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Someone said you spend your first fifty years of your life learning, the second fifty applying the lessons you learned in living. Today I take another step down the second half of my life road. Over the past month, I have reflected upon what I have learned in the last six months. Only one lesson kept coming to mind. Here it is: Thoughts are the seeds of creation. Positive thoughts generate good things. Negative thoughts compound and grow our life problems. If we want to improve the world around us, then we must start seeing the good in all situations, and sharing positive thoughts with others who can only see the wrong.

Today, my friends, I ask you to share and do some good as a gift to me, please. Here are some ways I encourage you to try to spread laughter, love, and enlightening thoughts to those around you if you chose to take up this cause.

Refuse to listen to a person complain. Instead, point out the good you see coming from their problem.

Do a random act of kindness. Pay for the person behind you at the toll booth or drive through.

Buy a bouquet of flowers and drop them at a nursing home to be given to someone who has no one left in their life.

Open the door for someone.

Smile at a stranger. You never know who needs to see some joy radiating from another.

Find something to compliment another on. Their hair, shirt, smile, whatever. We all have something good just find in someone one.

Spend some time alone and focus on all the positive things in your life. Send up a thank you for them.

Spend some time meditating on where you can find happiness then go shopping for it.

Buy a meal for someone on the corner holding a help sign.

Give out some hugs

Find a joke to share with the world. The dumber, the better.

Laugh at yourself. All of us do nonsensical things.

Read your favorite childhood book again.

Plant a happy seed in your family. Compliment them on a small gesture, an unusual thought, or just because they’re there.

Give a word or two of encouragement to a stranger. We all see moms struggling with crying children, people who have received disappointing news, or those who look just overwhelmed with life.

Turn around and walk away in silence from someone who wants to take away your joy,  Make it a part of your life to withhold judgement, condemnation, angry words.

Starting today, I will be trying hard to live by this myself. I have decided I would rather grow a crop of positive, happy, joyful, laugh filled thoughts than negative ones. After all, thoughts are the seeds of creation. Without intelligent, imaginative ones, inventions would not be dreamed up, stories would not be written, and no one would be smiling.

Go, make some smiles!

Nearly 240 years ago, our country was founded on the idea that all men were created equal and free. Ironically these words, from the scripture above, were written over a thousand years before Jefferson put forth the notion of an unalienable right to freedom. Read and reflect on each of these definitions and usages of the word freedom. Now apply them to your life and ask yourself this: Are you truly, completely free?

1. The condition of being free of restraints.

2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.

3.a. Political independence. b. Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific action; civil liberty: freedom of assembly.

4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.

5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon.

6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom.

7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels.

8.a. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities. b. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.

9. A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference: “the seductive freedoms and excesses of the picaresque form” (John W. Aldridge).

Synonyms: freedom, liberty, license

These nouns refer to the power to act, speak, or think without externally imposed restraints.

Freedom is the most general term: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free” (Abraham Lincoln).

Liberty stresses the power of free choice: “liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases” (William Hazlitt).

License sometimes denotes deliberate deviation from normally applicable rules or practices to achieve a desired effect: poetic license. Frequently, though, it denotes undue freedom: “the intolerable license with which the newspapers break . . . the rules of decorum” (Edmund Burke).

I’m not totally free. I’m a writer. As a writer:

I am restrained by the laws of grammar, slander and libel.

I have the freedom to choose my words but am at the mercy of an editor who has the power to control my verbage.

I have deadlines to meet even when I don’t feel like writing.

I like to eat and sleep in a house, so I am not free from wants, which means writing something good enough to sell to pay the bills for my wants. (Catch 22)

So I ask again, How free are you?

We are blessed to live in a country where we have more freedoms thanks to the men and women who protect us. We are blessed that God desires us to be somewhat free. By that I mean, he gives us the freedom to choose our lives but wants us to remain in his keeping. He implores us to enjoy our freedom, not use it to control other’s choices, or their lives. He ask we give freely respect and love to one another, including the laws and leaders who govern us but put him before them. Everyday, we need to thank God for what he has blessed us with, including the gift of writing. Every veteran we meet, we need to honor them for protecting our right to claim we live in the land of the “as free as we can be” state of writing.

