Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘faith’

You Won’t Let Go

You will LOVE this song!  Such a comfort for all of us who have ever struggled with faith, circumstances or change.  When we fix our mind on the “anchor for my soul” we can be assured that He will sustain us and never let go.  Powerful new song by Michael W. Smith.

Enjoy and God Bless

No shadow comes without the light making a way
No raging storm can ever defy one word of faith
My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves

You are the anchor for my soul
You won’t let go
You won’t let go
No matter what may come I know
You won’t let go
You won’t let go

No valley low, changes the truth
So I’m not afraid
You hold me close
You lead me through and light up the way

Neither life, neither death,
The highest high, the deepest depth
Nothing can
Nothing can separate
Neither tears, neither trial
Certain as the sun will rise
Nothing can
Nothing can separate

My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves, always

Publishing: (C) 2013 This Is Your Time Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com / 21 Songs / Centricity Music Publishing (SESAC) / Sony ATV/Timber Music Publishing / Upside Down Under (ASCAP)

Writer(s): Michael W. Smith, Seth Mosley, and Mia Fields

October Baby

Tomorrow you turn 22.  I remember this day so well, 22 years ago today.  A beautiful sunny crisp October day in Northern California, much like the day here in Seattle.  A day like any other.  The day before my life changed forever.

It’s funny how the seasons come and go – yet some things stay constant and perfectly formed in our memory.   Sometimes those moments that drastically change who we are forever are more clear to us than things that happened yesterday.

According to Dr. Phil, you can trace who you’ve become in this life to three types of external factors: 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, and five pivotal people. But first it’s important to understand the following terms:

Ten Defining Moments: In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.

Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.

Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.

 

As I reflect over those 10 defining moments of my own life – getting married and having each of my babies certainly ranks up there with the most important and most life changing.  No matter how old I am, or where life’s journey takes me – I am forever changed by the birth of Ashlee and you.  You are part of those seven critical choices and definitely one of my five pivotal people.

And so Shawn – it is with very sweet and sentimental memories that I remember today, the day before you.

09_27_4You made your entrance on October 5th, 1991 at 8:26 pm.  You filled up an entire room – even back then.  You were laid back, shy, sweet, calm and peaceful.  As you grew you developed a slow and steady manner and a great ability to make and keep friends.  Your sense of humor has sustained you even in the tough times of relationships and finding your own way.  Your deep faith in God continues to guide you and be your compass.  You are one of the things that forever changed me.

I could not have dreamed you up in a million years.  Shawn means “gift of God” and you were that for me.  It was a privilege to be your Mom and I am proud of who you are and all that I know you are still becoming.  It is in the letting go that we truly find.  And I have always known that you were on loan and that you would need to find your own way.  I’m so glad you are learning all those tough things while realizing your family loves and supports you in the background.  You are learning to rely on God’s help and have deepened your faith in those things that are really lasting and important.  Money, fame and even friends will come and go.  Love, family and faith in God lasts forever.  And I pray every day for that special young woman who will change your life forever.

Until you have finally found your stride and your place stay strong and firm in your faith.  You are loved and thought about each and every day.  You are special and have a special purpose.  Don’t give up, never lose heart – for a part of the end result is the journey you’re on right now.  And these times will be what you look back on as one of your defining moments.

I love you…Happy 22nd!

 

 

 

 

My Heavy Shield

Bugis warrior

Bugis warrior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joyce Meyer spoke about the shield of faith today.  She had a large shield on stage that was borrowed from the prop room.  As she talked about the “fiery darts” from the enemy she would lift that shield and hold it up over her body covering even her face and head.  She said it was very heavy.  At first when carried out by one of the men, she wondered if she would be able to lift it.  It actually made a great analogy for what we sometimes deal with exercising our own “shield of faith” in our own lives.  It is much easier to just leave it sit there on the side-lines – never pick it up and actually use it.   After all – it is kind of  – heavy.  It’s way easier to just to our own thing instead.

As she cited many scriptures on faith including the famous ones from the book of Hebrews, something swelled up in me.  Something made real sense to me.  Those people like Abraham, the woman with the bleeding issue, the man who asked Jesus to heal his daughter and many more were people just like us – but with one difference:  they spoke out their faith and believed even when it looked impossible.  

This is a great lesson.  It is one that I for one have heard my whole life.  I know those Bible stories by heart.  Went to Bible school and studied at great length and have been in ministry with my husband for 0ver 25 years.  And yet, I fall short.  I have let my personal situations bring me down.  I have allowed others to rob me of my joy.  I have failed many times.

And yet – I remember the times when I did believe for things that looked or seemed impossible.  I can remember a specific time when praying for and about my daughter.  I remember the times when I spoke out these words:  Lord, you know the future.  You already have the answer to this situation.  I don’t have to worry about it.  You are working behind the scenes for my benefit.  You are going to do what you promised.  I believe that things will happen just as you say it will – in your timing and not mine.

