why am I back here? Did I just want to see where it all started one more time? Was I wanting to go back to that life? Was I missing the excitement that he gave me? ”

No, that wasn’t it. She was happy where her life had taken her. She was happy with her family. She had the most amazing daughters and she couldn’t even begin to tell you how amazing her husband is. She found herself remembering the day she said yes to Jesus and no to him. She remembers the darkness that left her. She remembers the freedom she felt. It really was astounding to think that someone died for her. That someone gave His life so she can live. After all she had done, He still welcomed her home. Back to the place she was before she met him. Even when she had betrayed Him and went her own ways, He was still there waiting for her. She thought to herself, now that is an amazing story.

She thought about her journey. The good, the bad, the ugly. So why was she back here? Why did she have to come here? What was she missing in her life that she would go back to him? No, that wasn’t it. She wasn’t here to go back to him. As crazy as it sounds she thought she was here for closure. She was here to say good-bye once and for all.

“You tried to break me. You tried to turn me into your toy and it worked for awhile. But I am better off without you. I am better now that you are gone. I have Jesus and I don’t need you. You have no place in my life. I am stronger because of you and for that I thank you. I won’t fall for your tricks again though. Even when I feel you pulling me I know the pleasure isn’t worth the pain. It’s not worth the hangover the next morning. The shame and guilt. I’m past that. I am new now and I will never go back to you. There is one in my life that is stronger than you. One that is better than you. One that doesn’t lie to me. One that will hold me, will love me no matter what I have done. Good-bye to you. I am and always will be better off with you gone. Dead and gone. Like you made me for that period of my life when I fell for you. But I am alive and I am here because of Jesus. You are dead to me.”

“I am a widow to my old self, to my past sins, to him. I am a widow to the death that was inside me.”

“Thank you God for never giving up on me. Thank you God for searching for me when I was lost. Thank you for carrying me when I was too weak to walk. Thank you for holding my hand when I just needed to have you with me. Thank you for listening to me when I need to talk. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for loving me and thank you for who you are. I promise I will not go back to that life again. Thank you for the power of your love that I can walk away from him, he is truly dead to me and I have you to thank for that. You are all I need.”

With that she got up and walked back down the hill. She never looked back. She did look up and smiled.

Satisfy by Worship Mob – Long video but listen to 5:30 to the end if time is short 

Surrender by Blanca – 

Name by Nichole Nordeman – 

Broken Hallelujah by The Afters – 

Back Where I Began by Seventh Day Slumber – 

Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp – 

That Was Then, This Is Now by Josh Wilson – 

Grace Wins by Matthew West – 

Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman –  

Thank You by Jesus Army – 

The Reindeer Revolt – The Story

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You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you know Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint? Of course you don’t, because most of you have not heard of the great reindeer revolt.

It was December 17, 1938. Exactly seven days before Christmas Eve. As you would expect, the North Pole was extremely busy getting everything ready for the big night. All the elves were making the last of the toys for all the good girls and boys. Santa was checking his list, then checking it twice just to be sure no one was missed. Mrs. Claus was busy making snacks for everyone. The reindeer were finishing up the last of their training exercises.

Maybe it was because the reindeer were tired or maybe they felt they weren’t being respected enough but for whatever the reason, some of the reindeer decided they had had enough. Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint had enough and decided they were no longer going to work on Christmas Eve. “We work every Christmas Eve and we are tired of it. We want to stay home and enjoy the evening with our families. All of us should join together and tell Santa no more.”

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen all said no. “We are not going to revolt against Santa. How can you do this? Think of all the children. We work one night a year. We have 364 days to relax and take vacations and do whatever we want. We enjoy our job and traveling all over the world and seeing all the decorations and the children eagerly awaiting our visit.”

This was not the first time that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen had seen a bad attitude from Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint. In fact, over the last six months they had seen many warning signs.  They tried talking to them, but never seemed to get anywhere. Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint had even started calling Rudolph names and would not let him play in any reindeer games.

All the reindeer argued and fought for several days. We are right and this is what we are going to do. No, you are not right, we are right and we will stand our ground. Back and forth, back and forth it went.

Finally, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen decided that this could not go on. They made a very difficult decision, one that did not come easily and one that made them very sad. These reindeer have been friends their entire lives but they no longer saw eye to eye. They told Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint that they could no longer be friends. They didn’t want Santa to think they were revolting too, just because of who they were friends with.

Santa saw what was going on and felt very sad for the reindeer. But, he too, had to make a very difficult decision. If Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint did not want to fly on Christmas Eve, then he was not going to force them. But he knew he needed eight reindeer to fly.

He held tryouts and four reindeer stood out amongst the rest. They were Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. They joined forces with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen and became the eight famous reindeer you know today. Minus Rudolph of course, he would join the team a little later.

That is why you have never heard of Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint. That is why a year later that Johnny Marks wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with its famous opening lines of which you know.  You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, and the rest is history.

That is also why you should be wise and choose your friends wisely. You will be known by the company you keep.

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Friends by Blake Shelton – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2tzzDtDw-k&w=560&h=315]

I’ve Got Friends That Do by Tim McGraw-  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW5kWTaTXYw&w=560&h=315]

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by –  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0byH9h1ClBY&w=560&h=315]

The Story Of A Snowflake

I post this every year around this time. It is crazy how many views it gets throughout the year.  I guess people search for snowflakes or something. Hope you enjoy.

This is a story of a snowflake. A unique and one of a kind snowflake. All snowflakes are  made that way by their creator.

The snowflake in our story was filled with joy. He loved being a one of a kind snowflake. He has his own personality and demeanor. He truly enjoyed being a snowflake.

When it was his time to go and fall to the ground he was ready. He remembered everything he had been taught. He remembered how much he was loved. The most important of these was to spread the word of love. To teach others what a true, sincere, and  unique kind of love looks like.

As he was falling to the ground he looked around at all of the other snowflakes. He could see they all were different than him, but they all had the same smile that he did. They were all so happy to finally being on their way to fulfill their destiny.

Then they all hit the ground and stopped. They were all piling on top of each other. Many were not happy. They started to complain.  How easily they forgot the joy they had just a few minutes ago.

Some of the angry snowflakes were getting so angry that they were starting to melt. Their anger was also affecting other snowflakes around them because they started to get angry also. Even the ones that were not getting angry were being affected because they started to melt also. They were unable to get themselves out of the situation they were in. They needed help.

Meanwhile, other snowflakes saw what was going on and turned their hearts away from the snowflakes that needed help. Their hearts grew so cold that they started to turn to ice. As their icy hearts expanded, they affected other snowflakes around them. The snowflakes that were filled with joy a few minutes ago were now filled with icy hearts and turning other joy filled hearts to ice also. They needed help.

Our snowflake saw all that was going on and remembered what he was taught. He started talking about their creator and his love for them. He talked about the joy that should be in their hearts. The joy they had just a few minutes ago. He reminded them how they all felt just a few minutes ago and not to let their circumstance affect how they feel.

They should be joyful. Look at the children coming out to play. All with smiles on their faces. Look at how happy we have made them. All by just being who we were created to be.

Oh, how the snowflakes loved the children. It was a love with no end. They loved to hear the giggles and to see all the smiles. They even loved to hear the joys of screams as the children rode their sleds over them. It reminded our snowflake about how much the creator loved him. He remembered how much he loved talking and laughing with the creator. He remembered everything he was taught and he knew changes were coming.

Warmer weather will come and our snowflakes circumstances changed again. Our snowflake and his friends changed from unique snowflakes to drops of rain but their purpose was still the same. They will nourish the earth and provide the people with water to drink and water to grow their food. This is what we they were made to do.

They enjoyed many things in their lives, especially the children, but they each knew that they were brought here for a purpose. Sometimes they found themselves in unbearable situations but those that remembered their purpose never faulted. They stayed strong when others grumbled. They loved when others hated. Some had to change from snow to rain to fulfill their purpose but they did so with love. They knew that not all people would listen to them when they were snowflakes. Not all people cared for the snow. They had to adapt to the world around them and changed to rain so that others would hear the message of love, taught to them by their creator.

Like the snowflake, we are a community all made by our creator with one purpose and we will fulfill that purpose one way or the other. We each have our own unique blend of personalities, demeanor, and gifts. We also have to learn to adapt to our situations. What we talk about God to someone today might not work with the person we meet tomorrow. We have to speak love in a language our recipients want to hear. Do not judge, only love. We need to keep doing what we were put here by our creator to do and let Him, through us, open the eyes and hearts of those around us.

Limitless by Colton Dixon –

Hands and Feet by The Brilliance – 

According To His Word by Jared Anderson – 

That’s How You Change The World by Newsboys – 

With Every Act Of Love by Jason Gray – 

Ready Set Go by Royal Tailor – 

Save Me by Jason Lancaster – 

Living Word by Jeremy Camp – 

Love Alone Is Worth The Fight by Switchfoot – 

Living Word of God by Chris McClarney – 

Hands and Feet by Audio Adrenaline – 

The Christmas Tree

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From the time she was a small sapling she knew what she was born for. She was born and raised on a Christmas tree farm. She heard stories from her family and friends about how one day she would be picked to go be inside someone’s house

Each year she grew a little bigger but each year she kept hearing people say the same thing. “She isn’t big enough.” “Her branches are still too weak.” “Her needles are too thin.”

She would wonder the same thing each year. “What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone want me? ”

Another year passed and she thought for sure this would be the year. She was almost as big as all the other trees but it was the same old story for our Christmas tree. “She isn’t quite there yet.” “She’s almost full enough but not as full as we want.” “Her branches still aren’t strong enough.”

Many more years passed and she still wasn’t being picked. She was really starting to wonder what was wrong with her. She was bigger than almost all the other trees. Her branches were fuller and stronger than the other trees. Other trees that were born after her were being picked but she still wasn’t. “Why doesn’t anyone want me?”  “When will my time come?”

Another year passed and she was a full ten feet taller than any other tree. She had beautiful branches but she still wasn’t being picked. Now she heard things likes she’s too big, she can’t fit in our house, we don’t have enough lights and decorations to complete her.

Our Christmas tree was so sad. No one wanted her when she was young and small and no one wanted her when she was old and tall. She was thinking she will never know what it’s like to be decorated and look so lovely.

Our Christmas tree continued to grow and by the next year she was seventy-five feet tall. She could see the entire farm. That was when she saw this big truck coming on  the farm. They came right up to her. One guy got out and looked at her and said “this tree is what we have been looking for. She will look beautiful at Rockefeller Center. We will decorate her and have so many lights on her. Millions of people will see her and admire how beautiful she is!”

Moral of the story is God will use you in His time. Be faithful and trust in Him and He will use you in ways you would never believe. We just have to be patient and wait for our calling.

Just Like Me by Vanessa Williams –

O Christmas Tree by Bobs and Lolo –

One Little Christmas Tree by Stevie Wonder –

The Little Christmas Tree by Nat King Cole –

While I’m Waiting by John Waller –

Use Me by All Things New –

I Will Wait by Aaron Shust  –

I Will Wait by Darlene Zschech –

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.

Image result for the fall of freddie the leaf
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 –