Yes, we look for the rainbow in life because we need to see good. The Book of Revelation brings hope, brings truth to us with its phantasmagorical outlook. Sojourner Truth had it right when she said “God’s people experience trials and tribulations”(pg 10). She insisted he walks on earth with us through them. Not that we would be taken away from them. Read Margaret MacDonald’s words closely. You will see she discusses the fires (trials and troubles) that we go through will be used to purify us, to allow us to be indwelled with the spirit and this is what will cause the temple inside of us to be built. Never once does she say the world is going to have an apocalyptic end and we are all going up in a cloud of glory. She says if we live in Christ then shall we be “caught up in the air to meet him.” I take this to mean when we die and our spirit leaves the body, Christ will be there to catch it and in heaven God will be revealed. You could say she has a little prophecy in her words. She does say the church will go through fire and some will chose to stay with it and others will leave. But haven’t churches throughout history had struggles both with governments and with those who disagree with its teachings? Haven’t congregations always been like tides, ebbing and flowing? Won’t this always be the case? After all we are human. We are inconsistent, temperamental, and even if we are God fearing, we are always God seeking. This is what Revelation is revealing to us all. That no matter what we endure, we still need to hope. Hope keeps us strong in our faith that whatever tribulation we are going through will pass soon. Revelation mentions the tree of life. In Celtic Christianity, this is an emblem of hope and endurance. You can cut a tree down but unless you destroy the roots, the tree still lives. We are trees in God’s earthly garden. We bend, we sometimes break, but we can endure and grow again. The image of the water of life flowing from the throne ( Rev 22:1) reminds us we need this water if we are going to stay in communion with the trinity. Water from God is life giving and we trees need our water. The seven letters to the churches are letters of correction to them. They need to change certain behaviors to remain in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God used John as his mouthpiece, like he had others. If we look at them figuratively, not literally, we can see the same problems exist in churches all over. These letters that John was inspired to write, today can serve as a warning, an answer, a thread of hope, to pastors whose church may be struggling with one of these issues. When John begins his magic carpet ride, he is seeing bowls with troubles pouring out and trumpets, hears songs of praise from angels, sees the emerald city, (sorry wrong book) I mean rainbows, and people dressed in white with gold crowns (white and gold symbolize cleansed and pure). What he is blessed to see is what we all go through in life in a symbolic way. We all have troubles. Yes, sometimes it seems they are being poured upon us. Yet we try to praise Gee beauty in all things. Music stirs us like the trumpets and hymns John heard stirred his soul. What revelation does not reveal is this: It is not the definitive history of how the world will end. It is not a carved in stone tale of end times apocalyptic happenings. It is not showing us escapism prophecy coming true after certain other prophecies are fulfilled. It does tell us we will come up but I take that to mean when our life here is done. It does not tell us to expect to see Jesus coming down on a cloud, sitting on a horse, with open arms summoning us to him while others around us wonder where we went. It does not say we will disappear and only our clothes, dentures, and body implants will be left behind. None of us know anything more of life than this: we eat, we breathe, one day that stops. We will have good days, we will have bad. But if we hold onto hope, cling to faith, and continue to believe in the trinity, then when we are taking our last breathes, we will see Christ coming for our soul with our loved ones who are waiting for us to join them.

“It was first the awful state of the land that was pressed upon me. I saw the blindness and infatuation of the people to be very great. I felt the cry of Liberty just to be the hiss of the serpent, to drown them in perdition. It was just ‘no God.’ I repeated the words, Now there is distress of nations, with perplexity, the seas and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear. Now look out for the sign of the Son of Man. Here I was made to stop and cry out, O it is not known what the sign of the Son of Man is; the people of God think they are waiting, but they know not what it is. Tis Christ in us that will lift us up – he is the light – ’tis only those that are alive in him that will be caught up to meet him in the air. I said, Now shall the people of God have to do with realities – I felt that the revelation of Jesus Christ had yet to be opened up – it is not knowledge about God that it contains, but it is an entering into God – I saw that there was a glorious breaking in of God to be I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation, surrounded by nets and entanglements, about to be tried, and many about to be deceived and fall.This is the fiery trial which is to try us. – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus. The enemy will try to shake in every thing we have believed – but the trial of real faith will be found to honour and praise and glory. Nothing but what is of God will stand. The Spirit must and will be poured out on the church, that she may be purified and filled with God -The trial of the Church is from Antichrist.This will build the temple who is the way to the Father. All power that comes not through the blood of Christ is not of God. When I say, they are looking from the cross, I feel that there is much in it – they turn from the blood of the Lamb, by which we overcome, and in which our robes are washed and made white. There are low views of God’s holiness, and a ceasing to condemn sin in the flesh, and a looking from him who humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation. Oh! it is needed, much needed at present, a leading back to the cross. Oh there must and will be such an indwelling of the living God as has not been — great conformity to Jesus -This is what we are at present made to pray much for, that speedily we may all be made ready to meet our Lord in the air – and it will be. Amen and Amen Even so come Lord Jesus.” 1 In Barbara Rossing’s book, The Rapture Exposed, she states “The story of her vision was adopted and amplified by John Nelson Darby, a British evangelical preacher and founder of the Plymouth Brethren (pg 22). The truth is Darby first wrote his pretribulation views in 1827, while recovering from a serious fall, three years before the 1830 utterance of Margaret MacDonald in Edward Irving’s church in Port Glasgow. Darby was sent, along with Benjamin Willis Newton, by the Brethren, to check out the manifestations that were taking place in Irving’s kirk. Both of these men decided these going’s on were of a demonic nature and not of the holy spirit as proclaimed by Irving. If you read Margaret’s utterances closely, you will notice they are of a post tribulation nature. Darby wrote pretribulation theory. I question why someone who holds degrees from both Harvard and Yale believes he took Margarets words and preached them. Clearly he disagreed with her opinions and openly stated she was under Satan’s influence. All ready, in my view, Ms. Rossing has begun her book on the wrong foot. I feel I can say this, as I am a member of Clan Donald, descended directly from the eldest son of Somerled, from which the MacDonald’s come. Yes, Margaret is one of my ancestors. She has been wrongly accused by Ms Rossing of being involved with Dispensationalism.That fount of heavenly wisdom flowed out of James Darby’s mouth solely. After getting over my disparaging attitude with Rossing, I continued reading her idea of the rapture theory. My mother, as a born again, saved, sanctified, holy ghost filled, heaven bound Pentecostal, dragged me to her church every Sunday morning where the Rapture was preached, believed in, and expected any moment. Guilt was handed out to any who did not get to the altar at every service to ask forgiveness of their sins and anybody else’s who might keep them from ‘disappearing in a blink of an eye’. Yes, dispensationalism ruled. Can I get an Amen? There is a widespread belief in the rapture, one that was capitalized on by Tim LaHaye, who was smart enough to involve gifted storyteller Jerry Jenkins. LaHaye’s previous books sold only to a small market, those that hungered for knowledge of Rapture and the End Times. Jerry Jenkins had a different market niche, Christian Biography and Fiction. What better way to gain market share than to sell a book you can list in several categories? A bigger market share equals more numbers on the royalty checks. I find fault with Rossing’s conclusion that LaHaye uses this series to promote his political agenda, one that she obviously disagrees with (pg 43). If he had, there would have been scriptures, in the books, to support his views on them. He uses the scriptures that support his view of rapture prophecy only. 2 What he can be accused of is a great marketing plan. What is or isn’t Revelation revealing? When read, when listened too, particularly when it has sound effects to give good visuals, you get caught up in the drama taking place. The Book of Revelation, all throughout the world, over many centuries, has brought out bursts of creative genius in all types of artists. Writers, painters, sculptors have all given us beautiful works of art inspired by this book. Each of these works symbolize the pain and hope existing in all walks through life.

At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power, And the sun with its brightness, And the snow with its whiteness, And fire with all the strength it hath, And lightning with its rapid wrath, And the winds with their swiftness along their path, And the sea with its deepness, And the rocks with their steepness, And the earth with its starkness All these I place,
By God’s almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness. ”

The Rune of St. Patrick”, derived from “The Lorica”, both traditionally attributed to St. Patrick, published in Lyrica Celtica (1896); also in Celtic Christianity : Ecology and Holiness (1987) by Christopher Bamford and William Parker Marsh, p. 54

