It Takes Time & 700 Words ⏱

It Takes Time & 700 Words ⏱

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Well, hello there, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last wrote to you amazing people. Huge apologies, but sometimes you just need to give yourself the gift of time, and so that is what I did. A whole year of it in fact. But I am back, and my eager heart and fingers are ready to share some good stuff with you, and hopefully connect on an even deeper level.

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”
― Arnold Bennett

How are you? Maybe like me, you have been on a journey of discovery and decisions? If so, I am sure that our paths will lead us to even deeper knowledge, new ideas, unexpected surprises and wonderful victories.  It is true, that our life experiences can add such value to how we impact the world and those around us. What we experience and survive allows a deeper awareness to grow in us, and we move from a place of shallow living to a depth we never before imagined. This also impacts our writing, and we suddenly feel even more sure that we have something bursting inside us that is worth writing. I am sure you have felt the same at times.

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
― Sarah Dessen, (Just Listen)

Every season has its time frame, and it is vital that we enjoy the season we are in, even with its lessons. But an even more important aspect to seasons, is that we know when it is time to start something new or end something old. If we are not careful we can end up remaining in a season much longer than we are meant to, and so we miss what is coming next. Don’t linger longer than you need to, and don’t allow past disappointments to hinder the ‘next thing’ for you. It is always good to ask yourself, “what next?”, but sometimes you must simply as the question, “what now?”

So what is your “what now?”, maybe you need some time to make some choices and get ready for a change. What next must first start with a what now! What you do now, will magnificently impact your tomorrow. Only you know what it is that needs to change in your life, and only you can make these changes happen.  It’s not always easy, but the good news is that there are lots of people around you who want to support you and see you win.  So reach out to someone who cares, and let the others help you achieve new things. I’ve learned so deeply that God is my greatest source of strength. He holds my world together, especially when I let everything go and trust Him completely.  He is all we truly need. His always perfect strength!

“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.”― Roy T. Bennett

Before I go, you may be wondering why I have mentioned 700 words in my title. Well, it’s simply a quirky challenge I have set myself, that all my future blog entries, from today, will never exceed 700 words. I am absolutely 100% sure that there will be many days when I will want to write way more than 700 words, but I will restrain myself and meet this new challenge head-on.  So, dear reader, is there a small little challenge you can set yourself, that adds fun or humour to something you do every day? If so, do it! ⏱

Sometimes you must simply allow your life to change, and there’s no better time. So I will see you soon dear friends, and remember it is time for what is now…so let us begin!

Love,

Denise 🦌

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!

♦ ♥ ♦

“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

Be Unstoppable 👊

Be Unstoppable 👊

by Denise Kennedy

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I am currently reading the amazing book, The Unstoppable Golfer, by Dr. Bob Rotella. For those of you who are not golf lovers let me say that this book will help you gain a greater sense of control over your personal life and career objectives, not just your golf game. The psychology of golf can impact such areas of your life, as confidence, discipline, vision, and drive.

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One of my favourite quotes in the book is: “Every golfer has two opponents, the golf course and himself”, we all can relate to this truth.  As a business person or in your personal life, there are obstacles and challenges that seek to prevent you from achieving your destination. It matters greatly how you master these challenges; you must stand up on the inside before you will find the courage needed to meet the external challenges life throws at you.  Bob Rotella mentions the importance of playing your game with no fear, with true passion and a belief that you can do it.

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There are different beliefs in the golfing world about how much you should concentrate on your long or short game, and as I read the many theories on this idea, I was reminded that it is also true of the visions and plans I make regarding my own life. Do we have the right long-term goals for our lives? Does my present situation make it easy or difficult for these dreams to become my reality? If I identify obstacles in my way, then I must work and challenge myself to remove them. It is not easy to do, but what is right is not always easy.

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So today I encourage you to dig deep inside your heart and search through the myriads of choices, dreams and plans you are cultivating there; are they truly leading you to living an unstoppable life? Are you living other people’s dreams or are you genuinely excited about the person you are becoming?

What you do today, whether in your game of golf or your game of life, directly impacts the game you experience a year, or ten years from now.

Your short game influences your long game: make sure it is a game worth playing…

Let’s connect on Facebook

👊 Denise

Rethinking Someday

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Check out my latest blog post for The Irish Academy of Public Relations

Rethinking Someday

Sometimes it is not easy to put your fingers on these humble laptop keys, to try to communicate what it is that you want to share with the blogging world….and does anybody out there really read what you write or even care? I believe it is still worth the risk.

The following words motivated me to write today… ”I will get around to it someday”, I heard her say as she passed me by on her cell phone. A total stranger to me, yet our hearts were linked simply by the phrase she used.  We plan to do it, we plan to achieve so much but rarely make it a reality in our lives.

Read more… Rethinking Someday

Your Uniqueness Has Value

I’m delighted to be writing for The Irish Academy of Public Relations

Here is a reminder of just how valuable your uniqueness is! Have a look at this week’s blog…Your Uniqueness Has Value

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In this age of digital and personal development, many have thrown around the term USP, or otherwise known as your Unique Selling Point. Some folks find it easy to identify these incredible strengths in others, but struggle to evaluate these attributes in themselves, their talents or their business offering.

As entrepreneurs, communicators or anyone with a dream, it is vital that you know what your unique strengths are, and utilise them in all of your business endeavours.

Let’s break it down into smaller parts and evaluate the significance of this term.  When you are asked about your business, your skills, your capabilities or accomplishments, do you struggle to see what makes you unique? If you do, don’t worry, you are not alone in this dilemma. But if you do not challenge this weakness it will hold you back in every area where you seek to be successful. It is like carrying out a SWOT analysis on yourself, while determining where you are most likely to achieve your business goals.

So take a pen and paper, and jot down the words that come to mind as you answer these questions: There is no wrong answer, just be as honest as you can.

  1. What differentiates you from what your competitors are doing or offering?

  2. How do you add value in the industry or market you are currently in?

  3. If you were not doing what you are doing, what would your consumers or customers miss out on?

  4. When you wake up in the morning, are you motivated by the thought that you can make a difference in your work day, and if so, how?

Okay – how do you feel in the pit of your stomach right now? Are you chasing a goal that actually has no real value to your heart? Is there a possibility that you are stuck in your comfort zone and are no longer excited about what you are doing? If this is the case, then make the decision today to ‘unglue’ yourself from this place of underachieving.

When we forget our value or what we bring to the table, it helps to encounter new opportunities and meet new people. It is time to follow your dream, so let the journey start today. At the Irish Academy of Public Relations, you will find new career ideas, training courses and opportunities to up-skill in many areas such as, Event Management, Journalism, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Journalism. There is something there for everyone.

