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. […]
Howdy Readers, Today I want to write something on kindness. It’s not actually a topic it’s just my views on what I saw today… First of all, let me begin with what I saw today. I was walking down the road just to change my mood and relax my nerves a few minutes ago. I […]
Our actions in life can make us notorious. Some people are famous for the jokes they tell and others are known for their kindness. In my family there was a great-uncle known for his tall tales. Jim was an average size fellow and a little overweight. He was an older man when I knew him and loved to sit and talk. Jim could spin a tale from thin air.
The community church would have a potluck dinner one Sunday a month. It was a wonderful gathering with a variety of food on the tables. Jim and his wife would join this group and often there would be stories exchanged in the afternoon. The storytelling would last for hours as each person told a tale. Finally it was Jim’s turn to take the stage.
There was a morning Jim went fishing at a lake near his home. The morning air was cool and the sun was beginning to shine on the lake. The glimmer from the sun made it a little difficult to see the swells from the fish rising to the top of the lake.
There was a small island not far from the fishing spot. It had tall trees with thick green leaves and some brush on the edge of the water. There was a large gray alligator sunning itself on the banks. The alligator had huge eyes and briefly opened his large mouth. He appeared to announce to the world that this was his territory.
Jim took note of the alligator’s presence but continued to bait his pole with a minnow and then threw the line into the pond. The red and white bobbin moved around in the water as the minnow swam around looking for safety. In a few minutes it settled down and all was quiet.
Relaxing on the banks of the lake is calming and nourishing to the soul. The sun was warm this morning and acted as a warm blanket. The sounds of the birds and crickets around you sound like a lullaby. It is easy to fall into deep thought or fall asleep listening to the sounds of nature.
Jim was almost asleep when suddenly the line jerked and the bobbin went down into the water. He stumbled out of the chair and quickly pulled on the line. The fish fought and was splashing in the water as Jim attempted to pull him in. In all of the commotion the alligator who had been watching this action decided to join the struggle.
The alligator moved toward the fighting fish and opened his wide mouth in an attempt to steal the fish. Jim was unwavered and pulled the fish back from the alligator before he could eat it. The alligator was also unswayed and moved in closer to the pole in another attempt to get the fish. This back and forth struggle went on for about ten minutes before Jim let the alligator have the fish.
It seemed that the battle was over until Jim decided to throw rocks at the alligator. This agitated the alligator and he swam to the bank to come after Jim. The fishing pole was the only obstacle between them. The alligator grabbed the pole and Jim began to fight for the pole. After much back and forth pulling action of the pole Jim decided to let go.
The alligator took his prize and returned to the calm bank of the small island. Jim was exhausted but not deterred as he grabbed a new pole and baited the line. Tossing the line back into the water Jim sat down and resumed his calm stance in the chair.
All was calm after this encounter and it was soon time to return home. The alligator was content with his prize and Jim returned home with a stringer filled with fish. His wife was waiting for his return with the food for the evening meal.
Jim waited patiently for his wife to inquire about the events of the day. She finally asked how the day had gone and he began to weave the tale. His wife laughed and stated how glad she was the alligator had been content with the fish and fishing pole. It would have been sad to lose Jim.
The group of people at the church lunch laughed as they heard the end of the story. Many wondered if Jim’s ability to tell a story was inherited or learned. They all agreed that being notorious for telling a tall tale is a wonderful blessing.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
I wrote about an adventure with squirrels on a Sunday morning in my bird feeders. In the end there was a truce called and an area was set up to feed the squirrels in an attempt to keep them out of the bird feeders. This is an update on how the experiment is coming along. The experiment has been a farce.
It was not difficult to pick a spot to set up a buffet for the squirrels. The yard has fruit trees that are not producing this year so putting the food between them seemed like a great option. Carefully laid out it looked like a nice addition to the yard.
In the beginning the squirrels enjoyed the new feast put before them. Munching on the cornucopia of bird seeds appeared to be a dream come true. Soon the squirrels invited their family and friends and the food ran out quickly.
This is the point where greed entered the picture. The birds coming to the lower feeders would savor the seed and leave some for the late afternoon visits. The feeder looked extremely appealing to a few squirrels and the truce was broken. I was again in the midst of a bird feeder war.
