Making Waves

Making Waves

by Denise Kennedy

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Most people don’t walk around  with a deep awareness of how they make an impact on the people or world around them. In truth, most of us just follow the path that ignites our passions and keeps our souls alive with excitement. Even as you read this, you may be truly blinded to the incredible way you use your gifts and talents to motivate, encourage and inspire others, but you do.

 

Don’t worry if you’re making waves simply by being yourself. The moon does it all the time.— Scott Stabile

 

Many have said that the most influential people in the world, are those who just humbly did what kept their hearts on fire. They helped people, lifted the hurting, reached out to feed the poor, painted their dreams, built beauty out of clay, and never stopped dreaming – even against the odds. You are one of those people, if you open your eyes every morning with a sense of expectation at what another day brings. You are one of those people, if you truly want to make a difference in the lives of others. You are a wave-maker, even if you never actually see the impact your waves make.

 

Think about the moon; it literally makes moves nothing else can compare to. You will never be as powerful as the moon, but you can make moves right now, where you are. Today can be the day that you dramatically choose to focus on the strength of purpose you carry. You are faced with the choice to give your all and channel your best efforts towards the dreams you carry in your heart. It could be time for you to build on the waves you are already making, or it may be time for you to make some changes in the direction you are moving in? The choice is always yours to make!

 

“It’s wonderful to be grateful. To have that gratitude well out from deep within you and pour out in waves. Once you truly experience this, you will never want to give it up.” – Srikumar Rao

 

Gratitude is a great outlook to encourage in your heart, even if things may not be as you would wish. There is always something to be thankful for, you just have to take the time to find it. Once you start looking, you will find even more than you previously imagined.

Look at what you are doing; is it moving you in the direction of your dreams? When you think about the things you do on a daily basis, will the end results be ones you will feel proud of? Is it time to write that book? Change careers? Make that move? Ask that question? The answer is right there in your whispered reply. Don’t ignore it.  Come on, an ocean of opportunity awaits you, don’t miss the next wave. Somebody else may be waiting on your waves to motivate them to start their own.

 

“Just like a surfer, when the right wave comes along, you better be ready!”

– Denise Kennedy

 

“Don’t give yourself the opportunity to regret the chance you didn’t take.” @roxanamjones

Hearts-ease ✿

Hearts-ease ✿

by Denise Kennedy

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A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.

And so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”

Hearts-ease, is a flower possibly so small that it goes unnoticed and unseen. So tiny that it can seem to be unimportant or insignificant. But this tiny little flower carries probably one of the most loveliest of flower names that I have yet to discover. When I think if the word ‘hearts-ease’, or ‘heart’s ease’, I am immediately drawn to the condition of my heart, and the hearts of those I care about. The dictionary gives the following description of ‘heart’s ease’:

Hearts-ease also heart’s-ease

n. 1. Peace of mind.

2. A small European plant (Viola tricolor) having spurred flowers marked with purple, yellow, and white. It was used to develop hybrid varieties of cultivated pansies. Also called wild pansy.

Today, this tiny little flower, created by a God who wanted it to exist, brought ease to my heart. Some seasons in life can bring challenges and trials, and it can feel like your life is very much hidden from the One who breathed it into being, but I assure you the very opposite is true. You are seen, known and very much cared for by God.

You are loved by the Creator of everything, and He is enough. He restores, redeems and gives back everything that has been stolen from you. He has more in mind for you than you can every dream up all on your own. So today, let your heart be at ease: free from worry or awkwardness; relaxed, tranquil, content, comfortable, secure, safe, chilled, serene and unworried.

Today I echo the words of our opening story, and decide to be a brave little flower!

“But as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease,

I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”

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Beautiful, Scars And All

Scar – The Strength Story

by Denise Kennedy
November 17th

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As I sit here writing to you, the very first snow fall has started outside my south Dublin window. I am mesmerised by the fluttering white flakes as they chase each other to the ground below. They are each so different and beautiful in their own right. Winter is here early, and the white visitors contrast against the backdrop of autumn colours that my trees display; it is so beautiful that it is hard to keep my eyes from the window. So I stopped writing, wrapped my warm faux scarf around my neck and opened my window to really feel the white wonder, and breathe in the crisp cold air. So refreshing.

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Today I am relishing the thoughts of an impromptu walk I took yesterday in our city’s main central park. It was unplanned and turned out to be perfect. I found my deer friends, and captured a few beautiful photos of them, as I always do. Today I want to introduce you to one of them, he’s one of my favourites. I call him Scar.

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When I go to the Phoenix Park, I always look out for Scar. This time I was more concerned about him because of a recent deer culling in the park, and I was not sure he was still with us. I was glad to see him. For some reason he tends to be a loner and wanders off on his own, something I love to do too. If you look at his face you will see why I gave him the name I have. To me, even with his scars, he is beautiful. And today, my friend, I want to tell you the same incredible truth is true about you.

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When we look at Scar, we see his outside wounds, and the proof that he has been hurt, but we also see that he survived what it was that hurt him. The battle left its mark on him but he lived on, and so will you dear reader. Scars are a sign that you are strong, that you overcame something that tried to take you out. Your battle may include disappointment, divorce, the loss of a dream, the realisation that life sometimes gives you what you do not ask for; and you have a choice to make.

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Your scars may be on the inside, where nobody can easily see them, they may be wounds that truly only you and those who you allow to come close can understand. Let me tell you that these wounds, whether internal or external, are things to be proud of because they are proof that you are stronger than the hurt, tougher than what tried to knock you down, and more resilient than the battles you have endured. Your scars tell others to hold on, and not to give up. They shine around your neck like a medal of honour, and you should see your scars as a sign of great victory, even in days of loss or pain.

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“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

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Look at this beautiful Fallow buck, who I have rightly named Scar; he is majestic and strong, and will hopefully live through many more battles, bravely using the skills he learned the hard way in previous encounters. In the same way dear friend, so are you. You are a strong soul with a mighty God who wants to walk through every battle with you. He promises to never leave or forsake you, but to be your refuge where there is found rest in and from the storms of life. Even if you already have scars, you are a display for His Kingdom, shouting gloriously to the world, that you never gave up or surrendered. Your scars tell a magnificent story!

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Scars are evidence of life, of risks, or trying new things, of fighting for something you believed in. They are proof that you moved out of your comfort zone and decided to be brave. So today, instead of hiding your scars, whether they are seen or unseen,  choose to find someone who needs the story of courage that you carry in your heart. Tell them how you struggled, but that you are overcoming. Remind someone who is close to giving up, that they do not have to. Look for those who feel so isolated in their battle, and remind them that they truly are part of a great army of those who did not give up. This army may be scarred in many different ways, but their courage unites them. Each has a battle cry put in their heart by the Creator himself. Each one is as beautifully unique as each snowflake falling outside my window.

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Dear scarred one, your scars are the signs of strength and someone who feels weak today, needs to hear your story of strength!

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“Scars show toughness: that you’ve been through it,

and you’re still standing.” -Theo Rossi

Be A Goose ツ

Be A Goose…ツ
The Truth About Geese
By Denise Kennedy
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Geese are elegant, intelligent, loyal, majestic and creative. They soar through the sky with a sense of destiny and beauty. I recently captured this photo of them as I walked along the port area of Dublin city. I stood there as the sun rose, watching them fly together in a unity so incredible I held my breath.

So allow me to share some of the stunning things I have discovered about geese, that quite frankly distinguish them from lots of animals or birds we have; and to be honest, I found myself wanting to be a lot more like our feathered friend than I had ever imagined before…

  • Geese mate for life and will live a loyal life of faithfulness to one partner, even after their mate passes away.

  • A group of geese is called a gaggle – if they are flying they are known as a skein or wedge.

  • They choose to fly in a”V” shape so as to increase their flying power and range by at least 70%. By sharing the air space they make the flight easier for those flying with them. They look out for each other.

  • When the goose in front tires or grows weary another goose takes its place and then the tired goose moves back to rest, and into position to complete the formation.

  • While they are flying in formation they honk at each other to send encouagement to each other on the journey.

  • Geese care for each other; they look out for the other geese in their gaggle, to see if they are okay. If one gets sick, is attacked or hurt and drifts or falls from the formation, others will also leave the “V” shape and go to protect the injured goose. They stay with the sick goose until it recovers or dies. They will not leave it alone.

  • A young goose will find a mate for itself when it is only 3 years of age. If one of the pair dies the remaining goose will live many years without finding another mate. Most times the widowed goose lives the remainder of its life without a partner.

  • Male geese prefer to show very protective and kind behaviour towards the females in the group. They have been known to stand or fly between danger and the female in the situation; so beautiful and so courageous.

  • Geese choose to vocalize their messages to each other in a variety of ten different ways; it depends on the situation but they can stretch their necks or make loud honks in order to send a signal to others.

  • Geese live together and hatch a new gosling yearly, then both parents are involved in minding and taking care of the newborn.

The list goes on…

So…which characteristic was your favourite? Possibly, like me, you chose a few. One thing I found myself thinking as I read this list, is that I want to be more like geese. I want to love deeper, care for loved ones in a more devoted way. I want to be known as one who is faithful to the mate I choose for life. I want to go to rescue the hurting and stay with them until they can fly and join the group again. I want to be known as one who looks out for the dangers that are lurking and preying on my counterparts. I want to be so much more like a goose than I had ever thought of before…

If you feel the same then let’s honk and make the choice to stick together…

If my little thoughts today have inspired you then please give me a share and a like…every ‘honk’ lets me know that you are with me…and we are looking out for each other…

‘Honk! Honk!”

Denise

Bend Without Breaking ✯

Bend Without Breaking ✯

By Denise Kennedy

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“What doesn’t bend…breaks.”

– Ani Difranco

It is so important that we do not let our failures break us, but that we choose to bend with the storms life sends us, and find a greater strength than before. Yes, these are easy words to write, but I can safely say I am doing this very thing myself.

I feel motivated by the deep emotion shown by the 2016 Olympians. Their enthusiasm and dedication has awakened a new desire in me to overcome obstacles and hindrances in my own life. How we handle defeat reveals more about our character than how we handle success. I am so moved by some of the Olympians who gave their very best, but were unsuccessful in winning a medal. Today they make their journeys home and try to pick up the pieces that disappointment and loss have dealt them. I want to tell them that they are champions too, whether they wear a medal around their courageous necks or not.

One such Olympian quoted the following:

The only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics.”

(Syria’s Yusra Mardini, representing the Games’ first ever refugee team, after winning her 100m butterfly heat.)

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I want to say to these amazing Olympians that you can bend without breaking; that what you’re waiting for could be just around the bend…if you can choose not to let the challenges drive you around the bend or lose your mind in the process.

For so many Olympians like the horse jumping champion Nick Skelton, taking part in the 2016 Olympics was a matter of great courage. The veteran British Olympian, aged 58, who quit the sport in 2000 after breaking his neck in two places, vowed: “I am not going to stop now.” Nick Skelton, riding Big Star, won a dramatic six-rider jump-off to claim GB’s first show jumping gold to become the oldest winner of an equestrian event.

Imagine what Skelton would have missed had he given up in 2000, or allowed the fear of ever recovering from a broken neck govern his future. His horse, perfectly named Big Star, had almost been put into retirement too, but Nick Skelton believed that they could come to Rio and win. To even have the opportunity to be an Olympian was a huge achievement for both rider and horse alike. If he had allowed a broken neck to literally break him, his future would not hold the amazing gold medal achievement he enjoys today.

But Nick is a winner, even if he had not won gold. Each Olympian is a winner simply because they overcome so many tough and challenging circumstances in order to compete. There are so many motivational stories being shared every day about the obstacles and personal health setbacks that many overcome in order to finally be in Rio. I am sure a book could be written with all their moving and exhilarating accomplishments. To me, it is one of the reasons I found myself glued to the televised overage each night.

“When life’s strong winds come blowing, bend with them and let go. By bending, you will become stronger in new places. By letting go, you will be making room for the new and the better.”

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You are all amazing individuals; you have chosen to bend, but not to break. How you choose to handle your defeats speaks volumes to the world waiting to see strength overcome weakness. Well done! I applaud you because you move me to keep persevering and bend with the storms of life.

The 2016 Olympics have ended, and as I watch the energy of the closing ceremony, I want to awaken a desire in us to overcome the obstacles that try to break us. Make a decision now, that by the time the 2020 Olympics start, you will be able to look back and see how very much stronger you have grown!

Start now…I am.

Denise  ✯

Your PB ✪

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Welcome to my latest blog piece for the Irish Academy of Public Relations…

What is your PB? (And no, I don’t mean peanut butter…) =) If you have been gripped by the exciting moments of triumph and devastation that the Olympics bring, then you will know that PB means ‘Personal Best’, and it is usually the absolute desire of every athlete to beat their previous PB record, and win an Olympic gold medal on the way.

Every time I have watched these amazingly well trained Olympians champion their course I am reminded of my own PB, in various areas of my life. When I wake up in the morning I am learning to remind myself that today is a new day to challenge my personal best. I can always try to improve on the choices I made yesterday and give my absolute best in all I endeavour to do.

Michael Phelps has astonished all who have been watching his journey. He has come back from great challenges and a retirement, to win more medals than he even believed he could himself.

Michael’s 200m butterfly gold medal made him the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic title at 31 years of age. He has earned the title, ‘GOAT’ – ‘the greatest of all time’, and quite frankly he is a medal machine! As I watched him shed a tear as he held his new three month old son, my eyes filled with tears with him. It felt exhilarating to watch him kick his doubts, fears and physical challenges to the curb and go for gold. My blood raced with motivation and excitement as I watched the faces of the crowds who applauded him; I thought to myself how many of them have overcome their own PB challenges too, and are living testimonies to the same courage we see in Michael Phelps?

Your PB may only matter to you…there may never be a gold medal placed around your neck, but that does not diminish the innate value in giving your best. You can award yourself every day; every time you overcome a challenge or advance towards something you dearly want.

It starts now…read more here

Time To Trade Up ⇅

Time To Trade Up ⇅

by Denise Kennedy

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“Be careful that you do not create what you fear.”  – These are pretty powerful words aren’t they? They stopped me in my tracks today. They arrested my attention and commanded my analysis and response.

What are we afraid of? What keeps you awake at night, feeling afraid or overwhelmed? Write it down right now…clearly, boldly and honestly. Okay…now on the same piece of paper I want you to write down any behaviour that you are currently endorsing in your life that in anyway contributes to these fears coming to pass in your life. Is there something you are doing, or not doing, that will help these feared circumstances actually becoming your very real reality?

It is time to trade up…it is time to trade in your fears, change your behaviours and dramatically change the course your life is on. In order to have the life you dream of you must be all in, there is no halfway commitment to what is required.

You are amazing. You have capabilities beyond what you can even believe. You have strengths and competencies that make you the valuable and precious person you are. If there is a chance that this short little blog stirs you, then please act on it. Let August 1st, 2016, be the day the game changes. What is it you are losing to? What is taking you off track? What is more important to you right now than achieving the lifelong dreams you carry around in your heart every day? Begin to believe in the person you are, and in the potential you have.

I wrote these words for you today, as much as I need them myself too. Even the most successful people you know, need a gentle push in the right direction sometimes. So here it is, a gentle push from me. Make the changes, even if you are white-knuckle riding for a while. Decide on the destination you are dreaming of and make it happen. Your life will pass you by, so make it the kind of movie you want it to be.

I believe in you. It is time to trade-up. Trade in your fears and change the route you are on. You can do it. Let today be the game-changer, the day it all begins. Be careful that you do not create what you fear…don’t let self-sabotage ruin all the great possibility that you possess.

Let’s connect on Facebook

=) Denise

 

Your Inner Game ⛳

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance.  It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

Timothy Gallwey,

Author of The Inner Game series of books

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Sometimes we are truly inspired by the incredible people in our lives who ‘coach’ us and cheer us on in our endeavours and adventures, but there are other seasons in life when we must decide to be our own coach, and that is where the inner game comes to play! I love the ideas in the book The Inner Game of Golf, by Timothy Gallway. I first began to read it because I love the mental disciplines of golf, and wanted to be a great caddie for my dad, and other golfers. I quickly noticed that the game of golf closely resembles the disciplines needed to actually do anything right, not just golf.

“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly alright as it is.” – Timothy Gallway

If you play golf, then you will be more than familiar with your thinking process as you move from swing, drive, shot to fairway, (trees?, water?, OOB?, or bunker?) green, and the hole… During these transitions, what matters is what you think about as you walk to the next shot! It is a lot like life. isn’t it? If you are swinging your way through the trees and trying to find your way back to the better fairways of your life, how you think about who you are, your potential and your goals, makes a humdinger of a difference!  It impacts how you end the game, both in golf and in life!

Imagine you are the seed mentioned in Tim Gallway’s quote above; how do you really measure your worth? Can you be patient with your awesome little steps. even if they seem so small compared to others?  Can you see that with each day you are possibly letting go of the old way of doing things, and with each new attempt to open up to new things, you are becoming more ‘you’ than you had previously been? Yes, you may need a magnifying glass to see the growth, but you need to be your own best cheerleader and  not underestimate the power of the small steps you are taking. As you transition from one part of the game to the next, you need to watch how you think. You need to let go of how the last shot played out and get truly focused on the next shot and give it socks! We all know the quotes out there about letting go of the past and moving on, but it is not always as easy to do as we would like. It also depends on whether the last shot was a success or not.

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Are you dragging your driver and your feet to the next shot? If you are, it’s okay, you can change what happens next in your ‘game’. But, if you allow the negative results from  badly taken shots determine your confidence and enthusiasm, then you are in for a disastrous ‘game of life’ my friend. Trust me, I know. It matters what you think and do between ‘swings’. and the game of golf is much more about life, then many of us, especially a learner caddie, ever realised!

It may be time to change clubs, rethink your focus, take some time out or just enjoy the challenge instead of worrying about what may or may not happen. Sometimes the ‘game’ goes the way it does through no fault of our own. Just keep showing up, give it your best shot and never stop believing that you are learning as you grow! Don’t focus on other people’s game, just make sure that you show up for yours.

Keep Showing Up!

Nisey K

The In-between Day ✞

The In-between Day ✞

by Denise Kennedy

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In-between… [noun] Also known as in-betweener – a person or thing that is between two extremes, two contrasting conditions, such as yeses, nos/or noes, and in-betweens.

Sound familiar? Today, Easter Saturday is certainly that day for the entire calendar, but none more than the very first Easter Saturday, when nobody knew yet, that Sunday would be the day that the game changed.

Today, it feels like the world celebrates the waiting factor of being in-between. I wish I could embrace it as enthusiastically in my own personal life, but that is not always an easy thing to do. Today, when it feels like we sit and wait to celebrate tomorrow, Jesus was in fact demolishing the powers of darkness, grabbing keys and unlocking doors, setting captives free, and changing our eternity, for eternity. Heaven rubbed its hands together, in expectation, just like my mum does when she is waiting for an apple pie to bake in the oven. All the angels in heaven were  anticipating the day He would rise; they saw the in-between day as a day of great victory.

So what are you doing today? Are you celebrating the in-between day while you wait for Sunday? Are you stuck between two extremes, or contrasting conditions? If so, please know that you are certainly not alone in that place. Even if it seems like a dark place, remember Jesus conquered darkness, even your darkness. He sees in the dark, and darkness is as light to Him. You may not see Him there beside you, but trust me I know He is there with you.

Are you stranded between yours or someone else’s yeses and nos, maybes and delays? As Jesus moved through the depths of the earth dismantling everything that could ever come between you and Him, don’t you think that He too can handle the yeses and nos of our lives? I understand, it is easier said than done, but isn’t that what faith is? Believing without yet seeing! Remember the dearly loved followers of Jesus as they waited for Sunday, nobody had even risen from the dead before.  It had never been done in the history of time. What faith they must have had. Even His enemies watched in fear, in case He would actually do it. The eyes of faith must look at something as if it has already happened. Believe me, I am learning to do this as much as you are my friend.

Today, as I remember what kept Jesus busy in the depths of the earth, I am grateful that He walks through the dark seasons of my life with me. I see Him as the greatest Superhero ever. He wielded His powerful sword of truth and demolished every lie, stronghold and fear that tries to ruin my life. He tore down every obstacle that stood in our way. He disarmed the kingdom of darkness and opened the gates of splendid salvation for us.  Today, way back then, was a busy day where Jesus stood in-between two very contrasting days, two extremes, two very contrasting outcomes, and changed the world forever. Never before had the world calendar been divided into BC and AD.

