Our Little Town

Badminton tournaments
and a croquet match.
Playin’ hide and seek and
a game of catch.

Ridin’ bikes all day
’til the sun went down,
that was summer fun
in our little town.

Makin’ mud pies
and playin’ hop scotch.
Sittin’ in the bleachers,
a baseball game to watch.

Doin’ cartwheels and
swingin’ on the front porch swing.
Spinnin’ 45 records and
we’d sing and sing and sing.

Climb the Redbud tree
in Mom’s front yard.
Hangin’ from the limbs
like they were monkey bars.

Much simpler times,
nothin’ seemed hard.
Not even catchin’
fireflies in a mason jar.

Ridin’ bikes all day
’til the sun went down.
That was summer fun
in our little town

Getting’ squirted
With the water hose
Takin’ Poloroid Pics
“Y’all strike a pose”!

No Playstation
or MP3
No cell phones
or games called Wi.

That’s how it was
way, way back…

Whether to the movies
or the go-kart track,
we ate homemade concessions
from a paper sack.

No money or treasure
could buy its worth
Just fun in the sun
on God’s green earth.

To the Methodist Church
every Sunday morn.
We learned about Jesus
and got re-born.

Ridin’ bikes all day
’til the sun went down.
That was summer fun
in our little town.

That’s how it was
don’t you remember when?
Life was so much simpler then.
Man, I want to do it all again!

Ridin’ bikes all day
’til the sun goes down!

The Skirted SwimSuit

Destin Beach FL was once again packed with vacationers as rows and rows of umbrella chairs lined the sand from the boardwalk all the way to the beach behind almost every condominium . As we headed down from our 12th floor room overlooking the gulf for our first relaxing day of fun in the sun, the thought projected onto my mind like a movie marque that this was my very first year on the beach in the dreaded “skirted swimsuit”! I really could have cried, but your supposed to be happy on vacation right ? The  past few years of stress at work, thyroid and hormonal issues, had left their mark and my body had changed!
It changed from the slim and trim, 115  lb. 5′ 3″ petite frame I used to carry,  to a fuller figure with about 35 extra pounds. But hey, I’m not a teenager any more either.

My 51 years have led me down some interesting paths…some darker than others, but I’ve finally settled into the light where Jesus is The Lord over every area of my life…well almost every area.

I am  finally in a good place spiritually, and a good place with my family and friends,  but once again my weight is an issue.

I’ve struggled with my weight off and on over the course of my life and always find that I’m heaviest when I’m the happiest…go figure?

I can be stick pin thin,  when the world around me is crumbling. But when life is good everything just tastes better!

But I decided to put the depressing thoughts out of my head and tried to stop the comparisons to the other seasoned women that were sunbathing, because after all… I do clean up pretty good! And yes it has to be said, that everyone looks better with clothes on anyway!

But then another even more disturbing thought crossed my mind. Do I embrace the dreaded “skirted swimsuit” in all of its glory, or do I embrace this down time as a time to recharge my battery and get back in the game, finally giving this struggle to God as well.

(I just shared the first draft of this article with my sweet Husband, Lee,  as we sit on the back of our new 38 ft Searay motor yacht, that The Lord has so graciously blessed us with, and after reading my draft,  he plays “One Hot Mama” by Trace Adkins over the stereo and turns it up so loud that I just have to laugh! What a guy! Even in the skirted suit he still thinks I’m Hot!! And that’s all that matters anyway, that my guy still thinks I’m One Hot Mama!! Right?)

Maybe so, but the Girl I want to be, wants it all and she seems to think she deserves it!

I’m thankful for the road I’ve travelled, even in times of adversity, because it has led me to this new season in my life.

So, I’ve decided to use this revelation as an opportunity to work towards attaining it all.. Simultaneously!! What a revelation! I can have it all and all at the same time!!

Yes! You can have great relationships, a great job, great health and be physically fit,  if you give it all to The Lord!

