Tag Archives: peace

America the Beautiful – God Shed His Grace On Thee

America the Beautiful – By Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Challenge before Christmas

 I’ve had a bit of a challenging week, but I am so very grateful that life is as good as it is.
At the beginning of the week I was in melt down mode. A drunk driver had smashed into our car just before midnight Sunday evening while it was parked in front of our daughter’s friends’ house in a nice residential neighborhood. She and her college friends were all gathered there studying for end of semester finals. When we received the call, Todd and I were frantic. Even though we knew Kaitlyn and her friends were all okay, it sounded very serious.
A drunk driver passed out at the wheel and drove into the back end of our car with his truck. He remained passed out with his foot on the accelerator until the Sheriff’s department arrived. They had to break his window to get him out of the truck. He was hauled away in an ambulance before Todd and I got to the scene.
When we saw our Mazda, we were in a state of shock at the amount of damage it had taken. Our minds were crazy with “what will we do now?” We stared at the totally blown out back window, the truck still deeply embedded in our back bumper. We had already been dealing with a financial challenge and this was enough to put us over the edge. We drove the heavily damaged car home and parked it in our driveway.
On Monday morning I looked out the front window hoping that it had all been a bad dream.  Nope, the crashed car was sitting in our driveway. It looked even worse in the daylight.
Our son, Andrew, called to get the details. He talked me through all of my fears and tears and listened to my hysteria. I’m so grateful for a son with a level head. Hanging up the phone my head was still spinning, but I had been given the strength to deal with it by hearing Andrew’s calm and sensible advice.
As Andrew Carnegie so beautifully stated: “Encouragement makes a fault easy to correct, and a challenge easy to take on.”
In addition to the Mazda being out of commission, our second car was in the shop awaiting a part. Even my husbands’ scooter, which he can drive back and forth to work, was not working.
Then we found out that the man who hit our car didn’t have insurance. Damages would have been taken care of at 100% under his insurance had he not let it lapse, and we would have had a rental vehicle under his insurance. Neither would be possible now and our own insurance would have to be used. That left us being responsible for our $500 deductible and any rental car expenses (which we chose not to get).
On Monday I was amazed at how quickly and professionally our insurance adjuster handled our claim. He had a physical damage adjuster out that same afternoon. Sadly enough, the car had over $10,000 in visible damage, not to mention what they would find once inside all of the carnage. So it was deemed a total loss.
During the course of the day I began to shift my thinking. This was a horrible situation, however no one was seriously hurt. I was thankful that our car was unoccupied. I also began to thank God that it was “only” our car (and not any of my family or anyone else) that was hurt by a truck with a passed out driver. I started to feel that possibly someone else was spared a great deal of injury because my car stopped the guy who had no control over his vehicle. I believe that somehow the damage to our vehicle is so much less than what it could have been had it not been in the drunk guys’ path.
Today I consider the circumstances of so many people who are in worse positions than we are. I believe we all know someone who is going through a rough spot in their life. Cancer, drugs, alcohol, loss of a loved one, caring for a sick loved one, loss of job, poor health, etc.
I know that I won’t feel sorry for myself for the loss of my car and I must move forward and do everything I can in my power to get beyond these present circumstances. I’m not sure exactly what that looks like right now. We have some things to figure out, but I do know one thing . . . . it may look a little different than I had pictured it a couple of weeks ago, considering the financial impact it has had on us, but I am looking forward to a nice Christmas with my family around me and the celebration of a gift that was given to us over 2000 years ago in the form of a Savior. Simply put – Christmas will still be Christmas.

From Chaos to Peace – In Five Minutes

river

You carve out nine hours a day to go to a job, pick up groceries on the way home from work, and then pick up the kids from their after school programs before heading home to throw a pizza in the oven for supper and pulling homework out of backpacks and setting it out on the kitchen counter.

Then its off to take Bella to dance and Micah to Martial Arts, but not before a meltdown from Bella because she has misplaced her dance bag with her dance shoes in it – again.

On your way to drop Micah off at Martial Arts your husband calls and asks you to pick up a card for his boss’s birthday.  While the kids are at their lessons you run to Walmart to grab the card and a box of brownie mix for a party in Bella’s classroom tomorrow – she promised to bring brownies and you just found out about it on the way to dance.

After picking up way more than the two items at Walmart, you rush back to pick up Bella and Micah and once home you throw in a load of laundry while making sure homework is started and the brownies are in the oven.

After your husband assists you with a few homework meltdowns and sending the kids off to bed, he gives you a kiss and heads off to bed himself. Then you fold a load of laundry, get your clothes set out for work, and prepare the kids lunches for tomorrow.

Then . . . with a deep sigh . . . you sit down on the sofa, knowing that it all starts over tomorrow. Sound familiar?

In my days of that kind of rush I found solace in those late night hours, when everyone had gone to bed and I was able to sit quietly in the stillness of my living room.

Often times with only the street light illuminating through the curtains, I would sit with my feet curled up on the sofa and look around the dimly lit room. I could hear the click, click, click of the kitchen wall clock and the soft whirring of the refrigerator.

Knowing that my kids were sleeping peacefully in their beds and there were no more demands on me, my body would tingle with the feeling of quiet and stillness.

In those moments I would ponder the day and reflect on what I had to be thankful for. No demands. No rush. No expectations. Just peace.

To get my mind completely at peace I would first reflect on my standing with God. If not for the relationship I have with God, I could not know the true inner peace that my mind so much desires.

Then I would think of a place that I created in my mind that gently nudged me into a quiet within my soul.

It’s a beautiful place in the woods. A lazy little river flows through it and the sun is softly shining through the tall, old willows that have grown and lived in harmony with the river for centuries.

I breathe in relaxation. I breathe out tension and anxiety.

In a small area, at the bank of the river, sand stretches out into a welcoming little beach. Created especially for me, I set down a small beach chair in the shallow water and with anticipation of relaxation, I sit down. The gentle flow of the water on my feet and the warm air with a slight breeze is just enough to bring calm to my body.

A butterfly softly floats through the air and lands on a flower. A dragonfly sits softly on the arm of my chair adding to the peace of the moment. The leaves rustle gently in the trees and an occasional bird sings a sweet little song.

Tilting my head back I allow the soft rays of sunshine to melt into my skin. The rays warm my body as my feet are bathed in the softness and gentle flow of the water around them.

Completely calm, as soft as the river is flowing, I’ve found peace.

The muscles in my face begin to soften. The muscles in my neck start to ease. The churning in my stomach settles and my mind begins to slow while the soft, warm breeze carries away the remainder of my tension.

The sun is whispering “Shhhh, quiet your mind.” The soft breeze is saying “Be still. Rest”.

In that moment my world is at peace.

 

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