What is Your Purpose on this Earth?

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We have talked about our gifts and talents. Now, what do we do when we realize what they are? Well don’t just sit there! Use them!!!! If you are a good singer, join a choir or a chorus. If you like working with animals, shelters will love you! Like working with children? So many possibilities and so little time! There are many people who we know have taken there talent/gift and used them. One was our last President, Mr. Obama. He had a gift for speech and speaking. For the first time in my adult life I looked forward to hearing a president speak. He made sense. He boosted us up and gave us feedback and we made changes. 

There was someone else who was an awesome speaker. Martin Luther King Jr. I read his speech every year, because it’s in the literature book we use and because not  everybody has heard his whole speech….they just seem to remember the middle part.  If you read it, question yourself and others, have we continued his dream in our everyday lives? Here are some parts we need to think about:

“‘This note was a promise that all  black men as well as white
men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ” 

Many black children are raised by one mother, no  father, and they don’t believe they will make it to age 20. How is that rights of life? How is that pursuing happiness?

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.   It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. ” 

Many White people stood with MLK and risked their lives and families to do what was right. They didn’t wait, they acted. They used their talents to help others. 

“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” 

How many times I hear my students say, ” if they hit me I’m hitt’n back”. So sad and so wrong. That is exactly what Martin Luther King said not to do….

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.  And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” 

Well, I know I’m not satisfied with how children and women and people of any race are treated. He  had to have known that it wasn’t just one race or one culture that was to be targeted, but eventually, many races, cultures, and religions would get the same unjustified treatment.  For this next part you can substitute the word Negro for woman, muslim, Native American, etc…. this speech was written for a particular time of our history but it still rings true! 

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream .

Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

Now the American Dream was a vision of freedom from persecution. A goal of owning land, home, getting an education and having little to no government interference. Then it became something different for different people. For the Native Americans, it was getting rid of the pilgrims then just getting the government to do the right thing….. For Pioneers in the central states it was surviving each weather and insect challenge that hit their crops. The American Dream leads us to want better for the next generation. So, now this part may be read differently by some.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor, having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day, right down in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

Now let’s finish this out with a bang!!!! Go everywhere and do something to make things right. If there are people who don’t want to or who want to stay in the backwards world of prejudices then tell THEM to move behind a wall, where they don’t have to do anything except walk around in their own mire of hatred and disgust. Yet it is a free country but it makes no sense to offend 75% or 80% of us who don’t care about skin color or religion. 

” This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”  —-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1963

This is timeless. Use your gifts today and tell us how you will use them. As for me, I have Choir Practice tonight, I teach tomorrow, and I wrote today. I used my gifts and I pray that God is happy.

 

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Your Gift Shows Who You Are

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How do you see me? Do you see my gift? Can I see yours?

so easy....

Evidently one of my gifts is publishing a blog with only the 3 questions above, which I am editing right now.

None the less, I can tell you that each of us has gifts. Some have the medical gift such as EMT’s , nurses, doctors, and first responders. They are the people who are calm when seeing blood or any emergency situation. They are the ones that will keep you calm when you want to go hysterical.  Then there are the Teachers, preachers, missionaries, writers. These people just want to help others learn what they have learned in life. There are the people who are gifted in figuring out problems and seeing solutions to the problems. These are the “Get ‘er Done!” people. These people are not typically born in the south or in tiny towns or they went away and learned how to get things done faster….

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Then there are the  people gifted in art and music. These people astound me when they can just sketch something beautiful and say it’s a doodle or pick up an instrument and learn it that day.cover for Li'l Critters

There are the ones gifted in photography. They can take pictures that make you want to become a photographer.

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Samantha (Sammy) taken by me 5/17

There are the number gifted people, like my father was, when he was alive. I am told he could add up columns of numbers in his head. even after a stroke, when half his brain was damaged, he could still do it…that is a gift.

