Sinister Symbols


The “Z” seen displayed on Russian war machinery comes from the preposition “Za,” the first word in the Russian phrase “Za pobedu” or “For victory” . . . may it never be!

A crossed  Z” is a sinister reminder of another tyrannical despot’s symbol . . .

whose Nazi armies and allies systematically slaughtered 11 million souls . . . 6 million Jews and 5 million other victims . . . during the Holocaust between 1941 and 1945, before he cowardly committed suicide in defeat.

Please continue to remember Ukraine, its people, its armies, and its leaders in your prayers, believing . . .

Actions in heaven begin when some prays on earth.”

Max Lucado

Tears of War


Ukrainian Child

I’m not particularly savvy regarding international diplomacy; politically astute; or a warmonger. However, … if this were your child … would you“…risk provoking a widening war…”  by sending jets for Ukrainian pilots to defend their country’s skies against a tyrannical despot bully who unconscionably shells and bombs women and children in their homes, schools, hospitals, and as they attempt to peacefully depart along ‘promised’ humanitarian corridors?

Bullies thrive and survive on instilling fear, and only back down when fearlessly confronted.

Please pray for Ukraine and its vulnerable children.  The fully vetted organization in the following link is directly involved in providing for their many needs, and can be entrusted with donated funds for them to continue doing so:

https://www.savethechildren.org/us/where-we-work/ukraine

NOLA


NOLA, my wife’s hometown, is definitely an ’interesting’ place . . . a cuisine delight . . . lively entertaining . . . awash with a menagerie of ‘colorful’ characters. However, it’s not a place I’d personally chose as a permanent address, ‘seniorly’ grateful we weren’t here for last week’s Mardi Gras festivities 😊.

Yesterday we enjoyed a breakfast at Brennan’s in the French Quarter. One of their signature dishes is Bananas Foster in which the server sets aflame the rum-soaked fruit prior to serving . . . a delectable arsonist’s joy 😊.

Our mini-vacation here has been somewhat bittersweet, ever aware the Ukrainian people continue to face escalating warfare on the freedom of their homeland. Please continue to remember these persecuted brave souls in your prayers.

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

NOLA Evening
Bananas Foster
Eggs Benedict
Breakfast @ Brennan’s
Mardi Gras aftermath

Day’s Finale


All things . . . save God . . . must end.

Of all endings, among my favorites are the unique masterpieces our omnipotent Creator chooses brush across the heavens at day’s end. Here’s a few of His sunset sketches from yesterday’s gallery.

Please continue to remember Ukraine in your prayers.             

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

Footprints


As waves gently lapped at my feet, these footprints in the sand . . . soon to be forever erased by the surf . . . caused my mind wander . . . Who just said, “So what’s new?” 😊

Etched in the sand was a journal of two people who passed  by each other …

. Did they exchange a greeting . . . a smile . . . or just pass by in silence?

. Were their souls content, immersed in the beauty surrounding them . . . or quietly struggling with some issue?

. How many people did I passed by today who perhaps a greeting of smile may have somehow encouraged a smidgen?

Not that we should all strive to be over-the-top extroverts, but have you ever had a ‘tinge’ of  . . . I Shouda’, Woulda’ Coulda’ . . . said something to that person, or at least tossed a smile their way to perhaps inspire their day a tad?  . . . I have, but that moment has now been washed away by life’s waves.

So today I vow to be more sensitive to those making footprints in the sand strolling the beach with me, should I sense that ‘tinge’ to share a greeting or smile with.

The risk is facing an annoyed, “What’s up with you Dude?” glance . . . but at least my ‘tinge’ will have been satisfied 😊

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

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!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


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!