Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Choices’ Category

A Touch Of Nostalgia

Yes that’s me.  My senior picture taken in the summer of 1978 for my year of graduation – 1979.

This morning I received an invitation on facebook from a former high school class mate – to join “schoolFeed” a website somewhat like “Classmates.com”.  Naturally I was curious and was surprised to see many people I recognize (well, at least I recognize their names) from high school.  It is a website that allows you to post pictures, interest, bio and stats, including a senior photo – so others can tell it’s really you.

I’ve never been too interested in this kind of stuff before – because frankly – I keep in touch with those I want to and have never sought out the others I did not have relationship with past high school.   Usually for most of us, high school is a time of dark murky waters of self-consciousness and humiliation – mixed in with some of the best times of our lives.  For me – an old boyfriend or two has a tendency to pop up on sites like this and although amusing – it’s sometimes better to leave the past in the past.  Heartbreaks and relationship issues – especially in high school are dicey at best.

My good times in high school revolve around my musical and dramatic involvement – NOT the academic arena.  In fact – I can hardly remember what I learned back them – don’t remember ever having homework but managed to pull “A’s” and “B’s” in most classes.  But I remember almost every play I was involved in and every piece of music I sang in our concert and Jazz choir.

But when I look back on high school  – it is not with all fondness.  It was an age of awkwardness, not being sure enough of myself – to really be myself and mostly a time of great regret for me personally.  As one of the few Christians in my high school – I know I could have spoken up more – and tried to make more of a difference, but I didn’t.  I know I did not handle a couple of situations in the right way.  Who really acts in a grown-up way before the age of 18?  But still – it is something I think about.

I have this weird recurring dream too.  I’m back in high school – can’t remember my locker combination – can find my class, etc.  When I finally do find a schedule for classes – I’m in one (after roaming the halls forever)  too late in the quarter and don’t have any idea what they’re talking about – and there’s a real possibility I won’t graduate.  Now in the light of day this is a silly dream (if there really is such a thing)  I not only graduated, but went on to be a college graduate as well.

The only explanation that Greg and I have ever been able to come up with is this:

Somewhere deep down – I have the feeling of “unfinished business”.  And this is something I have never been able to shake.

So finding some of these people online whom I have not had a face-to-face conversation since 1979 – is surreal.  Gotta love facebook for bringing past people back into our present.  What we do with them is our choice.

And because we can never go back – I have to believe that those circumstances, pain and regret have made me who I am today.  Without them – I would not have learned how to handle heartbreak and regret, or to be able to find a long-lasting relationship – and know the difference.

But I do want to reconnect with those from my past that make me smile.  Those I’ve forgotten about, as they went on their way to “do life”.  Share wonderful memories of fun things we did – remember teachers and events and talking about how old and mature we thought we were.  But most of all – I would love to take what I know now about people and life in general – and walk those high school halls again, find those people whom I hurt and who hurt me – and make things right in person.

What are your best and worst high school memories?  Do you like connecting with others from your past?  What would you do if you could go back with what you know now?

God Bless

Loosening My Firm Grip

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I was out taking a walk around the neighborhood yesterday, in one of those rare sunny and fairly “warmish” days.  I had my iPhone/iPod tunes coming through my ear buds and I was humming a happy little tune.

I turned a corner and walked toward a nearby park when all of a sudden the thought struck me:  What if I lost all this great music on my iPhone?  What if my computer had a melt-down and my WHOLE music library was GONE!  In an instant!

Well,  while this and other great thoughts invaded my mind along my walk – I had to ask myself, “would it really be a big deal? – I mean, come on – it’s just music, right?”

I had to admit that it would not be a huge deal.  An inconvenience for sure – but not the end of the world (as in what’s supposed to happen this Saturday – but that’s ANOTHER story).  No – my life and my world would continue on – I would just turn on my Pandora Radio and slowly rebuild my music library again – or just listen to CD’s and the radio in the car until I gathered my music once again over time.

Now while this is a silly example – I thought about the “things” I hold on to.  Those things that I feel ownership over.  The things that are mine.  My personal belongings, my pictures, my books, my computer, my piano, my blog articles and so on and so forth.  What if something happened to them?  Would I be Okay?  Would I survive?  If EVERYTHING was taken away from me tomorrow – would I really be able to make it?  Is my identity defined by all those things?  Would I really be lost without them?

