Through My Eyes – Life as a Black Woman

…the color of my skin is with me everywhere I go/
And where you’re permitted “yes,” I am permitted “no”

Through My EyesFull of emotion…sometimes the best way to articulate the racism of our world today is through poetry. Racism is not new. It’s always been here and until people stop living in silence over what they see, it will continue. If you’ve seen racism and injustice (in person or on the news) and you’ve done nothing, then you are responsible and accountable. 

…the color of my skin

Is with me everywhere I go

And where you’re permitted “yes”

I am permitted “no”

 

Does Anyone Care? Finding Peace in the Storm

The other day, in the haze between sleeping and being awake. I saw myself standing on the shore of the ocean (one of my favorite places to be). This massive wave was building and rising and coming straight toward me. It was much taller than me, tall enough where I should have ran, but as I stood there, I saw a hand holding the wave and I didn’t flinch at all. In fact, I didn’t feel any fear. And seemingly in a moment, the wave receded back to the ocean as if it never even approached me.

Close your eyes, the wave is right in front of you, you can feel the mist, hear the roar, smell the salt water and just barely taste it upon your lips. Yet this same wave, does not consume you. Oh it comes close and it poses a massive threat to destroy you completely but there’s One more powerful than the wave. -EE Winkler

This is what peace looks like to me. The waves are still going to come right up to your face, but they’re not going to be able to consume you as long as your eyes are fixed on Jesus. I’d like to say that I don’t know emotional pain from personal experience. But before the COVID-19 pandemic I was going through my own personal pandemic of sorts. I was asking the same questions that people are asking now:

When is this going to end?

When can things go back to normal?

Am I really going to lose my home?

Where will I go from here?

I’ve lost everything, now what do I do?

Does anybody care?

I would love to tell you that in a divine moment of prayer with Jesus, that suddenly all of these questions were answered but truth be told, many of them remain unanswered, except for the last one: “Does anybody care?”

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

To that question, it’s like all of Heaven screamed:

YES! I care! Can’t you see it? Won’t you choose to receive it?

As humans, we’re trite enough to equate “caring” with getting what we want, when we want it and how we want it. But the way in which God cares extends beyond just provision, it’s that deep down, heart wide open, everything exposed kind of care. It’s the kind of care where he sees all of the ugly mistakes you’ve made and still smiles at you lovingly as if you never made one at all. His care, rooted in his perfect love is available to you right now. No one else is going to be able to fill that void you feel within and satisfy your soul in the midst of this land of question marks.

The beauty is that in him, we can have peace for all of the question marks. We don’t have to have an answer for everything to still follow him and enjoy our lives. That’s what He wants for you and for me — to love him, love others and enjoy our lives. He can safely and securely hold all of our question marks and our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. He hears. He sees. He’s near. We don’t see him because we don’t want to see him but he’s here, there and everywhere. You don’t have to look for him because he’s found you. And he’s been waiting, pursuing, wooing you closer to his heart. It doesn’t matter the state of your life now or the mess that you’re in, you can come to him right now. He’s is peace. So you can’t pursue peace without pursuing him.

Rest assured, he cares. He sees your pain. He knows you’re tired. He knows that you’re worried. He knows every emotion that you feel that you don’t even want to admit. Come to him. He’s calling through the waves. Will you call upon him today?

Written by: Erica E Winkler

©Copyright Erica  E Winkler 2020 All Rights Reserved

Who Do You Need to Forgive?

One could argue that worst type of captivity is not the captivity that you can see, but rather the captivity that you can’t see. – EE Winkler

Have you ever stopped to consider, what is it that’s holding you captive? Is it yourself? It is another person? Is it a substance? Is it unforgiveness?

So often, we don’t realize that we’re bound up in unforgiveness. We just think that we are the way we are because that’s how we are. But over time, even small offenses will build up and have the capacity to do so much damage in our lives.

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Photo by Maria Shanina on Unsplash

Forgiving is the key to your freedom. 

I think that all of us can look inside and find at least one person that we need to forgive. Truth be told, it might be that you need to forgive yourself. We think that the things that people do to hurt us do not really matter and do not affect us, but actually they really do.

