Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

When Peace Comes To Your Neighborhood

Last night we heard yelling outside of our home, while sitting in our family room watching TV.  We thought it was just the people next door – we have noisy neighbors who have two little Chihuahuas and are always yelling for them.  But after a while it was clear that they were not just yelling for their dogs.

I went to the front door and peaked out and heard LOUD conversation with the neighbors and someone else I couldn’t identify in the dark.  I told Greg, “I think you better go out and see what’s going on”.  He did – and I was only able to hear parts of the conversation from where I was inside holding our puppy.

Greg was out there for close to 30 minutes talking to the gentleman who was drunk and did not seem to making much sense.  It was determined that he was back home – had once lived on our street with his parents, had run into tough times and was living back with them for a time.  The neighbors were so freaked out they wanted to call the police and would have had him taken away – but Greg told them that it was okay – and the neighbors went into their house.

I watched Greg calmly and lovingly talk with the man – and at the end of the conversation when I opened the front door to see if I could hear anything – I heard him say to Greg, “you are my angel”.

Greg has always been a peacemaker.  He has a hard time finding fault or anything negative in anyone.  This is why he is an excellent grief counselor, a mastermind at working conflict when dealing with funeral details and a wonderful speaker.  He speaks peace, love and acceptance wherever he goes.

Last night could have been a real tragedy, a man in trouble, lost and inebriated – being hauled off with the authorities – but it was quickly and quietly turned around – as Greg stepped in and spoke peace and comfort – helping this man feel accepted and loved and helping him find his way home.

I thought about this after I witnessed this unfold before my eyes.  There are two types of people.  Those who welcome and stir up trouble – making it worse – or those who come into a situation calm and accepting – bringing peace into the crisis.

Help me Lord to be a peacemaker in any and all situations threatening to rock my world.  Help me to think clearly and to love and accept lost and dying people without judgement.  Help me bring peace to my neighborhood.

 

God Bless

 

Being Left Alone

English: An anxious person

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes things just happen.  Sometimes it’s a good thing.  Sometimes it’s bad.    There are things and people added to our plans – and sometimes things and people are taken away.  There are times of happiness, comfort and safety – But  then there is a time of desolation, hurt and loss.

No one wants to feel abandoned, isolated and left behind.  While it may not happen so much when we’re young – sooner or later it does as we get older.  The same comforts, circumstances and even people in our lives, that are with us when we begin our journey, or part way through our journey – sometimes do not continue with us the rest of the way.  It is the feeling of being “left alone”.  It is difficult to understand.  But it is called life.

This week we’ve been training our 14 week old puppy, Daisy to stay home alone – without anyone here.  Training her to wait – be patient – that we will come back again – therefore reassuring her, by our return that she is not being left permanently.  It is a training for us too as we do not want her to feel lonely, brush her aside like she is not important – but at the same time we want to reduce her anxiety by the fact that we will return.  It is difficult to explain that to a puppy.

In the same way – I wonder how much our earthly anxiety is a mixture of “unnecessary worry” and “childlike anxiety” simply because we do not understand our situation and circumstances like God does.  We don’t have the ability to wait and trust that God sees the bigger picture – and that it is only for a “season” and not “forever”.  I’m sure that God must say, “I know best.  I can see everything all at once.  Trust me”  But we miss it – because we’re too busy being uncomfortable at our own perceived feeling of “being left”.  And more than that – that God doesn’t hear us or understand.

There are some lessons that can only be learned without anyone with me.  Feeling that isolation is good for me.  In anxiety I learn trust.  In feeling abandoned by my overwhelming circumstance – I learn faith.  And I also want to remain hopeful that God has all the answers to the questions I have.  That there will be a time when I understand.

And until then – I must learn the same painful lesson that our puppy must.  Being left alone is sometimes how God speaks His most powerful insights to me.  It is in that lesson, that I am stronger, more compassionate to others, and ready for God to use me again.

When was the last time you feel completely alone?  When you lost something you thought you would always have?  Did you hear God speak to you?

 

God Bless

A New Kind Of Peace… (Repost)

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Image by Griffin Matthews via Flickr

From my blog 2 years ago – August 31, 2009

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

Do you ever feel troubled?  Unsettled.  You don’t know why.  You just do.  I believe that we all feel this way from time to time.  A deep peace comes from God.  And from knowing God.  If He says – “don’t be afraid” then you can trust in His words.  And He gives peace “not as the world would give” but a lasting deep peace that comes from another place entirely than any outward circumstances.  You see “peace” from the world may mean no struggle in finances – no strife in the office or at home – seemingly peaceful situations that could “lull” you to sleep – or even keep you “off your guard”.  No trouble sometimes can be a precursor to a “wake up” call.  And a peace “from the world” may be the wrong kind of comfort – a temporary “feel good” moment not based in reality and may be just an illusion.

I believe that the peace Jesus talks about here is an eternal peace even in the midst of pain, hurt or confusion.  Or even just a topsy turvy schedule where our world seems out of whack.  The knowing that we have peace and security – despite the things going on around us.  Trusting in something you can’t see.  The invisible arms that reach for you – supporting you through some of the toughest days of your life.  Peace that has no explanation in the natural.  No reason for being there.  And yet it is.

I know that I cannot explain God’s peace in my life.  But I do know that it was there in great supply for me – in some of my darkest hours wrestling with pain and hurt.  I just knew it would be okay.  I would be okay.  The situation  – though far from healed – is in His hands and that gives me great comfort and peace.  I can let it go – and feel good about it.  That’s real peace.

What are you carrying around today that you need to have some peace?  What do you need to let go of?  Do you trust in another kind of peace to sustain you – the wrong kind of people – and the wrong kind of circumstances that seem like the real thing?  I encourage you to let go of what would hold you back in finding God’s real peace. Ask Him to fill you with another kind of peace – another kind of meaning to your life that’s real and lasting.

Do it now.  Do it today.

I am praying for you

God Bless

New Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

Image by nicole.pierce.photography ♥ via Flickr

I looked for someone

like searching in a fog

chasing after

an endless mist

straining for

that unattainable someone

or something

thinking that it would satisfy

what’s deep within

heart-sick and weary

all my efforts

came up empty

and my searching

and reaching

brought no relief

for I found

that in the searching

it was me that I found instead

alone and empty

sad and confused

“Is what I seek

my dream only?

never satisfied

why do

I continue to pursue?

Are my “dreams” just those I make up

bringing emptiness

and endless struggle

instead of fulfillment

and relief?”

And yet I searched for you

my unobtainable someone

and something

that threatened to destroy

and devour me

The one I craved

the things I craved

could be my undoing

and the searching

and dreaming for them

like a slow death

And at the end of the road

I was still there

running on empty

defeated and broken…

It was when I was at my weakest

and tired of running after

and insisting on my own way

that He came

and I heard

a still small voice

and in my confusion

and tears

which caused me to slow down

be still

and listen

that I heard Him

that voice changed me

as He reached in

and held the broken

and confused me

and finally I don’t need to know

all the reasons for before

I reluctantly surrender

and replace

all the running

and searching

for something unknown

instead of something

that does not satisfy

and begin a new path

with His dreams

and plans for me

and at the end of the road

there is no disappointment

and emptiness

or brokenness

and I have almost 

vanished from view

even though

my selfishness and pride

are still there

but they are covered

and kept in check

and it is He that is waiting

giving me

a new dream

which fulfills

and satisfies

instead of

all the things

I wanted

and thought I needed

He is giving me

much more

than I could ever dream

as He replaces my will

with new people

new things

and a new dream

 

What is your dream today?  Have you surrendered yours for His?

 

God Bless

 

 

Looking For The Good

Film producer Alan J. Pakula with Lee; Lee spe...

Image via Wikipedia

In spite of everything that has happened, I still believe that people are really good at heart. ~Anne Frank

Our small group is going to see the stage production of “To Kill A Mockingbird” next month – and it sparked some interesting conversation on the way to church this morning between my husband and me.

It is our annual tradition to see this movie every year in our home – a tradition that our children did not appreciate when they were growing up – but as they are older now I think they too can see the beauty of this timeless story – set in the 1930’s – in the south.  The book is usually always better than the movie – and in this case it really is true.  I am hoping the stage production follows the book more than the movie does.

I love true stories of real heroes, struggle, dilemma, victory, discovery and resignation.  And at the heart of these stories – whether it is “The Diary of Anne Frank” or “To Kill A Mockingbird” – there is a universal appeal.  In the midst of a very bad circumstance – there are still people in the heart of the story who believe that all people –  are really good at heart.

This is what keeps hope alive for us as a nation – through suffering, wars, loss and ignorance – is the belief that those we set up as authority figures, those in our government, military, churches, schools, police force and finally our very families – are there to remind us that life can be good when things are set in balance – certain laws kept and reinforced and everyone is given the dignity of free choice and the honor of living in a free country.

When “all men are created equal” – and we really mean it.  When no man has control over another – when freedom is lived out.  It was the hope through the Civil War – again when Hitler reigned in Germany and anytime we see the abuse of power in our own land.  It is our hope that peace will once again win – and that love and understanding will truly be all we need.

I too – want to say with Anne Frank – that all men are good at heart.  Kind, caring and loving of their fellow-man.  I want to believe it – even when I have not seen it demonstrated in my lifetime – even when I have had personal set-backs – even then.

Help us, Lord – be part of that “good” – bringing balance back where evil seems to reign.  Help us be the true “light” in a very dark place.  Shine your goodness through us, I pray.  Help us to see the good.

God Bless

A Solid Resting Place

Sunset - 6 Feb 2008

Image by rachel_titiriga via Flickr

I am always comforted by scripture – the many passages that speak to me and help me find that solid resting place for my weary mind – as I am surrounded by the cares and sorrows of this world.

As I look ahead at the new year – I am reminded once again of God’s faithfulness and love shown to me over the last year and all of my life.  I have gone through things and have watched those around me be touched by sorrow, joy, happiness, pain and regret.  But in the midst of all of it – good and bad, He was always there.  That still small voice that always covers me and won’t let me go.  And I am so thankful that I know Him – and that He is a merciful God.

My prayer is that you too will find Him a solid and reliable friend – in times of joy and in times of trouble.  That you will find a reason and purpose for your life – and that you will allow Him to show you and help you with all those unanswered questions.

Below are some scriptures of comfort and hope – as we look forward to the new year.

 

God Bless

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Jeremiah 29:11

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:13-14

“You crowned the year with Your bounty and goodness…”
Psalm 65:11 (Amplified Bible)

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Do you feel forgotten?… (via Cindy Holman’s Blog)

 

Banner from the Mennoite Center Thrift Store

Image by PinkMoose via Flickr

 

This blog post is the one that gets looked at more than any of mine – and that’s saying a lot since I have over 500 posts now.

I find that the reason for this is simple: People are lonely. They do a search on google for words like, ‘Lonely’, ‘forgotten’, ‘I feel forgotten’, etc. and my post pops up. It has been curious to see this happen over the last year – from people all over the world who stumble on my blog.

I wish I had all the answers and all the wisdom to provide when posting something like this – but the sad news is that I don’t. But I do know someone who does. His name is Jesus. And when I was going through a sad and dark time – not too long ago – and there didn’t seem to be any answers – or any relief for my sadness – He was there with me all the time. The Bible tells us that He is ‘closer than a brother’ – and that in itself is so comforting to me – because I never had a brother and would have liked having one.  He is ‘like a brother’ – patiently sitting by my side until I was ready to open up the deepest and darkest part of my heart to Him. And He will do the same for you – give you some support and validation for your feeling of isolation – whisper to you in the dark times and be an ever-present help in your storm. I know this first hand – because He did for me.  And ‘like a brother’ – I am safe and confident in His love and affection for me – no agenda – no games – just pure adoring love – ‘like a brother’.

When you have that kind of love and connection – you are never alone.  People may leave you – reject you and walk away – but He never will.  And that’s so important to hang on to – sometimes it is the only thing you have.  A brother who loves you – will never leave you, hurt you – or abandon you.

I am praying that in your really dark days – you will reach out to this friend – who is ‘closer than a brother’ – and know that He really sees you – He really cares – He won’t abandon you – He will wipe away those tears and give you a purpose and a reason to go on.  I am praying that you will not give in to negative self talk – and voices in your head that say, ‘it’s not worth it – no one understands’ – and remember that someone does – and you aren’t alone – He is as close as a whisper of His name.

God Bless

I think that sometimes we can feel left behind – forgotten – cast aside.  Sometimes it is a feeling based in reality – most times it is not.  It is important to know the difference. Sometimes the “blues” are just the “blues”.  I was reminded of a great Karen Carpenter song from the late 60’s called “Rainy Days and Mondays” – where the lyrics say this: Talking to myself and feeling old Nothing is really wrong Feeling like I don’t belong Hanging ar … Read More

via Cindy Holman’s Blog

I’ve Earned My ‘Life’ Stripes

The Passage of Time

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

This morning my husband and I were reflecting on some poignant and growing moments along the journey of our lives and the passage of time.  Each person has events happen – unique to only them – and we are no exception to this.  It is our story – our ‘rite of passage‘ – our legacy.

Many times throughout our lives  – we found ourselves in strange circumstances – only to be followed up by the bizarre and ridiculous.  The stretching and growing things of life – born out of difficulty and contrary circumstances have given us balance and perspective.  Nothing surprises us too much anymore – and we have learned to make it through any storm that life throws at us – wait it out – and know that the sun will shine again someday.  And it always does.

It begins early in our life when seeking to gain independence. And what we always find – is that freedom has a cost.

Our daughter learned this when she moved out of her childhood home and into her own apartment.  Things were free at home – but they came with a cost.  House rules and limitations.  Independence had a price tag – a very high price tag – but she was willing to pay it.  Our son will have to learn the same thing when he is weary of living by our ‘rules’ at home. And grows beyond the constraints of Mom and Dad.  He will feel his itchy feet feeling the need to establish himself in the real world – and to become independent from us – and become a man.

And so it is as we mature – and we develop our own ‘voice’.  We have to count the cost – ask ourselves – “is it worth the price?” and most of the time – if we want it bad enough – it is. It means stepping out – taking a leap of faith and going for it – no matter what others say.  This is how we gain wisdom and experience.  Sometimes good experiences – sometimes bad.  Sometimes we keep our cool – sometimes we don’t.  But we learn.  By necessity – we learn.

It is in those experiences that we earn our ‘life’ stripes.  We get to a certain age and wear them proudly – displaying them in our faces  – the many laugh lines and stress lines too – and in our bodies – worn out by wear and tear – year after year.  This all too – is part of what we earn.  Part of the lessons of life that you can’t teach to others – it is what you have to live through – experience  – and be willing to make it through to the other side.  Our ‘life’ stripes have bought us our independence and ‘our story’  – but it has also come at a very high price. Loss of friendships and of ideals.  A  new-found awareness that people can be unkind and even cruel – leading to a resignation of how things are.  And how things will continue to be.  A forever loss of innocence.

But in the midst of all of this ‘life’ – I’m proud to say that God has been at the center of everything we have ever gone through as a family – or as a married couple.  We’ve made plenty of mistakes – and will continue to make them – because we are not perfect – in fact hopelessly flawed and in need of a Savior every day to save us from our selfish ways.  I’m thankful that because of His great love and patience for us – we are able to do as well as we do – all with a sense of humor and kindness.  He gives us our ‘life’ stripes and we proudly display them – day after day – year after year.  And in this new ‘season’ of life that we have found ourselves in – we have found life to be very sweet – and God has replaced the bad with good – and given us way more than we deserve – a wonderful family and friends that are daily in our lives – supporting us and making us thankful every day.  And when life seems hard and not fair – I find myself coming back to what I know.  That He is good.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness – even when I am not faithful.

Thank you Lord for your patience – when I am so impatient.

Thank you for the hard lessons you have brought me through – even when I was unteachable and stubborn.

Thank you that I have the  ability to look back over the years and see your hand over my life – for your protection and great love and for thinking me worthy enough to handle the strict discipline of your love.

Yes – I’ve earned them.  I’ve earned my ‘life’ stripes.

Thank you.

God Bless

Living In Truth

Family Ties title scene from the third season

Image via Wikipedia

Watched an episode of ‘Family Ties‘ tonight.  We loved that  80’s series when we were a young married couple – and so now we own it on DVD.  It’s still just as fresh and funny to us as it was 25 years ago – great writing.

Tonight the episode was more serious – dealing with a delicate subject about ‘feelings’ and mostly about ‘telling the truth’ about those feelings.  It  was strangely familiar and brought up much dialogue for Greg and me. It was a little like looking into a mirror.  A mirror that I’m not sure I wanted to look in.

I love how in a sitcom – things can be worked out in about 23 minutes – every episode has a problem and a conclusion and all is worked out and everyone feels good about it – problem solved for another day.  This episode was no exception.  It took a very complicated problem and simplified it – and had the people responding correctly to the problem – at the end of the show.   Wouldn’t it be great if real life was as simple – and people responded to things as nicely?

Real life has people coming and going in and out of your life – responding correctly or sometimes incorrectly to stress, hurt, disappointment and setbacks.  We don’t have any control over these things – I know I sometimes wish – Okay – ALL THE TIME I wish I had control over this fact.  But the truth is – that I don’t.  And even years later after some of these events that have taken place in my life – I still have to remind myself of this.  I have no control.  Just over myself.

It’s okay to react – it’s even okay to TOTALLY LOSE it when situations and things come at us.  But the tragedy is when we allow ourselves to stay there – bound up in that reaction – inflicting more pain on ourselves and those around us.  Fear is the motivator behind this – and fear can drive a HUGE wedge of misunderstanding and complications.

There is freedom in truth. It means I don’t have to create so much energy reinventing my version of the truth.  There is no fear in truth.  It is simple and straight forward.  It means freedom.  Freedom from myself – freedom from the lie I am trying so desperately hard to hang onto and make others believe.  It means I can once again join the human race – instead of hiding behind that lie.  I am not afraid – looking over my shoulder all the time – wondering who is going to catch on to my deceit.  And even though it hurts me – and even can damage my reputation – it is still better to live in truth.

I had someone tell me the truth one time when I was going through a really bad time.  She told me what I had always suspected but no one else would tell me – because they were afraid.  She didn’t know me – was a neutral party sent to me to help me sort some things out.  She really heard me and allowed me to express what I needed.  She told me that people don’t tell you the truth because they are afraid.  Afraid of reaction to the truth – and afraid that in speaking the truth  – it will somehow change perspective on things and even give a wrong message of permission. And even change feelings.  But it didn’t – and she knew that it wouldn’t.  Truth will set you free. Truth will validate.  Truth will allow you your dignity and tell you that you aren’t crazy.  It will open up a whole new world in your mind and bring life and closure in the heart for whatever has gone wrong.

We need to speak more ‘truth’ – to each other in love – and to ourselves.  I pray that someone will speak only the truth to you today – and that you will be honest with someone else that needs to hear it.  That you will live peaceably with all men and be settled in your own heart and mind – that you did everything you could to live in truth.

God Bless

My Life Verse

Proverbs 3:5-6

This is my life verse. It has been for as long as I can remember. Although I do not fully grasp its complexities – at the very base of my own simplicity – I accept it.

Even years before I knew God‘s plan for my life – I know He had His hand upon me. I didn’t always make the right choices – and yet He always showed mercy to me. And the only thing that was ever required of me – was to just simply – trust.

Long before things made any sense to me – I still held on to this verse and tried to do as it said – and yet I sometimes failed miserably. It is easier to try to figure things out in a human way – and try to ‘fix’ our circumstances in our own way – without God’s help.

And if I’m really honest – I would have to admit that I didn’t trust that God would ‘do it right’ concerning things in my life – and more importantly – people in my life that I desperately wanted to be there. I did try to do things my own way – several times in my life – and messed it up pretty badly too.

I’ve loved and lost. I’ve been misunderstood and rejected. I’ve ‘leaned on my own understanding’ of situations and been confused and disappointed. I’ve felt helpless in the midst of a friendship gone terribly wrong. I’m human. I’ve cried out to God – and asked the ‘questions’ that all of us ask. “Don’t you care? Don’t you notice that I’m suffering? Can’t you fix this? How long oh Lord? How long?”

My path in front of me is crooked and has many barriers and hindrances in my way.  Walking forward is miserable – especially when I step out on my own.  God promises that when we lean on Him – He will make our crooked paths straight – and He will direct us on that path.  How easy it sounds – how hard it is to do.  I do not see it – until I step out in simple trust.

I’ve been reluctant to step out in complete reckless abandon and ‘trust with my whole heart’ – because in doing so – it means that I no longer have any say in what happens. I have to give up all of my choice – and all of my control – and just – trust.

I am still waiting for a few things. I am a reluctant ‘truster’. I want to. But even though I ‘trust’ in my head – it is hard to let go entirely – when things don’t make any sense to me – and ‘trust’ with all my heart. There are still some ‘crooked’ areas in my path ahead – so I know I haven’t totally surrendered trust yet.  But I’m working on it.  I’m waiting for the crooked path in front of me to straighten out once and for all.

I know and have some limited understanding of the very nature of God – even though it is hard to grasp – He loves me – and wants the very best for me. Why can’t I believe it? Why don’t I always trust it? I don’t know. And I’m ashamed to admit it.

Even now – I wait. I wait for resolution. I wait for truth to win out. I wait for peace in the midst of pain. I still wait. And because I know I will mess up and take back my ‘trusting’ – try again to do it my way – and I will yet again ‘lean on my own understanding’ instead of His – the process will take longer.

I guess I have many more life lessons to learn on this journey of learning to trust. I guess He is not finished teaching me. I am thankful that even though I don’t deserve it – He loves me and He’s not finished with me yet. He cares enough about me and my situations in life – my feelings and emotions – that He is willing to take me on a journey through pain and hard times to bring some understanding of the great things that are brought out of that pain – compassion for others – empathy and softening of my hard, uncaring and selfish heart. He is not unmoved or uncaring – as sometimes it seems to me. There is a right time for everything – and I must simply trust that the right time has not come yet. But it will. And one day I am convinced that I will understand. And there will be some sweet surprises when He is through working behind the scenes in me and in others.

That’s trust. That’s faith. And I am trying to hang on to both. Until that day – when I can see all the reasons – for everything in my life – that’s what I must do.

So each day – I begin again – I take a baby step – a step toward – trust. A baby step toward – leaning. A baby step toward stepping out in faith.  And someday – I will understand – someday – I will really get it.

God Bless

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** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

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