Hearts-ease ✿

Hearts-ease ✿

by Denise Kennedy

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

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

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

Hearts-ease also heart’s-ease

n. 1. Peace of mind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

restore

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

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

❣ You Know You Want To ❣

by ♡ 𝕯enise Kennedy ♡

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know you want to…

♡ 𝕯enise ❣ ~~ ♥ ~~ ♥ ~~

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

✿ ❀ …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

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

¸.·’★ PROMISE YOURSELF ¸.·’★

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

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

Love well, Love hard, Love sincerely! Nisey

☆★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!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ▬▬✿ Pleasant Places✿▬▬Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ▬▬✿ PLEASANT PLACES ✿▬▬Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

Written by Denise Kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

So…as we read this line where David declares ~

“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . . come on, it’s time to unpack!

Xx Nisey K

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}
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