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”Jim Rohn

Your skill set may be perfectly matched to the industry you are working in, so it just may be the case that you need to sharpen your focus in a more dynamic way. Either way, unless we challenge these thoughts, we can find ourselves drifting along with no real motivation and certainly having no lasting impression on those we desperately want to impact in business and life.

It’s up to you! Check out the Irish Academy of Public Relations today, and start to sharpen those amazing skills you already have. It’s time to make the move!

Guest Blogger – Denise Kennedy

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

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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 ❀ ✿

The Language of Flowers Part 2 ✤✤

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Some of you will remember my original story about that wonderful little book called, The Language of Flowers…a small quaint book, detailed in the most simple yet decorated hand painting. I first discovered this book while staying with a dear family in Atlanta, and when I first picked it up I knew it was not like any other book I had ever  seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it.

I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.

Well this is my exciting sequel to that beautiful romantic story.  Since I originally wrote about this book on Valentine’s Day, I thought another Valentine’s Day would be the perfect time to reveal some beautiful details about the author and this book.

After my previous story about this book, I received an incredible letter from Laurie (who’s mother was the object of love, for whom this precious book was written) Laurie is now custodian of the book, and wished me to know some more details about it…so please read on to learn of the gorgeous gems I was sent to share with you.

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Hi Denise,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try to give you as much information as I have regarding the book, The Language of Flowers, and its history. The author was F.W.L (Frederik Lucas) a Jew who was my mother’s (Margaret Florence Jean Pickston) grandfather.  I know little about his life although he was an artist of some standing and my mother says his work was in the Royal Academy of Art, but I cannot confirm that yet as it needs more research.

Now this book was never meant to be published and was written for his wife as a token of love, for I believe an anniversary (in 1913) or birthday from, ” Father to Mother”.  How long it took him is not known but would assume some time as he secretly undertook his work every evening after his wife retired to bed. For years it lay in pieces in my Grandfather’s clothes drawer, gathering dust, until 1967/1968.  My parents were at a party, when polite conversation turned to the little book, and by chance a gentleman overheard who worked for Micheal Joseph, the book publishers.  

He explained he was most interested in seeing the book as Michael Joseph had not published a book like this before. So the book was sent to London and rebound/restored to its former glory, including its original handmade leather dust jacket. Then the first copy went to print on 10/10/1968, which also happened to be when I was born.

You will see numerous mistakes in the book such as paint brush marks on pages and written mistakes. A little known fact is that this book was entirely illustrated by paint brush, including all the meanings of the plants, with the exception being the forwarding poem to mother. I am not sure if the book is still in print as Penguin books have taken over and produced a run a few years back to send to every library in the U.S.A. I hope this long letter builds a picture in your mind about what I call “the little book” AKA The Language of Flowers.

Kind regards,

L. Pickston.

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I am sure when this loving gentleman worked secretly on this labour of love for his wife, that he had no idea just how very loved it would be, by his wife and so many others. Today, may you find a labour of love to embrace, and make it your absolute passion to share it with the world. Someday I hope to make it to London and hold the original in my hands, so watch out for part three to The language of Flowers saga.

Feeling the love…

Denise

February 14th 2016

Valentine’s Day

✤✤✤✤

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 👌

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

 

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.
Np part may be copied or reprinted. Feel free to use social media links to share.

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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I Can Carry You 👟

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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!”

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!

ღღღ

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!

✿♥‿♥✿ 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 ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

★*°•. 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 ~ ❤ ~

A Good Cheer! ✫✫✫

✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

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)

What Are Mercies Anyway?~~ ♥

 ♥ by Denise Kennedy~~ ♥

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;

Mercies

  1. Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm:

  2. An event to be grateful for, especially because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant happening or provides relief from suffering.

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!!* ~~ ♥

Goodbye! ~ ♡ ♡

Goodbye! ~ ♡ ♡

written by Denise

~ ♡ ♡

Well. I didn’t intend to write a blog post today, but sometimes life just presents you with something that you didn’t expect. I should be studying right now, but I can’t. I have tried for several hours to relax and calm myself down but I am wound up tighter than an old grandfather clock! My heart is racing faster than a racehorse after the stalls open. My chest feels like it will explode, and my hands are shaking wildly. Are you curious?

Well I never saw it coming. We got on so well, for years and years you were one of my favourites. But it is all over now. Yes, and for those who know me, you will be surprised.

Ten days ago I slowly withdrew from you, and replaced you with healthier choices. I even began to sleep better. I had changed my eating patterns, although I was never an unhealthy eater, I still needed to up my food game somewhat and I did. Ten days of visible rewards and energy I had not felt in years. I even enjoyed the most perfect night’s sleep on more than one occasion and it has been so refreshing. But today it is all over. I can barely believe it myself. It hurts to even say it. But right here, right now, with the symptoms I am feeling, it is not a hard choice to make.

~ ♡ ♡

You see, coffee and I go way back. It has only been once or twice a day that we met, but what great and special moments they were. A rich Italian roasted latte with a dollop of vanilla flavouring, and viola, perfection in a china cup, or any cup for that matter! And when I have had the opportunity to get to QT in America, well then it was my pleasure to enjoy a nice vanilla cupcake concoction, with lots of other pleasant flavours like hazelnut or caramel thrown in too. The added joy was having it made perfectly for me. Ahhh it brings me back to wonderful memories just describing those luxurious sweet mixes. Ahhh but that is all in the past, starting from today.

You see, I was journeying home after a morning of college classes. I had sipped the very last of my jasmine green tea, which I take every day with me in my travel mug. It keeps it nice and warm for hours. So as I headed up the street towards home, minding my own business and not even thinking about coffee, it suddenly crept into my mind to treat myself. The thought was quickly chased away at the sight of an oncoming jogger wearing a bright blue t-shirt with the words “I AM AWESOME” written brilliantly and boldly across his chest. I giggled to myself, not at him or anything, but I thought it was cool to see someone confident enough to declare it. And he is right, for we all have our own awesomeness and should all own such a t-shirt. To me God is awesome, the Great I Am! So when I saw the jogger approaching I instantly thought “Yes, I AM is AWESOME!”    I went on about my journey home, and turned my usual corner to the street that led to my abode. And there it was. A new café, screaming to me at the top of its lungs to come in! It wanted me to treat myself, and well, I just couldn’t disappoint it! Within seconds my empty green tea flask was hidden away in my college bag as if it never existed, and I was in line to order, and order I sure did. One nice vanilla creamy latte to go, coming right up, and heavy on the vanilla kind sir! And he did! YUM, I could smell it as he filled up the last of the frothy cream, and topped it off with a lovely heart shape to secure the deal! I was won hook, line and sinker!

~ ♡ ♡

I paid and left. Strolling along, admiring the out of season early cherry blossoms along the way. Savouring delicious mouthfuls of my hot and lovely coffee, yes it was altogether delicious! The sun peeped out and the birds sang, and my taste buds sang right along with them.

