Courage Under Fire – Postscript


Once again I blessedly awoke to Gulf of Mexico surf lapping shoreline, while on the other side of the world the Ukrainian people continue to bravely oppose Russian forces’ senseless, escalating bombing and shelling assault on their freedom.

President Zelinskyy steadfastly continues to defy his country’s tyrannical enemy, and someone shared this recent bold warning of his directed at President Putin . . .

No bunker is strong enough to protect you from God.”

Courageous, wise, humble, God fearing . . . the rare kind of political leadership kind so lacking in today’s world.

Please continue to pray for President Zelinskyy and the Ukrainian people for the comfort, peace, and wisdom only God can provide during this horrendous situation enacted by a godless ruler.

Dancing Waters


Waterfalls are Nature’s poetry in motion. Their roar of their turbulent flow embraces a quixotic, soothing serenity. Fueled by last night’s thunderstorms, I sat stream-side in eye candy wonder, listening to Creation’s rushing water symphony.  I M blessed . . . May U B 2.

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Covid Compliant Bandits


Up here on the mountain these characters usually roam the neighborhood under the cover of darkness, but today they strolled by in broad daylight . . . fully Covid compliant . . . 6 feet apart, masked up, and they wash their hands often  😊

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

3 Bandits

Valentine Beauty


Some of us may not be what some consider a “beautiful” Valentine, but anyone can be a “pretty” Valentine. I’m thankful that “Beauty is only skin deep.😊

Staistica confirms Americans are obsessed with beauty, constantly trying to turn back the hands- of-time on what they see reflected in the mirror, reporting:

  • In 2020 the United States cosmetics market was 95.92 billion, and is anticipated to reach 155.25 billion by 2026
  • Skin care products account for 40 % and hair care 21 % of the United States cosmetics market
  • Women in the US spend roughly $313/month on beauty product
  • Men in the US spend roughly $244/month, 22% less compared to women. However, I contend this is not necessarily because men are less vain than women . . . many men grow beards and are bald negating the use of skin and hair care products 😊

Having miraculously attained an age where Botox no longer smooths wrinkles, and Rogaine doesn’t sprout hair on chrome-domes, I’ve grown content watching the Ole Dude put in his dentures and hearing aids in front of the mirror 😊. Other than razor blades, shaving crème, a tube of Ben-Gay, and a deodorant stick to use when my wife takes me out in public, I maintain ‘beauty’ for under $25 bucks/month 😊. I like God’s description of  handsome,

He has no from or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isaiah 53:2

Here’s a favorite Valentine’s story I’ve seen a few times but believe is worth repeating . . . Beauty-in-Action . . . Pay it Forward.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose.

 
His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.


The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.

 
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. “You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.

I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened next:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.

She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.

And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be, grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.

 
I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me. May I take you to dinner?”


The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!


It’s not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell’s wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. “Tell me whom you love,” Arsène Houssaye wrote, “and I will tell you who you are.”
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Sunrise . . . Sunset


This evening’s glowing sunset held a two-fold  paradox . . . the solemn awareness that everything has an end . . . the calming assurance that each sunset will reborn in tomorrow’s sunrise . . . just as my final sunset will someday be reborn in the Son-rise of my finest forever.

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Counting Blessings


Today there are 195 countries in the world, 193 countries that are member states of the United Nations and 2 countries that are non-member observer states: the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Also not included in the 195 is Taiwan which the United Nations considers represented by the People’s Republic of China. 331 million Americans represent 4.1% of the 7.9 billion people we share this planet with. Sooooo . . . what’s so blessed about waking up this morning in the good ole USA experiencing the worst inflation in 40 years, the rising cost of living, political and social turmoil, etc., etc., etc.???

As I sat reading in my Lazy Boy this morning, sipping my steamy cup of coffee, in my warm home, my mother’s words echoed from Above, “Count your blessings Freddy. ‘Coincidentally’ I then read this following anonymous creative piece that convicting struck me just how truly blessed I am . . . I so love His impromptu ‘coincidences’ 😊

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If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.  There would be:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 would be Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death

1 would be near birth

1 would have a college education

1 would own a computer.

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

And therefore . . .

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.  

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

______________________________________________________________________________

It’s solely by God’s amazing mercy and grace I didn’t wake up this morning hungry, sick, homeless and persecuted in some third world country of this ‘World’s Village’. For that I am forever grateful, prudently remembering this undeserved blessing comes with a Divine caveat:

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required, and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:4

Kinda’ makes my Lazy Boy a tad less comfortable; my coffee a little less steamy; and my warm home a bit cooler pondering how I can better share my many blessings with those multitudes doing without.

