In a world of uncertainties, what is for certain? One is the truth and the other is what is in your heart. We cannot change the entire world, but we can change the piece that is in us. What are the reasons for hate, prejudice, and greed? They are all feeding off the same evil fruit and that is fear. Fear is said to be false evidence appearing real. Ask yourself, when is the last time someone broke into a home and the homeowner’s gun was handy enough to use it? How many muggings do you personally know about? When was something taken from you and given to another? These abuses are uncommon and rare occurrences and not the norm. But THEY—whomever THEY are—would have you become paranoid.
We cannot live by or in fear. We must live by hope and in hope. The glass is always half full. 350,000,000 people live in our country. Why are we frightened by insignificant numbers of abuses we see on TV? I hope life gets better, I hope people care about each other, I hope we ignore the ignorant and educate the illiterate, support the weak and feed the poor. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not be mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (KJV).
God set this world in place and He alone will have the last word. It doesn’t matter how or when He does it, it doesn’t matter what you see and hear with your own eyes and ears. Realize today that He is in control; when you think everything is out of control, it isn’t.
Live your life by the Word of God and please Him in all you do. We must rise above our humanity into the spirituality of God. Then you will become strong. Put His word into practice—that is our challenge. Judge nothing.
SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE RIDE
My desire is to affect even one person’s life with the positive message of hope. Yes, this one word, like a rudder of a great ship or the tail of a 747 jetliner, guides you out of a downward spiral into an acceptable peace. I am truly thankful if Grain of Hope steered you in the right direction.
I have been blogging about the brighter sides of life—the hopeful side of life. I challenge you to make this the only side of life even when tragedies or disruptions happen. Be patient, talk to God, and wait on Him. He’ll come. Setbacks are just detours. Relax; detours only make the journey a little longer and maybe difficult. You will eventually arrive at your destination or a resemblance of it or something better. Life is very similar to starting out on a journey of good anticipations. Be very careful on roads that are narrow or tight, or roads that you might have to carefully navigate to avoid bumps and potholes. Not all roads will be wide, newly paved, clearly marked stretches of highways with beautiful nature scenes. That’s not realistic. Some journeys are short, others long. Keep going. Don’t stop—your journey’s end is awaiting.
Prepare for your journey, set your internal navigation system, and have faith that it will lead you there. God can be your internal navigation system and it takes faith or hope in Him to find the “right” destination. Buckle your seat belts (which is prayer) and do everything you can possibly do (which is believe) and you will get there safely most of the time. I say most of the time because sometimes the unexpected or disappointments occur. The best set plans can run amuck even if you trust God. I can’t explain why this happens, but I can declare that there is a lesson to be learned or a life to be changed. One thing is for sure: someone is going to experience spiritual growth in the grand scheme of things.
I quit trying to figure out God’s plan or even minor setbacks in everyday life. LIFE HAPPENS! We will never know the answer to most everything because truth resides in the bosom of our Creator. He only gives us a quick kiss of His wisdom and a small portion of His love in our heart. We don’t have the ability to contain the full capacity of God. We are helpless and sometimes hopeless in a crisis and maybe that is the only way we can reach higher into the heavens for answers. I believe I was never nearer to God than in my crisis. I learned how to trust and have faith in God in a way I don’t believe I would have if I had not experienced the death of my sons.
It is the greatest spiritual comfort to believe and rely on God. Even in the midst of danger and fear, His warmth burns through like the tiny ember that created a forest to burn. I can’t imagine daily life without believing and having faith in God.
START THE NEW YEAR “NEW”
What would you do if you didn’t need money to do it? Well, get started doing it before it is too late. My New Year’s resolution is a great resolution for anyone. I want to be a new person in 2018. How about you? It’s time to try something new, be something new, and do something new. Now, what can that be? For me, I am going to create a utopia. No matter what goes on in the world, I am not going to let it upset or disrupt the equilibrium of my utopia. That means I must take control of my feelings and emotions and allow them to guide me into goodness. If evil prevails, how much more can goodness prevail? My days are going to be sunny even when there are dark clouds and rainstorms challenging my emotions.
Sometimes we must hunt and gather goodness as squirrels hunt and gather nuts for the winter. Be persistent—whatever we are searching for to fill our soul, we will find it. Store up in your soul enough good to carry you through the stormy nights and high floods that create obstacles in your life along the way. Never let gloom cast a dark shadow over the fact that you have good health, plenty of food to eat, and a warm home in which to live—not to mention the many good things God has done for you and continues to do for you. I know you have reasons to be thankful for something God has done for you. Keep His light is shining through everything you do. Let all your intentions please God. He is the creator of joy and fulfilment and He makes all things new. Politics, history, pain, and diversity are passing moments and must never be given permanence in your utopia; patience is the virtue of a new day and change is what you can be sure of.
