Category Archives: Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year …

not for celebrations and parties.  Not for get-togethers with good friends and people you may know.  Not shopping for bargains and gifts, not meeting up to have a good time and not for having a nice glass of wine with like-minded folks.

Well, actually, it is that time of year, but not for everyone.

For some, this time of year means eating a cold can of beans alone in an empty room without power because the electric bill wasn’t paid.  It wasn’t paid because the baby needed medication and there wasn’t enough money for medication and electricity.

For some, this time of year means standing on the street, in the cold, wearing street clothes and house slippers because there wasn’t enough money for rent and if there wasn’t enough money for rent, there certainly wasn’t enough money for a coat and shoes.

For some, this time of year brings memories that are bitter and hurtful; thoughts of years past that ran, one into the other, with no happiness or joy.

For some, this time of year means nothing.  It is simply the passing of time while watching the world go by, just like the year before and the year before that.

For some, this time of year means family, food, friends and fellowship.  It is these people who embrace the season and enjoy it as they always have, together with the people they love and are comfortable with.

But what about all the others?

Who, when they set down to their family table laden with food, surrounded by family, warm, cozy and perfect, think of those who have nothing, expect nothing and know nothing different from the emptiness they feel every year at this time?

I and many others call ourselves followers of Christ.  We say with our voices  how much we love and want to be like Jesus.

We sing praises, bless our food and continue on in the same traditions we have followed for years.  We praise Jesus and say we want to be like Him but prove time and again that we recite words we believe but don’t, deep down, mean and we fail the very Jesus we say we want to be like.

He wants us to share what we have; not just home, warmth, family, friends and food, but the very word that would bring others to love and honor Him.

Invite a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner.  Invite several strangers.

Let’s bring someone homeless to our home and make them, for one day, family.

Let’s show them that Jesus is real and that they are loved.

This time of year is our time, the Jesus follower’s time.  Our time to put our money where our mouth is.  To be hospitable, to offer shelter and food for those who are hungry and the ones the world calls outcasts.

It is our time to take in everyone, despite everything, and to show them Jesus.

If we, who claim to be the hands and feet of Jesus don’t show love to the oppressed, be certain that the evil one will.

He will entice and enchant them, then make them slaves to his depravity and hatred of all things good.

Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of beating us to the punch.  Let us be the Jesus we claim to want to follow and lead someone to Christ by being the hands and feet of the Savior.

Make no mistake –  Satan is working hard to win the souls of the lost and if we don’t work harder, he will win because he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get a response on the first pass.

Be Jesus to the world and don’t give up just because you can find an excuse.  Having an excuse doesn’t excuse us, but overcoming excuses and finding a way to be Jesus to the world shows our true alliance.  We are with Jesus or not with Jesus.  It is as simple as that.

Everyone reading this post is welcome to Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s house.  You, for one day, will be our family, you will be warm and your bellies will be full.  Must love, or at least tolerate dogs, though, because our place is lousy with them!  🙂

Over the weekend …

I had a total bipolar meltdown on my dad.

He was, at first, completely blindsided, and then perplexed.

I usually meltdown on my mom, who knows to just let it ride until the event is over.

But she wasn’t there and I was melting down in real time.

I think it was good for him, my Dad, that is, to see me as I have a propensity to be.

Totally crazy, on the edge of straight-jacket territory.

A mess.

I try to shield him from this side of me, because, well, at the risk of starting a riot, he is my dad and is, with abject certainty, a man.

Men rarely understand the astounding psyche of women.

Don’t roll your eyes and pretend to be insulted.

We know that maneuver.

Add bipolar to the mix and a total discombobulation takes over.

I love my Dad.

He is my, second only to Jesus and third to John Robert (who is dead, by the way), my hero.

A man who’s integrity I would bet my last dime on.

But he isn’t my mom.

He wants desperately to pat me on the head and tell me all is ok.

All is not okay.


In my own defense, I didn’t say that.

I wanted to, but felt the ramifications would skew the effort to find out WHERE THE HELL my mom was.

So I cried, sobbed, made little sense while blindly clinging to my Dad.

I seriously doubt he will
ever be quite the same.

It’s a bit, I suppose, like trying raw oysters.

It sounds gross, but the rewards … well, they, by spades, outweigh the risks.

I hope, some day, to eat raw oysters with my dad.

A small, and yet ambiguous dream.

He hugged me while I was sobbing incoherently and told me he loved me, no matter what.

Major points for that.




Through His creation …

He speaks to me.

Who, you say?

Why Jesus, of course.

How, you ask?

By showing me what He sees through the eyes He sees them with.

And by allowing me to capture on film that which He chooses to show me.

Being a photographer is one of His greatest gifts to me and I don’t take His beauty lightly.

I am, in the space of time that I walk through the beauty of creation, one with that creation.

I am part of that which lives, thrives and survives.

I am His.

He reminds me every day of His love for me by showing me the wonders of the earth He created, of His beauty and, for whatever reason, He allows me to see it through His perfect eyes.  I am often blinded by life, by moments, by disappointments and disillusionment, but He reminds me, every single day, that I am His.

