Morning Grace

Good Morning!

Morning Grace Cropped

What are you thankful for today?

…I know, some days it seems very hard to pinpoint even just one thing to be thankful for.  But for today – I am so thankful and grateful for each and every person in my life who grants and gives me so much wonderful love, unconditionally and always, whenever I need it.  I am blessed far beyond what I deserve!

So, thank YOU from the bottom of my heart – each one of you – for loving and supporting me – I am truly thankful ❤



Saved By the Friendly Smile!

     Are you someone who’s very outgoing, with a ready smile and easily talk to people you don’t know? If you are, then have I ever got a job for you!

     We moved across the country this summer, so I have spent the last few months seeking out new “stomping grounds” so to speak – the grocery store, the mall, the post office, shoe stores, fun little shopping places to just sight-see, etc.  I’ve had a blast because I love being out among people and love exploring new places.  Here, there is a plethora of little clothing shops, grocery/convenience stores, resale/consignment stores, furniture and interior decorating shops, as well as every variety food/drink shops/restaurants/casinos.  Except for the casinos, you bet I have been making my rounds in exploration!  Until this past weekend, though, the one necessary place for me personally that I had not visited yet was a church.  Funny how the thought of visiting this one particular venue would leave me feeling apprehensive and nervous.  Can you relate?

     Well, last week I decided it was time I dug in and found a likely church to visit.  Since I am a praying person, I dutifully called up God and laid my petition at His feet; “Please oh my Father in Heaven, help me find the right church to attend – one that has great music, comfortable seats, makes me feel good, and is preferably not very far from home – Amen!”

     After looking online for likely prospects, none jumped out at me.  Then a flyer came in the mail for a big church that sounded interesting, so excitedly I looked it up.  Wow – it looked and sounded amazing!  Good music, casual dress and there was even a plan a visit button on the webpage and I bit the bullet and clicked it! I entered the time/day that I would visit and hit the send button.  And the next day I got a reply back!  So, on Sunday, I strapped on my courage, carefully applied my batting-my-eye-lashes enhancer and pretty pink cheeks and smile, sprayed on my going-out half a can of hair spray, donned my confidence enhancing 4 1/2” platform heels (as I’m a shorty at 5’3”), my favorite dark wash jeans and flowy pretty top and away I went.

     Of course, I was a little late leaving the house after all the primping and as I was driving, my nerves chimed in with worrying little comments like “your shoes are too bright,” “your jeans are too tight for church,” “your shirt is too sheer,” “they might not like your makeup,” “your hair is too poufy,” and so on.  You ever heard those annoying little voices? Ugghh!  But once again, I called up God and asked Him to prepare the way for me: “Oh please, God, help me get there, don’t let me turn around!  And please help me go in the right door and find the auditorium quickly and please let there be a seat right on the end of an aisle that I can just slip into.  And please, oh please let there be someone to direct me if I get lost!”

     Now, for anyone who knows me very well, they would not believe I would ever be or sound that insecure.  But sometimes I am.  Yep, I am.  Downright pathetic sometimes.   How about you – ever struggle with those feelings?  Seriously, I think we all do, right?

     Well, I get to the church, I find a close up spot in “First-time Visitor parking,” and there’s a big door marked #1 right in front of me, and a slew of people are walking toward and through it.  Awesome! No problem, I got this. Central Cross Close up comp

I get to the door and a friendly gentleman opens it and gives me a smiling “hello.”  Nice!  I walk in and look around and see a ton of people milling about – yikes!! This is getting a little scary…now what?  Well…as I hesitantly look around, I notice that all these people seem to be smiling and laughing and they look friendly – oh…hmmm…I might like this! And there to my right is a big sign “Auditorium” and thankfully I enter.  Wow – it’s dim, it’s huge, it’s full, but the most amazing music is reverbing off the walls and beautiful colors are streaming the platform where a band is swaying and moving and singing and playing their hearts out!  And it’s loud and vibing and perfectly beautiful!  And they are singing about God!  And my heart is at once happy.

But I need to find a seat – oh no – where??? There must be a thousand people in here!  I begin to walk down the far right isle, my nerves jangling and a little claustrophobia grabs a hold of me.  Oh, God, I’m not going to find a seat!  But no worries – a nice lady with a big smile motions to a few empty seats inside her row.  Oh thank you Ma’am! I squeeze into the row, but find I have an empty seat on either side of me – thank You God – I will be ok while I get my first-time-there bearings – whew!

The music is fantastic and stirs my heart, my spirt, and reminds me how much I have been missing this the last few months.  I get lost in it.  The pastor gets up (in his jeans and button down shirt) and lets us know that he is not there because he is the pastor – no, he is there because he is a mess without God, just like the rest of us.  He’s just like the rest of us.  But God cleans us up.  All of us.  Yes, me too.  You, too. No matter who we are or what kind of mess we are in.  I feel so good.  My insecurities fade away.

     The service ends and I walk into the atrium wondering how will I find the welcome center to meet the lady from the email.  Eeeeek there are so many people and I can’t see anything! Hammering heart! Oh no – I must look stupid – and in my hesitance I’m getting in everyone’s way!  What do I do??? Maybe I should just find the door and leave.  Oh, but I really like this place, I really would like to meet someone and feel like I belong.  I need to belong somewhere.  Then I hear a cheery “Can I help you find something?” I look and there is a good looking, smiling, 30-something guy looking right at me.  He has a name tag around his neck and is in jeans too!  Oh thank You again, God!