Mom and Dad

A gift is something that is natural and knows no boundaries.  I teach everyday, even when I am not in a classroom. I pray my writing teaches someone something. My husband’s gift of helping people as a basic EMT did not know the boundary of our anniversary weekend a few years ago. I found myself running to get his bag. My father’s brain was damaged but his gift of numbers knew no such walls and still showed itself.  See, a gift is so natural that you find yourself doing it no matter what the day, time, or season.  The great thing is, we have more than one or we have one main one and then some off shoots of that one.

you get a gift....

 

What are your gifts? Can I see your gifts in how you react or respond to others or a situation? Can you see my gifts? Can you see God through my gifts?

It’s always good to know from others if what you are doing is being seen as you want it to be seen. So please, let me know by commenting and sharing my blogs. Of course if you don’t see any gifts, let me know so I can work harder to show my gifts…maybe that is your gift, to help others multiply their talents.

I look forward to hearing from you.                        find your gift

Our Life Is Not Ours, It's God's

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      A dear friend of mine wrote a philosophical book, (which is interesting because he majored in Archeology) and had it published a couple of years ago entitled, “What is Life and Who am I?” . It is a very intellectually deep answer to the basic questions we ask ourselves: Why was I born? What are we on this Earth for? I think I can simplify things, at least a little.

Some say we are born to share or use our gifts or talents.  You may say, “yea, what gifts? I work in a chicken factory or Burger King or I don’t have a job at all.”  I can’t tell you why some people earn minimum wage jobs or why others are let go from jobs they had for years. I can tell you that there is a very human/earthly part of life and a faithful part of life.  Humans…

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Venting Can be Healthy

My strength comes from….

 

Sometimes venting can be healthy because the alternative is not very healthy. I  think certain venting should not be done without thinking it through first.  There is something that frustrates me. The growing gap between people who earn $50,000 – $500,000 yr and the rest of us. People who earn $45,000 or less make up 55% of the population. 15% of that  is the really poor, earning Less than $20,000/yr. I am part of the 40%  of that 55%.

It seems like when there is product inflation the people who create the salaries forget that and don’t increase the pay…. in the last 15 years gas has gone up $1.50-$2.00/gal, milk has gone up $1-$2, meat has also gone up $2,  fruit up by $1,….just based on that hourly wages should have increased $6/hr so that the minimum wage should be $14/hr. and salaries should increase $2000 each year no matter what….

We need to make the change

It comes down to greed. The people who own the businesses are not willing to give up their boats, shore houses and other toys….They would rather pay their workers $12/hr with no raises than try to do the right thing….If they lived for 3 months they way we have to live maybe they would see things the way we see them.

Don't give up...

For a while we actually had some savings….Then life happens like emergencies, then a couch that totally broke, a vet bill here and there for an elderly dog, and hours that are cut just because they can do that to people. Savings decreased by 90% to pay the bills. Christmas is coming and there’s no money to get anyone anything this year. With no pay raise on the horizon, how can one live like this? Only with God. It’s obvious the world is against us. Then how can we serve God if we lose everything?

live by faith, not by fear

It just doesn’t seem right that  we never have money. My parents told us if we worked hard we could have money to do anything we wanted. Well, they were mistaken. A teacher who works for a non profit organization and a basic EMT transport driver in a small impoverished area of NC earn only enough to pay bills and gas to get to work where you are a replaceable individual. We work and work but it feels like we are going backwards and on top of it people are against us. There are people who say bad things, and make up things to get rid of the hard working people, who don’t have records with  the police for drug or human abuse. Some owners just don’t remember what it was to  live pay check to pay check. It’s like when people “make it” they block out how they got there. Someone once told me a quote, I forget who said it, but I use it, ” If a rich man see’s a penny and refuses to pick it up, then he is poor,  for he has forgotten where he came from.”

