Life Train

Life Train

Life is like a journey on a train with its stations, changes of routes and with accidents.

We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket. We believe they will always travel on this train with us. However, at some station our parents will get off the train, leaving us alone on this journey.

As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant – our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives. Many will go unnoticed that we won’t even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train. Our utmost priority is to make the journey comfortable.

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. There are two fellows you will never forget throughout the journey in this train, the person that creates problems in your life and the person that gives you solutions to life issues.

The mystery of this fabulous journey is that we do not know at which station we ourselves will get off. So, we must live in the best way, adjust, forget, forgive and offer the best of what we have.

Endeavor to give in even if you are right, remain humble. If you are very rich and powerful; learn to be content. If you are not rich, make time for people you care about. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seats, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

Thank you for being one of the important passengers on my train. I don’t know when you or I will get to our station, but I don’t want to miss saying, Thank you for being among those who ride with me on this journey. We will all fulfill our days.

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. – Romans 15:2

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Winning the Race

Winning the Race

Winning the Race

Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye,
“There’s no sense running anymore – three strikes and I’m out – why try?”
The will to rise has disappeared, all hope had fled away,
so far behind, so error-prone, closer all the way.

“I’ve lost, so what’s the use”, he thought “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad who soon he’d have to face.
Get up, and the echo sounded low, get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here, so get up and win the race.
With Borrowed will, “Get up!”, It said, “You haven’t lost at all,
for winning is not more than this, to rise each time you fall.”

So he rose to win once more, and with the new commitment he resolved to win
or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still, he gave it all he had and ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner as he crossed.
First place, head high and proud and happy, no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the line, last place,
the crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bow low, unproud.
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well”.
“To me, you won,” his father said, “you rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit! Give up you’re beaten,” they will shout in my face.
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

– Author Unknown

Meditation: If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. – Job 14:14

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Things in Life that Bring Lasting Fulfillment

Things in Life that Bring Lasting Fulfillment

Things in Life that Bring Lasting Fulfillment

I write this with a cup of hot chocolate (+ a hint of Bailey’s) by my side, the girls at school, my notebook resting on my lap and the challenge of sharing this last year before me. As I look out my living room window, heavily faded grays, browns, and whites, reflect back. Only the boldness of red from ribbons on Christmas wreathes and on the coats of Nutcracker soldiers’ stands out. It looks arctic outside. The white that covers the ground is both ice and snow and the high today will be 10°.

If I believe what I see, there is little life. There is hardly a movement. There is no warmth. The trees are bare, the lake frozen, and the wind still. It is quiet in my home and I am reminded of the barrenness of this season. Winter has come and I am in the middle of it. In these moments, my heart stirs. Sadness wants to come in. Quiet begins to engulf me. Worry tries to trickle into my thoughts. My eyes tell me coldness is all there is. It has conquered towering trees and froze expansive waters and land. My eyes tell me this is life or rather, this is how life is defeated.

So I close my eyes. My heart longs for more. My heart has always longed for more. “God, show me what I cannot see.” With a richer desire, I open my eyes. Some of the same images appear but my stirred heart now notices the sled trail on the lawn where just the night before I pulled Shaelah and Sofia up a small self-made hill. I can see the run over snow angels and places where Sofie picked icicles off and enjoyed nature’s popsicles. I see Shaelah’s boot prints and become aware that they are closer to my size than they are to a child’s.

As I look further out, the frozen lake and shoreline remind me of this year’s road trips and our mini vacations in search of the perfect pool or beach. Spring break took us to Arizona where the girls discovered the small flags attached to pool lounge chairs, poolside service, and Shirley Temple drinks. Memories of our days at Lake Holiday or North Avenue beach this summer return. These girls are fish in water and connoisseurs of sandcastle tools. I can clearly see in my mind the mounds of shells they have collected over time and realize they have saved a piece of every beach we have ever been to together.

It now begins to snow. I kid you not. God’s timing is perfect. As snow begins to cover the ground more, I remember our road trip to Sparta, Missouri. Gratitude overwhelms me when I think of profound friendships that would take the girls and I so far. I smile at the memory of standing in untouched nature, watching a mare and her colt galloping through open acreages and feeling the earth move beneath us. Seeing a beautiful strong mare leading her own, captures the heart of a mother. It took my breath away.

Tears are welling up in my eyes now as my heart feels like the luckiest woman in the world. I realize that the life the girls and I live is a good one. We are healthy, happy, loved and love. When the girls crawl into bed with me, I know that I have everything I need right beside me. God has always taken care of us. Always.

My takeaway this year? “Do not believe solely in what the eyes see.” There is great abundance in life and we are blessed beyond what the economy, our businesses, and our trials try to tell us. If we still ourselves long enough to close our eyes, our hearts tell us that there are only a few things in life that have meaning for eternity and bring lasting fulfillment. Look for those things and life becomes alive again and again and again!

by Tania Kinzinger

Meditation: While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Witnessing A Miracle

Witnessing A Miracle

Witnessing A Miracle

It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through. Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately, this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon we would lose everything.

It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn’t walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort…trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods.

This activity went on for an hour: walk carefully to the woods, run back to the house. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen, as he was obviously doing important work and didn’t need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked; being very careful not to spill the water he held in them, maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose.

As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing sight. Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him, he didn’t even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn laying on the ground, obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy’s hand.

When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree. I followed him back to the house; to a spigot that we had shut off the water to. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift “cup,” as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me. The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn’t ask me to help him.

It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him. His little eyes just filled with tears. “I’m not wasting,” was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him, with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life.

As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, they were suddenly joined by other drops…and more drops…and more. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, Himself, was weeping with pride. Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. That miracles don’t really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can’t argue with that. I’m not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm, just like the actions of one little boy saved another.

– Author Unknown

Meditation: A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth..Isaiah 42:3

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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The Many Names of Christ

The Many Names of Christ

The Many Names of Christ

To the Artist, He is the One Altogether Lovely.

To the Architect, He is the Chief Corner Stone.

To the Baker, He is the Living Bread.

To the Banker, He is the Hidden Treasure.

To the Biologist, He is the Life.

To the Builder, He is the Sure Foundation.

To the Carpenter, He is the Door.

To the Doctor, He is the Great Physician.

To the Educator, He is the Great Teacher.

To the Engineer He is the New and Living Way.

To the Florist He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.

To the Geologist He is the Rock of Ages.

To the Horticulturist He is the True Vine.

To the Judge, He is the Righteous Judge, Judge of All Men.

To the Jeweler He is the Pearl of Great Price.

To the lawyer, He is the Counselor, the Lawgiver, the Advocate.

To the Newspaper, He is the Good Tidings of Great Joy.

To the Oculist, He is the Light of the Eyes.

To the Philanthropist, He is the Unspeakable Gift.

To the Philosopher, He is the Wisdom of God.

To the Preacher, He is the Word of God.

To the Sculptor, He is the Living Stone.

To the Servant, He is the Good Master.

To the Statesman He is the Desire of All Nations.

To the Student, He is the Incarnate Truth.

To the Theologian He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

To the Toiler He is the Giver of Rest.

To the Sinner, He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the World.

To the Christian, He is the Son of the Living God, the Savior, the Redeemer and the Lord.

– Author Unknown

Meditation: With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.2 Samuel 22:26-27

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Wings to My Dreams

Wings to My Dreams

Wings to My Dreams

That next heartbeat, that’s what we pray for. We are the medically challenged. We are the ones who keep our medical appointments because we must. To miss that appointment is just unthinkable. We are the ones who stand, or wheel, or linger between each heartbeat, hoping for new medications or praying for a cure. Most of us pray every day. We cling to a merciful God whom we are certain will give us that next heartbeat.

Please do not feel pity, for we have learned to rejoice in each moment that we are alive. We memorize sunsets and sunrises, and we celebrate the smiles and nuances of the ones we love. We are captivated by life. We revel at each new bird that stops by to visit our feeders, even the starlings, the pigeons, the sparrows and the doves. In the mountains, we feel blessed to see the bluebird, the indigo bunting, the woodpecker, and the thrush. In the south near the ocean, we rejoice over the plumage of the flamingoes, with their hot pink wings, and we have committed to memory the piercing cries of the pelican and the gull. Flowers thrill us, no matter their scent, shade or hue. Nothing delights us more than the sight of spring’s promise bursting forth from its long winter’s rest, petals lifting their heads and reaching for the rain and sun.

We sometimes need assistance, and some of us are blessed to have family and friends who are willing to haul the potting soil, build raised beds, and make a wonderland of colorful blooms, just so that we can watch from our window and marvel at their beauty. We survivors of life look back occasionally at our healthy days, and often we regret the times that we wasted on worry, depression, anger, and fear. So, many of us have gone beyond fear, to a brave new world of hope.

We are thankful for every new medication that has not only extended our lives but has improved its quality. We would not be here, celebrating, without the miraculous drugs available today. We would not want to miss a single moment of our lives.

We have discovered that we can still grow and change. We have learned to love more and laugh more, and, frankly, life is worth it. How could it not be?!

Just this year, in spite of record-breaking winter lows that left me shivering, and now, into a cold and windy spring all the tiny twigs that I planted six years ago have thrived, and they are bursting into bloom. Through sunshine and shadow, they have triumphed over the clay and rock-strewn ground that I, laughingly, call soil.

I have many reasons to be thankful, and each day I like to number a few. Sometimes the list becomes so long that I just have to sit and marvel at a God who provides so many reasons for me to celebrate life. I have dreamed of writing stories, all my life, and reaching the hearts and minds of others throughout the world. This dream would not have been possible until a few years ago when the internet exploded into a place of instant communication and friendship.

I am thankful for the stories of my life that have been guided by a loving God who holds the outcome of every possibility in His hand. These connections through his grace have given feet to my thoughts and wings to my dreams.

by Jaye Lewis

Meditation: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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