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!
” 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 .•°*★
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…..
With heartfelt loss, lots of love, and marshmallow chocolate…
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! =)
“Life is like a game of chess, changing with each move.”
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.”
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.
“Nobody ever won a game by resigning.”
…Are you ready? It’s your move! ♚ ~ ♕
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
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
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 ~ ❤ ~
by Denise Kennedy
Do you know that there’s someone beautiful, amazing, talented, incredible, strong and precious who needs you today? They need your resilience, your love, your optimism, your faith, and your belief that they can do anything that they set their mind on. They need your encouragement and your approval of them as well as your support when they fail. They need your pat on the back when they doubt they can make it. They desperately need your courageous discipline when they settle for less than what they’re capable of. When life crashes in on them, it’s your unconditional love and sustenance that they yearn for. When some days seem more lonely than usual, and it appears that there’s nobody to lean on, they cry out needing your assurance. When a dream shatters like glass into a million pieces, it is you they need to inspire and encourage them to get back up and try it again.
When they’re not feeling their strongest and life is a bit like a boxing ring, it is you who helps them muster the strength to get up off the floor and throw their best left hook ever. It is you who speaks softly to them that they’re as amazing now as they ever were, that scars and all, they’re still the best thing since sliced bread or before it. When nobody notices they had a hard day but still managed to conquer their fears anyway, it is you who hands them the bravery award.
There is no other in their life able to motivate them to believe that God has not forgotten them, or that there will be greater days ahead and new promises to glean from the field of life. It is your wisdom that directs them towards the faith they hold so dear, knowing that it steadies them on the tightrope of life. In the day to day routine of this individual, you are the one who calls the shots in the choices they make.
Who is the person who needs you?? Have you any idea yet?
Well it is you. You need to be your own cheerleader. They say “Self praise is no praise!’ do you agree? Hmmm well I guess it depends on the context, like a lot of things people say. So if I were to ask you about the cheerleader inside you, what picture do you immediately think of? Are you a strong supporter of your own achievements? Or do you sit around waiting for the applause of others to determine whether or not you did a good job? Sure we need the heart of God to show us unconditional love, and we need our family and friends to help us through thick and thin, but you need to cheer yourself when there seems to be no one on the field wearing your colours! There is a God in heaven who thinks you’re the bee’s knees or the wasp’s ankles, but if you don’t rise up to accept the role of a cheerleader in your own life than you will never really believe you can do anything of substance. You will end up believing there is nothing resembling a legend within you.
So come on. Get your pompoms out. Start to cheer yourself on. Position yourself in your own corner; I guarantee this will make you a faithful and amazing cheerleader in the lives of those around you. Let it start now, believe what God says about you and it will certainly influence your behaviour. Tell yourself you are amazing, for that is what is true about you! Right now it’s your “cheerleading heart” that needs to know that whatever comes your way, you believe you can face it head on! And the voice of God cheers you on every step of the way. If you cannot hear the cheers from your own dear heart sweet one, then you may never allow the cheers of those around you, or those of God to really influence your picture of who you are.
So, get those coloured pompoms out, begin to sound those cheers! Change the conversations you have with yourself, don’t be your own worst enemy! Loving yourself is not a crime, once it is balanced with a good dose of humility and regard for others. Let the sound of your own voice lift your heart up with gladness and hope, it is a beautiful thing! You will know strength even in the most heartbreaking circumstances. God will sweep in, as He runs to lift you up. Your faith will begin to grow and soon you will barely recognise yourself. Don’t be so quick to put yourself down for consequently you will sabotage your efforts and your very relationships.
If you abandon yourself, then what a sad heart you will develop. Start to tell yourself you are so proud of all you have achieved today. Yes it may feel awkward at first, but when the battles come which they will, you can be sure that you’re standing in your own corner, cheering loudly what God and all those around you, already know is the best thing about you ~ You just need to believe it yourself! Come on, you know you want to. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!
Be of good cheer, those who cheer themselves on can’t help but cheer others on too! =)
“Encourage your heart and strengthen yourself in every good deed and word.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:16)
Did you ever have one of those days, weeks or months? I am not really sure how to describe the feeling…but it is when you long to depend upon something that will not move, even if you lay all of your weight against it, it will not budge even slightly.
There are great moments in our lives when we feel like we can conquer Everest, and then there are those other days when we need a rock to lean on, or strong arms to hold us, or a calming voice to remind us that everything will be OK, even if the comforter cannot tell you how things will turn out, it is enough to just hear those words that everything will be alright! Well today I found myself whispering softly, “Thank you God that Your mercies are new for tomorrow, because today I think I used every last one of them up!” … and I heard myself asking my own heart, “What are mercies anyway?” And here is where I am. So if you want some mighty encouragement then tag along and find out! =)
Some of the definitions of MERCIES are: ~ Compassionate treatment, especially of those under one’s power; clemency ~ A disposition to be kind and forgiving: a heart full of mercy ~ Something for which to be thankful; a BLESSING undeserved ~ Alleviation of distress; relief: well needed peace ~ A relieving or welcome occurrence or state of affairs.
Unceasing care! – Great goodness! – Tender mercies! – Loving kindnesses! – Mighty support! – Unending love! –
~~ ♥ Another dictionary states;
If someone in authority shows mercy, they choose not to harm someone they have power over, or they forgive someone they have the right to punish. Mercy is used to describe a special journey to help someone in great need, such as people who are sick or made homeless by war or other catastrophes.
If you tell someone who is in an unpleasant situation that they should be grateful or thankful for small mercies, you mean that although their situation is bad, it could be even worse, and so they should be happy. Choose very carefully the timing of such advice, sometimes when a heart is broken it needs a tender heart response far more than a dismissive head response.
Take a moment to let the following words wash over you, sit under them as if you were relaxing beneath the refreshing invigorating pure waters of a waterfall in the midst of a remote forest….You have no where to be, you are in no hurry, you just have time to be still and bathe your whole being from head to toe in waves of mercy…for as long as you want ~ these waters will never run out! ~~ ♥
~~ “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I will hope in Him.” ~~~ Lamentations 3:22-24 ~~ ♥
To be comforted by God…is the sweetest comfort of all. To be cherished by God and also those we love, is the cherry on the pie, the cream on the cake. It is a gift to savour and relish. To be comforted and shown mercy when you are weary is a precious thing. Sometimes I know that my own expectations get in the way of anyone getting near me, or having the intimate opportunity of really knowing what is going on in my heart…If there is a season where I think things should happen this way or that, and they have been delayed, then I am in a place where I need new mercies to wash over me and revive hope in me again. If you are honest we all need that I suspect.
There is a thirst in us for something deeper ~ a soul quenching experience that only God can supply. Many of you have probably drank deeply of various pools and cisterns, and tankards of various liquids, all to no avail! We can run away and chase many things to fill this void, but our pursuits only leave us further away from the place we really want to be.
I say all that to say this….find the waterfall of mercy. It waits for you. Soak your tired weary self in the
rivers of acceptance and forgiveness, where all shame and loss are restored ~~ ♥ There is a shoulder waiting there with a place for your head; And a hand waits to hold yours; There is a place there for you to be yourself, fully loved, completely accepted and cared for! There are new mercies for you! You don’t have to live on yesterday’s strength. So right now where ever you are, let your anxious shoulders drop, relax more than you usually do and ask God for the mercies He has in abundance for you today. And guess what, tomorrow He will have a new waterfall for you to come and sit under for as long as you want and need. There will always be room for you, a place made just for you.
Shhhh, can you hear it? A waterfall, I’m breaking into a run,and I’m jumping right in!
*SPLASH!!* ~~ ♥