Facts, Truth and Average People

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FACTS

Facts are observable, objective pieces of evidence.

If I find a piece of broken pottery I have a piece of something, but I don’t have the entire artifact nor a complete understanding of the artifact from whence it came. We could say that the complete artifact is a truth but the shard is a fact. If I find many pieces of shard and begin to put them together, I start to gain an understanding of what the artifact truly looks like. However, whether or not these pieces give me a complete picture of the truth is determined by the way I put them together. So, even with all of the “facts” in front of me, because of my limited knowledge of how they go together, I may still not have an understanding of the “truth.”

TRUTH

Truth can’t always be proven with facts.

Facts are objective evidences in front of you. Sometimes facts are circumstantial and therefore, cannot be absolutely true. Sometimes, truth lies in the unprovable areas between the facts, before the facts and behind the facts.

Truth exists with or without the presence and understanding of facts. In that way, truth supersedes facts.

The discovery of new facts can change our perception of truth, but it does not change the actual truth itself. Truth is true whether we comprehend it or not, whether we can prove it or not.

OPINIONS

Opinions, on the other hand, are neither truths nor facts, although they may or may not be based on both. Opinions are subjective preferences. “Ice cream tastes good,” is an opinion.

IN CONTEXT

It is a fact that there are billions of stars in the universe. We can look up and see that evidence right in front of us, but the truth as to how they got there is still not fully known. People have speculated, myths have been created, legends handed down, stories of their creation abound, some have researched facts (which change consistently as our ability to understand and observe them change) and discussed it for centuries, but the entire, detailed truth of the process is still based on the opinions of the storytellers, astronomers, religious leaders, etc.

Another example might be that it is a fact that all life dies, but the truth of what happens after that point has not yet been proven, although everybody has an opinion. If we could bring someone back from the dead and ask them they could tell us, and indeed, hundreds of such accounts have happened. Still, there are those who completely question the validity of their stories, because although they can prove that they died, they can’t prove that they actually went somewhere and saw something. I have an opinion about that.

My opinion is that we presently cannot accurately measure spiritual, eternal, energy with temporal, physical devices, so therefore the truth about what happened can’t be proven because it supersedes our ability to observe the facts and measure the evidence.

WHAT IS NORMAL?


Being normal is not the same thing as being average. Average is what most people are. Normal is what is healthy for them to be.


For example, the average American is overweight but that’s not normal.

Average people live life at a level of mediocrity, not wanting to stand out or rock the boat. They may sacrifice freedom for the sake of convenience and acceptance. They may not do anything “bad” with their lives. They just don’t do anything significant. They remain average.

They may go along with whatever authorities, celebrities, experts or those with political or social clout tell them because they had rather live in a state of totalitarian stupidity than do the normal thing, which is to question “why” they are being told to do things and to question the norms of society than to risk being ostracized, black-balled, ridiculed, etc. It is normal to want to be accepted and liked, but it is also normal to want to be free and to think for yourself, to choose your own preferences in life.

Every movement, every great invention, every great novel, every breakthrough in the arts or in spirituality has come through a person that was not average in their culture; they have come from those who buck the system, the disturbing elements of humanity.

It is indeed those who have bucked the system, the mediocrity of their day, that have made the greatest impact on the world, such as Jesus, Gandhi, Plato, Mother Teresa, William Wallace, Tecumseh, Crazy Horse, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Mary Shelley, Madame Curie, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller, Nathaniel Greene, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Clara Barton, Mary Breckinridge, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Jim Thorpe, Maria Tallchief, and the list goes on. Every one of these people went against the culturally accepted, even the politically correct norm of their day. They were all normal human beings, but none of them were just average. All of them were willing to give up personal comfort for internal convictions, not beliefs. Beliefs change as new facts arise, new pieces of shard, but internal convictions, eternal truths, do not change.

Normal people rise above average and change the world. Normal people expand the universe.

IN CONCLUSION

I may not have all the facts straight, but I do seek truth. It may not be the average thing to do, but it is normal. It is healthy, maybe not physically, because as Jesus, Joan of Arc and many others found out, it can get you killed, but I had rather die for my convictions of truth than live a lie of convenience. Jesus asked this question, “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his/her own soul?” It is normal to want to live a long, abundant, blessed and prosperous life, so long as we don’t have to give up our own identity, the I AM, inside of us to maintain it. We should never sell out who we are to become who someone else wants us to be. Yes, you can be blessed and live a good life, but there comes a moment when you have to put your spiritual pathway above your temporary physical comfort. I quote Tecumseh, an above average normal man who lived and died for his truth, regardless of the facts.

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

Tecumseh

Blessed are the Peacemakers

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“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” This phrase is taken from the famous Sermon on the Mount found in the book of Matthew of the New Testament.

WHAT’S A PEACEMAKER?

We often think of a peacemaker as someone who settles disputes, but in this context the word peace indicates something more. It comes from a Greek word, Eirene (i-rah-nay) which means to set at one again in quietness and rest (Strong’s Concordance). So, what was Jesus really saying? In John 14:27, he told his disciples that he gave them peace but not like the secular image of peace. He went on to say, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Sounds to me like he’s talking about inner peace.

INNER PEACE COMES FROM INSIDE—THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED “INNER” PEACE

According to the Tao Te Ching, “In order to maintain calm (peace), one has to feel oneself as an integral part of the Absolute. Then one does not develop false ego-centric desires.” In other words, The Absolute, the Almighty, is not an entity that exists outside of us but is an ever-present part of us. We can’t obtain what Paul calls “peace from God,” by keeping laws, following rules, buying things, controlling others, etc. We must recognize that only by believing that we are who God says we are (and it’s always good. People assign “badness” to us, not God. Our Creator loves us, believes in us, values us, and appreciates us.) There are those who are out of alignment with who they really are, who do horrible, ungodly things to others and to themselves, because they don’t know who and what they really are; the spirit within them seems dormant, but it’s there, just waiting to be awakened, to be born again.

STOP TRYING TO “FIX” EVERYTHING

I love what the great teacher, Wayne Dyer, said about peace and I believe he is onto something, “Peace is the result of retraining the mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” Or as the Apostle Paul said, “Be content with such things as you have.” (Hebrews 13:1)

I remember reading one time, “Two men looked out of prison bars. One saw mud. The other saw stars.” They were in the same situation, but one was at peace and hopeful while the other was depressed and in turmoil.

PEACE RELINQUISHES THE NEED FOR POWER AND CONTROL

Paul referred to God as the “God of peace.” God is love. Love casts out fear. Fear has torment so there is no peace in fear. All motivations ultimately come down to one of two motivations: Love or Fear. Greed comes from fear and greed, the love of power and the fear of not having it, is at the core of every inhumane act on the planet.

Therefore, any act done in fear or out of its off-spring, greed, is not an act of peace, not an act of love, therefore, it’s not an act of God, because remember God doesn’t have love. God IS love. (See I John).

Did you ever think that maybe if each person in the world found inner peace that there would also be outer peace? Outer turmoil is a sign of inner turmoil.

Again, I quote from the Tao Te Ching, “Being satisfied with little, you can gain much. Seeking much, you will go astray. The wise heed this percept. If it could only be so with all people! The wise trust not only their physical eyes, thus they can see clearly. The wise do not think that they alone are right, thus they know the truth. They do not seek glory, yet people respect them. They do not seek power, yet people follow them. They do not fight against anyone; thus no one can vanquish them. They do not feel pity for themselves; thus they can develop successfully. Only those who do not seek to be ahead of others are capable of living in harmony with everyone.”

DON’T STOP DANCING

Joseph Campbell, the great student of mythology and world religions, had studied many cultures and came to a conclusion that no matter where people were from, if they failed to be true to that inner guidance system, that voice inside them urging them to follow their “calling,” at some point they would feel regret from not doing it. I recall specifically, a story of a ballerina who gave up a promising career in dancing, because her husband was threatened by her success. She gave up her dancing, her passion, her gifting, her call in life. Many times in her life she lamented giving up the dancing, always telling her children how she once was an excellent ballerina. Years later, after the husband was long gone and her kids were grandparents, she was alone in a nursing home, in her nineties with dementia. She couldn’t remember anyone’s name but she remembered how to dance, so she would get up beside her bed, do ballet and bask in the applause of her imagined audience. She finally found her inner peace. The point of this story is two-fold, no matter how much we “love” someone, it is never required that you hide your light under a bushel to appease their insecurities. That will not bring you peace. We cannot forsake our life’s calling because someone else is afraid to follow theirs.