I was home sooner than expected. Although I love my daily walks, somehow the coffee I was consuming gave me an added pep to my step, that is until an hour later, and indeed at this very moment. I am not a well bunny, and am hoping that sleep has not been chased out of my system for the approaching night ahead. My head feels like it is on a roller coaster of the highest magnitude. My hands are shaking beyond measure, so for the typos I have missed in these ramblings, please understand. So it is with sad but strong resolution that my love affair with coffee has ended. All I can say is that you were good to me, or so I thought.  I could say it’s not you, it’s me, but well I can’t say that because it is you. My homemade editions of you have been my safer bet, but alas I feel that even they will be a thing of the past!

 ~ ♡ ♡

So, I am sorry to say this to you coffee lovers out there, but it was not until I had allowed my system ten days of life without my dear caffeine companion, that I have come to realize the absolute crazy side effects it is lavishing upon me in the cruelest way. So goodbye coffee, adios amigo!

As a side note, while I was in the cafe waiting for my latte, an enthusiastic friendly American gentleman ordered something I had not heard of before, it was called “The All Day Cure” and I find myself wondering if maybe I should have made the same choice. One wonders. If you know what that is then let me know. I may need it before the night is through if this shaking

does not subside! After my get together with coffee today, I am not feeling so AWESOME at all!

Cheers!

Denise

~ ♡ ♡

✤ The Language Of Flowers

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS¸.•*”✤✤By Denise Kennedy
There is a language, ‘little known,’
Lovers claim it as their own.
Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak
Of  life and joy, to those who seek
For love divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.
From a handmade booklet given
as a gift from husband to wife, 1913
(by Father)
¸.•*”✤✤
One upon a time…in a land not so far away, well OK I won’t start it like a typical fairytale because this one is actually a real story. Anyway, as I was saying, I Denise, made a very exciting trip, to visit some very special people in Atlanta, in the good ole USA!  Well truth be told, I visited this loving and gorgeous home more than once, but it was on my first visit there, that I discovered, among many other beautiful things, this wonderful book I want to introduce you to today. It being Valentine’s Day, it seems the perfect day to do so.
It was not long after I had arrived to stay in this beautiful Southern household in the suburbs of Atlanta, that this book caught my eye.  It was a stunning summer day and I was thoroughly enjoying the South, from amazing home cooked recipes to incredible wildlife, wonderful laughter and peaceful walks. My camera seemed to be never out of my giddy hands. The lady of the house, loves books as much as I, and indeed I had the opportunity of reading lots of her books during the weeks that I spent in their beautiful home.  Miss Charlotte has the warmest nature, and it was wonderful whenever she handed me a new book to try, she knew full well that it would capture my heart as it had hers, and her choices were always perfect. She and her darling husband share a taste for the deep things of the heart, and indeed, when I think about the love they have for each other and the heritage they share as a family, it is so fitting that the book I discovered should find a home with them.
So this particular day, a small book, with lots of flowers on the cover, grabbed my attention instantly. It was sitting on a little cabinet shelf, alongside some Southern Living magazines, if my memory serves me right. It was quaint and detailed in the most simple yet decorated handwriting that I had ever seen in a published piece of literature. I picked it up, almost afraid to damage it, seeing straight away that this was not like any other book I had seen. It looked like one of a kind, a once off created manuscript, printed for one reader, for one love, for the eyes of one beholder. I felt privileged to even hold it. I flicked though the front pages, and soon discovered that I was not far from the truth in my observations. It was indeed a very special little book. Before my eyes, were lots of hand drawings of flowers, names inserted in a calligraphy pen, and then lists and lists of flowers, and the reason one may give them to another. It grabbed my heart. How happy I was that it had been so nicely arranged where it was, so that some guest or family member may be warmed by its presence. Looking back now, it couldn’t have found a more loving or deserving home, than the one in which I discovered it.
We were just about to leave the house to go sightseeing around Atlanta, so I set the book back where I had found it, with a promise to myself that I would have another look at it later. So, every day, at different times, I would take that little book carefully in my hands and read a little more. So many flowers were mentioned, some I had never heard of before, and opposite each name, was a beautiful description of the language or meaning behind the gift of that flower. I loved it! It was adorable, romantic, intimate, and so delicate. It made me smile to think that someone had gone to great lengths to create such a loving piece, to convey to another the romance and language of the flower of love in their own heart.
So about the book ~ Many reviews say it was created by Margaret  Pickston, in 1968, but research has shown me otherwise. This is a review written by Margaret herself, about this book; The Meaning Of Flowers, is a beautiful little book, full of romance and love. ~ It was a present from my Father to Mother on their golden wedding anniversary. Instead of buying her a brooch or bracelet, he hit upon the happy plan of writing and illustrating a little book for her, which has now been resurrected from some forgotten drawer and published in this newer edition.”
¸.•*”✤✤
Another beautiful review follows; “The original author gave an unusual dictionary of the traditional meanings (as well as some dreamed up by himself) of over 700 flowers is reminiscent of a gentler era when people found time to express their affection in an individual way.  A family heirloom for decades, it has been reproduced in England with the family’s permission. Charmingly hand-scripted with delicate water coloured flowers and plants bordering each page, the author’s comprehensive list ranges from abatina (fickleness) to zinnia (thoughts of absent friends), and embraces such unlikely plants as the potato (benevolence), rhubarb (advice) and a branch of currants (you please all). His list of roses is most impressive – forty different kinds and colours, each with its own meaning. Who Father is must remain a secret. All we know is that Mother and he celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on August 8, 1913 and that his initials were F.W.L.” (taken from http://www.etsy.com)It has been quoted by one writer as the essential guide for those of us who prefer the flowers to do the talking, but you don’t want to choose the wrong bouquet and send the wrong message. For example, you could give your lady almond blossoms – meaning ‘hope’ – but don’t ever give her almonds with them (even if they are chocolate coated), as they symbolise ‘stupidity’! =)
…So, it was indeed Margaret’s Father who was the creator of this little book, it was born out of love for his darling wife. (I was right when I said it felt like one of a kind) Then later his daughter, Margaret recreated it and had it published in her name. I have been unable to find the original lists of the flowers represented in this beautiful book, and also the list is exhaustive so I cannot quote them all here for you. It seems quite a rare book to even get your hands on.  So here is a short list of the meaning of some gift flowers many choose! ~ I hope you enjoy! =) The opening quote at the beginning of my story, is what was inscribed by Father to his wife, it is contained in this image here to the right —–>
Before I leave you to read through the list, let me just say a heartfelt thank you to a beautiful Southern family, who allowed me the pleasure of sharing their company and loving kindness. A flower is a symbol of many things, and some people have the gift of letting it bloom in every season. Thanks, you know who you are! x Nisey¸.•*”✤✤

