Winsome – as defined it means attractive or appealing in appearance or character. It is a synonym for charming, sweet, cute, fetching, lovely and more. If we were to ask a child who is winsome – in their eyes we may get an answer such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. An older person may name a movie star that they enjoy watching or a person they admire from a sports team. Who we find as winsome depends on our cultural lifestyle and our interests. For me, I honestly cannot pick someone I find winsome. I suppose in a dream world that I would like to be able to answer our President. But, as most know, most of our leaders are no where near the definition of charming or lovely. To me, in fact, they seem to be the complete opposite. I am not sure if it is because I grew up in the Vietnam Era or just that our culture seems to not like politicians. No matter who is in office there always seems to be a group of people who complain. We dwell on the negatives and exacerbate the things that seem to belittle our political leaders. I am not talking about anyone specifically, it does not matter their party or their gender. It’s just I wonder if the outcome of any election ever in history has had an outcome wherein the people looked at our leader as a winsome person. Perhaps, Lincoln? No, not even Lincoln. I would welcome feedback from anyone who knows of anyone ever in our history who has been revered in their own time as a caring leader. I am thinking there are none. Not within their own time in history.
As a child I was blessed to live near a pond where we would ice skate. As I passed time there with friends we always seemed to search for life frozen in the ice. We found fish, plants, and more. The ice seemed to perfectly hold in time the item it had captured. Along the edges of the lake the ice crystals formed on leaves, sticks, and whatever nature provided for us to view. Back then, I did not have a camera to capture the beauty of what we saw. So, a few years ago I took a day and walked along a local reservoir and again witnessed the ice sculptures formed along the edges. The beauty was something that I had not witnessed for such a long time and I was taken back in time while listening to the sounds of the lake moaning and groaning as I walked along the edge. Back to when if we heard that sound we would hurriedly get off of the ice. It was possibly moaning as it was about to crack. As I walked along taking photos of all I could a young man came along and showed me how to skip a rock on the ice. It made the most marvelous sound as it jumped along. We stood there skipping rocks and listening to the symphonic orchestration of ice meeting stone. A small dog came up and I knelt to pet it. His warmth was welcome on my cold hands that had been exposed to the elements. I moved along after a while and found an area where the ice was reaching up toward heaven like they were yearning to see God. I was in awe and took far too many pictures. I have to say that I never did find any fish frozen in the ice that day. In many ways I was glad for that. Yet, I did find God in the frozen crystalline structures created by wind and water. In those moments I grew spiritually and am still in awe of the things I witnessed that day. Growth frozen in time became a vehicle for me to grow. I am now ever closer to the one who created all and am glad of it.
As 2017 came to a close I was drawn to pray for a teacher who was up against the board of education at her school. Her having prayed for her students was the reason behind the meeting and the possibility of losing her job was amiss. As I read of the circumstances she was within I began to feel her pain. I too, had been a teacher who prayed for the children in my classroom. I knew it was not legal to do so but did it anyway knowing all of the while I was risking my career. I was blessed in that the district I worked in did not complain when I had a small picture of Jesus near my desk nor did they call me out when I walked the hallways blessing each room prior to the commencement of each school year. I kept my praying low key. I never initiated it aloud. I would pray in silence and often leave the lunch room to avoid the gossip and be where I could find solace. I find that now I am home more and unable to work I am drawn to prayer more and more each day. As I watch things on television and see the news etc. I hear so much negativity in all areas. One part of what we all witness is the violence in our schools. I never dreamt when I became a teacher that we would have secured entranceways and hear of shootings in the buildings. But even more so than that I never dreamt I would have to experience the negativity of life in the buildings. I did, teachers are human and it happens, Yet, in addition I was so blessed to work with teachers who were people of faith. In fact for a while we even had a morning prayer group once a week in a classroom prior to the commencement of our day. We prayed for one another. We lifted up those in need. But, more than that we were the light of God in our building. We brought his light and his love into that building and loved all children no matter their walk of life. For they, are born in his image and all perfect in his eyes.
As we enter a new year I had made a commitment to God to begin a new prayer group on Facebook to pray for our schools. God Bless our Schools will be a venue through which we can lift up our concerns and pray for those in our schools. Why the schools? Because they encase the future of our nation. Those young people are the ones who will one day be the adults that lead our nation. I dedicate myself to posting scripture on the site and ask that you join us in our endeavor. Pray daily, or as often as you can. Light a candle or sing praises to God. The more light we cast into the world the better it will be. Today, I pledge as a part of 2018 I will pray daily for our schools. Feel free to join me. God is looking for those who will serve him. It might just be you.
