Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

A City Weeps

This last week Seattle lost long time anchor woman Kathi Goertzen.  After a long battle with brain tumors and many attempts to remove them, her compromised body had had enough.    But it was pneumonia that finally took her.

Kathi Goertzen

Kathi Goertzen (Photo credit: Steve Lacey)

Those of us living in Seattle followed her story and her courage through her long battle.  She lost her smile on the outside only – her courage never wavered.  She was a role model for grace under pressure to all of us who watched with horror as the brain tumors increased with ferocious intensity.

When we learned that she was only 54 – we were stunned.  Not that she had brain cancer and had struggled for more than 12 years with this – but that she was so young.

Greg is 52 and does weddings and funerals for a living.  It is not unusual for him to perform a memorial service for young adults and those more than 10 years younger than himself.  It seems to be a growing epidemic for men and women to struggle with things like cancer and heart issues to die while only in their early forties.  On rare occasions it happens even earlier.

I am reminded of what the Bible says in James 4: 13-14

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Our bodies are temporary and meant to break down and eventually die.  The body is not who we are and we cannot be defined by it.  Our real self is much deeper than just our body and will live on past this life.  I am grateful for this, as I have had people I love already pass on into the next life.  And it is especially comforting to read in Romans 6:23:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A gift from God.  No matter what happens to me while I’m here on earth.  No matter what battles physically I have to fight.  A place where there will be no more fighting.  No more long battles with things like cancer and heart disease.  No more sickness of any kind.  No more loss.  No more weeping.

I am taking many long moments of reflection in this last week to truly be thankful and live in the moment.  Because we are not promised tomorrow – any of us, it is important to stay in the present and live in an eternal state of contentment and thankfulness.

My prayer for you and your family is this:  That you may stop and reflect today on the many reasons you have to be thankful.  For contentment and courage in all your present circumstances.  And for the love of Jesus to be an ever-present compass as you embrace your life and others around you.

God Bless

When Spiders Attack In The Dark

Something weird happened the other day when the weather was nice.  We spent a lot of time outside, on trails and parks around our town.  It was SO NICE to be outside – I got a nice sunburn on my neck and shoulders, but it was still such a change in weather, I didn’t mind.

Then the weird thing.  I noticed a bump on the back of my neck by my hairline – and associated irritation to the side of my neck.  My first thought:  Spider bite.  But Greg couldn’t really see anything, redness or welt – so I began to think it was my imagination.  The next day the lymph node on that side of my neck felt larger, like something draining into it – so at least I didn’t think I was crazy anymore.  It was definitely some kind of insect bite.

Tick attached behind ear. Note swollen lymph n...

Tick attached behind ear. Note swollen lymph node on neck below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began to google “spider bite” And was amazed at the things I was reading. Some people got bites while walking around outside – some while sleeping IN BED. I asked Greg how this could happen while I slept – I mean – where did they come from?  How did they get in?  It messed with me – got all mingled up in my thoughts, all the while still feeling the swollen neck.

Last night Greg worked late and we were finally settled in when all of a sudden I opened my eyes and looked above my head, only to discover a SPIDER WEB shining in the moonlight directly above my head.  The web string had not one but two little spiders hanging on the end of it.

FINALLY I have an answer, I thought – and said out loud to Greg, “there’s a spider web above my head with two spiders!”  He said nothing.  So I said it again, “Greg – are you hearing me?  I said – THERE’S A WEB ABOVE MY HEAD WITH SPIDERS ON IT!”  Still nothing.  “Greg – are you dumb?  Can you hear me?  I’m going to turn the light on now – get ready to GET THEM!”

I jumped up and turned on the light.  Greg was sleepy and somewhat reluctant to help me in my distress – but he did make a generous arm gesture – sweeping the area above where I was sleeping.  I couldn’t believe that was all he was going to do – I mean, if you knock down the web string – won’t the little spiders then crawl all over the bed and more to the point – my PILLOW?  We looked everywhere for the web and the spiders which had now disappeared – and Greg quizzed me, “you said there were two spiders? You know that’s pretty much impossible, right?”  Hmmmm.  He didn’t believe me – but I knew what I had seen.

We finished our search – looked above our heads, at the ceiling – nothing.  So I finally turned off the light and crawled back in bed.  With the light out again – I tried to see the spot where I had first seen the spiders dangle down in front of me.  It was pitch black in our room – no moonlight at all.  It was then that I realized I must have dreamt it.  There was no way I could have seen a spider web in the dark.