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Is anyone else out raged by all that is happening on this  earth? How can anyone do what they need to for God if they keep getting slapped down by people who don’t have that faith you do? There are days I feel completely discouraged and I try to remember that there is something god is trying to either teach me or others and I am just a vessel….but then I cry out , “I don’t mind being a vessel if the people were not blind and deaf to you Lord!”  I pray God will let people learn. some do and some don’t….. Forgive them father for they know not what they do….. they are just non thinking humans….

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All You Need To Do Is Love Part 1

 

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     If you have faith, whether it be Judiaism, Muslim, or Christianity, You can only serve one God. The God of Abraham. The God of love. You cannot serve the god of gossip, the god of lies, the god of jealousy, the god of hate, the god of money, or any other “god” that would pull you away from The God who sent his only son to die for our sins.

There are people in this world who think that because they don’t have something that someone else has, that’s it’s ok to say mean things about them to other people…..as long as you don’t say it to them, you’re not hurting anyone……but you are. You are bearing false witness against your neighbor. Did Jesus do that?

Let the children com to me

How can people go to church, praise God, then do hateful things like lie or say hateful things? I try to understand this the same way scientists try to understand the behavior of sharks or snakes…..but sharks and snakes don’t have the ability to think, reason and learn like humans.

Snakes bite out of defense and fear.  Sharks bite out of not knowing, or ignorance. So, fear and ignorance explains alot.

People hate out of fear that they are taught or that they have learned. Maybe that is why people project their own actions onto others they are jealous of? For instance, I remember a girl who used to put me down, verbally, because she wanted to go on the trips I was able to go on….then she would tell others that I was mean to her. Everyone in my class, who knew me, did not believe what she said, but I could not understand what I did to deserve that type of treatment. It was not fair.  The only reason I forgave her because I knew, even at 13 or 14, she did not see what she was doing. “As a child, we saw as a child, But now, as an adult, we see fully….” Do we?

I have seen friends hurt because of adults doing this same thing as children do. Kids can be mean but it should only be a phase. When adults do the same things that kids do, it’s not mature,  it’s not fair, and it’s definitely not right. It does not make for a good model for children, unless you want your children to grow up as manipulators, gossipers, and liars. Integrity is doing the right thing all the time.   My heart breaks and I can understand why Jesus wept alot. It hurts to see people you trusted at one point be the people who are, or support, the manipulators in this world. The people you trusted who turn on you because they believe lies and they don’t ask you for your side. The people you once ate with who turn others against you because they don’t see what you see. This is why Jesus wept, and why those of us who seem different cry ourselves to sleep at night…..we see the evil and demons in people who go to church and raise their hands in praise….How blind they are to the reality of themselves.

You can not call yourself a follower of Christ and God then turn around and insult people, bear false witness then expect them to apologize to you for something they have not done. I have seen this in my 42 years as a Christian, up north and down here…. Don’t tell people you are being abused by someone, or getting bullied by someone  when you are the one doing the bullying.

 

I had a friend who was dating a girl for 2+ years. By the time I even noticed the subtle signs they were broken up. If she raised her voice, his eyes changed to fear. It seemed he was always looking for her but not because he missed her but because he didn’t want to be around her….. She told everyone that he abused her. She was the “victim”. We saw the facts: she was twice his weight and strength, and we knew his integrity.  So, we did not believe her. She only went to church while she was dating him….bossed him around….and later, we found out, she would get mad enough to toss him across a dorm room….Yet she was all smiles when anyone saw her…had some of us fooled for a while then lost most of who she thought were her friends. Eventually, she started to live the truth. The truth was, she was not heterosexual. Truth was she was not happy with her life. Truth was she had to make changes. I think she has because the truth always gets light shed upon it so no use fighting it.

Stay tuned for part 2………..

