Happy Fourth of July

Pictured here is my flag. I am an American. The United States is the only home I have ever known. My family has been in this land for generations; in fact, some grave markers in my family cemeteries date back to the late 1700s. Let’s just say that I have no place else I can call home. This land is my home. My people have fought and died for this homeland we call the United States of America. My people have prospered in this land; some have failed in this land. Life is a series of ups and downs; life is kind and it is unkind. So many variables go into whether an individual is successful or not successful.

Truth is I love my country. I love it because it is my home. No, it is not perfect; no place on earth is perfect.

I ask that we all pray for peace and compassion in this nation I call home.

Once upon a time, we Americans could reach across the aisle and respectfully disagree; but, now all there appears to be is vitriol and pure hatred and an absolute lack of compassion and respect.

Please join me in praying for this nation, my homeland, The United States of America.

I love this land; it is my only home. It breaks my heart to see the anger and rage and vitriol that is tearing it apart.

Instead of screaming vitriol; find a solution. Instead of raging against your opponent, reach across the aisle and discover how you can work together to help each other.

We have the power to build up or tear down.

Let’s build up with love and encouragement.

It’s beneficial to us all.

Happy fourth of July 2022!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Sunny, warm Saturday, in a past season; but, the season of thankfulness never changes.

Blue birds and red cardinals are soaring across the pale blue sky, alight on branches of the oak trees that form a leafy green canopy.

Wet red and blue wings splash in the little white birdbath next to my lavender rose bush; warm breeze rustles the brown leaves.

God has been so good to me; I can see the kaleidoscope of colors, hear the melody of birds chirping and skittering in the branches swaying high above me; I can feel the warmth of sunlight touch my skin.

I can taste the sweetness of strawberries in the oatmeal I had for breakfast; I can stand in this ordinary moment and raise my hands in thankfulness to my God who has been so good to me.

To my God who has blessed me with breath, who has held me in the palm of his hand, who has lifted me up and let me see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Jenny W. Andrew copyright 2022

Aunt Mary: Remembering

This is a photo of my aunt Mary. July always reminds me of the family that I lost after a series of unfortunate events. Funny how, although we slip on the mask of normalcy and plaster on a smile, deep down those wounds are still raw and they seep through when triggered.

Summer heat, families laughing together, little kids cradling their hands in the palms of their aunts or mothers remind me of when I was little and Aunt Mary would give me her hot oatmeal cookies. I remember those large dark eyes like onyx mirrors studying me as if I puzzled her. She’d tilt her chin and bless me with that smile of hers. I still can smell the sweet scent of raisins and cinnamon as she placed a cookie in the palm of my hand and folded her hand over mine.

Yes, summer takes me back to sweet watermelon sliced open by my daddy, the pink juice dripping onto the table cloth. Aunt Mary, Aunt Myrtle, Aunt Eltrum, Aunt Gladys, and Aunt Sally all gathered around along with my uncles Bill, Carlton, and Bo, around the picnic table outside in the yard. That blistering Georgia sun never stopped us; we didn’t have an air conditioner, so we didn’t really care. The heat, the sense of belonging, the sweetness of watermelon and oatmeal raisin cookies are memories that return to me in the middle of summer. It has been nearly fifty years since it all ended with trauma that left an indelible wound deep inside my soul.

Over the decades I have managed the loss by reminding myself that one day I will be reunited with my aunts and my uncles, my parents and my siblings in that eternal paradise where there will be no sorrow, where death will be defeated.

Yes, summer reminds me of that wound I carefully cover beneath a mask of normalcy. Truthfully, I hurt from the magnitude of the loss.

I get through this pain by reminding myself that there is a paradise in which God will give me rest and where I will be reunited with those whom I loved more than life itself.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Monday Blessings

Okay, Monday can either be interpreted as good or bad.

Well, I think it is all in our decision to either be happy or not; to either look up at the brilliant sunshine or cool rain, or to look down at the sticks and brambles that hurt our feet.

This is a photo of a little donkey I saw in the countryside of The Republic of Ireland back in October 2008. It makes me smile; it reminds me of that absolutely breathtaking landscape of mountains and lakes and stone bridges, and that tiny ancient whisper of my great-grandmother Mary Ellen’s people who had to abandon those magical green fields for the unknown land way across the ocean.

I walked those cobblestone paths in Dublin, County Cork, Kilkenny and thought of those footsteps that had preceded me. And, I smile.

On this Monday in late June, I smile at the beauty of memory; I smile at how decisions can change history, for either good or bad. It always depends on who is telling the tale. And, truly, only the passing of time can really determine whether those decisions were either good or bad.

Great-grandmother Mary Ellen’s people settled in the blazing heat of Georgia, farmed the land, toiled there, raised a family, and through their decisions, I am here on this Monday thanking God for the blessings of my life.

I am thankful for this beautiful Monday; I decide to spend this day after work writing on my new poetry book.

I plan to spend this beautiful Monday in happiness and thankfulness.

And remembering those beautiful moments I spent in The Republic of Ireland patting a silly donkey behind the ears.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Beauty to Begin the Week

Well, here we are at the end of another month. It’s hard to believe that we are half way finished with 2022. Time truly flies and doesn’t wait for any of us to make up our minds how we plan to spend the hours that we are given.

Pictured here is a duck that used to hang around the lake near my house. I took this photo nearly ten years ago; but, it feels like just yesterday.

As we all near this last week in June 2022 let’s consider how we plan to spend the following months of 2022.

Is there a goal that you have wanted to complete, but you keep procrastinating? Ask yourself why you keep procrastinating? What’s holding you back? Is fear of failure holding you back?

Consider this: Tomorrow comes no matter whether we are afraid are not. Tomorrow comes whether we waste away our precious minutes scrolling through a computer screen or whether we set aside the time to learn a new skill. Or, whether we call an old friend to just chat rather than send an impersonal message via social media or text message. Tomorrow comes whether we sit in front of the television and mindlessly eat chips and watch Seinfeld reruns (I love Seinfeld so trust me I am not disparaging Seinfeld), or whether we set aside thirty minutes to exercise.

Or, whether we set aside an hour to begin that novel we have in our head.

My point is is that time pays us no attention. It is this incredible gift that most of us squander. We bank on tomorrow. Well, I will get started tomorrow. . .we say.

While, yes, tomorrow does always come, truth is that unfortunately our tomorrows are not promised to any of us. So, those that we are blessed with should be used as productively as possible.

So, as we all turn our sights toward tomorrow, let’s consider what we can do to learn and to grow, to move toward a new skill, to explore a new place, to not let our precious and time-limited existence in this beautiful world be wasted.

Indeed, this life is beautiful. Of course, there are challenges. Life is complex. However, we have control over how we are going to spend our time.

So, make no excuses or time will make the decision for you.

Get going.

Start actively to set aside time to do what your heart yearns to do.

Pursue your passion. Don’t let fear stop you. Be fearless; most of all, trust completely in God and he will provide.

But, you have to get moving.

Blessings!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Strength Comes from Faith in God

“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 27:1

As you begin this new week, consider keeping this psalm close to your heart. It promises us that God is our light, salvation, and strength. What an incredible promise! He is with us and will protect us and give us strength as we go about our daily lives.

Please do not dwell on the bad news that is constantly in front of us on social media, television, et cetera. Take a break from all of that and simply breath in the beauty that is this life. Most importantly, trust completely in God and rest in his light. He will give you all the strength that you need to get through whatever may come in your life.

Of whom shall you be afraid?

Nobody.

God is king. And, he will always be king. He will strengthen you and protect you.

Trust completely in his light, in his love, and in the truth that you are never alone. God is with you.

Have a blessed week.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Letting it Go: Positive Quotes

“Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing there is a future.”- Daphne Rose Kingma (Keepinspiring.me/letting-go-quotes)

“Once you realize you deserve a bright future, letting go of your dark past is the best choice you will ever make.”- Roy T. Bennett (Keepinspiring.me/letting-go-quotes)

Summers are a trigger for me; it brings back memories dating back over decades that are unpleasant to say the least. Of course, there are some good memories as well; there always is because our lives are filled with ups and downs. Life is like a rollercoaster that circles around and takes our breaths away with its highs and lows. We just have to learn to adjust accordingly.

Adjustment is what can be problematic. Over the course of our lives, we have to ask whether something is serving us well. Is the relationship, the career, et cetera, healthy for our spiritual, physical, and emotional growth?

When exactly should we let go of toxicity? I say when the initial signs crop up in which we feel clenched up inside our hearts, when we have to don a false smile to hide the hurt that we feel, and when we have to silence our own voices in order to constantly bow to another person’s demands. Relationships and all our daily interactions should make us whole; we should never feel diminished especially in the company of someone who tells us that we are loved by them.

This brings me to the above quotes. Key is the words future, and bright future. And, the word deserve. As God’s children, we should feel genuinely loved because each of us is worth it; we are all deserving of love, of respect, and a place of honor in this world.

But, sometimes, we become accustomed to the pain because it is so familiar and we don’t know how to deal with the possible shift to another possibility.

Truth is, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t move forward. It isn’t always easy, but sometimes the best action is that momentum that takes us forward.

And, as much as it might hurt, don’t look back. Looking back into the dark spaces will only make you stumble.

Forward focusing no matter how difficult it might be is the only way to let go of all the hurt; of course, the hurt will always be dwelling somewhere under the surface. It is a scar, but learn to let it pass. Don’t focus on the darkness; focus on the light just ahead. There is always light just ahead.

Do not give into despair; do not give into those triggers that remind you of past hurts.

Let go. Remind yourself that you are not past mistakes and past trauma. You are a new person everyday that the sun rises; God has given you another chance to get it right, another chance to find joy in the blessings that this life has to offer.

You deserve it.

But, first you have to let go.

Let go and focus forward.

Let go.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022

Afternoon in Summer

Summer afternoon, misty cool rain washes away sadness, residual pain.

Approaching promised moon, like a pearl balloon, floats above cloudy lanes drenched in rain.

Earth beneath forever sky, shimmers, shines with endless life.

Blueness blends in a thousand shades of sky, birds, flowers, rocks, rivers.

Earth aches under its own weight.

Power, beauty, prisms of light sparkle in rain puddles, and drench the parched earth.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022