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Brassy Penguins At Home in the Desert

These penguins were bold in their icy home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their antics for the observers were quite brassy.

penguins in las vegas

Penguins in the desert

Such a strange scene

People walking about

Laughing at the scene

Penguins dancing about

Begging for some fish

God provides for us all

Even in the desert

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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Angels Among Us

coins

The morning sun is beating down on this humid summer morning. We are about half way into our morning walk when I spot the shiny copper object. Bending down to get a better look I discover that it is a bright shiny penny. According to my mother an angel has just smiled on me.

My mother believes that angels show their presence in our lives by dropping coins onto the ground. She believes that the amount the coin is worth indicates how many angels are smiling down on you. It is a lovely thought that brings her pleasure.

Angels are often depicted in art, literature, and religion. They are messengers who connect us with the divine. Some angels represent good and others evil. I believe that angels walk among us and appear in different forms.

Many people have encounters with angels on a daily basis. The angels are there to help them in times of crisis or stress. These guardians enhance our lives and bring us closer to God.

There are times when an angel’s message can be heard by the words or actions of the people surrounding you. This may be a chance encounter in a store when you are concerned about an issue in life. In shopping you may hear a conversation where people are discussing a solution to the issue that you are facing.

You may be walking or driving in a car and hear a song that inspires a solution to the current issue. These are examples of the many ways that angels communicate with us.

I have had several encounters with angels over the years. It is a comfort to me to know that God has sent a guardian to watch over me. There is one time in particular that my life was spared due to God intervening.

One fall morning I was driving to Atlanta to visit my mother. He was a cocker spaniel that  shined in his golden coat and often travelled with me. I would restrain him in the backseat of the car so he would not jump into the front seat. We were about half way into our journey when things began to go awry. The car needed gas and I decided to stop at an exit before moving on to the next town.

The interstate was busy at this time of the day. This exit was at the crossroads of where two interstate highways intersect. There were a lot of big trucks and cars that were speeding along in excess of seventy miles per hour. The ramp to reenter the interstate was short and had a curve in it making traffic difficult to see.

After stopping for gas I came down the ramp to reenter the interstate. While at the gas station I had taken my dog on a walk and forgot to restrain him in the back seat when we returned to the car. When I began to drive back on the interstate ramp all of a sudden my dog jumped into the front seat of the car and distracted me. I pulled out into the traffic not paying attention and heard a truck blow his horn loudly. For a brief moment it appeared that time had stopped. The next thing I knew it appeared as if the truck passed through me like a ghost.

I pulled over to the side of the road shaking from head to toe. It was a surreal feeling as I  realized that no accident had occurred and I was still in this world. Everything was fine and life went on as usual. Thanking God for sparing me and the rest of the world I proceeded to move my dog and restrain him in the backseat again. The trip went smoothly and there were no further incidents.

This is just one example of how God sent an angel to impact my life. There have been other times when it seemed  angels appeared. Many of these times have been when life was in disarray and I needed guidance to solve an issue.

In life there are issues that can impact the way that we interact with the world. By listening to the world around us there are often clues on how to solve the issues that we face. If we make a conscious effort then listening for guidance is easy.

God is always with us and sends us help when we need it. Angels are among us and will often serve as the messengers. All we need to do is allow our soul to listen.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

 

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culture daily prompt homeless inspiration intentional living life lifestyles Mississippi social issues spiritual

Volunteering: Infusing Life With Joy

cropped-white-flowers-at-ms-art-museum-april-20

We live in a world that is filled with turmoil. There is war, poverty, and disease. The news leads us to believe that this what consumes the world and there is no hope. Many people believe that there are several solutions to world issues. I believe that one of the best ways to conquer world issues is to begin at home.

Volunteering has been a part of my life for sometime. The concept of using the gifts that God gave me is appealing. These are some of the ways that I have been using these talents for the last several years in my local community.

Hunger is an issue in many inner city communities. This is often a hidden issue that not many people realize is occurring. We are used to seeing the severe effects of hunger on the television. But here in America there are many people who are not able to feed their families for the entire month. These people have jobs but the money will run out before the month ends.

One solution to this issue is the food banks, community centers, and churches in my local area. Many people frequent these places in hopes of help in getting enough food to fill the end of the month until the next paycheck.

blueberry cobbler may 14

It is easy to help these centers by buying additional food every week and making a donation each month. A large number of people are reached through these services and it is a great feeling to know that I helped someone in their time of crisis.

Another issue in my local community is homelessness. There are a fair number of people without a home in the inner city. The city that I live in provides a fair amount of services to aid in this issue.

Volunteering in local shelters and in missions designed to help the homeless is a great way to help conquer this issue. Many homeless people are grateful for someone willing to bring them food and clothing. It is a comfort to many of them just to have someone listen to the issues that caused them to become homeless.

homeless bill standing may 6

A simple way that people can help the homeless is to fill a small plastic bag with soap, some change, toiletries, and crackers or small cans of meat. This small gesture will help many of the homeless survive until they are ready to seek help for the issues that sent them to the street.

Medical insurance is an issue that is greatly debated in this country for the last several years. It is not an easy issue to solve. A part of the solution to the issue in my local community is to develop small free or low-cost clinics to the uninsured and high deductible health insurance population. This population is quite large.

I volunteer at a church based low-cost clinic once a month. This clinic is busy and is filled with people having minor medical issues. These clinics are not designed to deal with major illnesses or disease processes.

It is a blessing to be able to aid people in the clinic and provide basic health information. There is a lack of education on many of the common disease processes in this country. The people entering the clinic are given a basic health screening and seen by a doctor. These clinics are staffed by volunteers and there is no compensation.

For many of the people who enter this clinic it is the only medical care that they will receive. Education is important and the people we served repeatedly tell us how grateful they are for this service.

Another area that I volunteer in is summer camp for inner city children. These camps aid the children in areas that are often not available in other  areas of their lives. One summer I taught piano to a small group of students.

One day each week for two months they were given lessons in how to play the piano and music. Several of these children were quite gifted and acquired enough knowledge in music to apply to the arts programs at their schools.

Volunteering has been a great blessing to me. I am unable to change all of the world’s issues. My soul is nourished by the things that I have learned from the people who I have met. They have given me far more than the talents that I have shared with them.

Community service in the form of volunteering is easy and only takes a small amount of time. Can you find the time to give of your talents to solve some issues in a your part of the world?

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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culture daily prompt inspiration life lifestyles lighthouses Mississippi spiritual

Lighthouses: A Guide to Finding The Way Home

biloxi lighthouse may 9

Audio provided by my husband Jess Pierce

Lighthouses are guiding beacons for ships at sea. They announce that land is ahead and act as a guide into the harbor. Many lighthouses are located on inlets and shine a light to warn ships that danger is ahead. The light is a navigation tool that acts as a protection device.

Mississippi has several lighthouses on its Gulf Coast. These lighthouses are magnificent and beautiful to observe. They are a lesson in searching for the light that leads us home. We all look for navigation in our lives that lead us to a safe harbor. The example of the lighthouse acts as a guide for us to look toward the light to bring us home.

Life has many challenges that take us out to sea into dangerous waters. Like a ship sailing in the ocean we look for a beacon to lead us to safe harbors. One of life’s challenges is to provide our families with food, clothing, and transportation. When employment is plentiful the lighthouse serves as a beautiful building to observe.

In times of hardship and job loss the light acts as a beacon to navigate us to safe harbors. The lighthouse may be the community that surrounds us. Friends and family lend support and hope that the hard times will pass. The light surrounds us and new opportunities arise. Resolution is in the harbor.

Lighthouses may present us with a guide to adventure. Sailing to foreign lands in search of new experiences provides a light for many restless souls. Lighthouses in these places provide a navigational route for adventure. There is beautiful scenery and other cultures to be explored.

When our adventure in foreign lands is complete we set sail for home. There may be storms and rough seas that send us off course. In our attempts to find the way home we always search for the lighthouse. There is hope that the waters will calm and a familiar harbor will be found. When the light beacons from our home lighthouse there is great joy.

Lighthouses may guide us in the exploration of who we are as individuals. Sitting on an inlet alone the lighthouse gives us a chance to explore our souls. The solitude of observing the ocean and its cycles gives us an opportunity to look inward. The soul may find relaxation and nourishment in the observation of the life around the lighthouse.

For some troubled souls the lighthouse may serve as a fearful guide. They may lose themselves in the deceptions of the world. These souls may see a reflection of light on the harsh sea and see death as the only option for a safe harbor. Sometimes these souls may be saved by other souls. The souls that have found their way home by following the true light coming from the lighthouse.

Lighthouses may act as a guide for us in our spiritual lives. The light in the house may represent where the strength in times of adversity comes from. We see God standing firm in the lighthouse guiding us out of the harsh dangerous sea of life and into the calm harbor of His arms. There is comfort and new life in this safe harbor. We are filled with joy and renewal.

Lighthouses may serve as an inspiration for art. There are people who paint lighthouses in beautiful watercolors. These artists see the lighthouse as an object to be admired and posted in a gallery or on a wall in someone’s home. The lighthouse in the picture serves as an inspiration to begin or end a person’s day.

Some people come to visit the lighthouse as a vacation adventure. These people bring their families and review the history of each lighthouse. The lighthouse may have been a haven for previous generations. The lives of these family members are wrapped in the history of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is a guide for these people to find the home of their family heritage.

All working lighthouses have a person that serves as the keeper of the light. This person lives and works at the lighthouse. The life of the person is one of solitude and great responsibility. This person must be aware of all the dangerous conditions surrounding the lighthouse area. His job is to navigate the ships and guide them to the safe harbor. It can be a lonely job.

Lighthouses guide us in life through symbolism and the physical world. For ships the lighthouse is a beacon for safe navigation on the way home. The rest of us marvel at the light that emits from the lighthouse. It represents beauty in the world and serves as a guide for us to find our way home. We are no longer unmoored.

copyrighted by Debbie Pierce 2017 All Rights Reserved

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Prayer About Refuge – A Reblog from Walk With God

Psalm 18:2 New International Version (NIV) 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. When you look around today does your world seem out of control? Everyone seems to be on edge. […]

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daily prompt inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi nature spiritual squirrel

Bitter: How a Family of Squirrels Won the Bird Feeder War

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bitter/”>Bitter</a&gt;

There is a family of squirrels at the bird feeder this morning. It is difficult if not impossible to keep the squirrels out of the bird feeder. Each day there is a constant war going on between me and those squirrels. I have become bitter toward this rodent.

Such is the way that events affect us in life. The battle with the squirrels eats away at my soul. It has become an illness in my life weakening me each time I get after them with the broom. To the observers in the house watching me chase the squirrels with the broom it is quite funny and they are entertained each day.

In an effort to make peace with the squirrels and repair the damage to my soul, I have decided to understand the life of this animal. In many ways it is a cute little rodent that is fun to watch.

Squirrels are small rodents that live in the woods. They come in a variety of gray and brown colors. The ones in my yard are light gray with big fluffy tails. The squirrel normally lives in a wooded area where there is protection from predators. The wooded area provides a place to burrow and make a warm pleasant home.

The squirrel likes to eat a variety of nuts, plants, and meat if it is available. A rodent with a well-balanced diet is healthy and playful. Bird seed is an easy food to obtain and apparently extremely tasty to a squirrel.

The war with the squirrels continues as I write this piece. We are at the critical point in the morning where the bird seed is gone from the ground. The time for the acrobatics has begun. Watching a squirrel scale the poles of the feeders is entertaining to watch. Climbing and sliding down the pole several times is the game of the day until the edge of the feeder is reached. The squirrel grabs some seed and shakes the feeder. This small amount of bird seed sustains him until the next round.

The second act is now upon us as the other squirrels attempt to jump on the feeder from the retaining wall. It is a bit of a distance but these persistent little rodents are successful in landing on the side of the feeder. The bird seed scatters to the ground and the squirrels on the bottom of the feeder delight in the prize. It is reminiscent of a pinata being broken and the candy spilling to the ground.

By this time the game is old and I decide to allow the squirrels to have the remainder of the bird feed. It would be nice if a hawk would come and scare these rodents away from the yard. Ah there is the bitterness creeping back into my soul.

My husband suggests that instead of feeling bitter each morning that I find a compromise that ends the war. Since negotiation with the squirrels is not possible due to communication issues I decide to take action that will be acceptable to both parties.

The first action will be to scatter a certain portion of the bird seed on the ground for the squirrels. There will be some seed near the feeder and other seed a little distance away. This will ensure that there is seed for them and the birds.

The second action is to observe what time the squirrels appear in the feeder. By changing the refill times on the bird feeder the seed will last for a longer time. The birds will have a chance to enjoy the feeder.