No.  I would be Okay.  I choose to keep a loose grasp on my material blessings.  I can move, sell, sort and get rid of extra junk when I need to – and have in the past done several BIG MOVES across the country and back – to know that I am not defined by things.  I’ve witnessed several households of furniture come and go in 30 years of marriage and have not been devastated when the time came to unload it – or lighten our load.

I believe there is a principle in this for not only the material “things” – but I believe we should be willing to let go of our firm grip when it comes to the people in our lives – even if we don’t want to.  I was determined when raising our two children, that I was NOT going to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t bear to let my kids grow up, change and become independent from me.  It is perfectly normal for them to need me less and less as they mature – and to someday be fully developed and have their own life – apart from me.

Our children are only on loan to us.  I don’t believe there are any accidents.  God knows what He is doing – and He gave me my children to love and raise.  I do not OWN them.  And when I have invested into them everything I can – (not always in the most perfect way – but with the best intentions),  I can release them, knowing that they are individuals who must answer to God for themselves – they are no longer my responsibility.

Many parents become unhappy when their grown-up children do not need them anymore – when it is very normal and natural that they should NOT need us anymore when they are mature.  Some are bewildered because they feel they lose their control over their children and even try forms of manipulation and even guilt to keep them young – while imposing their need and dreams of the “good old days”.  While this is natural because of the time investment spent in them – it should not be used as a method of control towards our children.  They are given to us – they really belong to God.  It is important to raise our children “in the way they should go”  and then let them go – loosen the grip – release them in love.  Even if we don’t always agree.  Pray for them – and then trust God.

And though I am far from perfect as a mom – I have always tried to let my own grown-up children lead their own lives.  I feel like Greg and I did everything we could do while they were living in our home – and we tried to set a godly example for them while growing up – through good and bad, happy and sad times.

The secret is to have a “loose grip” on the things and people that we don’t feel we can let go.  Have a firm grip on God – and teach your children to do the same.  He will make His plans known to them – and He is ultimately responsible for their journey – when they allow Him to guide their steps.  This is so freeing to me as a parent and I know it will be to you too.  This will lead to a happy life – full of deep joy with no regret.

How’s your grip?  Do you feel it tightening around things you can’t bear to lose?  Can you just relax and trust?  How do you apply a “loose grip” to your own situations?

God Bless

R.I.P. Common Sense

Saw this last night and couldn’t resist!

Enjoy and God Bless

Printed in The London Times

From London Times

Today we mourn the passing of a be…loved old friend, Common Sense , who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Finding The On/Off Switch!

A picture of a Toggle light switch.

Image via Wikipedia

I’m looking for a little switch that I’ve misplaced.  It should be a simple thing to find – but I can’t locate it.

My computer has such a switch – so does my desk lamp – my candle warmers and the lights all around my house.  If I don’t want anything on anymore – I just flip the switch – to OFF!

My mind used to have one of these – long ago when I was much younger and slept deeper.  These days I cannot find the switch that shuts off the endless conversations with unseen people and circumstances – they follow me into my dreams.

Last night Greg was out working very late and I tried to settle in, relax and go to sleep.  Again – I could not find the switch and everything in my mind was turned to ON!  And sadly, ‘ON’ means – nothing is quiet.  Everything is up for grabs – including different case scenarios for past events – and conversations with certain individuals I know I’ll NEVER have.  Somehow my mind tries to make up for the lack.  It gladly fill in the blanks on events that have no answers.  This can be good – and it can be VERY BAD.  Sometimes the imagination of the mind – leaves me feeling sad – because none of it is true.

I’d still like to find my ‘switch’ – and never lose it again.  I would turn it ‘Off’ when getting ready to turn in for the night – and then turn it to ‘ON’ when ready to get up – giving my exhausted brain a chance to recover.  *Sigh*

Do you have a ‘switch’?  Or have you misplaced it somewhere along the way, like I have?

In a perfect world – we would never lose that switch – and in a perfect world things would be solved, conflicts brought to right and everyone come to an understanding – and there would be no need for such a switch.

