Steamrolling through Life…..

Steamroller.jpg

Life has a way of steamrolling causing a tremendous cloud that envelopes our world, hazing the horizon and letting us know just how miniscule our time here on earth really is. People, I can attest to the old adage of “in the blink of an eye”. I have found a new respect for our seniors and elders when they say – savor this moment – you will remember it one day.

Since my last post – I have been to Florida and to Mexico all in the same week. Hard to believe I know – but true.  Actually I owe the credit to my wife Sandy. She is a big list maker and planner and has the uncanny ability to create something out of nothing. Sandy plans most of our trips and excursions throughout the year making payments all along ensuring that we have the opportunity to make great family memories.

Last October we had our first cruise that took us to Nassau, Bahamas and as soon as we finished that one, she started planning this cruise. This year we drove to Miami, Florida, caught a cruise ship to Key West for an excursion and then off to Cozumel for snorkeling off the coast with free Margaritas!

We were blessed to have been able to book our plans with some great friends that we met while camping last year at White Lake, NC. Jason and Elizabeth Williamson and their family met us in Florida where we stayed overnight in Daytona at a Luxury Hotel where we walked the boardwalk to Bubba Gump’s’ for dinner. We spent the night poolside and Sandy even sang Karaoke for the first time in her life.  The next morning we departed for our road trip to Miami. Arriving midday – we were able to tour part of the city and a bit of the port as well before boarding the cruise ship.

During our time in Key West, we saw a bit of the devastation that the storms had caused but I have to say that Florida has a way of rebounding better than ever before. Those people are resilient in preparations and putting their lives back together. We had a great time shopping and exploring and even took a historic “Hop on – Hop off” Trolley Tour of the Island thanks to Old Towne Trolley Tours. Once back on the ship we had free ice cream, pizza and all the food and drinks that you could want. We enjoyed live music, the casino and all of the wonderful people that we were able to meet. Truly worth experiencing if you get the chance.

Arriving in Cozumel Mexico was a great experience. From docking the massive ship to how the crew handled all of the passengers getting off in one location. By the way, there were two other ships unloading at the same time so Cozumel was flooded that day with tourist and shoppers. Funny thing is that they had it all down to a science. Nothing was too overcrowded and the merchants there were very friendly and made every attempt to carry on conversation with its patrons. In Cozumel, there was live music which provided that necessary tropical vibe, the wind was blowing softly and the air smelled exciting.  People from all walks of life were concentrated at the docks working their way through the corridor of the port into the main square where we were met by a man asking if us if we wanted to get on his Ass…….. a funny little Mexican who had two Donkey statues where you could sit on for photo opportunities – he had such a great attitude and it was fun for everyone.

Snorkeling

After shopping at a few of the shops and picking up a great Sombrero Gonzales Fedora we boarded our Catamaran via Fury Catamarans and headed off to the coastal reef for our very first snorkeling adventure. Not sure what I expected but there were about 30 of us in the waters from our boat and four tour guides to watch for hazards. By hazards I mean predators – which is all I could think of at the time. The water was clear, the fish were friendly and the reef was amazing but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I was a very small fish in a great big pond. At any moment I expected to be caught 47 meters down starving for oxygen and trying not to get eaten by Jaws.

Jaws-Funny

Now keep in mind that we are not financially rich by any stretch of the imagination but with proper planning we are able to scrimp and save throughout the year to be able to concentrate our efforts in memorable trips like these.

Remember – our time is precious so make the best of every day. Great memories are just a breath away.

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School Poem…..

Those who are familiar with my background know that I have always been strict on my children and what it means to follow the rules. We have developed this level of trust with one another and our relationship so far has been very open and honest. I was extremely proud of this latest article by my 13-year-old daughter. It’s one of those “I didn’t think she was paying attention” moments. She was asked to write a poem for one of her classes and this is what she came up with.

Drug Free by Ivy Groves

“You don’t need heroin to be a hero” “The Fresh Quotes”

Drugs do not influence me

I don’t need drugs to have fun

I just want to run

I also want to stay drug free

I don’t want to make a mistake

Because in the morning I want to wake

You heard the fights and felt the pain from the drugs in your brain

You may act crazy but you aren’t lazy

So get up and live life

Because tomorrow’s not promised

Drugs aren’t cool so don’t be a fool

Please be smart and don’t decide to fall apart

So stay drug free…!

 

Drug Free

 

 

 

With Fear comes Respect …..

With Fear comes Respect

Admiration, fear, conformity, and love. Many of you do not believe this and for the most part will not accept it either.

