Insight Over Incite!

What are you thinking?  What are you feeling?

These two questions belong together because we can engage both the heart and the mind as we seek insight into the life and times of now—the beautiful, resilient, but often confusing, turbulent, and broken world in which we currently live.

Today, I am breaking silence. Why now, you ask? The answer is simple. I am ready to share some thoughts on recent events. I’ve held back as I am not one to rush to judgment or react impulsively in the heat of the moment. With that said, do I sometimes post a hasty comment on social media? Of course! I can get sucked in, but generally, the contemplative side of me refrains from doing so.

I much prefer to dive deep into thought—to process what I am seeing and hearing. Knee-jerk reactions and hastily spoken words often arise from strong, visceral emotions rather than thoughtful consideration and insightful responses, so I usually opt for the latter. Sometimes that means I must wait for my mind (thoughtfulness) to catch up with my heart (emotions). On other occasions I hit the pause button to seek God’s counsel. I patiently await wisdom and discernment from Him. In His timing.

I hope you don’t interpret my quietness as being fearful of speaking my mind. That is not the case. And, lest anyone should think I’m avoiding controversial topics, or fleeing from the condemnation of any social injustice, please rethink. Again, that is not the case. Lastly, should you wonder if I have chosen to ignore the tragedies, violence, and chaos of the last few weeks, nothing could be further from the truth. I have taken time to collect information, observe unfolding events, and evaluate the world at large. I have tapped into my intuition and formulated what I consider an insightful opinion.

I stopped commenting on my blog for a while and limited my social media posts to words and pictures of encouragement, hope, and love. I avoided subject matter that might incite further anger or had the potential to fuel heightened emotions. I refused to like, post, or forward anything based on what someone thought I should post. I will never publish something simply because it is popular, expected of me, or supports any cause that I believe is divisive or incites racism, hatred, and violence. I strive to choose words, tone, and expressions that produce calm and unity.   

George Floyd’s unjustified killing was brutal and gut-wrenching. It was heartbreaking and inexcusable. I condemn the excessive force, and brutality dealt him by the four police officers now under arrest and rightly charged. There is no place in our society for “bad” cops, and I renounce and abhor all forms of racial injustice. Whether George Floyd’s vicious killing was racially motivated, or perpetrated for some other reason, there is no doubt in my mind that the murder we saw in the horrific 8-minute video was unadulterated evil in action. My heart goes out to the Floyd family. I am so sad for their loss. I believe justice will be served through our court system, but the family’s loss will be felt forever. May George Floyd rest in peace.

I am disgusted at the senseless looting and destruction of entire communities in Minneapolis. What began as lawful, peaceful protests against the brutal killing of George Floyd, accelerated into angry cries of racial injustice and police brutality, further degenerating into acts of outrageous violence—even as the Floyd family pleaded for calm. As the world looked on in dismay, hostile activism spread wildly from city to city across the nation, and even globally. I cringed as I saw neighborhood businesses demolished and burned to the ground by enraged mobs. I understand the anger at injustice, I condone the right to peaceful protests, but how can anyone justify the destruction of one’s community? It is hard to fathom. Perhaps you’ve wondered if the outbreak of riots and violence that spread rapidly across the U.S. and into other countries is organized by entities who have a plan to divide nations and incite civil unrest. If you’ve thought this, I believe you may be on to something.

I believe we need insight over incite. The former leads to understanding, the latter to hatred, division, and violence.

The cries we heard for justice and demands for police reform soon became a repetitive chorus for retaliation against the police. The riotous looting and violence turned into physical revenge against law enforcement officers, seemingly with no regard to race or color. The loud accusations of racial injustice and police brutality incited further hatred toward police—sadly not only toward corrupt cops but towards law enforcement establishments in general. The calls for revenge resulted in indiscriminate, brutal murders and widespread injuries of innocent police officers—random, intentional, and ruthless killings.

I condemn those who incite others to violent acts of civil unrest and killing.

Those who serve to protect the population are now the targets of hatred, while angry protesters in city after city demand to defund or abolish the police. In Seattle, militants seized the police station and declared a 6-block cop-free zone that is fenced off and lawless. It is anarchy in Seattle. There are cries for dismantling the police in other cities. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to abolish its police department and replace it with a community-led public safety system—while NYC leaders push the plan to cut $1 billion from the NYPD budget. Really?

Do people not understand that society cannot live peacefully under anarchy? A free society must have thoughtful laws in place to protect the population. Likewise, we must have honorable police officers to enforce those laws and keep peace in their communities. Yes, there are some bad cops, and that needs to change. They must be removed from the profession. It is my experience that no one hates a bad cop more than a good cop. There’s always room for new reforms and better training, but defunding and abolishing the police will only serve to make matters worse for society. There will be more crime, violence, and injustice under lawlessness.