By not forgiving them, you’re actually allowing yourself to stay in a perpetual state of bondage. Eventually unforgiveness turns into bitterness and it will affect your life whether you want it to or not. You will actually not be able to love yourself and love others at your potential capacity if you choose to stay stuck in unforgiveness.

What does it mean to forgive someone?

To forgive means that you CHOOSE, not necessarily feel, to no longer hold the offense of someone else against them. I emphasize CHOOSE, because so often we think we have to wait until we feel like it before we forgive. But this principle is a faulty logic that we do not apply in other areas of our lives.

We CHOOSE to exercise even if we are tired because we understand the health benefits.

We CHOOSE to go to work, even if we don’t feel like it because we are committed.

We CHOOSE to be kind, even if we don’t feel happy because it is the right thing to do.

We CHOOSE to love others even when they are not loving to us because we are called to.

We make choices every single day and forgiveness just has to be one of those choices that we make. IF, and only if, we want to be free and remain free. Freedom always costs something and just because we are free today does not mean that we do not have to work to maintain our freedom for tomorrow.

What happens if the painful feelings come back after we forgive?

Sometimes, after we choose to forgive, the feelings of hurt, sadness and pain start to creep up again. When this happens, we have to remind ourselves that we have chosen to forgive and choose not to stay angry. This is so important because if we entertain these feelings then will find ourselves being bound up all over again. We must release that hurt and choose, even when we don’t feel like it.

So, who do you need to forgive today? 

Won’t you make a choice to forgive them? The freedom that you crave is well within your reach if only you will just choose.

©All Rights Reserved 2019

Look Up

Whatever you’re doing, stop for a moment to look up.

Seriously, look up.

Now, what did you feel? What did you see? What did you think?

Sometimes, we are walking about so consumed by what we see in front of us, whether literally or figuratively, that we become consumed with our challenges and difficulties because we give them way to much negative attention.

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Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

We have to be willing to put things into perspective within the big picture of our entire lives. Even the major problems, fall into perspective when you consider your entire life especially if it is not life threatening; and let’s face it, most of us have problems that are not. Maybe your problem is that something in your life has come to a crashing halt. An unexpected end.

A job?

A relationship?

A home?

You’re looking all around you and all you see is rubble from everything that has fallen apart and come to an end. But in the words of an amazing woman, who I so admire, Kendra Scott, “it’s not over, this could just be the beginning.”

When you’re tempted to keep a horizontal focus, I challenge you to force yourself to physically look up. The action of doing so, just may trigger something in your brain to remind yourself, there is more than what you can see right here, right now.

A horizontal focus tends to leave us so focused on ourselves and our problems that we actually forget that there are people around us with problems too. We forget that even if we don’t have something to give financially, the warmth of a smile or the utterance of encouraging words can lift a person’s soul far more than money ever could.

Look up, my friend.

I triple dog dare you to look up.

Stop focusing on what you don’t have and start being thankful for what you do have. If you’re reading this post right now, you are insanely richer than you know. Just look what you have in your hands. Look at the fact that you’re still breathing. Look at the fact that you have something valuable and special to share with the world, just by being yourself.

Look up, my friend. Look up.

 

Why Settle for Happy?

Happiness is temporary but joy lasts a lifetime. – EE Winkler

We all love to be happy. It feels good. I once had a history professor that stated, “everything we do in life is to make us happy.” It stuck with me. I pondered it in my head and I realized that there was a lot of truth to his statement. But I still wondered, is it entirely true? Are there innately things that we intentionally do for others without seeking our own happiness? Or do we do the things, to make them feel happy, because making them happy, makes us happy? Ha! Do you see what I mean?

There is a peacefulness that is found in joy and not in happiness.

But beyond the idea of happy, I believe that joy is something that can actually be a life’s ambition, a state of mind, a posture. When I think of happiness, I think of this fluffy, fleeing, feeling.

  • I am happy when I eat my favorite food.
  • I am happy when I finish my workout.
  • I am happy when the light turns green.
  • I am happy when I see a butterfly.
  • I am happy when I have a soft serve ice cream cone.

But have you ever considered, that living your life from the ambition of finding happiness, could be settling for so much less than what you were actually made for? What if we’re settling by striving to be happy? What if, joy is actual the greater ambition?

What is true about joy?

Joy can remain in pain.

