Tag Archive | Courageous

Do You Know This Player?

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My name is Pride, I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny…

because you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment…

because you “deserve better than this.”

I cheat you of knowledge…because you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing…because you’re too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness…

because you refuse to admit when you’re wrong.

I cheat you of vision…

because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you of genuine friendship…

because nobody’s going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love…

because real romance demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in heaven…

because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.

I cheat you of God’s glory…

because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride.  I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.  Untrue.

I’m looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…

If you stick with me,

You’ll never know.

My United Hometown

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I reflected earlier this summer – on our 4th of July holiday to be exact – on how the celebration termed as our ‘Independence’ Day seems to be lost at times to those of us that live in this great country we call home.  Lost in the sense that we may take for granted that freedom is not an entitlement.

As the news stories played out across our televisions this past Sunday, many of us recalled where we were on that fateful morning fifteen years ago.  Where we were, what we were doing when shock took over as we watched and felt the horror take residence in the heart of every American, young and old.

As I watched on Sunday, I thought again of our men and women stationed in countries across oceans, far away from loved ones, who are there for the sole reason of defending this county we move freely in.  Where we, at any time of the day or night, can choose to live our lives with the comfort of not having to worry of such things as missile strikes, combat zones or constant bombings.  Those soldiers are working and laying down their lives to ensure that freedom that all of us cocooned in safety can so easily relay into a ‘right’.

On Monday, in my mind and heart, those soldiers overseas became joint partners with soldiers of a different uniform.  Those wearing the badges of city and county police officers.

As the hours ticked by throughout the day, I kept watch for emails updating the condition of a police officer from my hometown who was shot while serving a warrant over the weekend.  Late Monday afternoon, we learned he had succumbed to the injuries.

And my hometown is united like it hasn’t been since 9/11.

Office Brackeen’s patrol car is standing guard at the police station, covered in flowers.  Our picturesque courtsquare is adorned in blue ribbons.  Restaurants are selling blue lapel pins to raise money for the family.  Students at schools throughout the county will be wearing blue in honor on Friday.  Off duty officers in full uniform are seen standing talking in groups all over town.  Facebook is filled with beautiful tributes.  Just to give you a visual.  Our hearts are broken for his wife and four year old daughter.  For all his friends and fellow officers.

We’ve all heard the news reports of officers killed in the line of duty.  And I am ashamed to admit it to be so, but until this tragedy hit ‘home’,  I had mainly been only aware of officers as my foot got heavy on the gas pedal and feared being caught.  Personally speaking, that is. Also, I remember telling my granddaughter that they are there for us to call if we’re in danger and need their help.

My, how things have changed.

In the volatile currents that are wrecking our society, these officers are truly soldiers on the battlefields of home.  Just as the soldiers overseas are defending our nation as a whole, these brave men and women step out each day into situations that can take their lives just as easily as those in the war zones of our world.  They are officers because of a heart’s desire to serve and protect – an oath they make to each of us.

I urge everyone reading this to examine your thoughts.  Have you, like myself, failed to give due respect to those who have sworn this oath?  I can say without a doubt that if I had to tally them into a column, the column would be headed as “Protection I’m Entitled To”.  The last forty-eight or so hours have opened my eyes.

This morning I actually saluted an officer driving in the lane beside me on the way to work. I realize as a civilian a salute may not be proper, but as each of us here struggle to come to terms with this happening in our own backyards, a salute summed it up for me in the space of moments I had in his eyesight.  I have awakened to a  great respect and appreciation for the protection they fight daily to blanket us with.  My heart goes out to them in a way like never before.  And now, with my granddaughter having been a part of the prayer vigil on the courtsquare Monday evening, I have a feeling she may be giving me a lesson on the freedoms they protect and not just there if we need them.

Please join me in searching out ways to let these protectors in our midst know that we stand with them, that we appreciate more than words can express the many ways they cloak our days in protection.  Chances are very high that we know very little of the actual dangers they have experienced in any given day.   I will seek ways to express this appreciation, but in the meantime, I will continue to salute.

My prayers and gratitude are with each of our soldiers.  Everywhere…

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At Every Bridge Bringing Officer Brackeen Home

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Saluted All Along the 45 Mile Ride

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To Protect And Serve

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United at Every Mile

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Standing Guard

 

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Me and Bobbie McKee

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For the last month or so, my DVR has been filling up a lot more than usual.  Dirty laundry has piled up until the weekends.  And my dog just sits and stares at me, trying to figure out what’s going on.  But the new laptop with the advanced keyboard that at first had me severely frustrated is now my new best friend.

Just as many of you have mentioned having yourselves, I’m going to have to force myself to come up with a designated sort of schedule for blogging and writing or nothing else is going to get done.  I feel a bit unbalanced, off-kilter with the many other things that have to be tended to.

But even though my scales are a bit tilted right now, there’s a wonderful blessing in all of this busyness – a blessing that feels like the bud on the Oriental Lily in my yard, bursting forth with a brilliance that’s breathtaking and oh so beautiful.