AD is an abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord,” referring to the Christ’s birth. BC means before Christ.  It was not actually developed until 525 AD, when the entrance of the Christ into the world was recognized as being the turning point of history, and our calendars were made to reflect that. Today, can be a turning point for you too.

So this Easter, may our lives reflect what happened on the in-between day. The day where all of hell woke up to the power of heaven let loose on them. The world was in-between two very contrasting outcomes, and nothing would remain the same.

May you know, that just as you walk through yeses, nos, and difficult days, Jesus walks with you, right in the midst of where it hurts, and He promises to never abandon you. Today, may be a day of waiting for tomorrow, but it would also be a good day to get busy remembering exactly what He did in the darkness, and that He is busy walking us through the in-between times too, and all power is His.

You are much loved, from one in-betweener to another. We are held firmly by the greatest In-betweener the world has  or will ever know!

Xx Denise K

Easter Saturday

2016 AD

Rock Flowers ❀ ✿

By Denise Kennedy (February 19th 2016)

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“TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST – TOUGH PEOPLE DO!”

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I took this photo here in Ireland. It’s a beautiful little pansy growing from solid rock. Beautiful things can grow in hard places… so chin up buttercup!

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We all go through tough times, where life is literally as hard as rock, and everyday feels like we are walking through quick dry cement. Look at this pansy: it is fragile, delicate and easily broken, yet it has somehow overcome the obstacles presented to it by the surroundings it is trying to grow in. Feel familiar?

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Are you trying to overcome the tests of life? Are you determined to rebuild what circumstances have demolished? Has your courage been ravished by disappointment  or heartache?  Are there just too many whys and not enough answers? You are not alone in this tough place. But there is always a lesson to learn, and the things that happen on the outside, can bring about a tremendously precious lesson on the inside of us. Changes around us can become the perfect soil for growth on the inside, where nobody sees, but God. Right in this moment of pain, there are gems awaiting your embrace. It’s hard, and absolutely overwhelming, but God will not leave you alone. You may be trying not to be lonely while you are alone, and that could be exactly where God will meet you and change everything about you.

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“God gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” C.H. Spurgeon

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You are not alone, you are not alone, you are not alone! You must choose to embrace this painful season, and keep believing that this too shall pass, and one day you will smile again. Not a fake, pretend smile, but a real smile that comes from a truly happy place.

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God knows how to get you there. He knows how to get your tender, delicate roots through the hard cement of life, just like the little pansy. The amazing thing is, that although this pansy was in fact tiny, I still saw it. Even in what seems like a season of ‘smallness’ in your life, God will cause the right people to see you, (really see you) and He will show you the why of it all.

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Hang in there…even in this hard place, you are still beautiful, inside and out. God sees you and He is guiding you with His eye.

Keep growing,

Denise ❀ ✿

NOW ⏰

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At the start of a new year many of us decide to make some big changes in how we do things…

This is my new ‘now’ reminder, to seize the day and make tomorrow better, by doing my best today, now.

On days when I want to change everything about the past or the future, it is refreshing to simply remind my heart of the tremendous power the choices I make today carry. The seeds I sow today will reap a harvest in the future, so the opportunities of today deserve my full attention, now.

These cool watches are made by @stealtimeback who donate to charities that help children in need! ~♡~ Having dealt with them personally, I must say they simply have a fabulous customer service manner and set the standard high in customer care. Kudos!

When I look at my ‘now’ watch, I find myself motivated to crush procrastination to the ground, and get things done that are essential and necessary. Maybe you find it easy to do the more challenging chores of today? Maybe you fumble through your day with low energy or fear of failure? Whichever circumstance you find yourself in, start to make some small, significant changes now. Each little successful step will soon recharge and motivate you to make bigger changes. I am doing it, and already I am finding that I spend less time in the procrastination valley, and I see ‘now’ as a place full of immense potential and endless possibilities.

The person you will be tomorrow, depends on the person you choose to be today… ⏰ Denise

Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing. – Wayne Dyer

©niseyk

Abide 👌 👌

By Denise Kennedy

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As I type, I am surrounded by construction work, drilling to the left, drilling to the right, and even drilling on the street outside my house. Everywhere I look there is rubble, or walls being torn down. While there is a lot of noise, in the midst of it there are things being quietly built back up: foundations being laid, walls being secured, and new designs being drawn. It is a noisy mixture of tearing down and rebuilding, in three different places. As I sit here, sipping my green tea and sharing a few quiet moments with God before the rest of my day kicks in, I am quietly reminded that our lives resemble the havoc that surrounds the place I currently call home.

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Maybe you are in a season where all is being stripped from your life and things feel shaky and uncomfortable for you? It could be that there is a sense of old things dying so that they can be returned to you improved or mended? You may be struggling to surrender control over someone whom you wish you could change, or someone is trying to convince you that you yourself need to change too? Maybe you are in a glorious place of rebuilding and new things are appearing all around you, filling your heart and life with excitement and happiness? It is safe to say that all of us travel through these seasons at varying times in our lives, and we cannot always determine just when they will happen.

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In the last few days, the word ABIDE, has grabbed my heart and invited me to be still, and to come away from the madness around me. This word reminds my soul that even in the midst of construction work, (whether internal or external), there is a place of deep peace. It is not found in rushing around glorifying busy schedules, but in the solitude of a quiet moment of surrender and reflection.  Abide…Abide…Abide!

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Are you rushing around in a state of mayhem, losing your grip on everything because you are trying to carry too much? A lazy man’s load never works, even with the things of the heart! Let it all go…surrender it to God. Choose to ABIDE in the knowledge that the only person you can change is yourself, and that God is walking and working with you to bring order to your life. I am right here with you…learning to ABIDE, when all you see is disappointment and change. Take a breath, put everything in His great big hands. Trust Him with the process, the outcome, the journey and even the tears. You are His masterpiece, so choose to abide, and let the Master take over…I know I am.

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From the pen of a grateful Irish girl,

Denise 👌

❣ You Know You Want To ❣

by ♡ 𝕯enise Kennedy ♡

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    Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place, where everything seems unpredictable? A place where virtually anything could happen next?

It could best be described as the most spontaneous, amazing, fearful, wonderful and challenging place your feet and your heart could ever find themselves; well I am there, right smack bang in the middle of it. Just the other day I penned the following words; “Sometimes too many choices are just too many!”     (A Nisey’original)

I eagerly reach ahead to grasp the future, yet my heart holds on tightly to the memories the years have made, but hope pulls me closer and commands me to lift up my head with earnest expectation and anticipation.  I can sincerely say that I am finding these days the strangest and scariest I have yet to walk through.  I rarely live life with no map before me, or at least an idea of what may unfold but lately the temptation to lock my heart away is overwhelming at times ~ to live from a place where it is safe, pain-free, careful and predictable (and boring, well at least to me) is as real as the chair I am sitting on right now…. but I cannot ignore the deep desire in me to do something crazy and unpredictable.

I always thought I would have my life’s direction figured out by now, a road map to potential happiness with all the boxes checked along the way.  But life has not worked out like that and I am learning lessons in hard places, yet finding unexpected joy in the crazy unforeseeable changes life brings.   I guess we all go through seasons where it seems fearful and yet wonderfully adventurous.  One of my favourite things to do is head off on a road trip, to wherever the road goes.  Having been on some amazing road trips in Ireland, America, New Zealand, Australia, and various places from Belgium to the Ukraine, I know the thrill of these shared adventures.  The sense of spontaneous decisions and the thrill of seeing where we end up tickles me pink!    I love living life like that.  And yet bravely and courageously my heart is saying, “Seize the adventure again Denise!”…. and so I must listen to my heart and let my passion and creativity lead me to where I really want to be.  And to the ‘me’ I really want to be.  Scary isn’t it?

During these past months (plus some), I have been tempted to abort the mission my heart longs for, to turn around and settle for less than I know is genuine, thrilling and passionate.   I have toyed with the idea of giving up on the picture I had of the future, and settling for a less challenging route.  At first I felt peace, calmness and collected repose.   It is easy to feel peace when you are no longer challenging your fears or advancing into new territory in your life.  Yes you feel peace at first, when all resistance fades away into living a life more ordinary, but not for long for soon that unsettled feeling of boredom will raise itself to the forefront of your heart and you know you cannot turn your back on what you need to do and really want.

So, what are you sacrificing? What dream are you abandoning and trying to live without?  Maybe it is time to pick it up again? I am choosing to do it differently now.  To take hold of the strength that I know God gives me daily, to speak to my dreams and my hopes, my talents and my skills to come alive again!  Do you need to do the same?  You may think that it is easier to ignore the longings of your heart, to run away from the deepest places of your soul, but it isn’t.  May I gently and lovingly tell you that you will turn into a person who is bored silly with life.  Joy will drain from you and all you dreamed of will be sacrificed for a false sense of security that you will grow to resent.  Trust me, I know.

So…..right now…..think quietly ~  What is it you really long to do with your life?  What is on your bucket list?  What wakes you up and puts a smile on your face no matter what the weather is like?  What is it that you do that makes you sigh deeply with the realisation that this is what you were born to accomplish?  You know it and you feel it, you live, breathe and think about it every waking or ‘should-be’ sleeping moment.  You have tried to banish it away like a vapour, thinking it is easier to live without it, but you are not living abundantly by hiding it away and ignoring it.  Take some time to write it down, remember it again, realise it is possibly the thing that will rescue you from a place of unfulfilled living.  Inside each of us there’s a Superman T-shirt or brave hero longing to be revealed.

Can you hear it? A whispering excitement beginning like a soft drum in your chest…. a beat that wants to sound loudly to you that there are new things to call forth from you.  It is time, the clock ticks, and it waits for no one.   I want to see you, the real you, shining forth in all your great yet humble talent for the world to see.

Come on…come alive!  It may feel like you are stepping out onto nothing, not knowing really where you are going, but you will find it easier after you take the first step.  I am beside you, cheering you on (and myself).  Take my hand if you need to.  Look for others in your life who have stopped living from their heart, encourage them to speak tenderly again to their dreams and listen to the deepest longing within them.

You know you want to…

♡ 𝕯enise ❣ ~~ ♥ ~~ ♥ ~~

Peace In A Broken Place ☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

By Denise Kennedy

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In recent days, I have had the privilege of sharing deep, honest, and raw conversations with people who are struggling through tough situations. I must say that your heartfelt transparency reveals a beautiful mystery.

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The concept of finding peace in a broken place carries with it a contrast as striking as a solitary dove sitting in a broken window; sometimes there is peace in simply choosing to be still.

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At times, life calls us to navigate through uncharted waters and unfamiliar paths. We may not have chosen this direction but must employ the greatest courage and strength in order to endure it. If you are a strong person, then strength is your default setting, but even strong people may still prefer to take an easier route. Unfortunately, in a broken place, there can be moments where you would rather break down than break through!

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They, (whoever they are), say, “what does not kill you, serves to make you stronger“, and it is not until you find yourself in a broken place that you can honestly put these words to the test. What is a broken place? It can be a place where a promise has been broken, or a dream has been shattered. You, yourself, may feel broken, or overwhelmed by the road that lies before you, or indeed memories of days gone by. Circumstances have possibly left you tired or drained by this broken road of unwanted outcomes.

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You may remember a recent post I wrote titled: Broken Crayons Still Colour, where I reminded our dear hearts that even in our broken seasons, we still possess the same incredible qualities and strengths that make us who we are. We can still find peace in a broken place, because the One who gives us peace still reigns and orders our steps. We may not have all the answers to our questions, nor the strength to wait patiently for those answers, but nevertheless, God is still who He said He is and He will never abandon those He is committed to. He sees what our weak human eyes cannot. He hears the unspoken prayers of our tired hearts. He listens when you sigh in the dark and pray for a way through the circumstances you find yourself in.

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He knows. He hears, He cares, and He will make a way. It is in these hard circumstances that He will reveal new things to you. He is able to create something amazing where there seemed to be nothing visible or possible. He will reveal new things in His relationship with you, that will help you to trust Him, even when you are weary from wondering.  There is a place of peace in this moment for you, even when all seems lost. You can walk through this situation with absolute assurance that God is walking with you and carrying you through every weary step, unforeseen challenge, and daunting decision.

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Stop right now, and quietly surrender every aspect of your life to Him. Quieten your heart and allow His peace to come into your confusion and mayhem, and carry you. It is a daily choice where surrender and gratitude walk hand in hand. You don’t have to deny how you feel, but in bringing it to Him you allow the divine exchange to take place; where He takes your burdens and gives you His peace. I don’t write these words flippantly or easily; as I too am walking a road where I must decide to trust God even in the unknown. I write these words to let you know that you do not walk alone, for there are many of us walking this path with  you. Others may never see the hidden disappointments and fears that we are encountering and overcoming on a daily basis, but God sees.

Even in this broken place, His peace can be your constant strength and companion.

I may not know you, but He does, and today I am praying for you.

Denise  ☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction,  ends up being the biggest step of your life!” → Unknown 📷 👣 ⛵

Peace In A Broken Place ☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

September 2015

Your Inner Swing ⛳

Your Inner Swing  ⛳💖⛳ Augusta National

by Denise Kennedy

So everyone is excited and counting down the moments to Masters 2015. The suspense, the thrill, the predictions of leaderboard winners, round winners and the new kids on the green.

I visited Augusta National some years ago, and I can still remember the sublime stillness of the perfectly manicured entrance. It will stay with me forever. It is a brilliant place.

Golf: Maybe you are not a golf fan? Maybe you really do not care for it at all? But let me just hold your attention momentarily, thanks!

Think about what you are good at? Do you find it a challenge to define the talents that reside within you? In golf, the term ‘your inner swing’ is much more than just about the outer swing you may carry on the field, it is about the inner strengths you  have. The way you play the game of golf, but also the way you play the ‘game’ of life.

In golf, it is all about your pre-swing thoughts, how you relax, and how you handle your frustrations. It is a lot like life: How you handle the pressures of life, determines the way you ‘swing’, the way you approach the challenges life brings.

We all have those moments where we swing wrong, miss the putt, hit the trees, or land in the water. As a caddy, I am learning from the play I see on the fairways of the golf club, that the next shot has absolutely nothing to do with the last shot. The most important transition you can make is to let the last shot go and give the next one everything you have. It is easier said than done, in life, and in golf.

So in life, when you fail, miss the target, fall at the first fence, or experience the greatest disappointment of your life: how do you respond? Do you throw your driver in the lake, kick the divot with frustration, or decide to conquer the losing streak you feel you are in?

In those moments of failure, disheartened confusion and missed shots, it is imperative that you learn and move on. You must! You have to gather yourself together and focus on what comes next. There is a time for evaluation but then comes the moment where you just simply move on!

Life is a lot like a game of golf, whether you play it or not. You must focus on your goals, walk your fairway and discipline the inner swing with which you choose to live your life.

So today, calculate the areas of your life where weakness is dominating, decide where you need to focus your energies most and do it.

Let go of the past failures and aim for a better round ahead.

Come on, your inner swing is yours, you still have it. Eye on the ball, eye on the hole, you can do it!

More caddy tips to come…

From the pen of a grateful caddy, and Irish girl.

Denise

© Copyright Denise Kennedy 2015

I’ll Be Back ♱

by Denise KennedyI will be back

My richest gain I count but loss…these words swirl around my heart today…all the vain things that charm me most… I sacrifice!

WOW! Today, the day when darkness gripped the world at the exact moment a man on a Cross exasperated his seemingly last breath. He gave His all, His very life, for a world that scarcely appreciated His great gift. As darkness fell, so the tears of a mother who watched her son die, fell to the ground. Those that loved Him stood in silent grief and dismay. Little did they know that while darkness engulfed their grief-stricken hearts, behind the scenes God was working His amazing brilliance and preparing the greatest story ever told. Jesus, in His last moments on the Cross, uttered words of pain and anguish. He questioned why His Father had abandoned Him. He felt separation from God for the very first time. He did this so that we need never experience that separation ever again,

They thought it was the end of everything, every hope, every promise, and every word He spoke to them. They bowed their heads in sorrow, but God was about to roll up His sleeves and astronomically reveal the grandeur of His great love for us. Time stood still, but not Jesus. He was busy disarming the powers of darkness and getting ready to reveal who He said He was.

Then He came back… He demonstrated His awesome love for us on the Cross. He stayed there because of love… If you don’t know His great love for you, I hope that this Easter, you will open your heart to really say yes to His invitation to know Him…and to experience His incredible new life in you.

When Jesus died He screamed though nail-pierced hands “I Will Be Back!”, to a lost and confused world. We can barely comprehend this amazing love, for we have no other love to compare it to. He did come back, and all He said is true.

Do you know Him?

Right now He waits for you to just believe…and everything will change.

He whispers softly yet triumphantly to you: ‘I love you with an everlasting love…simply believe. I came back for you!”

Do it now, it’s the perfect time.

From the pen of a grateful Irish girl…

Denise ♰

Broken Crayons Still Colour

Broken Crayons Still Colour

Broken Crayons Still Colour

by Denise Kennedy

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For the past few days this phrase has rolled in and out of my thoughts…a lot. And every time it hushes me into contemplation. So today, surrounded by lemons and cough bottle, the morning sun beaming through my window, and a softly flickering fire in my hearth, I write to you…to speak softly yet directly to your heart.

I could write lots on this four-worded title, quite easily and elaborately, indeed until the cows come home…but that is not entirely what my intentions are; instead I want to share something of a gem with you that will shine hope and inspiration, and determination into that backbone of yours. When I ponder over the word broken it brings to mind many images. A person can feel broken from disappointment, unemployment, divorce, loss, disillusionment, sadness or grief.  A season of brokenness can overcome a person who finds themselves in unplanned circumstances. Brokenness can come in many shapes and sizes, but one thing it conveys is that the person feels useless, undervalued or discarded.  Here is where I want to jump in with a sunbeam and shed some light on this somewhat negative idea.

Think for a moment, about a crayon.

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(Yes, deep I know!)

When a crayon is broken, is it no longer a crayon? No. It still has all the colour and substance inside it prior to being broken, it has just experienced a change to its outer appearance. You may be walking through what feels like a tough battle, and though you feel like throwing your hands up in despair, don’t. Instead throw them up in victory because you are choosing to walk through this and seize your ever-welcome breakthrough. You are still that same person before life sent some things to challenge you. You still possess those amazing qualities that so many admire.

All of the essence of who you are is still within you. You are still that capable, intelligent, impressive individual now. You just need to keep being your amazing self and sit the storm out. Don’t let it weaken the dreams you have, or the value you assign to your potential. You can still colour, and you can still bring your marvelous colour into the lives of those around you.

Resist the temptation to give up. I love using broken crayons, they have an edge, sharpness and accuracy about them that an unbroken crayon just does not have. I can use it to get into tight corners and even leave a greater depth of colour than a blunt, unbroken crayon allows me.

So hang in there, whatever colour you are, you still have it. You still carry all of the great brightness and beauty that make you who you are. One day you will look back on this and see how it shaped and fashioned you into a  stronger and more resilient person. Your true colours will keep shining through. You will walk out of this season with the durability and determination that only this season could have given you. Only those who have been lost in the storm are then able to help others find their way out of theirs. People need what you have, in fact they need it much more than you realise.

Find your ‘umph‘ again, turn your ‘try‘ into ‘triumph‘. Don’t worry, you are not on your own, there’s a lot of us right there with you.

Forrest Gump said that ‘Life is like a box of chocolates‘, and sometimes I think it’s also a lot like a ‘box of crayons‘. So today, remember that  ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour!’ 

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From the pen of a grateful Irish girl ☕ Denise

 

The Inside Story: Citizen Journalists

 

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An inside look at Citizen Journalism, by Denise Kennedy

It’s been around for years, and you have possibly been doing it but never thought of it in this context. It keeps you awake at night when you should be asleep, but when the writing bug hits you, the pen (or the keyboard) is in control. For all the writers reading this, it comes as no surprise that writing has been a passion of many since time began, but for some of you the title for a specific type of writing is new news for you: I speak of the trendy, hipster, dedicated blogger, known as ‘the citizen journalist’.

The following definition given by Rosen sums it up quite simply:

“When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism’. (Jay Rosen, 2008)

Citizen journalism is based upon the occupation of citizen writers, processing, collating and producing content for public readership, news and information.