Pain does not make me happy. I don’t think about pain and smile. But I can still have joy, even when I encounter pain. Why? For I am learning, that pain is just a tool that is used to transform me. And if I choose, it will transform me to make me better and not bitter.

Joy outlasts happiness.

The feeling of being happy, typically does not last very long. I find that no matter what people get or do that makes them happy, if you look at their face in a few hours, you’ll probably find them with a scowl on their face as they scroll down the screen on their phone. Is that what we’re really chasing? That fickle, fading, fluffy, feeling? Alternatively, joy is a state of mind. If we allow it, it can permeate everything we think about thus directly impacting everything we do. There is a peacefulness that is found in joy and not in happiness.

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Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Joy demands the marathon, happiness commands the sprint. Most people do not have joy because it’s difficult and it takes time to build. It requires a humility that most of us don’t want to submit to. Joy beckons to take one step at a time and not giving up, while happiness wants to measure life in sprints. Happiness yells, “if I don’t get what I want then I’m done!” Joy whispers, “I know there is more than my eyes can see. I will take one step at a time and keep going.”

We don’t have to settle for “happy seasons of life.” Instead we can embrace a joyous life.

What will you choose?

 

 

 

 

©All Rights Reserved

How to Find Peace in the Midst of Pain & Suffering

Looking for peace?

You may not be in pain today, but inevitably, at some point(s) in time in your life, you will experience pain and suffering. And at times it might feel so intense, that you wonder, how it is possible to endure. But the good news, is that none of us have to walk through pain and suffering alone. There is a companion who is closer than a brother, closer than a friend, closer than a husband, closer than anyone and while you are suffering, He’s standing outside the door of your heart, knocking….knocking….knocking….to see if you will let Him in.

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Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Religion has done an awful job at making God seem far off or making Him seem cold and distant. But the nearness of God is closer than your actual breath. The love of God was displayed when He traded the throne of Heaven to be wrapped in swaddling clothes in a cold, dark, stable in Bethlehem. No earthly king has ever been recorded to trade his throne of riches for a life of poverty because it is only the love of the Almighty God, that would cause such an action in order to make a way for His creation to return to Him.

For some, the Gospel of Jesus has become common place. They’re no longer moved by it. They’re no longer in awe of it. Their hearts have become complacent or hardened from believing. Truthfully, it is indeed a love that cannot be found upon this earth. For not even the person who loves you the most would endure what Jesus endured for you, nor would they be capable of doing so.

God in the flesh, beaten until nearly dead, unrecognizable for all of the beatings and lashings that He endured, then hung on a cross, naked for six hours, pulling himself up by His nailed feet just to keep breathing for every minute of those six hours. All the while, people walked by, mocking Him as He suffered on the cross for you and for me. The soldiers who stood nearby, divided His garments among themselves like a game.

We have never seen anyone crucified in real life. But it was gruesome and horrific. What motivated Jesus, to endure the cross and all the shame? You. Me. Every human being that has ever or will ever exist. His motivation was pure, complete and total love. He knew that there was no way that we could ever “earn” our way to Him or “work” our way to Him. There’s no laws or pillars that will ever amount to “earning” your way to God. No human being can do enough good that would make him or her acceptable in the sight of God. It is only through the cross of Jesus. It is only in accepting and believing, confessing and receiving Jesus as Lord, Savior and God.

He hung naked on a cross with His arms wide open and when He breathed His last breath, it wasn’t the end. He rose from the grave and He is alive. Only God Himself could do such a wonderful, love stained thing. Jesus is God. One part of the Trinity –Father, Spirit, Son.

If you think that whatever you have done has somehow made God not love you or accept you, I’ve got good news for you. God loves you and accepts you right now, just as you are. You might be full of selfish pride, or full of heartbroken pain, regardless, God loves you. No person is better than the other. God loves us all and accepts us all. Jesus paid the price for our sin. If you’ve lived longer than a day on planet earth, then you probably have figured out by now that you have sinned. And so have I. And so has every person. It’s why we need a Savior. It’s why Jesus came to this earth.

When pain and suffering come into our lives (and they will, in various degrees and various ways), we can either walk through it on our own and try and “cope” someway or somehow, OR we can reach out and call upon the name of Jesus. How true to His Word He is. When you call upon His name, He will not turn you away. He’s been waiting for you to turn to Him. Regardless if you’ve never called upon His name or if it’s been a long time since you have, or if you’ve never known the PERSONAL love of Jesus, He’s waiting for you. His love is up close and personal. It’s real and tangible. It is a love like no other. The only love that can carry us through valleys of pain, suffering and darkness.

We live in a fallen world and no person will escape the troubles of this life regardless of their status, wealth or name. There is only one name that is above it all and that is the name of Jesus. He wants to walk with you through the pain you’re facing right now. He wants to comfort you and give you His peace and joy. He wants you to know how deeply you are loved and accepted and cherished. You don’t have to push Him away. He wants you. You don’t have to wait until you go to a church building, He is wherever you are right now. You can meet Him, right where you are. You can tell Him your story and your pain and not live in shame anymore.

His presence, the presence of Jesus, is the blessing of pain and suffering. His nearness in a way that is unexplainable. His comfort through weeping that seems to never cease. His mercy to provide blessings in the midst of brokenness. His peace to calm and quiet our fretful minds to sleep at night. His love to cover over all our sin and embrace us in His arms. Oh beloved, take your heart and entrust it in Jesus. He will never break it. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. He has many good things in store for you. He wants to walk with you through this. His love can give you a good attitude, full of His joy even in the midst of suffering. Really knowing Him, makes you really love Him. I know I don’t deserve the love of Jesus and yet He loves me anyway. And you know what, He loves you too. Just as you are, disheveled, broken, smelly, fearful, however you are, He loves you.

Jesus wants you, do you want Him?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Poetry is…

Poetry is…

by EE Winkler

poetry is rhythmic healing for my soul’s delight

with words I reconstruct my day and build dreams in the night

in a matter of moments I can be anywhere I want to be

with a few lines or verses I write a new story

poetry is rhythmic healing for my soul’s delight

since my childhood it has not betrayed through joy or through plight

it has been there to right my triumphs and comfort my despair

it never leaves me wondering if it really cares

poetry is rhythmic healing for my soul’s delight

fueled both by sorrow and joy do they simultaneously ignite

a sputtering of endless words that somehow coexist

to help my brain take my thoughts and make sense of all of it

poetry is rhythmic healing for my soul’s delight

no matter where I am it has been by my side

with a longing to convey the emotions that bang on the door of my heart

it is poetry that has remained the train for my feelings to embark

©All Rights Reserved

Photo by Michael Mongin on Unsplash

Reframing Your Goals to Optimize Goal Setting

Don’t let your goals get you down, let them left you up! 

If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced discouragement from goals that you have set but struggled to achieve. It is not always easy, especially when if there are many goals that you want to achieve. But, through reframing your goals, it can set you up for a more successful journey. A journey that considers that starting point, the finish line and the space in between that I like to refer to as the “journey.”

Check out my video below where I give a more detailed explanation about how to Reframe Your Goals Today:

 

I would consider the “journey” to be the hardest part but also the best part of any goal. It is where all the action actually happens. If you don’t believe me, take a moment to consider your favorite book, movie or play. Why do you love it? Is it just because the character succeeded or was it because they overcame so much adversity along the way?

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Or is it because they were the underdog and no one expected them to succeed. Or was it because so many external forces effected their life in a negative way and still they found a way to overcome? Whatever the reason, I think we love these types of stories because we can see ourselves in the story. We relate to the character’s struggles and we too want to accomplish something great.

 

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Photo by meriç tuna on Unsplash

Below, you can find a little, simple poem I wrote about “reframing.”

Reframing

by EE Winkler

She said, “my life will never be the same.

Ever since I viewed it through a different frame

I took a different approach than the way I always did

and now more and more is changing and I really like it

There seems to be a freedom that I had yet to find before

and suddenly closed opportunities are becoming open doors

far beyond what I expected things to be

a simple reframing has set me free.

what I thought could never be has come to be

and now I see the world through a lens of possibility

simply because I help up a little frame

and placed it around my goals today.

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

5 Intangible Items to Bring on a Job Interview or Big Idea Pitch

Interviews…we all have them at numerous points in time in our lives. How do we prepare for them in such a way that we can be successful?

Beyond the tangible items, your resume, portfolio, references, recommendations, flash drive with digital versions of your documents, etc. — it is so essential to prepare and bring the intangible items. The ones that also require preparation, focus and sometimes speak much louder than the tangible items ever could.

1.) Confidence: it is an essential component to interviewing well or having a successful idea pitch. It is not only about confidence in yourself but also a confidence in your experience, education and abilities to meet and exceed the requirements of the job.

2.) Humility: humility goes hand in hand with confidence. They actually can compliment each other. You can be confident that you have the skills and experience to perform a job but you can also be humble in your approach to completing the job. By this I mean that you keep an open mind about how to best complete the job even if you are considered an expert in this knowledge base. A humble person can come to terms with the fact that they don’t know it all and remain open to learn and grow.

3.) Poise: it’s that cool, calm, confidence that’s undeniably attractive. Although poise is something commonly attributed to royalty or reserved for beauty pageant vocabulary it actually really makes a dynamic difference if leveraged in interviews or presentations. How you carry yourself, says a lot about how you feel about yourself so make sure you’re communicating a message worth listening to.

4.) Energy: it is so important to have a natural level of energy and enthusiasm on a job interview or when you’re pitching a new idea. Think about it this way: the interviewer chose to make time to meet you and to see if you are a fit for their company or organization. They are already interested and partially convinced about you, you just have to make them completely interested by showcasing your best.

5.) Positive Attitude: your attitude is one of the few things that you can control in this life. So let me ask you a question, do you have it under control? Positive people are not just born this way, they actually take the time to develop and train themselves to think in a positive way. By having a positive attitude you are giving your perspective employer a preview of what they can expect. Everyone loves to work with positive people with a “can-do” attitude. Are you one of them? Don’t simply have a positive attitude but let it transcend into your descriptions about your past work experience and your outlook on the future. A positive attitude is contagious and every employer wants a team of people with one.

©All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

When: Say Goodbye to Fear, Doubt & Anxiety

When – an inspirational poem to encourage you to say goodbye to fear, doubt and anxiety. 

Poetry is one of the most beautiful expression of words that I know. I first fell in love with it as a young child. I started reading poets like Langston Hughes and Shell Silverstein and I was inspired by the beauty of their work.

When is an original poem I wrote to talk about issues like fear, doubt and anxiety.

Rose photo credit: Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

©All Rights Reserved

5 Tips of Encouragement in the Growth Process to Achieve Your Dreams & Goals (+ What No One Tells You About Growth)

Watch what happens when you don’t give up…

What No One Tells You About Growth

1.) It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
The race will not immediately be over, instead it’s about making a commitment to make little steps over a long period of time. It might seem exhausting but with each step you are making a “step” an improvement, a stride towards the finish line and towards your desired goal, so KEEP GOING!
2.) Don’t Focus Solely on Appearances
It may look stagnant at times (but you’re either taking a step forward or backwards; if you’re doing the right thing, then you are taking a step forward so keep on doing the right thing regardless of it you can see the progress immediately.There may be times when it looks like nothing is happening. But keep going anyway. Don’t live based on appearances. If you’re doing the right thing, you might not be rewarded at every moment but keep on doing the right thing.
3.) Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People
Everyone’s journey looks different because we are all so uniquely differently crafted by God. You were not created to look like, sound like, be like, act like, etc. anyone else except you. God expects for you to be the best you not the best replicated version of the person next to you or the person you most admire.
 
4.) It Might Hurt – Growth Can Be Painful
 
There’s a lot of truth when it comes to the word “growing pains.” Often in order to grow and keep growing, we might experience pain in the process. For example, in order for muscles to grow, the muscle fibers must be torn so that they can rebuild themselves to be stronger, in order for a palm tree’s roots to grow deep into the ground, sometimes large weights are placed on top of it to force the trees roots to dig down deeper, and in order for beautiful spring flowers to bloom, they must first start out as a seed buried underground and must push through the soil in order to grow.
5.) Your Growth Can Stimulate Others to Grow
Your personal growth process is about more than just you. Although it may seem so all consuming about yourself, your dreams, your hopes, your future, etc; there is more to it than that. You have the power to positively impact the lives of others through just simply choosing to live a life of integrity as you steadfastly pursue your dreams. You don’t have to be called a “mentor” to be one. There are probably people that already consider you to be one. So keep going forward and don’t give up. In the end, you will reap what you sow.
©All Rights Reserved