LET PEACE GUIDE YOUR STEPS

In Romans 14:19, Paul encouraged those who be “in the Way” to follow after the things which make for peace and in another place, he urged the believers in the Way to let the peace of God guide them, rule in their hearts. He encouraged them in Ephesians to have their “feet shod” with the preparation of the good news of peace. This peace which comes from I Am passes all mental acknowledgment and understanding. It’s a spirit thing.

There’s a Kink in my Garden Hose

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I sat down hours ago to write a blog post but nothing I wrote felt right to publish.

I often refer to writing as me being a garden hose through which water flows. Water is energy and I like to feel energy flowing through me as I freely type what comes out or follow impulses to look up references. But tonight there seems to be a kink in the hose.

I started writing several times, I’d get so far and then the water would get cut off. I’d scratch that false start and try again. I tried and tried to come up with something profound to say and now I have come this conclusion—I have nothing profound to say, because I’m trying too hard. I’ve been trying to write on a schedule. All the articles I read about being a good blogger say to do that. Problem is, my inner being doesn’t work on a schedule! I just have to write when the notion hits me and the inspiration is there.

So, consider this post a testament to the power of just being and allowing. When we’re not being and allowing, when we’re struggling to “make it happen,” we may squeeze something out, but it won’t sing and zing. It may be grammatically perfect, but it will be lacking—something. In the same way, I suppose life is like that, too. So long as we are struggling to make things happen, to force all the pieces into place, there is a form of resistance that we become unaware of and instead of allowing elements to come together in their own time, we start yanking on them and trying to force them into place. We take on worrying, fretting, and trying to figure out how to “make” things happen like we want them to, instead of focusing on the kind of person we want to “be,” and working on our internal selves. After all, we are not called human “doings.” We are called human “beings.” A passage from the book of Matthew just popped into my head, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you.” Yes, work on the inner person, get the inner being aligned with I Am’s path, and the outer stuff will all fall into place.

My best writing is done when I’m NOT trying, when I’m just letting words flow out of me, letting concepts be born. You can’t force a creation out before it’s ready. You’ll have a premature baby on your hands if you do, or worse, an intellectual miscarriage.

I am going to allow myself not to have something deep and profound to share. I’m going to allow myself to babble about garden hoses and word babies and how I love the comforting sound of a refrigerator motor and the songs of crickets outside my window and random Bible scriptures or movie quotes or whatevers (we all need some whatevers sometimes.) And maybe next time I sit down I will have some astounding insight.

Now that I look back on it, I realize that this felt good and maybe there is a nugget of yumminess in this post after all, or at least a drink of water.

BE MINDFUL OF NOW.

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(taken from my hand-written journal April 16, 2000)

Today I took a walk.

I went out into the field to my “sacred place.” I call it the Valley of the Crows, because they always gather there. It’s really just a dip in a neighbor’s field with a creek nearby and trees all around.

I sat on the grass then lay back, letting the sun kiss my face. I heard a fly buzz close by me. I heard a cardinal calling, “purdy, purdy, purdy.” Other birds flew about with different calls. I could hear the rustle of small things in the bushes and trees.

There is an old tree that overlooks my “valley.” I imagined that it was a guardian, maybe Moses, with the law in his arms, maybe a mother holding her baby, but then, finally, it took shape and I saw a brave, a warrior, ageless and fearless, immortalized in that oddly shaped tree, standing guard over the one time home of his people, standing guard over me.

At that moment there was only then, no past, no future, just the moment. I lost track of time, sitting, standing, and lying there between heaven and earth, listening to the sounds of birds, feeling the sun and the breezes, imagining trees were warrior spirits and communicating with a divine being that defies all our expectations and goes beyond all our understandings.

I didn’t have to be in control and it felt good. All I had to do is trust the Creator and enjoy the moment for all its beauty without comparing it to the past or even to the future. When we compare a moment to a past moment, we rob the present and cheapen our memories. No need to worry over tomorrow, either. I may not even be here and I will have wasted today thinking about tomorrow and miss both.

Today is today. Now is the present, the gift. Right now–that is where the treasure is to be found. Now, is when I feel the joy of things hoped for as if though they were here already. Now, is when I still my soul and give thanks for all that is good and right in my life. So, I think to myself, “Learn from the past. Don’t live there. Trust for tomorrow. Don’t live there, either. This moment is its own. See the beauty in it. There has never been another like it and there never will be another like it. Be fully in it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Love it. Be thankful for it.”

Oh, me,

awake with the morning

rise with the dawn.

Feel its warmth on your face.

As a butterfly

let the wind lift your wings

until your spirit soars

until it sings.

Remember, myself,

this day shall never be again.

When the sun sets

it is but a long gone friend.

IF WISHES WERE….

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If wishes were horses, I’d have a corral full! I wouldn’t have a place to put them unless I also wished for more land and barns.

You see, I have a limitless source which supplies, not only my every need, but pretty much whatever I want, just not always in the way that I expect. Sometimes, manifested wishes are packaged in a box I don’t recognize at first. Maybe it’s a plain box when I expected a fancy one or a blue one when I expected a pink one. Maybe the box is given to me while I’m really busy, in the middle of something. If I’m not careful, I may set that box on a basement shelf and not open it for a long time, then one day, I discover it on the obscure shelf, open it and exclaim, “Wow! This has been here all these years. Right under my nose and I didn’t even know it. I’ve been wishing for this for years!” It’s sort of like when you wear a jacket you haven’t worn in a long time, stick your hands in the pocket and find money that you forgot you put in there. It was always yours, but it wasn’t doing you any good. You couldn’t spend it, because you forgot you had it. That’s the way with wishes.

What is a wish?

The dictionaries all say various renditions of the same thing, that a wish is a desire for something you want to attain, or see come to pass. So, a wish is a what? A desire for something. A want for something. So, when we “wish” we are in essence, praying. Because the Greek word for pray means—ask. So, when you wish, what are you doing? You’re asking.  Wishes spring up out of us, spontaneously. They seem to come from the core of who we are.

So often we’ll wish for something and revel in the daydream of having that wish fulfilled then immediately all the reasons why that can never happen (doubt) assails us. Imagine a girl looking into a mirror, seeing her reflection, even smiling at it because she thinks to herself, “I’m pretty.” Then she goes to school, and someone tells her she is ugly. She immediately forgets how she saw herself as pretty that morning. She forgets the person she really is because she lets someone else’s reality (you’re ugly) dictate her own manifestation, so she walks away now believing she is ugly and living life from the premises of “I’m ugly. I need to make myself better. I need to fix myself.” That’s how wishes work. That’s how faith works. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

For example, we may have a moment when we wish for a better car, and for a second, we imagine riding in comfort. The daydream feels good to us, and the energy feels positive, but then “reality” swoops in and steals our good feeling, our daydream, our wish. The reality of what seemingly “is” robs us of the joy of what “could be.” Reality reminds us that we don’t have enough money to get a better car. So, we walk away believing that we cannot get a better car so that our “reality” of now becomes our reality of the future and we get more of the same, of what we already had. But what if we hold the good feeling that came with the car wish? What if instead of thinking of how we don’t have the money to get it we just continue to be thankful for the good car? That’s right. Feel as joyous as if though we already have the car, being thankful for the old car but continue to daydream about the new one. Don’t complain about the old one, because complaints are like doubts and they keep us rooted in lack and not enough and past failures. Complaints call reasons for further complaints to come into our lives. So, we continue dealing with cars that are “less than” what we really want or need.

Wishes ride on positive energy and if you don’t follow it with negative thoughts, telling yourself all the reasons it can never happen, then it will eventually manifest in your life, way or another. Worry is the opposite of wishing, because it’s kind of like a reverse wish, a dread of what might happen or that you might now get what you want or need.  