Greed in animals is much like it is in humans. So many times we see things and become envious. Contentment with our lives is gone and now is the time to seize things from where the grass appears greener.
Again taking my broom out the door to the squirrels I look like a cartoon character. Picture a woman in her robe chasing a family of squirrels with a broom. Truly a funny site to see. A new adventure each day as the family of squirrels runs to the fence, sits on it, and appears to be entertained.
The days pass by and there is a new character in this drama. I love God and He has an interesting sense of humor. Today is the day the hawk enters the drama.
My yard has a few trees and the bird feeders are in the part of the yard that is flat and covered with grass. There is no place to hide and to escape the squirrels must run over a retaining wall to the fence and run over roofs of houses to the woods to escape. My neighbors do not have trees because our neighborhood was developed in a field.
The hawk lands on the fence and the squirrels run when his presence is sensed. The hawk does not appear to be hungry today as he sits and observes the site. He continues to sit on the fence for a while and then flies off into the nearby cluster of trees.
The next day the squirrels return to the bird feeders bypassing the area set aside for them. Greed has totally taken control and now there will be no site off-limits to them. This persists for a while because I am out with the broom again.
The hawk reappears this day and now he is looking for a meal. The squirrels scatter and the hawk is on the prowl. He goes for a squirrel that has made it to the roof of the house next door. The hawk dives for the squirrel and misses him as the squirrel scurries into the covered gutters on the house. The hawk then leaves for the day.
The next day there are fewer squirrels in the yard and they mostly stay in their appointed area. The cover of the few trees provide a little protection against this predator. All seems well for them until the hawk returns this morning.
Again the hawk goes for his prey as the squirrel who has decided to come into the unprotected portion of the yard to eat from the bird feeders. The squirrel runs frantically toward the fence and scurries to the top post. The hawk swoops down and hits the fence. Both are unharmed and the squirrel escapes.
For the last several days the squirrels have not returned to the yard. I have removed their buffet spot and all is now peaceful in the yard. There is now a family of blue birds in the bird house. The song birds have returned and are feasting on the seed from the bird feeders.
The hawk has not returned since the last squirrel incident. He can still be seen flying near the yard in the woods across the empty field behind my neighbor’s house. For now the bird feeder wars seem to have ended.
My broom sits near the door in case there is another episode in this drama. There is a calmness in my soul as I listen to nature and the sounds of the song birds. The bird feeders remain full and all is well with the world.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
The morning was beautiful in the Grand Teton Mountains with the sun shining through the trees. On top of the mountain it was still cool enough for a jacket as my friends and I were looking for which path to hike down. There was one sign that indicated a one mile hike and the other path was a six-mile hike.
On the sky lift coming up to the top of the mountain I could see beautiful green meadows and a stream flowing down the mountain. This was a day trip and lunch was packed so my friends chose the six-mile path down the mountain. It was going to be a beautiful day to observe and be a part of nature.
The first part of the trail was rocky and the descent was a little difficult. At times it was a struggle not to fall and twist my ankle. The scenery was beautiful with green trees and dew still on the grass. There were song birds in the trees and my soul was refreshed by the sounds of nature.
As the day progressed the temperature began to rise and the heat began to settle into the day. There was now a field filled with beautiful yellow and white flowers to cross. The wind was blowing making the flowers appear to dance in the field.
This field had tall grass and the trail was difficult to see. I jumped several times believing there to be snakes in the grass each time the wind blew across the field. It was an adventure trying to photograph this beautiful spot without giving into the fear of dangerous wildlife.
Soon we came to the river flowing down the mountain. It was cool and inviting and there was a spot to picnic. We lay down blankets and unpacked our food. Our lunch was wonderful and tasted better to us due to the hike. Six miles of hiking in the mountains is different from the flat land and small hills in Mississippi. We were tired and grateful for the break.
After the meal we hiked some along the river bed. There were many rapids crossing the rocks of the river. The rapids had a certain calming melody that helped to relax my now aching legs.
As we progressed farther down the mountain it began to rain. The rain shower did not last long and the sun began to shine. We could now feel the humidity and the heat beating down. Finding some shade we sat down and enjoyed some cool water.
