Friends and Secrets

This pic popped up today on my On This Day app from 19 years ago.  I had hiked up into Alaska’s Talkeetna Range, shed my boots, and was basking my 10 little piggies in the sunshine . . . obviously I’m not into pedicures 😊

I remember that day. Gazing out over the snow surrendering in Spring’s retreat from approaching Summer. It was one of those Alone With Dad times in creation I so cherish. His mountain cathedrals are my mediation chapel. There, in the hush of silence, God’s magnificence dwarfs my minuteness, and . . . I ponder . . . I listen . . . and my soul is refreshed.

In the aftermath of one of my life’s greatest disasters, I sat in overwhelming gratitude of how truly blessed I was to be there. Two things occupied my thoughts . . . friends who had stood by me, and secrets that had devastated me.

A gifted writer friend recently posted on their blog, “Secrets are something you’d be ashamed of if anyone found out. Things that are private aren’t anyone else’s business.” It’s oxymoronic that there would be no need for secrets without anyone else to keep them from, or better yet, if everyone could be trusted to keep them.

I’m convicted and humbled sharing my ‘ashamed secrets’ with the One who knows my every one, assured that He will never reveal them to anyone. ‘Fessing up”, He reminds me they all have been forgotten and forgiven . . . so Divinely freeing!

‘Ashamed secrets’ (we all have them) aren’t so readily sharable. The fear of rejection from others who don’t know them, and may not forgive and forget, keep them hidden . . . but they linger . . . whispering “Remember when you ______? “, discouraging and dampening life’s joys.

I’m genuinely thankful and appreciate my every friend. Their crucial “…two are better than one…” support have richly blessed and eased my life’s journey. Friends come in three genres, distinguished by their relationship and trust levels:

  • Casual – “Hello. Good to see you again. How’s everything?
  • Good – “What’s new? Anything I can help out with? Let’s get together sometime.”
  • Confidant – “I’m struggling and need to share and pray together with you about it.”

It’s with my trusted few Confidants where I “…confess your sins one to another…”, sharing in open, honest transparency my ‘ashamed secrets’. Doing so releases cathartic, joyous freedom from the fearful prison of ‘ashamed secrets’ being found out, and of being rejected. 

Three characteristics identify my treasured “…sticks closer than a brother…” Confidants:

  • They listen without judgement, accepting me “Just as I am, not as I should be.” – Brennan Manning
  • They offer constructive, ‘tough love’ advice where needed.
  • They trust and share their failures and ‘ashamed secrets’ with me, and . . .  as we pray, laugh, and cry together . . . and we heal together.

Nothing is as freeing as a confessed sin. Nothing is as isolating as a guilty secret.”

Mark Batterson

I M Blessed . . .  May U B 2

Life’s Brief Gossamer Wings

Up here on the mountain – down in the ‘holler’ – over the ‘crick’ we experienced a large Mayfly hatch last evening. They clung to our windows and literally covered portions of our deck . . . but that’s Good News😁 . . . mayflies require clean water to breed, and large hatches indicate a healthy aquatic environment.

After spending up to two years underwater mayfly nymphs shed their exoskeletons; take flight on delicate gossamer wings as adults; and . . .  Bad News😟 . . . die within 3 days after mating to give rise to a new generation. Reminds me of a sign I recently saw in Hobby Lobby . . .

Don’t Grow. It’s a Trap!😊

When we left for church this morning our windows were clear of clinging mayflies, but the deck was littered with their wings . . . without bodies??? This afternoon I spied a bird perched on a branch with a wingless mayfly body in its beak . . . ‘Body Snatcher Mystery’ solved!

Carl Sagan, brilliant astronomer, author of the most sold science book Cosmos, and agnostic once said,

Compared to a star, we are all like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out the course of their life in a single day.”

In the scope of eternity, we’re all on ‘mayfly time’. Compared to Carl Sagan, my intellectual prowess is Pre-K, but my faith is specific, not agnostic, in asking . . .

Teach me to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

. . . the wisdom of the One that created the incomprehensibly immense cosmos and named its every star in it; designed the gossamer wings of every mayfly; and formed me . . . loved me . . . and saved me from the brevity of life and the permanence of death . . . Forever!

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Smoky Mountain Misty Morn’

Strong thunderstorms last evening orchestrated one of my favorite Creation symphonies . . . the soothing staccato of raindrops dancing on a metal roof.

Local forecasts predicted clearing by late morning, nixing a spectacular sunrise photo opt.  However, living in the Great Smoky Mountains for the past eight years has taught me some of her creation-scape schemes, and a ‘Smokin’ idea developed . . .