So often, I have made wishes, in passing then gone about my day, only to have the wish come true a little while later, surprising and delighting me. For example, I may have walked by a jacket in the store and thought, “I wish I had a jacket like that.” Then I would go on my way only to have someone give me the same type of jacket later in the week!  It was a little thing, and I had no follow up thoughts of “You’ll never afford that jacket.” I simply thought, “I would sure love to have a jacket like that.” Then went on about my business and forgot that I even wished for it! Now, if that works for a jacket, it will work for ANYTHING. I’m not the first person to think such a thing! If we have the I AM spirit, the Father, the Source, the Great Spirit, the Creator, within us, we can ask for (pray or wish) ANYTHING and because we have the same authority (access to the source of supply) as Jesus, it shall be given to us, done for us. (John 15 is only one of many places where this concept is addressed in the New Testament.)

Here’s the kicker. If this process works positively, it also works negatively.  So often things that are evil, out of align with I Am’s perfect plan for each of us, seem to flourish because we don’t realize that we can tap into a source that will halt these evil plans that others have laid for our lives. It’s not by negative thoughts and words that we do this. It’s not by giving in and complying. It’s not by accusations or anger or rendering hatred for hatred, unkindness for unkindness, lies for lies. No, it’s by holding our ground, keeping our joy, refusing to let the “what if’s” and the “but…but…buts…” infiltrate our spirits. It’s by feeling as if though the thing we wish for has already been granted regardless of what we see or experience in the present.

Kids know about wishes. They will randomly ask for things, without considering the conditions it would take to make their wishes come true. They only imagine the results of their wishes. A wish doesn’t have to make sense, be grounded, be logical, or be justifiable. A wish is like laughter, spontaneous and existing in and of itself.

All the riches of the spiritual universe are ours if we can view it like a child, without limits and if we can see I Am as a loving parent, who not only claims us (see previous blog posts for this reference) but WANTS us to have abundant, joyful lives. It’s in the spirit realm that all good things exist and are waiting for us to wish them into existence in this temporal, physical one.   

Wishing is spontaneous asking. Last week I talked about how prayer isn’t some big, long ritual that you do or some formula that you speak. It’s merely asking. Well, so is wishing. Therefore, when a wish joyfully emanates from your deepest self, and isn’t followed by all of the baggage of past failures or dread of future failures, then the possibilities are limitless.

PRAY TELL, WHAT’S YOUR STORY? Part 2.

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We are like sentient characters in a great book of life and just as in the allegory from the previous post, our Creator would very much like to communicate with us and intervene in our stories, and does so when we ask.

So, how do we purposely ask? Jesus told those whom he had chosen to spread the message he brought into the world the way to ask. Now-a-days, we call it prayer.

WHAT IS PRAYER ANYWAY? Simply put, most of the time when the word is used in the New Testament it simply means to ask, petition, or entreat. Sometime the word “pray” makes me think of books I’ve read or movies I’ve watched where people spoke an older version of English and said such things as, “I pray ye, Sir, canst thou spare me a penny?” In other words, “I’m asking, could you give me a penny?” Our modern word, pray, comes from an Old French term which comes from Latin, but the word used in the New Testament comes from Greek and while the English and French variations imply begging, the Greek means to ask and sometimes it means to worship which means to honor, adore, and appreciate. It is my understanding that praying means to ask with an appreciative, expectant attitude, not a begging attitude.  That means you don’t have to crawl up the steps of an elaborate church on your hands and knees, weeping, flogging yourself and begging God to have mercy on you, a dirty, rotten sinner. Prayer simply means to respectfully ask with appreciation and gratitude as if the answer is already given.

AND HERE’S MY personal view of the way Jesus taught his followers to ask for things.

OUR FATHER— The Greek word Jesus used here “pat-ayr” translates as “parent or father parent.” In Jewish tradition at that time the role of a father was to protect, to provide, and to love as is evidenced in stories such as the one where Joseph’s father lamented the perceived loss of his son so deeply that he never got over it. It was expected that a father not only claim his children but actively love them in words and in actions.

Notice that Jesus didn’t just say, “my Father.” He said OUR Father, OUR parent, OUR source, OUR provider.” Why is this such a big deal? Because Jesus wanted us to know that his father and OUR father are the same Father, so by his saying OUR, he let us each know that we can confidently say MY. So, OUR Creator, is also our parent, because like an author who could give life to his/her characters, Creator loves us, appreciates us, cherishes us and is truly a Father to us.

WHICH ART IN HEAVEN, The Greek word for Heaven here, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, is Ouranos which implies rising, above, a habitation, happiness, eternity—i.e., a higher plane or a place of eternal happiness. Old timers around here used to call it Glory. I remember an old song, “Just over in the Glory Land.” Heaven is as good a term as any, but we could say, “Our Father, you exist in a higher realm, outside the confinements of this “book of life,” and when the covers are closed, you still exist. You can intervene anywhere and at any point. There are no limitations in your reality.”

HALLOWED BE THY NAMEsacred, pure and blameless is your onoma (Greek), which means character, authority.  In other words, you (Father) are sacred, pure, blameless. There is no ill-will toward me, toward any of us. We are, I am, loved without measure and due to nothing I (nor anyone else) have or have not done.

THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

Let your kingdom come in me. Let your peace, which is incomprehensible to those who don’t believe you exist in a reality beyond all that we can imagine, guide my heart, my every step. I want to do things in the way that you say is best for me. I want your directions to be sovereign in my life. I want to walk the perfect pathway that you have laid out for me and trust that you know where all the pieces to my life’s puzzles go and that you know how to help me write the next chapter in my life story. I want to see my journey as you see it.  I want your help in writing my story, because you are the author and editor of all that I believe, and I know that you know what is best for me.

GIVE US OUR DAILY BREAD

There is no limit in the higher reality. There is no lack. There is only abundance in every area. Whatever I need, it’s already there. So, I petition you, “Give me what I need today,” and I thank you for it. My heart is full of excitement that you will do exceedingly, abundantly above all that I ask or think according to the power, the same power that created the universe, formed the world, that works within me. I will not worry over tomorrow because you are already there.

AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS

Debt implies owing. Somewhere Paul said that we owe no one anything except love. Forgiveness implies not holding a wrong done to you against someone. Jesus never said to pray to “Forgive and forget,” only forgive. So, I pray, “Overlook my faults and I overlook the faults of others.” And I also pray, “Let me see through spirit eyes and look at others the way you look at them.”

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

Help me not to get distracted from the right path.  Guide me away from things, people and circumstances that would divert me and keep me from the values that you have placed inside me: peace, joy, love, hope, faith, creativity, great relationships, kindness, gratefulness, appreciation, mercy, gentleness, health, satisfaction, and abundance in every area of my life. Keep my eyes focused on my purpose and my feet on the path that is right and best for my life. Help me to constantly be aware of the bigger picture.

BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

Set me free and steer me clear of everything in my life that brings degeneracy to me, that would hurt me, influence me to go in a direction that is not best for me, steals my wealth, hurts my family, works to stunt my spiritual growth, harms my physical body, emotional state, or mind, from anything that would hinder me, bring calamity upon me, grieve me, or divert me from the best path for my life. (Evil in this passage indicated illness, calamity, degeneracy—hurt: also, I Chronicles 4:10 Jabez prayed something very similar.)

FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM— AND THE POWER—AND THE GLORY—FOREVER—AMEN,

Your way is the best way, the only true way, and the only enduring way. Your reality is the only one that is reality to me, and all that is, exits because of your will, your intent, your imagination, your purpose. Let me have joy in this world and in the world to come. I thank you for eternity. Let these all these things come to be.

PRAY TELL, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

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Part 1

I am an author and as such, I view life through the eyes of a creator, a creator of realities, plots, and characters. What you are about to read is an understanding so big that it is difficult to even put it into words, and although I got a glimpse of it years ago, it wasn’t until I sat down to write this blog post that it became so profound as to expand my understanding beyond anything I have previously known.

WHY DO WE LOVE STORIES?

THE ADVENTURES OF…the mystery of….the tales of….You name it and there is a story about it. So, why do we love stories? Why do we create stories? It’s because we love adventure. We love discovery. We love excitement (albeit, all of us love it on different levels). We love to dream and to imagine, to wonder. That’s why we’re drawn to what we don’t know, what we haven’t experienced. Imagine that you came into life already knowing the entire storyline and there was nothing for you to discover or wonder about or uncover. What if there were no adventures or mysteries? Nothing would excite you because you’d already know everything. It’d be like living in a rerun. Helen Keller once said that life is a grand adventure or nothing at all. She was blind and deaf, yet she could hear and see on a level that many never reach. So, the joy of writing a story is in watching the characters evolve, discover, and explore. What if these characters were more than figments of the author’s imagination? What if they were sentient? What if I could give them life and the ability to make their own choices and to write their own stories? Now THAT would be interesting!