We were now more than half way through our trip and began noticing the wildlife close to the trail. There were squirrels and a variety of birds. As I moved closer to take a picture of some birds there was a bustling in the trees. Coming closer to see what was moving a moose came out of the brush.
He was a large brown moose and had huge antlers. We had been advised that there were moose in these mountains and to maintain a distance from these animals. They had occasionally attacked people.
The moose was approximately six feet from me. His size was intimidating and I was beyond frightened and almost in a state of panic. For a brief moment it appeared that time stood still.
I stood completely still as the moose surveyed me contemplating what to do. Then in an instant the moose turned and ran in the opposite direction of me. Not one to stay in a dangerous situation I ran immediately in the direction away from the moose. It was about half an hour before I calmed down.
My friends were entertained from watching this drama. They would recount and embellish for years this encounter with the moose. Many would wonder why no one thought to take a picture of this scene.
Nearing the end of the trail it was time to sit down and take a break again. We had reached the point on the trail where there was a barn with horses offering rides for a fee. Many people passed us riding horses on the trail wondering why we looked so tired.
Finally we were at the end of the trail at the parking lot. My legs felt like spaghetti and I was in pain. It would be several days before the soreness left my body. Still the scenic route down the mountain was worth it.
I will never forget my encounter with that moose. The precipice of that moment will linger for a lifetime. It is still a story that resonates at some barbecues as we remember our adventures in this journey through life.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
It was a humid summer morning in the military park. All around were monuments to a war of another century. In Mississippi there are no mountains and only a few hills. In Vicksburg the military park has a lot of hills with many twists and turns. I had decided to ride my bicycle in the park with a friend.
There is a huge difference in being twenty-five years old and forty-two years old. My friend was young and training for a marathon. Riding a bicycle on these hills was going to be easy for her. I had ridden these hills at a much younger age and now they looked daunting and frightening. I had many qualms about attempting this ride after so many years.
The road in the beginning of the park is flat and an easy ride. My friend told me she would see me at the end of the ride. The park is a circle so it would end close to this spot. So the adventure began.
Making my way around the first several twists and turns was fun and quite easy. Looking at the monuments as was scenic and fun. But soon the road began the twists and turns and the first big hill was at hand. Since it was early in the ride the hill was not as difficult as I had imagined. At the top looking down I could see a steep curve on the bottom of the hill.
I began my descent to the curve. It is amazing how fast a bicycle seems to go down a hill. It is a thrill with the wind blowing on my face. Slowing hitting my brakes the curve was made and again at the bottom of the hill. That was fun and exciting.
The next mile of the road had a few hills and again the scenery could be admired. All the monuments in the park have a story. On a cooler morning it is fun to recount the history and understand what the symbolism is in all the monuments. This morning it is a time to recoup my nerves and get ready for the next steep hill.
There is another bicycle rider in the park. He is training for a century ride in the Colorado mountains. There are several of these one hundred mile rides in this country. He speaks a greeting as he passes me and continues on the journey,
The next hill is on a circle that overlooks a valley in the park. This is an easier hill to maneuver with beautiful tall trees surrounding it. It is a beautiful morning and the sun shines through the trees. I love this part of the ride.
Moving on to the next hill gives me great hesitation. It is steep and leads up to an old ship from the war. This ship was one of the first to be sunk by a mine in the water. Having been restored it is now a museum. It is a wonderful place to visit and relive some history.
The day is hot and I am struggling to get up this hill. Panting and going slow it seems like only a few inches are accomplished with each pedal. The century rider is beside me and shouts encouraging words as he easily passes and hits the top of the hill. Finally after what seems to be forever I reach to top of this hill.
Coasting down to the bottom of the hill with the wind blowing it is easier to breathe. There is a place to sit outside the museum and take a small break. The water in the bottle is still cold having not yet melted from being frozen overnight in the freezer. Such things are a small pleasure in life when taking a break.
The remainder of the park is filled with small hills and places to reflect upon the journey through life. Since it is early summer the park is filled with wild flowers and green trees. The scenery is stunning and quite beautiful.
I have ridden over ten miles in the beautiful park and am relieved to see the end of the trail. My friend has been finished with the trail for some time now. Packing up the bicycles she stated that the ride was easy and great for her rest day of training.
Looking back upon the trail I reflect on my experience. There are no more qualms about this ride. It was difficult and fun. I am alive and excited to ride the park on the bicycle again on another day. Another wonderful adventure in life and nurturing for my soul.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
The Mississippi Gulf Coast has the most beautiful birds. These coastal birds live a life of luxury in the coastal waters. There is abundant food and few predators to interrupt the lives of the birds. The collaboration the coastal birds have with the environment is a wonderful thing to observe. It is a beautiful afternoon to have a picnic and relax on the beach.
Jess and I find an area that has some picnic tables and set up for our picnic. The coastal birds are opportunistic and will quickly grab any bits of food that fall to the ground. After a wonderful lunch of sandwiches, baked beans, and potato salad we clean up the picnic area and move to the beach.
The sand is white and the skies are blue with a light breeze blowing off the water as we set up the blanket, chairs, and umbrella. There is a cooler filled with cold drinks sitting between us as we begin to relax.
My eyes and mind wander to the pelicans and other birds sitting on the remains of the old pier. I marvel at how relaxed these coastal birds seem to be. The birds are comfortable in their environment and are just living in the moment.
Living in the moment is a wonderful thought to ponder. What would happen if I just lived my life in the moment? Would the world end? Closing my eyes this living life in the moment begins to take shape.
There would no more hectic schedules to follow. Living in the moment would allow me to just go with the flow. I could just enjoy what was going on in that moment. There would be no more rushing to get from one place to another.
Living in the moment would allow me to experience my senses more. The fresh smell of the air after a morning rain. The loving touch of my husband’s hand as we take our morning walk. The fresh taste of the first garden tomato of the season. The sound of laughter in my house.
When traveling living in the moment would free me from the organization of the trip. I could relax and enjoy the new sights and sounds of the environment. No more worrying if the sunscreen was in the suitcase or if the food in the cooler would remain cold throughout the day. There would be peace and a sense of excitement.
In my new passion of blogging and writing the words would flow onto the screen without worry of commas and spelling errors. Living in the moment would allow me to freely express my thoughts. The blogging topics would just appear in my mind without effort.
Living in the moment would help me to truly recognize the needs of the people in my life and also when I volunteer. At times it is difficult to know the needs of people. My brain will tell one thing is needed and the other person has something else entirely in mind. Living in the moment would allow me to just listen and learn.
The art of living life in the moment would bring me new adventures. This would allow the life around me to take on new meaning. There would be no more schedules to follow or plans to go awry. There would suddenly be a story to be heard in the things surrounding me.
Living in the moment would enable me to listen to the sounds of silence. To really hear what was going on in the world surrounding me. The songs of the birds would be louder and the words more clearly heard. The delicate sounds of nature and my breathing would be more clearly heard and understood.
My mind returns to the present and tries to comprehend how to collaborate my senses with this new dream. Do I dare try to live in the moment or return to my current way of life? Collaboration can be a difficult thing.
The comfort of the organized life is appealing and hard to change after all these years. Trying something new is a frightening but exciting thought. People able to live in the moment are something that I have always admired.
The sun is setting as Jess and I pack up our things from the beach and head to the truck. It has been a wonderful day and we take one last look at the beach and the birds as we leave. I take a second to just live in the moment and absorb the last sights and smells of the day. Life is wonderful and it is well within my soul.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
Mother’s Day in Mississippi is a day to celebrate all of the love and nurturing given to us by our mothers. Southern hospitality is being spread in many homes today. In many cultures the earth is referred to as humanity’s mother. God created and placed us on this planet so that we could live and thrive. The earth is a living planet that has a symbiotic nature with us .
Mother Earth is our resource for the food that we eat. The soil provides nutrients for the plants that are grown. The raw materials in the soil combined with water from the lakes and rivers provide the ecosystem for the forests that have animals to hunt. Without these resources to sustain us the human race would not survive.
Through the years many of the forests have been destroyed due to greed and short-sighted missions. Mother Earth is not able to heal from the continuous wounds. Our existence is threatened by natural sources of food and shelter being damaged and destroyed.
Mother Earth is our energy source. Through the natural resources that live in her we are able to heat and cool our homes. Coal and oil from the ground provide the raw materials for the framework of our society. Because Mother Earth is a living entity God has provided sun, water, and wind to sustain her. These resources also provide energy for us through solar and thermal energy.
In the industrial age steam was used to power boats that carried people and cargo to all parts of the world. The steam engine transformed how people traveled. This technology enabled the people to expand into places previously thought too far to travel.
Solar energy is abundant and renewable. Use of the sun reduces the burden on Mother Earth and allows her to continue to renew other natural resources.
In the modern age oil is used to produce gasoline for our cars and in many other products that we use today. Use of this resource must be carefully managed due to its finite nature. Mother Earth requires an extended period of time to generate oil. Dependence on oil as the sole energy is short-sighted.
Mother Earth is the source of our building materials. Through the land we are provided with wood, clay, and sand. These materials are used to build the homes in which we live. The land renews itself through a continuous cycle of life.
There is a price to be paid for the use of Mother Earth’s natural resources. In return for the resources and nurturing that Mother Earth has given us there is the responsibility to take care of her. God gave us this environment so that we may survive and thrive. Taking care of Mother Earth is the only chance that we have for survival. There are several ways that we can honor Mother Earth. We can repay her hospitality.
In growing our food we can rotate fields to let the land rest. Management of the land is important if we are to continue to feed ourselves. Overuse of the land has caused many crops to fail. There have been pestilence such as bugs and dust that overtake the land. Mother Earth is a precious living environment requiring our respect and care.
Poor land management contributed to the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. This was a hard time for the people who lived through it. Many left the land in search of life’s necessities. There were others that died from diseases caused by the dust. It took many years for Mother Earth to recover.
We can look for alternative forms of energy that are in harmony with Mother Earth. The sun and wind are energy sources that are renewable. Proper understanding and use of these natural resources can provide adequate energy for us and the generations to come.
It is important to keep our water supplies clean and free of waste. We can take the time to dispose of our trash in bins instead of on the land or in the water. Fresh clean water is essential for our survival. Water is an essential nutrient for life on Mother Earth. There is a limited amount of clean water to drink. We are called to manage this resource wisely for all living creatures.
God has given us the great blessing of living on Mother Earth. He created us to be the caretakers of this planet. If we honor Mother Earth and maintain our part of her existence then the human race will continue to thrive. The choice is ours as we honor our mothers on this day.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
It was the final day of working at this job. The road to retirement had been a long one and I was excited that this day had finally come. There was a cake and some balloons on the table. A host of friends and family attended the event and there were some tears shed as we celebrated the end of the long road. It was a wonderful day that came and went with joy.
The next morning I got up and began to ponder on what to do next in my life. Final is never the end of things. It is just a transition into the next phase of life. That is a wonderful concept.
I began to look at all the dreams that had seemed impossible in the past due to work and family obligations. Now the journey through life seemed new and exciting. All things seemed possible again just like when I was a young person. Now was the question of what was the dream to pursue.
Volunteering my time to organizations that matched my ideal world seemed like a good place to begin. As the weeks went by I began to spend time at many organizations. For a while this plan worked and I was busy doing odd jobs for these organizations.
After a few months this work did not match the goals that I had for my life. My life was consumed again and there was no time to pursue other passions. Final became another transition as I chose to work at only one organization and decrease the amount of time spent there.
The next passion I decided to pursue was fitness. It seemed like the perfect time to get into shape. Through the years my passion for desserts and other wonderful high fat foods had finally caught up with me. I began walking each day and revised my diet. For a while this was actually fun.
I learned to cook food that was healthy and tasted good. It was an enlightening experience to realize that my food tasted as well as some of the restaurants that I had frequented in the past. My food was healthier with less fat and sugar. The pounds began to melt off and my health improved dramatically. This was a good final in the health realm for me.
As a child riding a bicycle had been a fun activity. I can remember the sense of freedom at having that first set of wheels. The neighborhood had become an adventure and the hills of where I grew up were fun to coast down. Picking up riding a bicycle again was a fun experience. There were a few falls along the way. I never forgot how to ride a bicycle but gaining balance again took a little time.
My home is near a reservoir with a lot of trails for walking and bicycle riding. The trails offer a vast array of beautiful views. Riding these trails crossing the water renewed my soul. There was peace in these valleys and beautiful scenery. This is when photography entered my life.
I bought a small camera and began taking pictures on my rides. It seemed that every place along the trails had a story to tell. Taking photographs seemed like an excellent way to capture the moments. There are birds in the water resting on perches enjoying the sun filled days. The trees along the trails have seen many years of visitors and have been home to many forms of wildlife. The photographs seem to capture some of their stories.
I had never written anything other than business letters through my life. Writing for fun had never been something that I had considered until now. Looking at the photographs from my travels it seemed like there was more of a story to tell. I wondered if writing stories about the life around me might be a passion worth pursuing.
That is how this blog came into being. The new journey through life seems like a story that needs to be told. This phase of life has so many exciting twists and turns. I hope that most of them will be entertaining and positive. So far this journey has been filled with laughter and few tears.
Final is what we call the transitions through life. There is a final day of high school, a final day of college, a final day of work, and eventually a final day in the physical existence of this world. But for every final there is a new journey to be experienced. Hopefully it will be a fun and fulfilling one.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce
Our life is filled with mazes which can be fun or confusing. The puzzles that accompany this time of year are filled with wonder. Many students will be graduating from high school or college this month. Their lives will be a maze of discovery.
The high school graduate has been guided by their parents through the mazes of the school years. Each school grade has a set of content to be mastered by the students in the school year. Everything is regimented and there is a clear map to the end of the maze. This is a wonderful and fun time in life. School dances and sports will be remembered and talked about for a lifetime.
The day comes for graduation and the high school graduate is faced with decisions for the future. Which maze in life to take has filled the mind of the graduate for months and now the time has come for a decision to be made. Does the graduate go to college or a vocational program or perhaps immediately enter the workforce?
If college or the vocational program is the high school graduate’s choice then which school enters into the maze? For some graduates this is an easy choice having had a revelation of what to study early in life. Other graduates will have a difficult decision due to not having a clear idea of what to do in life. The maze will be more of an adventure for these graduates.
For the high school graduate that chooses to immediately enter the work force the maze will also be an adventure. The process of finding a job can be a confusing task filled with resume writing, filling out job applications, and finally the job interview. Successful navigation of this maze requires guidance and a willingness to learn from other people.
The next group of graduates come from the college or vocational school settings. These students have pursued higher education in specific interests and are now on the threshold of exiting the maze of school into the real world. The time to move into the new maze of life has come.
These graduates face the same learning experiences as the high school graduate who entered the work force years earlier. Their focus will be on a career path based on the specific interests studied in school. Like the high school graduate entering the work force a job will be found and the maze of life in the real world will begin.
In the next phase of life graduates must learn to navigate the maze of living in the real world. The parents of these graduates will offer advice when needed but the main focus is now on independence. This is an exciting time in life.
The path to independence is a fun maze to enter filled with twists and turns. Learning to live on a new income can be a daunting task. There is no longer the safety net of parental income. The graduate will learn to navigate this maze with pride and a sense of accomplishment.
Searching for the first apartment is an exciting adventure. The graduate searches for something within a budget based upon income. There are many different apartments with differing lifestyle options to choose from. This maze may be taken individually or with a group of people looking to share living expenses. Learning to navigate this maze is an exciting adventure.
The next maze encountered by young graduates is the option to get married following graduation or to live independently as a single adult. Both options hold exciting possibilities.
The young graduate opting to marry immediately has a partner to share the journey of the maze. The twists and turns in this maze include learning to live as a couple and possibly childbearing. The adventure turns to searching for independence and stability in the maze.
The young graduate choosing to remain single for a while may experience the maze of adventure. The young graduate may choose a career that allows for travel. This can be an exciting time in a young person’s life. There is the challenge of living in different places for a short amount of time. This maze requires planning to navigate the twists and turns of life. It can be an amazing experience.
Mazes continue throughout life. Choosing to go into life’s mazes with the sense of wonder and excitement makes the journey more pleasant. Some mazes will be difficult with many twists and turns. All of this is just part of our journey through life.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce