This Moment Is Mine

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Peaceful Resolution” and is available for purchase by using theinstructions at the bottom of the page.

The big blue truck veers from the highway and comes to an abrupt halt on the berm. The rain clouds have dissipated and the roads are clear of debris. It’s time to sit by the Kanawha River for a few minutes and recharge in the fresh air and warm sun. Down river Glen Ferris basks in the Sun beneath the dormant kudzu. The trees are still sleeping but the soil is starting to come to life deep beneath leaf litter. And the frogs are awake! Even though it’s broad daylight the forest is alive with the croaking and chirping of the males singing for a mate. I can also hear a cardinal high in a treetop declaring his love for his lifelong mate. The sun is at just the right angle to produce a nice reflection of the Methodist Church in the distance on the water. The breeze blows just enough to feel fresh but not enough to chill. I take a deep breaths and savor the atmosphere. There’s no rush today and the big blue truck ism going anywhere else for a while. Today is mine and I will take full advantage of each moment while it’s available because those moments when a person can clear away the mental clutter is just as important to health as diet and exercise.

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Childhood Memories Of A Winter Morning

The hoary frost clings to the bare branches and the world starts to look like white velvet. The cool weather brings the smell of wood smoke to the valley. I can really relate to the philosophy of the bears as old man winter approaches. The urge to pull the thick quilted blankets over my head and not come out until Easter is very tempting. But then there’s the traditional cold weather hardy breakfasts that draws us back to humanity. Some of my favorite winter memories include waking up to the smell of warm maple syrup and the sounds of bacon in a hot skillet. Today we can call up any entertainment we want to with the aid of technology but in my earliest memories there was only three channels and cartoons were only available on weekends. After breakfast we would pile up on the couch with that heavy quilt and favorite pillow and spend the whole day watching T.V. Even without the T.V. I enjoyed just curling up in my blanket and watching the fire burn.

As the dark days of winter grow shorter over the next month it’s a good time to recharge your biological batteries. The light will be returning soon and soon afterwards there will be a world reborn to explore.

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The Little Brick Church

Tonight’s Feature Image is Virginia’s Chapel in Cedar Grove West Virginia. The link will take you to the Wikipedia article. The article is short but states that the Church (also known as the Little Brick Church) was built in 1853 and used by both sides of the Civil War And that’s in the national registry of historic places. But, is that all that history is? A few facts and dates can’t tell the whole story. I often pass through when a wedding is taking place and the Little Brick Church is all decorated. I see friends and family gathering on the walkway and occasionally see someone taking care of the cemetery on the other side of the chain link fences. I have to wonder about the memories that were made here when the lot was more open and cemetery less full. Back in days when the roads were not paved. I imagine that the fields were open and picturesque. The church was full of live music and joyful noise. I imagine that a few sour notes were sung as the rest of congregation gave each other “that look” and continued to worship God in earnest.

The church wasn’t fully completed until 1912. A full generation after the Civil War. I don’t think that was a coincidence. It could only be completed those who had put away their harsh feelings about the past and fully committed themselves to becoming one family. And that brings me to main thought for tonight. If we want to complete the work set before us then we have to put aside the outside world and come together as one people. I’m speaking mostly to my brothers and sisters in Christ but this concept goes for secular organizations as well. Time on this earth is finite. Effective time is in even shorter supply. Don’t waste a second of it. Find some middle ground and complete the tasks at hand.

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Hangups,Errors a And Blunders. The Mistakes We Are Trained To Make.

Nobody is born being an expert. We might all have different aptitudes for various skills but it’s practice that makes perfect. Even if we achieve the skill level of “expert” that doesn’t mean that we are free from simple human error. Suddenly being faced with the undeniable truth that you’ve made a royal screwup is God’s way of keeping us humble. In other words, oopsies are the great leveling force of the universe. Remember, it was experts that built the Titanic and amateurs that built the Ark.

When I saw the collection of lost fishing tackle snagged in the overhead power lines my first thought was that someone’s kids had been on their first fishing trip. This inspired the meme below.

But after some thought I began to consider the phenomenon of “muscle memory”. If you are trained to cast a line with a high arc you might not think to adjust your cast while standing under the power lines. Your reflexes would kick in and your body would react out of pure instinct. You would do the right thing but at the wrong time. This kind of mistake happens to all of us and it happens more often than we care to admit. It also happens during the thought process and when reacting to something that someone else has said or done. I think that’s why it’s important to be quick to forgive. Jesus said to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. While there’s different interpretations of what was being implied in this statement I believe that at least in part Jesus was pointing out that errors in actions often include errors in judgment and nobody is immune from this. The experts in the law were reacting out of reflex without examining the circumstances. It’s the same kind of mistake we all make every day.

Some Sunday Memories

One of the things that I love most about my home in the mountains is all the little churches. The steeples just seem to pop up above the canopy like friendly wave of hello. I remember as a kid that one of the most important jobs in the congregation was to be responsible for ringing the bell. The call to worship had to be given at about an hour or so prior to the start of service and then again when it was time to get started. On a good day we could hear the bell ring from miles away. Soon there was a parade of cars moving on the one lane road. You had to there early so you could get a good seat and a place to park. The funny thing is that everyone occupied the same seat and parking spot every Sunday. And, if one of the kids sat in a different place an adult would quickly remind them of the unwritten rules about where to sit. “Hey, that’s where so-and-so sits.” We would have to move around until we finally wound up in the same spot we sat in last week. At the end of service was another unwritten ritual. The shaking of hands. In a small country church the Right Hand Of Fellowship is a common practice. But young boys are mischievous by nature and quick to adapt a custom to their own uses. As soon as the service closed there was a race to the door where The Right Hand Of Fellowship was changed into the Running Of The Gauntlet. The boys would line the exit and extend their shaking hand to anyone trying to leave. The adults would then be obliged to accept the handshakes before they could exit thus creating a bottleneck at the door. I think that final joke was on us boys because we grew up to be the adults caught in the bottleneck later in life. I have to smile and and get warm fuzzies every time I see the steeples poking up from the trees. It always brings back childhood memories of the little churches and the extended family who attended them.

Willingness

Nestled all throughout the Appalachian Mountains are little churches of all denominations. Regardless of the denomination I’ve always preferred the smaller country churches. Perhaps it’s because I’m uncomfortable with large crowds. I feel more freedom in a smaller venue. It shouldn’t matter because it’s the same Jesus in all churches. But Holy Spirit moves on the willing. When a person feels uncomfortable they just seem to close off. It’s not that God can’t reach them or that they are somehow more unworthy than the rest of us. They just become unwilling. Isn’t that what Christ is seeking in the first place? He didn’t come to collect the perfect or the ultra talented. He came to seek out the lost who are willing to follow. We as Christians seem to always be focused on becoming more perfect but I think that we should be more willing and Jesus Christ will do the rest.

Between Two Skies

As a child I used dream that I could fly. The dreams were always very vivid. I could feel the inertia as I banked through the clouds. Every time I stand by this spot between two skies I’m taken back to those dreams and I know that one day I’ll hear a trumpet summoning me to “come up hither” and in the twinkle of an eye I’ll be soaring between two skies.