Open Book Blog Hop -February 12th — Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

This week we have to write about the most irritating aspect of Valentine’s Day: In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is perpetuated by the greetings card industry for their own profit (remember when they tried to flog cards for ‘Grandparent’s Day’ which never took off?). Valentine’s cards start arriving in the shops every year around the […]

via Open Book Blog Hop -February 12th — Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

Be more than an “I love you”

I wrote this post last February and it is actually one of my favorites.  Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I wanted to share it one more time:  

What does it mean to love someone or to be loved by someone?  Maybe it is the security of knowing that we occupy a place in someone else’s heart or the significance we hold in someone’s life.

Maybe it means that in spite of our silly oddities, our looks, and our imperfections someone can see us for who we are…..and they love us anyway.

We are someone who matters to somebody else.

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Once in a while the words “I love you” can be just that ~ words.

Over the years I have learned (sometimes the hard way) about love and relationships.  Not just in the romantic sense like the love I share with my spouse, but also the love I share with all my children and grandchildren, my BFF, my extended family, and other meaningful people in my life.

The most important thing I have learned is: It is the ACTION taken that can create the strength, emotion, and significance of those three simple words.

For example:

  • Supporting each other is essential in any relationship ~ marriage, parenting, friendships.  Have each other’s back.  Celebrate successes and comfort disappointments.
  • Respect one another because you each deserve the other’s respect.  Treat each other the way you wish to be treated as you express opinions, thoughts, dreams and desires ~ make these matter as much to you as it does to the other.
  • Be a safety net and refuge from the outside world.  A person you can always trust.  Strive to create an environment that is a welcoming place of comfort, joy and peace.
  • Commitment takes work, commitment is not easy, and commitment must become a priority. Become the “something that you want to last forever” every single day.
  • Forgive the forgotten item at the grocery store and forgive the forgotten birthday present. Forgive when the other lashes out because they are tired after working hard all day.
  • Forgive the other for not knowing what you needed when you really thought they would or should know. Forgive the other when they fall short even when you know they are trying their best. Forgive because no one is perfect.

Be More Than An “I Love You”

This Word – Embrace

Most of us look forward to the new year and see it as an opportunity to make a fresh start.  Resolutions are made and some people are lucky enough to actually reach their goal.  Based on an article I recently read I decided to try something different this year and choose a word.

The concept of choosing one word to focus on each day of the year is appealing to me. Maybe focusing on just one word, and letting that one word guide me each day, might help me in my approach to all aspects of my life during the new year.

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But which word?  Words like trust, simplicity, and discipline came to mind, but none of them fully satisfied or expressed what I wanted for this year.  They are all great words, but my objective is to sincerely BE as well as DO this word in my daily life, and these particular words were not settling just right.  After much thought and prayer, the word I was looking for came to my mind. “Embrace”  Yes, that’s it!

Mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally ~ there are endless possibilities to put the word embrace into action each day. My prayer time, my marriage, my children and grandchildren are at the top of the list. I am hopeful this word embrace will help me to slow down and appreciate the glorious sights and sounds of nature, read more books, and really listen to what others have to say.  I hope this word embrace will open my eyes to new opportunities and fresh starts.

As odd as this may sound, I understand that struggles will also need to be embraced ~ the trials that can sneak up out of nowhere, the heart-breaks as well as disappointments that can occur. Embracing difficult decisions that need to be made or the many temptations that will be placed in my path will be a challenge.  It is my desire to stay faithful to this word embrace.

Taking it one day at a time, I wake up every morning thinking about embrace.  Moments that might have gone unnoticed have gradually started to enrich my life.  The adorable antics of my dog, the clever ways my students challenge me daily, and the empty, hollow feeling I felt inside after attending a recent gathering are all current moments I have embraced.  It was hard to make myself embrace the empty, hollow feeling and quite honestly I didn’t at first. It was miserable, but it caused me to reflect.  I now embrace those unhappy feelings, because they brought an affirmation in regards to a decision I have been struggling to make for a while.

We usually see what we look for and I am choosing to “embrace.”  What word would you chose?

Savoring the Emerald Coast

M. and I decided to spend Thanksgiving at the beach.  All of our children either had plans to spend the holiday with in-laws or were unable to travel home, so we decided to spend it with my siblings and their spouses along the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida.

We were lucky enough to snag a deal in our favorite condo complex right on the beach for less than $100 a night so any apprehension we were feeling quickly became a no-brainer.

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We enjoyed beautiful sunsets from our balcony, fresh seafood in local restaurants and some lively card games with my siblings.

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We explored nearby areas such as Grayton Beach, Seaside, and Rosemary Beach all located within a few miles of each other.