If you create your own utopia, happiness will ooze out of your spirit in the form of good deeds. Who can you help? Who could use a little money? Who needs a helping hand? Is there a lonely soul that needs a friend? Find one and be one. Spread peace and love generously. The benefits are enormous. Good deeds result in good health; a healthy glow on your face and your spirit will never be thirsty.
Be new in 2018. Whatever you were in 2017, be a new person in 2018.
DON’T LET YOUR MEMORIES BE SAD—FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE
This is the time of year that some people feel great happiness and others dread. Which one are you? It is very difficult to reflect on life and ponder the memories of loved ones who passed away. Holidays are not the same without the ones you love. Life seems so depressing at times. Yet, you have the ability to pull your mind and heart into a happier place. You have memories of sharing and caring for loved ones who cannot be here to share your life with you anymore. Try it! There are always happy moments you shared with the person or persons who died. Can you make their memory a warm-hearted experience and not dwell on their death? Loved ones can always be appreciated and be with you in spirit much like our Creator who we cannot see, touch, or feel—yet we experience the fire of His love burning fervently in our hearts. And His joy gives us strength. We have never seen God, yet He is very real to us. We can’t live without Him, right?
There is nothing that should stop a healthy spiritual connection to a deceased loved one. You can do this by living by their words of wisdom to guide you through the day, laughing at something funny they did, and celebrating events you always loved sharing with them. I always live by the wise remarks and sayings of my father who died thirty-six years ago. I believe you give your loved ones honor when you are happy, and dishonor when you are sad. They would never want their passing to disrupt your life or make you unhappy. Find acceptance and peace in their passing. During the holidays, hang an extra Christmas bulb on your tree for them. Make their favorite dish for Christmas dinner. Visit favorite places you went to together. Play music you both loved. Keep living a life of good memories in your heart. Everything doesn’t have to stop. They didn’t mean for you to be depressed. It was time for them to make the journey into eternity. We all will make that journey.
Remember, it is what we do to make the world a better place that counts. Hopefully you leave behind a good reputation and a positive impression on others—just as your loved one did.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
Read a Book/Write a Book
One of the amazing things I learn at book signings is how so many people want to write a book as opposed to reading a book. Most think it is a monumental task to write a book or even read a book. Our younger generations need to be motivated to get involved in writing and reading more. I believe books written by millennial folks can spurn new interest in reading, as well as help the older generation understand and explore their new ideas and learn what means most to younger folks.
I am very impressed when I see young children attending book signings and I’m even more impressed when I see them writing and selling their own books. Families should encourage children to write books. Children are welcomed at all book signings. For them, it’s a good venue for them to get information and share an event with the grownups. Children meet the authors and want to know, “What made you write a book?” It’s an interesting and different experience for them. Unlike going to the library, there is interactive excitement and interesting conversations going on at a signing.
What I like most about book signings is that I am the subject, a real person you can see, touch, and talk to. Aside from autographing my book, people take pictures with me and ask questions that may not be answered in the book. Book signings can be very informative and valuable because they bring back the art of reading from books instead of surfing through bits and pieces obtained from the Internet. I think our children need to be reintroduced to reading books and do less Internet surfing. Nothing can take the place of a book. At my last signing, a forward-thinking mother at my book signing told me she requires her children read three books a month. I hope others do not let the art of reading slip away like so many other things have.
Write a book and leave a lasting impression on someone’s life. Read a book and receive a lasting impression from someone else.
SPREAD THE GOOD ON HEAVY AND THE GRIEF ON THIN
I don’t keep secrets from my readers.
When people pick up Grain of Hope, I watch them pick up my life, read my secrets, live with my family, and examine my heart. They feel sad when I am sad, cry when I cry. In the end they are happy for me. They fall in love with the awkward young couple and share the challenges of every new birth. They grow up with me from teenager to girl to woman. They embrace my children as their own, understand my pain, and connect with my struggle. They rejoice in my laughter and are happy with my happiness. They feel the power of the journey. The exercise of emotions develops us into stronger and greater people. We identify with each other because somewhere in everyone’s life is a difficult journey too.
When I go to a book signing I always hope a lot of people will be there. That is encouraging to me. However, I learned the forum that is most enjoyable is when my audience shares their life experience with me. We all need to share our lives more often and more readily. It can’t hurt you to share good or bad experiences. It will most likely help you. We are all humans and there is nothing wrong with us letting each other know it. I believe God made us for each other.
Most of my readers prefer small intimate groups; they open up more and leave the room more encouraged and energized to write their own stories. Larger groups tend to ask me personal questions more often, rather than sharing their stories in front of a group of people. Still, all seem to trust me with some very secret details about their lives. I hope my comments to them give them some comfort and warmth in their hearts. I care about people. I know from experience how important caring is. Grain of Hope touches many nerves of the human experience. The book acts as a teaching tool and demonstrates how a whole family is impacted by a crisis. It helps families recognize how pain spreads throughout a family. Just as joy and happiness is contagious, unfortunately so is pain and sorrow.