 

God Bless

Can You Taste Hope?

Here is my own dear friend, Deanna – sharing tips on how to handle stress at the holiday season.  Had to share it with you today!  You may want to see what else she has to say on her blog too.  Here’s the link:  http://tastehope.wordpress.com/

God Bless

I Belong

It’s so nice to know.

God Bless

Laughter – Truly The Best Medicine

Happy

Image via Wikipedia

The happiest people in the world have learned a valuable lesson.  They know how to laugh.  It doesn’t mean trouble doesn’t happen to them – nor does it mean that they never fall onto hard times – have tragedy strike them – or the unexplained circumstances befall them – it means that they have learned the secret of true joy.  They have learned to find humor in everything and also be able to laugh at themselves.

I am blessed – I have many friends who bring laughter to me on a daily basis.  I will wake up some mornings and have those that have messaged me with notes of fun, mischief and good humor – and I know it’s going to be a good day – filled with fun.

There is so much said on the subject of laughter – the many health benefits and the fact that it keeps you ‘young at heart’ and looking and feeling youthful for years to come – and we can all use that!!

My husband and I laugh ALL THE TIME.  Everything is funny to us.  Not that we don’t have our serious ‘talks’ and ‘moments’ like everyone else – but we also laugh much of the day.  My children are filled with laughter and a healthy sense of humor – all the time!  We all love to laugh!  I have many stories about both of them – and there is no one that can bring me such laughter like my husband and kids!

I am doubly blessed with a circle of friends that are great fun too.  Always a funny comment and word of fun and encouragement – let’s face it – life is serious enough just left on its own – sometimes we NEED laughter just to make it through the day.

I believe a great many of the world’s problems would be lightened if people would just LAUGH – and find the humor in situations.  We as a nation have become much too serious – and I am aiming that remark at you and me.  If we didn’t take ourselves so seriously – the stress would be lifted and a good many health problems would decrease too.  Laughter really does act on a person’s overall health like a tonic.  Want to increase your life and have better health?  Learn to laugh – not just a chuckle or too – REALLY LAUGH – BIG BELLY LAUGHS - many times a day.

Try bringing laughter to your own circle of friends.  Make someone laugh today – it will make their day – and yours too!

 

God Bless

Working The Anger Out

"Always write angry letters to your enemi...

Image by Abby Lanes via Flickr

‎”Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them.” – James Fallows

How many times have we done this? I know I have.  More than once.  My own dear husband admits to writing one of these to me a couple of years ago – and never let me read it – and he’s glad – so am I.

Letters written with anger are never restorative. Instead they can do real damage – as the written word is forever.  It is always imprinted on the memory and heart and is a tough thing to move past.

I don’t believe it is a sin to be angry.  Jesus was angry – many times.  He never sinned in anger and asks that we do the same.  There are going to be things that make us angry – it’s just a fact of life.  There are things we can’t understand – things we can’t resolve and the list goes on and on.

I wrote one of these ‘angry’ letters to a friend I had a falling out with – but I’m so glad I never mailed it – or passed it through an email.  The letter was for me alone – part of my healing to just ‘get it out’ on paper and reevaluate what went wrong – and validate me as a person.  Sometimes this is a necessary thing to do.  Once the anger and emotion is passed – often times there is something left in its place.  Perspective and sadness. Sadness for the circumstances – and perspective that time passing brings – taking the punch out of the anger.  Sadness that so much time is lost in the mean time.

I must admit that I don’t get angry very often.  I’m pretty even-tempered – yet I’m passionate about certain things – but usually not angry.  I love people in my life – deeply.  Love my family and friends with a solid love.  I think what really sets me off are ‘half truths’ told about me – or people totally misunderstanding me and passing me off as something that is not even true.  And being helpless to change this opinion.  Another thing that really sets me off is being helpless to change past circumstances that got blown WAY out of proportion.  I am naive enough to believe that adults should be able to get past themselves – truly and totally forgive – to save the relationship – learn from mistakes of the past and be restored in every sense of the word.  My dear husband smiles at me and pats me on the head – like I’m a small child full of innocence and wonder.  And says, ‘Oh Cindy – that is just not the real world’

And so writing letters are for me alone. God is the only one who sees them.  And He is doing a deep work of art – in my heart.  Helping me work out the disappointment, hurt and anger – and stop it before I spew it on others close to me.  I’ve kept a journal for years – and recently I told ‘my story’ as I remember it.  We all have our ‘story’ don’t we?  Mistakes we have made?  Someone that has hurt you?  Something you can’t fix on your own?  Yes – we all do.