According to Bowman and Willis, (We Media, 2003), written back in 2003:

“We are at the beginning of a Golden Age of journalism — but it is not journalism as we have known it. Media futurists have predicted that by 2021, “citizens will produce 50 percent of the news peer-to-peer.” However, mainstream news media have yet to meaningfully adopt or experiment with these new forms. Historically, journalists have been charged with informing the democracy. But their future will depend not on only how well they inform but how well they encourage and enable conversations with citizens. That is the challenge.”

It is important to note that we cannot make the mistake of confusing what is known as Community Journalism and Civic Journalism, which are both related to the actual writing and reporting of professional journalists. The huge increase of media access, online platforms, digital marketing and new technology, have all led to growth in volume of citizen produced articles, and as this trend is set to rise, it can be expected that citizen journalists will most definitely be seen on a larger scale moving forward.

Denise Kennedy

March 2015

The Sound of Life… ☕ 🎧 🍝

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As I sit here writing to you, I hear the soft flickering of my open coal fire, as heat radiates and the smell of warmth fills the room. I am grateful. Over in my kitchen, a freshly prepared, by yours truly, pot of Irish stew gurgles and bubbles as it cooks on my brand new stove. My nearby window, slightly ajar, lets me hear the birds singing to each other from their branches, and the funny screams of sea gulls as they soar in the sky.  The sound of life!

Some of you know I have moved, and many of you have asked me to tell the story of how it all happened. First, let me take a sip from my freshly brewed cup of brilliance, and I will begin to pen the tale.

The story is long, so I will keep it brief and pertinent to what really matters. I needed to move, and time was running out on my lease. Days, weeks and months were flying past, with no real success in finding my new abode. I remained resilient and positive, but meanwhile back at the ranch, my heart was growing wearisome and tiresome. You know the feeling.

So, on a seemingly ordinary Tuesday morning, way back in November, I awoke with a sense of destiny, urgency, optimism and a certain, “Je ne sais quoi.

I went through my usual morning routine, breakfast, reading, quiet time, etc etc, but all the while I knew today was the day I would find it. I decreed it in my heart, that today God and I would find it, as if God needed my help, and the day commenced.

Soon I was out walking on the street, in the south city suburbs of Dublin, with no real place to go, just watching people and looking for opportunity. This particular day, opportunity came wearing overalls and holding a paintbrush. He was a stranger to me, but I soon found myself interrupting his work to inquire if he may possibly be the landlord of said property. He wasn’t. But quite resolutely he took me into the house to meet the landlord of this lovely Georgian house. To cut a long eventful story short, I spent about half an hour chatting with a landlord, who had nothing to offer me, but took the time to offer me friendly advice and hear my story. He had just come out of a three hour meeting, yet gave me much more than the time of day. It was inspiring, but even more so, when he simply said, that he wanted to give me some timely and encouraging advice…”Don’t lose hope!..”

He said it calmly and resolutely. So much so that the tired heart in me was lifted up. I blinked the tears from my eyes and thanked him for this kindness and time. And ventured out onto the street again.

Moments later I saw another gentleman in overalls. So, yes, you guessed it. I did. I gingerly approached him on the front steps of another Georgian building, and inquired if he were possibly the landlord. And, guess what? No, he wasn’t. We chatted a bit about why I was out stopping strangers and the like. He then decided to call the landlord of this property to inquire on my behalf. And low and behold, he had just driven in around the rear of the building at that moment. So, had I arrived at this second property thirty minutes earlier, things may not have lined up so perfectly for me. I mused to myself, thank God the other landlord took thirty minutes out of his day to be kind to a stranger.

Soon I rushed round the corner to meet another stranger, who now is my current landlord.

It all did not go as smoothly as planned, and there were a few delays and hiccups to test my faith, but soon after, the keys to my brightly new refurbished from floor to ceiling, Georgian studio were in my hands. I moved in well before Christmas, with the help of family and friends. I have all I need, plus one extra, a real open log fire! That part was a pleasant surprise. Blessed with brand new fixtures and fittings, a new cooker, fridge and utilities. And this is where I write to you from, sitting in my own antique nursing chair, by my heat-yielding flickering fire.

And although there are challenges afoot, and things that greatly challenge my heart today, I can look around me and be grateful that I have more than some, and less than a lot, but I have what I need. I am ready to move on to the next adventure, wherever and whenever that is. Today the sound of life is beautiful, and I am grateful for the journey, and for the strength that tears can bring.

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Anyway, I better go, the sound and aroma of my homemade stew bubbling signals to me that it is ready, and so am I. Oh, there is one more important thing I must tell you; remember when I met the second landlord? Well, he was not planning on advertising this property, so the only way I would have found him is if I met him on the street. So, there you have it. Get out there and meet people. Take risks, go out on a limb and see what happens. I did, and it changed everything.

Denise

 

A Simple Hello… ⏰

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The Strength of Networking When You Are Not Working…

These are days of uncertainty for many, days where what seems firm and reliable can change in the blink of an eye. You lose your job, or your partner loses theirs. You are plunged into what seems like a valley of fear and confusion. I am here to speak a word of hope to the hopeless, jobless or despairing… NETWORK! Get out there and meet people, talk to people, ask people for direction, take a risk!

There are thousands in the world in the exact same predicament as you, but their strength lies in the attitude they have chosen! Yes, they are scared, worried, troubled, and possibly broke, but they have made a choice to do something positive in a tough situation. You can too!

You may have been made redundant from your job, but you have not been made redundant of the skills, strengths, gifts and talents that belong to you.

You have enormous potential and given a new and challenging role you can develop in so many ways. This new season could be exactly what you need, in order to develop those skills you forgot you had.

So, start small, but start.

Dig down deep inside that heart of yours and grasp every bit of hope and tenacity you have. Do one brave thing a day. Be brave five minutes longer than you thought you could, and pretty soon being brave will become your new default response.

Begin today, right now.

You can do it! Write it down, make it plain to see every day. Decide that by this time next year, you will have achieved more than you ever thought possible. Dream big, take risks, and surround yourself with people who believe in you, and summon the very best from you.

What are you waiting for? The very best is yet to come!

Tough times don’t last, tough people do. ” ― Robert H. Schuller

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/256172.Robert_H_Schuller

=)

Denise

The Giving Thanks Season ღ¸.•*´¨Thanksgiving!

by Denise Kennedy

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As I sit here at my office table writing to you, I am surrounded by half-packed boxes and disordered belongings…all of which are screaming for my attention.

My freshly brewed coffee steams beside me, swirling amidst the scent of my favourite pumpkin spice candle, and the birds chirp and dance outside as the frost melts in the November sun…

So I choose to be still. I choose to be thankful. It is easy to be thankful when all about you is splendidly perfect and testing times have come and gone, but when you are in the midst of true battles it can be a difficult thing to choose. I understand my friend, as I too am in that place. Between the now and the not-yet can be the scariest place to find yourself, or the grandest adventure ever. We can either see it as an opportunity or a threat.

I am moving, well getting ready to move, to a place unknown to me. As I prepare, I have been reminded over and over to be grateful for the things I have, while waiting for the things not yet seen. We have a choice to make…we can wallow in fear or we can flap our wings and use the winds of adversity to take us only higher. I want to choose the greater thing, the activity of winners, of fighters, of eagles. Today my friend Katie Taylor won her fifth world boxing championship title. What a legend! And as I watched her interview after the fight, I was overwhelmed by the expression of pure joy and relief on her face.

I couldn’t help but think of all the times she must have felt like giving up, or quitting. There must have been days when the sacrifice seemed too hard or too costly, but it all paid off today.  And what a day of thanksgiving it is for her and all of us who know her and love her.

So, my friend, today we must decide to be brave, to be thankfully courageous, and respond with strength, boldness and faith. We can let the fear of the unknown overcome us or we can choose to respond with determination and perseverance. In this season of Thanksgiving it can be hard to be thankful when things are not as we would love them to be, but when we start to focus on the many beautiful things in our lives, joy will come and fill our tired hearts.

As we embrace the winds of adversity and change, thankfulness and bravery can be our companions.  Choosing to be thankful creates a strong foundation in our lives that becomes our default response, even when circumstances are completely challenging. It is not easy but it is possible. I am sure there were days when Katie Taylor had to fight to believe that she could achieve her dreams, and today she celebrates where discipline and training have brought her. We can too my friend!

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I invite you today, to be thankful, to be bravely thankful! And now back to my boxes…the adventure awaits! ¸.•*¨) Nisey K

The Hope of Marketing ¸.•*”

written by Denise Kennedy

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20140423_090056Satisfying the hope of your market, makes business a sweeter experience!

Maybe the word ‘hope’ drew you to this blog today, or possibly you are a keen marketer and advocate for all things digital? I am currently studying the history, life and power of digital marketing, endeavouring to better my own knowledge of the subject, helping others do the same, and also strengthening my brand platform. It is a vast subject, but what has grabbed my attention from the starting line is the whole idea of the ‘hope’ we seek to give our customers, followers and readers.

As marketing advocates, our deepest desire is to strengthen the trust relationship we develop with others through our web content and everything we do. We want to create a platform where our brand is trusted, relied upon, purchased and engaged with in a deeper way. We long for longevity and commitment from our audience, ensuring that they will see us as a profitable, reliable and trustworthy investment.

So when people interact with your brand or service, do they come away feeling positive or disappointed? When you promise something are you absolutely sure that you are delivering what they expect? This brings me to the introduction of two important words, ‘hope’ and ‘expectation’. You should desire to build a reputation with your audience where they believe in you, have hope in you and  become loyal to you. We cannot control the internal expectations of our target group, but we can try to understand their expectation and then incorporate those things into our media campaigns, wherever it is possible. We have direct control over the message we deliver and strive to build. If a customer becomes disillusioned with our brand they will abandon us and relinquish any relationship with us. As you develop and strengthen your relationship with the target market, it is imperative that you do not offer what you cannot deliver.

Marketing is a powerful form of communication, finding much comparison with our own personal and professional relationships. You will cause a person to lose confidence in you if you continue to promise things that you have no intentions of delivering. One of my pet hates is the failure of professionals to follow through on their promise and falling short in communicating about important issues. Here is where the strategies of project management are vital.

So moving forward, as you build your brand or product campaign, be sure to critically  analyse the things you are promising, while continually striving to remove any doubt in the heart and mind of your target market that you can deliver. Let this also permeate into your personal and professional relationships, and the sea you sail on will certainly be a smoother one!

Denise ¸.•*”¸.•*”¸.•*”

The Donut Outlook 🍩 🍩

by Denise Kennedy (June 2014)

I hope my title grabbed your attention…an odd one I know, but this short thought for today will inspire you, I believe.

I woke one morning, eager to start my day with soul food and coffee, but before my feet even hit the carpet, a deep dread overshadowed my short-lived enthusiasm. I was quickly overwhelmed by thoughts of the things in my life that were seemingly incomplete to me. My mind became overcrowded with unanswered prayers and waited-on promises. I instantly felt down in the dumps, and downtrodden by worry and regret. I knew I had a choice to make…I could either choose misery or joy. But misery was winning.

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Then in the stillness of a kettle boiling and birds singing near my open window, the still small voice of Hope spoke to my heart: “Life is like a donut…you can either choose to look at the hole in the middle, which represents all that you feel is missing from your life… OR you can choose to look at the amazing things that surround you every day, that fill your life with joy, hope, goodness and countless other precious things…the choice is yours!”

My negative worrying was stopped in its tracks… and with a freshly made cup of brilliance in my hand I made my way over to sit bathed in the sunshine beaming in through my window. For a few moments I quietly let those powerful words permeate my being. It made no sense to keep staring at that empty hole in the middle of the gloriously beautiful donut of life, and yet my heart was weary of waiting, weary of trying to figure things out. I was just plain weary. I picked up my reading passages for the day and continued to try to banish those irritating negative thoughts. Then I read this: ‘What God accomplishes in you while you are waiting, is often more important than the thing you are waiting for.” (UCB Radio)

BOOM! I was stunned by the truth of those words…that even though what I am praying and waiting for is of such importance to me and God, and indeed those involved, there is a deeper work that is far more attractive to the heart and plan of God. He is watching my growth, my faithfulness, my determination to trust Him, among many other things. Suddenly my shoulders dropped from their anxious position and I realised I could find peace instead of striving.  My agenda was refocused and I could see the donut, instead of what was missing in the middle. Peace came. I did not find the answers I wanted, but I found the answers I needed for that moment. Tomorrow is another day, and He will come with what my soul needs. So for today I will enjoy the donut, the blessings, the journey and all that is happening to make me the person in whom God finds delight. There are treasures in dark times, and great joy to be found in the waiting seasons of our lives…It all boils down to which part of the donut you choose to focus on and appreciate.

Enjoy the donut that is your life…find the genuine blessings that surround you every day…for this is the key to unlocking true joy in every circumstance of life.

From the pen of a grateful girl,

Denise

Your Follow Through ⛳💖⛳

by Denise Kennedy

May 28th 2014

Everywhere I turn this phrase is following me… be it on a greeting card, in a movie or a conversation… ‘Make sure you follow through.’   Any golfers out there will know how vital that is to your swing and your game of golf! Well, I am learning that is it equally as vital to my game of life!

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Sometimes we have to stand still before we can move forward, and I am reminded of the days gone by where I thought I could not possibly take another step in the direction I knew in my heart I needed to go, but I did.  So here I stand again, at the junction of more decisions where truth begs for my attention, despite what my heart may say it wants. I love truth, but some days we are led by our desires for what we want, rather than what may be the chosen path by God for us right now. He wants obedience, He wants surrender, He wants my willingness to trust Him despite my disappointment. HE wants my ‘follow through’.  And deep down in my heart, so do I.

A wise old saint once said, “Never doubt in the darkness what God has told you in the light.” We are not God, hence our reason for needing Him. I am learning that there is a blessing in not knowing it all, in not having all the details of what comes next. All I have is NOW, and I must follow through despite my feelings on the matter.  Today while reading the book of John, I was reminded of the truth that God wants our ‘joy to be full’.  Okay, so for some of you that is old news, but sometimes God resurrects a phrase of truth to hammer it home a little more, and to serve as an anchor of hope when we are being tossed about my life, and today He did just that for me. He cares that I am joyful, and that matters so much to Him that He wrote it many times. How beautiful!

So hang in there… the breakthrough comes when you survive the breaking point… The bumps are what you climb on, they are the things that you hold onto along the climb to the mountain top. Yes there will be sacrifices that you will not understand and days that seem so hard to fathom, but He is there, cling to Him. Make a choice to ‘soul-cling’ to Him. Your breakthrough is coming, and God will follow through on all that He has promised.

In the Free Dictionary by Farlex, Breakthrough is defined as “to change direction or move suddenly”, how beautiful a thought that is! We love ‘sudden moves’ once they are good for us, but sometimes God brings a change of direction that we may find difficult to embrace. That is where the rubber meets the road of our journey of faith, and we must choose to surrender and trust.

For once we make it past the breaking point, our breakthrough will come!

So ‘follow through‘ and ‘break through’.

From the pen of a grateful girl,

Denise 💖

All rights reserved. Copyright by Denise Kennedy. May 2014.
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A Graceful Interruption 🎵 🎶 🎼

Written by Denise Kennedy

May 1st 2014

My eyes opened, and immediately thoughts captured my waking moments with busyness and today’s to-do list! My feet had not hit the floor yet and already I was running around in circles in my mind. It is the first day of May, and I have lots to do. I determined to silence the chaos that tried to envelope me in panic, and allowed myself five more minutes of duvet time, as it was only 7am. I listened to the birds in my garden singing victoriously in the rain. The heavy downpour that most likely was pelting them on their little heads, did not seem to bother them at all. I smiled.

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Then I arose, and greeted my day with faith, hope and intent. I prepared my cup of brilliance, and sat at my table by my window. The sun was not shining this morning and somehow I actually welcomed this cloudy day by lighting my favourite vanilla bean candle. Ahhh aroma and flickering light, a beautiful combination. Then I quietened my to-do list and hushed the busy thoughts that clamoured for my attention. Instead my focus turned to my God, and surrendering my entire day to Him. I waited, read, prayed and pursued stillness. He came, whispered hope, promised strength, gave encouragement and reassured me with His presence. “Today is Yours God”, I whispered with great loyalty, love and expectation. Then I reached over to open my window further as glimmers of sunshine broke through the clouds. I sat back down and closed my eyes and let my Saviour’s peace take precedence over my morning.  Then it came, the most beautiful interruption imaginable. In the still air came these beautiful melodic lyrics, accompanied by a choir of voices and instruments:

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see…”

I held my breath with surprise, my brain curiously trying to figure out where this music was coming from. In all the years I have sat by this garden window on the third floor of this building, I have never heard a song fill the air like it did this morning. I sat there, soaking up this incredible truth, as the song continued to play, hauntingly and boldly through the south city air. It was amazing. Yes it was amazing grace. The lyrics continued to pour out upon the unsuspecting audience:

”Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.”

I was silent, as tears fell down my face, this beautiful interruption was so perfect. So brilliant in its magnitude, that the truth of these words overwhelmed my soul with hope. I felt like God orchestrated the whole encounter, and serenaded me with the reminder of His “Amazing Grace”. Moments later the song ended and no other song or music followed it. Even now I hear no radio, or further song choice filling the air. Just one song played, and the only one necessary.

As I sit here, I continue humming the tune as I type. Still moved by the incredible truth of its lyrics. Did anyone else hear it? I have no idea. All I know is I am glad I was silent enough to do so, and that my morning became still enough to receive the beautiful interruption of a message from heaven. My heart has been reminded of the multitude of ways God wants to invade my ordinary moments and fill them with His beautiful masterpieces. I am in awe of the mysterious timing of His glorious ways, and the reminder that it is His Amazing Grace that carries us on.

Be still enough to hear it, the sound of truth trying to get your attention, and fill your day with grace!

Nisey

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A Random Act Of Kindness ~ ✈

A Random Act Of Kindness ~ ✈

Written By Denise Kennedy

9 March 2014 at 20:35

So I finally got there…to the LifeWay Store in the Bluebonnet Boulevard Building, just beside the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was beyond excited, as we don’t have that store here in Ireland. I stood just feet inside the entrance, stunned…much like the way I did when I found myself inside a Wall-Mart the previous day; stunned by excitement and hardly able to decide which aisle to start at.

I needed some new worship CD’s, (yes $5 each will do thank you very much!) I picked up a few study aids as you do, rummaged through the gift section, card section, devotions section and chatted with the lovely staff as I made my way up and down each aisle.  Most of what I really wanted to buy I had to leave on the shelf, my wallet and my suitcase could not have endured my excited shopping!

I had my heart set on one specific item in particular: a new Bible. So finally I found the Bible section, all of five rows long. WOW where to start? Camouflage covers, pink blingy covers, ladies editions, women’s study editions, and a gazillion of choices of versions, print, colour and focus. Finally after quite some time I found my gorgeous bright red new Bible. Yes it was perfect and it was Valentine’s week, so why not get a Book about the love of God in the brightest red I could find.  It was the very last of the red edition and was soon firmly under my arm as I left to head up to the cashier to pay. I left a few items back on my way, deciding I really did not need so many new CD’s.

On arriving at the cashier area, I stood in line and chatted with some lovely staff, who just wanted to ask me questions to hear my accent…it was nice! I got to the cashier, loaded my few items on the counter and awaited my credit card to be accepted. The total came to $51.00. And I waited, and I waited. There was a problem. By now several people were waiting behind me. I was as red-faced as my red Bible.  Gently a customer patted me on the shoulder, and chatted for a bit about my credit card issues. The cashier clerk had a second cashier open up to relieve the queue and my embarrassment. Knowing my credit card is only used in emergencies, I explained that it is not a financial issue. The clerk assured me that the message on the screen insinuated that the problem was that the bank in Ireland had blocked my card due to a breach in security. Yes you got it, I forgot to tell them I was leaving the country. Sigh! What to do now? I had left my cash in a safe place and was just using my credit card for that visit to the Mall. Maybe I could sing for it??

I was so sad….I looked at my carefully chosen items, especially the beaming red Bible, that was exactly my heart’s desire. I began to gather the items up to put them back on the shelf, utterly disappointed!