Grayton Beach seemed to be laid back and had an eclectic kind of hippie feel.  We weren’t sure where to go, but stumbled across this cute little village (Shops of Grayton) and took a quick walk around.  We stopped in Twin Oaks Farm Stand (the blue building below) and would definitely revisit.  It was a very small restaurant and store with an assortment of jams, jellies, brines, beef and chicken stock, eggs, and an array of healthy food choices to enjoy a quick breakfast or lunch.
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We drove along scenic highway 30A and stopped at the bustling, although charming, upscale town of Seaside. This area was VERY crowded.  People were everywhere in spite of what it looks like in the photos I took!  They had a few gourmet food trucks (actually vintage Airstream trailers) from which mouth-watering aromas ascended in the air, unique $hops, and cute little water stations for your canine companions.

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After a leisurely stroll around, it was back in the car and we drove toward Rosemary Beach.  Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of this lovely town since we decided not stop.  There had been a Thanksgiving 10K run that morning and parking was not to be found.  I managed to locate some photos on Google that reflect what we were able to see.

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Rosemary Beach presented a similar upscale resort atmosphere as Seaside.  There are shops and restaurants in an area of old world charm which included cobblestone streets and gas lamps.  Many of the homes, either directly on the beach or within walking access, ranged in size from cute and cozy to quite large and gorgeou$.

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I have visited the panhandle of Florida almost all of my life, but had never ventured into any of these towns.  Exploring these areas was a nice surprise, a pleasant way to spend some time, and a possible destination idea for a future visit.

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Be the “I showed up” person in the lives of others. Such a thought provoking post to start the new year.

Red's Wrap

My friend’s mother was dying in her living room. I knew that but I didn’t.

She’d told me her mother was terminally ill but it never really sank in. Oh, that’s why you brought her across the country and set up a hospital bed in your living room. I get it now.

My friend told me this on a long walk with our dogs. No one asks how I am doing, she said. No one visits. No one ever brings food for us.

So that night I made a pot roast with potatoes and carrots and onions and I took it to my friend’s door. You’re the only person who brought us dinner, she said A few days later, her mother died.

At work, a colleague’s wife faced a new wave of cancer. He sat in my office and complained that every night they went out to dinner. It was expensive…

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Fall on Your Knees

Humbling moments seem to be a part of life.  Some range from a simple embarrassment such as smiling and talking to someone only to realize later you had a poppy seed stuck between your front teeth.  Others can become a life changing circumstance such as in personal and professional relationships.

When you are faced with a humbling situation over which you have no control but to recognize that you are at the mercy of God, is the time in which prayer becomes especially real and tangible.

There was a time in my life when I realized a situation I was facing in regards to helping one of my sons needed the hand of God.

I had reached a point where I had to accept I had done everything I could and I needed a power greater than myself to intercede. I clearly remember the night I “fell to my knees”.  As I prayed about the pain, I was able to recognize that God required me to fully place this situation and my biggest fears into His hands.

It took time, a couple of years, but I emerged humbled and filled with gratitude for I knew God had heard my prayers and averted the unspeakable outcomes I had feared.  I can now thank God for the humbling experience, knowing that it brought me closer to Him.

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It helps to remember the child born in Bethlehem was born in a humble stable among animals. His mother was a young girl who surrendered her will to God — and His stepfather a carpenter who obeyed God’s messages in dreams. That child grew up to preach, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  That’s a tough saying in a world that celebrates power and money.  Not to mention the egos of Hollywood stars and politicians.

There are an abundance of TV shows, movies, books, and songs with holiday season themes, and some actually hit the mark on the real reason for celebrating this season. The Grinch is humbled when he states, “It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.”

A particularly humbling TV show is one of my annual favorites “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Charles Schultz and the whole Peanuts gang had the courage to put the true meaning of Christmas in this seasonal classic. My favorite scene, which always chokes me up, is where Linus recites the true meaning of Christmas to a frustrated Charlie Brown.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”    “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

During this sacred season, I will continue to fall on my knees in praise and thanksgiving as I remain watchful for the humbling moments in my life.  Merry Christmas!

 

Life Songs

My reply would be that I still think they are wonderful,” stated Irving Berlin in regards to the many songs he had written that didn’t become hits.

You may recall Berlin composed songs such as God Bless America, Blue Skies, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, and White Christmas. An article in 2001 Time magazine stated he wrote over 1,000 songs with 25 reaching the number one spot on the pop charts throughout his career.

His comment got me to thinking and I realize that every day I am composing my own “life” songs.

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Over the years, I have noticed when I try to compose the melody or write the lyric all by myself the result often sounds like a bunch of noise.  No matter how many attempts, or the amount of time and tears I invest in a composition, the song is, well, inferior.

It is only when I allow my Heavenly Father, with His skillful hands and ears, to help me that I begin to notice how rhythmic and harmonious the sounds become.

Like music that becomes beautiful in the hands of a master, so do our lives in the hands of our Heavenly Father.  When the Lord composes our lives, then our lives will become a beautiful song, melodious to the people who hear it, including God Himself.

Although our “life” songs may not always reach the #1 top tune, even among those who love us the most, it is important to remember that God loves the entire collection of our “life” songs.  From the top hits to the ones that did not make anyone’s playlist, I’m betting He “still thinks they are wonderful.”

If Irving Berlin felt that way about his songs, imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel about us ~ the “songs” He created.

Jeremiah 31:3: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love,”