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

 

 

 

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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!

My Low Carb Update……

An update on my article titled “Low Carbs is so simple they said, Eat it – you’ll like it they said – Enough Already!” written on May 30th of this year (2017) – almost 4 months ago! hard to believe it has been that long.

Not that anyone cares really but I have to say a few words about what I went through to get to this point. Being brutally honest here – I started out at 308 POUNDS!!!!!!! – I am now down to 245 pounds and the way I figure it, I am about half way there. I look back and think of how hard it was in the beginning to adapt to this lifestyle change. And let me tell you – it really was a lifestyle change. The first three weeks were the hardest but after that is wasn’t all that bad.

The very first thing I had to do was to purge my pantry and refrigerator of all of the High Carb foods that were in there. Now keep in mind, I have 2 kids still at home along with my wife (who has never needed to diet in her whole life – 94 pounds when we first met – Sheesh). You wouldn’t believe the foods that were High Carb. After the great purge, I went from sliced breads to Low Carb Tortilla wraps (because I loved my sammiches) ! Now with that being said – I also cut out high sugars and my favorite Sweet Tea. I switched to Crystal Light Sweet Tea which is really good and satisfied my need. I cut out potato chips and went to Carolina Country Snacks – Pork Skins zero Carbs and topped with Pimento Cheese Spread is the perfect snack for me! I also went from mashed potatoes to mashed cauliflower with cheese. It’s really good with salt and pepper. Absolutely zero Soft Drinks – the amount of carbs in those are through the roof!

I have still been doing Thrive for my energy level and feel great most of the time. As most of you already know, I have knee and ankle issues and so I take some heavy painkillers for that through pain management but overall, I feel pretty good. After all this time, my cravings are way under control and I even resist and refuse certain snacks and meals. Sure – I cheat every once in a while (I’m not trying to kill myself) but I do allow a bite of this and that every so often. It keeps my body and mind confused! I still stay between 30 and 50 carbs per day which keeps me right there at Ketosis and the state of constantly burning my own fats.

Now I am sure that this last leg of my journey is going to be a little harder but I now feel that I have the mental and physical faculties that are needed to make it happen. Although I now have to work on some toning exercises because of the loose saggy skin, I have no doubt that I can do this. Another product plug is for “Premier Protein” from Sams’ Club it has 30 grams of protein with only 4 grams of carbs and fills you up for a lunchtime meal.

For all of you Non- Believers  – THIS IS REAL! This really works – at least for me it has. I know that if I can do this – you can do this. You just have to make your mind up to do it. Even if it’s just a little change – you will be surprised at the difference it can make.

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

“Life” happens when you are making plans!!!!!

“Life” happens when you are making plans!!!!!

lifenotsmiley

Let’s face it – we all have plans for the future – whether it be the immediate future or the long-term goals that we so dream about. Marriage, children, buying and or building a home, buying a car, you get my drift. Anyway, just when you start dreaming of what you want to do – “Life” steps in and changes are made. Just look at the current weather situation in Florida. We are planning a vacation to the Keys in the near future but what if it would have been this weekend or next weekend? Monies would have been paid, time taken off of work, “plans” made all for what? Just to be rearranged, cancelled, or even lost. The fact remains that yes we make plans but plans are made to be changed. Just because you get pitched a curve ball doesn’t mean that your life is over or that it is the worst thing in the world. Think about all of those people in the Caribbean that were planning on – well – tomorrow! Their tomorrow will never come and their families will be asking themselves “what could I have done different”?

I have a very dear friend that, on and off over the years, we have kept in contact with each other and from the very first day that I met Mike Holland, I knew there was something different about him. Something strange! Strange in a good way though – the type of strange that you don’t see any more in this day and age. I was working as a Rent-a-Cop – a Security Officer at a local Mall in Henderson. This was all before I went to the Police Academy in 1990 to become a real Police Officer. I had been working there for over a year and was tasked with training all of the new hires and getting them acclimated to their surroundings. Mike Holland was hired on and he and I were assigned onto a shift together. Over the course of the next few weeks, he and I worked together and I learned a lot about him. For one, he built and worked on computers and from what I remember; he was quite brilliant at it too. Secondly, he had a religious upbringing and was very family oriented. Mike was an avid firearms nut and had a sense of self-sufficiency about him. He and his father later opened a towing business in the Lickskillet Community and ran that for some time.

Mike later joined the Marine Corps and served his tour of duty with them and learned many valuable lessons and skills which he transitioned into his civilian life when he got out. I am proud of and thankful to him for serving our country and doing his part for “our” freedom. Now Mike had this “thing” about him – he carried himself as “just a dumb ole country boy”  NC Redneck and never tried living above his means. Always treating others with respect but if you ever crossed him or done him wrong, you would definitely know about it – he has always been a straight shooter. You see, Mike is very intelligent and very well-educated but he interacts with people on their level. He was able to speak to the average person so that they would understand exactly what he was saying and he had a way of explaining himself to where you could understand it.

Mike married his high school sweetheart Kim and they had 4 beautiful children together. Since the beginning, he has always been the spiritual leader of their home and they have always, and I do mean always, helped out others in need. Since day one, he has lived his life to serve God and his fellow-man. After the military, Mike has held many jobs, some at the same time, but he has always worked in serving people in some form or fashion. From being a Law Enforcement Officer, a Licensed Private Detective, a Pastor, a counselor, a chicken farmer and countless other jobs,

Mike has learned a thing or two about people and he tries every day to teach you about what it means to be a servant of God. He truly lives what he preaches and leads by example. No – he is not perfect and he will be the first one to say it but at the same time, he knows what it takes to be highly favored by God. We have all been exposed to the “Instruction Manual” – Gods Holy Word – at some point in our lives – he just happens to follow it to the best of his ability.

Mike and his wife Kim are always taking in people in need of shelter, heck he even volunteers his services to the homeless shelters and other places in the area. He has taught his family how to be self-sufficient, growing their own gardens, raising their own chickens and farm animals; he is even a licensed beekeeper and harvests his own honey. His children help him in every task required and he does his very best to teach them what it means to help others. peoplehelpingpeople

Now I have given you a good example of what Mike and his family do on a daily basis but what I need to explain to you is what he does aside from all of that. Mike is always going around to the elderly and making sure they have what they need to survive, he constructed a food truck to feed the homeless and hungry, he has cut and donated firewood to those who needed heat in the winter, he has Pastored to the lost in the prisons and he has traveled out of state to help others – all at his own expense. Just this past week in the wake of the Texas flooding – he, along with his family and friends, drove a caravan of supplies out there to donate his time, money and supplies to those in need. All to what end? Not for the fame or fortune but for the Glory that God himself will reward him with. Salvation and that leading others to God is the way that it was meant to be. You see Mike believes in the Bibles’ teachings not as a suggestion, but as a commandment from God. A requirement and guide on how we are to treat one another.

Holy Bible on wooden table.

Now to ask you this – is your life worth more than anyone else’s? Is how you live your life now able to help anyone other than yourself? What about those who were planning on but never got the chance to see their tomorrow? What if that was your Mother or your brother? What could you have done different? What will God think of you now?

God gives a good chuckle when you are making plans. After all – He has the final say-so in these matters!

If you get the chance – check out Mike Holland’s efforts and life at giftedfaithful.org

You just might be glad you did!