It has finally started to cool off here for autumn. I do love autumn although each season holds its own joy and glory. God gives us so many gifts if we take the time to see them and experience them in full. I love the way the trees change in every fashion. The leaves changing from every hue of green to a spectrum bursting with every color mankind can perceive. They reach the apex of their existence, pulsating with the crescendo of their entire lives into one final display of beauty. Their final act is the graceful descent of each leaf to the forest floor where they will provide life sustaining nutrients to the next generations. But it is not only the leaves that change. If your hand caresses the trunk or branches of a tree in all four seasons you will feel a distinct difference in texture and tension in the bark. in Spring, it is velvety and supple as the water has been drawn through its roots to nourish the leaves, seeds and fruits of any given tree. The river of water is being drawn up into each vein until it reaches the canopy. That gives the tree flexibility needed for growth. The summer season solidifies it’s strength allowing it to withstand the fierce storms that serve as threshers of the weak or those whose roots have not dug down deeply enough to hold fast to the earth.

Autumn is not a prelude to it’s death or long sleep as many perceive it but it is a culmination of two seasons of growth, fruition, experience, and hardiness. It is during autumn that the tree is able to spend everything it has collected in an effort to prepare for the next generations. It is spending considerable effort to build storage wares for the long winter ahead, deny nutrients to parts of itself that have proven weak, destructive, or useless. Everything is moving at a slower pace but the strength is building. The perseverance and fortitude is at an all-time high because it does not have to prepare for the possible as there are only inevitable occurrences in its lifecycle. Of course, there are always outside forces that could interrupt, change or halt its progression in some manner but it only knows to continue. If cut down, its stump will bud. If insect or disease hit then its seeds have already carried its lineage forward to places far from harm. If drought or flood should move in then it may retreat until the environment is welcoming once again but it always moves forward, beyond the now into an uncertain and unknown future because that is what it was created to do. Even if its wood is used to create something for our use, it is then transformed and its life has more meaning than it had to begin with. Consider how many important choices are made by mankind sitting in a wooden chair at a wooden table. Life never leaves the tree regardless of what transformation it undergoes.

Yes, autumn finds the tree a bit more ridged. Its bark is rougher and the water rivers within it have slowed down. No longer will its life blood flow just beneath the surface; instead, it is retreating to a depth that will allow the nutrients to sustain the tree but make it durable against the cold that promises to come. The smell of the wood and fallen leaves is not one of rotting decay as one would encounter in a bog, marsh or swamp but a retreat of life that is simply blown by the wind. The fragrance is now mature, a rich seasoned wood odor that fills the senses with comfort and sense of security.

The branches are losing their flexibility and instead are becoming stalwarts of strength to sustain the cold to come. There is usually a lull in storms during this time so that it has opportunity to build defenses against the winter storms that will come. By the hour of the first snow fall the bark has turned to armor. It is ready to face the brutality of the winter gale keeping it’s precious lifeblood locked securely within. Branches no longer bend with the storms; instead, the tree groans against the onslaught. It’s creaking can be heard clearly as it buffets the bitter winds as you lay comfortably in your warm cozy bed made from one of it’s brothers…perhaps?

Twigs and even branches that could not hold on another moment bounce haphazardly atop your roof tapping upon your windows entreating you for respite. Nevertheless, you remain snuggled beneath piles of warm blankets awaiting the cessation of the howling winds. Once the storm has passed and you might think you would find disaster after the tempest …they remain, the trees, although battered, remain. You pull back your curtain revealing an ice laden window pane. Blowing upon it creates an oval birthed by the warmth of your breath. Your eyes are filled with the snow and ice laden landscape. The crown and glory of which is surely the grand trees holding millions upon millions of ice diamonds within their branches. God fashioned beauty created from chaos and a monument to his utter majesty and love.

There is silence. Silence so complete, so loud that it hurts your ears. The tree stands proud for it has withstood time upon time of life’s endless joys and heartaches, abundance and want, life anew and death replenished. It is a monument glistening as if from some ethereal plain in a majestic culmination of its existence. The trees have seen it, experienced it, known it and are certain of certainty. There is no tomorrow, there is only now and we must work as diligently in the today as we are not given tomorrow. The trees teach us much if we listen, if we see, if we pursue to know more beyond ourselves. They are a gift of knowledge and experience if we stop long enough to listen.
Of course, that only speaks to the tree itself and not to all the lives whose existence is dependent upon it’s survival. Some have learned to grow and change with the tree itself knowing that a symbiotic relationship with it is one that is the most beneficial to all. Others only take without giving and still others are only interested in destroying what they cannot understand or have for themselves. The saddest of all are those who are blind to the beauty, strength and majesty of these glorious gifts to creation. I am grateful for the trees and my ability to see beyond only me.

The Unwelcome Guest

 First rays of the summer sun

 race to illuminate the small

grove. Its inhabitants awake

without complaint.

The grove was abundant in food

peace and safety. The only

other occupant was

an old country church patiently

awaiting its fold.

Blue birds filled the air


songs of praise.

A sound so pure and clear,

a melody worthy of the Creator’s ear.

The sun climbed ever higher

casting a shadow upon

 the man turning the key

opening the large doors of

the chapel.

He always arrived an hour

or two before any other filled

a pew.

Time to reflect, time

 to pray, time to ask

for wisdom, patience, and

feet of clay.

“Lord Jesus, lend me

your eyes that I might

see this flock as you do.

Give me your heart to

love all whom you send

my way and a discerning

mind that wisdom would flow, Amen.”

Standing and grasping his Bible

he started toward the sanctuary

as muffled voices and distant

car doors announced the

arrival of the congregation.

