Archive for January, 2017

Photo by Pippalou, 2014, MorgueFile.com

Photo by Pippalou, 2014, MorgueFile.com

Every piece of music has a beat. Every human being has a beating heart.

Sometimes a piece of music is fast and frenzied. Sometimes the heart of a human being is fast and frenzied, too–when we’re worried, afraid, or excited. Sometimes music is slow, restful or quiet. The same with the human heart that keeps our life going.

The beat of music is called rhythm. Our individual lives have rhythm, too.

Rhythm is made up of sounds and silences. These sounds and silences are put together to form patterns which repeat to create rhythm. A rhythm has a steady beat, but it may also have many different kinds of beats. Some beats may be stronger or longer or shorter or softer than others. In a single piece of music, a composer can create many different rhythms. And in his or her life, a person can create and express many rhythmic beats as well.

God, our creator, made each of us unique, but in His creation of us, He gave us the power–the free will-to choose the beat, the rhythm, of our lives. The composition of our life on Earth is up to us. The sheet music of our life is what we show and give to others. We create it by the pattern of our attitude. Is our attitude toward this miraculous life that we possess positive or negative? Is the beat of it, good or not so good?

In this New Year, let’s step back and take a look at the rhythm of our life by reviewing our relationships with the ones we care about. And then let’s step up the beat. Let’s shake things up while we’re here until we positively affect those beloved hearts we treasure like a ball of fire!

For those of you who subscribe to the 4:00 am email–the following should wake you up!

Keeping Humanity Alive…

Posted: January 11, 2017 in World On The Edge

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Over the last couple of years I have been working hard on two novels. One of them is with an agent now–who may or may not take it.  I’ve been down that road before. Entitled, She Who Sees Beyond, the book is about a seer who tries to avoid her gift. For the most part I’m happy with it, although any re-read produces the reaction, “I could have written that better.”

The second novel, Something in the Water, is plaguing me with questions. It’s written in third person omniscient (subjective) and told from multiple points of view. Because of that I’m worrying over what to put where in the timeline so as not to reveal key elements too quickly, or too slowly. Still, the novel is probably my favorite among those I’ve written, so far. It concerns the good, and not so good legacies, of a father and son–both Alabama farmers–after each comes face to face with destruction.

Why write a book about Alabama farmers? Well, name another human group more instrumental in the miracle of growth that keeps humanity alive?

The underpinnings of Something in the Water are these:

That no one can control Mother Nature, but everyone can control his own nature.
That a weak man who continues to struggle can become strong.
That a strong woman can lift, and love, a weakened man.
That the innocence of children holds absolute Truths.
That there is hidden grace in every adversity.
And that there is surely such a thing as lifelong love.

In the POV of the grandson, here are father and son in a head to head confrontation:

Grandpa James turns, his expression hardened. He points at Papa again. “No, you wait! We both know Nature’s unfaithful, and we won’t always have just the right amount of water when we need it. Nature betrays us, turns on us, and sometimes it takes what we love. But I won’t sit down for that. I’ll fight against it every time. I won’t let it destroy us, no matter what I have to do!”

  “What can you do? You’re a man—one man. You can’t tame a river, and you can’t stop a storm.”

 “Don’t tell me what I can’t do, boy. I can do it because I’m part of it. I have a nature, too. The nature of a man. And it’s made me mean and strong, just as mean and strong as those floods and droughts. I ain’t no a whiner. I ain’t showing no weakness. Show weakness to your enemy, he’ll put a knife in your side, slice you up and down, and leave you for dead.”

“An enemy? You’re talking like Nature’s a person.”

“Oh, it ain’t a person. No, not a person! Nature’s bigger than that. It’s the biggest of big things. It’s the Daddy of all we got, but if it tries to steal something from us, we got to be nasty enough to fight against it. If we’re men, that’s what we got to do.”

Alabama is home  to over 43,000 farmers, whose land covers 8.9 million acres. Their economic impact is tremendous, creating over 500,000 jobs and generating an impact of over $70.4 billion.–The Montgomery Advertiser, 2014.

Below is a commercial from Land O’Lakes,(I love their butter!) It’s a tribute to farmers, and it is stirring. The poem behind it was written by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr (1831-1919) a British novelist who migrated to America in 1850. A while back, but then, some things never change.

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If we are in dark room for a length of time, our human eyes eventually adjust to the darkness, so that any tiny light venturing into the room becomes enough for us to grasp the location of walls, furniture, and door. A tiny light—only a tiny light—can change our perception and take us from obscurity to clarity in the darkest of rooms.

When the light we see by is small, we use other faculties instead of perfect eyesight to make our way around the blackness of a room. We use our memory of what should be there, our sense of touch, or even smell. These other senses may not come into play in a brightly lit space–we wouldn’t need them. But in a very dark place, the tiny light is crucial.

Each of us has a tiny light within us, and it is a precious light unlike any other, made just for the darkest of rooms. When sadness or disappointment enters our life, we make use of that tiny light.

Vision from such a light may come about slowly, but if we remain calm and concentrate on its glow, we can find safety, security, and even courage.

And where does that light come from?

It comes from the kinship we have with the God who created us. The God who created each of us as His child.

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. Your light has come to you.
How will you receive it?

Am I Doing It Right???

Posted: January 2, 2017 in World On The Edge
Photo by Tabaluga, 2014, MorgueFile.com

Photo by Tabaluga, 2014, MorgueFile.com

Am I doing it right? In Life, I mean.

Most of us wonder about that. We don’t set out to do things wrong. But we often do.

We want to do the best for our families and ourselves. But what is Best?

There’s really no certainty about what’s best for us. We do know though, we’re to follow God’s Commandments. But exactly how to follow them in particular situations is sometimes hazy.

For example, in parenting children. What is the best way? What’s good for one child may not be good for another child.

And in marriage. We have two separate personalities involved, so we often have two very different ways of approaching problems.

In our job, or with friends, or with aging family members–is one way better than another?

What are we doing? Are we coming anywhere close to doing it right?

I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as we pray, try to listen in our prayer to what God is telling us, and have a true desire to please Him–to do things right–then we shouldn’t worry. We are doing our best. And this is what is desired of us. That we sincerely, without excuses, TRY.

The really beautiful thing about trying is that even when we stumble, even when we fall, even when we fail, most of us get back up! This is due to the amazing human spirit given us by God.

I’ve posted this prayer of Thomas Merton before. I love it.

It’s something I pray often.

Especially, when I’m not sure of the path I’m on.

Especially, when I’ve made mistakes and want to start over.

Especially, when I feel lost and need to be led.

Especially when I feel as if no one is able to advise me what to do.

For many years, it’s been a solace for my own worries–indeed an answer TO my worrying.

Maybe you’ll become fond of it, too.

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.