❀¸.•* Too Much Spring

❀¸.•* TOO MUCH SPRING ❀
Written by Denise Kennedy
What’s your favourite season? When do you find it easier to bounce out of bed and be you? Is that an easy question for you to answer or are you like me, loving certain characteristics of each season?  It is true that every season is bird-chirping weather, but most of us chirp easier in certain seasons.
Here in Ireland, it is winter now. Although, one would scarcely know at times because some days have been so beautiful and mild. It would appear we have not really had our typical blustery, snowy, cold winter at all. I am not sure we will have it this year. True, some days have been icy cold of late, but nothing like the terribly Icelandic winter we had last year. So when I say winter, certain words, or adjectives come to our creative minds: stormy, cold, white, blustery, slippery, wet, windy, beautiful, freezing, cloudy, subzero, frosty.  And some more descriptive phrases come alive too; open real log fires, cosy romantic nights, arctic conditions, dangerous black ice, foggy visibility, sparkly crisp  mornings, Christmas memories, hot dinners, woolen gloves, heavy coats, and a warm hand to hold. The list goes on. Some of these are my favourite things in life.
For the calendar’s sake, I should jump to spring now, but allow me to come back to it last, humour me at least for now if you will.  There’s a reason for my delay!  Maybe you are the summer type? You have a bright personality and all you see is blue skies during any season, even if it rains now and then. So many people hate the darker months of winter, especially sufferers of  S.A.D  (Seasonal affective disorder, it is a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year. For some it causes them to become very down in the winter but they feel much better in spring and summer.)  Some people live for summer. So much so that they spend their lives literally following the sun wherever it is shining, spending 6 months of the year in sunny climates or beach homes. I wish I could afford such a luxury, but truth be known I would miss the cosiness of colder weather too. So then summer comes, with its sunny blue skies, pleasant beach walks, soothing chilled ice cream cones, hot sand underfoot, fine midnight walks, awesome surfing trips, the scent of coconut suntan oil and poolside barbeques, bikini holidays and cloudless warm starry nights. For some people, summer is harsh with its belting heat and soaring temperatures, and they actually move to cooler climates until it passes. Not me, I love the sun, but in moderation; having spent part of my childhood living in Australia, I remember the heat of the sun all too well. The summer brings to me, memories of some of the songs of the 80’s, “The Boys Of Summer” and my favourite Beach Boys album. Everyone has their unique summer memories that never seem to grow old.

 

There are those who adore autumn, or fall, depending where you live! Autumn is when we change our clocks again, where every leaf becomes a flower, when wonderful yellows, browns and reds light up our world. The days are cooler and the evenings seem more enjoyable. We tend to squeeze the life out of autumn, knowing full well that soon winter will be here to wrap itself around us! The schools re-open and our routines all change again. The media begins its Christmas countdown and suddenly time just flies by. The breezy mornings awaken us and nobody really knows what way the weather will change throughout the day. Here in Ireland, we could have all four seasons in a 24 hour period.
Oh but autumn is so beautiful, I can pull out my warm boots and sweater for the odd cooler evening. The sun still shines a lot but the temperatures are far more kinder to our skin.  The crisp autumn air seems to freshen me up in the morning, while some days still allow me to wear my colourful t-shirts and flip-flops. Autumn prepares you for winter, and you are forgiven for lighting your first log fire at night. Autumn reminds us to gradually change the clothes in our wardrobe for warmer and more accessible choices. To me, there’s nothing as lovely as sitting near my window, reading a good book and listening to raindrops gently hitting the fragile colorful leaves outside. This year we were graced with one of the longest autumn seasons I have yet known, whereby my walks to college were splashed with amazing colours and the light crunch of leaves under my feet made me smile.  Autumn really is a multi-coloured garden of life.

 

Ahhh at last, here it is SPRING! You tell that for some reason it is my season today! I sat down the other night exhausted, having finished a very busy week, crammed with assignments and exam preparations. I rarely turn my TV on, but with a similar busy week stretching before me, I needed some relaxation.  So I lit my candles and settled in to watch a movie I had picked up on the way home from College. To be honest, the movie was less than average, and I would not rate it at all, but what moved me was the name of a play mentioned in the movie. Its title was “Too Much Spring”, and I whispered to myself, “I could never have too much Spring!” ~ the movie finished eventually, and I soon rested my head on my pillow to go to sleep, but instead I thought of spring; it brings to life the birds in the air, the bees buzz from out of nowhere, lambs begin to playfully fill the fields and hills. Flowers appear in our gardens, trees begin to open up their blossoms and the 40 shades of green seem to find even more shades to display. When I think of spring, these words and phrases literally ‘spring’ (lol) to mind ~ new things, cleaner air, the first smell of freshly cut grass, random sunny rain showers, unpredictable weather, brighter evenings with promising red skies, windy days with colourful rainbows, warmer mornings with softer rain. In springtime is seems that eagerly anticipated things seem to bring new hope in us, a time of transition allows us to redefine our plans and dream again. Spring speaks to me of HOPE! Floral bouquets decorate most patios and the hedges wear their prettiest dresses. It is lovely, bright and beautiful. Joy filled animals and dancing flowers, newborns and newlyweds. Spring brings Easter and with it comes the reminder that new life is ours.

 

I could never have too much Spring! If I was told I must choose one season to live in for the rest of my days, I think it would be spring. It allows me the cosy rain showers of winter, the warmth of the summer sun, and the vibrant colours of autumn all rolled into one! Almost every day in spring, no matter what your plans are, you can open your eyes and say “Well, it certainly is a beautiful day for it!” ~ Spring I welcome you from afar, although I must say, this year, winter has allowed you to sneak out and play with us in the most spontaneous and unexpected ways. Yes the calendar shows me it is winter, but inside it feels a lot like spring! And though my life is not exactly where I had hoped it would be, nor has every dream or wish come true yet, I know that spring will somehow make it easier to hope again.  To quote our furry friend Winnie The Pooh, “Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things which get you.  And all you can do is go where they can find you!”  ~ Every season spills out its own wonder on the earth, but none is as magnificent nor astonishing as spring.  So although it is still winter technically, why not go get some poetry and hums, and let spring come out to play in your heart, where blossoms and butterflies and April showers make you shine!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ Holy Amnesia