I Can’t Stand Apathy

We need to make the change

I have observed much apathy in our corner of NC and much impulsiveness. It makes for a  regressive dance of one step forward and 5 steps back…… which gives me the image of stagnant pond water. People who don’t allow new growth  and diversity, only want stagnant pond water to live in……

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Apathy is when you don’t do anything, you are indifferent to your surroundings or things happening around you.  Impulsiveness is kind of the opposite.  It’s when you don’t think before you do or say something and you just do it or say whatever….  in my life I guess I struggle more with impulsiveness in me and apathy in others. However,  there needs to be a middle ground.

Sometimes when I get stressed or feel the stress from weeks or months of a type of stress, which sometimes comes later. sometimes it’s overwhelming and it will cause my brain to act impulsively, say things that I shouldn’t say to others before thinking, do things without thinking, which leads to things like dents in cars or for me saying things that might be misinterpreted or hurt others when I would never want to hurt others.

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My impulsiveness has led to many tears out of frustration of my learning disability.  I’m not the only one who gets frustrated, anybody with ADD/ ADHD gets frustrated due to that impulsiveness.  If we don’t stop to think and it’s not all the time once we have it under control but when it happens it hurts not only ourselves because we feel stupid but it can also hurt others’ feelings or even break up friends.

However, at least I know and I’m aware of it but even when I do  say something wrong or do something wrong nine times out of 10 it’s out of honesty.

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But the one frustration I have is apathy of others standing by and letting something happen and not saying anything. I had a friend who dated somebody, never told me that they were hurting them. If they had told me or anybody we could have done something about it but what’s really frustrating is when you do tell somebody and they don’t do anything about it.  They think it will blow over. That’s one thing I don’t know that I can get used to down here.  I’ve heard this in several different places and it usually is said like this:  well maybe they’ll just get through it or maybe this will blow over or just wait they’ll stop, give it time.

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I think that’s problem because if you give it time once and they do the action again and you give them time again to let it “blow over” but they still do the same action that’s ridiculous! It needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

In a classroom, if a teacher sees a student doing something and reprimands them right away they will know that the teacher is aware of their actions so they cannot do that,  whether it’s throwing something or talking or whatever it is. It’s making others aware of their actions and that they are being seen. Sometimes adults don’t think that others care what they do so they tell lies or they make up something or they spread rumors or they just do what they believe is right in their eyes without knowing what it would look like to others.  If we make them aware, right away, that “yes we do see what you’re doing and we don’t approve of it” , then they should stop wrong Behavior. I  ask my friends that if I do something wrong or say something wrong to gently tell me so that I can grow and be a better person.

My strength comes from….

Some people can handle feedback and some people get defensive and deny that they did anything.  My students do this alot.  You see them talking to somebody, you say stop talking and they say right away “I wasn’t talking”  but you and everyone saw you….. why do they do this?  I don’t know but children who don’t take responsibility for their own actions grow up to be adults that don’t think they do anything wrong.

Most of the time I feel I do everything wrong yet, sometimes I feel I don’t do anything wrong.  I do many things right because it’s from my heart or it’s an honest feeling or statement.

Being assertive and proactive would be that middle ground when you see someone treating others unfairly. Stand up for one another as you would stand up for Christ. Not with sword of tongue but with love and honesty, bringing light to the lies and deceit.  Then and only then will the demons go back from whence they came. (you like that? That’s the holy spirit talking)….

The point is that you can not be all impulsive or all apathetic.  You cannot be an adult who doesn’t think before doing or saying something nor can you just sit by and not do anything when injustices happen or when wrong behavior happens. You have to always think. Not easy when your brain is a little different than others but not an excuse either. You need to think, “does this need to be said?” or “if I say it privately to them and sternly maybe they will see I won’t put up with ‘wash women’.” or “ I am sorry, this is what I did, I didn’t mean for it to hurt you, I pray you can forgive me and we can still be friends”

So admit when you’re wrong, accept the consequences,  accept responsibility,  don’t be indifferent, and stand up when the time is needed, after you have thought and prayed about it. Don’t live in stagnant pond water but don’t put in chemicals so fast that others get hurt…..