ME: THE OMNIPOTENT AUTHOR

If the characters in one of my novels could talk to you, they would speak only from the perspective of their world, which is held within the confines of the manuscript that I, the omnipotent creator of their reality, have written for them. They would have no idea that they are simply extensions of my imagination, unless of course, I gave them the ability to know me and the freedom to choose whether to trust my judgement as to how to best complete their stories.  

If I could give sentience to my characters, I would love them as if they were my children and there would be nothing I wouldn’t do to help them love their own stories, to enjoy their grand adventure through their book of life. So, why would I do this? For my good pleasure or well, just because I wanted to create something THAT amazing. But what would be the best way to make them aware of my existence and give them the chance to interact with me?

A UNIQUE CHARACTER

I could just create them with complete understanding and knowledge, but then they would miss out on the experience of knowing what it is like to begin a story as flat characters and then to become aware of the fact that they are more than just computer bites or ink on paper, or figments in a dream, lifeless with no control over what happens to them. They would miss out on the experience of “waking up” and realizing that they are literally sent into the story to play there and discover much like children are when going to a new playground. They would miss out on the discovery of learning that they are co-creators with me and that I am giving them whatever they ask for in their stories. They would miss out on knowing the joy that comes with “waking up,” and discovering who they really are.

I could drop hints that might help them wake up. Maybe, throughout the unfolding of the plot, especially in the early chapters, I would interject myself into the story so that some of the characters got glimpses of me. These characters might try to tell the others what they had seen and heard and understood, but they’d be limited to the language of the story. So, the things they said would often be misunderstood. Of course, some of them would form crazy ideas about me, based on a partial picture, because after all, they are sentient. They might make up all kinds of rules about who gets to receive their special knowledge and the rules might become more important than the adventure of the story itself. They might spend their entire time in the story, making up rules and trying to tell other people how the story is supposed to unfold. Some of them would try to force the other characters to act the way they wanted them to, threaten, guilt, manipulate and control them into doing so. They could even take to writing each other out of the plot (killing one another off). I could intervene, but that takes away the free will that I already chose to give them.

ONE OF THEIR OWN

I suppose the best way to communicate who I really am and that I really want to see them create and have fun doing it would be to write a unique and special kind of character, a representative of myself! My special character, because he or she knows exactly who I am and what I really want would do things that defied the laws that other characters had written into the book, because those laws were written with limited understanding.

This character to whom I would give complete knowledge and memory of being with me and a part of me before coming into the world of the story would be a creation the same as all the others and would live in the same confinements of the book. However, this character would understand that he or she and all the other characters existed outside the book within me before they came into the story. This character would know that they came into existence because I wanted to create them and give them life and let them experience the joy of waking up. Even more than that, he or she would know that I not only wanted to give them life, but the ability to choose what kind of life they would live.

THE AUTHOR WANTS TO HELP THE CHARACTERS

OF COURSE, the role of this character would be to tell the others about me and how I was gifting each of them with the power to create their own stories. If they choose to create with their limited understanding of what is true by refusing to believe that I exist and thinking that what’s in the book is all that there is; then they are on their own, and their stories might not be what they really want, because they can’t see what’s up ahead and how all the pieces of the plot fit together, but if they ask me for guidance, I will intervene and steer them away from consequences that they want to avoid. I will gladly use my literary expertise and help them write a fantastic life story.

I would have my special character share the message with a few of them and then I’d take him or her out of the book, because they will spread the message in the following chapters. And if they understood what I was telling them through my special character, they would discover that they, too, were extensions of me and that I had given them the ability, the power, to change the plot of their stories and shape them in ways that they really wanted. Once awakened to what they are truly capable of, they would be so happy and joyful in the discovery that they would want to share it with others. There would be some, of course, who weren’t awake but were astonished by those who were, so they would make up more rules and laws and ways of doing things to teach others how to be aware.  

THE ILLUSION OF DEATH AND CONTROL

THIS SPECIAL CHARACTER coming into the story with full knowledge would already know how the story was going to play out. He or she might know that many wouldn’t believe the message that I was giving them the power to create themselves. They might be so bent on staying within the confines of the book that they create all kinds of havoc, even to the point of killing off the special character that I sent into the story, but me, being the omnipotent author, could resurrect that special character and re-insert him or her into the story with not only the message that I exist but proof that I can do anything, because in relation to their reality, I have no limits. I would want them to understand through this that “death” is an illusion. It is not an ending. It is only an exit from the story. Death is the beginning of a new kind of existence, one with limitless understanding and because there is limitless understanding, there is no sadness, no fear, no hate. So if one of my characters were to ask me for assistance, no matter how jumbled their story has become, no matter how out of alignment with what they really want for themselves it has gotten, no matter how much of it they’ve let other characters write, if they ask me to help them straighten it out, I will gladly intervene, and it would be so much fun for me to talk to my characters and have them talk to me. What could be more delightful to a creator than to have a living creation to whom you have given sentience, communicate and co-create with you?! The only thing that could even come close to that feeling on earth is doing things with your kids and seeing delight and discovery on their faces. In that way, I, the original creator of the story, would be a parent to all my characters and I would be their source and the answer to every dilemma they might encounter, but I would honor the free-will that I had given them and not force them to do anything. However, if they ask me to help them write the plot, because I see the whole book from cover to cover and I know the best course of action for them, then yes, I will rework the plot on their behalf and work things out for them.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

Life is a Jigsaw Puzzle

Original photo by Darlene Franklin-Campbell, 2021

When I was a kid, my mom and I spent hours putting together jigsaw puzzles. I got pretty good at it. This week I put a puzzle together and as I did, I had a Forrest Gump’s Momma kind of moment, but instead of thinking that life is like a box of chocolates, I thought, “Life is like a jigsaw puzzle.”

WE PUT IT TOGETHER WITHOUT A BOX LID TO GUIDE US

Except we don’t get to look at the picture on the the box, because we left it somewhere. And we can’t remember where. We are aware that it had an image on it, but we can’t remember exactly what it looked like. The nuances escape us. We may have some idea that it was a garden or a yellow cat or whatever, but we don’t have the exact image to go by, just some vague memory.

So, we look at the pieces in front of us and try to fit them together. Sometimes, the colors, shapes and patterns match up perfectly and sometimes, they don’t. Often, we’re like nine-year-old children, trying to cram pieces together that don’t really go together and then we get mad because our picture isn’t unfolding in a way that makes sense to us.

It’s not impossible to put the puzzle together without the complete picture to guide us. I have done that a time or two. It just takes quite a bit of slowing down the mind and allowing intuition to come into play, paying attention to those subtle variations in colors, sizes, patterns, and shapes of the pieces. I mean you must analyze every piece in relation to the last piece you put down and the surrounding pieces. When we do this, without trying to force the pieces together to create the immediate results that we want, we soon see a true picture unfolding and each time we fit one piece with another that naturally goes with it, we feel a small sense of exhilaration and triumph.

WE HAVE AMNESIA AND LEFT IT SOMEWHERE.

We sort of come into this world with spiritual amnesia and the older we get, the longer we go without a view of the “box lid,” the less we remember. We start listening to other people tell us how we’re supposed to be and what the picture of our lives are supposed to look like. We start trying to fit the pieces into place according to what others say, but here’s the thing. They lost their box lids, too, and most don’t even know what their own puzzles are supposed to look like, let alone yours! So, they try to tell you how to put your puzzle together based on what they think theirs are maybe, possibly, supposed to be. It doesn’t work. It leads to frustration and to anger. Some people get so mad that you’re not putting your puzzle together like they think it ought to be that they try to force you, even hurt you. Some go so far in their need to control as to destroy another person’s puzzle. They may try to control you, trick you, manipulate you, intimidate you, threaten you—all because it unnerves them that they might not actually be the master puzzle solvers they have believed themselves to be. They might get so fearful that somehow it is going to hurt them if they allow you to put your own puzzle together. They might also get afraid someone else is going to damage their puzzles or steal their pieces, so they set up a guard and vehemently guard their puzzles, not allowing anyone in who doesn’t follow their prescribed rules for solving puzzles. Others scream at you and tell you how bad you are because your picture isn’t looking like the way they think it’s supposed to look.

Sometimes, we feel horrible about ourselves, and we think that somehow, we’re just not good at putting our puzzles together and that there is something wrong with our brains or our hearts or that we are just not “good people.” We walk around feeling guilty and unworthy because we aren’t putting our puzzles together to please others, or we compared our puzzles to theirs and ours looks smaller or duller or more jumbled. We go to the puzzle “experts”, and they tell us how to put our puzzles together. But guess what? They don’t have the box lid to our puzzles either!

So, what do we do?

WE CALL THE PUZZLE-MAKER

Imagine that you know that the original creator of your puzzle and that this creator knows exactly where each piece goes. This puzzle-maker comes and whispers in your ear as you put your puzzle together and tells you which piece to pick up and how to turn it and points to the exact place where it goes. There is no stress on you. Your struggle ceases. The only way you can go back to feeling stressed, guilty, fearful, chaotic, etc. is to resist the help being offered to you, if you ignore the puzzle-maker’s instructions.

I will interject here that sometimes well-meaning people will come along and point out to you that you are in error, because the instructions you’re receiving from the puzzle-maker aren’t the same as what they think is right, so they want to remind you that there’s something wrong with your hearing and they offer their services to translate for you and tell you that you should follow their instructions as they are clearly more qualified to talk to Puzzle-Maker than you, but they’re not, because Puzzle-Maker talks to them about their puzzles and to you about yours.

So, if we trust the puzzle-maker and stop listening to everyone else, we find that we are not only putting our puzzle together almost effortlessly, without relentlessly struggling to jam together pieces that don’t belong together, we’re also having a wonderful time trusting and getting to know the puzzle-maker.

Each person’s life is a unique puzzle that is only finished when we leave our earth bodies. It doesn’t matter if anyone else in the world can see that our picture is unfolding as it should or if they can see the complete picture when we’re done. It’s not their job to see it. It’s not even ours. It’s simply our job to put our puzzle together and we can either do it without guidance, guessing our way through or we can listen to the soft guiding voice of the puzzle-maker.

TRUST THAT THE PIECES WILL COME TOGETHER

I believe that everything in my life is working out for my good, for my highest benefit, so long as I don’t get impatient and try to force the pieces together before the Puzzle-Master tells me where to put them. People can say whatever they want, do whatever they want but as for me, I will follow my internal spiritual guidance system. I paraphrase what King David of Israel once said of his puzzle-maker, “What you say, your word, is a lamp that lights my path.”  There are times when I don’t know exactly what I should wish for or ask for or which way to go, but if I wait, the answer comes. The indwelling I Am in me helps me with this weakness, asking for things so wonderful and deep that my natural mind hasn’t caught up just yet and it’s not even possible for me to speak or write those deepest desires with ordinary speech. Still, they are there and if I only follow the gentle guiding of my puzzle-maker, the whole picture unfolds, a piece at a time.

So, each of us has our own life path to walk, our own puzzle to complete. The puzzle-maker is constantly whispering to us “This piece goes here,” or “no, not there. Not yet.” It’s up to us to choose whether to listen and trust enough to follow the puzzle-maker’s guidance or not. There is never any force involved. If there is force, it’s not the puzzle-maker doing the forcing, it’s another person without a box lid, another person who can’t see the big, eternal picture. If we listen to those Spirit whispers and obey them, our life-puzzles go together so much easier.

As for me, I will live my life trusting the puzzle-maker to guide me in putting every piece into its proper place. If that brings people into my life, great. If that causes some people to walk out, it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them, or love them, it just means that my highest call is not to complete their puzzles, it’s to complete mine.

WHAT’S IN THE NAME OF GOD?

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My legal name is Darlene Campbell, but I have a tribal name, too. I have a sacred name that is known only to Creator. I have family nicknames and other nicknames from differing friends. I have a pen name. I have several forum names for various online interactions. I am sometimes called “Teacher” by my students or even “Ma’am” or “Miss” by people who don’t know me well, but so long as I know someone is talking to “me” I answer. The essence of who I am doesn’t change based on the title someone uses to identify me. I am always—me. Sometimes, I’m given titles by people based on a perceived image of me, whether accurate or inaccurate, it is their perception of me and doesn’t really change who I actually am, because I am more than any one title that is used to describe me. Just as being called different names by different people doesn’t change the essential essence of who we are, giving God many names does not alter the Creator’s character or essence. That is consistent and enduring.

Father. Daddy.

We often read and see the Bible through Euro-centric lens that has been colored for centuries by interpretations from various religious groups and denominations, stemming from European cultures dating all the way back to the birth of the Catholic Church, but the truth is that the Old Testament was written by Hebrews coming from an ancient Jewish culture, worldview and understanding. The New Testament was also written in the context of Jewish culture, albeit, under Roman laws.

According to Rabbi Laze Gurkow in his article, The Jewish Father, in ancient Israel, census records recorded who the father was in Jewish families. It was usually obvious who the mother was. She was the one who carried the child in her body for nine months, but the father wasn’t so obvious, in the days of Moses, the women in the Egyptian culture tended to be more promiscuous than Hebrew women (just check out the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. She was NOT an exemption to her culture.) so the Hebrew fathers legally claimed their children so that the children could receive their inheritances or birthrights.

The Hebrew father’s role was to protect and provide. The Jewish father was a source of provision and protection for his family. If he didn’t provide for his family, he was not a good father, not a good source. It doesn’t matter who agrees or disagrees with that distinction now. It was simply the culture in which they lived, so the Bible (for the most part) was written by Hebrews, coming from a Hebrew culture, which was patriarchal, and it was written through life viewed through a Hebrew lens, but eternal truths remain the same, regardless of the culture by which they are framed.  So, God was called “Father” because God is the source of all provisions.   

In the New Testament, still coming from a Hebrew mindset but written in Greek, both Paul and Jesus refer to God as Abba, which basically means—a personal, loving provider or as we might say in modern American English—Daddy or Papa. It implies not only provision and protection but compassion and affection.

MOTHER. NUTURER.

The phrase “El Shaddai” is used sometimes in the Old Testament. El is a generic word for “god” just any god. But when put with Shaddai (which literally means breasts) it denotes a sense of nurture, loving kindness, and the source of all life. It denotes a mother-relationship, an abiding, Momma Bear kind of love. Some people translate this as Almighty One again, but in various forms of El that are used to describe Creator, we see a kind, loving, nurturing nature that runs after us with a love that will, as Michael W. Smith sings, kick down walls, tear down lies and go to any lengths to come to our aid.  El Shaddi is for us and not against us. The term denotes a love that endures all things, bears all things, is not ego-inflated, but looks out for our best interests, a love that wants us to become all we are meant to be just as a good mother will do anything to protect her children. It denotes a “giver and guardian.”

THE FATHER.

Sometimes the words “The Father” are used in the Bible because it is referring to God as the originator of all things in the same way that we might say, “George Washington is the Father of America.” Well, of course he’s not. He did not literally sire, provide for and protect every person ever born or adopted as an American citizen, but we associate him with the origin of the country.

GOD.

The term “God” as we say it today in English comes from a number of Germanic languages of Europe and was used long before Christianity was introduced. It was used by ancient Germanic peoples (including the Norse who also used the term The All Father) to denote any number of deities or energies or spirts that presided over certain aspects of their lives. It wasn’t until Christianity spread throughout Europe that the god became the one God, denoting supremacy over other gods.

I AM.

Until Judaism left Israel and became a dominant belief system in their known world, the Hebrews used the terms Yahweh (YHWH)The vowels were added by the Masoretes between the 6th and 10th centuries A.D.  And it was the Masoretes who translated Yaweh as Jehovah or sometimes Iehovah because the Latin they used did not have a “Y” in it, so they substituted. YHWH meant “CREATOR.” Or “I Am,” sometimes translated as the Eternal One or All-Sufficient One or Self-Existent (hmmm…that’s I Am, again!) In Exodus 3: 14 when Moses asked who he should tell the people had sent him back to Egypt, the voice from the burning bush answered that he should tell them, “I AM THAT I AM” has sent you. Some versions of the story translate this as “I AM WHO I AM.” But the connotations are: Whatever you need—I AM. I Am is the source of all we need.  