Through the fragrant blooms of springtime that make their way even while winter tries to force his hand.  They are strong and resilient, those blooms.  Strong-willed and fearless as they burst forth with courage and strength.

The Creator's fragrant palette

The Creator’s fragrant palette

Through the fireflies of summer, which frolic beneath a summer moon and compete with the magnificence of the stars.  They blink and fade, wander and mesmerize, bringing magic and comfort and the promise of something wonderful.

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Through the colorful leaves that adorn the trees that catch my eye, the smell of decay on the ground mixed with the subtle scent of of beauty that can only be felt in the heart.  The joyous chatter of the brilliance of fall as it rains down on forgotten paths and leaves the mind reeling with possibilities.

the beauty and mystery of fallen leaves

the beauty and mystery of fallen leaves

Through the winter, the cold air and frigid temperatures that can freeze a waterfall in her tracks, making her song one of unrivaled silence as her beauty emanates praise and thanksgiving.

The magnificent song of Winter silence

The magnificent song of Winter silence

Creation, frozen in time, for a time, for a season

Creation, frozen in time, for a time, for a season

A bubbling creek becomes suspended in something, motionless and full of such magic that only the heart can understand it.  Some things are  so rare, so precious, so full of beauty that nothing is left but to offer praise.

Rocks, suspended in silence, yet singing their winter song

Rocks, suspended in silence, yet singing their winter song

Winter speaks with a strong voice even when it is silent

Winter speaks with a strong voice even when it is silent

Seeing it, immersing myself in it, becoming a part of it reminds me that I, too am, a child of the creator.

A beautiful view of a snowy Clinch Mountain ... one that I call home

A beautiful view of a snowy Clinch Mountain … one that I call home

My cup runneth over.

His beauty unfolds before me in the misty rain of barren landscapes, foggy sunrises behind mountains and beneath a black sky glittering with stars.

without rain, there can be no rainbow

without rain, there can be no rainbow

From my front porch

From my front porch

I am blessed and, when I forget that, He reminds me with His magnificence.

From my driveway, I am reminded that i am worth His magnificence.

From my driveway, I am reminded that i am worth His magnificence.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence:  Two road diverged in a wood, and I — I took the ones less traveled by, And that has mad all the difference ~ Robert Frost

A historic day …

is on the horizon.

For the first time in many years (there have been several numbers floating around, but it is safe to say many, many years since and even many more until it happens again), the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Day fall on the same date.

As it happens, it is also my birthday.

It isn’t often that one has the opportunity to physically coincide with history in the making, but this year, I and all the others who share November 28 as their birthday … well, we get to gloat a bit.

It is our day, after all and the fact that it is a day that will go down in history raises the cool factor quite a few notches.

That’s what birthdays are, is that not accurate?

A celebration of our life?

The remembrance of the day we came into being on this earth?

It is pretty important.

I love birthdays.  I don’t care so much if people share them with me, although it is always a plus to be remembered, it isn’t required for it to be special to me.  It is enough to know that it is my birthday.

And now, this year, an iconic year, I share my birthday with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

That’s pretty awesome.

So to all the others out there who will turning a year older on a day that will go down in history, Happy Birthday, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Thanksgiving.

I don’t keep up with what’s hot and what’s not, but I’m pretty sure that somebody famous or at least quasi-famous said “Happy! Happy! Happy!”  (I don’t know who, but I see and hear it on a fairly regular basis, so someone must have started it).



I know a trail shoot was succesful …

This gallery contains 25 photos.

when I come home filthy, covered in mud, bleeding from my brush with thorns and other sharp things of nature and smelling of the earth that I was crawling around on.  There are few things in this life that renew … Continue reading

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The Pianist …

was in the mood to play.  This has been one of those rare spaces of time that I live for.  Moments that move me past my everyday life and touch the very core of that which makes me who I am.  A time when emotions show themselves and then are pushed aside as the sheer joy of  music fills my spirit.  Before tonight, I didn’t realize how low my Spirit was feeling.  Putting on a smile for the onlookers is easy.  Those who don’t know what they are looking at take it at face value.  I had begun to almost believe it as well.  Until tonight.

I got all jazzed up and found that I was only going through the motions at the employee Christmas party.  Afterward, however, was the turning point of the evening.  I stopped by the house of two of my dearest friends. There was laughter, friendship and camaraderie that one can only get from those they are closest to.  And then the offer came.  The offer to listen as he played the piano.  After the first song, I simply burst into tears and was moved so deeply as they ran, unashamedly,  down my face.  It was as if the notes on the page weren’t there at all, such was the depth of the music.  I found myself feeling freed of every negative thought that was swirling in my mind.  The profoundness of the notes were so moving that my Spirit had no choice but to open itself, becoming released from burdens and sadness that I had not really, until then, been aware were there.