Let me tell you what I mean:  My Daddy always told me I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.  And that was while I was still in school, years ago.  I’ll not go into the marital arena, so read between the lines there.  My daughter told me years ago that I think too much, so I learned to limit the degree of which I ramble on with her. There’s been only one person with whom I learned that I could let my thoughts fly free without reservations.  A co-worker with whom I worked for 15 years:   Bobbie (Barbara) McKee.

We took morning and afternoon breaks together, went to dinner quite often.  Her husband sang with a gospel group and we’d travel around to wherever they would be performing, normally on Saturday evenings.    During all these times, we spent hour upon hour talking.  We probably knew more about each other than anyone else in our lives, even our husbands.

We’d discuss every idea you could imagine.  Did we believe in ghosts? did we believe we are the only life forms in the universe? did we believe those who’ve died know what’s going on in the lives of those they loved who are still alive? – those kind of questions.

Then there were the other kinds:  how do those bugs get in those tightly sealed light fixtures?  do fish sleep? and if you pass somebody whose in second place, what place are you in?

Bobbie was a bit older than me but we never gave that a thought at all.  Over time, the endearing look that she’d give me meant the world to me. That look meant that she just knew without even looking at me when I was about to pose a question that would set us off on a wild ride.  We would inevitably take it the distance and would end up laughing so hard we wouldn’t be able to talk.  But my word, the discussions we would have!

Bobbie died in 2005 after being diagnosed only the year before with lung cancer.

Not that Bobbie is never not a part of me, but I was reminded very vividly of our discussions one day last week when a new co-worker, one I’ve known for just a little over one year now, shared a dream with me and off she and I went on one of those wonderful discussions.  I was so elated – all at once for the reminder of Bobbie, for the fascinating talk my friend and I had just had, and for the fact that I was getting to let my mind run rampant for the first time in ages.  I had goosebumps from my toes to my ears and actually had to get up and walk around the building, I was so happy!

And then it dawned on me…the time I am spending here in blogland is essentially the same thing.  I have once again opened myself up to exploring infinite possibilities.  But I am no longer a babe drinking babe’s milk.  Even though I need not fear being drawn into wrong directions or harmful thoughts,  there is a vast and wide volume and variety of viewpoints voiced here.  I am learning to explore other ideas that are outside my own box.  And in doing so, I am finding the path that allows me to maintain my own beliefs and at the same time, consider and converse with others who differ.

Therein lies the blessing.

My daughter says she’s noticed a difference in me lately.  A contentedness.  I know now that it has its roots in my newfound confidence I’m gaining through re-connecting with myself.  I have, in a very real way, returned to myself. I am me again.  And it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve fully been ‘me’.  I am able to speak the truth here, with no pretenses, no reservations.  That is very free-ing.  And it is boiling over into other areas of my life, but I’ll save that for another post.

Thank you, my friends, for giving me back myself.

 

 

 

 

First Impressions of a Blogger

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I’ve only starting blogging a few weeks ago and in this short time I must say that blogging is an adventure in and off itself.  I started out with the intention of getting myself ‘out there’ but it has turned into what is becoming a wonderful and powerful new part of my life.

I have found the most inspiring bloggers.  Ones who meld words in such a way that I find myself consumed, carried away to emotions that inspire, empathize, invoke, conjure – you name it – it’s here in the world of blogging.  I’ve found magnificent photographers who need no words to appeal to those same emotions.  I’ve vicariously traveled to wondrous lands where I could only dream of visiting.

But I’ve also found pain.  There are many who have and are fighting hard battles.  Who are utterly courageous in sharing those battles with the world.  Their courage to expose themselves a testament itself to the inspiration they share with others.

I’ve found ones who are questioning and searching for answers about and from God.  Those have left me no alternatives but to ask myself the same questions.  Then there’s the ones who flat out refuse to believe or have explained away the very existence of God.

One of the detriments to blogging that I’m encountering is the lack of laundry getting done, the dust balls curling up around the baseboards and the dog bones left on the floor that I step on getting out of bed in the morning.  I am being drawn to the blog world now and am consumed with each new wonderful post I find.  But, it is a pleasure that I am savoring.

Each word of inspiration and encouragement lifts my soul and confirms to me that I’m on the right track, to never give up on my dreams.  Be they big or small, a daily goal or one I hope to have accomplished a year or even ten years from now.  I’ve also realized that the experiences I’ve had in my life can enable me to be sources of inspiration to others, just as so many are inspiring me.

The wistfullness I feel when I think of some beautiful place like Greece, Australia, Thailand or any of the other hundreds of lands I’d love to visit has become somewhat diminished as I get to read and visit in beautiful pictures these and other wonderful places.  To have a first hand account and be able to speak with people living in these lands or on an adventure there themselves is a joy for me.

Above all, I know from whence cometh my help and God is speaking clearly and lovingly through most all posts.  Even those that are not directly speaking of God, I still hear His voice.  In searching to answer those hard questions from skeptics, my faith has grown greatly and I am blessed to have encountered even those experiences.

I thank you all for welcoming me so warmly to the world of blogging and greatly look forward to continuing this journey with each of you.  Till we talk again, may God bless your each and every moment!

Love, Tammi