The Pastor knew he would

be here and there was nothing

he could do because the

unwelcomed guest

always received an

invitation from me

and from you.

He would sit in the

very front row knowing

every word of scripture

but not letting it show.

He wasn’t there to learn,

fellowship, or become

more like the Savior. No,

none of those things is

what he did savor.

The Pastor sighed deeply

upon stepping to the pulpit

as he recognized their guest

was already working the room.

The people were settled into their

familiar clicks. The poor sat in the far rear

while the affluent took the lead.

 But none sat next to the family

 who lived without running water,

Their respectable senses

were aghast.

Tongue clicks and whispers veiled under breath

spread disdain and disgust in the

presence of such an obvious


Over there perched the family of judges,

who would snicker and point with their eyes

to alert one another that there was laughter to be had

or condemnation to be made of those just entering

the sanctuary.

The Bennet family, fragile as can be,

sat holding one another in their

fear and in their grief. They had lost a son

in Iraq last summer and now their little one

is fighting cancer. Their faith is stretched thin but

they have not given up hope. Our Guest is

trying his best to destroy them but he is failing.

Then you have those who feel it

their duty to reveal your sin, criticize

your worship or prayer life, and condemn

those who are struggling.

 In their reason,

 one is sick, barren, in

financial woe or experiencing

heart ache due to some unconfessed


 “Get right with God and your

hardship will be delivered.” is the chant

they cry in disapproving condemnation.

Driving divisions among God’s people

is his favorite activity and we are

so willing to play.

Yes, he is here and they invited him

as they do regardless of the warnings.

He knows the Bible better than most

Christians but he does not see its truth.

His hardened heart does not feel

the forgiving love of Christ.

Instead, it angers him and

he takes his fury out upon

the flock.

“They have more than us. She is far prettier or talented

than I. I heard…cheated on his wife. God cannot

love or forgive you since you did that horrible

thing in your past. You are not good enough to succeed. Your

beliefs are childish superstitions. You will fail.”

Lies, his favorite lies, he uses against

the flock.

He has enjoyed great success in

invading the church and scattering the flock.

His minions carry out his orders sewing

discord, jealousy, bigotry, hatred, and

cynicism where ever they go.

Church after church has fallen to his


He is becoming angrier

and fiercer as he

sees his time ebbing away.

He tortures any who work

to follow the Savior’s path.

Yes, Satan is the first one in church

and the last one to leave because turning

one Christian to sin bringing him to ruin

will convince 1000 more souls to reject

Jesus because of his sinful people.

Satan loves to use fallen Christians because

it hurts the Father deeply when his children stray.

He will never give up, never stop, and never

show mercy.

Children of God, take warning and

be on guard so you do not

become one of Satan’s favorite tools.

In a world of pain and destruction,

be determined not to add to the

brokenness of Creation.

Instead, build…repair…create

and healing will be had in your church,

home, work place, social group, neighborhood

and maybe, just maybe, it will keep going and

heal our lands.



“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray then I shall hear from heaven and heal their lands.” God

Spirit Fire


Spirit afire,
love in bloom
begin to weave
a bond for eternity.

Time treads ahead
caring not for

Love in Lust
Lust in Love?
The Spirit Fire
permitting the
womb to grow
twice again.

Time treads forward
caring not for

We look no more
upon the others
fearing we may
glimpse disappointment
given birth by debt, pain,
hateful words leaving
the Spirit Fire
barely smoldering.

Time treads forward
caring not for

My locks are grey and
yours are thin.
Both hold more
weight than when
we first began.
Children grown
leaving each of
us feeling alone.

Time treads forward
caring not for

How have we gotten here
to this place of
grief and despair?
Why did we allow the
Spirit Fire to die?
We loved deeply
passionately so
why did the fire die?

Time treads forward
caring not for

Looking upon his bride
he sighed deep inside.
Eyes filling to the brim
wiping his wife’s
gently from her cheek.
‘I am not ready to say
goodbye,’ thought he.
I love my bride.

Time treads forward
caring not for

Gazing up into her
husband’s grief-stricken face
she thought she glimpsed a
spark she had thought long
extinguished. Life had beaten
them down and tried to steal
their joy. It had bombarded them
with doubts, fears, and temptations.
She gently wiped his tears
smiling softly.
“I think we lost our anchor
somewhere among
the years. Alas, now
I see the spark
that is the Spirit
Fire,” her voice trembled.

Time treads forward
caring not for

“Yes, beloved, when we
first began this journey
we thought time was endless
but now, here we are and
I realize those years
were but a wisp of smoke.”
He gathered her into his embrace
kissing her soundly and whispering
his love and devotion.
She returned his affection
but only for a moment.
He grasped her all the
tighter as her
Spirit Fire left her.

Time treads forward
caring not for

If you have been
blessed with the
other half of your
Spirit Fire then
LOVE him or her
in Action, Deed, and Word
Every minute of every day.
Each person was created for another.
Two halves of a whole.
If your choices bring you together
then recognize the miracle in
finding him or her.
God will use your choices for
ultimate good but there are
many paths of pain, for
love is hard work and
the price is high but
the rewards are eternal.

Set your anchor to avoid the Drift.

Time treads forward
caring not
for love.


Revelations 20
The Judgment of Satan and Humanity.