By this time I was quite flabbergasted.  I mean – it was so real!  How would I wake up that fast and say what I did to Greg?  It seemed impossible to me – and yet I could not explain the total darkness.  The whole thing became HILARIOUS to us.  The yelling at Greg to “DO SOMETHING” – the sweeping his arm over the place where I was sleeping – all of it!  Then Greg said, “maybe they were coming back to finish the job”  We must have laughed for a good half hour after that.

Hopefully NOT!!

Needless to say – there are NO spiders in our bed – real or imagined.  And my bite will continue to be somewhat of a mystery.  At least for now :)

 

God Bless

A Life Worth Watching

god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” –Unknown

At the end of the day – when no one else is watching, that is where truth and honesty shake hands and become good friends.  Forced together in the privacy of my own heart – this is where I find myself,  facing my own life and my own truth.

It is not what I do in public, or even with good friends – it is what happens to me in private that really matters.

I can “put it on” – and shine for people – light up a stage, cause people to laugh, or even brighten someone’s day.  But it is in that secret place that only I know about, where my life begins and ends.

My good deeds will indeed be remembered by many, and my encouragement and willingness to lend a hand to those in need, my gifts of service to others and even things I write about, be note worthy and even may be talked about at the end of my time here on earth.

But it is in my heart – the place where no one sees that is of worth to God alone.  He takes special interest – enough to make a permanent dwelling place there.  It is there that I cannot hide my attitude, my motives and my desires.  I am forced to be real, honest, flawed, imperfect, disheartened, confused, depressed, even rebellious and questioning.  Most of these things I can easily hide from you.  But I cannot hide it from myself or God.

So for me to be a success – it is not in the outward, the things I have accomplished in my work, with friends or family – it is in the private moments and in the state of my own heart.  The place that I am reduced to each day when I am alone with my own thoughts.  Where God remains with no signs of bolting.  He stays through the toughest storms in my mind – the confusion of hurt, and even when I’m not being honest with myself.  He stays to be a gentle reminder of what my life can be.  A buffer to still the messiness and clutter that I take on myself.  He alone knows the real me – what my life is really like away from the eyes of people I know.

And though I am well aware that I have not arrived – I would like my private life – that only God and I know about to be His vision for me.

One where I have learned through experience, time and patience that kindness, gentleness, meekness and graciousness have won and are becoming more evident, more real, each new year – as I strain forward to be more loving and more understanding and compassionate, regardless of circumstances around me, or reactions of events or from people who have come and gone.  It will be that steady, unwavering conviction that love always wins, gentleness heals, and showing mercy is always the best way.

This is what I hold as a true value in my life – and the true test whether I have been a success at the end of my life.

What about you?  Will your life be a life worth watching?

God Bless

God So Loved The World

I have had this great a cappella piece of music on my Spotify list for months now and every time it plays I stop what I’m doing in awed and reverenced silence.  I have sung in choirs before where this was a featured song, and everyone loved singing it. It is breathtaking when it is done right.

I looked until I found just the right group of singers to post it for you – and found to my great pleasure, a men’s choir from St. Paul’s Cathedral with men of all ages, from little boys with soprano voices to grown men who sing deep bass.

What is most impressive about this group of singers is that they do not care how silly they look when they sing.  They are quite mesmerized in their music – and the result is a beautiful blending of voices.  The diction is so clear and distinct – I can hear every word ending, even from the smaller boys.  It is sung in a cathedral with high ceilings and AWESOME acoustics and so the result is a rich and velvety tone like bells ringing and stopping in mid-air.  The true voice of heavenly angels.

English: I took photo in Lubbock, TX, with Can...

Image via Wikipedia

The last couple of chords at the end of the piece are stunning and perfectly in tune – as they reach the climactic high point creating a feeling of well-being in those of us who have an appreciation for good music.  Watch it all the way through and you’ll see what I mean.  The little boys especially are wonderful to watch.

I am praying that this song will encourage you today and that it will cause you to stop and listen to the truth of the scripture, “God So Loved The World”.  And give you fresh perspective on the great love of our God who sent His son…

When Is Truth – Just Perspective?


truth
 

Does Truth really work?  According to the picture it does.  I sometimes wonder.  My perspective on the truth may be totally different from yours.

Is it possible to live in a world where people really say what they feel – are honest with themselves and others?

Or

Do you hide, like I do – and try to spare feelings?  Is the risk of being too honest not worth the “fall-out” from the other person?  Even if it’s the truth?

As we forge through life trying to live in the way we feel that God would have us live – is it always “safe” to be really honest?

If you are like me – you’ve been burned by being too honest – or not honest enough.

Is there a place in between where we all can live peaceably? Agree to disagree and be okay with that?

A place of safety and security in bearing our most important thoughts and opinions?  Is being silent the best way to handle a most difficult situation?  Or is skating around an issue really the best way to live – so to not offend?

