Archive | November, 2013

Friday: Flesh and Blood Friendship From Chaplain Jim

30 Nov

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.
George Eliot
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My friend Army Chaplain Jim shared a heart-warming Thanksgiving story from his childhood. You never know when an selfless act of kindness might influence another human being for the rest of their life. It will make you think how you might be able change a life or perhaps how someone influenced yours.
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UNCLASSIFIED//NONE

David
One of my most memorable Thanksgivings was when I was in 5th grade on a rainy fall day in north Florida. My dad had disappeared– his binge-drinking alcoholism that he had hidden for I don’t know how many years, had in the months before Thanksgiving that year, become the guiding theme of my family’s life. The church had a community Thanksgiving dinner that day in its basement– probably because they knew the pastor’s family– my family– would be needing it with the pastor– my dad– disappeared, and God only knew where.

What was most memorable about that Thanksgiving was David, another 5th grader, who had quickly become my best friend in that town. He walked from his house to mine in the rain– probably about a mile or so– and the two of us walked together to the church through the rain with his new baby brother in the stroller he was pushing. That simple act of grace by another kid still brings tears to my eyes as I write about it 39 years later. David was enfleshing the presence and love of Christ for ME, in the midst of MY shattered world–not just for “somebody” who might need it, but for ME. That one incident of grace, of Jesus enfleshed for me in another kid, is one of the handfull of experiences in my life that immediately comes to mind when I think of what grace and what Thanksgiving is all about.

For all I know, maybe his parents put him up to it, I don’t know. He may not have even known how powerful his little walk in the rain was for me. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is a flesh and blood kid became the flesh and blood love of Jesus for me when I needed it most. David didn’t have any special training to be Jesus for me– other than having been brought up in the church by a loving, Christ-centered family.

I’m guessing the kids you have are flesh and blood kids too. I’m guessing they have friends too, and at any given time– even this Thanksgiving– some of those friends are as desperately in need of the flesh and blood love of Jesus as I was on that rainy Thanksgiving day. I’m guessing you have friends. Knowing just enough statistics to be dangerous, you can count on the fact that someone among YOUR friends and acquaintances is in need of the flesh and blood love of Jesus this Thanksgiving, just as much or more than I was 39 years ago this week.

A little paraphrase from an old show you probably don’t remember can be a reminder: “Who knows what suffering lurks in the hearts of men– Only the Spirit knows…”– But the Holy Spirit is also eager to use you and your kids– young and “untrained” as they may be– to be the flesh and blood love of Jesus today, this Thanksgiving, and each and every day. Are you willing and able to work miracles of grace with something as simple as a walk with a friend? Are your kids aware that, young as they are, they can make a difference for eternity in a friend’s life without even knowing it? Your welcome to share my story, or your own story this Thanksgiving, to remind them of God’s calling in THEIR lives too.

Thanks David– and keep being a blessing- Rev. Jim

Chaplain (Major) James R. Lewis
371st Sustainment Brigade
Brigade Chaplain
DSN: (318) 430-4106
NIPR: james.r.lewis1.mil@mail.mil
SIPR: james.r.lewis1@swa.army.smil.mil

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Theme Song Thursday: Thanksgiving Prayer

29 Nov

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”

― Henry David Thoreau
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Today is a day of thanks. I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. I am truly blessed. Miss Della and I shared a wonderful meal with our good friend Miss Eleanor over at Towne Creek Apartments. The food was delightful as was the company.

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And in keeping with the theme song tradition, here is a song by the iconic balladeer, Mr. Johnny Cash.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?autoplay=1&v=vz8zDEmQhfQ&desktop_uri=%252Fwatch%253Fv%253Dvz8zDEmQhfQ%2526autoplay%253D1

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom

28 Nov

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This is a time to be thankful for your many blessings. I have been blessed in many ways, but sometimes the world throws you a curve ball. Excuse the baseball reference. I’ve been trying to stay positive and cheery on the outside, but when darkness dims the day, it also darkens my spirit. I resolve to make tomorrow a positive only day. Today, I’m complaining, moaning, ranting, venting and sharing. Bring on the morning light.

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A good heart will prevail!