At an early day in my lifetime, I was impatient for the Lord’s return. Every direction I turned, I saw evil ruling. Anger reigned in my being as I interpreted the situation mankind had worked itself into as a result of an impotent God. I felt God had turned his back on the suffering throughout the globe and within my own personal world.
Fighting to survive and thrive was an arduous task and I used my anger to fuel my worldly accomplishments, which have been few. I managed to earn a couple degrees from a couple of institutes of higher learning and worked in a few career zones where I was attempting to make my plans come to fruition. My goals and God’s goals were different but the path was the same. Studying the history of man revealed to me that the suffering, the pain, the evil mankind was capable of was nothing new. Thousands upon thousands of years of humanity making foolish, selfish choices has caused the suffering of billions upon billions. Satan has used the earth as his playground and he delights in bringing the children of God to ruin through their own choices.
In my youth and haste I prayed for the Lord’s return, I did not understand exactly what I was asking to see happen. All I knew was that I wanted those who were evil to others, who caused suffering and misery to the innocent…to suffer. I wanted them to be punished by God now. I wanted something that mankind is incapable of producing…JUSTICE and PEACE. These things are impossible with mankind.
Everyone I knew in my young adulthood was saved, that is, they had given their life to Christ and accepted his gift of eternal salvation. Everyone, even though we all struggled to live this life and follow Christ, everyone was saved in my small world. I knew with all assurance that everyone I cared about would not be taken from me by death, for I would see them all in Paradise again. I was secure in that knowledge no matter how crazy or cruel the world became I knew that I would see everyone I loved again in Heaven.
Then something began happening that revealed to me that God’s delay in returning is his incredible Mercy rather than Neglect toward his children. The circle of people I cared about, my small world, began to grow exponentially as I went to college, made friends, colleagues and clients. Yet, I must admit, it was when my family began to grow that I realized how God was demonstrating incredible Mercy in delaying his return. Although I was never blessed with a child, each of my two sisters were blessed with children. These children began to grow into adults, as children have the habit of doing. They began making their own choices and their own mistakes.
Within the last decade I have begun feeling an incredible weight upon my spirit in knowing all those whom I love now are not going to be with me in Heaven if they should die now or if the Lord should come back now. It is this sorrowful knowledge that has shown me that God, in his awesome wisdom, is being Merciful in holding back his return. He wants all of his children to be with him for all of eternity and so he is being patient with us so that we may have time to repent and chose to love him. Now, in this hour, I think not only upon my nieces and nephews who have not chosen to allow Christ into their lives, but upon the billions upon billions who would be lost if the Lord returned this very hour.
I feel the deep sorrow for all those who have refused the Lord both in the past, present, and future. We are each upon this earth such a short time in relation to all of human history and many feel that they have to make an indelible mark upon the world but God has created each of us to make an indelible mark upon one another. If we are Christians and striving to follow Christ, imperfectly, then it is a full time job in and of itself. The Scriptures tell us that there is a Second Death, which is the one that will last throughout eternity. When we shed our earthly shells it is considered the first death but it means little except to those left behind. The Second Death is the one where each and every human who has ever taken a breath will stand before the throne of God and be Judged. If you have chosen Christ then you will spend eternity with him but if you have rejected him then you will experience a Second Death, which is the final death where God will toss you into the lake of burning fire that forever burns but never consumes its inhabitants.
In truth, this is what I longed for because I wanted to see the evil men and women of this world get the punishment they deserve. However, now I love many who do not know Christ or who refuse to know him. Friends and loved ones who refuse to accept the gift of Salvation and my spirit is heavy for them.
As fervently as I prayed in my youth for God to hurry his steps upon his return, I now pray for his delay. I understand why he waits, for his heart breaks to think of losing one of his children to Satan. If my heart breaks over children who are not borne of my womb then I can only imagine how we have broken the heart of God.
Everyday my body has tasted pain and I know it will increase day by day but I do not ask for God’s speedy return. Now, I pray for time for those who are attached to my heart whether they be blood or friend, it matters little. I understand that God’s delay is purposeful, deliberate but above all it reveals his great Mercy and Love.

The Second Death is for all eternity and I would do anything to help as many as I can to avoid it. I would suffer, gladly, another hundred years of life if it will only give more time for others to accept the Christ that longs to embrace them to his heart.
Our minds are so finite that we have difficulty imagining what eternity really is but I try to think of it as the moments, good or bad, where time seemed to stop. That is as close as we humans can get to experiencing eternity while we live so try to think of a moment where nothing moved. Time did not go forward or backward, just a moment that seemed to never end. I have experienced these moments a few times in my life. Most of these moments were enveloped in pain and suffering but a couple were good and pleasant. If you can remember a moment like this, think upon it because this is what forever feels like and you have the choice to spend it with friends, loved ones but above all Christ or be lost forever.
We all will experience the loss of many whom we love before we draw our final breaths in this temporary shell. We will shed tears for those who go before us but if we are Christians and we know that the person who has died was Saved then our tears are mixed with joy, for we will meet them again and rejoice.

I have lost someone I loved deeply and he chose to reject Christ, openly. When this man died, I grieved deeply because I knew I had lost him forever and I wept bitterly. I cannot endure the thought of anyone whom I love dying the Second Death but I know that this is going to happen. For, God has given each of us a choice and it is our choice alone to make.

Once you lose an unsaved loved one…you will understand true loss…then you will feel a level of grief you never knew existed. I am in no way minimizing the pain felt when death claims someone who is saved but I am saying it should be different. I have experienced both too many times and the difference is sharp.

So I pray for the Lord’s delay and his Mercy to continue.



Stepping into the woods,
the threshold between what some
termed reality and illusion,
requires the sacrifice
of what is accepted as sanity.

She glanced at her bare feet.
The ground was soft and lush
but covered with a light frost.
The heat from her foot
melts a growing pattern
from the center outward.

Glancing behind reveals
a mirror of blackness just
like that standing before her.
Looking above to find starlight
gives nothing.

A small flash far to
her right catches the edge of her vision.
Another, closer…then two or three
illuminate over there. One after another
small flashes began giving the forest light.
Lightening bugs! There are thousands
of lightening bugs creating
a cathedral dome of dancing light.