Have you noticed it? There are wicked people in the world, found in all walks of life, in all professions. In case you haven’t encountered any in a while, let me remind you that there are bad doctors, bad attorneys, bad business owners, bad politicians, and the list continues.    

Did you sense this coming? I did! I alluded to it in a couple of chapters in my book, and also in this blog post.

No, I am certainly not a soothsayer. I cannot foretell the future, so when I say I sensed something coming, I did not know the precise triggers that would unleash the unrest. I had no fore knowledge of Covid-19, nor the killing of George Floyd. I did not anticipate the nationwide looting and destruction, nor the racial strife, nor could I have imagined calls for the defunding and abolition of law enforcement. I saw none of that coming.

However, what I did sense looming on the horizon, and wrote about in my book last year, was a vast divide between left and right political agendas.  I felt it would lead to civil unrest, fueled by willing agitators and media bias, resulting in hatred, lies, deceit and persecution. We live in a time where right is wrong and wrong is right—and evil runs a muck wreaking havoc in the world. I think the stress of Covid-19 pandemic, the lock downs, job losses, and economic struggles opened the door to pent up emotions of suppressed fear and anger. Then the outrage at the brutal killing of George Floyd, coupled with accusations of racism, incited further by outside militants, paved the way for violence and rebellion against the law.

At times such as these, we must strive for calm and unity. It starts with personal responsibility. So, it behooves each of us to exercise restraint, to refrain from insults, angry accusations, and divisive slogans that incite further violence. We each must strive for insight into the truth.  

What is the real origin of this chaos? Who or what is at the root of it? We must act appropriately and be unifiers and peacemakers, choosing language and terminology that respect equal rights among all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or age.

Now is a good time for us to seek God. God loves humanity. After all, He created each one of us. He commanded us to love one another, but because we live in a sinful, broken world, and we are imperfect beings, we can fall short. Satan, on the other hand, is the arch-enemy of God and he hates God and all His creation. The evil one is active prowling the earth in search of human souls.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
—1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)

The following is a passage from my book, My Soul Sings for You**

“I am blown away at the widespread naiveté regarding the existence of evil forces. Satan is alive and plotting destruction. He hates God. He hates anything that reminds him of God, especially those created in the likeness of God. Yes, my friends, that means you and me! The evil one is prowling the earth, devouring souls, and using any tactic available to him and his fallen cohorts. Be aware that we all have an enemy bent on destroying us, deceiving us, hiding from us, and attempting to convince us he’s not even there. He’s a master at cunning and deception.”

Wake up, people! There is a spiritual battle raging between the forces of good and evil. What you see happening in the world right before your eyes are the works of Satan. He uses any and every dirty tactic in his arsenal in a desperate attempt to take down God’s creation—the earth and everything in it. Think about recent world events. The Covid-19 pandemic, economic collapse, racism, brutality, violence, hatred, and widespread civil unrest—these things are rooted in evil. The devil eagerly exploits the weak and sinful nature of humanity, using people as instruments of his hatred. Do not be deceived by his many disguises, his masterful lies, and relentless attempts to win cohorts and supporters. He rejoices in broken relationships and nations at war. He is gleeful when the world is in chaos. He thrives and grows stronger in environments where mass confusion is rampant, and where hate triumphs over love. 

God has already won the spiritual battle in the long term. In the meantime, let us not permit evil forces to tear our nation apart. United we stand, divided we fall. It’s time for all Americans to unify as one nation under God. Our politicians must stop the infighting and partisan divisions and come together for the good of the country. What we most need right now are powerful prayers for peace, love, and unity.

May God bless the United States of America and heal our land.

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
—Romans 12:16-18 (NLT)

** Author’s note: Recommend you purchase a copy of my book and read the entire chapter beginning on page 151. For sale online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and signed copies available directly from me.

The Birds Are Still Singing

Our feathered friends are still singing!

Today, their melodious songs are unmistakably loud—and persistently cheerful, just like any other day. Two of our resident squirrels pause for a moment to tease the nesting mockingbirds but quickly return to stealing nuts and seeds from the swinging feeders. We strategically placed the feeders out of reach of the squirrels, but the furry rascals manage to find a way in! Annoying the birds has become the playful critters’ daily ritual in and around the magnolia and crepe myrtle trees. As I glance up at the majestic magnolia, I note dozens of bulging buds, announcing their readiness to burst into flower. Of course! It’s almost May—the month the magnolias bloom every year. Continue reading →

What Will Your Take Away Be?

How are you using this stay-at-home time to think about your future?

Will you make changes going forward? What will they be?