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~ HOLY AMNESIA ~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Written by Denise Kennedy
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Forgiveness. What does it look like?
When you are forgiven what truly does it feel like? Do you know? Maybe you have never really thought about this word before. Only those who have ever wronged someone they love or indeed didn’t love, but felt remorse for their deeds, really know the power of forgiveness. Possibly you have truly hurt someone who means the world to you and miraculously they extended the white flag of peace to you and wrapped their loving forgiving arms around you, that’s a gift of the highest order.
This week I ventured on a journey. I was looking for something, although rather hesitantly I might add. What was my quest? I headed off into the sunset of my own heart to see if any undone forgiving lay hidden in the memoirs of my life. And guess what, truly unknown to me, there was. Its funny because I wasn’t walking around maliciously harbouring anger or resentment towards anyone. I didn’t have a jealous vendetta against another soul and I honestly felt no thoughts of intense anger were keeping me awake at night. Sure I have been hurt, but not to the extent that I was gripped with an anger so great that I wanted revenge. But still I found some unchallenged notions and unchecked corridors of thought there in my heart. And I didn’t like it.  Mostly what I saw, were disappointing behaviours and unspoken sorry’s. Some were my own doing, but some were not. Both were reasons to feel slightly let down by those I somehow expected more from. The thing is, they didn’t even know it was there. It wasn’t like I’d been stolen from or visibly attacked, it was a far more subtle wound. Like so many are. But be careful because even the smallest paper cut can become infected if left unattended in the wrong atmosphere. So I decided to let it all go. I also decreed that I would seek to not be the cause of even the slightest paper cut in the lives of those around me, that includes the tangible encounters or the virtual (yet meaningful) online situations too. Words can hurt, whether spoken, written or implied or typed.
So a week later I’m honestly recounting the last few days and evaluating my journey. Isn’t it funny, (although I’m not laughing), that when you decide to forgive and forget, that suddenly you are presented with a real life situation where someone hurts you, out of the blue. That’s what happened and so my test really commenced. This kind Irish friend never intended to hurt me, but sometimes it still works out that way. I had a choice to make and indeed I still have to make it every day: to be the person I want to be. and to forgive and let it go. Somehow its easier (possibly) to forgive someone who is truly sorry and genuinely upset at the pain they caused, than it is to extend forgiveness to an individual who believes they did absolutely nothing wrong at all. The second scenario is my lot. But you know what, it makes totally no difference, it does not remove your responsibility to do the ‘bigger person’ thing. Whether they admit it or not, you have a choice to make, that’s holy forgiveness. Then you must try to forget the wound and choose to love, that’s holy amnesia! When you can’t do it easily, when it takes blood, sweat and tears, with a huge spoonful of humility and resolve, then you know you are really becoming a person who forgives quickly, you are becoming a legend in your own heart.
It’s when you open the door of the penalty box and you let them go free, that you actually open the door to setting yourself free also. I’m not saying it is easy. I truly know, with my hand on my (disappointed) heart that it is not. But nonetheless it is essential to your own health and peace of mind. You must try to move towards that result, even if it is tiny steps of peacefulness and release. Are you even considering it? Somewhere deep down in your heart I believe there’s a song of freedom, maybe its only a softly hummed melody, that’s calling you to a place of letting go. Where you will be able to sing loudly and tearfully the song of holy forgiveness.
In some ways, the loudest singers of this song are those who already have been forgiven much, and been able to in turn forget much, for they know the cost of this release. It is the key that opens your own prison door. Does that not include us all? Remember the story about the woman caught in her sin, (John 8) for those who have a Bible, it is worth reading; Her accusers were armed and ready to stone her. Then Jesus said to the angry mob, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” ~ But none were found faultless ~ and all that was heard in that instant, were the stones of abuse and criticism falling to the dusty earth, as each accuser walked away.
So today, drop your stone to the ground. I know its not easy. I’ve learned this lesson too many times and I know it takes all the strength and grace and guts you can muster. I know it involves holy amnesia; forgetting and moving on, but it will change your life. It will improve your health and bring you to a wide open space, to a running brook of peacefulness and a pasture of healing.  You will be known as someone who uses stones to build up and restore, instead of tearing down or destroying or inflicting pain. How you use the stones in your hand is your responsibility; either you use them for good or for harm. But be careful for one day you may be standing in front of
someone you’ve hurt, desperately needing them to drop their accusing stone to the ground and set you free. In some ways, the greater the hurt done to you, the heavier and weightier is your right to throw that huge boulder at the one who hurt you, but what will it rea
p? You will carry the weight around with you all of your days. Its a burden only God can carry. So let Him. Let Him take care of it. I know you’re tired. Drop the stone, and see what amazing things God will put into your hand instead. That’s “Holy Amnesia”, when we aim to forget and walk in love.
Who knows, but maybe the person who needs your forgiveness the most today, is yourself.
With love from a fellow “Stone Dropper”.
Denise