Just then, that same gentle pat on my shoulder caught my attention. That same kind customer was standing beside me, looking down at my sad Irish eyes.  I really was not sure what he was doing. I told him I needed to put it all back as my card is under inspection due to security issues.  Just then he handed his own bank card to the cashier and smiled at me saying “These items obviously matter to you, and what matters to you matters to God. So I am buying them for you as a gift.”  My lip began to quiver as I tried to say thank you but it was okay, and that he did not know me so please don’t worry. He turned and said to me, “God knows you!”

I was stunned. I stood there and watched this complete stranger buy all of my items, the full total of $51.00. I had goosebumps on my goosebumps! Tears of surprise literally felt like they were running up and down my face. He just smiled, handed me the shiny bag with all my items and went to leave. I ran after him, hugged him and asked him for his business card to send a thank you gift when I returned to Ireland. He was delighted to.

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I have tried to contact him since I returned but no success yet. Maybe angels carry business cards? I don’t know. But, even now as I recount this story, I am reminded of the powerful love we shower on someone when we randomly show kindness. I need to do it more than I do, and every time I open my new red shiny Bible, the love of God reminds me that what matters to me, matters to God: even the seemingly little things! =)

Mistletoe and Fern ✿~ ✿~ ✿~

Written by Denise Kennedy ✿~ ✿~ ✿~

On a recent short stay in America the beautiful, I learned of two astounding growth phenomena. Mistletoe and Resurrection Fern. Yes a strange combination, but linger with me a few minutes and I will unveil this incredible mystery.

We were driving along the swampy marshes of Alexandria, Louisiana, en route from Baton Rouge to Dry Prong.  While we were cruising along the motorway I commented to my dear cousin about the unusual vibrant green circular plants growing on most of the trees that filled the watery bayous.  I found what she told me truly fascinating. She explained that this is mistletoe…and it grows in abundance there, but what is so impressive is that it can thrive on even the deadest of trees. I stared at it for the hours, days and weeks that I spent in Louisiana.

All the while it spoke to me of a deeper lesson. Let me explain…

Mistletoe is one of the most luxurious green plants you will ever see. It is shiny, vibrant and altogether lush. Every bunch I have seen looks so impressive I almost thought it were fake. So, this incredible green leafy plant can grow on the most lifeless host you have ever seen. And God spoke to me.  Are you in a season where you feel or sense that absolutely no fruit or good thing can come from your heart or life?  You look at your dry branches and make the evaluation that this is just a lifeless season where you have nothing to give.  My dear friend, even if you despise these days of struggle, unanswered questions, difficult dilemmas, or heartfelt loss, hang in there, fruit can grow in these times. You are able to bless others in this time of transition, so do not write yourself off and bow out gracefully from life. You are bearing fruit that may seem unseen or impossible to you, but you are. Sometimes, the toughest seasons we walk through actually yield the most precious harvest. In due time you will see it and be amazed at how God uses your selfless surrender as a means to encourage and motivate those around watching your life. As mistletoe grows in the lavish way it does, so you are growing as you wait on God and trust His perfect timing and providence.

A week later, I walked down St Charles, a beautiful street in New Orleans, with a dear friend and her son as our tour guide. As we walked they told me about the incredible stately oak trees that stood like tall soldiers down each side of the bustling trolly-train street. On these monstrous trees, with roots almost longer than the trees themselves, grew another phenomena: Resurrection Fern. Incredible.

mistl mossResurrection Fern is found growing on the trunks and branches of oak trees. It gets its name ‘resurrection’ from the way the fern acts during certain weather seasons.  During a dry period, the fern will be brown and completely lifeless.

It will appear to be dead and you would be forgiven for never expecting it to yield any appearance of life ever again. But as soon as the season of rain comes, that same moss will explode with green life again.  As I stood there gazing up at these magnificent oak trees and the fascinating resurrection life of this beautiful fern, I was struck by the cycle of life it goes through.

These two contrasting plants spoke volumes to me of the seasons we all walk though in this journey called life. There will be times when we appear to be lifeless and sense we shall never radiate with abundance or blessing again, but when the rain of heaven comes, life appears and our thirsty soul transforms into an oasis of growth and abundance.

Dear one, which ever season you find yourself to be in, know that the Master has a plan for this transition time and by remaining close to Him you will yield a beautiful harvest in abundance. You are producing a precious fragrance that will touch and inspire many. Lift up your weary head and thank Him for the new thing He is doing, soon it will spring forth, soon you will see life appear. Whether you feel like mistletoe or fern, to Him and those around you, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Xx Denise

I Can Carry You 👟

let go

It was a drizzly darkish Sunday morning as I made my way into the city.

I wrapped my furry hooded sweater closer to my face and braved the chilly wind with a smile. I hummed a Hillsong tune ‘You Have Made Me Glad’ in my mind and with each step I grew more grateful for all the blessings I have.

Soon my gaze was beautifully interrupted by the sight of the cutest scene ever… a little blonde curly haired child skipped along the footpath holding the hand of a tall dark male. I assumed it was her father. Anyway, as they approached I grew even more curious and bedazzled by their activity. She was giggling as she skipped and he was lovingly amused by her joy. Then, just as they approached me he leaned down towards her and said “Hey sweetheart can I lift you up?’

I could not hear her answer but assumed she said no, as he then rephrased his question by saying “I can carry you if you want?” ~ Then she smiled up at him and said “okay” and lifted her arms up toward him.  Then he leaned down and swung her up into his big strong arms and as they walked past me he snuggled her close and they meandered down the street.

Tears immediately filled my eyes as my heart was struck by the beauty of this scene.

As our words collided, I was deeply struck by the voice of God, speaking deeply and beautifully into my heart. He was reminding me that I do not have to walk like one ‘un-carried’. Yes I will always choose to be strong in the face of adversity and testing, but I have a strong God who lovingly leans down and asks me to allow Him to carry me. I may feel I can handle this myself and so not need rescuing, but nonetheless strong arms await to carry me through the seasons of my life. I think I am resilient but meanwhile God is whispering “Denise, I’ve got this!”

So, where ever you are right now…there is a voice calling to you…asking if you will allow yourself to be lifted, carried, loved, saved.

Say YES…accept the loving offer of God. He truly knows how tired you are.

Let His great big arms sweep down and lift you up.  You don’t have to do everything alone!

You know, I do not have all I want, nor have I seen every prayer answered, but I know my God can carry me and that gives me strength to live a life of contentment. He knows, and that is sometimes all I need to be reminded of. So I choose to let Him carry me, and it is truly beautiful!
So listen for His whisper, lift up your arms in sweet surrender and let Him carry you!

With love

Nisey

Whistle In The Dark °•○♬ ♪

Whistle In The Dark…

by Denise Kennedy

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Life is like a river, sometimes you are merrily merrily rowing your boat and life is but a dream…other times it seems like you are battling to paddle upstream in the torrents of a force five flood.  I can relate to both, as can we all. At the moment I find my vessel in the second description, and having experienced that exact real life event several years ago, I know it to be exhilarating but also totally terrifying.

The other night, while lying in my bed in the stillness of midnight, the phrase ‘Whistle In The dark’ grabbed my imagination and planted a curiosity in me that led me on an inquisitive journey.  The phrase ‘Whistle In The Dark’ has a few definitions and idioms. Here are a few I pulled together to enlighten us further…

1. To pretend to be unafraid

2. To be confident that something good will happen when it seems not at all likely (thefreedictionary.com)

3. To attempt to summon up one’s courage or optimism in a difficult situation (dictionary.com)

4. The notion that one should whistle in difficult circumstances to show that one is not concerned or frightened can be found in Robert Blair’s The Grave (1742): “The Schoolboy…Whistling aloud to bear his courage up”.  From the Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).

 

To choose to ‘whistle in the dark’ can best be described as deciding to be cheerful or optimistic when you are walking through a situation or circumstance where cheer or optimism cannot be warranted or expected.  Haven’t we all walked through these seasons of life? It is a great strength to be able to muster up the courage needed to lift your heart up by whistling or singing in a dark and lonely place.  Those of us who believe in God, call this FAITH. Whereby we focus on the power of our omnipresent God who holds our lives in His hands, believing that nothing happens to us that He is not infinitely aware of and involved in. Faith is choosing to trust, even when we cannot see where we are going or where our feet will step next.

 

My dear friend Roxanne, (from Louisiana), shared with me a beautiful illustration of the powerful workings of God’s hands: She recounted that should our feet be walking on or down a path that God does not wish for us, that God is mighty enough to literally reposition our feet and direct us down the batter path of His choosing. A door will open, a road will appear, a way will be made clear for us to take. I breathed a sigh of relief, for although we all know this to be true, sometimes we need a fellow traveler to come along side us and cheer us on.

 

Are you in this place? Are you ‘whistling in the dark’, hearing nothing but the lonesome sound of your own efforts to take courage by whistling your melody of faith? I am there with you, but more than that, GOD IS. Even the thickest darkness is as  light to Him. He can see clearly and is working all things together for good, whether we can see it or feel it.

 

So lift your head up dear one, with tears if you must, and lean your heart into His today knowing that He is right there beside you, and He hears your whistle of faith. Whistle loud and boldly, forgetting the doubtful voices of those around you who may not understand the reason for your courage. There is One who cherishes this sound of faith you make, this song in the night, your desire to boldly trust Him on the road less traveled. He is near, He is with you and He will come through for you. He hears you whistle and to Him it is a beautiful sound of precious trust from a heart determined to believe in the goodness of His hand to do what He has promised.

 

Soon we will see. God is getting us ready for something new.

 

It’s a beautiful day for a breakthrough!

 

💕  Denise  💕

°•○♬ ♪ εїз

✿ ❀ …ن٥ﻻ ﻉ√٥ﺎ ٱ ~ I do!

 ن٥ﻻ ﻉ√٥ﺎ ٱ… ~ I do! 080

He whispered it softly one day.  He overwhelmed me with gentleness, kindness and affection. I was stunned by the loving voice of the very One who holds my whole world in His hands.

Then He said it again… ‘I Love You!”

I stood there with a microphone in my hand and a song on my lips, before a packed room of hungry worshippers who wanted to lift His name higher. I kept my focus clear and my voice on the melody, but inside a torrent of water was drenching my weary soul.  To all those present it was an ordinary Sunday morning, but as the following moments unfolded I knew I was encountering a depth of intimacy that I neither had to initiate or control. And God spoke again…

I cannot speak yet of all of the things that He shared with me that morning, and it has taken me several weeks  to even try to put it on (virtual) paper.  But my life has been changed by a simple yet profound question. It is for you that I share this account, because it is He who wills it and He who wants you to know, that yes, there is more, much more for you than what you have experienced up until this moment wherein you stand… He waits, He calls, He asks. Come with me as I try to take you on the journey…

I stood there, holding my breath and continuing to sing, not easy to do at the same time. God had crept up valiantly and hi-jacked my heart, stolen my attention in a magnificent way, and it was beautiful. The discourse that took place began with an invitation by the Almighty to surrender my heart in an entirely new way to Him. He simply said, “Denise, will you marry me?”  Yeah I know, not the kind of words you expect to hear from God.  But what then unfolded was a beautiful portrayal of what it means to really trust, commit and surrender one’s life to the Creator.  It’s all about our vows.  And that’s exactly where God brought me…to a place of renewing my vows to Him and His will for my life.   The magnificent voice of God whispered to me: “Will you trust me and be true to Me in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health?  Will you love and honour me all the days of your life?  Will you walk with me for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer?  Will you keep your vows to Me even when life makes no sense and you are walking through difficult times?

I stood for a while as tears ran down my face…then soon found myself kneeling on the stage, unaware of what anyone else was doing around me, yet continuing to sing with the team.  But I was in the presence of Greatness, a mighty Lover who wanted ALL of my heart, right there, and forever more.  I thought about the wedding vows normally exchanged by couples on their wedding day, and how they take each other by the hand and the heart and pledge to walk together through all of the seasons of life.  And although I have not stood there at that altar as so many have before me, I now found myself standing at a different kind of altar.  And I answered ‘YES”.  Yes God, I will trust You in all of the seasons You walk me through, through all of the losses and gains, joys and sorrows, thrills and tears.  I will trust You, knowing that even in death, we will not be parted, because that part of the vow ‘until death do us part’ is not true for those who love God, as we know when we pass from this earth we simply change garments, names and dwelling places to be transported to a Heavenly Kingdom that never ends.

Maybe God is whispering to you right now, a quiet yet provoking ‘Will you?’ ~ Maybe you desire to know Him in a greater way, and find your heart pounding in your chest as mine did?
Later that day I did some research on wedding vows and wrote my new vows of love and trust to my God. While doing so I found a beautiful wedding song used by the Eskimos, which goes like this:

Eskimo Love Song

You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.

As I read it I was reminded that because of the breath of my Creator in my lungs, and His life in my bones I can say that He makes me do all of these things I sometimes take for granted! The Father of creation loved the world so much, that not only did He die for us, but He died ‘as us’… (Bill Johnson – Hosting The Presence)  God uses the symbol of marriage to describe the love He has for His Bride, in the same way He uses it to remind us of the sacredness of a wedding between two people.  May today be the beginning of a new love romance for you, may you find yourself whispering to your Creator…’I do!’

For we know that on the Cross, God has already screamed ‘I Do!’ to a world He loves.

All my love

Nisey

💗ٱ

ƸӜƷ (¯`·.¸¸.Still Life.¸¸.·´¯) ƸӜƷ

ƸӜƷ (¯`·.¸¸.Still Life.¸¸.·´¯) ƸӜƷ

written by Denise Kennedy

Hi everyone, firstly may I send huge apologies for my delay in writing a new blog post, but life has been a bit of a challenge of late.  I will not go into the details of it all, but suffice to say that although I am a student of business at the moment, some of my greatest lessons these days have been much removed from the surrounds of a university lecture hall, and leaning more towards the daily challenges we all face.  Life brings its own lessons and these are the stuff life is made of.  Still, life goes on, and we learn to roll with the punches.

~~ Some of the things God whispers to you are to be proclaimed from the rooftops & others are to be pondered in your heart. ~~♥~ ƸӜƷ

I have been in such a place of busy-ness, schedules and decisions of late, yet even in all of the activity it has seemed at times that all was hushed and quiet in my soul.

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Some have said “Hey Denise, I miss you!” to which I replied, “Hey, thanks, I kinda miss myself too!”  Not having the time available to drop everything and do the things I most love, I have somehow missed the most ‘creative’ parts of my daily routine.  So today, in the midst of a busy schedule I have taken time out, just to write this life lesson that has found a place in my heart over the past month. So thanks for your company and allowing me to ‘be’ with you, getting lost in what I love…writing!

Please let me tell you something precious, which hopefully will resonate in your own heart too.  Through all of the busyness and activity, I have felt God holding me gently in a place of stillness.  I have always loved butterflies, and lately I have found myself captured by one butterfly quote after another.  They are all gathered together in my journal as I speak (or type) ~ but it is more than the beauty of a butterfly that has captured my imagination these days, it is the cocoon:  the process of stillness, change, darkness, waiting, pondering, and patience.

I can only say that in these nights of deep thinking, processing and change, I am seeking to learn the art of the still life. So what does the word still mean?

STILL: Not moving or making a sound, deep silence and calm. Remaining tranquil, placid, and without action – To be free from disturbance, agitation, commotion or panic – To be stilled by one in control, to be made at ease, hushed and comforted.  To sense the ease of solitude, lack of hustle and bustle, or to be overcome with a profound hush. ~ ƸӜƷ

Some would say it sounds easy, relaxing, blissful, and such a beautiful endeavour.  The activist in us would say otherwise, finding it hard to relinquish control over a desired outcome or process.  I have learned that to ‘be still and know’ is not always an easy option, but nonetheless it is the best practice for a true believer.

So back to my cocoon, or the lessons thereof : Do you think the caterpillar knows it will suddenly emerge from this dark, lonely place of confinement, as a stunning winged creature of amazing beauty? Does it realise that in the dark, everything it ever knew or experienced to date, is about to be utterly transformed into a vibrant, new existence where it will know flight and freedom like never before?

The following quote encapsulates this thought perfectly:

I always wondered, when a butterfly leaves the safety of its cocoon, does it realize how beautiful it has become? Or does it still just see itself as a caterpillar?” ― (The Air I Breathe) ~ ƸӜƷ

Does a butterfly, one day catch a glimpse of a stunning reflection as it flutters above a calm lake and only then realise the magnitude of this change? There is nobody in the cocoon to talk it through the changing process, and how true that can be for us too.

There are many who have studied the intricate transformation of a caterpillar into the elegance and profound delicate beauty of a butterfly, but for one moment, let’s consider our own still life transformations…do you desire a breakthrough of your own? Do you hunger for an experience that takes you on an adventure that is wonderful and beyond your wildest dreams? Well, maybe like me you do. So, why not let it happen? Take the time to be still, to contemplate a metamorphosis of phenomenal proportions.  There are wings waiting for you to use, there are dreams waiting for you to chase, and there’s an adventure with your name written all over it! Nobody can create the atmosphere for change for you, no matter how much they wish they could.  The only person you can change is yourself, and many have tried and failed miserably. I cannot set you free, nor can I do more than invite you to take the time to be still, and dream of flying.  The following words describe beautifully the courage and strength necessary in finding one’s wings:

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“As a child, he’d found a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. He’d tried to help it by prying open the husk to set the insect free. It had lain in the sun, beating its wings as they dried, but had never flown and soon it died. His grandmother explained the butterfly needed to go through the difficulty of freeing itself in order to have the strength to fly.”
Laura Bacchi, Butterfly Unpinned ~ ƸӜƷ

I never want it to be said of you or I, “They never flew!”… I want to live my days in courageous colour, displaying all of the wonderful qualities my Maker has bestowed in me.  I want to find the strength to fly and leave no room for regrets.

My new mission statement these days is:

 “I have a little brown cocoon of an idea that may possibly expand into a magnificent butterfly of fulfillment…”     L.M. Montgomery ~ ƸӜƷ

There is a time for stillness, but then comes the time for flight where we say, “Goodbye Cocoon, I’m going UP!” …the sky awaits.

Don’t let it be said of you, “You never flew!”

Near Life Experience ♥ ♥ ♥▬▬▬♥

NEAR LIFE EXPERIENCE ♥ ♥ ♥▬▬▬♥

by Denise Kennedy

Sunday night, and I am too tired to study but it is too early to sleep. So here I am.

Today was wonderful.  There are many reasons why. It is ‘Thanksgiving Sunday’ and that is always good news. Time to say thanks to a good God, for all the good times, good family and friends, and oh yeah, the good home-cooked food I just devoured…(homemade by me)

But I heard a sentence today that stopped me in my tracks. An hour later, well actually, several hours later, I am still thinking about it.

“Some people survive near-death experiences, but many spend their lives having near-life experiences…” (Well it went something like that I think, but you get the gist?!)

We all know what a near death experience is.

A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light.  These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or otherwise very close to death, hence the term near-death experience. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience)

May I repeat the line? “Some people survive near-death experiences, but many spend their lives having near-life experiences…”  After I heard the phrase, I erupted in laughter, nervous laughter.  You know, that kind of laughter you find yourself in when you are facing an awkward moment or you want to squirm your way out of the present challenge.  The thought instantly caused me to think about the many moments where life invites us to live, or we are faced with a choice to avoid a great adventure and sit that dance out.  When I think of a near-life experience I imagine it is that point in life where we must make a critical decision, where we either live the life we want or we don’t.

So what do the majority of us do when the near-life experience presents itself?  Do we run into the nearest telephone box, do our Clark Kent turnaround and spin out of there in our Superman outfit, ready to take on the world? I wish it were so.  I think most of us see life sizing us up and we run away from meeting the challenge.  So many do not survive these near-life experiences, we avoid those challenging steps that would take us on a new journey to the life we really wish we were living.  Why? It takes more courage to believe in nothing than in something, and it takes raw guts to be someone who lives a fearless life.  I don’t know about you, but I want to live UNAFRAID!!

I don’t want to reach the end of my life, only remembering the moments I almost lived. I almost dreamed. I almost loved. I almost conquered my fears. I almost fulfilled that incredible adventure. I almost made a difference. I almost became the person I was created by God to be.  I don’t want to look back and live with that regret! How about you?  I don’t want to see something inside of me die every time I walk away from the ‘almost’ things of a near-life experience.  I want to really live. Fully alive and seizing every day like it were my last, for one day it will be.