When was the last time you felt you had to spare someone’s feelings and lost your way in the midst by having to compromise your own?  When was the last time you just “bit it” and told the truth (as you saw it) – and paid a high price for the “fall-out”.

The truth is – we can’t always.

Personal truth is relative.

Is this really truth?  Or is it just personal interpretation of the truth? 

Is truth just my own personal perspective?

My truth may not be acceptable or even the same truth as yours.  Just when I am reconciled to my own truth – as soon as I own it and feel safe with it – I am hit with another ‘truth’ – YOURS!

These are tough issues for us sensitive – ‘peace maker’ types of people.  Because we care deeply what people think – when maybe we shouldn’t.

Sometimes silence is best.

Speaking “truth” in love – does not always set you free – in the way we are led to believe.

I believe that the only one we can really be that honest and transparent with – is God Himself.  He is not shocked or ‘bent out of shape’ by our opinions, thoughts and feelings.  He made us and understands our unique personality.  He does not require anything from us – except our heart.  He does not want us to “hide” our real self from Him – instead He wants us to ‘bare our soul’ to Him in prayer.  He is the one true friend who promises us a safe place to land when we vent, act out, express a need, desire, opinion or even – YIKES – a lack of faith, character flaw, indiscretion or failure.

He is my personal truth – and His opinion is the only one I need be concerned with.  His assessment of me – is all I care about.  He is TRUTH.  All truth comes from Him alone.  He has set a high value on you and me – and that truth, my friend is the only truth that will last – long after our opinions and petty disagreements have passed.  His is not a perspective, it just simply is.

And that’s the honest truth.

God Bless

 

What’s Your Story?

Last night Greg and watched a Biography of John Walsh – better known as the host of the popular television program, “America’s Most Wanted“.  Some may not know that it was his own personal story of grief that led him to be an active voice to Congress and helped changed some laws regarding missing children and bringing criminals who abduct children – to justice.  He was then asked to host this show – and since the onset of the program in 1988 – hundreds have people have been found.

John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted"...

Image via Wikipedia

John and his wife had a beautiful six-year-old boy, named Adam.  Adam was abducted and murdered – his body found dumped in a river near their home.  Although John had his suspicions of who had committed this crime – it took the police and authorities over 25 years to solve the crime – and by this time, the man had passed away – before ever being sentenced.  Although it was comforting to have the thing “put to rest” – it was a lifelong sorrow and passion within John to try to change the system – and have more help and networking around the country and the world.

As we watched this program – it struck me.  I said to Greg, “I wonder if John realized that this one tragedy in his life – allowed him to be the vehicle in which real change would take place for other children and suffering families?  Do you think he knew that because of this – he forever rewrote history”?

Oh – but what a price to pay for change.  

Years ago – there was no stoplight in front of the church where Greg was on staff.  It was a dangerous busy highway and hard to turn left to come out of the church – as many of us had to do.  The city refused to put in a stop light.  Something about “not enough people’ or something like that.  It took a few fatal accidents in that place to finally wake them up – and today there is a stop light there.

It is the painful, tragic and often fatal events that thrust people forward to make a change.

So I got to thinking about this – and tried applying this principle to my own life.  I too have experienced heartache – just like you.  Yours may look different from mine – yours may be loss of a child, a husband, a parent – or a relationship  - but loss is still loss.  Grief is still grief.

What if – instead of putting that passion, anger, frustration and questions that we experience about the loss inside ourselves and hoping time, friends and activity will help put it to rest – we instead saw it as a possibility to do something great?  Maybe even something that we would never have done if we had never experienced or been touched with the pain at all?

What if – we turned grief around, inside out and stared it down, used that raw emotion to fuel a passion for others and saw it as a “God moment”.

I’m sure at the time of tragedy, the Walsh’s did not think any such thing – but the wonderful things he has done since 1981 are a sacrifice and personal tribute to their lost son – the effects of which are still felt today.

I think if we could all muster up the courage and turn tragedy around – make grief palatable - look fear in the face and use that raw emotion to find God’s purpose in the pain – the world would have more artists – more musicians – more writers and more champions.

Behind every heroic act is a story.

What’s yours?

God Bless

My Truth

A father and his daughter, 1923

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been watching the reality show about Ryan and Tatum O’Neil on the OWN station – the tumultuous father and daughter relationship resulting in a separation and silence for the past 25 years.  They both agreed it was time to put the past behind them and try to begin again to rebuild their lost relationship – through this series on cable.

It has been very interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.  To get a glimpse into someone’s pain is never easy – to feel hope for them as they talk and uncover much of their difficulties – and why things went so bad for them.  Through counseling, alone and together, they are getting to the deep issues which caused their separation in the first place.