Other words would be added to Yaweh (or Jehovah) to emphasize that there is no limit to the Eternal Source of Existence, the Creator of all.  Take a look at a few of these.

Yahweh Yireh—I Am— Your Provider

Yahhweh Rapha—I Am—Your Healer

Yahweh Nissa—I Am—Your Banner (only used once in the Old Testament to signify a flag carried into battle which identified the warriors. So, it could be used as I Am your Identity or Defense.)

Yahweh Tsidkenu—I Am—Your Righteousness

I AM reminds me that all we need is already within us if we just relax into I AM and trust I AM then WE ARE whatever we need to be and WE HAVE whatever we need to have and WE CAN do whatever needs to be done because there IS NO LIMIT to the supply, the abundance or the power that is working in us and through us. The same spirit (energy from I AM) that parted the Red Sea lives in us. The same power (energy) that raised the dead and healed the sick, lives in us. All that we need to bring into the physical realm, all abundance, and peace, and joy, and strength, and understanding—already exists in the non-physical realm. I call it the Spirit World. Some people call it Kingdom of Heaven. Some call it Glory. Whatever term you prefer, it is that place of abundant existence were the laws of spirit supersede the laws of the physical universe. It’s the place outside this bubble of time-space reality, this temporal zone. It’s Eternal Existence and it’s where we abide once we exit our bodies, make our transitions from physical to pure spirit, where there are no tears because we know as we are known and understand all things.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, After the Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE), and especially from the 3rd century BCE on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal rather than merely a local religion, the more common Hebrew noun Elohim (plural in form but understood in the singular), meaning “God,” tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (“My Lord”), which was translated as Kyrios (“Lord”) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures.”

Elohim basically translates as Creator. It is often used in other forms to show aspects of Creator’s ability to meet every need in our lives. According to the Hebrew incarnations of Elohim, Creator, is our healer, our provider, our source, our strength, our nurturer, and everything else we need.

NO MATTER THE NAME.

Regardless of what title you choose to give God—the character of the YeHOvah/Yahweh/Elohim never changes; the Spirit remains the same. If I, a being with partial spiritual amnesia in a limited physical body with limited understanding, can figure out who you’re talking to, regardless of which title you use when you talk to me, surely the Great Spirit and Creator of the universe can do so even better. If you know God, then you know God, no matter what name you use, because you know the heart and character. “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD (YeHOvah–I AM) who formed it and established it, the LORD is his name. Call to Me, and I will answer and show you great and mighty things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3 NKJV)

*the word used here translates from YAHWEH, YeHOvah, the Self-Existing (I Am), Eternal. (see blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h3068/kjv/wlc/0-1/)

https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/896251/jewish/The-Jewish-Father.htm

https://www.etymonline.com/word/god

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Yahweh

https://www.scripturalgrace.com/post/yahweh-yireh-the-lord-will-provide-biblical-meaning-praying-the-names-of-god

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html

It’s Not Out There

“NOBODY GETS ME,” I told myself that for years. I looked for a true friend, a real kindred spirit. Finally, I get it. It’s not anyone else’s job to “get me.” It’s mine. Their job is to get themselves!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The Apostle Paul once said that he had learned to be content whether he found himself in circumstances of plenty or in circumstances of scarcity. The New Testament was originally written in Greek and the word used here was autarkhj; according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance it meant, “Sufficient for oneself, strong enough or processing enough to need no aid or support
independent of external circumstances contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest.”
And one of the English definitions for content is blissful happiness or a perpetual state of joy. So, what Paul was saying is that he had learned to be happy–independent of the circumstances around him. He had learned a secret. Happiness, true happiness, is not dictated by anything outside us.

IF IT’S NOT out there then where is it?

You may say, “But if he knew what I had to put up with” or if “if he knew what I was going through” he wouldn’t be so quick to say that. Here’s the thing. Nobody else ever has gone through exactly what you are going through because you are the only you that has faced your unique life with it’s unique attributes. Each of us have our own path to walk. Nobody can walk it for us. One thing I realized when my dad died and I was with him as he came to the time to make his transition into pure spirit was that no matter how much handholding I did, no matter how many times I told him that I loved him, when it was all said and done, he had to make that final step by himself. It was his life and his crossing, not mine. We all begin our temporal journeys as individuals, and we all end them as individuals. Yet, somewhere along the way, we begin to think that happiness lies somewhere outside of ourselves. We start to look for someone or something else to “fix” the things that we don’t like about our lives.

Some people look for fulfillment in the things they can acquire, in fame, in success, in popularity, in money, in appearance, in social media friends, in relationships and likes and shares. Yet, it’s not there and they are left feeling there is something “missing,” something “more.” And there is, but it’s not in the places they’re looking. Like that old song says, they are “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

THE ONLY PLACE true happiness is found is in alignment with the Almighty Source of the Universe. When you line up with the plan meant especially for you, then you find inner peace, fulfillment, purpose; that is happiness. You realize that you can be happy with or without others and that what really makes you happy is doing what brings you peace in your heart. You have to get in touch with who you are inside, your spirit. And your spirit is connected to the Great Spirit, the Almighty Source of life. You discover that you don’t need as much validation and you’re not moved as much by criticism as you once were. Suddenly, you feel you have nothing to prove to anyone, no need to struggle.

WHEN YOU ARE in line with God, you don’t need others to perform or behave a certain way. You get that their journeys are different than yours and that your walk is your walk and you have no need to control them or make them behave the way you want them to. You learn to let God take care of them. You gain peace in your heart that comes from walking your personal God-given path.

If there is a personal struggle involved in the path you are walking, and you constantly feel an internal tug-of-war, there is resistance involved, which means you and God are in disagreement about the way you’re going, about the path you’re choosing. As long as you have internal resistance, you won’t have peace.

“NOBODY GETS ME,” I told myself that for years. I looked for a true friend, a real kindred spirit. Finally, I get it. It’s not anyone else’s job to “get me.” It’s mine. Their job is to get themselves!

Happiness is not “out there” somewhere. Peace is not out there somewhere. It’s not dependent upon the right circumstances. My attitude has the power to change my circumstances. Nothing else does. I don’t need to wait for the perfect conditions to be the person I’m meant to be.

Just before I started writing this blog post, an ad popped up on my FaceBook page with a handsome man’s face, promising to help me find my “special someone.” But guess what? My special someone is the spirit within. No one else can complete me. I’m not half a person. I’m a whole person already.

When you cultivate a relationship with Almighty Source and are spirit-led, you don’t need to be with someone else to feel complete. You are happy with others and you’re happy alone. If you have an attitude of gratitude everyday and refuse to let the fear that the news media and the negativity of drama drag you down, if you wake up each day and say a prayer of thankfulness and allow yourself to find joy in your daydreams whether they are logically possible or not, then I promise you, you will begin to see “good” in your world and things will change. One of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes is, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

NO ONE CAN ever see life through anyone else’s eyes. If we try to force others to see life through our eyes, we are just wasting our time. We become cynical, judgmental and bitter. However, we live with gratitude, appreciation, joy, and love, then others will see our light and maybe, they will realize they are light, too, and they will begin to shine.

It’s not our job to go around judging another’s perception of life. It’s our job to live ours. It’s not our job to judge. Jesus said that if we judge, we bring judgement on ourselves. Who am I to tell you how to live your life? That’s between you and God. Only YOU know what brings peace and alignment in your life. I’m only responsible to travel my own journey.

I finally understand what unconditional love really is. It doesn’t mean to look at a horrible condition and love the horrible condition, but it means to walk a life that is in line with God’s perfect plan for you. That’s where happiness is found. That’s where peace is at.

Finally, when you decide to listen to the still, small voice within you, to examine your own heart and learn to identify those things that bring you out of alignment with God, out of peace, those things that cause you inner conflict, guilt, confusion and turmoil. When you learn to withdraw from those things if necessary, then you are walking in unconditional love because you aren’t being guided by religious rules, by someone else’s prescription for your life or by the standards of the world’s idea of success but you are truly being spirit-led and that is where happiness is found.