So, Lord, I’m giving it to you and asking you to help me make better choices with the food that I put in my mouth!

Help me to get back in the exercise game too, strengthening my  muscles and building stamina.

When I contemplate that my body is the vessel that houses the Holy Spirit, I’m drawn to the fact that I need to take better care of myself!

Thank you Lord for all the good things too, as  the song now playing by The Afters  reminds me that “you’re the reason  for every good thing, every heart beat, everyday we get to breathe!”

And I don’t want to waste another minute of it! So as I make this decision once again to regain focus on what’s best for me I’m saying goodbye to the skirted swimsuit season and trusting that next year I’ll be fit and trim and worthy of the two piece bikini one more time before I die!

Learning to Hit the Reset Button

Photo Booth.appMy husband Lee, and I, took a little river cruise this past weekend from Aqua Yacht Harbor & Marina on Pickwick Lake, near Counce, TN to the Marina in Florence, AL

It is normally about a 4-5 hour boat ride; cruising around 12-15 knots. The weather was perfect. The sky was brilliant that day and speckled with a few wispy clouds, that looked like bites of cotton candy painted on a sea blue canvas. There was no rain in sight on the radar for at least 24 hours, so we were all set to go.

Lee’s brother, Tony,  and his wife Nancy, came along for the ride. We don’t go anywhere without our dog Sophie, so  she was aboard for the journey too!

We had plans to shove off about 10:30AM but due to some unforeseen circumstances, we didn’t weigh anchor until closer to 1:00PM. We were trying to be in port in Florence by 5:00PM before their staff left for the day. So, instead of the layed-back, relaxing cruise I had envisioned, Lee had to use a heavy hand on the throttle…traveling the majority of the trip between 20-25 knots, trying to make up time.

The result was the same, we got there by 5:00PM. But, the journey wasn’t as enjoyable had we been able to take our time. And that was the point in going …to relax, kick back and enjoy the ride!

Do you find that your daily life is too often like this scenario? You rush around, minding your to-do-lists, making plans, only to find that sometimes you miss out on the joy along the way.

Now granted, we had great company and good conversation on our expedited trip. We listened to some great music and soaked up some of the last rays of sunshine for the season. We even had our own little wine and cheese party on the boat after we docked in Florence and watched the sun go down. So all in all it was still a great trip!

When we docked in Florence, we were forewarned by the Harbor Master, of a cannon explosion that is done every day at sunset from the State Park beside the marina. This explosion is to celebrate the end of the day and the beginning of a new one.

The locals come from miles around to visit the park and to be a part of the day’s end celebration. However, even with the advance notice, Lee, Tony, Nancy and Sophie were still startled by the blast! I had gone below deck to take a quick shower before we went to dinner and only heard a mild thump from below deck.

It was getting dark, so Lee decided to take Sophie for a quick walk before we left for dinner, while the rest of us continued to get showered and changed. Having just gotten out of the shower myself, I began to dry my hair when all of a sudden the electrical system was overloaded from the added WATS of power from the hair dryer and all the power on the entire starboard side of the boat shut down. Not Good!

I searched for a breaker to trip on the control panel in the salon, or a reset button to flip, but couldn’t locate a master switch. When Lee returned, he was perturbed to say the least. His frustration was somewhat directed toward me, because I should have known that we needed to adjust for the additional power being used. Now, here we were, in simi-darkness, all trying to get ready for dinner without total power. It was unintentional on my part, but I felt responsible regardless!

The much younger, and a bit more feisty Marie, would have made a few choice comments that would have fueled the situation further. But since we had company on board this time, I decided to keep my comments to myself… but also to remove myself from the situation and let Lee handle it.

I walked on over to the restaurant at the marina and sat down at a table outside the door and waited for the others to join me, wet hair and all! Ok, so maybe I’m still a little feisty, because that wasn’t the best response for the “hostess with the mostest” – I know!

