I was just over at a fellow WordPress blogger Stoner on a Rollercoaster’s site and I saw where she shared a beautiful photo of leaves.
It got me thinking about just how beautiful this world is if we just take the time to open our eyes and receive all the beauty that we are surrounded with.
So, I am sharing a beautiful photo I took a few years back at the local arboretum. It is of a monarch butterfly enjoying its day atop a lantana flower.
Rather than dwell on all the bad news in the world, please turn off your cell phones, I-phones, or whatever social media device that you spend way too much time with. Go out in the beautiful, warm sunshine and really, really observe this amazing world.
Share your photos of nature on WordPress. Just looking at nature can have a calming affect.
Also, I would like to encourage you to drop by Stoner on a Rollercoaster’s WordPress. I truly enjoy her writing. I think you might also, as well.
I hope you enjoyed my photo of the beautiful butterfly and flower.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; For I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”
Joshua1:9 “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.”
These are the words that I hold close to my heart as I look forward to the coming week. I trust that God will strengthen me and keep me in his care. His words are a reminder to not be afraid; his words are a reminder my strength comes from him alone.
It is my prayer that you are strengthened by God’s word; it is my prayer that you trust in him absolutely. God alone can give you rest; God alone can strengthen you.
So much of our world is absolutely drenched in fear and negativity. At every turn, we are inundated with news stories of the most heinous debauchery that humanity can possibly participate in. It would appear that we should hide away and allow ourselves to be cowered into despair.
For believers in Christ this should not be the case. We should not cower in the darkness and allow ourselves to be immobilized by fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”
This verse should encourage us to trust that Christ is with us, that we should not be afraid, and that we should live our lives as an example of his love. We should have a sound mind in that we do not let this world control us; we trust that God is in control. We should not fear. We should be strong in Christ.
When I consider what it means to have a sound mind, I consider what elements in our society that could negatively impact the soundness of our minds. Too much consumption of pessimistic news can negatively impact us.
Taking a break from social media and taking a break from watching the news are effective ways to refresh your mind.
I actually found a news site that only has positive news stories. I like to read it because it shows that the world is not all doom and gloom. There are actually good people in the world doing good things. I have included the link to Goodnews Network. The stories are inspiring.
This is God’s world and, of course, there are good people doing good things. We just need to focus our minds on this goodness. We need to be fearless and trust in God’s protection. As it says in 2 Timothy 2:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”
Cecelia scattered yellow, crimson, and orange leaves into the Pohantas River below the frozen banks. All night, she had huddled inside the abandoned brick electric company station. Pleasantville, ironically named, had been abandoned after all the factories had closed and relocated to third world countries where labor was cheap and easily exploited.
She drew her U.S. Army jacket closer to her sides. Ten years earlier, as an eighteen year old, she had escaped the humdrum existence of her hometown. Now, she yearned for that existence, but nothing except abandoned store fronts and burned-out factories remained.
Grandma and Grandpa Hutchinson’s gravestones marked the end of her family’s bloodline. They had raised her to be patriotic, to love God, and to love family. And, she did. Her Silver Star for Bravery in Battle had floated down the cold Pohantas River and careened over a rotted log. Her frost-bitten fingers, the night before, had struggled to hold onto that one concrete vestige of the person she had been at twenty-two.
Squatting down on a tree log, she watched rays of sunlight scatter along the tree line in the far distance, just beyond the hills. How had her life come to this? She rolled the question around in her head. Hadn’t she done everything right? Hadn’t she bravely served her country?
Her stomach ached from hunger pangs. She no longer felt her toes inside her wet tennis shoes. Ice had formed a layer over them. Inside her left hand, she held onto a yellow leaf, unable to toss it. Numbness had finally claimed her hands.
Lying back against a tree trunk, she pulled the U.S. Army jacket closer around herself. Frozen raindrops turned to snowflakes. Above her, a nightingale tweeted its song, fluttered its brown wings, and hopped to the lower branch. A blanket of snow laid itself across her.
Her final thought was of living in a musical snow globe. “Thank you for your service. . .” played inside her head.
Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022
Note: In my community, I have noticed an increase in homelessness. I have noticed an uptick in the number of homeless people holding signs noting that they are homeless veterans. Of course, I have no way of verifying the truthfulness of their veteran status one way or the other. I found a website which I am including here. According to their website, an estimated 40,056 veterans are homeless in the United States each night. This statistic was cited from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. On the website, there are statistics about the root cause of homelessness among veterans. There is also a toll free number provided for veterans who need help.
My short story is written to put a face on homelessness. I tried to envision how a homeless veteran would feel returning home to a small town that had been essentially abandoned due to outsourcing of jobs. Driving through small towns in the United States there are a lot of abandoned towns with boarded up buildings. This is unfortunately the case for many urban areas, as well.
Ask yourself how you can help the homeless population in your community. Ask yourself how you can advocate for our veterans who gave so much for us and our freedom.
Thank you for reading. Please reach out to veterans in your own families and your communities. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined.
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old-” Franz Kafka
Beauty. What is beauty? Beauty is timeless. Like Kafka said, the ability to see beauty keeps us young. That ability to be optimistic, to see the sunlight even when the gray sky blocks the sun. The sunshine is still there.
A few years back my dear friend Maria and her husband Abraham were blessed with their precious son. There is nothing more beautiful than a newborn’s smile. It confirms the timelessness of this existence; it is a promise of hope. It is the promise that yes there is a tomorrow and there are endless possibilities. That smile connects us to something far greater than ourselves; it connects us to something spiritual beyond our own comprehension. It reminds us that this life is so much more than we have the human ability to comprehend. That little newborn nestled in my arms confirmed for me that yes God does indeed create miracles. Life is a miracle.
Life is a beautiful miracle. Our souls are timeless. To see that, to have the ability to see that beauty is to remain young, to never give up on hope for tomorrow.
This little newborn nestled in my arms smiled at me and I knew that yes miracles happen, that yes tomorrow is full of hope.
May God bless us all and keep us all and give us the ability to recognize the beauty that is in this life.