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

The Cost of Children


In 2015 the government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18, a mere $233,610 for a middle-income family, not including college tuition (factor in cost-of-living for today’s price).

I’ve often seen articles on the cost of raising a child and the risks involved, but seldom have seen the rewards listed.  Soooooo . . . here’s a personally edited version of a study on ‘Bang for the Buck’ our children provide.

First off, $233,610 isn’t so daunting if you break it down as follows:

·       $12,978 a year

·       $1,082 month, or $271 a  week

·       That’s a mere $39 a day

·       Just $1.61an hour . . . far below minimum wage 😊

You might still believe the best financial advice to becoming ‘Rich’ is to not have children. Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for $39 a day?

·        Glimpses of God every day

·        Naming rights . . . first, middle, and last

·        Giggles under the covers every night

·        More love than your heart can hold

·        Butterfly kisses and mini-bear hugs.

·        Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, warm cookies and boogers 😊

·        A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly, chocolate, or ???

·        A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites and fishing

·        Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day

For $39 a day you . . . my favorite 😊 . . . never have to grow up, getting to:

·        Finger-paint

·        Carve pumpkins

·        Play hide-and-seek

·        Catch lightning bugs and frogs

·        Never stop believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy

·        Keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh

·        Enjoy Saturday morning cartoons

·        Watch Disney movies

·        Wish on stars

·        Lie on your back watching clouds draw animals in the sky

·        Place rainbows, hearts, and family stick figures under refrigerator magnets

·        Get hand-prints set in clay for Mother’s Day

·        Receive cards with backward letters for Father’s Day

·        Tell tall tales that are believed, and really dumb jokes that are laughed at

·        Build tree forts to play in

·        Experience  the joy of mud play

·        Jump in rain puddles

·        A ‘buy’ for doing all sorts of really stupid, juvenile things 😊

 For $39 a day you get to be a super-hero just for:

·        Teaching how to tie a shoelace

·        Retrieving a ball from a roof gutter

·        Taking the training wheels off a bike

·        Removing a splinter

·        Getting soaked in water pistol battles

·        Building a dam in a creek

·        Coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs

·        Coaching a team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless

For $39 a day you have a front row seat to history to witness the:

First step

First word

First puppy love

First date

First time behind the wheel . . . can be an adrenaline rush😊

For $39 a day you get to be:

‘Immortal’

Regarded as a walking encyclopedia . . . until they reach 3rd grade 😊

Another branch added to your family tree, and if fortunate . . .

a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren

An education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and . . .

human sexuality questions no college has to handle or try to answer 😊

In the eyes of a child, you have near Divine power to:

·       Heal a boo-boo

·       Scare away the monsters under the bed

·       Patch a broken heart

·       Police a slumber party

·       Ground them forever

·       Love them without limits

Soooooo . . . hopefully one day they’ll become parents, loving their own children without counting the cost, realizing they’re quite a deal for the price . . . while you subtly extract revenge spoiling your grandchildren to challenge their parental skills 😊

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.

Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Psalms 127:3-5

   
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Sorry


Back in my childhood, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and TV was technology’s newest marvel, Paul Harvey was an American radio broadcaster famous for his The Rest of the Story segments. Over the years I’ve discovered someone’s story isn’t as always first thought to be.  There’s often an unknown ‘rest of the story’ that significantly changes their story as I had originally perceived it. Unfortunately, rush to judgment before being aware of the ‘rest of the story’ can cause hurt that can only be healed by humbly admitting remorse and asking forgiveness.

This video clip was posted on a blog I follow. It powerfully depicts the wisdom of knowing The Rest of the Story. Although filmed in another country with a foreign language, tears, hugs, smiles and forgiveness know no national or language barriers.

In these divided times may we pause to consider behind each person’s story may exist a ‘rest of the story’ that explains their whole story, and, if we err, may we offer our sincere “I’m Sorry” authenticated by 3 words . . . “I was wrong”.

Creation’s Omnipotent Silence


This morning, locked in winter’s frozen grip, Creation unhurriedly thrives, silently displaying God’s omnipotence.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth, find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts”. – Rachel Carson

Frozen Kaleidoscope

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Garfield Senior


As tonight’s snowflakes began to fall Garfield’s big cousin strolled by to check out if we had any dinner leftovers for him to munch on . . . I love pizza . . . he went away hungry 😊
                                      
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!