Meaning’ Full ★

Meaning’ Full ★ ⋰⋱
by Denise Kennedy
★ ⋰⋱★ ⋰⋱★ ⋰⋱★ ⋰⋱
Butterflies were all I felt, since yesterday…for some reason I was more nervous than usual. I had prepared as best as I could but the butterflies were alive and kicking! I tried to sleep but tossed and turned all night! There was nothing more to do but relax. If only it were that simple. I eventually slept for a few hours. Then it was morning, the day of the event.
To those who teach regularly or are accustomed to the nervousness that builds up before you do something new, my worrying may seem ridiculous. But no matter who you are, you too have a comfort zone. It may be something you are aware of or not, maybe you frequently take a walk to the very edge of your comfort zone and wonder what life on the other side of it looks like? Or maybe you are quite happy to never venture anywhere near that area of your life?  I like my comfort, but I have to say that I also love to challenge my comfort zone, because I have found out more often than not, that I love who I am when I conquer something new, or achieve something that scares me. I love the thrill of accomplishment that soon follows that nervous white knuckle ride, that you thought you could never overcome!
Today was to me, another opportunity to do one of those things that I would rather have avoided. So I got ready, played the class plan over and over in my head. And tried to breathe! I set off on my usual walk to college.
It is a quiet road for the most part, and although there is traffic, it never seems to interfere with the wonderful sounds that accompany me every day on this route. But today I was conscious of my own anxious thoughts and trying to just breathe!
I practiced the sequence of my class plan softly to myself as I walked through traffic light junctions and meandered through short cuts and lane ways. It was cold. A crisp kind of cold air that almost hurts your nose as you breathe it in. But I inhaled it deeply and forced myself to relax and calm down. Then I heard them. The loudest sweetest sound you ever heard at 7.45 in the morning. I could not see them, but they were tremendous. A vibrant green hedge was their stage, and they sang! I walked slower, so I could drink in their melodious harmonies and whistles for as long as possible. I don’t know what species of birds they are, but every day they sing, in the same bush. No matter what time of the day or evening as I come and go to college, they sing! But today was different, there were so many more voices. They were so boisterous in their celebrations of the dawn. Maybe they knew I needed their song more than usual? I was stolen from my worrying and anxiety. I was whisked away from the noisy clamouring of my own teaching apprehensions, by the sweet still chirping of the invisible birds. In all the months I have passed them I never yet have seen them. Amazing, they don’t care to be seen, they just simply sing to anyone who will listen. How lovely! So I savoured their sweetness as I walked and momentarily forgot my own nervousness. I kept breathing and tried not to worry.
I turned to walk down one of my favourite paths. At the end of this path I would see it. My ‘sunrise corner’, I like to call it.     For when I turn this corner I am usually met by the most amazingly beautiful sunrise. If the sky clears at all, and the sun has an opportunity to shine then here is where I first see it. This morning it did not disappoint me. I walked from a chilly darkened footpath, around the corner and suddenly I was bathed in the most glorious light. The sun was doing its thing! It shone with ferocious beauty upon the icy cold earth. I loved it. I too breathed it in. I held my face up to drink in all its heat and savour its warmth. Ah that was lovely, I mused to myself as I took my next detour and unfortunately had to leave the lovely rays behind me as I was now surrounded by tall sycamores and evergreens. With fewer delightful distractions my thoughts floated back to the approaching endeavour of my teaching practice. Breathe Denise, breathe, it will be OK!
I was almost at my destination, one more corner and I was there. I passed the same three security guards, who man the gates to the American Embassy. I love that building. There is something stately and grand about the design and detail of its architecture. And this morning it stood majestic with the sun shining on its trees and its flag flying high in the morning breeze. And on I walked. The butterflies were doubling in number in my stomach. Breathe Denise! Relax.
My final corner, I walked around it, with no anticipation for any more great outbursts from nature. But there it was, spectaculour in colour and astounding in display, the most gorgeous blood red sunrise I have ever encountered at the last bend of my journey. I literally gasped. Nature had another show for me, by far upstaging the previous sunrise display. I let the traffic lights change but I remained where I was. I stood there and allowed my back to rest gently against the cafe wall behind me. I looked up and soaked in some more warmth and beauty. Everyone else scurried across roads, with lattes and breakfast, but I was drinking in a different delight, It was beautiful. And I seemed to be its only audience, or so it seemed. Just then an elderly gent, standing a few feet away from me, seemed to notice my gaze, He followed my lead and then he saw it. He smiled back at me as if to agree with my observation. A few minutes more I thought, then I have to go. And I did. I could have stayed there until it vanished, but time was pressing and there was a class to teach. The funny thing is, that the nervousness was gone. I walked on with a peaceful sunrise of my own. It was deep inside my being, a sense that all of these beauties of nature had led me to. A sense that all will be well, and what will be will be. How easy it is, in our worrying and anxiety to miss the truly meaningful displays of nature around us.  So tomorrow, try to savour the beauty that is around you, and in deed within you. for it is surely there.
By the way, as a side note, my class went swimmingly well, and when I was walking back home some hours later, the birds were still singing! =) x Nisey
~~~ “Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.”
{Keri Russell}

A lesson from a Ladybird ✤


A lesson from a Ladybird…✤ ✤
By Denise

The other day, while reading by my window, I saw a lovely shiny red ladybird (in some countries you call  them ladybugs)…Anyway it was desperately trying to find a way to the sunny outer side of my window pane – it clung to the glass in search of a door of escape, I’m sure it had one eye on the glass and one eye on the freedom outside…but it failed at each attempt!

I decided to drop my book and help this little tiny creature find it’s way out –

I could see how to set it free far easier than it could, from it’s vulnerable position…so I grabbed a nearby greeting card and slowly approached the hesitant tired bug, planning to help it slide carefully on to a corner of the thin card – At first the little ladybug seemed to work with me and allowed itself to be transported from the glass to the card pretty easily, but just when I had almost lifted it to the desired open window, the little red lady jumped from the card and landed on the window sill below, even further away from it’s original starting position, and must have been quite dizzy from the fall. My next attempt to carry it to the outdoors was even harder….it was now not as trusting as before!

I kept gently trying to slide the insect on to the card, with little whispered promises of “Come on, it’s OK!”
But all failed attempts…resulting in the ladybug falling several times and seeming to be determined to not cooperate with me – On one such fall it landed on it’s shell with it’s legs scrambling in the air for something to hold on to so as to turn itself right-side-up again!! It then ran and hid from me, in a corner, obviously feeling I was it’s enemy rather than  a friend.
Eventually after it rested a little it appeared again, I gently slid it on to the friendly greeting card, and whispered softly again to it’s dizzy head…
“Trust me, I’m not trying to kill you – I am trying to set you free!… and Viola! it held on for the greeting card ride, and was soon sliding off the edge of it’s comfort zone into the great outdoors, leaving captivity behind..and finally breathing in the fresh air it had been merely looking at from the other side of the glass…”FREEDOM!” I said to myself as it vanished away into the great green world outside.

I sat back on my bed and thought for a moment about what I had just said out loud to a little trapped ladybug…”Trust me, I’m not trying to kill you, I am trying to set you free…!!”
Hmmmm…Suddenly I felt like a little ladybug myself.  Praying for open doors or windows in my life…but running from the hand that can take me there! Or desperate for changes, and searching for a sweeter place than where I feel my feet are right now …but no matter how I attempt to find the right window or door or opening it just seems out of reach for me, but I just have to be still & let someone bigger MOVE ME!!…There are some things you just cannot do alone!

 

God just wants me to trust HIM – It may hurt, it may be scarey (especially if you are afraid of heights) But if I just hold on and wait then I will see what He has promised…I may not know where I am going next but if I keep the right attitude, and am ready to MOVE when He ‘lifts me’ then He will work out how I get there too! I just have to be available and willing to agree and obey and surrender to whatever His hand plans next…
