Good News in Jamaica!


A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve and share God’s message with those in various places in Jamaica surrounding Savanna la Mar (or Sav as we called it).

It was such an encouraging week and one unlike any I have ever spent.  To get out of one’s comfort level and have the sole purpose of encouraging, connecting and serving can be so freeing and helpful for the soul. The simplicity really struck me.  It’s almost like an America of days gone by with kids laughing and riding bikes in the street with this ever present sense of community.  We ate together in one of the communities called Little Russia one day and led the neighborhood kids in a rollicking game of the hokey pokey. Amidst what at first glance looks like a lack, after some time reveals rather an abundance.  There is a wealth of beach views, rolling and lush hillsides, delicious and fresh fruits, smiles, warm greetings by those on the street and uplifting songs in services. The heat of Jamaica paralleled the warmth in our hearts as we bonded with other brothers and sisters on this island far from our homes in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Georgia.  We bonded as a team and beganI think one of my favorite memories is the beauty of 30 Vacation Bible School children crammed on a bus, bouncing and singing praises to their wonderful Maker who made each and every one of them special.  Mission work teaches us to focus and to work as a team.  It teaches us to remember what is important amidst all of the devices and distractions in our modern landscape.  And it also teaches us the beauty in coming together for a bigger purpose, utilizing our time and talents in God’s work.

I realized I should be ever so thankful as a young and able servant in the kingdom with sufficient funds to have the opportunity to serve in a foreign land.  I am blessed beyond measure and I forget that all too often.

If any of our Good News Jamaica team reads this, I would like to thank you- for your hard work, for your encouragement, for giving a week or two of your life to give, serve and spread the Good News in a place far from home.  We worked as a team for a higher purpose than ourselves.

Love to you all, friends near and far, new and old, those I have come to know and those I have yet to meet,

~leah

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Guest Post!


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I had the pleasure of guest posting on the Living Behind the Scenes blog recently.  Please feel free to check out the post here.  It’s a resourceful blog for people in the music industry with helpful hints and more.  So, visit the site and peruse some of the articles if you so choose!

Here’s a poem I wrote today to say so long…

Into the wind…

As I threw it to the wind

My spirit felt more light

I wonder if I smiled more

Would it my feet begin to fly

Nothing gold can ever stay

Who’s hiding what is real

The fact that I can hurt

Means I’m still able to feel

 

father time is keeping watch

over hours and our days

they keep pushing us through moments

Without first resting on this page

What’s common can be lovely

What’s simple can be joy

What’s with all the pressure

To settle on a boy

 

I carried the weight on my shoulders

Like a milkmaid into town

Worried what they’re saying

Knocking myself down

Pinball spinning slower

Around the hairpin curve

Undocumented hours

To be a king, you serve

 

The mountains give direction

The sun crests o’er the hills

Welcome to the forest

Where no one cheats or steals

Whispers in the willows

The hollow tree, a home

The moss becomes a blanket

My pillow is a stone

 

In dreams I found a melody

That disappeared with light

I searched for something somewhere

For my goods I had to fight

If only I was something

I let myself believe

When I had it all along

Tucked within my sleeve

~lme

Treat mints


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You don’t know?

Inpatient, impatient

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

How could I not know?

Treatment center

Brother here, sister too

Anyone, anyone?

Hello hello, anyone there?

Flashback

Car ride needing something

So close to learning truth

The box of things sits on the first step for days

I debated

I only found out because I called to

find the address

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Why should they?

I didn’t have the title

Or did I

But I was the last one

Or so I think

Should I have known?

Could I have known?

And once again… trigger pain

Is it my fault?

Why didn’t they call me?

They blame me

Why would they call me

I was the last one

at the scene of emotional crime.

~lme

It’s Fools Day


Fools day

They look upon me with pity

Because I’ve no one on my arm

Why’s it gotta be

that I’m not real without someone to keep me warm

I have a lot of dreams

But they don’t mean anything

To anyone

To anyone

 

I’ll guard my heart

Better than before

Don’t let those wolves come in

Even when they knock nicely at the door

 

Simplicity is felicity

Burning out the dross

If I can tell you something

Lessons in the loss

Why chase boys

When there’s Less sadness in your dreams

Happiness is found

in unraveling the seams

I put my money where my mouth is

Invested in a risk

For you, I gave pieces of myself

Has to be a reason for this

 

I’ll guard my heart

Better than before

Don’t let those wolves come in

Even when they knock nicely at the door

 

The easy route was to toss it out

And burn the framework to the ground

Silence in the shoreline

Nothing’s safe without a sound

I’ll choose a storm chaser

Who finds beauty in unrest

traveling for travelin’s sake

who can be happy in the mess

 