SO STOP TRYING to make things happen, stop the struggle. Make your requests known to God then feel happy and confident that they are as good as done and listen to your inner guidance system which is the peace of God. Let inner peace be your navigator through life. If you’re having to look over your shoulder all the time, if you have knots in your stomach on a daily basis, if you’re constantly sighing and feel a sense of dread, even about things you like, then maybe it’s time to examine what you’re doing that is throwing your inner peace out of whack.

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Hope.

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Darlene Franklin-Campbell, August 31, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that it’s only in the darkness that we can see the stars. So, the darker the night, the more obvious a star. A literal translation of that for those not so metaphorically inclined is that it’s only in a troubled time, a dire situation, the face of discouragement, that we really notice hope. If all things are going smoothly then we don’t have to exercise hope so much. But hope is that which breaks through our darkness. As Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Once I went to Mammoth Cave. The tour guide turned out the lights. The darkness was the darkest dark I had ever seen. Then she turned on her flashlight and everywhere that single light source touched was lit. No matter how dark a place is, just one small light, so long as it shines, makes a difference in whether you walk with sure footing or you fall into a crevice. Never underestimate the power of a light, no matter how small it may seem.

Over the past two years, we’ve been bombarded with images of darkness (metaphorically speaking). The news has been filled with disease, plagues, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, war, threats of more wars, possibly biological warfare (I know the jury is still out on that one) riots, political unrest, upheaval in every realm imaginable; mayhem, death, destruction, despair and discouragement, but but whenever I go out at night, the first thing I notice is the stars, the light. If it is raining or cloudy, then I notice every porch light or every glimmer of the moon that lightens the clouds. Light is energy and it always finds a way to get through, even if it’s just through cracks or around the edges of a shade. One sliver of light drives away the darkest dark. So, I’d like to focus on a few slivers of light, of hope.

Hope is free. It is no respecter of persons. Hope doesn’t care where you come from or what shade of fleshly vehicle you’re driving through your life on earth. Hope is an equal opportunity encourager. Hope is not bound to geographic regions, not stopped by prison walls, not squelched by floods or burned away by fires. Hope is not buried in landslides. Hope, the earnest expectation of what is to come, is unstoppable so long as we refuse to let go of it. Even in death, if we leave this world in hope, refusing to let go of it, we leave a light for others. I believe we are eternal, spiritual beings. You can’t kill a spirit. You can’t kill an eternal being. You can only destroy the body that houses it. Hope is the flower pushing its way up through a crack in life’s sidewalk.

We can each be a source of hope to others and since in the Laws of the Spiritual Universe, we are all connected, each time we offer hope to others, we receive it back to ourselves as well.

How can we be a source of hope? Here’s a few examples:

*A man on my street just mowed his sick neighbor’s yard–no charge.

He didn’t ask what political party the neighbor belonged to or whether or not he was vaccinated. He was a source of hope, not judgement.

*A woman just bought groceries and dropped them off at a sick person’s house.

She didn’t say, “Pay me back for my trouble.” She was a source of hope, not racking up an account on a covert contract.

A nurse in a COVID unit just helped a patient charge his Ipad so he could FaceTime his family.

Even though it wasn’t the reason she was in his room. She went above and beyond her pay. Her kindness was a ray of sunshine, a beam of hope.

A man walking his dog past an emergency room door, stopped to cheer up a woman whose husband was inside with a possible pulmonary ambulism. She waited outside, not allowed in the hospital and uninformed of her husband’s condition.

He didn’t care that she was from a different cultural background. He was an example of human kindness, a ray of hope.

A boss just gave an employee extra time off because her father was ill and she wanted to be with him.

She didn’t complain about someone else having to work extra hours. She showed compassion and empathy, a ray of hope.

A lady in the checkout line just told the boy behind the counter that she appreciated his work ethic and thanked him for showing up to do a job that keeps the country running.

She didn’t complain about having to wait a little longer in line than she usually likes to wait. She offered encouragement, another ray of hope.

A lady in North Carolina just said a prayer for a young man from her hometown who is being flown to Afghanistan.

It didn’t matter that he isn’t her own son. She showed compassion–hope.

A church group of volunteers just set up a free food day in their parking lot to help feed their community.

They didn’t ask for proof of citizenship, vaccination or income. They just fed people and offered them hope.

A young Black girl just celebrated her 13th birthday with her White mother and grandmother, Black grandmother and boyfriend and White cousins who are like brothers to her.

Nobody even mentioned skin tones. They just laughed and loved and played together because they’re family and they all gave her words of a hopeful future, many birthdays to come.

A teacher just spend half the summer setting up her classroom for the students that are coming back. She prayed over every chair and the child that would sit in each seat. She planned her bulletin boards and hung posters and curtains and prepared record books and on and on and on…even ordered hermit crabs and fish, because she loves her kids and wants them to have the best experience possible at school.

She was only given $200 in funding to prepare her classroom. She spent $500.00 and school hasn’t even started. So, most of it came from her own purse. She can only get tax credit on $200 out of pocket expense. She will spend a lot more before the year is out. But she does it in hope that her kids will learn and know that they are loved. For some kids, a teacher is the only rare of love and hope they see.

The good is all around us. The light is shining. Perhaps today you can think of someone who has given you hope or some sign of hope that came to you when all seemed to be sinking around you. And maybe, you are also a ray of hope to someone else. We need each other. The darkness would have us divided over issues and policies, but hope reminds us that we are all great spiritual beings and this life on earth is better if we see each other that way. Not one of us can actually see what’s inside another person’s heart and not one of us knows what miracles a single act of kindness can set in motion because that act has restored hope or perhaps awakened it for the first time in someone’s life.

……………………

Lesson from a Chandelier

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Think of this.

If I clean my chandelier because my aunt is coming and I’m afraid she’ll criticize my housekeeping, or say something like, “I don’t know why I even gave you that chandelier. You never clean it. You don’t appreciate the things I give you,” then why am I cleaning it?

Yes.

Fear of guilt.

Fear of criticism.

Either way, it’s still fear.

If I’m doing it out of fear of being criticized and/or guilted, I become prone to being critical of her criticisms and guilting. I become hyper aware of the criticisms and therefore the thing I fear becomes reality.

If I clean the chandelier because my friends are coming over, and I am seeking their adoration and admiration, then why I am doing it?

Could it be out of fear of not being special?

Maybe it’s of not having some sort of prestige and power in my circle.

Hence, in a sense I’m doing it out of pride. But what is pride? I mean what is it, really?

I think maybe pride is ultimately the fear of looking bad or not being “special” enough. Pride is the need to feel superior to others in some way. In today’s culture, we could call it a streak of narcissism. Narcissism, either overt or covert, is basically–fear of being unimportant, of not being “enough.”

If I clean it because I’m worried that there are germs living on the chandelier and I might get sick, then I am also doing it out of a fear of dying.

But what if I clean it because it makes me happy to see light shining through clear, clean glass?

What if I truly appreciate the clear crystal and shimmer?

What if I clean the chandelier just because I personally love a clean chandelier, kind of how I love to hang prisms in the windows and see rainbows all over the floor?

Then I am no longer cleaning it out of fear.

Now, I’m cleaning it out of appreciation.

And somehow, I feel joy in the cleaning. It’s the same amount of work, but it doesn’t “feel” like work. It feels peaceful, because I’m thinking about how beautiful it will look when I’m done. I’m thinking of how much pleasure I will feel when I look at it. It is no longer a menial task but a labor of love and an act of creating. I’m envisioning the pure light shining through the clear glass and I get happy thinking about it.

If I clean it because I think I have to do it, because I’m afraid of being criticized or guilted or not being special or of germs, then there is no joy for me in the act of cleaning it and the act feels like a burden.

It feels like work.

Obviously, this post isn’t really about cleaning chandeliers. It’s about motivations.

Sometimes, it’s in examining why we do the little things, like cleaning a chandelier, that we discover our reasons for doing bigger things and in making these discoveries, the little things in our lives become the big things. I will henceforth find myself asking, “Why are you really doing this?”

