Be A Goose ツ

Be A Goose…ツ
The Truth About Geese
By Denise Kennedy
img_20160918_161616

 

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

bdb1

“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.)

 ✯

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.”

 ✯

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  ✯

Rock Flowers ❀ ✿

By Denise Kennedy (February 19th 2016)

❀ ✿

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

pansy in the rock.jpg

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!

❀ ✿

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?

❀ ✿

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.

❀ ✿

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

❀ ✿

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.

❀ ✿

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.

❀ ✿

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

Keep growing,

Denise ❀ ✿

NOW ⏰

~♡~

now 11

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

Peace In A Broken Place ☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

By Denise Kennedy

Rosie Afolabi

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

☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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

.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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

.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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

☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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

.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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

☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

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

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

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

Denise  ☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

________________________________________________________________

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

Peace In A Broken Place ☕.¸¸.•*`*•♥

September 2015

¸.·’★¸.·’★ 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

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

★*°•. 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

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

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