The lens of her eyes reflect each
point of light creating an otherworldly
glow, if there was anyone
there to notice.

The fragrances played
with her senses filling her being with
the cycle of new life and death. Since this
was a summer forest, it was dense
and filled with life but that life came at a price.
New sprouts of life were beginning everywhere.
Buds on the trees, already so full she could not imagine
where another leaf could fit but it did. Each new life depended
upon the decay of those that came in the earlier seasons.

Some felt saddened with the
realization of death’s necessity
but she understood that this
juncture where life ends and
we perceive death begins is
the true illusion. It is the madness
humanity accepts. She knew the
decay and death of the old, weary, or sick
was only the beginning of eternity.

That is what brought her to the
forest on this summer night. The moss
and lichen filled the air with their woody scent.
She inhaled deeply relishing in every experience.
Never before, had her senses allowed her to take
everything in that was around her. This was marvelous
and she enjoyed it thoroughly.

Taking a few more steps forward, eyes mesmerized
by the dancing lights, the smells so thickened
the air that she was able to taste them!
Listening, intently, her ears picked up the sounds
of the night creatures running about collecting their meals
or meeting up with a friend to create new life. She
always appreciated nature and found beauty and awe
in the smallest of things that God offered to all
humanity. Few recognized these things and fewer
still saw them as gifts. That thought
made her momentarily sad because
she knew too many who walked with head
down focused only on their
wants and desires.

It is folly, to be certain.
For, she knew that
it was only when you dared to
look beyond yourself that you
would be able to find
the creator waiting for you.

The next step she took erased her
pain forever. The one after that
claimed every tear she had ever shed.
Her final step released her from her
Earthly bounds. She looked back
at her empty body and for the first time
felt pity for it. She had hated when in it but
now she understood it had to be broken
in order to work properly. It was only
through that brokenness that she
was able to show the love of Christ
to all who would look up long enough
to see her as she truly was and not how
the world defined her.

Suddenly, light radiated from all spaces both big and small
until everything was awash in brilliance void in shape and size.
His silhouette began forming in solidity as
he walked to her. Recognizing him as she would an old friend,
She dropped to her knee before her beloved savior.
Gently, he tipped her head to meet his eyes.

“Well done, my daughter. Welcome
home.” He said with words so full of
love that tears of joy streamed down her cheeks.
She had never known such joy or happiness until
now, when her purpose was both revealed and fulfilled
in a single phrase.

Taking her hand, he lifted her to her feet and then
stepped aside to reveal all who had began
eternity before her. Everyone she ever loved was
there. Her savior kissed her cheek gently then

“Go to them, they have waited a long time for you. Your
work is complete.”

Each step she took towards her loved ones
caused the memories of the forest and
the life she had beyond it
to fade from consciousness.
There are no tears in heaven, no pain
no sadness, nothing evil could exist.
She felt only joy and wonder as she
reunited with family and friends.

This was eternity and she finally knew happiness,
peace, true love, and safety.
There were no fears to be held even
knowing of the coming battles,
for she knew her Father and Savior
had everything under control.
While she did not know what purpose
she would fulfill in eternity, it did not concern
her because everything was right
and good in the eyes of the Lord here, everything.

Hence, if you leave your life behind for just a little while
take care you do not cross the threshold before your time
has come. Do not worry; you will know when the journey must
begin and you will be aided in that journey. You are never alone even
when it seems you are in a very dark place, the Lord will always provide a glimmer
of light to lead you home. Just look up, open your eyes, and think
beyond yourself and you will be shown the spark of life you
have been gifted.

Crushing a Songbird but expecting a Melody

Tina Blackledge

Are you happy?
I wonder.
Does it bring you hope
to make me cry?

Are you happy?
I wonder.
When you cause pain,
confusion and fear?

Are you happy,
you who were
You, who were
favored by God?

Can you feel…anything?
Do you feel any sense of hope
when you torture the
children of God?

Are you happy?
I wonder.
You, were bathed in
God’s pure love?
Why wasn’t that enough
for you?

You cannot be God.
You are not God.
So you take, meddle,
confuse and

Does it make you happy?
I wonder.
Do you find delight
when you play with people’s

You use the tears and blood
of millions, who call
God, Father, to keep
yourself alive.

Does it make your existence
any less pathetic
any less loathsome
to taint the existence
of mankind?

Thousands of years
have come and gone.
You have created madness,
atrocities, sicknesses and disasters.
You have sent your demons
to lure God’s children away
with your filthy lies.

You have crushed millions
of lives. Worse, you have
crushed souls
twisting them to your

Thousands of years…
We are still here.
We still have hope.
We still have faith.
You have failed.

You, who’s name meant
beautiful, have failed
You may be relentless
but so are we.

Are you really happy?
Enjoy it.
If it makes you smile
hurt me by causing
those I love to betray me,

Were you happy
when my innocence
was stolen?

If it brings you happiness
to destroy my career,

If it brings you joy
keep me in poverty,

If you gain delight
in stealing my mobility,

If you feel happy
causing my flesh to
decay turning me into
a monster.

If you experience happiness
torturing my body
with chronic pain and exhaustion.

If you felt happy as
you broke my heart
taking the only man I
ever loved,

If you find joy in
taking my

I know your game.
I know your tactics.
I know your name.
I know your end.
You lose.

All of your efforts are
We are at war and when
you attack me, it
gives me opportunity
to poison your hope
because I refuse to
let go of mine. I
pray it is a bitter taste
upon your palette.

I am happy knowing
that I irritate you. I know
you hate me and I am grateful.