Temerarious Tuesday: Ten Thousand and Counting

27 Nov

Another new word for me and maybe for you too. Last night when I posted my Monday montage, I was just 4 hits away from 10,000 views. I know it’s not followers, but just the fact that something I’ve written was looked at that many times is just mind-boggling, or more appropriately, mind-bloggling. So, my temerarious attempt to share my words and thoughts with friends and strangers has become such a blessing. I appreciate everyone who stops by, but I especially love all the new friends I’ve made and interesting blogs I’ve found to follow. “Y’all rock!”
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tem·er·ar·i·ous\ˌte-mə-ˈrer-ē-əs\
adjective
: marked by temerity : rashly or presumptuously daring
tem·er·ar·i·ous·ly adverb
tem·er·ar·i·ous·ness noun
Examples
temerarious people rush in without forethought
Origin: Latin temerarius, from temere.
First use: 1532
Synonyms: audacious, brash, daredevil, madcap, overbold, overconfident, reckless, foolhardy
Antonyms: careful, cautious, circumspect, guarded, heedful, prudent, safe, wary
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Very exciting! Woo-double-hoo!

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Montage Monday: A Week in a Peek

26 Nov

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Kennedy, Camelot and candles in the wind sum up an interesting week. Faith, friends and fun gets me through each day. Alliteration is always helpful. A week in a peek.

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Sunday: Focus, Faith, and Friends

25 Nov

When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.
Joel Osteen
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Another wonderful Sunday. “It was a dark and dreary morning.” That’s just a writer’s joke, but it was cold and drizzly all day, but I woke up with a little pep in my step because I was looking forward to going to church, “praying for us sinners,” and having brunch with some friends at Snug on the Square.

I was mesmerized by the lovely young family sitting in front of me at 9 o’clock Mass. The couple had a tiny infant and a little boy, about three years old. The baby rested on daddy’s shoulder, while the boy sat or knelt quietly. The sense of faith, respect, and love was evident with every gesture. I think that’s what it’s all about; families raising their children in faith, teaching by example.

After mass, there was a bake sale in the vestibule. I do like to say, vestibule. I bought some yummy looking home-made pecan bars. (Sharing later.) I drove home, checked on a few things, then picked up my friend Karen T., heading off to Snug. We met Mercedes there and had a long and leisurely breakfast. Of course, we bumped into several friends.

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Karen, Mercedes and Moi.
After I dropped Karen off at home, well, I was two seconds away from Towne Creek Senior Apartments with yummy pecan bars in the back seat that needed to be shared. So, I stopped and visited with Miss Eleanor. We had a cup of jasmine tea and savored little bites of our treat. I usually don’t even touch sweets, but this was too tempting. I meant to stay only an hour, but it drifted into two-and-half. Miss Eleanor has a lot of great old stories. She was so delighted that I dropped by to visit on what would normally be a quiet, lonely Sunday.

I don’t purposely focus on trying to be a blessing, but rather, I enjoy spending time with people, sharing special moments. God has made sure that I have been blessed in abundance. Yes, I am truly blessed.

Saturday: Sharing Sites, Sage Words, and Stoup

24 Nov

Hope is that beautiful place between the way things were and the ways things are yet to be…
Ritu Ghatourey quotes
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Saturday has become a special day, sharing time with friends and/or strangers. Today, I snapped a few pictures while traipsing around the Square. It was a chilly, gloomy day, but when you are with friends and visiting your favorite places, it becomes a happy, special day.

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I enjoy researching quotes that relate to my day or how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I just enjoy sharing inspirational words of encouragement. Then there are times when I’m “ticked off,” and I want to scream and get something off my chest.(not today, thank goodness.) Here are a few sage words from Helen Keller:

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And now for the “stoup.” I thought I had invented the word, but noooooo! Rachel Ray uses it all the time. Friday, I made a big pot of beef vegetable stew/soup. It started out as stew, but I kept adding more vegetables and broth until it was a giant pot of stoup. I took it over to Towne creek to share with my senior artists and told them I made stoup. They thought it was pretty funny, not to mention delicious with fresh garlic bread. Life is much happier when you share!

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