The enemy will try to move you off course, and dishearten you. He will try to make you question yourself and feel unworthy, inadequate, unprepared, afraid, worried. He will try to crush you using whatever weakness is in your flesh.
It’s okay to trust God’s direction even if you don’t understand what He has planned or where He is taking you. It’s okay to take up your sword confidently even when you feel unsure or inadequate. It’s okay to remember you are royalty and worthy to bear arms and fight for your kingdom. It’s okay to stand still, it’s okay to retreat, it’s okay to rush in fiercely. As long as your direction comes from the One you believe in, He will guide you and it will all be okay. Be courageous and let the Lord do what is good in His sight.
1 Chronicles 19:13 Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God; and let the Lord do that which is good in his sight.
🖤 This day of reflection holds much emotion for our country. Most of us can remember exactly the moment we heard the news that the first tower had fallen on 9/11. Time stood still for a moment as we listened in disbelief.
The enemy was a foreigner then, or at least appeared to be. Now the threat to our safety is obviously our fellow countrymen, on our own soil, under the same constitution that my grandpa and so many others believed in and fought to defend.
Regardless of what is to come in this life (much of it I’m sure will be unimaginable) I pray for a kind heart, fierce mind, and brave spirit:
💖 Kind Heart: May I have a kind heart without judgement, sharing my understanding with those who may be interested and accepting their right to choose what they believe
🏹 Fierce Mind: May I have a fierce mind pushing past self-imposed limits to reach full physical capacity; asking for, seeking and receiving Divine knowledge, understanding and wisdom as I encourage and uplift others
🕊 Brave Spirit: May I break free of all control; societal, spiritual, governmental, to change paradigms in all areas of life, boldly pulling down strongholds and expressing big unlimited love for my God, others, and myself
During my morning walk. I was thinking about all the many ways I have failed in life. So, of course, that led to thinking about my accomplishments in order not to feel bad about myself. I’ve had some horrible failures and some amazing accomplishments. The magnitude of each may not have been recognized without the contrast of the other.
Have you ever pondered the theory that we aren’t taking any of our accomplishments or failures with us to the next life, all we are taking is our character?
It isn’t an amusing thought for me. Character, the same one that has propelled me to success and to the depths of failure, that’s what I have with me as I meet God, Jesus, the Saints, and angels? Seriously, thank heaven for mercy and grace!
Oh sure there are some things I might say are good about myself. My work ethic is phenomenal, my boldness is legendary, my intelligence is sufficient, my common sense is sound, my love is passionate. Like most people I’ve been educated in proper processes, maximizing resources, the latest how-to’s to handle todo’s, efficient organization, team building, self-motivation, effective communication. And like most people I was encouraged from a young age to be a good person, a productive law-abiding citizen, a hard worker, a loyal friend, a responsible adult.
It’s not the outward obvious things that bother me about myself, it’s the innermost workings of my mind and heart that give me cause for pause. Perhaps it’s the rapidly changing times we are living through that make me wonder, will I stand firm on my beliefs regardless of who is shaking their finger in my face? Or will I be like Peter and betray my closest friend?
Character, the inward part of ourselves that only we know, is the most important and the most difficult part of ourselves to face, to control, to change, to accept, to live with, to carry with us into the next life. Our personality and outward appearance seem to get most of our attention and although those things can be challenging, they aren’t as difficult, or scary, as looking inward.
Lord, teach us how to focus on building the character traits You want to see in us. Show each of us what our spiritual gifts and talents are, the ones You embedded in our core being before we were born to this life. Instruct us on how to integrate them with our personality to successfully maneuver through the physical world while winning battles for You in the spiritual world.
I am blessed to have a diverse group of friends. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t change the fact that we love and care for each other. We are able to enjoy each other’s company, express differing opinions, discuss ideas and enjoy spending time together.
It’s difficult to understand why some people think they can’t be friends with anyone who thinks differently than they do.
I respect each person’s freedom to choose political party, religious affiliation, sexual preference, etc. and do not require conformity to my way of thinking in order to consider you my friend.
By the same token I will not embrace your beliefs, if they are not my own, regardless of how close we are as friends.
📣 Even though I may not follow you in your thinking, I will respect your right to choose, and I will be over here cheering for you to do the best flip ever as you jump off of the really high cliff you have chosen. I have no doubt you will execute that flip superbly. 🙌🏼
The gift of free will allows us to choose what path we will take. Choose our beliefs, what standards we hold ourselves and others to, what things we regard as important, honorable, admirable. Our choices may not align with each other. That’s the beauty of free will, you choose for you, I choose for me, we do not have to agree. The most significant part of this gift from our Creator is that we don’t even have to agree with Him. He will not force us to follow His way. He leaves it up to us to choose the consequences we face through the choices that we make.
