Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4th - Independence Day

If you are fortunate enough to be spending this special day with your family and friends, remember why this is a "holiday" and the fact that freedom is NOT free. Many have fought and defended this great nation against tyranny and oppression. The constitutional liberties we still enjoy and take for granted were gained and maintained by heartbreaking sacrifice.
If you watch the fireworks today, remember what they represent - many battles when brave Americans went forth and defended liberty for all generations to follow.  As you watch the beautiful colors and hear the loud booms, teach the children that those “bombs bursting in air” actually represent the blood, sweat, and tears of those who gave their all so we could live "free".
If you are enjoying your picnics and barbecues, take a moment to stop and thank God for his mercy and grace and for allowing you to live in this great country; and ask Him to continue to guide, bless, and protect our nation.
Do not forget where this nation came from, what it really stands for...and don't ever stand idly by and allow any force of evil to take away our liberties, our culture, and our freedom to worship God as we please. I pray that I don't see a "last" Independence Day, when we forget what America and its flag stand for, and we allow freedom to perish.

May God bless you all...and may God Bless the U.S.A! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Caress...Memories Triggered

It has been said that the sense of smell is probably the greatest tool for storing and triggering memories. I believe it. I have experienced the power of it many times, and this morning was no exception.
As I was preparing to shower, I flipped up the cap on the bottle of body wash and its fragrance transported me immediately back several my grandmother and the house where I had spent many of my childhood and teen years. She didn't have body wash in her bathroom, but she had that favorite curved pink bar of soap with the same name and distinct delicate fragrance..."Caress"...its aroma filling the air and lingering on the skin that was washed with it.
That bathroom was a big deal and blessing to us. I recall how excited we all were when we finally had running cold and hot water...and we got an inside bathroom, complete with a tub and shower, installed In the house...when I was in junior high school. The gas furnace and a gas cook stove were installed around the same time...the prior source of heat being a large coal stove in the living room...and our food had previously been prepared on the wood stove in the kitchen. Also, for years our source of water was from a fresh spring that ran into a block holding tank under the house and was brought up through a pitcher pump at the kitchen sink. Bathing was done in a large round aluminum wash tub that sat in the pantry and was concealed by homemade curtains over the door. Water had to be heated on the old stove then carried to the tub. You just hoped to be one of the first kids to get in to bathe and not the last! lol
Now I am not that old. We were way behind most families in the area when it came to "modern conveniences" and, by many standards, we were poor or impoverished...but the loving care and discipline, along with the "caress" of my grandmother, more than made up for the material things and modern conveniences that we had lacked for so many years.
I find it amazing that now such a simple thing as the fragrance of soap or body wash can make her seem so near again and it brings tears of sadness, joy, and appreciation for simple things that many take for granted... ~C.J.
(Post copyright by C.J.  Please do not share, copy, or use without permission.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Someone's "Santa"...

A few days ago, I was on my way into a thrift store and, before I turned the corner to go in through the door, I heard a man's deep voice, speaking very softly and kindly.  When I made the turn, I noticed five or six folks standing just outside the door, including the owner of that voice...a tall, chunky older man who was dressed in a green camouflage shirt and pants, with shoulder-length white hair, white beard, and gold glasses.  Yes, I was somewhat taken aback by his appearance as I took a quick breath in and stopped to watch the interaction.  He was with an older lady who stood just to the side and slightly behind him, smiling.  He was leaning over, and the person he was speaking to was a little boy about a year old who was sitting in a shopping cart whose handle was being held by his momma.  The boy was sitting very still, smiling, unblinking, looking at and listening intently to the older gentleman.  

Then I saw a young woman coming out of the store holding the hand of a little girl who appeared to be about four years old.  The girl was humming, walking and looking down at her own feet.  When she heard the man's voice, even before seeing him, she stopped abruptly, then looking up and seeing the man, her eyes got real big, she tugged on her mother's hand and said quietly but excitedly, "Mommy, Mommy...look!  I think he's a real Santa Claus!  Her mother smiled, and looking at the man, she said, "Yes, honey...I think you're right!"  Everyone in that little group was smiling.  