I felt transcended; removed from time and space .  There was nothing in my world at that moment but the musician and the music he made; his hands flying over the keys, the sound touching me intimately,  stimulating every cell in my body.  I felt awakened and content; calmness and exhilaration blending to become an emotion of its own.  Thoughts that had filled my head for days and weeks were swept away, leaving nothing but the serenity of hearing such brilliance being played in my presence.

It is hard to explain what the sound of a piano does to me.  It makes me feel breathless and full of something so wonderful that the world can’t touch. I consider myself immensely blessed to have a piano man in my life; and am thankful beyond what I have the capacity to relay in mere words that he plays for me.  I suppose it isn’t really for me, but for himself, but I like to think it’s for me because he knows I love it so.  Thank you, my friend, for sharing your gift with me.  I am richer now than I was only a few hours ago because you took me somewhere so ethereal that even my vivid and encompassing imagination has a hard time comprehending it.

Even as I write this post, the rain is beginning to fall.  I can now say, without reservation or hesitation that this has, without a doubt, been the best evening I’ve had in a very long time.


Isaiah 55:12 ~ You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

It’s that time of year …

when folks start taking stock of their lives and thinking about the things they are thankful for.  There isn’t enough room on this blog to even begin to list all that I am thankful for, but find that I want, more than anything, to list at least a few.  There are, of course, the obvious; food, clothing, shelter, job, family – all the basics covered in one sentence, but what about the other entities and experiences?  The bounties that I sometimes forget to mention because I’m too busy or preoccupied to remember to be thankful for;  like music, silence, blue skies, white clouds, whispering oceans, warm sunshine, rustling leaves, winding mountain roads, bare trees, songs to sing, long, engaging, thought-provoking conversations, dancing to rhythms in my head and a myriad of other blessings that, for the moment, escape my memory.

As I write this, my mind wanders to some of the places I’ve been over the past year.  Not just physically, such as my favored falls or the rocks on top of the mountain, but where I have been spiritually, through the infinite grace and bountiful blessings of my Father God; the ministry He has given me through greeting cards and the ability to string words together and the counsel I have been able to share because of the trials and joys I have experienced.  I have met many new people, seen many new faces and heard much new music that has left me richer and more empowered than I was before.  While that is often the way it is with time and change, there are moments, spaces of time that span a few weeks to a few months that have changed my life, in one way or another, irrevocably.

Not all of the experiences have  been good ones, but I am thankful for them anyway as the lessons I learned from them were invaluable.  At the time, I suppose some of them seemed more like punishment than teaching, but as time passed and wisdom took the place of uncertainty, the evidence of growth was prominent.  The beauty of wisdom and strength as they become more clear in my mind and heart help me to understand that each experience, good or bad, is not coincidental, but a piece in a puzzle that never seems to be fully completed.  I find that stimulating conversation with a like mind is just as compelling to me as sitting alone finding notes on my keyboard as I work to learn to play the music that forms the words that, though I often cannot voice, I cherish nonetheless.

I have reconnected with some old friends, those that I had, for one reason or another, lost touch with.  It’s funny, somehow, that as an adult, the friendships that were forgotten or simply ignored over the years have rekindled and have more depth and meaning than I would have ever found in my youth.  I have found new friends, some that have moved me beyond any words that I could ever find the ability to express.  A connection that is not of the world that I live and work in every day, but is of something else altogether.  A pairing of minds, thoughts and ideas that would, if not for divine intervention, have been missed altogether.

It isn’t easy being different in an unusual sort of way from nearly everyone else I know and rekindling the connections to the artists and musicians from my past has encouraged me and made me feel a part of something that I have missed for way too long.  In the midst of what was already a part of me are the new friendships, those that fell, practically from the sky;  new friends on the surface, but in my heart and soul, are as old as time itself.  Finding familiarity in the unknown is exciting and exhilarating; not to mention a balm to the spirit.

My family has survived one attack after another this year and each one has, in its own way, brought us closer together, making us realize how important each of our unique qualities are in forging the dynamics of lasting bonds that cannot be broken.  As always, during this time of celebration and family get-togethers, the loved ones who have passed from this world are brought to the front of my mind and their wisdom and guidance, love and security, words and ideas fill me up.  It isn’t with sadness that I think of them, but of longing that I can’t sit down with them for a bit and ask the questions that I wish I had asked while they were living.  It never occurred to me, not in a realistic kind of way, that there wouldn’t be time to ask, to know and to find.  Along the same lines, I think of the questions and thoughts I share with my friends, the ones who seem to understand the very core of my being without explanation.  There is more power in that than could ever be described in words.

Yes, on this eve of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for many things, but most of all, I am thankful that I am child of God and that He loves me enough to give me everything I need and much of what I want simply because He loves me.  Yes, I am thankful, not just today, but everyday, for this beautiful life that I have been given and the growing realization that it is a privilege to be a part of a world that keeps on turning day after day after day.

To all my friends and all my family I wish you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  I am blessed beyond measure and what you add to my life is a very big part of that blessing.  My wish is for your lives to be filled with awe, wonder, happiness and joy.  Yes, my blessings are too numerous to count, and for each one, I am thankful.

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so; little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong”