Tag Archive | God

Do You Know This Player?

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My name is Pride, I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny…

because you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment…

because you “deserve better than this.”

I cheat you of knowledge…because you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing…because you’re too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness…

because you refuse to admit when you’re wrong.

I cheat you of vision…

because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you of genuine friendship…

because nobody’s going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love…

because real romance demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in heaven…

because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.

I cheat you of God’s glory…

because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride.  I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.  Untrue.

I’m looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…

If you stick with me,

You’ll never know.

ALL HEADS BOWED AND NO LOOKING AROUND

Are you a Christian?  Simplest question ever asked, regardless of any complications one allows to stifle the answer.

 

If so, the time has arrived when there can be no question as to whether or not you will respond to the duty you are being called to act upon.

 

You must cast your vote for the President of your United States.

 

I challenge every breathing person to look around and name the force in control of the world.  And for any complicators, that force is biblically stated.

 

Until recently, I, like many others, saw the selection of one candidate over the other as a choice between the lesser of two evils.

 

Then it was called to my attention that there is one difference that gives a bottom line answer.

 

To any of us who believe we are more than the evolution of a primate, the choice is clear.

 

We choose life, in every sense of the word.  And all the troubles of the world become bearable.  And in that choice there is no senseless killing of unborn babies.

 

Only one candidate makes this same choice.

 

Your failure to vote on November 8 is your vote for the biblically named enemy.

 

May a shudder travel up your spine.

 

 

Independence Is A State of Being

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I’ve recently returned from my holiday on the beautiful island of Maui.  I’m taking liberty to borrow the term ‘holiday’ from the British as the glorious days spent there were in all facets of the word – a holiday.  I’ve been fortunate to have taken vacations in many beautiful locales, but Maui has given new meaning to where and how I spend precious days away in the future.  I plan a post detailing my trip.  But on this Independence Day, 2016, my thoughts are in a different direction – yet my recent days on the island have contributed greatly to my perspective on this July 4th holiday at home.

My habit is to set my DVR to record Good Morning, America each day and catch up in the evenings with all that’s going on in the world.  And unless you are one of those individuals who have tucked their head in the sand and decided you can take no more of the insanity and uncertainty happening daily, you know what a large dose of detriment to our psyches is being doled out.  For the sake of my point, let’s disregard media’s ability to steer opinions and consider only the headlines themselves.

Details aside, I have been watching for many months the devastating weather patterns that have ravaged our country from one side to the other, many perishing in the wake, countless others being robbed of all they own with no idea of how they’ll recover.  The horror of attacks across the world, both by terrorists on a large scale and by close members of victims’ own families on an even more hard to understand level.  The hatred.  Absurdities. And has there ever been a more head-shaking presidential campaign?

All of this and so much more is absolutely mind boggling.

Keep this in mind, and allow me to shift gears for a moment.

Before I experienced it for myself, Maui presented itself in my mind as one of the ultimate tourist destinations – think Disney World with the not-to-miss list of sights to see as the attractions.  From that visualization, take away the well paved parking lots with attendants to direct you.  Take away billboards luring you to exorbitant entrance fees.  Take away hearing sales pitches.  And replace all that with God’s green earth, towering vistas, and sparkling blue water as far as you can see from a vantage point that’s always just around the next corner.  Yes, there are resort areas – there have to be to accomodate those of us who sojourn there.  But the paradise that can easily be described in one word – Eden – is found on your own.  Out exploring the island.

And as I explored the island, I brought home a blessing that I was not expecting.  There is one side of me that hates the terrible things that are going on in our world today, that the tides of hate may dictate how the balance of my granddaughter’s future will pan out.  But there’s also the other side of me that has hope, a hope that I had lost sight of – and possibly never even had – until I was within the spectre of the intensity and power of the beauty on Maui.  That beauty is not man-made.  And neither is the Bestower of that power. Standing within the breathtaking awesomeness of just one small piece of God’s creation, I felt His power give me the confidence to know that I can be still and know that He is capable of providing the ability for us to rise above the insanities of this world.  And the beauty equips us to be partners with the positive, enabling us to carry on.

As we look for the beauties in our days, we need to remember that we are not entitled to the freedoms that we have.  Those freedoms have been and continue to be bought with the lives of many soldiers who are out there doing their jobs to ensure that we remain free.  It’s easy to get caught up in the monstrosities that plague our world today, to let them make us bitter, or complacent, or reckless, or I could go on and on with the symptoms of our weary world.

But we must make a choice.  We are free to make the conscious choice to see the beauty of this world and each person we come into contact with.   There’s beauty in each of us because each of us are also one of God’s awesome creations.  We are all fighting for independence in one way or another and if we can learn to see independence as a blessing and not a right – without letting hatred be our guiding force –  we will begin to see more beauty in our moments. Call me a dreamer, but I believe those moments will begin to spill over onto those around us and we can all be enablers of the positive kind.  There’s by far too much of the devastating negative kind.

So choose to be in an independent state of mind – rising above the awfulness of this world – replace the bad with the good – and never forget that there are those always giving their all, sometimes their very lives, to allow us this choice.

Happy Independence Day to you all!

 

 

 

Look Out Kids, I’m Gonna Embarrass You Now!

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Me with Dr. Sandra Schultz

I told the truth when I said I hadn’t been anxious about hearing the results of my mammogram.   And it remained the truth until about twenty minutes before my appointment time.

As I walked in the door, that anxiety disappeared as I was greeted by the smiling Dr. Schultz herself.  She was sitting at the front desk, a highly unusual sight, and she laughed at my astonishment and told me not to get used to it that she’d be moving in just a second.  I stopped her before she could get away and asked for a picture.  She said “Certainly, come on in and we’ll get it in front of the tree.”

Before my cancer was discovered, I had known of a woman who had been diagnosed with a very rare, fast and almost always fatal form of this vicious disease.  Her doctor went to work determined to save her life.  She contacted colleagues all over the country with her immediate research.  Armed with all the knowledge available, she used her innate ability to read cancer and started an agressive attack.  I’ll not go into the details because those aren’t mine to share, but years later this woman is still cancer-free.  I believe that if God had not deemed it so, that would not be the case.  But I also believe that He placed her care in the earthly hands of Dr. Sandra Schultz, just as He did mine.

This is a story that could be repeated all day long.  There’s visual evidence of these stories all over the office in the form of quilts hanging on the walls, pink wreaths adorning the doors and artwork all up and down the hallways – all given in gratitude by patients and their families.  Not only is the care given by Dr. Schultz that of which gives hope, but the atmosphere of her office conveys an instant feeling of warmth, making her patients feel like family from the first visit forward.

As you walk up to the window to sign in, you are immediately swathed in that warmth by her receptionist, Brenda McCombs.  Of my many, many visits, never has this sweet lady failed to greet me with the most genuine smile and positive attitude.  The other members of the office – Stephanie, Lindsay, Ruby and Leanna – make the picture complete and they all bounce their warm spirits back and forth amongst themselves, drawing you into their amazing circle of healing.

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Brenda MCombs

My granddaughter doesn’t know it yet, but on June 3, she and I will be joining Dr. Schultz and her team, The Blazing Pink Flamingos, at the Relay for Life Walk in Kings Mountain.  Brenda said she would surprise my granddaughter with her own pink flamingo:

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Have you noticed the artwork and wreaths I mentioned?

As Dr. Schultz and I chatted in the examining room today, she asked how the trip plans were coming along.  I looked at her, astonished that she had remembered my telling her last year of our upcoming trip.  She grinned at me and said she’d made a note on my file so she wouldn’t forget.

In addition to being the tremendous doctor and surgeon that she is, Dr. Schultz is also a very large supporter of non-profit groups in Gaston County.  There were several raffle baskets in the office today, with proceeds going to various organizations.

From the standpoint of being a patient, it is very rare to come across this type of environment.  The dedication of Dr. Schultz, and her staff, is evident to any who find themselves in the midst of their care.  Not only was I blessed that my cancer was found so early, but my blessings were greatly enhanced by being under the care of this wonderful woman.  Her expertise is undeniable, her depth of caring is unquestionable.

Now, to my daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter, I say:  Look out paradise, here I come!  No holding back, no fears.  My feet will be as if they’re not touching the ground and I’ll be dancing to music, even if I’m the only one who can hear it.  I’m Maui bound, and I’m cancer-free!

 

 

 

Me and Bobbie McKee

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For the last month or so, my DVR has been filling up a lot more than usual.  Dirty laundry has piled up until the weekends.  And my dog just sits and stares at me, trying to figure out what’s going on.  But the new laptop with the advanced keyboard that at first had me severely frustrated is now my new best friend.

Just as many of you have mentioned having yourselves, I’m going to have to force myself to come up with a designated sort of schedule for blogging and writing or nothing else is going to get done.  I feel a bit unbalanced, off-kilter with the many other things that have to be tended to.

But even though my scales are a bit tilted right now, there’s a wonderful blessing in all of this busyness – a blessing that feels like the bud on the Oriental Lily in my yard, bursting forth with a brilliance that’s breathtaking and oh so beautiful.

Let me tell you what I mean:  My Daddy always told me I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.  And that was while I was still in school, years ago.  I’ll not go into the marital arena, so read between the lines there.  My daughter told me years ago that I think too much, so I learned to limit the degree of which I ramble on with her. There’s been only one person with whom I learned that I could let my thoughts fly free without reservations.  A co-worker with whom I worked for 15 years:   Bobbie (Barbara) McKee.

We took morning and afternoon breaks together, went to dinner quite often.  Her husband sang with a gospel group and we’d travel around to wherever they would be performing, normally on Saturday evenings.    During all these times, we spent hour upon hour talking.  We probably knew more about each other than anyone else in our lives, even our husbands.

We’d discuss every idea you could imagine.  Did we believe in ghosts? did we believe we are the only life forms in the universe? did we believe those who’ve died know what’s going on in the lives of those they loved who are still alive? – those kind of questions.

Then there were the other kinds:  how do those bugs get in those tightly sealed light fixtures?  do fish sleep? and if you pass somebody whose in second place, what place are you in?

Bobbie was a bit older than me but we never gave that a thought at all.  Over time, the endearing look that she’d give me meant the world to me. That look meant that she just knew without even looking at me when I was about to pose a question that would set us off on a wild ride.  We would inevitably take it the distance and would end up laughing so hard we wouldn’t be able to talk.  But my word, the discussions we would have!

Bobbie died in 2005 after being diagnosed only the year before with lung cancer.

Not that Bobbie is never not a part of me, but I was reminded very vividly of our discussions one day last week when a new co-worker, one I’ve known for just a little over one year now, shared a dream with me and off she and I went on one of those wonderful discussions.  I was so elated – all at once for the reminder of Bobbie, for the fascinating talk my friend and I had just had, and for the fact that I was getting to let my mind run rampant for the first time in ages.  I had goosebumps from my toes to my ears and actually had to get up and walk around the building, I was so happy!

And then it dawned on me…the time I am spending here in blogland is essentially the same thing.  I have once again opened myself up to exploring infinite possibilities.  But I am no longer a babe drinking babe’s milk.  Even though I need not fear being drawn into wrong directions or harmful thoughts,  there is a vast and wide volume and variety of viewpoints voiced here.  I am learning to explore other ideas that are outside my own box.  And in doing so, I am finding the path that allows me to maintain my own beliefs and at the same time, consider and converse with others who differ.

Therein lies the blessing.

My daughter says she’s noticed a difference in me lately.  A contentedness.  I know now that it has its roots in my newfound confidence I’m gaining through re-connecting with myself.  I have, in a very real way, returned to myself. I am me again.  And it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve fully been ‘me’.  I am able to speak the truth here, with no pretenses, no reservations.  That is very free-ing.  And it is boiling over into other areas of my life, but I’ll save that for another post.

Thank you, my friends, for giving me back myself.

 

 

 

 

IPNNC

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I read a post today by a fellow blogger who said she was considering giving up writing posts.  She presented the dilemma that it seems many of us are faced with today.  That being that if we express our feelings regarding what’s going on in our society , and those feelings don’t line up with popular opinion,  that we can be ostracized, basically cast out from society.

I was pondering on how I would write this post on the drive to work this morning.  That pondering went something like this:

Years ago, my daughter was awarded the Aloha Award at a luau she and I attended in Oahu for having the brightest ‘aloha spirit’ for the evening.  This was at the end of the evening, after she had gone onstage with many others to ‘learn the hula’.  The emcee went down the line speaking with each person and when he came to my daughter, he did a double-take and asked her question after silly question just to put her heavy Southern drawl out there for all to hear. We will be in Maui next month and my granddaughter is looking forward to her time on stage as well.  Now, instead of their wonderful spirits being the highlight, I cringe to think of the silence that may ensue when they learn from where they reside – North Carolina.

So let me just put it out there and not hemhaw around the bush.  I’m proud of reigning from North Carolina, now more so than ever.  NOT because our state is leading a fight against the LGBT and transgender communities.  That is propaganda that leads news stories.  I just saw a story on GMA where a man was ranting through the aisles at a Target store telling them they would all be judged by God.  Yeah, he will too.

I am terribly ashamed for those types of representations that North Carolina is receiving.  But that is not what is fueling our governor and state lawmakers to pursue the upholding of the HB2 law.  It is in no way a discrimination of the LGBT and transgenders. The opponents, and even now the federal government, have created that to be the issue.

The general public is unaware of the number of cases of sexual abuse commited against the children in this country.  Local law enforcement agencies operate under a cloak of silence in order to protect those innocent victims.

But if you wonder whether or not this is true, let me challenge you.  Ask someone who works in such an agency, and ask them quick.  The general comment you will receive will either be yay or nay.  If it’s no, thank God.  If it’s yes, that this is true in your county, then stop and ask yourself if what the opponents of this law are saying is a scare tactic holds any truth whatsover.  If even one child is put at risk, then how can we face ourselves to not support North Carolina in this pursuit?

The picture at the top of this post is a man named Ian Watkins – look him up.  He claimed to actually procreate children so he’d have them to molest.  I sicken myself even writing that.  But these people are out there, people!

Governor Pat McCrory is doing what no one in the past has done before.  In the face of any and all opposition, he is not backing down. He holds firm to protecting our children.  It is not a protection from the LGBT and transgender community.  This has nothing to do with them – and I cringe to say ‘them’ because that signifies an ‘Us vs Them’ mentality – this nothing other than the fact that people who identify themselves as such are raising the demands that they be noticed by using this platform. Which restroom have they been using prior to this debate?  The one they identify with.  Why pass a law allowing them to do what they’ve been doing all along?   Why create this issue?    If I have any discrimination whatsoever against them, it is that they are denying the safety of our children in order to be recognized.  And that recognition is self-imposed.  And ‘them’ includes ANYONE who puts our children in harms way – regardless of sex, gender, race, nationality, or any other facet of humanity.

This all started forty miles east of my home, in Charlotte.  I don’t know the details of how and why it all started other than the city passed an ordinance that would allow anyone to use any restroom based on gender identity. Governor McCrory stepped in at once and the rest is becoming history.  McCrory, I’m sure, has access to the records to back up his strong opposition.

Please do not discredit North Carolina as a whole by the rantings of misguided individuals who put themselves in the judgment seat.  I can still see the wagging finger of my grandmother as she pointed to her Bible and said “love the sinner, hate the sin.”  And who is the sinner?  I am.  You are.  Your children are.  Your parents are.  Each and every person on either side of this problem is a sinner. To me, it doesn’t matter who you are – I believe the Bible.  And the Bible says ALL are sinners and only by the grace of God are we saved.  No one can pass judgment but God.  We each answer for our own selves.  And I don’t want to have to answer for bigotry, hatred, violence.  But neither do I want to answer for playing a part in the misguided failure to protect our children in any way possible from this sickened world we live in.

May God bless Governor McCrory as he fights this battle for not only North Carolina but the United States.  May God bless ALL of our lawmakers.  May God bless each of us who see ‘them’ as being any different than ‘us’ – we are all His children – whether we acknowledge that or not. May God bless each and every one of you reading this.  And may God bless and protect our precious children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Learned A Lesson

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I sat down with the intention of breaking down the 28 Reasons (see previous post) one by one.  I re-read the entire article again but this time I felt nothing but filthy for even reading it – a type of filth that felt ‘porn-ish’ in nature – an abomination.

I’m sure the author feels very strongly about each of the reasons she listed.  And my first reading of the article terrified and troubled me, as I said earlier, that Christians could be labeled in such a way.  And I still feel strongly that a response from me is required, if only to myself and to those of you who are reading along with me.  But the response has turned out to be quite different than my initial reaction.  That in itself is a nugget of truth that I need to remind myself of often – to think things through before I react.  And to listen to that still, small voice that, yes, speaks to me.  All that hear that voice know it and do not need to fear being in the group labeled ‘Christian’.  Those who hear the voice know Who stands with us.

That being said, my ultimate response to the author of the 28 Reasons is this:

1 Corinthians 13: 12-13

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I have taken the author to my prayer room, that she will know that these comments are not done in love, in the spirit of Christ.  That her mind and heart will be awakened to the knowledge that this type of propaganda does nothing but fuel the hatred, to allow the talons of evil to dig even deeper into those the evil is seeking to devour.  Which is everyone who gives evil the crack to enter through.

So, my dear readers, I owe you all an apology.  My intention to not allow a ‘haunt’ to come upon you was, in fact, the very thing I did.  In my confusion, I was a means of spreading something other than love.  I sincerely apologize.

I have learned a valuable lesson through this.  To guard closely the words I send into the world.  If the words are not good and true and kind, I’ll not allow them at all – even if it’s to make a point as I was attempting to do.

Because if the words are not good, they are not of God.  And there’s only one other alternative to where those kinds of words come from.  I picture that heinous one gleefully rubbing his hands together and saying “gotcha”.

No more.

Again, I apologize.

May God bless each and every one of you.

Don’t Piss Heaven Off

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It’s been a crazy busy week…I had everything moved out of my bedroom last weekend and now the only drawer I can get to without moving a piece of furniture is that for my underwear.  My clothes are hanging on shower rods and doorframes and my dog is thoroughly confused.  All week I’ve worked on getting Kilz on the dark paint on large baseboards, window and door frames and crown moldings.  Now I have the large room and sitting area to paint to get the room ready for new carpeting.  Then there’s been soccer practice and games with my granddaughter that I never miss, her dance program at the Merry Go Round Festival at the city park and shopping at Old Navy yesterday to take advantage of their 40% off sale for card members and using my rewards before they expired.  The three girls checked out with over $330 worth of summer clothes for only $23!  My kind of shopping!

But something has been niggling at the back of my mind throughout this past hectic week that I know I have to address.  If for no other reason than because it’s the nature of what someone who writes does – we put it down in words.  As I tossed it around this week, my little pink diary with the tiny little key that I had when I was a young girl came to mind.  The one no one was even to touch but me.  And then onto the journals I’ve kept throughout the years – again for my eyes only.  I still do keep a handwritten journal but now for only one purpose:  to record eventful days and trips for my granddaughter for her to have years from now.

Now I have graduated to a much larger ‘diary’ – one that is open for the world to read and is no longer for my eyes only.  One that I share freely and still remain true to myself.  Nothing fluffed up, nothing fabricated – just the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  But one that I still go to when something wonderful has happened, or something is deeply bothering me.  Which is where I find myself to be now.

I stumbled upon an article last Sunday that has haunted me ever since.  I’m going to share it with you below.  Not to cause a haunt to come upon my cohorts, but to let you see where I’m coming from when I can finally get my thoughts around each of the 28 points contained in the article and post them here in my ‘diary’.  As long as I can remember, the biggest tick that’s ever gotten the best of me is being accused, doubted, even considered to have done something that I haven’t done.  This article lumps everyone who is a Christian into this tick of mine.  And what’s worse, it’s from someone from the South – one who lives and breathes the same Southern air as I do.

What does all this have to do with Steven Tyler, you may be wondering?

I will be vacationing in Maui in June.  I’ve learned since planning the trip that Steven Tyler – among a large host of others if I would name you would all recognize –  has a home there and roams the island just like anyone else.  I asked myself how I would react if I turned the corner at Food Land while on the island and he’s there picking up a gallon of milk.  And what instantly came to mind is a song he wrote years ago entitled “Full Circle” – it’s not one you would know unless you are an Aerosmith fan – and music of most every genre has always been a very important part of my life.  To give you the gist of it, here’s a few of the lyrics:

If I could change the world like a fairy tale

I would drink the love from your Holy Grail.

I would start with love and tell ol’ Beelezub to get

outta town cause you just lost your job.

How did we get so affected

Cause love is love reflected…..

Don’t piss Heaven off — we’ve got hell to pay.

Ultimately, we do not stand judgement with anyone other than the One God who created this world and everything that all that man has created stands upon.  In turn, we are not to attempt to BE a judge of anyone who breathes – justice system withstanding. The hatred that is becoming a horror story of its own in our own United States is what the article I previously mentioned opened my eyes to.  Not that I don’t see it everyday – but just as a Christian I felt personally attacked for the first time and find it time to become consciously aware day to day how that can be reversed.  Ultimately, I know that is impossible – it’s all part of what’s to come and has been predicted through the ages by God Himself through John the Revelator. But I do not want to be a part of the hatred written about.  I am a child of Christ – and that, my friends, is love.  Not passive and complacent to all that’s going on, but to show love – regardless of one’s skin color, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.  Love does not mean condone – love means love reflected.  And if we fail to show love, we’ve got hell to pay.  The United States is coughing up that payment now.      Here:

https://lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/28-reasons-im-done/

An Imminent Return

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In the back of my mind for the past two years, I’ve held my friends here as rocks- hard, cold truths that I knew I could depend on without a doubt to still be here whenever and however long it took for me to return.  That’s saying a lot about a friend – expecting their unconditional loyalty.

There are those whom I met here two years ago that so many times brought tears to my eyes as I connected to sometimes every word, sometimes only a sentence.  Those connections inevitably vibrated a chord deep in my soul.  Many times, just a picture could send me soaring, feeling emotions and experiencing passions that were new, inspiring, joyous.

Then there are those that I’ve met in the last few weeks.  It wasn’t until I sat exploring blog after blog, many times finding laughter, often blinking away tears, but always fascinated to the point of almost utter disbelief that there are so many wonderful, captivating and brilliant people in the body of this blog.  And that’s the friend I knew I could return to – the ‘blog’.  I now acknowledge that each of you are the living, breathing heart of the ‘blog’.

Since I last posted an entry, I was given the honor of ringing the breast cancer bell – and I thank God for the tingling of that brass bell, more so with every passing day.

I buried the body of my Mother, her soul still lives – just not here, leaving me as the only remaining member of my immediate family.

My daughter has been there for me every step of the way through these trials – always pointing me to the positive.  It was only as I’ve returned here to the blog, however, that I realized I had shown her a terrible ingratitude.  All the wonderful inspirations she has tried so hard to keep me alive to, I refused to hear.  I allowed the weight of all the bad stuff of years past to weigh me down.  It all slipped up on me totally unaware. For any who have read my previous posts and remember, you know of some of the bad stuff I speak of.  ‘Stuff’ that no matter what, I always found a way to rise above.

But for quite some time I’ve had the doors open to the demons of defeat in all their ragged forms.  I’ve allowed self-doubt to take away my peace.  I’ve let the atrocities of the morning news each day rob me of hope and the day to day dealings with those chasing a dollar or climbing some ladder – whether real or imaginary –  push me to bitter anger.

From so many of you here, combined with her love, much that my daughter has been patiently waiting for me to find, I have found.  Instead of hate, violence, greed, complacency and indecence, your posts have filled me with hope, awe, excitement and most of all, passion. A passion again for life and all the wonderful moments we can experience if we live with a positive attitude.  And with that attitude, wonderful doors of opportunity open in any direction we are willing and passionate enough to pursue. The doors of defeat will be tightly closed. I know this from personal experience, but have never pursued it as largely as all my being has screamed for me to do.

That at this moment changes.  I am stepping boldly into a new phase of my life.  No longer will I let self-doubt control me and hold me back.  I will let the moments of my days make a difference in this world we exist in – my eyes will be open to my own opportunities as well as how I can help in any small way those in my circle of contacts. I am returning to a life rather than an existence.

I thank my daughter for her unfailing faith in me.  I thank each of you for your wonderful and continuing inspiration. And I thank God for the one set of footprints on the beach.