Prayers For The Great Smoky Mountains

mtns_11-29-2016Last night and today, fires are burning in the Great Smoky Mountains and it is heartbreaking.  Some of our favorite places to visit in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville are being damaged or destroyed.

On my first date with Kirk, we went to Gatlinburg to eat and walk around.  We had a wonderful time and talked for hours.  That was the start of our amazing life together.  We both have very fond memories of that time together.

Last December, we spent a day with dear friends at the Westgate resort.  We had lunch at the indoor water park, and then visited at a cabin.  This photo was taken there in December 2015.  It is one of the places where the fires have been burning.

Our prayers go out to those who live and work in these communities.  May they be safe and not lose everything.  May the animals not be displaced or hurt.  May the firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, police officers, and all first responders stay safe and unharmed.

May those who have been evacuated be okay and able to eventually go home.  May visitors and curious people stay away since it is not safe to be on the roads where the fires are burning.  May we help one another.

May the rain help fight these fires and may the cities still stand when these fires are finally doused.  May all volunteers such as the Red Cross be blessed and have all that they need to help the people and these communities.

May we love one another and be there for each other during the rebuilding.  In your mercy Lord, Hear Our Prayer.  Amen.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving Prayer

DSC00725For most of the last few years, I have posted this prayer that my grandfather wrote in the 1950s. It has and continued to move me.  So many small things that we often take for granted are to be remembered and celebrated.

In light of the world today, I thought it was especially special to those of us with children.

“Our Father-God we thank thee…

• For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
• For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
• For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
• For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
• For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
• For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
• For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
• For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
• For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
• For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
• For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
• For parenthood we thank thee.
• And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come.   Amen.”

Honestly, this prayer gets me every time I read it. So many things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving — my family, my friends, my home, our community, our church, Ian’s school, and so much more.  I am so blessed.

May you and yours be blessed this Thanksgiving Day!  Hope you have a great day!

Flashback Friday – Family

ff118_familyHi and Happy Friday.  For today’s Flashback Friday, I decided to use an old family photo from the 1970s.  It is one that Mom just sent to me and I love it.  Besides, the photo challenge for yesterday was family.

Here is my family.  I am the one in the middle. Interesting how we are all barefoot except for Dad.  I love these old photos and treasure them like gold.  Seeing the changes of all of us and the next generation in these faces is fascinating.  I just wish I could remember what I was thinking back then.

I love this family of mine — me, my sister, my brother, our mother and our father.  I love this photo too since it is so 70s.  The clothes, the hair, the couch, the wall, and did you notice the flag in the corner?  So retro and so cool.

I am fortunate to have grown up in a family where we were taught and shown unconditional love, acceptance, and compassion.  Also, we were taught to be kind and respect those different from ourselves.  Kirk and I are now teaching that to Ian.

My extended family is equally as awesome.  We are diverse in everything – our beliefs and our religions, who we love, how we earn our livings, what we are passionate about, our politics, and so much more.  Each one is unique and special and I love them all with all of my heart. Also, I have learned a lot from them.

I have recently had the pleasure of editing a family history book that Mom wrote.  And, I have to say from ancestors to those living today, my family is amazing. So many people have been passionate about so many things and we are all so different.  I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of this amazing legacy.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My loving parents
  • My fun siblings who are life-long friends
  • My amazing hubby and son
  • My wonderful in-laws
  • My fabulous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
  • Learning about my heritage
  • Learning about my grandparents and many great grandparents
  • Growing up knowing that differences in people are okay and interesting
  • Long talks with loved ones who see the world differently than I do
  • Kindness and compassion towards others
  • Love not hate

I look forward to family time during the holidays and cannot wait for more time to chat and learn more about them.  I hope to see my extended family in the summer again soon.  Love to all of them.

Have You Voted?

Voting0003Today is Tuesday, November 8, 2016 — Election Day!  Finally!  After an ugly campaign season of more than a year, it is finally time to vote.

Have you voted?  I hope that you have or that you do today.  It is important to make our voices known and be involved.  As I heard on a show yesterday, people have fought and died for this right.

I voted early and am glad that I did. The line wasn’t long and I had a feeling that today it would be.  Ian went with us and was intrigued by the entire process.  He helped me push the button when I cast my ballot.

This morning, he set up a voting booth for his stuffed animals.  Several of them have cast their ballots.  Others will throughout the day.  I have to say that I loved seeing that!  He seems to understand the importance of voting and I hope that will be something that lasts his entire life.

It is interesting to think that in his life, he has only known President Obama as the President.  That is a unique perspective, isn’t it?  I wonder who will be the next President?  I just hope and pray tonight that the winner will win graciously, the loser will be gracious as well, and that we as a country can move on and heal.

Compromise and understanding what the opposition thinks aren’t bad things.  To me, the only way to move forward is to learn from one another, work together, and put the good of our country at the forefront.  May we figure out a way to do just that.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Living in a country where I can vote freely and as I choose
  • Women being given the right to vote in 1920
  • That our son is interested in the process
  • Our many freedoms and rights
  • Early voting
  • Our amazing three branches of government
  • Learning from others
  • My 9th Grade Civics Class
  • My diverse family and friends
  • My hubby and son
  • My dad who is one of the many election workers today
  • My mom who is passionate about her views
  • My parents who taught us to learn about issues and think for ourselves
  • My family who taught me to respect others and to be kind
  • My siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews
  • My friends who enrich my life

I wonder what the end of tonight will bring?  I just hope and pray that it is peaceful and without violence or hate.  May God Bless America