My last course of action is to watch and enjoy the antics of these rodents. They are entertaining to observe running from each feeder trying to win the prize of bird seed. If left alone to eat the squirrels appear to pose for photographs. We both win on this one since photography is a hobby of mine.

With this course of action the war will end. Bitterness will be replaced with joy and all will be right in the world again. The squirrels will have their food and be happy with the cornucopia put before them each day.

My soul is nourished and renewed as I ponder the possibilities of a day without bitterness for these rodents. It will be nice not to be running outside every ten minutes with a broom. My family will miss their entertainment each morning but there will be peace within my soul.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

 

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Exposed: Random Kindness Shines in a Dark World

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Our world is filled with acts of violence that make the news each day. It appears that the world is filled with evil and that there is no hope. Darkness fills the soul. But then one day a ray of light enters a person’s life. Someone commits an act of random kindness.

Acts of random kindness are committed everyday around us. Our world has become so jaded that it is difficult to notice small nourishing acts done for the human soul. This is an exploration of some random acts of kindness during a typical week.

It is a Monday and we are rushing to get to work or school on time. Everyone is in a foul mood and negative thoughts fill the air. The family is in turmoil until one of the children decides to give up their treat and put it in a siblings lunch box. At lunch time the sibling is surprised and a smile emerges on his face. There is a change in the tone of the day. The sibling decides to share the extra treat with a friend and the chain of random kindness continues. There is a ray of light in the soul.

Tuesday comes and the father feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. The company has announced that everyone will take a salary reduction in an effort to keep the company from having to shut down. The family is struggling to make ends meet and the father’s soul is beaten to the core. Walking around the corner at lunch he sees a homeless man on the street. Without thinking the father hands the man a dollar and his lunch. All of the sudden the father remembers that his family is together and that there is love in the house. Random kindness has renewed the father’s soul.

It is Wednesday and the middle of the week. The mother is doing the family errands. There is food to get at the grocery store. It has been a frantic day at her job and she is in a bad mood.  Someone has not put their shopping cart where it belongs and now there is a scratch on the car. Then the mother sees a young man running trying to collect the shopping carts and put them in the correct place. He looks frazzled and tired. The mother gets out of her car and begins collecting buggies and putting them in the proper place. The young man smiles and thanks her for this kindness. The mother smiles and both lives are brightened by acts of random kindness.

Thursday comes and it is a busy day for all the family. There are school activities in the evening. The youngest child decides to secretly pack a treat for the family to enjoy later in the evening. The tired family returns home to an unexpected treat. Smiles and laughter are now the order of the day. Random kindness has again renewed the soul.

Friday is here and the weekend is near. The family has decided to have a game night with pizza. There is an elderly person that lives near them and does not have visitors. The family invites this elderly person to their home to join them. All involved enjoy the evening of conversation and food. This random act of kindness has nourished the souls of everyone.

Saturday is a work day for the family. There is yard work to be done and the house to be cleaned. The oldest child has noticed that a family down the street has an unkept yard. The mother remembers that there is a sick family member and all resources have been used to care for the family member. The oldest child suggests that their family clean up the yard and take a meal to this family. The random kindness nourishes the souls of both families.

Sunday comes and it is a day of rest and reflection. The family gives thanks to God for all the blessings that have been given to them. The act of random kindness on this day comes in the form of saving a group of small birds from being the meal of a feral cat. The youngest child chases the cat from the fence where the bird house hangs. The youngest child’s efforts ensures the baby birds will survive another day.

Random acts of kindness nourish our souls in a dark world. Seeing all the violence in the world is a frightening thing that can discourage us. When we commit acts of random kindness hope is restored to all that we encounter.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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daily prompt happiness inspiration life lifestyles personal spiritual superheroes

Better: Superheroes in a Modern World : How Average People Can Become One

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/better/”>Better</a&gt;

Superheroes are popular in present day culture. There are movies, games, and comic books depicting the various adventures of modern-day heroes. There are many characteristics that all these characters have in common. I wonder if many of these characteristics would not apply to all of us.

Some superheroes have supernatural strength which enables them to perform incredible feats. One such feat is the ability to lift a heavy object with little effort. Lifting heavy objects can be achieved by many people after a considerable time lifting weights. In times of great stress others are able to lift heavy objects to save their life or the life of a loved one.

There are other types of supernatural strength such as the ability to deal with a crisis. It is easy to see this mental strength in a children’s hospital, a person with a disability, or someone dealing with an extreme circumstance. In these instances a person becomes a superhero. They have the super powers of courage, overcoming tremendous obstacles, and the ability to light up a room with a smile.

The next superhero power is the ability to spontaneously heal from a wound or other crisis. Superheroes are immune to physical infirmities of this realm of reality. Ordinary people have become healed in what seems to be an impossible condition. Some are healed of these conditions through modern medicine. Others are healed through the power of prayer and faith. In our modern world these people are superheroes conquering conditions that would have been fatal in the past.

chapel in strawberry patch park april 24

There are a few special people in the world who have been given the power to heal with a touch or a prayer. They pray boldly to God for the healing of a person or community. These special people walk the earth quietly and go where God sends them. This is a quiet super power.

Another superhero power is the mental superiority. They are more intelligent than the average person. The hero has the ability to resist the manipulation of other people. These superheroes may develop the ability to move things with their minds and telepathy. To have these abilities is amazing and fun to contemplate.

The average person can achieve some of these abilities through modern technology. There are computer programs that allow an extremely handicapped person to communicate and move about the world with only the blink of an eye. Telepathy is an ability that many people have with loved ones. The average person is able to communicate with their loved one without words being spoken. This communication comes with living and getting to know their loved ones.

In society there is a form of telepathy as well. Average people are able to read what a person is thinking by observing and interacting with them. Our body language is a powerful tool for humans. Often thoughts and emotions are conveyed by the way we move our bodies. Anger is expressed by a stiff body and a frown. It not difficult to interpret what these people are thinking. The same is true with a smile and a relaxed body posture. Although not always accurate this super power can be achieved by average people.

Some superheroes are able to maneuver in nature and appear to be able to control all things in the ecosystem. The animals seem to do whatever task they are commanded to do. This is another area that an average person can accomplish. Each person is familiar with the environment in which they live. People living in the forest or other area close to wildlife are able to predict what animals will do in the wild. By understanding these behaviors these people are able to use an animals natural instincts to accomplish certain tasks. The average person has become a superhero.

alligator on golf course 2 may 5

Another superhero power is the ability to control the emotions of people. They are able to manipulate situations by sparking intense emotions in people. Emotions are a powerful human force. This force may be used for good or evil. The average person has the power to influence others around them. A simple smile or a sincere compliment can fill a room with joy and happiness. The opposite effect will happen when a person enters a room complaining or filled with hate. All the people are absorbing the negative energy and soon violence will erupt.

Superhero powers are within all of us. The characters in our literature express a combination of many people. The superhero is fun to watch and live out a fantasy life for a few hours. In reality we can all be superheroes to the world. How cool is that!

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: Better

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Reflections for Earth Day

Immortality is an idea that most people contemplate in a lifetime. This idea is expressed in religion, culture, and nature. This is an exploration of immortality in nature.

The forest is an interesting ecosystem in the life it supports. There are birds and insects that have abundant lives on the food and water provided by nature. The trees and various plants thrive on the soil which provides nutrients. There is a continuance of the life cycle throughout this symbiotic relationship.

petrified forest water path 2 april 14

The trees have found an interesting way to immortality. Petrified wood is trees which have been transformed into stone through a process called permineralization. Using the ingredients essential for life the ecosystem is the way to immortality. Once transformed the tree is preserved for eternity.

In the mist of the living is the immortality of the preserved. Throughout the continuance of life these petrified trees witness the renewal of the forest. Every season brings rains, snow, scorching heat, and other changes in the earth that change the ecosystem. Yet the petrified trees remain the same.

The process of permineralization is a slow one which takes millions of years. During this time the journey of life continues and the forest changes. Through the years if the forest is allowed to progress naturally then the petrified tree will observe the changes from its original home. If the forest is destroyed by fire or other means, then the petrified tree is alone or moved from the ecosystem.

petrified wood april 14

What does this say about immortality in nature? Is life in stone renewal or is it just another journey into death? The answers to these questions lie in every person’s definition of life. I believe that life and death are a journey that must continue. Nature continues to change in life and every death contributes to renewal.

When the tree becomes stone it stagnates and does not participate in the renewal of life. Watching from a stone does not lead it to continue the journey that nature encourages. Therefore, true immortality cannot be achieved through permineralization. There is a loss of meaning and true death. There is no life for the tree beyond this stone state.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce