Even In The Dark

I’m a big fan of bumper stickers.

Seriously, is there anything better when you are having a crappy day then reading something like, “Honk if you Love Tacos!” or “Follow Me To Billy’s Bargain Barn!” ?

Come on, you know you smile at those!

As a teenager I had my own on my trusty little Subaru…. “Don’t Follow Me….I’m LOST!” and my personal favorite…. “I STILL MISS ELVIS“.

Sometimes they can even make you reflect on just how wonderful and blessed you really are.

Yesterday morning while heading to the mountains to meet some friends to do some winter hiking in the freshly fallen snow, I got behind a beat up Nissan with the following message attached to their rear bumper…..

“STARS CAN’T SHINE WITHOUT DARKNESS”

Right there in my little Honda Civic on Highway 92 I had a moment.

See for me the dark has always been scary.  I like knowing what is around me, and being able to see what lies ahead. When the lights are on.. so am I.

But when the lights go out…..I shut down.

It is so easy to Shine in the daylight when things are golden and going great. But once darkness sets in and times get rough or dreary……we forget that even in the dark we can shine and illuminate our world.

I have written about my friend Teri before.  She is the most positive person I have met.

EVER.

You cannot be around Teri and NOT smile.

 

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She is the total meaning of the bumper sticker that caused me to have a moment yesterday, and the person I immediately thought of when I read it.  Ironically, she was also the person I was driving to meet.

Teri has a zest and love for life. She genuinely loves people and has the incredible ability to make the darkest days and moments seem so bright. You can totally hate your life, be absolutely hateful, sick, or just in a bad place, and Teri can make you forget how bad things are and make you feel like all is right in the world in a matter of minutes.  I dare you to spend 5 minutes with her and not smile or snort from laughter.

It can NOT be done.

This is the attitude I strive to embody. A love and Joy for life that shines through, even when it is super dark.  To live out the challenge given in Philippians 2:14-15:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe.”

Life is not perfect. Oh how I wish it were.

Sometimes it is nasty, rocky, scary, and ugly. The madness, sadness, and ignorance we see can often be too much and just make us bitter, hateful, and dark. Sometimes that darkness consumes us to the point that we forget that, even then, we have the ability to shine.

Friends, life was not meant to be lived in the dark. You and I were created to shine so that we can remind others, they too were created to shine, so that they can reflect their light to inspire as well.

Even on the darkest of nights, we are never without light.

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Life is not perfect, but it full of mystery, wonder, excitement, and beauty.  Enjoy EVERY waking moment.  Like Marty Robbins once said, “Every day is a good day to be alive, whether the sun is shining or not.”  Don’t be afraid of the darkness.  There is no need to let it overwhelm you. Just remember you are a star….and stars ALWAYS shine when it’s dark!

Beauty From Ashes

“And just as the Phoenix rose from the ashes, she too will rise.  Returning from the flames, clothed in nothing but her strength, more beautiful than ever before.”

How many times have I read or heard those words? Too many to even count. But it wasn’t until I took a hike last week in a fire damaged area of my beloved Smoky Mountains, that I truly realized what they meant. Continue reading

Where My Heart Is

Isn’t it amazing how you can see a word your whole life and think you understand the meaning of it fully, only to find that your whole life you have been sadly mistaken?

Treasure.

As I stared at the word for what seems like an eternity today, I realized that right now, at the ripe ole age of ***gulp** 41 I finally realized what the true meaning of the word is. Continue reading

My Heartbeat

Numb.

That is the only adequate word I have right now.

I am simply…. numb.

Yesterday morning we awoke to the news that the fires that had been raging in our beloved mountains had grown through the night due to increased intense winds. Suddenly, things were scary and real. There has been no significant rainfall, if any, for well over 100 days. We were living in a virtual timber box.  The unthinkable finally happened. Continue reading

Like A Champ

I haven’t written much lately.  Life has come at me pretty hard and I feel like I have been Bludgeon to a bloody lump. So much time has been spent riding the wave of the high I was on, that I completely forgot that I am still human and that sucky things still happen.

Of course when I get all down and out, I turn to my faith for guidance, encouragement, and inspiration. So much can be learned by just spending time alone with the Almighty. It amazes me the different ways that God can speak to me….The majesty of the beauty of nature, His words in the Bible, the love and support of family and friends, and Rocky Balboa. Continue reading

Beauty Still Remains

Watching the news now days makes me want to grab my books, my dog, my 90210 DVD’s and find me a safe retreat Underground. So much drama.

Humans calling other humans vile and ugly names.
Humans hurting and killing other humans.
Violence erupting in serene places.
Friends turning on each other because of politics.

All this is almost too much to handle. Continue reading