Taking A Step Forward

I’m sitting on a wooden dock. The sun setting in front of me, my shadow stretching out behind me. The pinks, oranges, yellows, and reds from the sky color the water in front of me. Fireflies are starting to come out of their hiding places and light up the dark that’s approaching. The only sounds I hear are the crickets and the waves saying hello to the shore. I pay them no attention. Honestly, I’m so lost in my thoughts that a marching band could be playing behind me and I don’t think I’d really hear them.

That was three months ago.

They say no one heals the same. Grief is such a strange thing. Some days I feel like I’m going to be okay , but most days I just feel stuck. Like a mouse in a mousetrap. Trying so hard to get out of the trap but getting nowhere.

Today, I’m sitting on the same wooden dock. I haven’t seen the sun in days. Gray skies block the sun. My shadow has gone into hiding and the water is dark. The fireflies have gone into hibernation, dreaming of warm summer days to come again. The waves still quietly say hello to the shore. The never ending need to be seen and heard. I take a deep breath and exhale, watching my breath leave my body. It’s so cold my tears freeze as they roll down my cheek. I’m still so lost a bear could wander out of the woods and sit down beside me and I would pay it no mind.

How do I get over you being gone?

I feel hopeless. Prayers won’t bring you back. I feel so weak, but I know I’m not. It takes strength to wake up every day and get out of bed and continue life without you here. A strength, fortunately, most people don’t have to find, at least today. If only they lived each day like it would be their last, if I had lived each day like it would’ve been our last.

If I had lived that last day knowing it was my last day with you. Would I have done anything differently?

That’s the nagging question. Would I have done anything differently? I loved you with every ounce of my being but did you know that? I would’ve laid down for my life for you but did I ever tell you that? Or did you somehow know that without my words? If I had known would I have stayed up all night talking about everything, and nothing, to hear your voice for a few more hours, a few more minutes? If I had known, would I have held you a little tighter as we slept together one last time? Or would I have stayed awake just staring at you so I could memorize everything about your face?

Damn, these voices are so loud but I don’t know what is worse. All these questions or this silence that is so deafening sitting here.

I know I am punishing myself sitting here in the cold. Maybe if enough tears fall, I will wash you out of my system. Maybe if I shiver enough it will shake you out of my system. But I know neither of these will work.

You will still be here. Trapped inside my broken heart.

I look out at the dark water and talk to no one. Or maybe you are there. I don’t know.

What do I know?

I know that somehow I’m getting stronger each day. I know I am appreciating life more each day. I know I am more resilient than I thought I ever could be. I know with each breath in and each breath out that my heart is still beating.

I know the grass is greener after a thunderstorm. I know the sun and the stars are still behind these gray clouds. And I know the sunset is only the ending to that day and that the sunrise tomorrow will be a new day.

I know a broken heart heals one stitch at a time. Today, I will add another stitch. And someday it will be healed and the scar will make it stronger.

I know the earth keeps spinning, the sun will continue to shine, even behind the clouds, and that life goes on.

I know I can’t stay in this place. I know I need to find a way to move forward. Life hasn’t stopped and I know it’s time for me to get on with mine.

I know this pain is real. I know it will always be here. I know it will lessen with time.

Maybe the thing I know the most is I will always love you.

Maybe that’s enough for today.

I pick myself up off the dock and look back at the water again.

And with that I take a step forward. And then another. And then another.

Here’s To Moving On by Dashboard Confessional-

I’m Still Out Here by Casting Crowns-

Still Frame by Citizen Soldier-

Better Days Coming by MercyMe –

Don’t Lose Heart by Steven Curtis Chapman –

Still by Steven Curtis Chapman –

Begin Again by Fearless Soul –

Tom 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 named Tom. However, this was not an ordinary turkey. Tom the turkey did not want to be a turkey. Tom wanted to be an eagle.

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

Tom 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 Tom flapped his wings he could not get off the ground. It wasn’t that Tom did not practice, because he did. Some days that was all Tom did. Tom 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 Tom’s 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 Tom. Every day it was the same thing. Wake up, eat, walk around the yard, eat, try to fly.  Every day Tom 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 Tom’s friends and he would never see them again. Tom 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 Tom.

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.”

Tom gobbled and gobbled. Tom 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.”

Tom was taken to the family’s home where Tom 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 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 Tom everything Tom asked for. Tom was looked at with awe and beauty. Tom was a national symbol. The people gave thanks from their hearts for Tom. Tom was made exactly how God wanted Tom to be and exactly how Tom wanted to be seen. Tom 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?

More Alive by Pillar –

All I Need To Be by Fireflight –

This Is Who I Am by Shane and Shane –

God Follower by Steven Curtis Chapman –

I See God In You by Josh Wilson –

This Is Who I Am by Third Day –

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.

Image result for carnival fun house mirrors

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.

Pin by Nana Martinez on Encouraging words | Mistake quotes, Character  quotes, Encouragement quotes

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 – 

Noah Scape

There was a man named Noah Scape

Who felt misfortune was always his fate

He hated everything on this earth

Not once did he ever say a kind word

When people saw him coming

The other way they’d go running

Noah Scape would quite often offend

Surprisingly, or maybe not, Noah had many friends

But the ones he had felt the same as he

Noah Veil, Betty Wont, Miss Happs, and Y. Me

Dee Zaster, Emma Fraid, Hope Lescase,

Lois Steem, Shirley Knott, and Ray Neday

They all felt the world was out to get them

Perhaps, that is why they were all friends

But one day Noah Scape

Fell into it in a bad way

He needed help

But he truly felt

His troubles he could not share

No one he knew would care

With his head down he walked away

Wishing he could find Sunny Daze

A girl he knew once upon a time

Or maybe Yul B. Allright

He was always positive

And always quite supportive

Gene Yess was thoughtful and smart

Phil Hope always spoke from the heart

Then Noah thought maybe his life wasn’t a mess

Truly in his heart he knew he had to confess

That where he was in his life

His choices were part of his demise

So he chose right there and then

To begin his life again

For he had been miserable for quite a while

His face nearly cracked when he started to smile

The clouds started to part and the sun began to shine

Noah realized the light had been there the entire time

For where he was was not where he had to be

His eyes only needed to be open so he could see

He only had to make better choices

And listen to more positive voices

Now Noah knew that it was never too late

For there had always been a way out for Noah Scape

Miss You All, I’ll Be Home Soon

The two strangers left the room. She sensed they had been there before but could not remember who they were and when they had been there.

Strange, she thought, how the mind works. Some days it’s as clear as the blue sky above her right now. Other days it’s as if she’s in a hurricane. The dark clouds and the rain and wind pushing her memories here and there.

She started talking to “Tom” again. At least that’s what she thinks his name is. He seemed to be the only one who understood her anymore. Sometimes she didn’t speak a word but he would nod right along as if he could read her mind.

(art courtesy of deviantart.com)

The nurse walked in for her two hour check up. Has it been two hours already? Time doesn’t make much sense to her anymore. The only time she really remembers is day and night but being in this room with only a small window, sometimes she didn’t even know the difference.

“Who are you talking to Sam?” the nurse asked. Samantha just stared at her like she didn’t understand the question.

First she wondered who Sam was, her name was Samantha, then she wondered why the nurse asked such dumb questions all the time. Could she not see “Tom” sitting in the corner chair.

She just smiled at the nurse. Too tired for words. My God, when did she become so tired all the time? She remembers her youth when she was so active. Often walking two or three miles a day and swimming for an hour.

She loved the beach. She can still remember her kids so small. How they would spend all day on the beach eating bigger than your face slices of pizza and following that with eat it fast before it melts ice cream.

(art courtesy of deviantart.com)

She wondered where her kids are now. Shouldn’t she be making them lunch or dinner? What time is it anyway she thought?

She shuffled across the room to admire the flowers the strangers left. She loved flowers. So much so she often got in trouble for borrowing flowers from other tenants that lived on her same floor.

Oh yes, the strangers. Were they just here yesterday, or was that today? Would they be back?

She hoped they would be. She liked how they smiled at her and talked to her. They did her nails and they looked at old photographs with her. They kind of looked like how she thought her kids would look when they grew up.

(art courtesy of deviantart.com)

For the life of her she could not understand why they called her mom. But she liked hearing those words.

And for the life of her she could not understand why they told her they loved her and missed her. They said they would be back soon. Yes they did say that. She liked that. She couldn’t wait for them to come back.

Then she said to “Tom,” you know I like them two. They remind me of my young ones.

Then she looked out into the hallway and said I miss you all, I’ll be home soon.

(art courtesy of deviantart.com)

Tell Me Your Name (Diane’s Song) by Jason Michael Montgomery-

Help Me Remember by Hayes Carll-

Don’t Lose Heart by Steven Curtis Chapman-

Every Man Becomes A Boy At Times by Jon Lowry-

I Know Who He Is by William Michael Morgan-

I Will Remind You by Brian Asselin-

Afire Love by Ed Sheran-

She Misses Him by Tim Rushlow-

But Mother Knew

128 Of The Most Beautiful Mom Quotes: I Love You Message - BayArt

Mother bird sat on her eggs for a very long time. Sometimes mother wondered if her eggs would ever hatch.

But mother knew.

The baby birds hatched and mother bird had to keep busy feeding them. Sometimes mother bird wondered if she would ever get any rest.

But mother knew.

Mother bird told her birds it was time to learn to fly. All the baby birds said they didn’t need to learn to fly, that they would always be by her side.

But mother knew.

Image result for quotes about mothers and God

All the baby birds learned to fly but they all told mother bird they would be back soon.

But mother knew.

All the baby birds grew up and started families on their own. They said they would visit as soon as they could.

But mother knew.

All the birds knew mother was old and didn’t have much time left. They came home to visit. They said they would be back next week.

But mother knew.

Image result for quotes about mothers and God

Mothers by Anne Wilson –

A Mother Like You by JJ Heller –

Unsung Hero by For King & Country –

Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman- 

Fast by Luke Bryan – 

When I’m Gone by Joey and Rory – 

The First Bud Of Spring- A Love Story

001

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 water 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 the 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 Wrong Warrior

God, I know you don’t make mistakes

But I need to say this before it’s too late

You see, this storm you’ve allowed me to be in

Well God, to be honest, it’s one I don’t think I can win

You say to be strong, courageous, do not fear

But really God, what did I do to be put here?

And God, for the record I’m not that strong

So when you picked this warrior, you picked wrong

God, right now I’m full of self doubt

How do I , God I really don’t know how

God I’m tired, really, I’m too tired to fight

I’ve lost my way, darkness has taken my sight

So God I’m asking, if you really don’t mind

Pass on me and give this battle to the next in line

God, it is my desire to glorify you

But this battle, I don’t think I can do

Maybe it’s me God, I don’t have a strong foundation

Because I really am trying to trust you in this situation

I feel like I’m struggling, my faith is wavering

My doubts, my fear is disabling

God, I’ve given you all my tears

So God, why, why am I here?

What’s that you say? This is my battle to win

Well God, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again

God, for the record, I’m not that strong

When you picked this warrior, you picked wrong

I know you are with me

But I’m begging you please

What? I’ll be stronger on the other side

Yes I know alone I do not fight

Then I realized it was useless to argue

With the one who always told the truth

If God put me here then he must think I’m strong

And I’ll believe this warrior was not picked wrong

The Storm

The thunder startled me awake early Saturday morning. I looked outside at the storm. The rain was coming down so hard I couldn’t see the neighbors house. Lightning and lightning followed by thunder and more thunder. I thought I’ll just crawl back under the blankets because there was no way I was going out there.