Are you like the ladybug?…You see where you want to be and the freedom you desire, but you cannot seem to get your legs (or heart) there, or you may have no idea where you want to be except you have a deep restlessness to move in a new direction…either way we all need Him to do the “moving” and as we trust His gentle hand even in pain and confusion, we can be sure that He will cause all things to work out for our good – We may never know what He is doing behind our backs, until He reveals it before our eyes…

There may even be a struggle to believe something is good for us, but He will give us the courage and strength to handle the situations He allows us to walk through…He may even give it back to us completely changed and even greater than it was before!
So I pray that just as I desperately am longing for freedom and direction on the other side of my window pane (and pain) that when He comes with His greeting card to pick me up and move me,

I hope I come running with humility, trust, willingness and excitement to let Him take me where freedom waits! I am glad that God can use the simple ladybugs of my life to remind me that HE KNOWS where I am and how to MOVE me where He wants me to be, and He has provided all the wisdom I will need for when I get there – I hope I never take for granted these lessons from my window sill, that He sends to remind me of His amazing greatness in my life.

May we always want what He wants even in the questions and the waiting!
Please be ready to go when He comes to “Move You”
Love
Denise

Copyright owned by
Author Denise Kennedy

THIS IS A COPYRIGHTED ARTICLE & NOT TO BE COPIED
Thanks! If it is used it will violate my future publishing rights to use it. Denise

A Street Called Contentment ♥♥ by Denise

Contentment; The Oxford dictionary describes it as ~ “a feeling of happiness or satisfaction with what you have: The good feeling that you have when you have achieved something or when something that you wanted to happen does happen:
Do you live here? Do you go there frequently or is it a place you long for? I feel qualified to ask these questions because I too am asking myself them. So it is OK to be honest, brutally honest but at least be honest. You don’t have to tell me the answer, or anyone else for that matter, but you cannot hide the answer from your own heart. Is something stirring within you now?
So how did I arrive at this junction, this question about contentment? Well I am on the journey of trying to learn it. There are times when it is easy to feel JOY and happiness, when circumstances have ‘rocked on’ exactly as you wanted. When the flowers grow exactly where you wanted them, when it rains precisely when you need it to and when your favorite things happen in your favorite way! When life never throws a curve ball and there are no obstacles to your dreams coming true, it can be a simple thing at these times, to be content.
So were we born content? I don’t believe so, I believe we begin to learn to be content even as children when things don’t go the way we want or lessons come along to teach us that the world or those living in it, will not always be able to please us. So give yourself a break, it is OK to admit that you are learning to be content. I did just that this morning. I exhaled a deep sigh, dropped my shoulders from their tense raised up position and gave myself permission to say I am not there yet, and I am not as content at all as I would like to be. Not only am I aware of the fact that I need desperately to learn to be content, but I am making a choice to pursue it. I am choosing to engage my heart, mind, body and soul in the activity of learning to live on the street named contentment. I feel afraid if I am honest. It will require changes in my expectations and a certain measure of discipline. Maybe I will have to evaluate my desires and my dreams.
But, what if it is too hard? …And then it came, a sweet soft voice, reminding me that I cannot even begin this endeavor alone. I cannot even find the starting point or the destination mark. All I can do is position my heart in the humble state of starting with honesty. Nothing of any value or real progress happens in our lives or relationships or decisions without genuine honesty about where we are. Maybe that is a new concept for you? It is a place of courage and determination, and it starts first with an honest look at your own heart.
Whether you believe in God or not, or whether you ever read the Bible or not, there is a worldwide hunger for contentment. The moment I said the word you were hooked, or why did you bother to even read any further? Did it intrigue you, as it did my own heart this very morning? Good, that means you know it is deserving of your attention and that something needs to be looked at.
So what is contentment? Is it having all you want, the perfect life, the dream marriage or single life, the fast car or grandest material possessions? Is it being healthy, rich, famous, or beautiful? For each of us it may mean some or all of those things. So, let’s say you get all of the things that should make you content, WOO HOO!! You have arrived and have unpacked your bags at destination contentment. Then one day everything changes, your world falls apart, and you cannot control it. What then? The Bible talks about learning to be content regardless of our circumstances ~ Gulp! ~ Hard to imagine isn’t it? I am gulping right along with you! I have met people who do not believe in God, and though they have walked a hard road they still seem to have found contentment. When I asked them how this is possible without God? They say they just choose it, in their own will power and strength. Not easy.
Believers have an oasis of strength in God to draw from in order to do this, and yet we openly and honestly struggle to learn to be content in our challenging circumstances. I believe the ground that exists between reality and our expectations, is the place where disappointment lives! It is the place where dreams are shattered or loss or illness come and steal our perspective or our belief that a certain event or thing would or would not happen. We are faced with the truth of what we really believe about God. We are faced with the obligation to find a way out of our despair. That is when we have to choose to learn to be content. It is not a mind over matter thing, but it starts in our mind. It starts with an honest, hard, humble (and any other ‘h’ words you want to add in) look at what we really feel contentment is. It does not come naturally, it comes supernaturally! It does not come over night, it comes slowly, deeply, painfully but with a promise of joy. real joy that circumstances cannot steal away in a phone call or bad report.
I believe most of us would admit that we are not content. Some are not content with the impact they are having in this world, and that is a different kind of contentment. What I am talking about is that peace that surpasses all understanding, that joy that fills every nook and cranny of your soul.
Imagine if you will, that I have a room in my heart, it has a door leading into it. On the door is a sign, with the name contentment written on it. Today I decided to open that door, although hesitantly, but never the less opening it. Once inside I looked around, and was not at all shocked that it was quite spacious and empty. You see there is a lot more space for contentment in my life than I had otherwise thought. I want my contentment room overflowing, full of life, full of God, full of gifts, full of flowers of joy, overflowing with hope and faith. So much so that I can share my contentment  with others who have forgotten about the hunger they have for it or indeed their loss of it. maybe you had never before admitted that you have been living for years with out it?
So at the start of what the world calls a new year, I want a new room in my heart to begin to explode with life. First it begins by placing your hand on the door knob and turning it, opening the door and allowing truth and time and God to have their way in working together to make all things new in you. We could choose to ignore this room, and carry on pretending that we are fine and don’t need to learn to be content no matter how hard the circumstances are, but is that not tiresome to try to keep a mask on our disappointments, when really all of us struggle with them.
I say open the door, I know I am. I am allowing God’s gentle yet powerful wind to blow through this room, to rearrange the furniture and put things in their rightful place. Some things may stay exactly as they are, but I will have changed. I will find out if I truly trust Him as I say I do. He will show me the sovereignty of His will. I will have learned that the true secret of contentment is in learning that God is good no matter what I see, come what may, day in and day out, rain or shine, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, or in sickness or health.
He is good and He is faithful. This is the truth and only when we can admit that we need to learn to be content can He really take us on an adventure that nothing can ever compare to! When we come to the place of admitting that we are disappointed, only then can healing really begin. Only then can our perspective be strengthened by a God who really wants that kind of real relationship with us. Then we can say with Paul in the book of Philippians:
11 ” Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ  who strengthens me.” (Phil 4: 11 – 13)
I have not yet arrived, nor do I assume to understand all the workings of God’s will in my life, or yours. But all I do know, is that our own understanding fails us, as does our own strength. So come, let us reason together, let us choose to at least start to learn to be content, and allow God to plant flowers along the way, and cause our souls to blossom with joy and hope like never before.
Open the door, decide to let your heart move into the street called contentment….It is never too late!
Love Denise

=) Nisey

The Gift Of Time ❤¸.•*”❤ by Denise

I have heard it said that “Time heals!”….but I disagree. Why? Well…I have had time…lots of it! I have had buckets of time to walk through lots of dreams and disappointments. Time to think about lots of questions and plans. I have had more time than I thought necessary to lay down my heart, to dare to dream again, to believe that God will make all things new. Time and I are best friends by now, except for the fact that there never seems to be enough time in one day to do all I desire. But I know that is the way time rolls, it waits for no one. But lately TIME has taught me a few lessons of its own. I do know for sure that only God can heal, not time!

Let me explain ~

Over the past months, I have heard of the deaths of the most extraordinary people. Many of them are precious friends of mine. Loved ones that I planned to walk this earth beside until God called us all home together. I have had to say goodbye to the most incredible human beings to ever do life with, and it is never easy to comprehend the “why” of it all. But one thing that these goodbyes have taught me, is that I have what they do not, TIME! Yes time for them is free, limitless, never ending, and eternal. A concept I can barely get my head around. But yet it is still true. Time for them is beautiful peace, eternal heavenly gifts in the presence of angels, and the presence of God. Time for me is different; some days it is a gift while on other days it is something to be endured or wished away.

But it is still true that time for me is a gift I sometimes forget to be thankful for.  It is a gift that many who have said their goodbyes to this world, would probably be willing to have more of.

So these days, be grateful for the time you have…for the butterflies that special people give you. Be thankful for the hard days that leave you tired, because at least you are alive to endure them. Be happy that some days are amazing, blissful and full of the most incredible memories life can make, because one day they will be the best part of your yesterdays. Embrace every golden moment because it can suddenly wrap around you on a rainy day and make you smile! Speaking of which, I love the rain, for it cannot steal away the joy that memories of special people bring me.

So when I say that time doesn’t heal, I mean it. Only God can heal and only God can really wake us up to all we have. May we take hold of the gifts that time has for us and may we hold on to them with a full heart of appreciation. Be grateful for time, it is indeed the most incredible gift, and never take for granted the other gifts time gives you, in the shape of people, love, work and dreams.

Just this week, a special dear sis Dawn Chambers Hood, said she wished she were here, walking along the snowy road with me, “Shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart, with a hot cocoa…!” her words made me smile, for it is the simplest of things that are shared with another, that make time one of the most special things we will ever get to share.

Take the time to make every moment a precious one!

Love Nisey



Strength Will Rise ♣ by Denise

 ~ written by Denise Kennedy

“Hello Sunshine!”…I said as I stood on my bed to open my bedroom window as far as it would go without falling out…and then lay in the early morning sunshine that seemed to promise it would be a glorious blue sky day. The sun streamed in my window and warmed my skin as I eased in to the day with my daily reading and God time. I love days like this when I can be still and quiet and waken my mind to new ideas and plans. My attention drifted as I turned the page of my current devotional, to the sounds of life outside my open window….I thought of God and His creation, and the amazing bird song that filled the garden below.

A huge bumble bee buzzed loudly as it hovered at the entrance to my window, I stared at it intently, and it seemed to stare right back at me as it pondered what to do next. It was so big I am not even sure how those tiny wings actually kept it in the air at all. Finally I won the staring game and it buzzed off to leave me in peace, for if it had come in surely there would have been  a contest between us, and I would have won.

Then the most incredible sound rose from the trees in my garden, a melody so beautiful filled the warm summer air. A lone voice with pitch and accuracy sang a song of frenzy and excitement.

It made me smile. I wondered what birds think as they sing? Do they think of the Creator who made them? Do they think of the next juicy worm they will catch?  Do they wake up eager to fill those lungs with air and belt out those amazing tunes of life and celebration at the dawning of a new day?

I would like to think they do. I guess on a stunningly beautiful day like this, that a song is never hard to find. That it is easy to sing, with such enjoyable and peaceful surroundings as your stage.

No microphone was required, all that is needed is a branch and a key to start. And so it sang and I found myself staring at the incredible blue sky above.

Moments later I returned to the next page of my book and was soon lost in the challenges and truth of the writer and allowed my mind to be consumed with the lesson at hand.

Pages turned and minutes past, and a sound of a different kind drew my attention to the window opened wide beside me…a fresh cool breeze blew and the warmth of the sun vanished…I left my book aside and crawled up on to my window sill, just catching the final ray of sunshine as it disappeared behind a cloud….not just one cloud, but the largest thickest black cloud you could imagine. What a contrast to the scene I had last enjoyed. Just then the rain started, no subtle drops or gradual introduction, it came hard and fast upon an unsuspecting garden. I could smell it in the air…serious rain! The sun was nowhere to be seen, although shining above the clouds for sure. The rain was furious, racing down to kiss the earth, nothing was untouched, it pounded the pathway to the clothes line and bounced off the window sill, inches away from where I sat inside. As I looked I dragged a warm fleece blanket around me and just watched it, it kind of entertained me. I giggled and thought to myself how glad I was to be this side of the window pane.

It was a downpour, of monsoon proportions, huge drops that flattened the grass and weighed heavy on the leaves of the trees. The flowers and summer buds danced along with little choice or option as the rain clearly led the way. Soon came the loud thunder in the clouds, it almost commanded attention with its sudden outburst. I jumped a little as I didn’t expect it. But I still remained on the window sill, as if testing the elements. I was strangely relaxed on my own perch.

Then I heard it, a beautiful response, coming from the heights above me…in the tall trees near by…the birds still sang!  Though everything had changed from a peaceful morning-glory to a darkened wet storm, the birds still sang! I dragged my legs close to me and wrapped my arms around them, huddled and warm and dry under my blanket, as the birds still sang in the rain. Their surroundings were harder now, it was not so easy to sing now as it had been moments ago. This was the kind of rain that would  cause shoppers and cyclists to stop and take shelter in a shop or nearby bus shelter….but no, not the birds, they still found a reason to sing!

If anything they sang louder, as if in competition with this very wet imposter who dared to cause them to be silenced and flee for safety. They sang out the sweetest victorious refrain, and now there were many of them, all joining in together…all different pitches and squeals and twitters. It was magnificent.

I thought to myself, it is a lot like life….the storms come to try to silence the song in us. The rain comes suddenly at times, when we least expect it, and tries to cause us to run away and hide.

But I want to be like these birds, when the storms come, and they will my friend, I want to find a voice deeper with in me that will not be quiet, that will find a way to sing, no matter what I see!

I want to celebrate the rain as well as the sun, for each must come in order for there to be life.

In the storm I want to find strength, the kind of strength that rises from weakness, the kind of strength that finds a song come shine or come rain! The kind of strength that turns in to a song that rises from the lungs of a vessel that knows God is in control and will never fail, never!

I thought of those melodious birds, as the harsh rain drops pelted them on the head, yet they opened their beaks and sang their sweet song, despite the elements or circumstances that surrounded them. Were they taken by surprise by the sudden heavy rains? I doubt it, and even if they were, I think they would still have chosen to respond with their victory song. They know the One who looks after them, who feeds them and clothes them. They know the One who never lets them down, in every season of life. I want to be more like these beautiful songbirds, to sing in every season, a song of trust!

To choose to trust whether sudden or expected changes come my way. Whether I understand my circumstances or not, whether the morning brings joy or the night brings tears.

I know, I am sure you do too, strength is rising! I can hear you now, opening your beak (lips) to sing……=)

Written by Denise Kennedy

June 13th 2011

♣¸.•*”♣¸.•*”♣¸.•*” THANKS for the follow! =) NiseyK