This Great Smoky Mountains ephemeral, after-the-storm panorama marked the close of another day. The scene evoked a juxtaposed, sobering/joyful contemplation of life’s unknown brevity, and breathtaking beauty. As dusk fell, the confident wisdom of a beloved preacher comforted my thoughts:
“What is your life? You are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
“This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
“I’ve read the last chapter of Revelation, and we win .”
Muggy 90s have descended upon our Great Smoky Mountains abode, and we awoke to Mr. Smoky splashing in the creek outside our bedroom window to cool off. Thought about inviting him in for some honey drizzled pancakes, but Ellie was still in her PJs and decided she rather not ‘bear ‘ it.
PS – Please disregard the time and date shown on this video clip. I’ve yet to get around to resetting them since purchasing the game camera back in 2017 . . . obviously not a high priority on my Bucket List.
Science attributes a sunset’s red and pink hues to 2 factors:
The distance sunlight has to travel.
The amount of atmospheric particles the sun’s light must travel through.
During sunrise and sunset the sun’s rays must pass through up to 40 percent more atmospheric area with a greater number of gas, water droplet, dust, and air pollutant particles than at any other time of the day before reaching our eyes. The more atmosphere particles, the more the light scattering known as the Rayleigh Effect, and the more vivid the sky’s colors appear.
Longer red wavelengths of light do not scatter light as much as shorter violet and blue wavelengths causing alpenglow, a blended red and white wavelength phenomenon also known as the pinking hour.
Witnessing another Great Smoky Mountain day gradually relinquish to night’s shadows, my soul was enveloped in peace. An old mariner adage came to mind . . . red and pink sunsets portend good weather ahead.
One day closer to life’s final sunset, my omnipotent Artisan of the heavens has already numbered and planned and each of my future sunrises and sunsets for Eternity, where nothing but ‘good weather’ awaits. Hope to see you there.
“A person’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed”.
Who are the people who have made a positive difference in your life? Take a moment to answer these two sets of questions:
Name the last 3 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award
Name the last 3 Nobel Peace prize winners
Name the last 3 Pulitzer Prize winners
I scored zero . . . how did you do? These individuals represent the finest in their fields, but few of us remember yesterday’s ‘headliners’. When the applause dies and the awards begin to tarnish, save for the journals of history, they’re forgotten.
Here’s another set of questions:
Name 3 teachers who taught you something that made a positive difference
Name 3 people who have made you feel accepted, appreciated, and loved
Name 3 friends who have helped you through a difficult and lonely time
I scored 100%, and I suspect you did as well.
With all due respect to the accomplishments and contributions of this world’s ‘headliners’, those who have truly make a positive difference in our lives are most likely not those honored in award ceremonies . . . they’re the ones off-stage who cared and loved us in spite of our faults, failures, and disappointments. They:
Stood by me throughout my entire life
Taught me things that made a positive difference
Made me feel appreciated, special, and loved
Helped me through life’s most difficult, lonely, and deepest valleys
Cared, forgiven, and loved me unconditionally
Included among those teachers, people, and friends who have made a lasting positive difference in my life are two that are most special . . .
Thank you Mom . . . Thank you Jesus . . . who Mom introduced me to and went to be with at 94 years young.
My Mom signifying . . . Keep Looking Up, His best is yet to come!
Hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains I wandered upon an old cemetery. Treading in a hush of reverent silence, I carefully meandered among the grave-sites reading tombstone inscriptions. Three thoughts surfaced . . . no pun intended 😊
The uncertainty and brevity of life – several tombstones marked the graves of infants, who left and returned to Heaven the same day.
2. ‘Have and Have Not’ disparities remain until death – among those tombstones artfully engraved with poignant parting thoughts were those marked with simple, anonymous stones.
3. After eight decades, I’m forever grateful to still be able to fog a mirror – odds on, I’ll be taking up residence with this quiet congregation sooner than most still above ground.
The World Economic Forum reports the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in society has grown during the pandemic and continues to widen.
For 99% of the global population, incomes have fallen and over 160 million more people have been forced into poverty.
This inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people a day. Every four seconds one of the inhabitants we share this planet with perishes through hunger, lack of potable water, lack of access to life-saving healthcare, and other basic life needs.
Since 1995, the top 1% have captured nearly 20 times more of global wealth than the bottom 50 % of humanity.
Few reside in the rare stratosphere of the 1% . . . if you do, please call me . . . Collect! 😊. However, few of us can recall the last time we were truly hungry; parched for a sip of clean water; without access to health care; homeless without shelter, etc., etc., etc. Bottom line . . . as Americans we are richly and undeservedly blessed!
Someday this world’s playing field will be leveled, no more disparities, and we will all face the final quintessential disparity . . . Heaven or Hell. Our Creator has graciously narrowed Eternity’s destiny to 1 of 3 final choices each of us must make, no abstentions allowed:
“Salvation is found in no one else. for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”. – Acts 4:12
My prayer remains we’ll share Heaven together with Him.
A fragrant fellow strolled by our digs last night up here on the mountain . . . down in the ‘holler’ . . . by the ‘crick’ in this special corner of His creation called Great smoky Mountains.
Sometimes confused for weasels because of their similar, but larger body shape, the Spotted Skunk is equipped with sharp claws that it uses both to hunt and to defend itself from predators . . . bobcats, bears, large birds of prey, and curious humans who wish they hadn’t come so close.
Spotty is known to stamp its front feet to warn other creatures to “Back Off”!!! If unheeded, this most agile and quick member of his stinky family will do a full handstand before directing its aromatic spray at its intruder . . . keep the tomato juice handy 🙂