Can I be angry and not sin?  That is the challenge for me. Can I still be passionate about wanting change – and not push before people are ready for change?  Can I keep who I am intact – and not lose myself to emotion?  Can I do and feel what is right – and not compromise what I feel God would want me to do?  Follow His leading and direction – rather than what others tell me?  Know myself so well – that it is not a dilemma for me to restore others in love?  These are the questions I struggle with – daily.  And sometimes what I feel God is leading me to do – is not the popular consensus.

My encouragement for you is this:  Write that angry emotional letter – get it all out!  All of it. The feelings and emotions – the being misunderstood – the slander against you – the feelings of betrayal and being wronged.   Imagine taking a walk with that person who has wronged you.  Find a nice place to stop along the road – a nice grassy patch that’s very quiet and peaceful.  Take out the letter and read it out-loud to that person.  Ask them not to interrupt you until you’re done reading it.  This letter will say it all – and you won’t have to depend on your memory – and get lost in emotion – you can just read it.  Imagine that they hear you.  Really hear you. Imagine that they understand – and that they feel sorry for causing you pain – and they accept your apology too.  Imagine the conversation of healing and restoration – even if you have to MAKE IT UP.  Remember - it is for you. It is part of your heart healing – and letting go of the anger.

I have done this – not once – but many times. It is always a restorative conversation.  The anger is no longer there.  I am still writing – and there are days when I have to take that walk with someone again and read a letter – forgive and be forgiven – and have a healing conversation.  There are days when I have to forgive myself all over again.  I wish I could say that all of my relationships have been finally worked out and are restored – back in good daily communication – having put the past behind – but sadly this is not true.  But I still wait in anticipation for God to truly restore and heal – and bring back to me – what was once lost. There must still be lessons for me to learn. Until then – I am still working on me. I am in process – on a long journey.

God Bless

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Image by justmakeit via Flickr

Greg and I have been eating better these days – whole foods – exercising and getting healthy.  It takes effort and planning to change your eating habits and lifestyle – but well worth it in the long run.  The pounds don’t just drop off at our age – but we have to trust that in time these choices to eat better will help our overall health and help us to live longer – free from complications that could develop later in life.

I know why many do not eat this way.  It’s expensive.  Go to the produce department of any grocery store and you’ll understand what I mean.  Good grief – it seems a crime to charge so much for a tomato, avocado or bell peppers!  Not to mention apples, oranges and bananas!

And it’s not just produce – it’s buying sprouted wheat bread – and any organic foods – SO EXPENSIVE!

But we are prevailing.  It takes an effort to plan meals that don’t have any preservatives – vegetable oils or processed fats.  There are no short cuts to whole foods.  They have to be prepared the old-fashioned way – which takes longer – nothing in a hurry.

So I was thinking about that today – our ever-increasing grocery bill – and wishing that I had a garden – like my Grandmother used to when I was a little girl.  She had everything in that garden, potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, lettuce, beets, cucumbers – etc.  She spent a lot of time in the garden – weeding and watering, tending it.  And I remember helping her gather from it so she could cook it for our evening meals.  I’m sure it was hard work – but things were fresh and FREE!!

I would love to have a vegetable garden – and someday, Greg tells me – I will.  I will probably just start with tomatoes next spring and build from there – we have no room in our tiny back yard for a working garden – and not enough sunlight either.  But someday we will live  in the country and either have an outdoor garden or a green house.

I found myself repeating this little nursery rhyme today while thinking about a wonderful vegetable garden:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Sounds cute and sweet, right?  Isn’t that wonderful – a garden!  Yes!  How does your garden grow?   And like many things from that time period – the seemingly innocent children’s stories and rhymes were actually fraught with political meaning.  I looked up the meaning for this rhyme and this is what I found:

The origins (of this rhyme) are steeped in history… Bloody Mary!
The Mary alluded to in this traditional English nursery rhyme is reputed to be Mary Tudor, or Bloody Mary, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII. Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic and the garden referred to is an allusion to graveyards which were increasing in size with those who dared to continue to adhere to the Protestant faith – Protestant martyrs.