LIAR

words and music by Zach Williams

“For God (the Great Spirit, the Almighty Source, the Ultimate Power, the I Am, the unconditional, unmerited, unearnable acceptance known as LOVE) has not given you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:17

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
You’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar

When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never changeOh, fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath

Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest

Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar

Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feel
Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feel

Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feel
Oh, let your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let your fire fall, your love is all I feelOh, fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear, he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear, he is a liar’Cause fear, he is a
liar


Fear not for I am with you says the Lord. Do not be discouraged. I am your God. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you (lift you up) with my righteous (almighty knowledge of what is good and best) right hand (my limitless power and ability)” Isaiah 41:10

No matter what you face, remember that you are not alone. Right now, many people are hurting and many people are afraid but there is a LOVE in this universe that supersedes everything and that LOVE is a living entity that gives life to all things and connects us. That LOVE is an ALMIGHTY SPIRIT and that spirit resides in all who reach out and believe. That is the same SPIRIT that Jesus talked about, that same SPIRIT can restore us, heal us and remind us that we, too, are SPIRIT. The real me is not the body I live in. My body is just a vehicle with which to travel in the mortal realm. My gender, my culture, my ethnicity, my epidermal melanin concentration, my height, weight, age nor any other facet of my flesh and blood existence on this earth, is the real me. The spirit of me is the real me and I pray that I see past the flesh of others and see them as an extension of the Great Spirit. The real me is an eternal great spiritual being and the laws of the Spiritual Universe override the laws of the physical universe. What can separate us from the LOVE of God, that same LOVE that resides in Jesus Christ? The same LOVE (Spirit) that performed miracles? Nothing. Right now, if you are hurting, if your loved one is sick, if you are facing financial difficulties, if you are hungry, if you are homeless, if you are facing a disease yourself, if you are being bullied, if you are being threatened, if you feel you have to perform to be lovable or that your beauty makes you worthy, if you are feeling worthless or guilty over something you did or didn’t do, accept my “spiritual” hug and know this…you are loved. You are accepted. You are valuable beyond all words to describe and you are a beautiful spiritual being. Don’t let the lies of this world darken you to the truth of who you are, of what you are. Believe that you are an extension of Almighty Love, because you are. The Great Spirit of Love holds nothing against you…nothing. We are enough because of who we are. We just have to know who we are so we can believe it to be true.

Love, Love, Love…that’s all there is. Nothing else is real.

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In my story, Looking for Pork Chop McQuade, Cupcake has spent her whole life taking care of others, putting her needs last, pushing her dreams to the side, making herself “dimmer” so that those around her can feel “brighter.” How many of us do that in real life? I’d wager, many of us. In my newest work in progress, Anna spent her life believing she was insignificant until a chance encounter with someone from a dimension where the only law is love, turns her world upside down. What if we realized that there is one great law in the universe that supersedes all others, and that law is the law of love?

I’ve noticed a lot of fear around me lately, fear of COVID, fear of the government, fear of the vaccine, fear of control, fear of hunger, fear of losing jobs, fear of…well, just fear of fear. But what exactly is fear?

Perhaps fear is what we experience when we take our eyes off what we want for our lives, even if it’s momentary and put them on what we don’t want. We don’t have to stay there. We can move past it. Perhaps the ultimate fear is the fear of death but what if we realize that the only way out of this life is dying and that sooner or later, we’re all going to do that anyway. It’s the only way out of this realm unless a miracle transformation happens and whisks us all out of here. So, is that the fear? death? Seems like the Apostle Paul once said, “Oh grave where is your victory? Oh, death where is your sting?” Fear is the only sting it has and fear keeps us in bondage, keeps us from being the people we were created to be.  I’ve heard it said, that we aren’t humans having a spiritual experience from time to time. We are SPIRITS having a human experience for a short span in the expanse of forever. What happens to us in this life is brief. Even if we lived to be 150 years old, our time in this mortal realm is still short. Truthfully, nature abhors a vacuum and fear is what fills the void when love leaves the room. Fear is the absence of love. The moment you let love back in the door, fear is gone. It dissipates like water vapor in a desert.

I know I talk about fear and love a great deal, but I am convinced with everything inside me that there is basically nothing else in life as important as understanding who we are, what we are and where we came from and to grasp those basic spiritual concepts of what it means to be alive, we must realize that the ONLY things that matter are fear and love. Ultimately, LOVE is the only thing that matters. The only one. Also, please realize that when I speak of love, I speak of something far, far greater than “romance.” Romance was invented to sell novels, candy, and Valentine’s Day cards. It’s not even necessary to procreate. I suppose it’s just fun but then it leads to this feeling of possession which stems from fear of losing someone which is stems from a lack of love. Jealousy is NOT a sign of love. Jealousy is a sign of the erroneous belief that you have power and control over another human being and that you somehow think you possess them. Love never possesses. It always liberates. Fear possesses and creates bondage. The old saying, “If you love something, set it free,” is true.

So, again I say, there are only two motivations for every act on earth: fear and love. Whatever is not done because of love is done because of fear and vice versa. What so many of us don’t get is that we must FIRST LOVE OURSELVES. That means we must accept ourselves as valuable and of great eternal worth. Jesus didn’t say “Love your neighbor but treat yourself like a doormat.” No. He said, “Love your neighbor AS yourself.” In other words, you also MUST LOVE YOURSELF! If we don’t first love ourselves, we have no hope of truly loving others and we will spend our lives doing things out of guilt, out of fear that someone will get angry with us and out of fear of not being accepted. Yep, there’s that fear again.

So, love yourself like your life depends on it because it does. It’s both simple and hard. We think we fear is a thing, but it isn’t. It’s only what exists when there is no love. We create fear by removing love. I’m going to quote the Bible here. The Apostle John tells us that “God IS love. And everyone that is born of God is born of love and he that does not love does not know God.” Notice that he doesn’t say, “God has love.” No! He says, “God IS love.” You can literally substitute the word “is” with an = sign! I make this point to say that we all come from God, so we all come from love. We are born knowing that we are loved. We come from love and when we die, we return to love. It’s while we are here that we forget what we are.

It is important to remember that we are loved and to love ourselves because when you don’t love yourself you believe everyone else is better and that their message is better than yours. How often do we make ourselves small so others can be big? We dim our lights so that others can feel brighter because we’ve bought into the lie that some of us are less important than others. We’re not. We say yes when we mean no because it’s easier to disappoint ourselves than others. We are facets of God, all of us. If we don’t love ourselves, we don’t allow ourselves to express who we are. We are not allowing a facet of God to express itself through us. Our purpose for being here is to love. You don’t have the right not to love ourselves. We must love ourselves. What is love? Love is sincere acceptance and appreciation of who someone really is and that includes yourself.

Everyday, all around us, people are hurting. We are all connected and if you are constantly needy and in search of validation and approval, if you have a big hole in your life that no amount of praise or validation can’t fill, you bring others down. But if you love yourself and are joyful, happy and fulfilled, then others want to be around you. People who are sick can sense your energy, by the way, and the last thing a sick person needs is negativity around them. Negativity is when you have this black hole that just sucks other people’s energy to try to make yourself feel better but it never works. The only way to fill that hole is to realize that you are loved by your creator, that you are a part of this marvelous universe, that you have worth and you can never get

Loving yourself is a form of being selfless to the people around you. Wherever you go, you bring yourself with you. Your presence is what changes your surroundings. If you bring a needy self, that is what you put out into the world. You are doing a service to the world when you love yourself. This is what shining your light means. I leave off today with this thought, “Love yourself as you love your neighbor.” Accept yourself as work of the Almighty, as an extension of pure love. We don’t have love. We are love and unless we live knowing that we are made of love, come from love and are love, we are living a lie. Love is the only truth, and it is this truth that sets us free to be lights in this world. Be the light. Love yourself.

Looking for Pork Chop McQuade

Straddled with a ridiculous name that has caused her a lifetime of grief, Cupcake McQuade has spent her whole life taking care of other people. In fact, she has been so concerned about others that she doesn’t really know who she is, but she knows one thing–she loves Bob “Pork Chop” McQuade, a conspiracy theorist whose life is going nowhere. Despite the fact that Bob is disliked by—everybody. Cupcake has always seen the “good” in him, even condoning his eccentricities and supporting his devotion to a group of conspiracy theorists, but when Bob becomes a missing person, she fears his conspiracies may be true and reluctantly accepts help from guilt-laden Sheriff Daniel Ransom. When the two of them take to the trail to discover Bob’s fate, they discover truths they’re not prepared to accept.

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