As I sat there, I recalled the story of a wise King from Jerusalem that is written in the book of Ecclesiastes, and a poem I had just recently written regarding that same story. The King ponders all of life’s questions and determines that everything is “meaningless” under the sun, except to fear God and keep His commands!

So, after contemplating that thought again, I even said it out loud …”meaningless, meaningless, utterly meaningless” …to remind myself that it was not necessary to get all bent out of shape over the blown circuit and that maybe I acted too hasty in walking away!

Tony and Nancy eventually joined me. Tony even asked if we could just hit the reset button and enjoy the rest of the night. I agreed! However, I wasn’t sure if Lee would show up for dinner or not, since his concern was the power surge and the possibility of a fire. I knew he didn’t want to leave the boat unattended, especially with Sophie on board either. Tony and Nancy had left him trying to contact his service guy back at Aqua Yacht Marina to see if there was anything else that he needed to check out.

Lee did finally join us, after determining that it was just the power cord that bit the dust and not anything electrical on board. The generator was up and running and we were in good shape!

We made our apologies for the frustrated comments and actions that had put a slight damper on the beginning of the evening and determined to make the best of it. We agreed again to hit the reset button for the rest of the night!

Funny how the real reset button that day was not one found below deck, that could have allowed me to finish drying my hair. But the one found in our hearts, when we decided to let go of the silly “meaningless” thing that kept us from being our best!

Is being confrontational a stumbling block for you? Do you sometimes create more tension in situations by adding unnecessary comments to the equation, or drama that only fuels the fire? I can tell you from my own experience, that this type of response is futile. It gets you nowhere, and in the grand scheme of things is meaningless! Proverbs 15:1 states “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. Proverbs 16:24 also reminds us that, “Kind words are like honey…sweet to the soul and healthy to the body.”

Lee has often said, “A bad day on the lake is better than a good day at work” …and that’s hard to deny!

We apologized again to each other on the boat ride home on Sunday. We also agreed to try to work on our responses to each other and to treat each other like we would if we were each other’s client instead of family. It’s sad, but we do sometimes treat perfect strangers better than the ones we are supposed to care about and love the most.

We are also learning to hit the reset button of life , so that when things don’t go our way, or frustrations steal our joy, we can be assured to end the day with a cannon blast celebration…wet hair optional!

“Yet”

My heart aches to tell my story,
Guilt and shame keep it inside.
But Lord I know you’ve written the ending
That will take me on a glorious ride!

Regret and sorrow overwhelms me.
“Remember not the sins of my youth”.
In Mercy and Grace Lord, You replaced me
From paying a shameful sin debt that was due.

Now I am worthy of your Kingdom riches,
No longer and outsider just looking in.
“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us”
Though the timeline of “yet” was before my life began.

To those your foreknew, you also predestined
So you knew at Golgotha the sins I would commit.
Yet you took that cup from me, and when you drank it
My sin was no more, yes You said, “finished”.

There is no reason now to feel regret, shame or guilt,
Because in perfect love my life you’ve rebuilt.
So, I’m lifting my head, on you my eyes are set.
Praising the understanding of the simple word “yet”.

Morning Praise Song

The birds sing their morning praise songs
As the leaves rustle to the sound of the wind.
My heart clings to the peace in this moment
Praises to you Lord over and over again.

The quiet serenity of the morning
Calms my Spirit and too my heart sings,
A joyful love song to our creator,
The maker of Heaven, and in earth all things.

Singing glory, glory, all Praise to You only.
Glory, glory all praise to the King!
Glory, glory all praise to the Savior,
To our Holy Father, these praises we sing!

Begin Again

When negative voices creep in like a fog
Dig your heels in and believe the word of God.
He remembers the promise He placed in your heart
The dream you gave up on…He has not forgot!

God wants to give you the desires of your heart
He will make sure you complete what He starts!
Don’t let sorrow or shame and regret from past sin,
Hold you back from Beginning Again!

Victory Over Un-forgiveness

When we are hurt
Our first response is to retaliate.
Outwardly we may do nothing,
But inside we harbor “hate”.

Claim victory over un-forgiveness
Confess any resentment to God.
Acknowledge it as an act of rebellion
And choose to lay it down for good.

Un-forgiveness hinders our prayer life,
Our worship and witness to others.
It affects our giving, blocks our
Spiritual growth and causes strife with our brothers.

Giving up resentment against someone
And our so-called “right to get even”,
Reveals the most about our character
And the basics of what we believe in.

Un-forgiveness is serious business
Assume responsibility for it.
Ask God to enable you to forgive
And His Spirit to implore it!

Poetry – Bop Style

A recent invention, the Bop was created by Afaa Michael Weaver and is a form of poetic argument consisting of three stanzas, each stanza followed by a repeated line, or refrain, and each undertaking a different purpose in the overall argument of the poem.

The first stanza (six lines long) states the problem, and the second stanza (eight lines long) explores or expands upon the problem. If there is a resolution to the problem, the third stanza (six lines long) finds it. If a substantive resolution cannot be made, then this final stanza documents the attempt and failure to succeed.

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5773#sthash.snYzZzqF.dpuf 

 

Here is my attempt at the “Bop”. I’ve added a rhyming element as well:

The Duty of Man

I love Sunday Morning in all of its splendor,
When the air is crisp and the sky azure blue.
No schedule to keep. There could be more time to sleep.
So why is this day, Lord, committed to you?
If I start with a prayer and spend time in your word,
Will it not quiet my voice, so yours can be heard?

Be still and know that I am God

The rest of the week is often left standing
With very little time for quiet solitude.
We busy ourselves with worldly “to-do-lists”
That generally have nothing “to-do” with You.
Yet a wise King from Jerusalem, seeking life’s purpose
Proclaims in Ecclesiastes chapter one,
“Meaningless, Meaningless, Utterly Meaningless,
Everything is Meaningless under the sun!”

Be still and know that I am God

The wise King pondered and searched life’s questions.
Questions we still ponder today, regarding the work we do
And the time we spend…and this is what he had to say,
“Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the
Whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into
Judgement, whether it is good or it is bad.”

Be still and know that I am God

 

God’s Will

The below poem was written during a very difficult time when my stress level at work was on overload! I also learned that I had thyroid disease, which caused my hair to start falling out! (Talk about adding anxiety to the mix of issues!) My short term memory was so foggy that I could toggle from one screen to the next on my computer at work and literally forget what I was looking for by the time I landed on the next screen. I thought I was losing my mind! I was also diagnosed with pneumonia, the Epstein Barr virus and a bacteria was found in my stomach that was wrecking havoc on my digestive system.  I was so tired, my body felt like it weighed 1000 pounds!  I wasn’t sleeping and was literally running on empty! I wanted to quit my job because the stress was taking such a toll on my health. My heart longed to pursue a writing career. But, I felt trapped and strapped to the income my job provided for our family. This poem was born out of all these circumstances.

 

 

God’s Will

Worry and anxiety all around.
Pace too fast, gotta slow down.
Feeling trapped and all alone,
Wishing I could just stay home!

So much to offer, so much to give.
Finally learning how to live.
Dreams tucked away inside my heart,
Now brought to life, out of the dark!

With pen in hand, I’ll use to write
A different ending to my life.
No more stressful, chaotic scenes
Just God’s peaceful, calm, tranquility.

Opening my heart to hear His voice
Quieter still…the Believer’s choice.
And again I will rejoice,
As God’s will for me is found.

 

I’ve since, made some significant changes in my responsibilities at work. I hired an assistant! (Meghan, I thank God for you everyday!) I finally realized that I couldn’t do it all by myself anymore and that asking for help was not an admission of failure. You CAN finally get to the point where you are spread so thin, that you can’t do anything well. This act alone      ( asking for help) was something I was Not used to doing, but it has allowed me to reduce the daily stress I was under. My health issues are under better control and my life is reasonably “sane” again. There is much to “rejoice” over.  Thank you Jesus!