The difference between school and life is, in school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson.’ (Tom Bodett)

In summary, can I say, grab life by the reigns, ride it for all you are worth. Be ready for those near- life experiences, the white-knuckle rides that scare you to pieces, but take you to heights you never dreamed possible! I am with you – I am doing this.  Why, just today I took a leap of faith into the unknown to me, but known to God.  And tomorrow I will do my best to look for another opportunity to not miss, to not sit out on, to have the best life experiences I can. I don’t want to miss a thing!

♥ ♥ ♥▬▬▬♥ Laugh, even when you feel too sick or too worn out or tired. Smile, even when you’re trying not to cry and the tears are blurring your vision. Sing, even when people stare at you and tell you your voice is terrible. Trust, even when your heart begs you not to. Sleep, even when you;re afraid of what dreams might bring. Run, even when it feels like you can’t run any more. And, always, remember, even when memories pinch your heart. Because the pain of all your experience is what makes you the person you are now. And without your experience – you are an empty page, a blank notebook, a missing lyric. What makes you brave is your willingness to live through life and hold your head up high. So don’t live life in fear. Because you are stronger now, after all this happened, than you ever were back before it started. (BY Alysha Speer) ♥ ♥ ♥▬▬▬♥

Don’t almost live, instead, live intentionally!

¸.·’★¸.·’★ PROMISE YOURSELF ¸.·’★¸.·’★

¸.·’★ PROMISE YOURSELF ¸.·’★

My blog entry today is basically a simple, yet profound collection of words, which when pondered on regularly, I believe will change the reader, the ponderer and the way we do life! Ponder on.. .. .. & feel free to comment below. I love to hear back from you. I will share more soon, for there is much to write!!

★HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my family, friends & loved-ones!

Love well, Love hard, Love sincerely! Nisey

Credible & Incredible? – *.¸.*♥ღ

Credible & Incredible? – *.¸.*♥ღ

written by Denise Kennedy

As I sat in my Strategic Services Marketing lecture, in order to complete my Bachelor of Business Hons Degree in Entrepreneurship, I was strangely challenged by an innocent word play.

Let me fill you in…

We were discussing the various ways one would develop your company’s ‘Flower of Service”, with a view to offering the best functionality for the service or product that customers are willing to pay for. We discussed the various ways you can add value to your customer’s experience while also running an effective and innovative marketing strategy. It is all about the core of your service plus your additional back-up services, which guarantee you the differentiation you desire. The ‘petals’ you develop as part of your marketing strategy are of immense importance, but so are other elements.

So, as the word ‘credible’ was suggested a few times, and we tossed around the idea of creating these added services as a business, I started to think about the word ’incredible’. The Incredible Hulk would never have become the superhero we grew up believing he was, if it were not for his superhero powers to impress and deliver. So in the latest new word of my amazing little nephew/godson, be “CLASS”, be a class person who delivers in an awesome way!

I would imagine every entrepreneur, whether an innovative product designer or a creative service manager, wants to be ‘incredible’. But I am also pretty sure they want to be ‘credible’ too, wouldn’t you?

So how does this translate? Well, I went off on a roll thinking about these two words and their definitions:

CREDIBLE: Able to be believed; convincing. Capable of persuading people that something will happen or be successful. Being capable of being believed; plausible. Keeping your word, being worthy of confidence and reliability. Being of sufficient military capability to deter an attack or carry out an operation successfully: Those of you involved in the marketing world may have heard of the term ‘credibility gap’: this describes the difference between high expectations aroused by unrealistic claims, and the actual performance of a product or service.

So for a moment let’s just switch to my other focus word and see how it is defined.

INCREDIBLE: marvelous, amazing, astonishing, barely believable. It can be described as possessing a rich quality that provokes amazement and awe from your audience or customers.  Others see it as maintaining a quality which is awe-inspiring and astonishing.

If you look at your own person-hood as a brand, do you see yourself as a trustworthy person who delivers credible value to those who do life with you, or are you more concerned about your ‘incredible ways’ than to bother with maintaining a strong ethical stand when it comes to fulfilling what you promise? These questions provoked me, and I considered the many organisations worldwide, who promise a product or service of infinite value to their consumers/users, while failing miserably in their real genuine power to deliver.

As I embark upon a new chapter in my writing career, I am so aware of the importance of being ‘credible’ and ethical, while hungering for the ‘wowness’ of the ‘incredible factor’ also. These are deep questions which should cause us to challenge our core beliefs. I believe it is possible to encompass both of these amazing qualities into our marketing mix, our ‘Flower of Service’, and more importantly our dealings with colleagues, family, and friends on a daily basis. Good petals are only valuable if they are equally as credible as they are incredibly wonderful!

In my current studies, I am seeing many stories of human resource departments having to fire people due to their poor moral standards, ethics or personality traits. It is sad that people who tick all of the boxes in remarkable ways, can fail in the personality department and lose their employable strengths over it. You may deliver incredibly well in your interviews, but turn out to be an awful person to work with every day. Be careful! be credible and incredible.

Denise Kennedy

 

ღ Love Out Loud! ღ

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LOVE OUT LOUD!

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In Defense of LOVE…

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To love; is it the desire of the weak, or is it a characteristic of the strong?  Or is it both? Well I say love makes you strong, love armours you with resilience and persistence when all around you seems to be a battleground. Find something or someone you love and suddenly a hard quest or a seemingly insurmountable obstacle is seen as a challenge to overcome at all cost.  Love; it makes weak men rise up and do things they never thought they could do, or desire to do.  It makes damsels smile with pride and respect for the man who is willing to prove his love to her.  It makes lovebirds sing and creation burst with colour. Love; they say it makes the world go round! What do you say it is?

Depending on what you believe love to be, will determine how you love.  How you love others is the very oil of friendship, courtship, family life and relationship. Upon love, hangs every other action, deed, desire, hunger, thirst and accomplishment.  You will endeavour to do great things for someone or something you love.  Yes you will do many things for less than love, but in the end you will still do something because you love what you do or you love the one you are doing it for. Many have done a difficult or unloved task, simply for the joy they see on the face of the loved-one it is accomplished for.  What a motivator love is.

So today, in defense of love, I say LOVE in such a way that the world takes note, sits up and recognizes a different kind of love they have not beheld before.  Love dangerously; in such a way as to walk where there is risk, where there could be pain or gain.  Love extravagantly; count nothing as too much to endure. Leave nothing unsaid, unknown or unspoken. Love valiantly; whether it is returned, received, appreciated, applauded, or sought for ~ choose to love with honesty!

The world needs love – we see it in the love God has displayed towards an uncaring world. Yet we did not love Him, He chose to love us.  To love someone who loves you back is easy to do, depending on how genuine your love is.  But to love those who do not want your love nor see any value in it, is a task only the strong can do.  If you know you are loved by a Greater Love, a source far more magnificent than any human love, then you can give love knowing He has you covered, protected and guarded.  To love with unconditional love, is truly a love that loves in all weather, all conditions and all challenges.

Today I defend love. I believe it holds some of the most extraordinarily mysterious qualities I have ever known.  Love heals and hurts; Love makes one sad and happy; Love lifts you up and can let you down; Love fills you up or leaves you empty.  Love is truly one of the most incredible gifts we can bestow upon another soul.

Today someone is watching how you love, choose wisely and graciously. Today a friend desperately needs someone to prove to them that love carries weight and a legend all of its own! Today how you love makes a difference to the hurting around you.  No matter how you perceive or have experienced love to be, you can still choose to defend it based on what  you believe love should be. You are the only one who can determine what kind of ‘lover’ you will be!

LOVE; Guard it, treasure it, redeem it, communicate it, risk it, prove it, speak it, display it, fight for it, embrace it, protect it, safeguard it, live for it, die for it, celebrate it, validate it, cherish it, define it, sacrifice for it, heal with it. Do it!  It is those who love, that know how to decorate their own soul, grow their own garden and appreciate the art of loving.  Loving is an art, but that artist lives in each one of us waiting to be displayed in your own sweet beautiful way!

Live in defense of love! Love heals! ღ

Somebody is waiting to be loved the way you love, so Love Out Loud! ღ

♥.¸¸.•*`*•♥ Denise

 

♪♫•*¨*•. In The Hallway .•*¨*•♫♪

♪♫•*¨*•. In The Hallway .•*¨*•♫♪ by Denise Kennedy

For several weeks now, a phrase I heard has rolled around my head, at times causing me to literally stop all I am doing and let it impact my heart deeply.

♪♫•*¨*•.“Until God opens the next door for you, PRAISE Him in the hallway!”.•*¨*•♫♪

As I sat in the garden to begin writing this piece, and had simply written the quote at the top of my blank page, my cell phone rang…my dear friend shared this exact quote with me as we talked, having had no idea what I was writing about…perfect timing and confirmation!

God opens doors it’s true – sometimes He opens them as soon as we ask, while at other times He chooses to open them whether we ask or not.  There are occasions when God seems to keep us in the holding pattern, circling to land, and we wait and wait.  Recently a huge open door presented itself in my life, and as I currently walk through it, I’m very much aware of the other doors I want to open in my life.  There is a lesson in ‘doors’ and a learning curve in how we handle them.

Is there anything grander than that perfect ‘door-swinging open’ moment?  When at last that brilliant big door you have been waiting on, opens wide before you and you rush right through it with heart-beating expectation, and excitement.  It is a wonderful time, and we thank God as we run with our arms waving over our head like a giddy child at Christmas.  So, what happens when the door seems to be solemnly closed, at least for now, or forever?  Do we sit sunken and despondent in the hallway of our life, dreading the season of waiting?  Do we sit there quite possibly drooling at the door handle begging it to open, and tiresomely hating even the wallpaper or paint on the familiar walls around us?  In this place our attitudes can become indifferent or nonchalant, despairing and forlorn.  But read again for me if you will, these thought provoking words:  “Until God opens the next door for you, PRAISE Him in the hallway!” ~ read them again, this time slowly and let them sink deeply into your tired heart.  Let them rest there unshaken and still.

♪♫•*¨*•.“Until God opens the next door for you, PRAISE Him in the hallway!”.•*¨*•♫♪

What door are you waiting on?  Are you imagining a new career which will suddenly bring success and comfort into your life?  Is there some new quest or adventure beckoning you on to a place of wonder, that somehow seems out of grasp for now?  What or who are you possibly waiting for?  Well, stop right now – could it be that in all of the time you are waiting for these doors to open, that God wants you to learn to be content right where you are, with Him in the hallway of your life?  With Him in the hallway could be the preparation place for what is behind that yet closed door?  There could be amazing secrets, words of wisdom and songs of ascent that He longs to share with you, as you sit in the hallway of your present life.  Don’t wish this season away, there are diamonds and gems to be gleaned at your feet.

Have you ever locked yourself out of your hotel room?  You sit there on the soft plush carpet hoping a room porter will come along, or you wait on that family member who said they would be with you shortly.  You suddenly notice the hallway you usually rush hurriedly down, in a whole new light and from a very different view now that you’re sitting on the floor.  You see the beautiful light fittings on the chandelier above you, or you admire the ornate mirrors and exquisite paintings on the walls.  You take time to appreciate the flowers in the cut glass vases and the stunning antique furniture beneath them.  You see, sometimes God causes the doors to close so that we simply learn to appreciate what is around us, and we begin to praise Him in the hallway of paused moments.  True it has to be said, when we finally get inside to the other side of the closed door, we truly welcome it with a greater appreciation, having had to wait for it.  The delays can cause a deeper appreciation to grow in us, which will make the grand door opening event a far more delightful experience.  Sometimes, what the heart must wait longer for, it also grows to miss and then value much more!

God may open the right door but in a different way, He may even open a completely different door at a time we had not foreseen or planned. He may even lead us through a door we do not want or desire at any time in our lives, and these are the moments that show us whether we really trust Him or not.  These seasons reveal to us what is really in our heart – if we trust Him as the ‘Door Opener’ of our lives, then we trust His timing too!  You may see others rush through the doors that you yourself wanted, and as they disappear through it leaving you with only the sound of their laughter, you sink again onto the carpet of your life and wonder why?  It seems so unfair you feel – but for now, just leave the lives of others in His hands, their journey is not any of your business, let it go.  Don’t envy the lives of others, when really only they and God know the journey that took them to that place of His providence.

The same God of providence and provision is also with you.  He longs to be the One your eyes are fixed upon as you sit in your hallway.  He wants to be the One you lean on, run to, sing to, cry to, talk to, laugh with, live with, rely on and depend on!   The doors that you walk through are important, but timing is crucial and critical, indeed the right door at the wrong time is a disaster waiting to happen.  So whether someone else has closed a door for you, or indeed if it were you who slammed it shut yourself, start trusting God that He can open it again at just the perfect time.

If an employer, friend or family member has let you down with regard to a door you were pounding on, stop pushing it!  Begin instead to look to the only One who holds all the keys to all of the doors, all of the careers, jobs, plans, adventures, and dreams you’re hoping for in the future.  If you’re tired of pounding doors or screaming at them to open, decide to sit down, not in defeat but in strength.  For you know that the Key Holder is in control, and at just the right time and in just the most perfectly beautiful way, He is able to unlock that door, sweep you up and walk you through it.

As I walk through doors, and contemplate many new ones, I know that there is a still, quiet place called the hallway – and there are wonderful lessons to learn there, there is strength to be found there, with the Key Holder of my life.

“We have the choice to: Worry or Worship. Panic or Pray. Tremble or Trust.” – Rick Warren ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸❤¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

There are doors we are called to wait at, keep knocking on or keep believing for – these are the ‘Faith Doors’ in our lives, and we keep on asking and seeking, and God will honour us as we trust Him.  But whether the doors open that we want or not, we must learn to ‘Praise Him In The Hallway’, while we wait – God also waits, on our honest response!  So sit down in strength, in trust and in the knowledge that the One with the keys and time in His hands, knows what He is doing –

He is doing something in our hearts in the hallway!

~Fist Bump~

~FIST BUMP~ written by Denise Kennedy

Good Monday morning to you.. .. .. I like Monday’s, I guess they just feel like the first page of the book of a brand new week, and brim over with new possibilities.  Of course it is better if it is sunny,

but as I look out my window, the rain is teaming down softly and gently.  Actually it makes a change from the Indian Summer we just had this past week.  Today, rain is absolutely perfect for what I need to do! Clearing presses, preparing bags of clothes for the charity shop, and generally trying to declutter my life of clothes and books that would be better with someone else who needed them.

It is funny when you start to rummage through old boxes and bags, the things you find: memories!  But also among all of the memories I found many of my handwritten journals, ‘Precious Moments’, “Holly Hobbie”, and “Camo Girl” themed notebooks, full of my many letters to God.

Since I was a child I loved to write, and finding all of these etchings and heart-to-paper thoughts just overwhelmed me with the goodness of God in my life.  Among the boxes, I also found my safely kept “Love Is” collection – I remember as a young pre-teen I discovered these romantic little cartoon characters on the crossword page of the Irish Independent, and from that day I saved a little of my pocket money so I could always buy that Sunday newspaper, purely to read that cute caption and cut out that little cartoon.  I found them all safe and sound, although a little discoloured.  I then came across my hand painted island pictures, tropical beaches, butterfly skies, and dreamy horizons: I love painting!

Some of these things I will keep, some I will read and then carefully leave out to be shredded, but one thing I will always keep, is the knowledge that through all the years that these books and boxes represent, God has watched over me and cheered me on through every day.  He roared from the sidelines as I ran like the wind though my cross country and sprint competitions – He shouted my name out when I won my first basketball trophy and art competition medals – He applauded my efforts as I worked and studied full-time in Theology College, and even saw to it that I won the beautiful ‘Dorcas Award’ – through all of these years He has been my Great Rewarder, my Faithful Encourager, and always my daily strength.  Today I like to think of it as the “fist bump of God”.  He has high-fived me and said “Well done daughter, I am so proud of you!” – The Great I AM is proud of me, and proud of you too!

Maybe you have never needed, or felt the fist bump of God, or the approval of your Creator?  But to me His voice has been the sweetest one I know.  On days when I thought the battle was too hard, or the race too long, He gave me my second wind and helped me win the gold.  When decisions were scarey or people let me down, He never left my side and taught me a better way.  When roadblocks and hurdles tried to throw me off course, He came along beside me and made the way clear.  The fist bump of God is His acknowledgement that He not only sees your efforts, but you are also on His team, the winning team!  A fist bump can also be a symbol of giving respect when it is due. It is commonly used in baseball as a form of celebration with teammates, and with opposition players at the end of a game.

According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, the fist bump was created by Stan Musial.  It is said that knuckle bumping started in the 1970s with NBA player Baltimore Bullets guard Fred Carter.   Others claim it began with the Wonder Twins, minor characters in the 1970s Hanna Barbara superhero FISH cartoon Super Friends, who touched knuckles and cried “Wonder Twin powers, activate!”  However, the “fist bump” or “pound” can easily be traced as far back as the late 1800s and early 1900s to the boxer’s handshake as a way to greet when hands are gloved.  So it was the handshake of fighters, determined to find away to say “Well done!”   Some fist bump to celebrate sports victories, to agree on a good point, or in a congratulatory way when you want to say “good job.”

Some say it is no different than a high five. Experts have said that it is not suitable for those in love to do as it is seen as a ‘we’re just friends’ kind of gesture, but in my opinion aren’t the best relationships the ones that have a strong friendship too?  Either way, I am grateful for the friendship and the fist bump of God, for His accolades after every accomplishment, and for His tender, proud, kind, encouraging words that say, “Job well done!”

Someone gave me the following verbal fist bump today;  “Denise, you are already amazing and will just be even more amazinger!” (I love new ‘made up on the spot words’) – God says we are just becoming more amazing as we let Him develop and change us!

Every relationship has its trademarks, those unique and memorable things that someone does that make you love them more, it is one of God’s trademarks to encourage us.  Trademarks are the unique things we find so endearing about others, and soon after we meet someone we learn to love their quirky ways.  God has His favourite things about you too.  So as I embark on a new challenge this week, which will take me through a few months of intense study, I am already aware of the fact that I will need fist bumps all the way through, and when May finally gets here, I will again here God say, “Job well done Nisey!”

God doesn’t want to be a silent partner in your life, your job, your career, your relationship or marriage, personal life or business ~ let Him speak the loudest! Let Him be the most important fist bump you get, hear Him say “Job well done!” And while we are at it, let’s not be afraid to fist bump each other, verbal or otherwise – find a way to say “Good Job!”

Remember, a fist bump says = “We’re in this together!”

❤☆★ A Big Heart ★☆❤

❤☆★ A BIG HEART ★☆❤ by Denise Kennedy

★☆❤❤☆★

Have you ever met someone with a big heart?  The kind of person who just overwhelms you with love, warmth, kindness and acceptance?  They have the ability to transform your life from merely ‘being’ into joyful ‘belonging’ – maybe you are this kind of person?  Well if you are, never change!  As I have been about my business and busyness this week, I have had the opportunity to ponder with absolute gratitude, the ‘big-hearted’ people that God has brought into my life!  They have come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, varying cultures and backgrounds, multiple ages and races.. .. .. but all share the same amazing quality = the ability to love with big hearts!

They lavish their unconditional love, their tender hugs in abundance, sending an unexpected gift for no reason at all other then to say “you’re special”.  They pop lovely pressies into colorful envelopes, and send them across the ocean to appear at your feet, transforming a normal kind of day into a beautiful one.  Without these treasures in human form, my world would be so very dull, so full of boring moments, so void of extravagant love and friendship!

So today I give a hearty shout-out to the ‘big-hearted’ people in my life = you know who you are! And I say a huge thank you for all the laughs, hugs, walks, meals, sacrificial gestures, traveled miles, special encounters, home-cooked meals, seafront walks, rainy evening strolls, morning messages, midnight phone calls, random text messages, colourful emails, beautified moments, personalised gifts, and cherished memories that you have brought into my life!

In these days, the world, my world, needs more people like you – so never change! It is a beautiful thing to have a big heart, and I must be very loved by God, to have some of these incredible treasures in my life!  You give me butterflies, you help me overcome my great mistakes, you give me far more than I deserve, you help me fight another battle, you help me make it from where I am now to where I want to be, you remind me that true friends are never apart, maybe in distance but not in heart!  Thank you for reminding me to always plan with the hope of success, rather than the fear of failure; and that the true mark of a person is not decided by where they live, but in how they love.  I am grateful for the lessons you have taught me, showing me that I shouldn’t worry about the work God is doing in somebody else’s life but instead to let God do His precious work in mine.  As I watch you live your life, you helped me see that anyone who gained attention or advantage at the expense of trust… lost out!  Trust is a beautiful thing, and I thank you for the gift of it from you!  I am so grateful that when I wanted to throw in the towel you just came running to me with a new towel, never letting me give up, cheering me on with the words “when God is in you, you’re not over yet!”