Today I awoke to a new year, a fresh start. I lay there in bed thinking about getting up. I had struggled so much over the past few years and just wanted to lay there and allow all to be well, even if just for a few minutes. Dozing in and out of slumber I began to realize that if I arose and were quick enough I could make it to the first mass of 2018 at my church. I rose and get dressed not thinking so much about what I wore but my desire to start off my year on the right foot. I wanted to be in the presence of God. As I drove to mass I looked out to see the trees covered in white and ice. It appeared just like in those Hollywood movies wherein they appear to have been painted with snow. The oak trees were still holding onto their leaves and the leaves appeared to be frozen in time. The image was breath taking. I got to church and sung praises to God. Then partook of communion as my first meal of the year. Kneeling in the pew I lifted up my thoughts to God and asked his input on what I am to do now. I am going forward into a new light of dawn and I want to get things right. Not in the monetary sense of things, not in the getting worldly possessions kind of way, but in a way that I can serve him and him alone. God whispers to me from time to time. I in fact talk to him a lot. I tell him of my life and how I love him. I admit our conversations are one sided for the most part but my talking to him brings me such peace. At times I feel as if he talks back to me revealing peaceful images in my mind and showing me things that I am considering. Though many may think I am crazy I really don’t care. My conversations with God are for me and not for anyone else. The content is not for you, but for me. Today, our bantering back and forth left me with a deep feeling of love that enveloped my soul. I love when I feel as if God is wrapping his arms around me and giving me a hug. I left the church feeling refreshed and hopeful. Back out in the winter wonderland I drove home all the while cherishing the view God had painted before me. Simple things hold such reverence and awe if we let them. May your year be blessed with having simple joys surround you and envelope your soul. But more than that I pray that you have conversations with God and allow him to hug you as well.
via Daily Prompt: Finally
As many of you have read I have been healing from an accident and attempting to become the new me. Part of that entailed trying to get disability which I did not accomplish. Yet, the process over the last couple of years allowed me to see that in fact, for a certain amount of money I could be owned by the system. A system in which I would not have been able to work with children in any capacity. If I did I would lose my disability status. I could not teach Bible Study nor even volunteer at the church day care. That part hurt a lot as I wanted to be able to be with children and use my skill set as a teacher. While I was trying for disability I knew that if I won the allotted amount of money I lost a big part of myself. Although I can never again teach full time I am now able to see myself in roles with children as a helper etc. It would have been a huge price to have gotten disability and have lost my ability to do what I love. I am now going to be a part of a musical with the church (it is in cooperation with the school). I am hoping to help at Bible School this summer and more. So much of who I was is gone, but the thought of my not being able to work with children was the worst part of it all. But, now that the system has decided that I will not get disability pay I can finally make plans to volunteer in the schools etc as I am able. 2018 will bring back to life parts of me that died in that accident. My vision will never be perfect, my driving will always be limited, but I will be able to be who God created me to be and work for him once again. FINALLY!
I almost won a million dollars but I did not buy that ticket when I told myself to do so.
I almost saw a friend at the class reunion but decided not to go.
I almost bought a new car and then I saw the sticker price.
I almost saw that glass that was half empty as half full.
I almost forgave a family member for hurting me emotionally but decided to hold onto the grudge a while longer.
I almost kept that secret they told me to keep quiet but I told my husband.
I almost said a prayer for the person that cut me off on the highway but I decided to lay on the horn and yell at them instead.
I almost called someone to tell them I loved them but decided to watch tv instead.
Almost…. almost…. I almost decided to stop being an almost kind of person but then I changed my mind. I will be an almost person here on out, just not most of the time.
The word extravagant may stir up visions of jewels or an exotic car for many folks. But to others it may be something as simple as a box of corn flakes with a quart of milk. So many of us are blessed to be able to dream of jewels or fancy cars while others dream of having a meal in their stomach once in a while. I learned this from a young man in Haiti whom I grew to love dearly. He taught me so much about life. I learned that there are those in Haiti who go days with no food. I also learned that an education there is not free. They must pay to send their children to school. In many instances it is a choice between that and food. To them a days wages may be only a dollar. That is enough to buy one bottle of pop at the local store. That is not enough for one person for the day let alone a family. While in Haiti I saw dirt cookies for sale on the streets and asked why they had them. They were eaten to absorb the acid in the stomach and curb hunger pains. It was uncommon there to see anyone who smoked. They could not afford the habit. Nor could they do many other things that we do such as have a pet.
Extravagance for him was a simple bowl of cereal and some clothes. How many of us would call that extravagance? Not many I would suppose. We sit in our heated homes sipping beverages and filling our tummies on a daily basis. Yet, so many in the world do not have a building to sleep in nor clean water to drink. I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip. What I am doing is asking you to think about what your item would be if you were told you could have something extravagant for free? As for me I am getting better at seeing how blessed I am in this world in which I reside. I am as a queen living in a castle my friend from Haiti once told me. I sit in my castle while I dine on fine foods and fatten myself all the while knowing that there are people living in the villages starving. Extravagance to me is no longer a classic car or diamonds. It is a desire of the heart to reach out to those in need and to help them. If I could have something extravagant I would choose to build a hospital in a third world country that has a food bank for those in need. I would dream big, but not for myself. Yes, I could work at that facility but more than that I could help those stuck in a situation from which there seems no escape. That to me is extravagant.