You have been trying to destroy
my body, mind, heart, and faith
since I was a very small child.

I must scare you, my God given
purpose must scare you, because you
have been trying so hard to destroy me.

You are desperate and for you
to pick on a human child of God shows
the depth of that desperation. I may not
always be strong. I may not always
feel hopeful, joyful, or even thankful
to my Father but I will never
give up the fight against you.

I have survived hardship, heartbreak,
suffering, persecution, and I
know the future holds much more
but you are denied victory.

When you finally cause this body
to fail, I will go where you are not
allowed to tread. I will enter the gates of
heaven and you will be one
step closer to your
permanent demise.

I know, according to
society’s measurement, I am nothing.
Yet, I am a child of God, under persecution,
and I hold firm to my hope and faith.

That makes me a warrior against you and
that makes me dangerous to your
evil plots. I will reveal your hand.
I will show those struggling that it is
you and not God that is causing them
pain. I will name you and place
the shame upon your shoulders
where it belongs.

I will help the hopeless
find the light. I will fight to reveal your
evil plan in their lives. I will use my last breath
to expose your charade so all can see
and know their pain is due
to a once beloved angel
who is embittered, jealous, and

You pick on the weak
and helpless, creatures you
consider to be useless. You think
we are beneath you and undeserving
of the Father’s love. We are undeserving
but He chose to love us anyway.

Are you happy?
I wonder.
No matter how hard you have
tried throughout the millennia,
you have not managed to destroy
the hope and faith that we continue
to hold in our hearts.
We continue to teach our children
We continue to die in the name of
our Lord. In the name of our Creator, in
our Loving Father.

Why wasn’t His love
You had everything and threw it

Now you spend your existence
making yourself happy by
hurting God’s children.
Worse, you do this with the full
knowledge that you will
never win, never, ever.

Go ahead, keep trying
You will not win.
You will not win.

I am weary, I am tired
and it is not my destiny to
destroy you. But, I will
thwart your plans in anyway
I can and I will serve the one
who will bring your eternal

Go ahead, smile.

Soaring upon Broken Wings; Becoming Whole

A slight tingling began atop her toes traveling through her limbs, sinews, until each cell was humming with life. The faint sound of clear water dancing happily over and under rocks, limbs, and around bends tickled her ears tempting her to open her eyes. Automatically, her body took a long deep breath filling her lungs with a lightly sweet, clear breath embracing her taste buds with a delectable blend of honey and roses. A sigh releases the air she had claimed as her own.

Willing her eyelids to lift seemed to be a herculean effort causing confusion and a host of inner questions. Her first attempt was met with brilliance so overwhelming she closed her eyes tighter than before. She decided to allow her other senses to communicate to her instead. Beneath her she felt a sun-warmed, soft bed of what her nose identified as tender new grass shoots. Outstretching her arms upon the surface, she concluded she must be lying in a field and not just a bed made from fresh grass. As she slowly caressed the immediate landscape she observed the absence of pebbles, roots, insects or other debris that might have marred her rest area.

A warm honeysuckle breeze danced over her frame causing a slight shiver. It was not cold but the wind skipped atop her skin as if it were trying to encourage her to proceed ever further in her exploration. Softly, slowly the sunbeams kissed her skin bringing color to her cheeks. The rapid beat of hummingbird wings combined with song birds, chirping chipmunks, and the splash of jumping fish soothed her ears. She wanted this moment to last forever as she had never felt such sensations in all her lived long life.

Raising her hand to her eyes she made a second attempt to view the world around her. Gradually her vision began to adjust to the brilliance. It was not a moment too soon as her curiosity had worked itself into a frenzy. At first, the light was so bright that she considered for a moment that the space she occupied was devoid of all color and definition. The adjustment was agonizingly slow but shapes and colors eventually began to come into focus. She was indeed in a field of new grass hemmed in by large evergreens creating an alcove of sorts. Flowers, animals, song birds, and large colorful butterflies among other creatures shared the pristine patch of creation with her. They seemed to be absent of all fear of her and of each other.

Although she considered herself well-versed, the awe inspiring beauty in which she found herself defied description. Still in a reclined position, she found herself looking up into the large brown eyes of a new fawn. A broad smile graced her countenance while the joy she felt bubbled out in the form of a giggle. The fawn cocked his head in wonder at the strange creature that had suddenly arrived in this blessed habitat. Long graceful lashes batted toward her as if the small creature were encouraging her to move. She slowly pushed herself up into a sitting position then froze as if struck by lightning. Two bright blue butterflies with yellow spots were performing a clumsy but intricate ballet within her field of vision but her mind was racing with another thought so overwhelming that she was not able to fully appreciate the pair.

What just happened? Her mind demanded. She returned to a laying position and searched the sky for familiar markers but all she could see was light. No sun, no clouds, no horizon only light. Her breathing became rapid now as she repeated the action of sitting up and lying down in quick succession. Each time she accomplished the task her smile became ever broader until she was squealing with delight. With her last sit-up she followed through to a standing position. It happened with such ease that she was certain this all must be a glorious dream and began thanking her Father for this precious gift.

Looking down for the first time, she noticed she was adorned with a light flowing shift made of the softest gossamer that just tickled the top of her feet. When her inspection reached her hands she took a sharp breath. They were not swollen, red, or disfigured. She flexed them with ease and tears began to accumulate as her bodily survey continued. Nothing was swollen, no sores, and her skin was perfect! None of her digits were bent askew making them unusable; no pain raced throughout her body…no pain. Her hands flew to her head where she found a full head of hair flowing down her back. Her hands lingered in her locks as the welled tears flowed freely from their pools. Without hesitation she ran to the creek, knelt down, and peered into the crystal water. Her thick wavy hair tumbled forward framing her face. The reflection revealed a beautiful woman without blemish. So foreign was this reflection that she turned around quickly to see who was standing over her but the space was occupied by family of rabbits happily munching on clover.

Almost afraid to look upon the reflection again for fear it would be different, she hesitated to return her gaze back toward the glassy pool of water. She chided herself for wasting time in this wonderful dream and returned her attention to a reflection she had to admit to be her own. None of the scars the disease had created were there, no, her skin was so smooth and soft that it felt as if it were a newborn’s skin. Her tongue raced back and forth across her teeth making her smile ever greater. They were all there, perfect, white and shining back through her tear glazed eyes. While growing up she only allowed herself to believe that she had three features that she could consider beautiful, her hair, her eyes, and her teeth. When the ailments and medications attacked them, distorted them and caused their eventual loss, she felt truly hideous in the eyes of mankind. Of course, the skin ulcerations completed the package of ‘monster’ in her eyes. Not only did she not think of herself as a real woman any longer but she barely felt human.

But this…this was not possible…this was amazing, for she was beautiful, she was whole, without blemish. Could this be how she would have existed if creation had not been broken by sin? Could this vision before her be who God sees when he looks upon her?

While these realizations filled her with the utmost joy and thanksgiving her second conclusion blew her away.

“There is no pain…, no…pain but how can this be?”

she marveled as she recounted all the movements she had just performed without giving any of them a second thought. She just thought about them and did it without hesitation or a “game plan” to complete them as per her usual routine.

“No pain? No Pain? No Pain! No Pain!” She cried aloud while jumping up and down in sheer and utter delight.

Born with a chronic pain-filled progressive disease, the woman had never known a single moment where pain had not accompanied her upon her journey. Is this really how other people wake up every day? This is amazing, stupendous, miraculous…yes…it …is….miraculous! Yet, it went far beyond the absence of physical pain. Her heart that had been bruised, crushed, destroyed and reconstructed on multiple occasions did not hurt. There was an absence of sadness. In fact, the very concept of pain was beginning to fade from her recollection as her being absorbed the reality of the world around her.

“Please, Lord, let this be more than a dream. I am sorry to be greedy and ask this of you after you have gifted me such a glorious dream but this is too wonderful from which to awake!” She cried in earnest to her Heavenly Father.

The breeze stilled and the creatures silenced their musings as she felt a presence there with her. It was not menacing but it was quite powerful. Trembling a bit, she slowly turned instantly recognizing the lamb standing before her. She fell to her knees and worshiped him and thanking him for this glorious gift. His hand encompassed hers bringing her to a standing position.

“My child, you are home. Your work is complete and now you are finally home. Your body is perfect, without illness, without pain, without a single symptom of a creation broken. This is not a dream child. This, my dear daughter, is eternity and it is with a glad heart that I welcome you to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

To all my friends and family who are broken in some manner,

Remember, this is not your home. You were put here to do a job and when that job is complete, the Father will bring you home so do not despair in the pain and sorrow of today. Do not overly grieve for loved ones who have gone home, for they have earned their reward and are enjoying eternity. After all, it is not good-bye, not really because we will be reunited. Pain is the weapon of Satan because he knows if he weakens us then buries us with troubles our spirits will weaken and our faith may die. Nothing would please him more.
However, have fair warning, if you choose not to follow God’s plan for your life and never start or complete the job he created you for that will not preclude you from death. It will only mean that you wasted your life delaying the healing of creation, for the Father will create another to do the job you were supposed to do.

The Vessel

Through wonderful conversations with my fellow WP peeps about my “Birthday Musings”, I have come to understand a greater reality about death, love, loss, and new beginnings. In, “Birthday Musings”, I wrote that when we loose a loved one, a void, or hole is left within us that scars the soul and makes it quite difficult to cope. However, I have amended such thoughts after much contemplation to see that the people we encounter in life, especially those who are truly beloved, do not leave us empty at their departure. No, instead, from the very first person who shares their heart with us, be it a parent, family member, friend or a soul mate, their love begins the construction within our beings of a vessel. This vessel is precious indeed, for it is constructed of every kind act, word, or feeling our loved ones have shared with us. These beautiful contributions of love are interwoven forming a strong, impermeable vessel to hold, nurture, and prosper all future love. This vessel is constructed by the most steadfast and unbreakable bonds of love. Christ’s Sacrificial love allows us to retain the lessons of kindness, generosity, forgiveness, compassion, wisdom, and unending unconditional love. The vessel is a living breathing entity that welcomes the love of another to fill it up when one of its carpenters have left the reality we live in on a daily basis. There is no greater treasure that we can own and it was gifted to us, constructed by others but demanding ownership from us.
The very strongest threads are woven when someone enters or leaves our lives. Think of the feeling you get when holding a brand new baby whether it is your own or that of a loved one. Instantly, a new thread of love is woven into the vessel as we meet the next contributor to this life affirming vessel. So too, when a loved one passes beyond our reach, all of the memories, feelings of love and appreciation become tangible creating a multi-layered thread that becomes essential for all others to be woven from, around, in, and through. It truly is a miraculous blessing to have so many contribute to this vessel over our lifetimes. The ones we love and who love us are with us throughout all of eternity because they are literally part of who we are and who we will become; hence, we do not say good-bye to anyone only, “see you later.” They have begun the next leg of their journey and we must celebrate their victory and be happy for them as they enjoy paradise. We take and use everything they have taught and given us to become better human beings and make certain that our actions change the world in a positive direction. We may not be able to change the entire world but we owe it to all those who loved us, who created this precious vessel, to use what they gave so freely and change our little corner of the world.
Each person we encounter is not a mistaken fluke of chance. Even those who choose to do harm instead of good are meant to teach us something, If we can carry the lesson from the depths of the pain. However, those rare and special people who freely choose to love us are the greatest gifts we can ever receive. When love is true and pure and not corrupted by selfish desires then it is the most powerful thing in our arsenal against hate, ignorance, and greed.
On this day of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for each friend and family member who has contributed to the making of the vessel that holds and empowers the love within me. My fellow writers on have opened an entirely new store of resources to fill my vessel to overflowing through their kindness and friendship! I am amazed, awed, and thrilled with the gifts God has given me. Circumstances of life whether it be health, finances, or romance can try to convince us that love is a farce and that friendships are only forged for greed but that is not true. Do these things exist? Certainly they do but you make the choice to use or be used by another. True, some horrible things happen through no fault of our own and some are born with severe challenges that would crush the most stalwart man’s heart and good cheer, yet there is still choice. What do we do in the aftermath of tragedy or with the burden of health problem to which some are born into? What choices do we make after the tears have been spent? Do we become bitter or do we become better? Do we allow others to weave their threads into this glorious vessel or do we allow it grow cold and dark forbidding further access to all and to ourselves?
Allow the love that built you into the person you are today or the person you are striving to become to burn brightly with the love and passion the carpenter’s intended for you. Allow it to pulsate with the power of its contributors! Above all else, make certain Christ is the foreman throughout the construction, for his sacrificial love is the one we must model all others after. Thank you all for helping me recognize the existence of this treasure I have carried all along and for contributing to it all the time. It is never empty, there is no void and the pain we feel at the loss of a loved one is just the thick thread of their life’s love being woven into our vessel. Welcome the pain, for it means they have become part of you forevermore.

Birthday Musings

As each birthday passes I find that I become increasingly reflective. I consider similar subjects each year that are likely common to all to some degree but I thought it might be worth jotting down an idea or two upon this subject. Reaching the age of 44 is not an abhorrent idea to me. In fact, growing older has never been a problem because I have always wanted to be an adult. Being an adult gives the illusion that one has the power to make his or her own choices and mistakes. For the most part, there is that element of independence gained but none of us are ever truly free of an influence that contributes to our choices in life being limited. Many, especially we delusional Americans, believe everyone starts at the same start point when born but that is far from true.

Cultural, racial, gender, intellect, development, psychology, environment, genetic and economic influences all contribute to the number of choices or opportunities a person is born into. These things will either benefit or limit the individual depending upon the formula of variables. In the United States, a fallacy was sold to the masses eons ago in the idea of the “American Dream”. This states that if a person works hard, follows the rules of society, and refuses to give up regardless of the obstacles then he or she will be equipped to obtain one of the most coveted of dreams. The dream consists of, a stable income, a home, family, career, spiritual life, and individual freedoms. This is one of the greatest lies ever sold to the American people because most cannot attain it due to a complex combination of two or more of the above variables. In this society, success is measured by your wealth, status, and power. The “self-made man” is heralded as the epitome of the American Dream proving it can be accomplished but if you really look at the culmination of that life you will see a lifetime of moral and/or spiritual compromises that led that person to be at the top. No one is ever, “self-made”, for no one can get through this life alone. It is an arduous journey even if you happen to have what society considers to be multiple advantages on your side.

I have spent many birthdays in the past being angry, resentful, frustrated, confused, and unsettled because I had fallen for the ruse of the attainability of the American Dream. I worked myself out of poverty, earned a great education, and overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles in my environment and my health. I followed the rules of society but A + B does not always = C. My life is proof that a person can take all the right steps and never arrive at the obvious and expected goal. That used to infuriate me and steal my peace because I listened to the critics telling me that if I just tried harder then things would get better. I never had the illusion of becoming filthy rich but I did anticipate financial security and a rewarding career for my efforts. Perhaps even going as far as to dream of my own little house with the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog or two had been entertained. Having enough to pay my bills and to make a difference for the better in society was my only real hope and dream.

Well, this year I am content with where I am at in life. I have discovered along the way that it is not what we accomplish in this world that really matters. Instead, it is the people whom we affect and who we allow to affect us. From the small interactions we have with the clerk at the check out to people with whom we interact and are considered, by society, to be of worth prove the true measure of a life. And I am not referring to having 100s or 1000s of likes or friends on social networking sites. Human to human interactions regardless if that is in cyberspace or in the flesh. Each person we interact with has the potential to teach us something about ourselves, the world, or life in general as long as we admit to ourselves that we do not possess all there is to know. I have known thousands of people in my lifetime and I am certain that I will meet thousands more and it is in those interactions where the wealth of life sits and waits to be discovered. There are people who will leave indelible prints upon our hearts and souls, others will leave open wounds and scars, while still others will make a cursory contribution to how we think, feel, act, or behave in the present and/or future. Each of these interactions are important even the ones that are painful. We learn from everyone even if the lesson is one we wished we could sponge out of our consciousness.

Throughout this past year remarkable and heartbreaking events occurred that have impacted who I am for the remainder of my days. Something happened that I never dreamed could have happened and something I had actively pushed away from my life, I fell in love with a wonderful, loving, caring man who saw me, with all my flaws, and loved me unconditionally. I was euphoric, as a silly schoolgirl might have been but I was happy, amazed, and completely awed. I considered it to be no less than a miracle doubling the awe I felt and the humbleness of being so incredibly blessed by God. God had showed me that he loved and cherished me by providing this unexpected gift. In the midst of worsening health conditions, I was given this wonderful blessing and I shall be forever grateful for it.
Likewise, I have met many wonderful people around the world through my writings and each is like salve for my soul, for it is proof that good and decent people exist and are working to heal this broken creation. Too many decades had passed with the negative people overwhelming the positive ones within my life but I can say that this past year has tipped the scales in the other direction and I am so grateful for that blessing.

Sadly, I have lost two very dear people to my heart within this past three months. First, the only man I have ever loved and most recently, a dear beloved Aunt, friend, and champion. Both were such wonderful people that there is a hole in the space they occupied; however, it has made me ever more grateful for the wonderful people that are still here walking upon or beside my path offering their love and support each step of the way. Hence, this year, this birthday, I have no regrets, anger, resentment, or sense of failure for not reaching my goals. I am exactly where the Lord needs me to be at this time in my life and I finally accept that and am eager to see who or what Christ will re-arrange in my life throughout the coming year. I must admit that I am not fond of saying good-bye to those I love but I know there will come a day when we are reunited so it is not really good-bye as much as it is, “see you later.” I am blessed in abundance with friends and loved ones and I will continue to take each step one by one until my journey is at its end and I can finally rest.

Hence, do not be consumed with getting to a pre-designed goal you have set because you think it will bring you happiness; instead, concentrate on the people in your life who make it worth living. That is the real wealth within your lifetime and it cannot be bought with any amount of gold, fame, or power. Birthdays are great times to assess the balance of your relationships. Take a hard look to see who is constantly making withdrawals from your life and then who is contributing. If there is one who takes too much too often then consider that person a hard lesson learned and move forward without them. We will all come to the same end in this mortal world and depending upon your spiritual views you may see it as a culmination of a life lived or just the beginning of an unimaginable adventure. I choose to believe the later negating any fear of the unknown or thinking that a life is simply extinguished at death. No, each person is important and has meaning in this creation but our lifetimes are so brief in the scope of all human history that we must realize that our time here is only the beginning. Our lifetimes prepare us for our eternal roles, if we choose to accept them. If not, then our lives have been a waste and we are ill-prepared for eternity.

Examine the most important thing in your life and decide if it is healthy to you and to others around you. What have you done for yourself and others over the past year? Again, balance is key here because there will come a day when you will look back over the decades and may realize that your choices have caused a disproportionate degree of harm to yourself and to others. Each choice we make matters and some carry more weight than others but once the choice is made then the commitment to it must be complete. You do great things in your lifetime even if the world chooses not to see or value it. What I do affects you and what you do affects me; therefore, we perform a cosmic dance of human interaction, which has an integral connection to the whole. Becoming more concerned with the whole rather than the self is a mark that you have arrived within middle age. Knowing with all certainty that so much exists of which you know nothing is a mark of wisdom. Therefore, on this birthday I am eager to learn, contribute, and examine the coming year with a curious mind and willing spirit. Thank you for choosing to join me on this journey. Blessings upon you all.

Through Your Eyes

I was beautiful
I was loved
I was safe

Your words embraced
my soul making
it shine as
brightly as
the sun.

I was a precious treasure
beyond all price.
I felt invincible
shielded against
the darkness

Your love was the salve
lessening my pain.

Your melodic voice awoke
schoolgirl delights
I had no idea existed.

Foreign and wondrous
was this glorious love to
my heart.
Unexpected innocence
gave rise to your surprise.

You were so gentle,
loving, protective, and
patient. You were my
champion, my prince,
my darling man.

Darkness lurked
in the shadows of
which we spoke.
Vows of everlasting love
beyond this broken creation
were generously lavished
upon one another.

Oh God, how I prayed that you
would be the one to say good bye
to me but that wasn’t meant to be.

I yearn to hear your words,
see your gaze, and feel the
humble power of your love
within me once more.

Time has become meaningless.
Gazing into your eyes,
hungering to taste your lips
the warmth of your breath
whispering soft words of love
into my soul sending
burning chills throughout
every cell.

Embrace me and I will
lose myself in your
world, forevermore.

Frustration plagued you,
for you thought
you had given nothing.
Oh my darling, sweet prince
you healed my heart
and completed my soul.
What greater gift can a
man provide a woman?

The air I breathe was
once yours. Water that
washes me anew once
once caressed your being.
Winds stroke my cheek
once provided you comfort
on hot afternoons.

You are all around me. You are now
a part of my being. You are the very
air that I breathe so why, my darling,
do I feel so alone? Why do I feel as if
I am adrift upon an iceberg in a raging
frigid sea? Why does the memory of
your sweet voice feel like icy
splinters pelting my flesh?
Why did it have to be you
instead of me?

I liked the person you
saw when you looked
upon me. I liked being
truly happy for the first
time in my existence.
Through your eyes, life
was no longer a burden
but a gift.

Through your eyes, I found
myself eagerly
contemplating a future.

Through your eyes I
saw the very best me
I could ever be.

I love you Ajay, my Prince
among men. You were my
soul mate and I will always
cherish the time we were given.

Pure selfishness requires more,
for I want you here in my arms.
I want to caress your brow
and wash your face with my kisses.

Tightly to my breasts would
I hold you so death could not steal you.
Your eyes would become heavy
as the beat of my heart lulled
you into a deep sleep.
Your eyes are brimming.
My own are overflowing
creating streamlets of sorrow.

Softly my lips graze your eyelids
giving them permission
to close and find rest.
My lips quiver as they find yours,
I linger there tasting your sweetness.

I would beg you to take
whatever breath and life
I have within me.
My lips are on fire in contrast to
your cooling flesh.
Please, do not leave me my prince.
Please stay or take me with you,
for I cannot stand the thought
of becoming invisible again. I liked the
way you saw me.

Through your eyes,
my soul awakened
becoming what it
was created to be.

I miss you Ajay,
my beloved,