As I went on into the shop, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if more people were like that wonderful gentleman?  The world needs that every day, not just around Christmas time!".  Then immediately I realized that we all can be!  Most of the time, when we make the choice, each one of us can be a SANTA, just like that gentleman...because what he gave was not a fancy or expensive gift...he gave just a little of his time, personal attention, gentleness, and kindness...not just to his own family and personal friends, but to total strangers.  

Will you be a SANTA to someone today?  You might be the only one they see.  And you just might leave a positive and lasting impression on that person, just like that camo-clad gentleman did on me.

    (Ornament from zazzle)

(Post by C.J. - please do not copy or share without permission)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Morning Thought..."Church"

We have moved so far away from the New Testament meaning of "church". It's not the denomination, the building, a business, a political arena, a social club, a prideful elitist clique that excludes others, a group that feels superior to everyone else, you or all your earthly accomplishments, etc. The "church" is people...people who have recognized, acknowledged, and accepted Christ as the sinless Son of God, their Savior, Redeemer of all their sins, and Lord of their lives; those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, who teaches, guides, comforts, convicts and chastises them; whose hearts, thoughts, words, actions, and lives have been changed and who show evidence of that change; who work individually and collectively to spread the Gospel and the love of God, being His eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet on Earth; who study the Holy Bible; who pray, worship in Spirit and in Truth, praise, and sing, humbly giving all honor to Him, recognizing and testifying of His glory, majesty, and glorious works; who strive daily to become more Christ-like; who willingly serve rather than feel they are to be served by others.

(Post and photo by C.J. - please do not use or copy without permission. Thanks!)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Just Because You Can't See It...

Good or bad, quite often throughout an ordinary day, I will see an object or a common sight and I immediately view it as a symbol of something else or as an object lesson for this thing known as life.

While walking the other day, I snapped a photo of this piece of a tree trunk that had apparently been sawed off after the tree had possibly fallen and blocked the roadway during a storm or something.  I noticed that, although the outside looked normal, the inside of the trunk was hollow, looking as though it had decayed from within...and I suddenly thought, it was "much like many of us humans" who, for various reasons, are walking around seemingly fine, looking and acting healthy and without serious problems or concerns...who are anything but fine, in reality.

That's the way it is for those who have conditions or diseases (such as multiple sclerosis or MS) that might have few outward signs that are noticeable to others, but produce many "invisible" symptoms.  There are currently three main types of MS:  relapsing/remitting (symptoms come and go and sometimes are not completely resolved), progressive (where symptoms never resolve, keep accumulating, and severe disability usually occurs more quickly), and secondary progressive (when relapsing/remitting becomes progressive).  With MS, even though we might appear to be "normal" and can seemingly visibly function in our daily lives much like the average person, we experience symptoms that are as unique as each individual (along with their severity and duration), that vary from one person to the next, and can include the invisible constant, chronic, or intermittent pain; numbness, tingling, or burning sensations; electrical, vibrating, and buzzing sensations in various body parts; problems with sense of vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell;  bowel and bladder dysfunction; vertigo and dizziness; muscle weakness; incoordination; cognitive deficits, memory loss, inability to recognize, understand, comprehend, process, assimilate, interpret, or respond to spoken or written words or instructions;  confusion, disorientation, feeling as if mind and body are disconnected; unimaginable fatigue that can come on very suddenly...just to name a few.

And just as the outwardly appearing normal healthy tree that happens to be invisibly rotten or decayed on the inside and can thus be toppled by a mild storm or bump...those with MS can be devastated or destroyed by an ordinary infection, a common illness, a stressful event or situation...that is otherwise just a nuisance or short-term problem for most individuals.  

Can you understand this?  We get tired from trying to constantly explain and remind family, friends, and co-workers about what is happening to us, and we often feel as if we aren't believed, especially when we "look so good ".  Perhaps we should check into getting a group discount on tombstones that are simply engraved with "See...I told you I was sick!" Come on, it's okay to smile or chuckle.  If we didn't have a good sense of humor we probably wouldn't survive nearly as long as we do!  ;)

(copyright Photo and post by C.J. - please do not share or copy without permission)