I’ll guard my heart

Better than before

Don’t let those wolves come in

Even when they knock nicely at the door

~lme

10 things my parents instilled in me for which I am forever grateful


  1. A faith in God- it’s not their faith now, but I’m thankful for a foundation to know the Maker of the universe who holds my life and happenings in His power.  They taught me where to go for wisdom.
  2. The concept that church is not about a building- it’s about all followers of Christ worshipping all across the world.  It expanded my worldview that there are others like me loving and serving the world around.  No matter where I go, I will have family.  I have blessings I haven’t even ever met yet.
  3. The sense that I’m not entitled- I drove a Buick Park avenue I bought from my aunt for 20 bucks just to say we purchased it.  My brother and sister both had to drive it.  It was not flashy or cool, but it was a first car.  We had to learn the value of driving something to humble us while others got new mustangs and jeeps.  You have to start low on the rungs of the ladder or you’ll fall fast from the top
  4. A love and interest in people- my parents welcome people into their home.  They want to know about what they do and where they come from.  I feel their interest and enjoyment of people has become an integral part of who I am as a person.
  5. Buying from thrift stores and on sale is wise.  I used to be super embarrassed when my mom made us shop at Goodwill.  Now, it’s what all the cool kids do.  Go figure. We hardly ever bought anything new unless it was a solid pair of shoes.  Now I know how to live simply and how to find deals without being in massive credit card debt.
  6. An attitude of gratitude- My mom made us write thank you cards for gifts and thank the host and hostess for having us.  I know now about common courtesy and how that can lead you to have a lasting attitude of gratitude for all you have been given. 
  7. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes- I despise when my mom tries to get me to see the other person’s point of view when I’m angered.  Ultimately, though, this is helpful in not being a me-centric person.  She tries to remind me that my perspective is not the only perspective.
  8. A healthy work ethic- Because of them, I learned that nothing will be gained without some valiant effort.  If
  9. It’s all a fly speck in the scope of eternity- my parents taught me to focus on the bigger picture which will ultimately minimize my persisting cares and pains at heart in the present moment.  I’m grateful that I am not only living for the here and now.
  10. Less of a focus on technology at home and more on music, laughter and spending time together- I did not grow up with the internet in my childhood home.  I’m not saying the internet is bad.  I used it every single day.  But I’m also saying that we need to consider the time we spend with technology and whether it’s productive or wasteful.  As a family, we enjoy laughing together and swapping stories about our lives.  We find people and circumstances hilarious and love sharing our views of the world around us.  We always shared evening meals together at home and built community in a relaxed setting.  I hope to do the same thing should I have a family of my own someday.

So for all of these and more, I know I’m blessed.

~lme

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4 things you should never put in the hands of someone else


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Your sense of worth– this should belong to God alone and come from Him.  In Him you have meaning, not in someone else.  A human being’s love or lack thereof should never be something that fulfills or destroys you.  “We should not look to be filled with a mate, we should be filled with God.”  -Berry Kercheville.  

Your sense of happiness– they don’t get to be in control of that nor do they have the right to take it.  If the apostle Paul could learn to be content in whatever state he found himself, how much more should I?  “Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” -Abe Lincoln.  Are you choosing happiness and positivity today?

Your blood pressure– because they really don’t deserve to take years off your life either.  People will wrong us and hurt us throughout our entire lives.  We can choose to be upset.  Or we can pray for help through frustration and eventually come to a place where we say- they aren’t really worth being upset over.  God gives and then He takes away and ultimately He knows what we need even more than we do.  When angered, think… what can I do to serve instead of following the rabbit hole of how deeply have I been hurt?

Your faith– they can help you get to heaven, but they can’t carry you all the way and vice versa. Friends and family should not hold precedence over your relationship with God.  Putting Him first means putting all others beneath, including career, hobbies and entertainment.  If someone or something is pulling you farther from God than closer to Him, it may be time to reconsider that relationship. 

So take care of your soul.  Guard your heart from evil.  Stand firm in the faith.

~lme

photo Credit- thanks to Library of Congress photosream

Screaming at empty walls


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Photo Courtesy:  This Florida photostream

 

Screaming at empty walls

Anger slipped in the back door

She saw me sitting all alone

Distance is a subtle killer

when it meets a stone

Thought that you were someone

But I always overthink things

And now at an empty wall

For days, I have been screaming

 

All I ever asked

was a show of your concern

But your eyes were focused

On what you say you want

they all say they seek love

But their stories all undone

They just want the chase

And then they’re done

 

 

The pieces that you left behind

I will burn so slow

As peace to recompense

In the silence that I know

This is a dimmer switch

In which you shut me out

Your kind is so destructive

Then surprised when the gold doesn’t pan out

 

Happiness is not a gift

Delivered by one man

Respect yourself my dear

even if they won’t

Heed my words, guard your heart

I should not have let this horse run

I knew better than to love the west

The land of setting sun

~lme

Rest in Peace


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Photo Cred:  Library of Congress flickr stream

Rest in peace.

Ok this isn’t what you think, so don’t think I’m being morbid.  Peace.  Peace that passes all understanding that guards our hearts and mind as God tells us in His Word.  Peace comes softly at times.  And the most amazing peace is when you come to know through God’s help the right path to take.  Sometimes the things I thought would cause me to ache for months are much less painful than I expected.  Time heals and reveals.  Maybe there’s an ease in age.  The people who used to make me upset don’t rub me as wrong anymore.  And the peace in knowing that God will provide for me in His own time is super comforting.  Who else do I have to impress in this great big place but the Maker himself?  Sure I see others receiving blessing and their lives changing around me, but I must not be shaken.  I am one soul who knows that God knows best for me and will send me exactly what I need if I trust Him.  I have seen many friendships come and fade with the sunset.  I have experienced disappointment in others and the world around me.  And I’ve come through it with perspective and experience. 

I have watched my country continue to breed materialism until we are soaking in a self-sick and sin-sick place full of people who have lost their zeal for simple pleasures.  We can no longer enjoy lying under an oak tree in the summer or having an actual conversation without feeling unimportant as the other party continually checks their phone (I too am guilty of this).  Challenging ourselves to connect to the actual world instead of the digital world is something we should consider.

Amidst all of the annoyances and challenges is peace.  We can rest in a state of peace knowing that so much does not matter.  Not how much we procure.  Not how successful we are to our peers.  Not how beautiful our face is.  Not how lean our body looks.  Not how big our muscles are.  Not how hilarious we are on twitter.  Not how happy of a relationship we have with a significant other.  And not how much money we make.  For we are all on the same playing field.  And we are ultimately in submission to the Almighty who created heaven and earth.  One day all of these extensions of ourselves will fall off as we rise into Heaven to be forever with the One who knows us better than any person on this earth.  Work to be found faithful 🙂

2 Corinthians 10:18- “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”  Let’s stop caring what others think.  Let’s stop trying to attract the opposite sex or the big-name producer or the money or the fans.  Let’s just try to be commended by God and work hard at what we do and the rest will fall in place.  Live in peace.  Act in peace. Rest in peace.

~lme

Lyrical poetry for your mid-week


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Photo Courtesy:  Swedish National Heritage photostream

Green

~lme

I pack a punch

Right to the gut

With a song that I wrote

since I only had so much

I live in a world

You have never seen

Ethereal forests

Filled with evergreens

Remember when there was intrigue

In a disappearing act

Where do you go

When the others act like that

I sought advice

in comrades I knew

but they could not console me

in the mystery of you

I will strive for the higher path

No matter how I’m hurt

I seek comfort in someone else

To the man who won’t desert

Filling up the holes

Where the others fall so short

The one who teaches creation

Is the only one who can bind what’s sore

You don’t sing me to sleep

I do that on my own

The silence is my symphony

I won’t take water from a stone

Love must define me

But I must guard my heart

No matter how it unravels

I know I finish what I start

Thursday thoughts and things to think about (the “th” sound)


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Photo Courtesy: George Eastman flickr photostream

10 affirmations to look in the mirror and remind yourself today….

  1. No one, and I mean no one, gets to determine your happiness.  They can’t steal it or conceal it- do not give them that power.
  2. Even if no one laughs at your jokes, you are hysterical in your own right and will find those eventually who will love your humor and wit.
  3. No matter what quirks, glitches or funny personality traits you have, you are beautiful and belong in the world.  And anyone who picks out those instead of seeing you for what you really are isn’t worth your time.
  4. You never have to explain yourself to those who don’t truly care about you.
  5. You can only know what people reveal…. Otherwise, you aren’t a mind reader.
  6. Kindness is a way to live, act, talk and carry out with everyone you meet or have as blessings in your life.
  7. Words and actions must go hand in hand or they begin to cancel each other out.
  8. There’s gotta be a reason that the mind and the mouth were made as two separate pieces.  One should be used before using the other.
  9. Instead of talking about everything you hope to do…. Just go do it and shut up.
  10. Don’t ever believe that you aren’t wonderful, valuable, intelligent or belong in this great big world.  Because everyone does.  Sometimes it just takes finding your niche before it begins to make a little sense.

You are perfectly perfect…. So check out this perfectly perfect song 😉  I’m in love with Elizabeth and the Catapult right now.

Happy Thursday dears…

~lme