Success: What is it?

success-definition-10820480     I apologize for not as often as I should….my only excuse is that this past year has been more difficult to get time to myself and my writing. In December there were some deaths of people that got me thinking. What will I be remembered for when it’s my time? Have I been successful? What is success?

Then I realized that this is what everyone thinks about. So let’s start with the definition.

Webster’s definition is:  favorable or desired outcome; also :  the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

I believe there are 2 realms of success: success of the world and success of the spirit. you can have one or the other, you cannot have both. Though if you do have success in one it will lead to success in the other but only one way: Spiritual success must come first.

For me, success has come in many forms that most don’t think about. I was successful to not become an alcoholic like my mom, when all the statistics said otherwise.  I was successful in surviving for 10 years on my own, with very little pay, and bills that exceeded my income. I was successful to find a church that I wanted to be a part of which led me to my husband. God orchestrated all of these successes and he’s not finished yet.

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Now, many people believe that being a success is having a home, paying the bills, being able to save a little and give a little, as well as not having to worry about every little penny. They believe that if they don’t have a $50,000/yr or $500,000/yr job that they are not successful. Really??????

I tell my students that if they want to be able to live on their own they need to earn at least 25, 000/yr or $14/hr . The only way they can get to their dream is to figure out what God’s dream is for them to do……

 

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For me, no matter what job I was in, be it retail or hospitality, I was always teaching someone something. I finally got the hint from God that I was to stay in teaching, one way shape or another. I have tutored, been an assistant teacher, been a middle school teacher, been a GED teacher, and now a teacher for adjudicated youth. This is what God was preparing me for. My goals are to succeed at what God wants me to do. Teaching and writing are 2 of those things I know God wants me to do. I guess I need to work on some daily things, like patience and stress,  for that teaching before I will be a success at writing.

God has plans for U

So, what is success for you? Do you really need to have that 5 bedroom 2 story house to feel successful? To be successful do you need to just have someone recognize your gifts and say, “I have a job that pays only $10,000/yr or $3/hr more than what you are earning now but there will be room to grow.”?    Is success just being able to get all the chores done, dinner cooked, and animals fed?  Is success taking just the right photographs that someone would want to purchase? Is success bridging two organizations so that one takes care of the other?

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For me, if I can inspire people, to do God’s will and to do good things and love others, then I am a success!!!!

What is Success for you???? What will your obituary say about you and your successes here on earth?

 

It’s Memorial Day……..Again

 

Memories can be foggy

I was looking back at a blog I posted, New Traditions: What Is Memorial Day?  It was pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day after the Civil war. It was a day to remember all the people who served in the military and who died. This is different than Veterans Day when we pay tribute to all the living  men and women who are currently serving or have served in the military in the past. Memorial Day Graves

Memorial Day should be a day for family to gather and remember other family members who have served them in the past. To just remember those who were in the military, who served at some capacity in a war or military movement. My Dad was in the Korean War. I’m not sure what he did but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t shooting a gun…. My granddaddy was a guard in Newark, NJ. I’m not sure what he guarded but he served. My Pappa’s father was in the army…..they moved a few times even to Alaska.  So, you see, all families have some relative who served in our military forces. The stories of these family members need to be told and handed down to the next generation. This is what Memorial Day should be about, the remembering of our military in our families shared with others. This way they are never forgotten and will live on.

 

Memorial Day should be about the people who sacrificed a part or all of their lives so that you could live a free life of faith. Wait, didn’t Jesus do that? He sacrificed his life so that we could live. Jesus also need to be remembered on this day, and everyday. He gave strength to many soldiers, around the world.

memorial day wreath

Here are some thoughts to  ponder on when you comment on this post.      Why is Memorial Day important to you?   What do you do for Memorial Day? How can you make this a better family day? Who do you remember on this holiday?  How does God fit into your Memorial Day Weekend?

Until next time, God bless!!!!