I watched the storm for a few more minutes when I heard the voice.

Go out into the storm.

Of course my answer was no. I am not going out there if you paid me to go out there. I am nice and warm and dry right where I am.

Go out into the storm.

No I said, not even sure why I replied.

Go out into the storm.

Why? I am just fine right here where I am.

I need you to go out into the storm.

For no sane reason I could possibly think of, I found myself at my front door putting on my raincoat and rain boots. If for some unknown reason I’m going out into this storm, I was going to protect myself the best I could. I grabbed my umbrella and opened the door.

I hadn’t gone more than fifteen feet when the wind ripped my umbrella apart. I thought this is one of the dumbest things I have ever done and started to turn around to go back inside.

Don’t turn around. Keep walking.

No, I replied. I am in control here and I do not want to be in this storm.

Don’t turn around. Keep walking.

Why? I do not want to be in this storm.

I need you to not turn around. Keep walking.

For another unknown reason, I walked.

Take off the raincoat and rain boots.

Seriously, no, no, and more no. If I am going to be in this storm, I am going to protect myself.

Take off the raincoat and rain boots.

Why? Why do I keep asking why? I should just go back inside. How’s that? I will take them off when I am inside nice and dry.

I need you to take off the raincoat and rain boots. I need you to be vulnerable. I need you to take off all those layers you have been building to protect the hurt and pain you have.

What are you talking about? I started thinking I am going crazy and I definitely knew if any neighbors were looking out the window they would call the mental institution. There’s my neighbor walking outside in the bare minimum talking to himself.

You have layers and layers of lies you have been piling onto yourself. I need you to take them off.

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Quit living in the past. Forgive yourself for the hurt you have caused. Take off that layer. Love yourself because I love you. Take off that layer of self loathing. Accept yourself for I have accepted you. Take off that layer of guilt, that layer of shame. Take off that layer that you are not good enough. Take off that layer that you are the lies you have told.

No. I said. They make me who I am. What am I without all those layers? Where were you when I was putting them on. Where were you when, where were you……..

And I fell to my knees in the pouring rain and yelled and cried and let the rain come down.

I have always been here. You have chosen to stop looking for me, stop listening for my voice. I was there asking you to stop. I was there, that tiny voice , telling you this is wrong what you are doing. I was there telling you that you are more than this, you are better than this. I made you and I know you are so much more. I was there when you cried yourself to sleep giving you comfort as you wept. I was there when they told you you weren’t good enough. I was there when they left you. I was there holding your heart, holding your hand. I was there leading you toward me and I was there when you pulled your hand away. And I was there still chasing you, still begging you to come to me. I was there waiting for you.

I was there in the storm. I was there in the pain. I was there in the hurt. And I am here now, asking you to trust in me, believe in my truths, let it all go. Surrender it all and give it to me. I will make you new. Turn away from your past and your mistakes. They are not who you are. They do not define you. Come, walk with me into the now, into the tomorrow. Be who I have made you to be. Love as I have loved you, forgive as I have forgiven you, forgive yourself. Accept me as I have accepted you. You are so much more than your past mistakes, you are deserving of a future that you can not comprehend. Grab my hand and walk with me. Do you want what I have for you? The choice is yours for I have always given you free will. Choose to stay in your past and the lies you believe about yourself or choose to walk with me, walk in the light, free yourself of all that weighs you down. Surrender it all, give it to me.

I let the tears fall and I somehow slowly started to release the layers I had built. And it was in that moment when the rain was pouring down and the lightning and thunder was all around me that I realized I am more.

And I let the rain come , I let the rain wash away that pain and I stood up and I laughed at the lightning.

And then the rain stopped. The clouds parted and the brightest rainbow appeared before me and I could smile again.

In Jesus Name (God Of Possible) by Katy Nichole –

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 – 

I’ve Got Friends That Do by Tim McGraw-  

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by –