     To make a long story short (or at least short-ER) he directs me and after the assistance of several smiling, friendly people, I find the Visitor area and more smiling, friendly faces.  The most lovely, friendly lady assisted me, loading me with info, CD, books, etc, and not one, but two big hugs! Wow – I feel so GOOD!

     Thanks to all the friendly, smiling, willing to help people, my nerve-wracking adventure turned into a glorious experience I will remember always.  And I think I may have found my new church home, my place to belong! Oh yippee-yay, I am so happy!!

     So, the moral of the story – and the job I have for you is this – be friendly! While out enjoying yourself with friends, coworkers, etc, be alert to those around you.  Reach out with your bright, inviting smile and give a friendly “hello” to someone you see.  You never know who might be feeling insecure and in need of a little encouragement or direction from a friendly face.  Who knows, you might just keep someone from running back home insecure and afraid – like me!  And you know – even better yet – become a volunteer and share your awesomeness with many ♥

Love and peace – Mindy

Central Christian Church, Henderson NV comp

We, As a People, Remember

On this 13th Anniversary of September 11th:

We, as a people, remember.

To all those grieving, all those who lost a beloved Mom, Dad, Wife, Husband, Partner, Daughter, Son, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, Niece, Nephew, Cousin, friend, co-worker, pet, or acquaintance, 13 years ago in the terrorists’ acts against the United States of America – your loss is important to us; America, as a people, remember, and we grieve with you.  May you find comfort and peace in your heart and may God surround you and envelope you with loving people to comfort and uphold you today.  May you know that God holds each and every one of your precious tears in His bottle, for He cares for you and your loss.

For those of another faith, or no faith – your loss is just as important to us: America, as a people, grieves with you.  We pray that on this 13th anniversary of the terrorists’ acts against the United States of America, you find comfort and peace in your heart, and that you, too, are surrounded and enveloped with loving people to comfort and hold you up today.  You matter.  Your loss matters.

We, as a people, as Americans, open our hearts, our eyes, and our mouths today as together we shed tears and words of loss and grief.

For we, as a people, as Americans, remember.

 We, as a people, as Americans, are the United States of America – and we must unite – from sea to shining sea!  With our hearts and minds united in brotherhood, we will raise our Star Spangled Banner to yet waive!  And through our Country’s dark nights, sharing our tears and pain we’ll forge strength, and from our strength we’ll find courage; with our courage we’ll seek wisdom and fight for Truth.  And United in Truth, we shall win Liberty, Justice, and Freedom!

In the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

The United States of America

Let Freedom Ring!

Re-define my Freedom of Speech?

Okay – anyone else out there dismayed at all the seemingly mean, insensitive, even outright heartlessly cruel comments and posts on social media these days? Good Lord, what on earth are people thinking?  I just don’t get how people can so easily and carelessly say such brutal, hurtful things, obliviously crushing each other’s feelings.

We see this kind of ridicule or “bullying” on teen’s pages regularly and chalk it up to behavior acceptable for the seeking-out-who-I-am teen years. Though most of us don’t necessarily care for this behavior, even from our teens, we have come to expect it.

What I didn’t expect, however, is this kind of careless crushing coming from supposed adults.  Reading comments under news headings this week my eyes were jolted open and my heart stunned.  Under a Facebook article announcing the Freedom of Speech Blog hand compnew Dancing With the Stars cast, I was blown away by comments of dislike, ridicule, cruelly dissecting the “Stars,” and outright hatred towards some of them, as well as the show itself.  One of the tamer comments that really bugged me was something to the effect of why do producers always put _________ with Stars that he can’t win with, why don’t they sometimes put the old ones with _____.  After reading that comment, I couldn’t help but wonder what the “Star” paired with _________ would feel after reading that.  If it was me, my feelings would be totally crushed!  To think that someone whom I have never harmed, someone whom I have probably never met, who doesn’t know me would publically call me a looser – What was that commenter thinking??? How could they publicly post a comment like that? And, again, that was a very nice comment compared to others.

No, I just don’t get it.  I wonder; how would any of those commenters feel if any of those remarks were made to or about them? Would they be upset?  Would their feelings be hurt? Would they feel it was just “free speech?”

So, this morning I can’t help thinking that this sums up the largest problem in our country today; the anesthetizing of Americans.  We seem to just blurt out whatever is on our minds, uncaring or oblivious to how it will affect the recipient of our words.  No, we don’t seem to care about the feelings of others any more.  Gone are the days of considering our words before we say them.  Gone are the days of putting another’s feelings before our own.  And sadly (I can’t believe I’m saying sadly to this), I haven’t even heard the dreaded “just kidding” after a hurtful comment lately.

 Yes, it would seem, gone are the days of loving your neighbor as you love yourself.

          Seeking some wise words this morning (from Wisemen, Scholars, etc.) which give direction on caring for other’s feelings, I came across a Biblical verse that seemed to hit the mark: Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV).

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

        Then verse 15 says: If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  That seems to be exactly what we are doing – biting and devouring each other with our words.

So, will we completely destroy each other with our words, with our Freedom of Speech?

          For me, that is too scary to think about.  Therefore, today, I am sweating out the worldly anesthesia I have allowed to numb my senses.  I commit to once again being mindful of other’s feelings, as well as my own.  I renew my efforts to think before I write or speak and refrain from making casual, hurtful remarks.

Yes, today, I purpose to love my neighbor as I love myself,

In not only my actions, but in my words as well.

Today, I redefine my own Freedom of Speech.

What about you – will you sweat out your anesthesia today?

Will you join me in a personal redefining of your Freedom of Speech?

Think about it, ok?