Let me explain before you bash me. When you were young, do you remember “The Look” from your Mother or Father when you were about to do something bad or had just done something wrong? The look of “Oh  – No You Don’t” on their faces and then the feelings that welled up inside of you, the feelings of excitement and anticipation of what was to come, the feeling of misguided accomplishment that you had just done something that you had been taught not to do, the fear that followed?

We were taught from an early age the importance of authority and the need to follow the rules and the consequences that came from defiance. Once these ground rules were set early on, we learned quickly that you respected your parents fully without question.  Anyways, that is the way that I was raised. Sure I have done many things along the way that I am not proud of and ashamed of but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my parents had my back. Good, bad or indifferent. Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. I knew that when I got “the look” and then I disobeyed, there would be consequences and I did not always know what those consequences would be. Sometimes, it was very lenient but other times, if I continued, the punishment was much worse.

I remember as a small child I had this stool that my dad had built for me so that I could climb up on at the sink and wash my hands and brush my teeth like a big boy. I loved my stool but not for those reasons. That stool helped me get into things that I could not normally reach on my own. I took that stool everywhere and used it daily. It caused my Mother so much grief and headache – always having to watch me and to see what I was getting into. She would watch me take my stool over to the fish tank and climb up – I would always look over at her first to see if she was looking – then I would get the look. As I reached for the fish in the tank, I remember her taking my hands and slapping them and scolding me with a firm “No”. I would get mad; she would take my stool and put it away. Not five minutes later, I had that stool back at the fish tank. My hands and my rear end would get tore up daily but eventually – I learned.

Fast forward to 2017, something is very wrong with this picture. There is no more Respect, there is no loyalty or support, and there is no more faith in the fellow-man. Everyone is living on the Conspiracy theory that everyone has ulterior motives and are only out for themselves. This sheer level of paranoia has spiraled way out of control when in reality – we just all want to be left alone to live our lives in peace. We want to walk out of our front door and smell the fragrances of spring, to hear the songbirds chirping, to hold the ones we love and share our lives with the ones we choose.

I come from a family of Fourth Generation Law Enforcement Officers. I was raised in a strict environment and rightly so, I was hardheaded. I had to be taught what to do and what not to do. In being raised that way, in turn I tried to raise my children the same. To love one another, to always provide help to others, to get along with others even if we didn’t always like that person.  We don’t hate anyone, we don’t turn our backs on others in need. Like I said – I was raised.

Tip my hat

I understand that times have changed and we can no longer leave our doors unlocked and let our children play from dusk to dawn outside unsupervised while we take care of our day-to-day chores and duties.  I also understand that we have abandoned God and lost all faith in one another. I understand that this Nation has become so divided that we no longer trust, we no longer have faith, hope nor love and we all are so deprived of a Mothers’ touch, a Fathers’ content, a friends’ acceptance – it has become all about “me”.

So, what do we fear? We fear loneliness, we fear not being accepted, we fear not being loved. We fear the unknown. Whatever your fear (and trust me we all have them), it is what drives us to respect ourselves enough to conform to this world. It is what drives us to love and be loved, to admire and be admired and it drives us to hope.

More now than ever, we need to re-learn to think beyond ourselves and to start thinking of others. We all want the same things in life. We are all equal and we are all children of God.  We need to be taught over and over again until we get it right. Our hands and our rear ends need to be tore up until we learn. Just because we are considered an “Adult” doesn’t mean we always act like it.

praying hands

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.   Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Scrambled Eggs

As we go about our day….. we need to take a moment to remember what once was…….

 

over medium

As I sit here this morning eating my breakfast, two eggs over medium and one link sausage with coffee, I find myself thinking back of how Donna Hickerson used to like her eggs over medium. She would always smash up the runny with the firm whites to give the eggs a creamy texture.  (If you remember, I wrote an article on her Husband Jesse titled “My time with a Veteran”). Donna and Jesse were of the older generation and liked things their way – hard and fast they were not subject to change and fought it every step of the way (unless they come up with the idea).  I still sit with Jesse from time to time but he no longer eats his eggs over medium – he reverted back to his old ways of soft scrambled with light cheese.

It’s funny, in a way, how we carry a little bit of these people who have touched our lives in such a small way as we go about our day. Little things that remind us of them and things that they have exposed us to that we have adopted for our own.

As I get older, I find myself reminding me of my Dad in so many ways. Certain things he would do, his mannerisms, some of his actions – I understand that this is fundamentally inherited but many of the things from the people that meant the most to us, we carry on. By the same token, I carry a lot of my Mothers traits with me as well but she is still with me at 72 years old now and I am truly blessed to have her for another year.

Over the years, I have met so many people in my life – people who have guided me, influenced me, corrected me, befriended me, and loved me. These people are forever locked in my memory bank to be put away until the right time as to be remembered. To brighten my day and bring a smile or to remind me of a time when I was not so seasoned and honed into the person that I am today.

redeemed

My one true hope other than making it to the Promised land is to leave with my Children and my Wife the Love and honor that I had having them in my life. They are my real treasures.

Thank God you’ll never know who I used to be for I am no longer that person – It is but a faint memory that has now become a stranger in my own mind. Someone I look back on and think “was that really me”?

We are the ever living-Ghost of what was………….

We need to hear this today now more than ever.

at the foot of the cross

Romans 5:3-4New King James Version (NKJV)

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

 

I have read several posts this morning all with the same theme. Please take 10 minutes of your time and really think about this verse.

Quoted from two other bloggers (http://jesusisthewhole.wordpress.com/) (http://sacredtouches.wordpress.com/)

“we can’t earn it, we can’t buy it, and we don’t deserve it. Jesus did it all and it’s by grace alone that we are saved!!”

“Our works do have value before God. As you rightly stated, each one will be judged according to His works.

For the follower of Christ, the case is quite not the typical one. This is because it should be Christ Jesus Himself that should live through us, not us living by our fleshly cravings.

Lord Jesus living in you is as good as the Judge Himself doing what is right through you. In that case, you will always be on point with the Judge’s demand and you are justified, not by “your works” but by the grace of Jesus who is living through you (the works are actually seen to be yours, but deep down, you know that they belong to Lord Jesus).

“…although I live, it is not really me living but Christ lives in me…”

I hope you all have a blessed day!

Still ….. Living in the Promised Land

Still ….. Living in the Promised Land

Living in the Promised Land – a song written by David Lynn Jones and recorded by Willie Nelson in 1986

Willie Nelson

For those of you who have never heard of this song, I urge you to read the lyrics or better yet, listen to the song. This song depicts what America is all about. From the very start of it all – we are one nation…… “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under”. (Ronald Reagan).

The “Promised Land” is a religious term, which can mean land promised to a people by God.

It has several Biblical lines, and is about an America that needs to continue caring about others, especially immigrants seeking the American Dream.  That there is room for everyone is a multicultural message.

One verse from the song says:

“So they came from a distant isle
Nameless woman, Faithless child

like a bad dream
Until there was no room at all
No place to run, and no place to fall”

“Give us our daily bread
We have no shoes to wear
No place to call our home
Only this cross to bear

We are the multitudes
Lend us a helping hand
Is there no love anymore

Living in the Promisedland.

These lyrics clearly identify with a people who have nothing – nothing to call their own. No one to turn to and no place to go. These people are looking for shelter, love and Hope! So we as a nation, offer them shelter and “a place” if you will, but with our rules and our regulations and on our terms.

helping hands

Another verse goes like this:

“Living in the Promisedland
Our dreams are made of steel
The prayer of every man
Is to know how freedom feels”

THIS is what we, as a Nation, have created. Although we have let it slip away and decay a bit, it is still ours – our creation and our land and what we still believe in today. YES we are the United States of the Offended and for the most part – we sometimes act like we are entitled but the truth of the matter is….. we are still ONE NATION. If you have come to America with no place to go and no one to turn to, we are here. If you were born here, your ancestors came here looking for “a place” and they found it and made it what it is today. We are not entitled, we worked hard to establish this Nation and why it is important to see past the Color and let the “past” be the past. Come together as One Nation  and help Make America Great Again.

“Leave us your broken dreams

We’ll give them time to mend

There’s still a lot of love

Living in the Promisedland”

Now I say this – I believe that we are STILL living in the Promised Land where everyone is welcomed with open arms (IN GOOD FAITH). In good faith, we open our doors (borders) to any and all with a need or a struggle. We nurse the sick, bury the dead, clean the wounds and rebuild the spirit. All with the expectation that they DO NOT disrespect us or our ways – we, after all, are helping them. They should submit and adapt to our ways, traditions and heritages and because of this, is why we are the Greatest Nation in the World. Yes we should all learn from one another but the core is still the same.