Things did not always change immediately.  But eventually I received an answer.  The problem is, I don’t always remember to pray that way.  When a storm comes – I forget.  When someone hurts me – I forget.  When a situation comes my way that I don’t understand – I forget again.  My first response comes from a severe lack of faith.  I pull into myself, or blame the other person.  Or worse than that – talk about it to a friend.  Ouch.  And I don’t have my shield of faith in place.  And that’s when I’m hit REALLY HARD in the head with those fiery darts.  And it feels like now I’m fighting for my life, while wounded!  When I could have just remembered to speak out those words of belief and faith.  All the while – raising that heavy shield – which gets lighter all the time I express my faith in God.

Are you going through something right now?  Most of us are.  It’s the unseen things that trip us all up.  Most people don’t look like they are in a battle, when they are.  There are things hidden deep in the heart, hurts that go way beyond understanding.  There are situations that bring us down like physical illness and loss.  It is hard to remain positive with long-term trouble of the heart, mind and body.  But just a little step of faith can make a HUGE difference.

God doesn’t promise to elevate us out of the trial – but He does promise to be with us.  And when He is with us, we CAN go through anything.  And I’d much rather have Him beside me than to face it without Him.

My own personal prayer today looks something like this:

Lord you know what I’m struggling with.  I know you have the answer.  You are working behind the scenes to bring healing and restoration.  I release my time-table to you.  I believe everything that happens is ultimately for my good and has a purpose.  Even when I can’t see it.  It is comforting to know that you see the final outcome for my situation.  I am convinced you are more concerned with my attitude and heart than anything else that might be immediate gratification.  I believe you will do what you have promised concerning my life.  Help me to be a blessing and help others even when I don’t yet have all the answers.  I trust you.  Amen

As I release this prayer – my shield doesn’t seem so heavy any more.  And I’m protected.  It doesn’t change the situation right away – but I am changed by saying it.  And as I believe – my shield holds.

 

What does your prayer of faith look like?

 

God Bless

Faith (George Michaels Style)

Music guitar

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

This is for my daughter – the #1 song on the charts for the year she was born – 1987.

Where were you when you first heard this song?  Are you old enough to remember?

Enjoy and God Bless!

Where There Is Faith

I came across this song yesterday when looking through some old “4Him” songs on youtube.  Someone put together a beautiful slide show with this song and I wanted to share it with you.  This song has always moved me – the lyrics are amazing – and I find myself inspired by them.  It is amazing the love of our Lord Jesus – and the faith that it instills in me.

On an interesting side-note:  I learned yesterday that a friend and former co-worker from Renton Christian School, Melodee St. Clair – lost her 24-year-old son a few days ago.  Her daughter, Chelsea is also a former student of mine years ago when she was in junior high.  I had already chosen this song and written a few notes about it.  Even more I am convinced that this song is one of those ‘perfect timing’ moments that is more than coincidence.

There are times in our lives where having simple faith is hard.  It writes well and sounds good – but if we’re honest – faith is sometimes just – faith.  You can’t see it – or touch it – and sometimes you can’t even feel it.  It just simply – is.  The longer I live and see God’s hand on my life and in my shortcomings and circumstances – I am more convinced than ever that this simple faith – is enough.  It is our simple trust and dependence on God – that makes Him smile.  And I know that it is He who sustains me – watches over me and love me unconditionally.  “It is a peace like a child sleeping…”  and much, much more.

I pray you will enjoy the following video as much as I did – and that it will build up  your faith today.

And for Melodee St. Clair, Chelsea and the rest of your family – this is for you.

God Bless

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

Hold Me Jesus

Rich Mullins

Image via Wikipedia

A beautiful song – from a very much missed songwriter/prophet of our generation.  Enjoy.

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

CHORUS:
So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

CHORUS

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

CHORUS

You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

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

Being The Right Person

Love for Arts

Image via Wikipedia

When we’re young we think we’re going to find the ‘perfect’ person to fall in love with – and eventually (hopefully) they will love us back – and then want to get married.

This is on a woman’s mind from very early on.

Love is the great ‘romantic’ idea.  She wants someone who will adore and love her – move heaven and earth to be with her – and be her ‘hero’.

Men have something very different on their minds when they start thinking about the opposite sex.  It is not usually about ‘love’ or romantic thoughts – and they can compartmentalize feelings (or lack of them) in lieu of physical attraction and sex.

When love finally hits a man – goes straight to his heart and he cannot get that girl out of his head – then he knows he is in trouble.  For good.  And he tries to be everything he can be – to say and do what he must for ‘win’ her.

She is looking for someone to save her – complete her and love her.

He is looking for someone to love him – respect and adore him.

There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s normal and natural.  But what I’ve learned through life is this:  Finding the right person is not nearly as important as being the right person.

We can enter into a love relationship expecting someone to make up for our lack.  To ‘fill in’ where we are not strong.  To be able to save us from our past.  No one can.  There is no perfect person – at least I’ve never met one yet.  And if you enter in to love or marriage thinking this – you will be very disappointed.

I’ve even heard of women (and men) saying, “when they marry me – I’ll be able to change them”.  You can’t.

Change in behavior can seem to be happening when the relationship is new and exciting – but long-lasting change is impossible.  No one changes anyone else – permanently.

Oh we see it on TV and in the movies – some of the best literature has it in there too – the ‘wild – untamed’ man – who falls helplessly in love with a woman and is willing to change for her.  And while I put great faith in love and the power of it – ultimately you are setting yourself up for a fall if that’s what you believe.

Develop a friendship with your partner.  Friendship is an easy give and take.  Ask  yourself, “would I still be their friend if I wasn’t involved with them – didn’t love them – wasn’t married to them? – Do they make me laugh?  Do I want to know them deeper and spend more time with them? – Am I the kind of person that they would want as a friend?”

Be the right person.  Fix things that are going on inside of yourself – insecurities, bad habits and negative patterns.  Expecting someone else to swoop in and ‘fix’ your troubled mind and heart is not realistic.  And you cannot ‘fix’ theirs either.  The longer that you are married – the more you realize this truth – and accept it.

There are people in whom we have chemistry with and are very compatible. There’s no denying this fact.  Those that have a better chance of making it in love and marriage are those from a similar background with many things in common.  But this does not guarantee – it just makes it easier.  Choose someone who is easy to be with – and that you can picture yourself growing old with. Someone who doesn’t require so much work.

Say to yourself, “Can I be happy with this person for many years to come?  Can I accept them – flaws and all?  Without them changing?  Is there anything I cannot live with?”

These are important questions.  They are simple – yet revealing.  If we take the emphasis off of them – and any expectations we may feel – then we can concentrate on the really important thing: ourselves.

Imagine what a great world this would be – and what healthy growing marriages there would be if everyone accepted this fact – and stepped up – saying, “I’m going to take personal responsibility for me”.  And leave it there.

I challenge you today:  God is the only one who can change hearts.  He is in the business of deep healing – from the inside out.  Allow Him to do His job with you and others.  Don’t depend on others (even your spouse) to complete you and fill you up.  That’s God’s job.  And His alone.  He will not fail or disappoint you.  He is the one who will help you to be all you can be in a relationship – and to be the right person. You can count on it.

I am praying for you

God Bless

No Fear

Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you

Last night I couldn’t sleep.   It was a very warm day here in Seattle and even though it cools down at night – there was virtually NO breeze.  So I tossed and turned and by the time my late working husband came home from his night job – I was ready to get up move around and have a bowl of cereal in the ‘wee hours’.

As we sat in the dark in the cool downstairs family room – we started talking about the subject of ‘fear’.  Fear is an interesting subject – it is different for everyone.  There are things that I’m afraid of – water over my head for instance – that would not bother someone else.  I have what you might call a ‘phobia’ about being in water and not being able to breathe.  Others would say, “how ridiculous! – just SWIM and hold your breath when under water!”  Easy to say if you’re a great swimmer and have no fear.

Others we have known have had a fear of heights.  I personally do not.  I know that I’m not going to fall off a high building – unless I jump and I’m not going to do that!  So to me – that is an unrealistic fear – based in fantasy and not reality.  But to people afraid – they are paralyzed with it. Another big fear:  Spiders.  I know they can look menacing and even some of them will bite – but most are harmless.  And yet many people – including my own daughter – are deathly afraid of them.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Again – you’re not going to die – but to them they would rather die then have one of those ‘many legged’ creatures crawl on them 0r even next to them. And the fear of being in a closed in space – very real to some – again this is not my fear.  The wall is NOT going to close in on them – nor suffocate them – but they are really afraid they are.   It’s not real.  I say – just close your eyes and breathe deeply and open your eyes!!  Nothing is coming for you!  Easy for me to say, right?

What we fear most often will not ever happen.

I believe that Jesus came to this earth – walked among us – taught his disciples, died on a cross and defeated death and the enemy to give us this great message of hope:  There is NOTHING to fear.  And if we keep our eyes fastened on Him – confess our weaknesses and our fears to Him – He will gently assure us – not think we’re silly or weak – but help us to feel safe. Just like a Father will comfort his children when they are afraid – so our loving heavenly father draws us to himself – scoops us up and allows us to be comforted and embraced.

I pray that today – if there is anything that you are facing, dreading and fearing – that you will allow your Heavenly Father to whisper comfort to you.  That He will show you that there isn’t anything you will face that will overwhelm you or beat you down so far that He will not find you – reach for you and walk with you – in your darkest days – even then.  I pray that you will not allow fear of the unknown to swallow you or cause you to lose your joy.  That you would walk confidently through the journey that you are on – that you will embrace the people who have been put in your path to make the journey more tolerable and help to ease your heavy load – and to remind you – there is no fear.

God Bless

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