How do we decide what we believe? Many beliefs get programmed into us through family, culture, school, religion, philosophy, education, propaganda. Strong influencers in our lives can make it difficult for us to think for ourselves when we are younger. As we mature other factors enter in like making a living, lack of time, distractions of life, rebelliousness, or just plain laziness all can get in the way of self-analysis. Regardless of why we believe what we believe, in the end when we leave this life to face the next, the only person held accountable for what we believe is ourselves. There won’t be a free pass because someone taught us the wrong thing to believe.
I am always questioning my beliefs to make sure they are my own. Life offers many opportunities to question what the heck is going on and what my belief is. Questioning can lead to deeper understanding, new realization or leave me scratching my head still wondering what the heck? My beliefs are deep rooted and solid in some areas and very pliable in others. Some beliefs I have held tightly to because they have proven themselves true. Others entwine around me and try to bind me up even though I have tried to shake them in numerous ways, they are societies programming that I am constantly trying to cleanse myself of. Certain beliefs pressed on me by well-meaning religious teachers have required significant re-programming of my mind.
It would be easier not to self-analyze. Just go with the flow, be politically correct, follow the latest trends, listen to the preacher, do whatever the government told me to. I’ve tried those approaches a few times in my life when I’ve been exhausted or disheartened. In the end going with the flow somehow always rubs me the wrong way and I eventually wake up and return to my own way. Bold, direct, not politically correct, reading and studying the Bible for myself.
The war to influence our free will is ancient. Competition, jealousy, fear and hate mongering have always been tools the enemy used to control our emotions and work against us. The speed of the internet increases the velocity at which information penetrates our mind and diminishes our ability to decipher one attack before the next one is hitting us. The warfare takes on many forms: political affiliation, color of skin, religion, national origin, sexual orientation. Those shrouds of keeping us stirred up were used covertly up until a few years ago when the enemy became bolder. The camouflage has faded on the shroud of traditional palatable areas of propaganda. Now the war is visible outright as it blatantly rages against our free will and the freedom to exercise it.
Tactics of overwhelm are used as we are bombarded with information and no time to determine fact from fiction before the next barrage is poured out upon us. So much information, so much distraction. Wars and rumors of wars, viruses, wild weather, wild fires, racial injustice, sexual slavery, corruption under every stone. Tying us up in emotions of fear, anger, hate, rage, discouragement, helplessness. They poke and gouge and push our buttons getting us to put love on the back burner and battle with each other on our own soil, in our own homes, with our own friends and family. Their goal is that we don’t use the most powerful gift we were given. They want us to stop thinking for ourselves, stop being accountable for our own actions, stop using our mind, stop critical thinking, stop common sense reasoning, stop exercising our free will.
There is a fanatical radical in each of us, whether we yell at the top of our lungs on public domains or quietly plug along screaming silently, internally. We are creatures vibrating with energy from the electric current coursing through our being that is hard wired to emotion and feelings created in the very image of God Himself by His own hand. With our first breath we are designed to be ever seeking homeostasis and survival at all costs. Fight or flight is a continual unconscious question that our body/mind/spirit is asking itself. Each of us deals with the answer differently. Some people run to the fight, some run for safety, some sit still a little longer than others trying to figure out what the truth is.
The powers that be in this world are seeking to crush and control us. They understand and utilize the weapons of biology, psychology and spirituality. Fatiguing our systems, creating brain fog, depressive moods, trying to deplete our energy so that we are unable to process information, trying to create a sense of hopelessness so that we will grab onto any little pleasure they throw in front of us to numb the pain. Traditionally the pain killers were sports, shopping, cooking, eating, alcohol, drugs, pornography. Now they have added things like celebrity gossip, silly tiktok videos, and ignorant milk crate challenges. Anything they can use to influence and direct the masses is being used. They bombard us with bad news, upon bad news, upon bad news and offer us easily accessible pleasurable entertaining distractions from the bad news. Each is a tactic to control our thinking, to crush our free will. Filling our conscious and subconscious minds with propaganda promoting the direction they want us to move. They move us in masses, as if we were cattle, in whatever direction they choose.
Ponder this: The battle for our soul is the enemy’s ultimate goal. Have you ever thought about how precious our soul must be that such a divisive battle has been waged for it?
Death is eminent from our first breath. We are required to be prepared to meet our Creator. Today if the Taliban, or the little guy in Korea, or the intelligent guy in Russia, or the ancient Chinese, or our own elected president marches into our home and kills us we will be standing before our maker explaining why we believe what we believe.
What do I believe? I believe I’ll continue to take a moment each day to think about what I believe and make sure it is my own belief, then I will conduct myself accordingly regardless of what anyone else believes.
How to have a bikini body: Buy a bikini, put it on 👙
Haha, that’s funny, but it’s no joke that the first day of summer is only three weeks away. In preparation (and because I am determined to wear a bathing suit in public this summer) I signed up for a June fitness challenge.
It’s a little surprising when a nationally recognized fitness coach calls you IN PERSON to ask if you are familiar with how intense her program is because she noticed your age combined with your height to weight ratio 😳 and you have to tell her that you have not been doing any intense exercise lately 😩
After I assured her that I was familiar with her programs (a close family member does them) and the level of hot water I was jumping off into. She finally agreed to let me participate if I promised to work at my own pace and not try to keep up with her. I agreed. 😁
🏃🏼♀️🏋🏼♀️👙So bring on the oxygen and the smelling salts and the achy-joint salve…. 🔥 the intensity begins tomorrow 💥
Isn’t it amazing how scents can bring memories rushing in? Sometimes good ones sometimes not so good. Aging and memory loss go hand-in-hand so exercises to help lessen the effect are always good. Remembering things tied to scents can help with recall. A few scents that I can imagine as if they were happening right now and bringing with them multitudes of good memories include:
In my childhood I can see my granny standing in the kitchen over one of her favorite cast iron skillets filled with hot Crisco oil, cooking up a fresh chicken from her brood out in the back yard, and when it was cooked we enjoyed a great family dinner filled with love and laughter.
Then later as an adult I can see me, my best friend Sherry, who was taken from us far too soon, and her man Robert Griffin sitting at their kitchen table as we shared a bucket of KFC and had some very entertaining conversations. I always told them they could be the stars of a show called:
The Adventures of Big Daddy and Little Mama
FRESHLY BAKED PECAN PIE:
My mama made the best pecan pies. She doesn’t cook anymore and when i try to make her recipe it never tastes the same. But I remember the times, long ago, when I was a child and mama would make a batch of pecan pies. Usually she made them after a family member had gone on a trip to Georgia and brought back a bag of Georgia pecans. The house would feel with the sweet smell of Karo corn syrup and roasting pecans. Then mama would take them out of the oven and set them to cool. The anticipation of the first delicious bite still comes to mind and makes my mouth water to this day.
My granny & grandpa had a large gardenia bush near the front door of their house. When it was blooming granny would share the blooms with others. We lived next door to her and she often took me and my sister Cindy Fussell Cindy Fussell Whitfield to the bus stop. When the gardenia bush was blooming she would cut a flower, wrap it in a moist paper towel and tell us to give one to the school bus driver or our teacher. Granny was always gifting things to others like flowers from her garden, fresh baked sweets, home made buttermilk biscuits,(there’s a great scent), or handmade crafts.
When the housing market crashed in the early 2000’s i had to find a new way of making a living. I am so thankful that I was able to enter the realm of alternative healing through massage therapy, energy healing, and other types of bodywork. Lavender can be found throughout various bodywork modalities. It has been used since ancient times to relax and calm the body and mind. The scent reminds me of all the healers I have been honored to work with as well as the Individuals I have been blessed to serve in a healing capacity.
When i was a child I remember that my daddy and grandpa spent every moment they could in the woods. During hunting season they would be gone for several days and return smelling like pine and campfire smoke. Once they had unpacked the trucks and buggies we would all gather around in the living room, or front yard, and listen to their stories filled with adventure and funny antics.
Then later in my lifer there are memories of wonderful conversations around a campfire, sometimes blazing, sometimes smoldering. Sometimes with a bunch of family, sometimes only a few friends, and of course those unforgettable times with a lover.
It’s safe to say most of us have been spending more time at home in recent months. In so doing my appreciation has grown toward the little drink station in my kitchen. I visit it throughout the day for pour-over-coffee, Nespresso, hot tea, and cold smoothies. It provides me with numerous bursts of energy.
Have you found something in your home you now have a greater appreciation for than you did several months ago?
Kindness and common courtesy, are they being lost? I seem to find less and less of it in my daily life. From the common curtesy of a man holding a door open for a woman, to a younger person giving up their seat on an airport shuttle to an older person. Often, I am left to open a door for myself as the strapping young man ahead of me leaves it to close in my face. Recently while traveling my seat was offered to someone older than me while someone many decades younger sat comfortably, absorbed in their phone, oblivious to their surroundings. And what’s up with checkout clerks? They seem to smile less, of course all we can see is their eyes, so maybe their smile just isn’t big enough to shine through.
The combination of the social distance drum beating a background mantra as the latest digital device magnetizes our minds is allowing our base nature to be more acceptably prominent. Kindness is a choice. The distractions of today seem to be causing the ability and desire to be kind to slowly slip away.
What might happen if each of us realized we are not the center of the universe, it is far more vast than our little minds can imagine, we are not separate from the universe we are a speck of dust contained in it, and we are not permanent, our time as we exist today is limited. What might happen if we went out today and treated each person we dealt with as if they were our brother or sister? And even if they are behaving like they aren’t, we pretend that they’re just confused, and treat them like they are any way. What if we insist through our mannerisms and our tone that we see each person we interact with in their highest self, their best self? What if, just for today we decided to be kind, instead of right? How might doing these things change us?
Maybe it’s my age, but I miss those good ole days, when people were compelled to be polite and kind, even if they didn’t feel like it.