Soul Restoration


My Creator placed a lone Mallard, on waters tinged gold in the sunset, to restore my soul tonight.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me besides the still waters. He restoreth my soul.” – Psalm 23:1-3

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

 

Water Sports – Then and Now


In Yester-Years water sports consisted of high energy, adrenaline charged high-diving, water-skiing, scuba-diving, etc. In Latter-Years water sports have gradually consolidated into a more relaxed, less strenuous venue of tranquil water-watching. Here’s a couple pics of how it’s done by a couple of ‘ole’ folks

The good news . . . while I’m older today than I ever was before, I’m younger today than I’ll ever be again

The really Good News . . .

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and will carry you; I will  and rescue you.” – Isaiah 46:4

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

Bald River Falls – Tellico Plains, TN

‘Ole’ Folks Water Watching

Sunset Promise


Life’s storms are inevitable. Watching our Creator brush His sunset masterpiece across the heavens nurtured the thought . . . magnificent sunsets are cast on cloudy skies.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poetic words sealed my peace . . . “Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.”

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handywork. – Psalm 19:1

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!

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.

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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!