Thanks for not allowing me to sleep through my dreams, and for always listening to my otherwise untold stories –  for witnessing all of the many seasons that life has brought us.  Because of you I treasure my relationships, not my possessions.  So to all of the beautiful, strong and inspirational people in my past, present and future – your big heart is a beautiful thing! Live strong, and love long!

Sending you enormous love right back! You are a legend and a hero! ☺♣☀☎✉♥✗- “Each person represents a world within us, a world that possibly wouldn’t be born until you met; because of that meeting a new world was born” {Anon} ☺♣☀☎✉♥✗

xXx  831 Nisey xXx

☆★The ₩Ö₩ Factor ★☆

☆★The ₩Ö₩ Factor ★☆

Written by Denise Kennedy

Today I was reminded of something very beautiful.. .. .. in a small intricate way, yet it was profoundly deep too.  It wasn’t revealed to me in a loud bellowing sign or a screamed message from the sky – nope it came as a whisper, a soft still whisper.  But I heard it, and that’s what counts.

You see, God is a communicator.. .. .. He loves to speak and be heard.  He longs to tell us new things, speak new dreams into our weary hearts.  He wants to design new ways to shine His colourful world through us, like a rainbow pointing to His promises.  Yes others see the rain falling in your life, but that only gives God an opportunity to shine His rainbow, as a display for all to see that He keeps His promises.

But there are times when God speaks in a quiet simple way that is meant for just you – a moment of intimate communication between Him and you.  The Grand Weaver ceases the shuttles from flying, pushes the stop button, and chooses to be still and sit with just you.  Or maybe it is that we, in all of our busyness choose to be still with Him and allow Him to be heard?  For, He wants to say something.

Today, I chased off after the sun for a while.  Little did I know that God was indeed chasing after me.

I allowed myself to get lost in sun rays and soak up some wonderful heat – and although I was surrounded by people, I was lost in a quiet moment with my Creator.  He and I, and nobody else (for NOBODY else could have distracted me from God’s voice, not even the French guy who stopped to ask me for my digits! Eh, no way man!)

And I sat, with a million different thoughts racing for first position in my head, all scrambling to be my priority for the day.  I too allowed the shuttles to cease from flying and I stopped everything, in order to be still.  He came. He spoke to my heart.  He allowed me to feel His presence in the warm breeze that wrapped around me.  He blew sunshine kisses upon my face and reminded me how special I am to Him.  He told me of His promises to keep me, to love me, to watch over me in all of my ways.  I felt the simple yet incredibly beautiful ₩Ö₩ Factor of God.

So what is the ₩Ö₩ Factor?  Well in the dictionary, WOW means: an exclamation of surprise, wonder, or pleasure – to gain an enthusiastic response from; or to thrill someone; also used to express wonder, amazement, or great pleasure; to describe something or someone as an outstanding success.

There are lots of documented acronyms for WOW – some are:  Words of Worth, World of Wonder, World of Wrestling, Wonders of Wildlife, Weight of Workout, Watch our Words, Whining old Women (lol), Wines of Washington, World of Work, and among the many others there is even Women of Wrestling – but the acronym I most prefer when I think of the ₩Ö₩ Factor of God is “Words of Wisdom” – it speaks of a greater wisdom than our weary hearts can muster up.  It speaks of wisdom winning over doubt, wisdom winning over fear, wisdom winning over confusion, it even conquers another acronym of WOW = the Wall of Worry

Do you know the Wall of Worry? Sometimes it looms over you before you even get your little toe out of bed in the morning, and it can impact your thoughts way before your feet have impacted the carpet.  This wall can collapse upon you, surrounding you in rubble long before your daily hot shower has had a chance to revive you.  The wall of worry is a thief, it comes to steal, kill and destroy every Word of Wisdom that our awesome God speaks to us.  We must silence it, or it will steal every opportunity for growth, victory, miracles, overcoming, giving, joy, peace, love, and faithfulness in our lives.

So back to my bench in the park.. .. .. there I was, quietly waiting as the Master whispered to my heart.  He reminded me of all the wonderful things He has given me.  He opened up my eyes to see the way He has led me, kept me, loved me, changed me, challenged me, provided for me, rescued me, created through me, beautified me, watched me, Fathered me – Saved me – Blessed me all of these years.  Tears streamed from my eyes, as I remembered His absolute goodness to me.  And as the warm tears slid from beneath my sunglasses, they glistened in the sunshine that shone on my face;  reminding me that God has a bottle where He keeps all of our tears, and one day they will be transformed, just like us, into unending joy.  One day.

But until that day, we live in a world that tries to steal the Words of Wisdom that He speaks.  We need to let the ₩Ö₩ Factor of God overwhelm us with joy, and contentment.  Let it whisk you off to a place where He reminds you of all He has, is and will do in your life.  Come out from beneath the cold, chilly shadow of the wall of worry – choose not to live there any longer.  Reach out to God and ask Him to lavish His Words of Wisdom upon you, in you, through you.  The ₩Ö₩ Factor of God wants to change the way you do life, now and always.

As I left the park today, I walked home my usual favourite route by the river, but I walked differently – I walked with a smile – I walked knowing I had been impacted by the ₩Ö₩ Factor of God.  And tomorrow, may He give me the strength to walk in an even deeper measure of its truth.  May His Words of Wisdom be the ₩Ö₩ Factor that changes how you see Him, and how you do life

Go to the park.. .. .. be still.. .. .. God has something to say to you.

God wants to Ö us, even in the small daily things ~ I want to give my life away for a cause and a mission greater than anything I have ever imagined or dreamed possible!!! I want to end my life with no regrets… I want to ‘Dream Big!’ ~ I want the Ö Factor, the touch of God!

❤☆★☆★☆❤ Just as I finished this blog piece, a wonderful lady in America (thanks Evangeline Gober), shared this stunning quote => Vance Havner said, “Come apart and rest a while, or you may just plain come apart!”

– God is speaking, take time to listen!

♥ⓛⓞⓥⓔ♥☜ Are You A Slug Or A Strawberry? ☞♥

☞♥ⓛⓞⓥⓔ♥ Written by Denise Kennedy

Quite a few years ago, as I was completing my R.T. and I.A.C.T. training to qualify as a counselor, I remember a remarkable story being told by one of my lecturers about a “word of mouth” story she had heard a few years previous herself.  Just this week it resounded in my heart and I thought I would share it.  At the time we were discussing the different types of people one can meet in this colourful world of ours and the many people we met as counselors.  We greatly desired to show unconditional love and warm support to the hurting but also wanted to become better ‘lovers’ of people and help them through their pain.  That particular day my lecturer asked the class the following profound question; “Are you a strawberry or a slug?” ~ Those in the room all looked at each other in amusement and became intrigued by her question.. .. ..  Many times since that day I have remembered our answers and our descriptions of these two “personality types”.  Do you love strawberries?  When in season they can be the most luscious of fruits and are remarkably good for the body too.   I love the sweet ones, but I absolutely struggle to eat them if they are slightly bitter or too acidic; my facial expressions completely change when trying to swallow a strawberry that is not sweet!

These are some of the nutritional facts about strawberries;  Delicious and nutrition-rich red coloured strawberries are among the most popular berries in every country.  They are native to Europe, however, nowadays the berries are widely cultivated as an important commercial crop in many temperate regions all over the world.  Botanically, the plant is a runner (creeper); and belongs to the family of Rosaceae, of the genus: Fragaria.  They were once seen as an exotic fruit, and when out of season can be quite expensive to purchase, but most would feel they are worth the extra financial sacrifice.  These berries have a taste that varies according to origin, and they can range from quite sweet to acidic.  The strawberry features a red pulp with tiny yellow coloured seeds piercing through its surface from the inside.  Their top end has a small, green leafy cap and a stem that adorns the crown.  Each strawberry features a conical shape, weighs about 25g and measures about 3cm in diameter.  There, I guess you probably have never thought about a strawberry in such intricate detail?   They are delicious when served alongside the right dessert or dipped in luscious melted dark chocolate, ice cream or fresh cream.  Wild varieties are sometimes available at your local farmer’s market, and are quite delectable!

The strawberry is low in calories (32 kcal/100g) and fats, but are a rich source of many health promoting nutrients, minerals and vitamins  essential for maintaining optimum health.  They are considered a power food and have potential health benefits in fighting cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.  Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (about 98% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant, and a vital component in helping the body to digest and use its iron intake.  See, strawberries really should not be lived without; their presence is beyond brilliant and so valuable to our health. (even the acidic ones – note to self!)

“Doubtless God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but doubtless God never did.” ~ William Allen Butler

So are you a strawberry or a slug? A “giver” or a “taker” type of person?

A “strawberry” person adds a certain kind of precious sweetness to your life.  When you meet them they are a joy to be around and seem to add to the atmosphere in a colourful and creative way.  They want to give more than they take, and there is a sense of kindness about the things they do.   They aren’t perfect in all they do, but even in failing or falling they bounce back with a sweet endeavour to improve and grow in their love towards others.   Strawberries are lovely, charming and their smile lights up the room.   Like the fruit, these “strawberry’ people are greatly pleasing and quite delightful to behold, or have in your life.  They are naturally good at drawing out the best in you, the strengths in you, the dreams in you.  They have a natural, genuine and tenacious ability to treat you like you are worth a million dollars and invaluable in the contributions you can bring to this world.  While they still have their own needs and can share the deepest chambers of their heart with you, there never ceases to be an unconditional positive regard about them.  They strive to maintain a sweet unity in pursuing life’s dreams together.  These “strawberry” people are rare and unforgettable, yet it is a beautiful compliment that all of us can aim to cultivate these traits in our own lives.  They make you feel like you can conquer any mountain, all of your fears, every doubt and achieve your deepest aspirations.   To them life is all about mutual giving, and we know that it is more of a blessing to give than receive; indeed in giving we receive a hundredfold back in benefits and love.   In serving others as “strawberry” people, we can be sure that when we leave this earth people will remember us with fondness, love, appreciation and delight.  I want my epitaph to say “She was a strawberry!” ~ =)

“Strawberry” people are not perfect, as that is just not realistic, but ‘sorry’ is not a word they are afraid to use, and they seek to maintain peaceful harmony as much as possible.

We all know the “slugs” ~ they are usually people who are hurting or angry; and may not be aware their pain causes them to rob from you, steal your peace or remove your joy.   They can be quite pessimistic or negative, and life around them is not always easy.  They don’t bring health to your bones, and instead can be quite a challenge to walk the road alongside.  But if you are a “strawberry” person, then you can help the “slug” person realise the better choices they can make.  These “slug” people are usually the kind of ones who have no idea who they are, or how very valuable and precious they are.  They cannot see their unique gifts or the beauty that is within them.  Many of these types of people take and take from you, demanding more and more time, with very little regard or appreciation.  It is quite sad, but usually their world revolves around their comfort and their own needs.  We all know some people who are “slugs”, but if you fancy yourself to be a “strawberry” then why not try to help this person make the changes they need to.  Of course we cannot change anybody else in this world but ourselves, but we can still choose to be sweet “strawberries” in a world that is growing more and more bereft of what true unconditional love and kindness is.. .. ..

We all have our “slug” days, but let’s at least try to be “strawberries”. =)

“Slugs” are destroyers of all that is sweet, yes it is the way they survive, but most of the time these sad and angry ones desperately want to be free to love without any fear, and give without any limit.  “Strawberries” can help ~ by being sweet in the face of those who do not appreciate you; I know it is not easy, and being taken for granted is hard to take day in and day out ~ but there will be a sweet sense of peace in your heart as you lay your head on your pillow at night.  There will also be health to your life, knowing that you are not caught up in anxiety and hatred.   We all have the potential to be “slugs” ~ never seeing any beauty in the simple things around us ~ never taking the time to love others and really know them; but when the love of God and His unconditional acceptance penetrates our hearts and lives, we are changed.  We realise that the love we give away to others is not ours anyway, that only for Him in our lives we would never know the real capacity to selflessly reach out to lift others up.  I heard a phrase the other day that saddened me ~ It went like this;

“The less you say, the more people will listen!”

I pondered those words, and remarked to myself how so true it is at time, and how sad it is that our communities are becoming like this.  When there is a deep need in a heart to be understood and cared for, the one depended upon may feel overwhelmed and choose to turn away.  Do we truly only seek out those who have few needs and therefore avoid giving beyond our own comfort zone?  Yes boundaries are healthy, but still we maintain the bond of love and peace as much as we can.  It is a good question and I am not saying I have arrived there – some days I wish I were more of a “strawberry”, but I know that seeking to duplicate the sweetness of a strawberry in my personality, makes me a far nicer person to be around, even for me to be around too!

So the next time you sink your teeth into a sweet, ripe, delicious strawberry, stop and think about the incredible potential in you to be more pleasing, loving, graceful, understanding, patient, kind and tasteful in your world.

There are always far more reasons to give back then to hoard and take just for yourself ~ hearts that feel like “slugs” are waiting for the “strawberry” people to show them a better way, a far sweeter way.

Love is not a weakness, it demands the truest form of strength at times ~ It’s a commendable trait and distinguishes you in quite a remarkable and “sweet strawberry” way!

Let it start with us! =)

✿♥‿♥✿ Always Faithful ~ Forever Strong ✿♥‿♥✿

✿♥‿♥✿  Written by Denise Kennedy

✿♥‿♥✿ “ALWAYS FAITHFUL ~ FOREVER STRONG!”

Today I was reminded of quite a special conversation that took place a little over a year ago, but has been revisited in my thoughts at various times.  The memory has been awakened by the emotion I see daily in the current 2012 Olympic Games being held now in London.

Let me take you back to that special occasion .. .. .. I packed my bags and hit the road.  My arms were ready for hugs, my heart was eager for slobbery kisses and smiling faces.  In my bag were goodies and treats for two little boys and a little pink princess. Soon I was there, and hugs and cuddles commenced eagerly.  Eskimo kisses were exchanged and laughter filled our hearts and the room.  I was on a sleepover with my nephews and niece, oh and their parents, who I had told to go on a date as I would babysit for them.  Soon it was just me and the three musketeers, all in our pyjamas on the couch watching a movie. My eldest nephew, a courageous 7 year old then, turned to me as he noticed my black & pink heart pyjamas.  He giggled and said, “Nisey, you always have heart things, why?”  I snuggled him closer and explained to all three of them how important the heart is.  They were giggling with laughter as I explained how the heart inside us keeps us alive by pumping blood around our body, but that it is also with the heart that we are able to love, and without a heart we would feel nothing.  As they followed my lead they placed their little hands on the spot where their hearts were beating and their eyes opened wider as they understood what I was saying.

So then the challenge came…my eldest nephew turned to me saying, “Nisey, do you think you can find a heart every day and take a photo of it with your phone?” ~  I accepted his challenge, and we agreed that  for a year, I would find a ‘heart’; and so the “Hearts 365 Project” began!  The heart project has finished now, but in all of our lives the work of living with courage from our heart, still continues!  It was an amazing project, and one that many people all over the world became involved in, joining in the fun of finding hearts.  A heart revolution you might say!  There will be more about that project at a later date ✿♥‿♥✿

.. .. ..  As I watch the Olympics I am left in awe at the sense of teamwork and commitment I see between the various countries and their teams.  On the night of the Opening Ceremony they each walked with pride behind their country flag and joined together in courage and preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games.  Surely each of us felt our hearts beating loudly with anticipation and excitement?  I know mine did as our dear friend Katie Taylor proudly led Team Ireland♣ with the Irish flag in her strong boxing arm! Go Katie!♣

“Semper Fidelis”,  (a motto I love), resounds loudly from their hearts as they challenge their physical capabilities for the next two weeks.  But no matter what medals are won or lost, they are together under the umbrella of “Always Faithful”, and even those who fail to make the cut or win their medal are still on the team, and will not be disowned in terms of their flag colours and team membership.  We have much to learn about this in our own evaluation of the way we do life together day to day.  Semper Fidelis  is  Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal”, as the motto of the United States Marine Corps (and often shortened to Semper Fi  in Marine contexts), Semper Fidelis  has served as a slogan for many families and entities, in many countries, dated to have been started no later than the 16th century.  Newly married couples have even had it engraved on the inside of their wedding rings, as a beautiful sign of their commitment and loyalty for the rest of their lives ~ beautiful!  Semper Fidelis goes beyond teamwork ~ it is a brotherhood that can always be counted on. This became the Marine Corps motto in 1883 and it guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to their country, no matter what.

So to live as a committed person is to walk with a code of personal integrity, and they say that it is honour that guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking.  It is not only a duty, but also a distinction, and one that sets you apart from those who easily compromise their values and ethics.  It is true, that when you meet someone you can trust, your heart feels safe and refreshed, that although they are not perfect and may fail, you still know that at their core there is a code of honour and truth that they strive to live by.  What is found in one’s beliefs is exhibited through one’s actions;  When our truest principles are tested, it’s courage that prevents us from crumbling.  It isn’t about ignoring fear, but being stronger than fear.  Courage starts in the heart, and it is also the guardian of all the other values that we hold fast to.  It is there when times are toughest, when difficult decisions have to be made.

A Nisey Note ~~> May God’s love reach in and heal where disappointments and emptiness war for our hearts! May His love stir our hearts again to live from a place of abandoned adventure. When the heart hurts it is tempting to kill it, to not feel from it, to hide it away where nothing can hurt it again; to pretend what we treasured was less than the beautiful gift we knew it to be.  But from our heart is where God wants our life to live; from our deepest part comes our deepest impact on this world, from our heart our worship sings!  Don’t kill your heart, for it is the place where real intimacy and life must spring from.  Semper Fidelis “Always Faithful”…. must be the anthem of our hearts and the motto of our lives.

The amazing cyclist, Lance Armstrong uses the great slogan LIVESTRONG ~ so keep in mind no matter what you are battling, you can live Always Faithful ~ Forever Strong!

Nisey K ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

☺♥☺ You Know Me ☺♥☺

☺♥☺  YOU KNOW ME ☺♥☺

Written by Denise Kennedy

One of my trademark sayings (so I have been told), is my regular use of the brilliant phrase “God Knows!” – Yes, I admit that it rolls off my tongue quite a lot and usually when I have unanswered questions on my mind. ☺♥☺

Who knows you? . . .  I mean really knows you?  Has that question provoked a slight awkward nervousness in your heart just now?  Maybe it brings a calming sense of well-being and peace because you know you are loved unconditionally and completely?  Possibly it challenges you to the core of who you are or aspire greatly to be?   Well today God sent a lightning bolt (as real as the one about to flash again outside my window), a gunshot, a bow’s arrow straight into this heart of mine .. .. .. I was asked the same question.

God challenged me to look at the things my heart hungers and thirsts for.  Some moments later, I answered Him.  It came through a song.  It came through painful realization.  It came through the acknowledgement that ONLY one person can truly ‘know’ every single facet of me.  Though I choose to share different parts of myself, my life, my thoughts, my desires, my dreams, my jokes, my writing, my cooking, my achievements, my longings, my laughter, my creativity, my love, my affections and my passions with people in varying degrees of intimacy, truly there is only ONE who really knows the real me.  He knows the “me” with no barriers, no pretending, no masks, no hidden motives, no insecurities, no fears, no vulnerabilities or barriers.  He loves me despite my weaknesses, sins, frailties, failures and vulnerable ways.

He jumps right into each day with me, longing to make me even better than the version of me I was yesterday.  He proudly comes alongside me to help me in my attempts to improve on yesterday’s performances and choices, because He knows my heart truly longs to be the best me I can be for Him and those I do life with.  He giggles at my childish jokes, and loves the unique traits He has given me –  He calls into being every dream and desire that resides in my heart;  He gently holds me when the storm rages and I have no solution for the circumstances my little boat sails through; His name is God.  He whispers goodnight as the moon hangs in the midnight sky, with His promise to never leave my side; staying with me through every twist and turn the road may take.  Nothing surprises Him, and nothing about me is hidden from His eyes.  When I have days where I would rather run from Him and life seems to dare me to give up, He will still be there, here, beside me.  He is ever present, He never slumbers or sleeps.