But what I’ve noticed is this:  We all have our own truth.  It is ours.  

Truth cannot be negotiated or argued.  It is different for everyone.  It is something that we believe about ourselves, others and our situation.

In having my truth – I am not saying that you do not have yours as well – but my truth – is my truth.  It is my version of the story – it is what I believe in my heart of hearts.

We do damage to ourselves and others when we try to rewrite their truth for them.

When two people have different “truths” – and will not validate the other for having their own unique truth – there can be no settling of accounts – no matter how much counseling they have.  And at the end of the day – their personal truth will be all they have.

I really believe with all my heart – that all people just want to be recognized and validated for having their own truth.  No matter how weird it may sound.  Even if you think you know better and think they are ALL MESSED UP.  We want someone to say to us, “I understand.  I get how you could feel that way.  I see you”  So often we never get that response that we are seeking.

All Ryan needs from his daughter, Tatum is this:  “I see you Dad – I’m just as much to blame as you are”  And Tatum needs to hear Ryan say, “I take ownership in my part of our separation.  I made many mistakes and I’m sorry you felt abandoned”  Isn’t it too bad – they will probably never be able to really say those things to each other – too much history – too much blame – too much sadness.

I am glad to know this:   The only solid place for me to go when regarding the “truth” is Jesus. The Bible tells me that He IS the Truth and the Life.  And with so many personal “truths” out there – varying with every person on the planet – He is the only constant who never changes.  I can run to Him – feel that acknowledgment and validation from the source – the creator – who holds My past with all of its regret – the present with all of its unanswered questions – and the future with all of its secrets, not yet revealed to us.  When others shun, devalue and withhold from us – He is there holding out loving arms of truth to me.

Do you allow others to have their personal truth?  Do you feel validated from others?  Have you acknowledged Jesus to be the only real truth in your life?

God Bless

New Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

Image by nicole.pierce.photography ♥ via Flickr

I looked for someone

like searching in a fog

chasing after

an endless mist

straining for

that unattainable someone

or something

thinking that it would satisfy

what’s deep within

heart-sick and weary

all my efforts

came up empty

and my searching

and reaching

brought no relief

for I found

that in the searching

it was me that I found instead

alone and empty

sad and confused

“Is what I seek

my dream only?

never satisfied

why do

I continue to pursue?

Are my “dreams” just those I make up

bringing emptiness

and endless struggle

instead of fulfillment

and relief?”

And yet I searched for you

my unobtainable someone

and something

that threatened to destroy

and devour me

The one I craved

the things I craved

could be my undoing

and the searching

and dreaming for them

like a slow death

And at the end of the road

I was still there

running on empty

defeated and broken…

It was when I was at my weakest

and tired of running after

and insisting on my own way

that He came

and I heard

a still small voice

and in my confusion

and tears

which caused me to slow down

be still

and listen

that I heard Him

that voice changed me

as He reached in

and held the broken

and confused me

and finally I don’t need to know

all the reasons for before

I reluctantly surrender

and replace

all the running

and searching

for something unknown

instead of something

that does not satisfy

and begin a new path

with His dreams

and plans for me

and at the end of the road

there is no disappointment

and emptiness

or brokenness

and I have almost 

vanished from view

even though

my selfishness and pride

are still there

but they are covered

and kept in check

and it is He that is waiting

giving me

a new dream

which fulfills

and satisfies

instead of

all the things

I wanted

and thought I needed

He is giving me

much more

than I could ever dream

as He replaces my will

with new people

new things

and a new dream

 

What is your dream today?  Have you surrendered yours for His?

 

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

My Testimony, Audio (via The Fallen Pastor)

I’m posting this audio today from my friend, Ray Carroll. It is his testimony as told last Sunday in a church where he once attended. It is powerful. The story of a fallen man, a former Southern Baptist pastor – and his discovery of God’s grace through that fall and journey back to health and forgiveness. He talks about the work on the cross so beautifully – because of Good Friday – I knew this would be appropriate to share with my readers today. You will be encouraged, challenged and look at the work of Jesus and the wrath of God in a different way after listening to what Ray has to say.

I promised you that I’d share my testimony with you. Last Sunday, I shared it with a local church. I just finished posting it to YouTube – sorry, no video, audio only. So, if you can’t wait for the typed version, or would rather listen, here it is. It’s a little over 30 minutes long in total. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJXaducYk0 … Read More

via The Fallen Pastor

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a little bit of hope, joy, love, grace, life and all things in between

MEETING IN THE CLOUDS

CLOUDWATCHER'S LIFE STORY and inspirational thoughts

OverwhelmedByJoy

Choosing Joy, whatever life brings

The Urge To Wander

Travel for travel's sake....

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