October 22, 2014 Today was more difficult for me than it should have been. Today I had to force myself to take time and do nothing. I thought of things I am supposed to be doing. I thought of the upcoming assignments that I should be doing. yet I can’t work on them because I am forced to take time and do nothing except rest something I must do this to write a paper on. Rather interesting quandary: Do nothing except rest or partake in a “holy leisure” activity so that i can write a paper on what I experience by doing this. What can I do and for how long will I last? These questions became like a mantra. I opted for a leisurely walk. But where to walk and should I take the dogs? After some thought I decided not to take my dogs. Love them but, this assignment needed my full attention. A little more pondering and I chose to walk the labyrinth again. I drove over, left my phone in the car and kept my shoes on this time. I walked leisurely to the start of this maze. I tried to shove everything from my head and quiet the voices that were telling me what I needed to get done and what deadlines were coming up. the nagging questions of: how I was going to pay my bills, how long would I have to live with friends, when would this divorce become final, when would i get my life back, where was God when i needed him, and Why couldn’t he answer any of my prayers, all bounced around my head and refused to leave. I started walking very slowly. With each step I pushed away or tried to the distractions that disturbed my focus. By the end of the first quadrant, I had managed to get some focus, empty some thoughts from my head and now I could take bolder steps. I walked even slower and began saying the words light, heal, help. Before I was done with the quadrant the word help became my call. Over and over with each step I spoke this. At the start of the third quadrant, I began to argue with God. I got angry. Why was he letting me suffer? Why didn’t he answer prayer? Why was his timing such that I felt overwhelmed? What was his purpose for allowing me to feel this way? I yelled. I spoke with my hands. I got more angry over having to take some time with God when I could have used this time to do some reading for a class. By the end of the quadrant, I was calmer. In the last quadrant, I walked and thought. I reviewed what I had been going through and tried to find a reason for it. I found none. I made it to the center. I was exhausted. I was focused but still I couldn’t feel God near me. I sank to the ground, curled up in a fetal position, and cried. I laid prone with the rocks on my face. I cried harder. I gave up. I quit crying. I stopped thinking. I completely shut down. For an hour, I laid there. Two women came up to check on me. They asked if I was ok. I spoke one word, Yes. I never looked at them. I just stared at the sky. I felt hollow. I felt broken. I felt alone. I gave up trying to feel God. I gave up expecting an answer. I gave up on everything. When I had nothing left, I stood up and slowly walked the path leading back out. With the first quadrant done, I began to feel wind and sun. I heard outdoor noises. At the end of the second quadrant, I began feeling lighter. Quadrant three and I began repeating this to will pass. Part way through the last quadrant, I stopped and turned to look behind me. I traced my life, my steps, my feelings mentally, drawing a line in my mind around this maze. I turned to look ahead of me. But I couldn’t mentally relive my steps or draw the line that I would follow out. I pushed myself to move. I had carried a rosary in with me and held it loosely. Near the end, I tightened my hold on it. I said the Lords Prayer. I said a Hail Mary. Tears flowed from my eyes. I was near the end of the maze. Readying myself to leave it, I stopped to pray hard. I knelt down and kissed the earth. I looked up to the trees. The leaves reminded changes come to us all. The seasons change but so do we. Not just by adding a year onto our age but through our experiences we grow. We change. Change, is good. Change is a necessity, a voice inside me said. I looked at the leaves individually. Each leaf represented a change I had been through since February of this year. Some were good. Some have been heart wrenching. Some will reveal their reasons for needing to happen later. Standing, I breathed in deeply. I took those final few steps out of the labyrinth. I had left behind some burdens in the center. I felt lighter and yes, I felt God holding me. I went to my car slowly. Each step I forced myself to find a blessing. By the time I reached my car. I realized the biggest blessing was taking the time to force myself to find God. I had been letting him seek me when I should have been seeking after him. This forced intentional Sabbath is needed for each of us. We all find things that we need to do. Things that take up our time and leave us feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed, overworked, unloved by God. By taking down time, we relax, refocus, refresh, renew, not only ourselves but our relationship with God. Isn’t that what God intended when he gave the commandment: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Intentional Sabbath no matter what day we celebrate it on is something we should embrace if we desire to continue to grow in our faith and spirituality. At least I learned I need to do this.

Ever have fun simply walking the streets?.

Karma replied that complaints would, per routine, be directed to call centers in India.

A Universal Gesture.