Hunger (whether physical or psychological) is not a game; it can lead people to do crazy and dangerously soul-destroying things.  You may be quite familiar with your own “hunger games” and the cravings of your own heart.  Maybe you don’t believe in God? .. .. .. but truth be told He believes in you.  He created you with a void that only He can fill.  He sees the amazing dormant potential in you, that awaits for His breath of life to create a new and amazing detour to the road you currently walk on – is there a hunger in your heart, even now, to be ‘known’ – truly known?

He sees you weep when you feel the floundering winds of change sweep you to a place where life is scary or hard to understand.  He holds your arms up when you are tired or weary from the fight.  He cheers you on when life is victorious and hugely rewarding.  He is God and He does not miss one solitary moment of your life.  Even in a crowded room, where you are surrounded my many, He does not miss one thing about you.  He knows you, but He also loves you!  Sure many others can touch your heart, occupy space there, impact you deeply and love you there.. .. .. but there is  truly only ONE who can know every facet of your life, your mind, your thoughts and your soul – GOD!  Wisdom tells us to choose carefully the ones we allow into our hearts, to select these special ones wisely and cautiously, but we are always better off the closer we walk with God.

Today this truth hit me like a bolt of lightning .. .. .. like a dart aimed for the bulls-eye, like a perfect 180 shot straight into the dart board of my heart.   I’ve experienced a lightning bolt to my heart before,  but this is not the time to share those stories –  all I can say is that upon reading a challenging piece of text today, I realized that God was speaking loudly, directly, clearly and seriously into my heart, asking me “Denise, do you know that I know you?  You are not one of the ‘unknown’, you are not forgotten or undiscovered by me – I see you” ~

Can I be honest here?  Well, I will be anyway and hope that you too will be honest with your own heart.  I really forgot that God knew me .. .. .. that He both wants to and desires to, and is delighted to know me!  The God I sing to and speak daily to, this amazing God that I daily surrender my life to, knows me. WOW .. .. .. think about that: The God who flung stars into space, knows you. The One who has seen and will see everything about this Universe; the One who sees when you win or  lose – knows you.  He knows exactly how many hairs are on your head, how many tears you have cried, how many years you have lived, the breaths your life will amount to, the past, present and future for you – He knows your name!

Maybe the land of being “known” is already a land you frequent a lot, sharing glorious moments, hours and occasions of great joy and strength in His beautiful presence? but for some it is a land where they feel like an alien; hungering to be accepted unconditionally.  Well, today I remind you, invite you, beseech you, to find a quiet place (like I have), to take a realistic look at the activities of your life – who do you do them for?  Are these activities a reflection of the desperate hunger in your life for acceptance and love?  God does not want your life to be one series of relationships, endeavours and “hunger games” after another, where you seek to fill your life with anything rather than emptiness.  He wants to fill you with the greatest acceptance, love, favour and romance you could ever know.

Close your eyes, listen, He is already here.  No more hunger games, no more running, no more pretending; It is time to experience the liberation of being known by Him, and in that place you will experience God loving what He knows about you; and making you the best you possible! =)

Then go and feed others – show them how being unconditionally loved by God satisfies beyond any other source!

Xx Denise

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ▬▬✿ Pleasant Places✿▬▬Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ▬▬✿ PLEASANT PLACES ✿▬▬Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

Written by Denise Kennedy

“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;” (Psalm 16)

…Indeed this is a beautiful thought, a precious declaration of gratefulness and peace at one’s surroundings and lot in life.  To be honest it is not always the way reality seems to be for us at all, and life can sometimes be the complete opposite.  Trust me, I know!  Maybe when you think of the ‘lines’ of your life you imagine the perimeter of your homestead or dwelling place, and you wish it were larger, or smaller, or cleaner, or quieter, or richer, or safer?  Some of you may think about the place where your lines fall and wish it were in a different location, or a far more appealing place?  There may even be people dwelling within your boundary lines that are absolutely driving you crazy, or letting you down daily?  Per chance even some of you are thinking of someone right now who you wish was able to dwell within your boundary lines but instead they are either far away geographically or even distant emotionally?  Whatever your situation, wherever you find your lines to be or not to be, there is still a place for you where beauty can touch your heart and somehow kiss your life with peace; hang in there with me!

First, let’s look at the word “pleasant” ~ Pleasing, agreeable, or enjoyable; giving pleasure: receiving pleasant news. (dictionary.com)

Some synonyms of ‘pleasant’ are ~ Blessed, agreeable, darling, delicious, delightful, delightsome, dreamy, dulcet, enjoyable, good, grateful, gratifying, jolly, fair, comfortable, nice, sweet, pretty, satisfying, welcome, tasty, palatable, overflowing, or abundant.   A person is ascribed the compliment of being ‘pleasant’ when seen to have qualities that tend to give pleasure, or when they act agreeably.  You may also be characterised as being ‘pleasant’ if you have pleasing manners, behaviour, and a pleasant appearance, being easy on the eye!

David, the writer of Psalm 16, where the first line of my story is taken from, lived much of his life as a fugitive.  At times he was on the run like a wild animal trying to save himself from an enemy who was viciously trying to kill him.  He often found himself in some very difficult places during those years.  Sometimes life was so hard that he quite literally sank into a horrible pit, unable to be rescued or even try to rescue himself.   Many of us have been there or are living there now.  Other times he lived enclosed in complete darkness in lonely caves.  But believe it or not, it was out of these experiences that David wrote some of the most meaningful words of his writing career; with God as his motivator, editor and publisher!

So…as we read this line where David declares ~

“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

I will bless the Lord who has counselled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night…”  (You would be forgiven for thinking that suddenly life must have taken a magnificent turn for our friend David, but guess what, it hadn’t!)

From all I have gleaned about his life at this point David is still not yet in a place of safety and life is not nearly as comfortable as his heart would have desired.  He is walking through difficult days with no real sign of easier nights ahead.   Yet in the midst of what seems to be hardship, back ache and disappointment, David is able to declare that the boundary lines of his life are secure and safe, sweet and pleasant…how can he do this you ask?  Stay with me…

Right now where are your boundary lines?  Do you know what it represents in the days of old?   When Joshua was led by God to take the children of Israel into their promised land, God told him to divide up the newly entered land according to the tribes and give each one a section to call their home.   So it was that
each individual family was given a special place.  The lines were drawn and the boundaries were made.  Boundary stones were used as markers to show where the lines had fallen for each family, and every person knew the exact piece of land God had given them.   So they lived in security and safety, provided for by God.

So how can David declare this, when we can see his life is a mess by comparison?   Could it be true that David wrote these words against the backdrop of the knowledge of those great promises that had been given to him by God?  Many have studied this passage and believe it to be so.   He said it by faith.  David knew the God he trusted, he reminded himself of all the promises that had been spoken to him over the years, and one day he would see all that God had whispered to his heart in the darkness of night.  Although David lived on the run and in fear for his life, in his heart he had moved his residence to a land called “Pleasant Places”.  He moved in and unpacked his troubles and cares there, in the place of protection.  He came to find out that his new abode “Pleasant Places” was the place of provision.  All that had changed about his circumstances happened in his heart, in his mind and in his relationship with God.   He began to believe in what God said and he declared it over his life.   Soon even his difficult circumstances could no longer rob him of the peace that he found in “Pleasant Places”.

I too am learning this…I have many desires and dreams waiting for the touch of God upon them, but one thing I have found is that there is a land in my heart that is mine, where God and I talk.   And although I do not understand His timing or his workings in my life, I do know that I must trust Him in this place.  By making a decision to declare that the boundaries of my life have fallen in “Pleasant Places”, I will lie down in peace, I will rise up in protection, and I will come and go in His provision and providence.   There is a land I can live in where faith rules over my fears, where joy overcomes my sorrows, where tears are wiped away with the gentle touch of His hand.   My dear friend, whatever season we may be walking through, it is an opportunity for us to learn something about God and to have an experience with Him that can literally bring a song out of our tired hearts.   Even in the waiting time we can cultivate the hope that as we surrender and trust Him, we will come to realise that the “Pleasant Places” He has promised us resides within us!

I have decided that wherever I find myself, wherever I lay my head, (or my hat), whether rich or poor, whether happy or sad, I will declare it a “Pleasant Place” because He is with me and He makes it PLEASANT!

Speak these words softly to your heart . . .every day if you need to . . .

“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;  Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;  Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

I have set the LORD continually before me;  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;  My flesh also will dwell securely.” (Psalm 16)

Look, there’s a sign above your head, written on it are the words….”Pleasant Places!”

. . . come on, it’s time to unpack!

Xx Nisey K

☀ ★ These Colours Don’t Run ★ ☀

☀ ★ These Colours Don’t Run ★ ☀

By Denise Kennedy

Well, Ireland’s chances in Euro 2012 are over, yet still a few green, white and gold flagpoles, car mirror covers and window flags are proudly displayed around the city and suburbs.  During the games everyone rushed to hang their teams colours from every window sill, car window and roof top.  I even saw houses fully cloaked in Irish flags or other Euro colours of their choice.  I loved it.  And even now when a team flag catches my eye I smile.  Why?  Well because it screams support.  It shows commitment and dedication to a cause, all be it over!  It shows the desire to stand by your team when they need it the most.  And the whole world took note of the fact that although Ireland were losing and failing to qualify further, still those Irish fans in Poland sang even louder in prideful support of their lads in green on the field.  So much so that the lyrics of ‘The Fields of Athenry” were posted on the front page of a Polish newspaper.  When the colours we support are floundering in failure and disappointment surely that is the time they need our voices, flags, and belief in them so much more.

They say that a true and loyal fan is proven most, when they stick by their team even when failure looms and all chances of winning are gone.  That’s a true fan in my book!  Why wait until a team is doing well in order to show our support?  It seems very easy to me to support a winning team, but true bravery and commitment are revealed by the fan who sticks by his colours when they have lost the fight.  When their motivation and determination drop shouldn’t we come alongside them and stand shoulder to shoulder even more?  I say a heartfelt “YES!”
Supporting your team is a lot like a relationship, friendship or marriage.  When it gets tough and the temptation to give up overwhelms them shouldn’t we hang those colours even higher?  Wave those flags even harder?  Shout those anthems even louder?  Love them even deeper?  Hold them even closer?  For surely that’s when they need us even more.  Who knows but one day it could be us needing them.
When the wind and rain beat against their face; when the cold icy fear of failure torments them and when all is lost and life is crazy, shouldn’t we be the unconditional love and side line coach that screams their name out loud and says I’m WITH YOU and I believe in you?
It reminds me of God’s heart towards us.  As a Coach, He faithfully stands on the side lines of our lives screaming our names and reminding us of the truth that He is with us.  Never will He leave us.  He wore the colour red for us.  His team won us over.  That makes us winners too!
Whoever you are…do you need to hear someone calling out your name and wearing your colours?  Or do you need to reach out to someone you know and call their name?  Maybe they need to hear you say you’re with them and believe in them?  Goodness knows it could even be your own dear heart that needs your own acceptance and support.  It is more blessed to give than to receive but as you give to others it will return to you a hundred fold.
So grab that flag and hang it up through all the seasons of winning or losing.  Your support makes the difference.  Your love brings comfort to someone who has forgotten what it is like to have a supporter.   That person who is failing and afraid needs to know you will never give up on them.

Is that person who feels like a failure today, the one who looks back at you when you look in the mirror?  Then please be reminded that you have the Almighty Coach, and He thinks you are amazing.  No matter how tired, worn out or confused you feel today, He is shouting your name at the top of His voice.  He is cheering you on from the side lines.  He knows your name and exactly where you are.  Listen, and you will hear His voice telling you to get back up and wave that flag!  He sees your true colours, He sees you as a winner!

I read a caption written underneath the American flag the other day…it read;

” These colours don’t run!”  and my heart echoed in agreement!  The courageous don’t run either…be a Faithful Flag-Bearer!  Someone on your team needs you!

☀  Denise  ☀

★*°•. Rocky Road .•°*★

★*°•. ROCKY ROAD .•°*★

by Denise Kennedy

Okay, I admit it, as I write this short story I am unashamedly nibbling away on a “Rocky Road Biscuit Brownie”, purchased today at a gorgeous health food/home food bakery store.  I am guilty as charged for falling for the overwhelming temptation of a dark chocolate, marshmallow & biscuit temptation.  As I was out on my morning run, I succumbed to its alluring ways…and moments later it sat in my running bag as my après-running treat!  And hours later, that’s just what it is.  However, let me add, it is accompanied by a strong and hot cup of organic Chinese green tea; so all is good!  As I munched this delicious treat, I mused to myself at its interesting name.

I decided that really the only “Rocky Roads” we want in life, are of the chocolate variety (for me the dark chocolate) but if only life was as simple as a chocolate “Rocky Road”.  For many of us it is paved with seasons of “rockiness”, when we would much rather a smooth surface!

“Rocky Road” started as a flavour of ice cream; described as that hard-to-resist combination of chocolate ice cream laced with chunks of nuts and marshmallows.  William Dreyer came up with this cleverly named ice cream flavour way back in 1929, and it was, and still is, a best seller.  Its popularity is probably why the chocolate-nut-marshmallow combination is now found in so many desserts too.

So, when you saw that the title of my story was “Rocky Road”, what did you think of?  Was your first thought of a chocolate/marshmallow tray-bake combination or were you far more concerned with the “Rocky Road” that your life may be right now?  Do you dream of days where there are less obstacles and far more blessings?  If you do, then you are not alone.  I promise!

May I interject with some raw honesty? As I sat writing this blog today, right at this moment my thoughts have been completely thrown asunder by the news of the death of a dear friend.  We knew he was ill but never thought that he would leave us.  So strikingly ironic that I should be writing about the “Rocky Roads” of life and then receive this news.  Somehow it impacts the next part of my story even deeper.  When life is rocky, we have a Master Helper who comes alongside us to carry our load.  When our hearts ache for those we love, He gently wraps His great arms of compassion around us and helps us trust Him through the tears.  When life falls apart at the seams, He somehow weaves the tapestry of His design and allows us to see just enough so as to have hope, even one day at a time.

And today as we grieve the loss of an amazing brother and friend Joseph Fitzgerald, we can know that though this road is rocky, and hard to understand there is a faithful God who sees our hearts and cares about our loss.  Jesus wept remember!

So I guess all I can say is whatever season you are in, whether life is rocky or smooth, make sure you have the Master Weaver as your friend, for then no matter what the road may hold for you, there will always be a road map to look to and trust in.  All I know at times is that “GOD KNOWS”, these are often the final words whispered from my tired lips as I close my eyes to sleep each night.  And He does know!

Within a week of each other, two of my friends have gone home to Heaven far sooner than any of us would have thought possible.  Both of them incredibly talented musically and vocally, in abundance!  And as another dear friend (John Edwards) said today, “Now promoted to the choirs of Heaven…” That is a beautiful thought John!

But it’s hard today to grasp that we are saying goodbye to another gifted friend. Our loss is Heaven’s gain it is true, but what a wake-up call to make our lives count!

Forgive, love, live, laugh and make a difference; for none of us know what tomorrow holds! If you love someone let them know.  Carpe Diem…SEIZE THE DAY!

Make things right with God and each other! Remember in Luke 24 v 32, ‘They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’ ~ There is a Friend walking this “Rocky Road” with you, and that Friend is Jesus.  Listen, He is speaking softly to your heart, as you walk along this road.

You may actually make someone’s “Rocky Road” a little bit more bearable simply by the love you share and the encouragement you give!

Oh I am also leaving you with the “Rocky Road” recipe.  Make a tray-bake and share it with someone who needs some kindness on the rocky road of life…..

(Rocky Road Recipe…Just sayin’)

With heartfelt loss, lots of love, and marshmallow chocolate…

xX Denise

♡♫♡ ~ “I’ve Got You!”~ ♡♫♡

Written by Denise Kennedy

♡♫♡  I heard these words today. They came like a thundering whisper to a heart that’s swirling in decisions and questions. I heard these words today as I contemplated big changes and new ideas. They came like a balm of healing ointment touching a tired mind.  I heard these words today in a moment of waiting, in a place of transformation, when all my ways seemed unsure. They came suddenly and softy with power, courage and strength.  I wasn’t looking for them; I simply needed a rescuer to steal me away from my anxious thoughts.  I wasn’t even expecting these words of subtle yet invigorating power; yet they came and spoke calm to my heart and like safe strong arms they wrapped themselves around me.  They brought me comfort like that of a warm soft blanket on a chilly evening.  They came leaping towards me, with determination and love; chasing away my worrisome thoughts of tomorrow.

God spoke the words;  “I’ve Got You!”

I can’t tell you what kind of voice God has or where His accent is from (although I can say it is heavenly!)  I do know that His voice is like the sound of many waters, rushing together to lavish mercy and wisdom on the heart that thirsts for Him.  His voice comes like a valiant hero to rescue the one who is calling Him.
His voice is safe yet full of authority and command.  He knows who He is and what to say.  His voice comes at the perfect time; never too early or too late!   His voice comes rich in colour, overflowing in acceptance, not estranged to correction or conviction, yet garnished with love and compassion.

The words “I’ve Got You!” overcame the noise in my heart with calmness, instant relief, and silence.  To suddenly be reminded by God that no matter what you’re walking through He will catch you, is a wondrous thing.  I sat there surrounded by all of my scented candles, His Book and His presence.  My heart lay before him like an unwritten journal, waiting for the pen of His hand to write truth and wisdom upon it.

I have often prayed the words, “Lord whatever it is that I cannot see, please show me.”  So I rested my head back on my pillow, and upon the chest of God.  I heard His heartbeat for His child; beating wild, constant, and resilient.  The compassion of God is so faithful that we barely can comprehend its magnitude.  He is armed with a strength so valiant it makes every noble prince in every fairytale fade in comparison.  He came to me; in a moment of surrender and need, He came…and caught me.   How He will work things out was not revealed, nor did He answer every question or why of my hopeful yet tired heart, but He said; “Child, I’ve got this.  I’ve got you covered.  I am here and I will never forsake you.  I am more dependable than your next breath.  RELAX!”

When did you last feel the safety of a word fitly spoken?  When were you last caught up in a wonder so vast and grand that your heart couldn’t even contain or communicate it?   You know.  You remember it right now; that moment when His voice came like a faithful friend alongside you, and wrapped His warm arm around your shoulders and your heart, as a reminder that you are never alone.  To know that God’s got you, sees you, holds you, walks with you, protects you, heals you, sings over you, lavishes His gifts on you, goes ahead of you, provides for you, carries you, watches over you and restores you, is too wonderful for my little mind to try to conceive.  The list goes on….and on.  The ways of God.  The timing of God.  The absolute awesomeness of God.  His voice interrupted my worrying, and it has had to do so numerous times since, but it does.  I love His interruptions.  I love it when He captures my heart and steals me away from my anxious thoughts and sets me beside those still, quiet waters.  I am trying to live there, in that place of trust and confidence in all that He is.

May 23rd is the day on which I was born.  It has always marked more of a new year for me than the grandeur of January 1st.  You may ask why?  Well, on January 1st the whole world starts a new year, but a birthday signifies your own fresh start, your own unique chance to recollect your thoughts and desires, your own opportunity to prioritise plans and run your race.  The night before my birthday is a night where I am still, calm, quiet and full of ponderings.  It is a special night to me for many other reasons too.  I think back over the past year and somehow try to imagine the new things that will unfold in this brand new year.  I allow hope to hunt for my heart and fill me again before a new season begins.

So tonight is that night; the night before a new year starts for me.  I can almost hear the page getting ready to turn, as one year ends and a new one stretches out before me.  But tonight I will plan, be still, pray and know, that “He’s Got Me!”  He’s got you too ~ I hope you know that!  Maybe it’s time to settle yourself somewhere quiet and allow your heart and mind to sink into the truth that no matter what life throws at you, that He’s got you.  He’s got us, right in the very palm of His hand.  It sure is a good place to be!