I suggested that if my wife would arise before daybreak to accompany me up into the mountains to snap some photos, I’d treat her to a scrumptious, fat-dripping, calorie-laden breakfast at Eliviras, a local restaurant renowned for its cuisine . . . Deal! . . . occasionally I can still convince her to go along with one of my irrational ideas . . . after all . . . she did marry me 😄

Light fog transitioned to patches of denser fog on our early morning upward journey. Finally. breaking above the mists, we pulled off at an overlook and I broke out my camera.

Eliviras breakfast was 5***** and plentiful! . . . our to-go box held ½ of her Breakfast Scramble and ½ of my Mountain Man omelet . . . breakfast tomorrow 😊

Was trading some extra shut-eye for a few shutter-snaps worth it? Here’s a few pics . . . you decide.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist

Isaiah 44:22

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

National Dragonfly Day

Bad News . . .  It’s not quite summer, but the hungry mosquitoes have already arrived

Good News . . . The dragonflies have also arrived, and they’re hungrier! These efficient exterminators can devour hundreds of mosquitoes a day and have a 95% kill rate.

In appreciation, I’m proposing a resolution to declare this National Dragonfly Day. No offense taken if you decide to ‘Buzz Off’ 😊

SMILE! . . . “A cheerful heart is good medicine” – Proverbs 17:22

Blue Angels

I’ve had the privilege of watching the incredible aeronautic skills of the Blue Angels soaring through the skies, vicariously wishing it was me in the cockpit. I’m certain those amazing Navy jet jockeys would be fearfully gripping their joysticks if they knew what this ole Marine ragamuffin was contemplating😊

This morning, listening to the Canadian Tenors perform Watching Over Me at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, my spirit soared. It reminded me that His angels are constantly watching over us.

OK, I’m aware my ADHD (Active Delusional Haywire Dementia) is ever-operational and has no ‘Off’ switch (Who just say, “Really?”😊) . . . but it got me to ‘a-musin’. Hope you’ll ‘bear’ with me for a tad once again.

Perhaps, on yesterday’s woods wander I missed the silent message butterflies and birds whispered, and my post should have been more appropriately titled Blue Angels.

Soooooo . . . ‘Black and Blue’ post has been revised to ‘Blue Angels’; the black bear vid-clip deleted (Sorry Smoky ); and the comforting chorus from Watching Over Me added below. If you have the chance, googling the Canadian Tenors Royal Conservatory of Music inspirational performance reassures that we’re not navigating this oft difficult earth-bound journey solo.

There will always be the shining sun
There will always be the rising of the sea
There will always be an angel watching over me

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways

Psalm 91:11

Keep looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Liquid Thunder

Standing at Bald River Falls, its roaring cascades misting my face, I simultaneously sensed my minuscule smallness and God’s magnificent greatness.

Then my gaze focused on the remains of two tree trunks mid-falls . . . it was as though they were trying to hold back the tumultuous flow . . . how so often like my prideful, minuscule resistance to do things my way in lieu of yielding to God’s magnificence and plans for my life.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”(1 Peter 5)

. . . soooo . . .

Give all your worries and care to God, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Standing at Bald River Falls, the words of my old German grandmother echoed through the liquid thunder . . . “Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart” 😊

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Healing Transparency

Yesterday I read “What Heals?”, a poignant, courageous transparent post by a recovering drug and alcohol addict in recovery for over a decade. It moved me. By God’s grace alone I’ve been spared alcohol and drug addiction . . . I’ve fought other addictions.

‘Recovering’ isn’t a favored term . . . it has no end point . . . and no addict ever planned on owning it. Ironically however, it’s in honestly owning ‘recovering’ that sustains it and keeps addiction relapse at bay. Fortunately, many rehabilitation programs exist to assist addicts in recovering. However, without transparent relationships with trusted others, and a genuine dependency on God, lasting recovery is constantly challenged.

As a young person I remember the first time a man told me, “I’m a recovering alcoholic.” It left me surprised, and somewhat confused and disappointed. He appeared to be a respectable guy . . . He was! . . . it was my prideful, judgmental human nature in need of ‘recovering’ for underestimating his inestimable worth as a human being.

We’ve all faced addictions. Living life has rendered all of us potential ‘addicts’ constantly navigating ‘recovering’. Perhaps we haven’t sunk to the depths of addiction requiring professional rehabilitation but, . . . truth be known . . . each of us is a recovering ________________ (you know your battle)

Recently, I read the words below written by a recovering alcoholic. Lewis Meyer relates the unfortunately uncommon, precious healing of transparency discovered in Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, and I’ve experienced in Celebrate Recovery. May it encourage you as it has me to embrace the healing of transparency faith and faithful friends can provide along life’s challenging journey.