Instruments of Torture!
The silver bells and cockle shells referred to in the Nursery Rhyme were colloquialisms for instruments of torture. The ‘silver bells’ were thumbscrews which crushed the thumb between two hard surfaces by the tightening of a screw. The ‘cockle shells’ were believed to be instruments of torture which were attached to the genitals!

Can I just say, OUCH!  Wow.  The things you find out when you look something up from history.  I’m sorry I looked it up.  I bet you are too.  Can I just say that back then it would not have been wonderful to be a man? Amazing.

Hopefully my garden will be different – no torture devices in mine – only  sweet things for my family to eat – to help save on our grocery bill.  I promise.

Do you have a garden?  How does it grow?

Here’s wishing you sweet things in yours today ♥

 

God Bless

 

 

Safety In Numbers

Sueños rotos / Broken dreams

Image by Tomás Rotger via Flickr

Our pastor had another excellent message this morning on “How To Deal with Broken Dreams”.

I was aware of the fact, as he was speaking – that I have had a few dreams and things I thought would turn out differently from what they have.  I think if we are honest – we would all say the same thing.

And it is in a world of broken or unfilled dreams – that you and I can become restless and discouraged.  The most common reaction to heartbreak is to pull away from others.  To isolate ourselves and try to make it on our own.  This is when we need be very aware that when we are pulling away from others –  Satan can have a grip on us – catching us when we are weak and alone.  And pulling us down.

1 Peter 5 says this:

8-11Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

I’m so glad He has the last word.  His hand of protection is always on me.  There is also ‘safety in numbers’.  When we rely on good council from strong Christian brothers and sisters – and are accountable to them – we are less likely to fall away – make unwise choices and stray off the path.

I admit – I like to pull away and be alone – it is in my nature to do so.  I’ve always been somewhat of a ‘loner’.  This is why – although I enjoy my friendships – it is always easier and more comfortable for me to pull away from the crowd.  Being in a married situation – and a mom  – took real discipline for me as a person – because many times when I would prefer to be alone – my circumstances were not conducive to it – nor would my family hear of it!  But my very patient husband was wonderful in understanding this about me – and at times when our children were very young – he would tell me he was going to watch them and that I could just go somewhere for several hours – to give me a much-needed break.

And although this may be a positive in many ways to like to be alone – and be able to refuel and recharge – it is not always healthy.  I need people – the friendships in my life are very important to me – so I have to work at them.  The things we value – we will make time for.  It is the same way in my marriage to Greg.  I value my time alone – but I also make time for him – because it is healthy for me to do so.  He keeps me grounded.  His love allows me to be who I am – and it is a safe place.

I have also learned that I have to let go of some of the strongholds in my life – people who haven’t treated me right – my chance for complete restoration with an old friend – etc., etc.  In letting go and not expecting anything in return – and in fact –  never seeing things the way I would like them to be.   I decided something today.  This is a ‘broken dream’ and I need to let go of it.  Period.  No more wishing and dreaming of the day that things will be put to right.  No more waiting to ask the questions and find the answers – to hear that I’m not crazy after all.  Just forgiving and letting it go.  Stephen said it so well this morning.  ‘Forgive and ask questions later’.  How simple this sounds.  How true it is.  But how humbling and challenging.  And yet – I know I have to lead my heart in this area.  I have to live with my own choices and my response to the way others have treated me.  I’m very aware that this puts me in a vulnerable position to NOT have those walls of protections around me – yes – I could be hurt again.  But it is a risk I’m willing to take – because it’s the right thing to do.

Colossians 3 says this:

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Peace and thankfulness.  So much to be thankful for.  So much.

And so on this Halloween day – my prayer for you is the same.  Let go of it – all of it.  And God will bless you for it.  Forgive and ask questions later.

Here’s hoping and praying that you will do just that.  Stay close to God – and stay close to each other.

God Bless

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