This cute cat poster you see here, hangs above my kitchen cooking area, where I spend time creating my food ideas; now it hangs in my heart reminding me again that He indeed does hear! ♡♫♡

Happy New Year! =)

Denise

♚ ~ “Checkmate” ~ ♕

~ ♕ ~ written by Denise Kennedy

“Life is like a game of chess, changing with each move.”
(Chinese proverb)

Lately I have been reminded of the day I started to learn chess.  It was Christmas and I set myself a new challenge.  I found it difficult but interesting.  Chess is a strategic board game which has been played for centuries.  Playing the game can be a fun, challenging way to stimulate your brain and improve your problem-solving abilities.  To me life feels like a game of chess.  To be announced as the winner you must be able to outwit your opponent.  It is not always as straight forward as we would like; sometimes the people playing the game of life with us have different ideas or priorities that are simply at odds with ours.  To play well we need to know how all the pieces move, which, as I learned the game I found the hardest aspect to navigate my way through.  One wrong unprocessed move and your piece is gone and the game could be over.  So this means we have to plan ahead, every move counts towards the end result.  You must see the path ahead, plan the moves before you need to make them, each step builds on the next.  A bit like a five year life plan; which I tend to be terrible at.  I am far too spontaneous and love to go with the flow.  I love my flexibility but I am learning to plan too, and therefore I score more “checkmates”.  Having an eye for opportunities, seeing details that others may miss will greatly add to your chess playing genius.  It is also vital to have a back-up plan for when things go wrong or when you make a wrong move.  Yes I am talking about chess, but do you see the correlation?

The object of the game is to capture the opponent’s king by putting the piece in “checkmate”.  Through well thought out moves, each chess piece moves to set the board up for the last critical move of “checkmate”.  Beginner chess players need to learn the specific movements allowed for each chess piece before playing.  I learned this slowly, and given that I have not had much time to play it I find myself needing a refresher course.  So why am I talking about chess?  Well I am at that place again in life, calculating my next move, looking at my many options and praying to see the best strategy to get me where I want to be in five years time.  Yes a five year plan.  I am that person now.

While there are 32 chess pieces on the board, there are only 8 basic moves performed in a game of chess.  If only life were as simple as a chess game. Most chess pieces move in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line across the board. One piece, the knight, has a unique move on the board.  The rook and king are able to “castle”, while the pawn only moves forward unless capturing an opponent. Once you play a game or two, the way the chess pieces move become almost second nature.  Or you could be like me, and need a lot more than a few games.  It depends on the level of your opponent, the tougher your choices are than the greater your awareness and survival techniques develop; that’s a lot like life!

All chess sets have the same basic figures represented in order to play correctly.  Chess comes with a set of rules.  The most powerful of the chess pieces is the queen.  Also represented on the chess board are these pieces: the bishop, knight, rook, and the pawn.  Each of the various chess pieces have distinct moves allocated to that particular piece.  These movements are critical to winning in the game of chess.  As too are the choices we make in life, they may seem small, but these choices are also critical in determining where we move next and what are the given opportunities that such a move will bring about in our lives?  Before you can start playing chess you will need to be introduced to what these pieces mean. Let me run through them very fast, trust me this will all make sense soon…

The PAWN ~ (♙♟) is the most numerous and (in most circumstances) weakest piece in the game, historically representing infantry.  Each player begins the game with eight pawns.  The KNIGHT ~ (♘ ♞) representing armoured cavalry.  It is normally represented by a horse’s head and neck.  Each player starts with two knights; these begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner.  The ROOK ~ (♖ ♜) formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, or rector.  The informal term “castle” is now deprecated.  Each player starts the game with two rooks, one in each of the corner squares on his own side of the board.  The BISHOP ~ (♗ ♝) each player begins the game with two bishops.  One starts between the king’s knight and the king, the other between the queen’s knight and the queen.  The QUEEN ~ (♕ ♛) is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.  Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. Because the queen is the most powerful piece, when a pawn is promoted it is almost always promoted to a queen.  The KING ~ (♔ ♚) is the most important piece.  The object of the game is to trap the opponent’s king so that its escape is not possible (checkmate).  If a player’s king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in-check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move.  If this cannot be done, the king is said to be in checkmate.  Although the king is the most important piece, it is usually the weakest piece in the game until a later phase, the endgame.

So in summary; what can we learn from this ‘endearing to some’, but ‘boring to others’ game called chess?  It is so important to plan for the future, even if you fail, at least plan something.  Don’t blindly move your pawns without thinking about the outcome.  Before you decide to make a move, imagine the scenario and how it will influence your game plan. Your actions will have implications, results, consequences and feedback.  Sure it may go terribly wrong but you may well “checkmate” if you stick to your plans and keep moving toward your desired goal.  At  times I have had to sacrifice a pawn or two in order to win the game or change direction.  Sure there are casualties and your dreams may crash and burn, but the game goes on.  I don’t say that heartlessly, but I say it with huge respect for pain and the lessons it has taught me. Sometimes goals of a lesser importance must be left behind, in order to embrace the possibility of new things; again something that is easier said than done.  Timing is everything, learning to predict the season you are in and the right piece to move or sacrifice.  But through all of these endeavours to get it right, the beautiful “checkmate” could be just moments or seconds away. You must fight for what is yours, and this is what (life) and chess is all about; protecting and persevering!

I am learning to play the chess rules again.  It is indeed mirrored personally in my own life presently.  I must not be passive, or I will be destroyed at the first hurdle.  I must be proactive, resilient, brave, courageous and sharp.  I must focus all I am on the next game of play; being silent in thought while at other times bold and advancing.  I have to be tenacious yet humble.  Any sign of overconfidence and I could lose my concentration and be tripped up by my own pride.  Are you with me?  Are we still talking about chess or are we now firmly challenging our own game plan for life?  Well truth be known, life is far more serious to me than chess, but the similarities can be used to reveal our deepest convictions and strategies for life.

I know my chessboard, and all I have is firmly watched over by the greatest game plan giver there is.  He helps me make my moves and decide where I should protect a piece or where I should sacrifice a dream in order to achieve something else.  He can position me in places I never ever thought were possible, and many times He has.  He wrote the rule book and has given it to those who ask.  I asked Him many years ago to come and change my approach to life, to take over and change the course of my life.  Not only has God done this in my life, but I know whatever befall, whatever sacrifices I must make, the end result (checkmate) that He plans for me will be blessed, and fruitful and eternal.  The game is not easy at times, but it need not be so fearful anymore.  But this is only because I have the Grand Master coaching my every move and guiding my every step.  There will be times when I have to take risks and jump to new places that seem daunting, but I know He sees the outcome and when I do it His way no move is wasted.

“When it comes to chess… You have to have a fighting spirit. You have to force moves and take chances.”
(Bobby Fischer)

In closing; play the best game plan you can, muster all your resources together, keep the end in sight and play fair.  Love the journey as well as those who play the game with you.  Make the best moves you can, based on what seems good and right at that moment.  Listen to the Grand Master, He’s speaking; you will hear Him if you listen.

Remember…

“Nobody ever won a game by resigning.”
(Unknown)

…Are you ready?  It’s your move! ♚ ~ ♕

The View From Here ❤ღೋ ೋღ❤

Hi everyone ~ I just found out that the following  short story I wrote has won a prize in the open category of this year’s  Creative Writing & Cultural Studies SCC short story competition in Inchicore College.  I have been invited to a formal prize giving ceremony in the Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square on Thursday 3rd May.  How exciting!  I just thought I would share my story now that it has been announced.=) Denise

THE VIEW FROM HERE

Written by Denise Kennedy ❤ღೋ ೋღ❤

It was a beautiful sunny Irish day…and I witnessed a very touching scene. They say that it is the journey that matters more than the destination. They also remind us that we should squeeze all the value, meaning and adventure out of the ordinary, and mundane activities of life that we can. I am inclined most surely to agree, for having come across some of the most beautiful surprises on very ordinary days, I could have certainly missed them had I not been willing to recognise them. This was one of those seemingly ordinary days, where I was allowed one of those lovely treasures.

Let me explain; I had decided to take a trip to the country.

I craved some clean air in my nostrils and a fresh green field to walk in, where all I could hear were horses neighing nearby and the bleating of the farmer’s sheep as he herded them in for feeding time, and the  beautiful sound of the wild deer as they called to each other in the evening light. I needed to get out of Dublin city for some rest and relaxation.

So I packed my bag and jumped on a bus destined for green fields, deer trodden rural lane ways and fresh babbling brooks. Yes the beautiful county of Kildare.

I had only been a few minutes on the bus, and soon I found myself finally unwinding and starting to relax.  I was ready to enjoy a long bus trip through the countryside and away from the busy traffic of Dublin city. I leaned my head against the window frame, on the very back seat of a double-decker bus, enveloped in lovely warm sunshine and drifted away in relaxation and escape.

Just then a commotion startled me from my peacefulness; an elderly couple made their way on to the bus and approached where I was sitting. I didn’t really feel like being surrounded by others at that particular moment, I was craving isolation and silence, but they both sat carefully on the two seats directly across from me. There was something playful or mischievous about them.

Although I had my sunglasses on, they still somehow managed to make eye contact with me and we exchanged pleasantries and smiles. Pretty soon after they had made themselves comfortable, a nearby passenger stood up to leave his seat at the far end of the back row, to get off at the next stop. Suddenly the elderly lady opposite me, hopped up from her seat and sat nearer to me but now she was also sitting on the back row. There was plenty of room either side of her, which she seemed grateful for, as she gave a deep relaxing sigh and stretched a little.

She smiled over at her husband and then lifted her grey tight-clad short little legs up to rest on the material covered vacant seat opposite her. 

She glanced again at her husband, who smiled warmly at her as he kindly said, “Your legs are too short honey.”…To which she replied, “Oh I know love, but I still like to do this, it helps my circulation.”  He chuckled at her with fond amusement.

I then found my gaze again out the window, and thought of the many elderly folk I have heard ‘tut tut’ at the younger teenagers for doing exactly the same as this adorable elderly lady had…somehow the not so polite behaviour was more easily accepted as it was a sweet older lady who just seemed to want to relax her tired legs. Her years gave her a well deserved right it seemed. I am being honest when I say I may have frowned a little on the position of her shoes on the seat had she been much younger. Instead I lost myself in the thought of her looking to her husband for his accepting smile across the empty seats that divided them, but only in measure, for although I had only been in their presence a few short minutes, I could already tell that there was a bond between them that I doubt anything could weaken.
Shortly after her excited move to the back seat, which positioned her facing the opposite way to that of her husband, she giggled towards him and said ”Oh anyway I like facing this direction because then I can see what’s ahead, I like to see where I’m going. I would much rather look that way rather than where I have been.” and she smiled at him.

He then adjusted his gaze towards the rear window which stretched along the back of the seats his wife and I both sat on – Then glancing back towards his wife he said ”Oh you know my dear, I like to look at where I have already been…I like to look at the past.”  At that point she chuckled at him and then she looked at me. Maybe she wondered if I knew what he meant or was I even listening. I hid a smile as I looked again out the window beside me, as trees and sheep covered fields rushed past me in the glorious sunshine. Little did they know that my thoughts remained firmly on what this dear pensioner had just said to his darling wife.

What an interesting response he gave her. This couple, who had interrupted my quietness just moments earlier, had now also gracefully interrupted my thoughts, with remarkable ideas of their own. They intrigued me slightly, with their interesting ‘doors’ of life. I was grateful already for their presence.

When I looked at them, I was reminded of the fact that some people do actually love each other forever. I wanted to know their story. I wondered what circumstances had led them to this very moment in time, that they should hold such interesting and different opinions on life. They both were comfortable in their unique viewpoint of the past and the present. He liked looking through the door that showed him the years gone by, and she wanted to stare ahead, through the door that revealed the future. The other interesting fact to me is; that they were quite at ease to discuss it even in the presence of a fellow traveler whom they did not know. That revealed to me how very secure they both were.

Just then I noticed that she seemed to be making gestures to him to come and sit beside her. The romantic girl in me imagined she wanted him to hold her hand and chat for the rest of their journey. He motioned a gentle no with his head, he was quite content where he was, it would seem. His declaration that he likes to look at where he has been was a surprise to me. I tried to understand what it said about these two pensioners, and their different focus points. She was happy to look ahead at what was to come, and welcome it with her feet comfortably perched on the bus seat in front of her. Maybe she feared nothing, or loved the thrill of the adventure ahead. Possibly she had grown up with a skip in her step and a hunger to jump spontaneously into what ever dream life gave her next. While on the other hand, or other seat it would appear, her partner for life preferred to look through the rear view window and what he left behind.

Part of me felt sad for him, just a little. I wanted to tell him not to fear the future, but quite honestly he looked so happy and peaceful, that I think his love for the past was sincerely built upon the wonderful memories he had left there. Quite possibly, his reason for not looking ahead was because he loved the element of surprise that unexpected things would bring into his life. Anyway, his wife had him covered. She was looking out for both of them. Some people firmly close the door to their past, feeling quite relieved to leave all it holds safely behind, making the future their primary focus; but not this quietly assured gentleman. 

I decided, that she must be the one who plans ahead, while he possibly holds on tightly to the experiences of the years gone past. She may be the one who longs for new ground and new shoes, and new places to see, throwing all caution to the wind and not worrying about the time that is already spent.
At this point I could no longer delay my own reflection,

“Which one am I?”

Unknown to them, they had really turned a quiet bus journey into a thoughtful evaluation process of my own life. I decided that I resemble both of them…I cherish the memories that are behind me, that have made me the person I am today. I truly value the amazing people that I have been able to share my past and my present with. Suddenly tears started to fill my eyes. As I blinked them back to where they came from, I was grateful to be hidden behind my sunglasses.

I also thought about the strengths in my heart, that have motivated me to push forward into the future, to always be ready to plan new adventures and see new places. I tend to be spontaneous but also quite a cautious dreamer. 

I had a mental image of one of my hands reaching lovingly back into the past and desperately wanting to take all the people I cherish and memories I have made, with me into my future…while at the same time my other hand grabs the next moment the future gives me, deciding to jump to the next page or pursue a new dream with all of my heart. I guess these days I am somewhere between the past, the present and the promised.  

The delightful thought comes and wraps itself around me, to remind me that heaven knows the seasons I am in and that there is a God who travels with me through yesterday and into the days that await my footsteps. There are so many open doors yet to be walked through, some will be amazing and some will be difficult. But that is the beauty of the unexpected, it makes us who we are.

Could it be, that the reason this adorable couple, could take a bus journey together, yet comfortably sit a few seat cushions apart, was probably because they knew where they had been, and also where they were going.  He had her back covered while she was looking ahead. He was delightfully safe knowing she was already thinking about tomorrow, and the future and what it would bring them. This may not seem like the usual male/female role, but like any relationship and marriage, we all bring our unique perspectives and strengths with us to compliment the other person. He sat there looking behind, cherishing every detail, while she sat there smiling, looking ahead. 

And again, I found myself a million miles away, lost in my thoughts, gazing out the window, remembering all that had touched my heart until now, and all that the unknown future had yet to reveal.


Moments later, it was my stop and time for me to leave the back row of the bus. I was reluctant to go. I wanted to stay there and spend more time just in the presence of this remarkably interesting couple, but leave I must. I smiled again towards them as I moved past, and they graciously did the same. I felt like I knew them. Even now as I write this, I wonder where they are.

As I walked away from the edge of the road, and the bus drove out of sight, I wondered did they move seats? The romantic heart in me imagined them now sitting closely next to each other, holding hands and on the same side. Probably they now sat where I had been sitting, with their silver hair shining in the sunlight, and both of them looking in the same direction. Or maybe he stayed where he was, but she moved to sit where I had been. I imagined them gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes, yet comfortably facing the direction they felt the safest in. They allowed each other the freedom of vision and focus, yet they shared a strong bond of companionship and trust.

There are many doors in life, some lead us to amazing white knuckle adventures, where our adrenaline is flowing and life is exciting. For others, the doors are slower to open, and it seems a struggle to see the path ahead. There are some doors I wish I had never opened, while ahead I see unopened doors that invite me to take a chance. Maybe the best viewpoint is to open the doors that are the right ones for you, based on what you believe to be true at that moment in time.  That decision is really up to you.

So back to my travel companions – Which direction do you think they sat facing? I guess it really doesn’t matter which seat they now sat on, for one thing is certain, their hearts were most assuredly united, and already on the same side.

By Denise Kennedy

February 2012

 

Cherry Blossoms & Stabilisers ~ ❤ ~

By Denise Kennedy
~ ❤ ~
It was a normal kind of day, for me.  Although I read recently; “There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” (A. Woollcott) ~ but as I made my way home on my usual power walk from college, the path seemed the same as it always was and I simply soaked in the beauty of spring emerging around me.
~ ❤ ~
As I meandered up the street, birds sang and daffodils waved to me in the light breeze.  Then I heard it, laughter and giggling. I wondered who it was. I soon started to smile too, as it was an infectious kind of giggling and it beautifully broke my somewhat lonesome walk.  I then turned onto a blossom covered avenue, and there they were; a nervous mother and an excited little lady all of about six years of age. The little princess was rushing to climb onto her shiny new bicycle.  Picture the scene; cherry blossoms have lightly dusted the footpath and roadway, as if cheering her on, as a little blonde learner tries to steady herself on her vehicle. She is dressed all in pink from her glittering hair bobbins to the pink and gold runners on her feet. Even her bicycle was a bright hot pink, as it shone in the sunlight.
I walked slowly, I wanted to take it in. I surmised easily that this was a cycling lesson. One nervous mother, plus one giddy courageous six year old and factor in “no stabilisers”, equals a recipe for fun or that of disaster.  I stood there, the unnoticed audience at the corner of the avenue. The mother did her very best to stay at the side of her wobbling enthusiastic child. The novice cyclist clearly had never cycled without the aid of her stabilisers firmly supporting her, and although she was excited there was a look of fear and caution in her face. Her mum was wearing a long black jacket which clearly was not a good choice, as she stopped every few seconds to grab it up under her arm so that she could get closer to her adventurous youngster while not getting caught in the spokes.
I looked into the mother’s face, she was scared, yet exhilarated with joy to see her daughter trying so hard to steady herself and not fall. This young at heart mother seemed quite like a child herself, as she rambled along beside her daughter watching her every attempt to stay upright and not collide with any of the parked cars. What a beautiful scene,blossoms, birds chirping and life happening right there in front of me!  Perhaps this mother was filled with thoughts of when she first learned to cycle properly? As I stood there, my mind raced back to those days of conquering a two wheeler bike myself. I remember the thrill and the adrenaline of finally chasing the breeze on that country road. Cycling was always one of my favourite pastimes, freedom and adventure were mine then. I remember especially those many occasions when I needed to cycle downhill with my legs on the handlebars so the farmer’s dog could not bite me as I whizzed by. I was scared silly but what a challenge.
So back to today ~ Well the little girl won her battle with gravity and suddenly that fearful little face was full of joy and accomplishment. The nervous giggles I had first heard had now turned to full blown laughter as she took off down the street away from me, with her mother chasing her from behind with a laughter equal in every way to that of her little pink angel, and a determination to stay beside her to keep her safe.
Then came my lesson; right there, on the side of that cherry blossomed road, I realised that I had spent all of that morning grappling and fighting with thoughts about the future, what next? What was I supposed to do with my life? Asking God to come and guide me. That was when the giggling distracted me from my anxious thoughts. So I rested my back against the tree behind me, and let God speak. And He did. He reminded me that I am in some ways like this little girl learning to ride the bicycle of life, I am OK when I know where I am going and how to stay upright and in my lane; but as soon as it seems apparent to me that a change is coming or I must navigate a path I have not cycled before nor chosen, that I become nervous and would rather dismount or run away.  Like a movie scene, He showed me so many occasions when I was afraid, how He came along beside me, and never left my side, nor would He ever.  As warm tears filled my eyes, I spoke the words out loud “He will never ever leave me!”. Even when I think I can handle it on my own, He is still there, ready to take hold of me when I fall or when I fail. On that blossomed path, He brought it all back home to me, that He lavishes blessings over me in a million different ways every day, some I see and some I don’t. He is the great seer of all things and I can trust Him. I wiped the tears from my face and floated up the road as it were, grateful for this amazing detour.
Maybe you are learning a hard lesson, one you would have never chosen to cycle through in a million years? Maybe you are trying to help someone you love overcome a huge fear or obstacle in their life? But either way, take a few moments to remember the day you learned to cycle without stabilisers, or the day you overcame something you felt you would never surmount; and remember that the same amazing God who walked beside you then, whether you knew it or not, is right beside you now.  We all have to learn to cycle without stabilisers, but in our daily lives there is a real Stabiliser who will never ever ask us to meet life’s challenges without Him.
So as I write this, I am continuing to cycle on the path He leads me, remembering that what is unknown to me, is very much known to Him!  xx Nisey ~ ❤ ~
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