I’ve been knocked to my knees or had the stuffing knocked out of me many times, humbling me and causing me to rethink my priorities, my lifestyle and where I was headed. I’ve had to change direction. These are valuable tipping points. It’s happening again! And this will not be the last time, for undoubtedly there will be more times. It is ever so in this life. Are you feeling it too? Continue reading →

The Life and Times of Now

Greetings! In this post you will find one of the stories in Life’s Lessons, Chapter Five of the book I published last year entitled My Soul Sings for You—Spiritual Peace in the Life and Times of Now. The story below is on page 151 in the paperback version and, while I read excerpts from it in my video book reading, it is written here in entirety as was published in 2019. 

During these unsettling times of battling the ramifications of this virus Covid-19 on human health and the world economy, millions of people across the globe are feeling stressed, confused and troubled. I understand. The unknown is always scary, but I want to encourage you to take heart. Have hope. Turn fear into faith. Our country is strong. We’re uniting and pulling together. Look for something positive in your current situation. Make a gratitude list! Believe that you and your loved ones will come through this. I pray you feel a sense of peace amid the chaos. A living, loving and powerful God is working it all out. Good things will emerge from all this. Continue reading →

My Soul Sings for You

.

Earlier this week, my publisher Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, alerted me that they had submitted my book files to the printer for formatting, and that the official publish date of the book was 18th September 2019. I am delighted to reveal the title and its accompanying tagline.

My Soul Sings for You
Spiritual Peace in the Life and Times of Now

Publishing this 356-page book has been a unique journey that has challenged me as a writer and a person at each step of the process—actions that included writing, editing, selecting cover graphics, interior chapter graphics, creating unique captions to each graphic, as well as reading the entire book numerous times. It all added up to a lot of planning and decision-making amid intermittent periods of waiting patiently as my publisher performed their part in the production process. Continue reading →

My Feet, My Faith. His Will, His Grace!

I just love new beginnings, don’t you? The dawning of each day! Mondays … the first day of the month … the New Year … it’s like we’re given a fresh start over and over again, throughout the year! Oh joy! I definitely want, need and value these chances to begin anew … do you?

It’s January 2 and I’m deep in thought about the year ahead in 2018. How will I make my life count this year? In what way will I maximize the hours in each day to make every day count in a meaningful way? What plans do I have for our business this year? What steps will I take to bring it all to fruition?

So many questions spinning around my head. The answers?  Not coming so easily. Continue reading →

Christmas is Here! Breathe Easy.

As so often happens when I express what’s in my head and on my heart, the words take on a life of their own and run away with me … and I’m led into something much deeper {and lengthier} than I first intended. This is a continuation {part 2} of my last post called “The Holidays Are Here! Just Breathe!”

The original post was intended to be a short blog entry not a book, so I decided to turn it into a two-parter. Lol!  Thanks for sticking with me and my random ramblings about the holiday season.  I’m hoping the forthcoming message helps you in some small way.

Continue reading →

If You’re Standing Still You Aren’t Moving!

Sometimes the simplest of things have the most profound impact on us!

For example, look carefully at the graphic above, and read the caption several times. It clearly states the obvious! The trees are standing still, so they’re not moving.  In fact they are rooted into the ground and there they will stay.

No kidding … we all know that, right?

It’s a known fact that trees don’t have legs or wheels so they can’t walk or roll away. Unless they are uprooted and physically moved by a violent act of nature or intentional human effort, they are not moving from their spot. They perpetually stand still.

Did you notice the longer you stared at the picture and the more times you read the caption, the greater it impacted you … and the deeper your level of understanding?

Weird isn’t it?  With a cursory glance, I suspect you concluded it’s rather silly to put two thoughts together that mean the same thing and are SO apparent. After all, if you’re not moving you’re clearly standing still … in the same way, if you’re standing still, you’re not moving!  

But that’s why stating the obvious is so powerful. It has impact. I want it to have an impact.  To make a lasting impression.  

Sometimes simplicity rules.

I’ve noticed that often we humans, like trees, stand still and don’t move.  I don’t mean we’re not walking around … I mean we aren’t moving forward in our job, our growth, our life … were stuck in one boring spot … rooted to our own comfort level, or frozen in fear, complacency or confusion. 

The other observation?  With a few exceptions {of course there always are some} the majority of people are not happy when they’re standing still.  Progress matters to human beings … even a tiny little bit.  We don’t take well to being stuck in a rut. 

So how do you break out of the rut?  How do you get moving again? The answer is in the picture. It’s embedded in the caption.  So often though, we can’t see the forest for the trees … or we over complicate the situation. We overthink it.  That’s when stating the obvious is helpful. It’s a bit like underlining capital letters.  Annoying but effective!

The answer is simple. Stop standing still and get moving!

Move and you’ll stop standing still! 

“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree”  ~  Jim Rohn