Off the Sauce

Lewis Meyer

If one could use only one word to describe the feeling of an AA meeting, it would be love.

Love is the only word I know that encompasses friendship, understanding, sympathy, empathy, kindness, honesty, pride, and humility. The kind of love I mean is the kind Jesus had in mind when He said, “Love one another.”

Shoes may be shed, attention might be diverted, but there is a closeness between AAs, a closeness you seldom find anywhere. It’s the only place I know where status means nothing. Nobody fools anybody else. Everyone is here because he or she made a slobbering mess of his or her life and is trying to put the pieces back together again. First things are first here.

I have attended thousands of church meetings, lodge meetings, brotherhood meetings – yet have never found the kind of love I find at AA. For one small hour the high and mighty descend, and the lowly rise. The leveling that results is what people mean when they use the word brotherhood.”

Behind each one’s strength is hiding a fallen person in need of redemption, a person precious in the eyes of God because of the unique treasure they are meant to be in time and eternity.

Adrian van Kaam

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Someone or Somebody

Today our nation celebrated the National Day of Prayer. The theme was Unity.

Yesterday I emailed some folks this picture of an itsy-bitsy spider on a web it had spun above a dew-drenched flower. Zooming in diffused the background creating a weird, psychedelic effect.

The National Day of Prayer theme of Unity, and the diametrically opposed spider pic responses got me to a-pondering . . . bear with me . . . I warned you I’m a tad weird😊

Spider pic responses were of two categories. Arachnophobes saw a ‘yucky’ spider, artisans a ‘pretty’ picture. Personally, I’m a weird hybrid . . . a rapid-squash-art enthusiast😊

Truth be known, we all have our ‘yucks’ and ‘prettys’. Here’s a couple of shortlists to a-ponder:

Chevy/Ford…City/Country…Warm/Cold…Mountains/Oceans…Classical/Rock…Steak/Salad… Costco/Sam’s ClubPepsi/Coke…Tennessee/Alaska (couldn’t resist 😊), etc. … not issues worth dying for.

But, what about the other Homosapiens we share this planet with? Have any personal ‘yucks’ and ‘prettys’ on this list?:

Christian/Jew…Mexican/American…White/Black…Democrat/Republican…Alcoholic/Sober…Felon/Free…Welfare/Wealthy…Pro_____/ Pro_____, etc. … sadly these are issues people are dying for . . . needlessly.

Truth be known, I’ve had my ‘yucks’ on this list (remember, it’s my list), and still struggle with them at times. It’s only by God’s amazing grace that this chief of ‘yucks’ has been forgiven and forever loved . . . just as I am, not as I should be.

Knowing that, and privilege eight decades has afforded me to personally get to know each genre of individual on the Homosapiens list above, has gradually transformed my contentious ‘yucks’ into compassionate ‘prettys’, regardless of how they may consider me.  

I’ve learned (and still am) to see the Someone . . . a unique, one-of-a-kind individual created in the image of God  . . . behind each Somebody.

At the risk of appearing Pollyannaish, what if, on our journey through this impersonal, materialistic divisive world, we would strive to truly recognize the unique human being in every Someone behind the Somebody? . . . Difficult? Challenging? You bet! . . . but I can’t help but believe the theme of today’s National Day of Prayer . . . Unity . . . would engulf our nation, and the world.

“…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…”

Matthew 29:39

Thanks for taking time to ruminate my ramblings. Be Blessed, and . . .

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Little Crumbs

My breakfast this morning was 5*****, slowly savoring my ‘favoritest’ pie . . . Strawberry-Rhubarb !!! Loving prepared by my 5***** ‘chefette’ whom I married a decade ago, I never regret pulling-the-plug on my long-term relationship with Marie Callender and her 1* microwave cuisine😊

However, leaving Marie has not been without consequences . . . comfortably being able to pull up my 34” blue jeans without resembling applying a tourniquet is now a looming threat.  However, it’s been worth every waist-expanding calorie and extra ½ hour added my daily routine of going nowhere on my Nordic-Trac😊

Anyhoo . . . mid-bite I noticed something on the fine breakfast paper china that enhanced the contented smile my dancing taste buds had already stretched across my ole, wrinkled mug . . . sometimes it only takes little crumb that make a big flake happy 😊

Kinda’ hoping Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie is on the menu in Heaven.

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!