With that being said, as with any infrastructure, there has to be guidelines, there have to be rules. As quoted from Forbes “America was founded as a religious and a Christian nation. BUT there is one inescapable fact: at the time of the American founding, the reason why so many Englishmen had come to settle in the United States was for religious reasons. They were Puritans and other sorts of radical Christians whose religion had been oppressed in Britain and who came to the United States to practice their religion in peace.

It is this crucial fact that gave the wonderful balance that gave rise to America: because so many Americans were fervently Christian, the Nation would have a Christian culture and society; but because they had seen their religious freedom oppressed, and because they were so many denominations, the government would be neutral with regard to institutional forms of Christianity and with regard to specific denominations. It was seen as self-evident that in a country where most people were Christians, their democratic representatives would govern according to Christian values.

And of course, it is no coincidence that the Founders proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that the reason why people had human rights was because they were so endowed by their Creator. (Even as they said nothing about the precise identity of this Creator, to protect religious pluralism.)

In short, it is totally correct to say that America was founded, yes, with a “secular” government, but as a religious Nation.”.

“There is a Winding Road

Across the shifting sands

And room for everyone

Living in the Promised Land…..”

“Leave It to Willie Nelson  – Only he can bring together Republicans and Democrats.”

 Willie Nelson once said in speaking of Texas (but I have to add that this applies to America as a whole) – “I know a lot of good people down there. I know more nice people than I do assholes. There’s a few of them down there also, but tell me a place where there’s not!”.

Statue of Liberty

Preparation – “What If”

First off I have to give credit where credit is due! First to God for – well you know – LIFE, and then to Caralyn over at Beautybeyondbones for the inspiration for this piece. As always, when I get the chance, I always read her latest article because she is so focused in her life with her religion. Truly a gifted writer and mentor for those of us who strive to become writers and authors.

Ok so enough with that – let me tell you a little about what I was enlightened with this morning. I first start off my day reading about all of the hoopla with Hurricane Irma and what everyone is doing to get prepared for this major Cat 5 demon of destruction heading to Florida.

To quote Caralyn – “I don’t know about you, but it seems like the level of devastation and destruction is at an all time high here recently. Between Harvey and Irma, mother nature has been giving us a run for our money. And I just want to say, my heart and prayers go out to all those who have been impacted by these horrific natural disasters. My heart breaks for those who are left to pick up the pieces. Hurricanes are something else. It’s like, you get two – maybe three days – of a “heads up” to plan for the end of the world”.

interview-preparation-3

While reading this article, I literally had to stop and think about the “what if’s” that she wrote about. This line really stood out for me “It’s like, you get two – maybe three days – of a “heads up” to plan for the end of the world”. Ok really? you had to go that far with this Caralyn? Well yeah she did! If you want to know the truth about it – stop and ponder this – “What if God was coming back – in two – maybe three days” Could you all imagine the level of panic that would occur? We all have many many things that we need to repent on and ask forgiveness for. I am not the only one in this entire world that accepts responsibility for the wrong that I have done over the years. I will be the first to admit that I am a sinner and I have done things that were morally wrong. But I will also add that I know my personal Savior and what he is all about. Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these is Love – 1 Corinthians 13:13.

No I’m not trying to preach to you today but I am trying to give you a Heads Up – God is coming back. Are you prepared? Do you know what it takes to be saved and to ensure your place in His Kingdom? “How am I preparing for salvation? Really. How am I preparing for the day when I come face to face with my Maker”? This is another thing that Caralyn brought up. When we stand before God himself and have to answer for the things that we have done or didn’t do – how will the scales tip?

In this day and age, “People would rather hold grudges or have public “beefs” that get played out in petty songs or catty Twitter fights than show any type of remorse”.

slap

“Preparing for the hurricane – there is a “life-and-death-ness” to the urgency people go about it with. Because it is: survival is in the balance. Why don’t we treat preparing for our judgment day the same way? Where’s the urgency? Where’s the priority? What is one thing I can do today – right now – to prepare for that day when I have to come face to face with God”?

No I didn’t steal Caralyns article but I did ask her for permission to use her words and excerpts. I truly felt the need to share this with you all today, not only for your sake but for mine as well. I have friends and family that I really love and care about and I would really hate to see them left behind when the time comes. Just the thought of someone I care about not really knowing where they will end us is a little unnerving to say the least. For those of you that feel inclined – I have included the Sinners Prayer or as some call it the Prayer of Salvation. Please feel free to reach out to God and plan for your future. Our God is a forgiving God, one who loves us beyond anything else imaginable. All we have to do is seek him NOW and let Him sort out the rest!

The Sinners Prayer:

Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN.

Kneeling in Prayer