Broken

via Daily Prompt: Broken

Broken

By EE Winkler

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Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

When you are broken you are at your best

still alive, you have withstood the test

humbled completely and compassionate

are breathed out from your brokenness

When you are broken the world is not as it seems

your lens is tainted based on what you see

and it’s hard to imagine all that you could be

but behold that there is a world of possibility

When you are broken don’t stay there

there is a Healer who desires to heal and repair

every broken place inside of you

with His Word he heals with peace, love and truth

When I am broken what my eyes can’t see

is His tender love that washes over me

His voice whispers to me and He calms all my fears

gives me hope for tomorrow and dries my tears

He holds my hand in my despair

and reminds me that His love has always been there

in my joy and in my pain

His perfect love pursues me all the same.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Dry

Dry

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

Beware of what seems barren, empty and dry

don’t count it off as dead when from there He can breathe life

from the dust we were made out of nothing we see

and from the dust He still makes beautiful things.

Don’t be disturbed when your heart shatters

for only broken things that are restored can grasp what really matters

what seems like a thorn that will not cease

is being shaped into a beautiful thing.

The desert may be all that you see

but behold there is an oasis, a life giving stream

not around the corner but in the desert where you stand

the Living Water is walking with you through the sand

The journey may seem long, dark and unknown

but oh the treasures He longs to bestow

if only our eyes can be opened to see

that there in the dusty desert He is walking with me.

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Affliction

Affliction

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Florian Bernhardt on Unsplash

Don’t get caught up in momentary woes

afflictions and trials they come and go

they have the power to shape our lives for the good

but only if we respond to them as we should

Some they blame affliction for their hate

and it gives them a platform for their complaints

but others see affliction’s tender blows

that births beauty, strength and growth

The afflictions of life they never cease

no matter your status or your wealth or pedigree

affliction bears its weight upon us all

and the truly strong at heart never crumble or fall

Afflictions in and of themselves are not a joyous thing

but when they are viewed from the right lens then great joy they bring

no affliction is never desired or yearned for

except by those who have tasted affliction’s rewards.

©All Rights Reserved

A Retrospective State of Mind

via Daily Prompt: Retrospective

A Retrospective State of Mind

by EE Winkler

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Photo by A. L. on Unsplash

A retrospective state of mind

doesn’t consider the future but only this moment in time

it gets swept up in the past and on momentary things

but neglects the joy that hope can bring

A retrospective state of mind

is determined and set out to find

something that can be gleaned from past events

something to prevent future hardships

A retrospective state of mind

in and of itself can be just fine

but coupled with a future tense

it has the power to make a lot more sense

A retrospective state of mind

contemplates on the memories that it finds

it has the power to be a strength or a weakness too

if you only allow yourself to see from the retrospective view.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Thin

via Daily Prompt: Thin

Thin

by EE Winkler

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Photo by patricia serna on Unsplash

     She looked in the mirror and said “I wish I was thin,”

“then I could be normal like my friend Jen

I wouldn’t be picked on about my size

and maybe more people would know I am alive

     If I were thin I bet I would be popular like those girls

the kind that are graceful and do flips and twirls

I wouldn’t have to worry about fitting in

all if only I was thin

     The measuring tape says I am too wide

and the scale says my number is to high

the mirror screams that I take up too much space

and the school bus seat exclaims about my weight

I really like who I am inside

and wish that others could appreciate me,” she shrugged and sighed

      No one knew about the pain she felt within

over her struggle of wanting to be thin

She never actually saw herself for the beauty that was

because she was too busy thinking she was never good enough

but she is brilliant, she is one of a kind

not based on any merit or credit earned over time

but simply because she’s a unique creation of God

His treasure and beloved, will she ever know this thought?

© All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Life Without Laughter?

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

Life Without Laughter?

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

A life without laughter is not really a life

but simply an existence in the world does one abide

laughter is the medicine to our souls

to provide some relief in the midst of troubles and woes

A life without laughter is not really a life

without any real joy dwelling inside

when the serious matters are taken too seriously

how can one live life as it was meant to be

A life without laughter is not really a life

void of anything lasting it lives only to survive

take a moment to laugh in the middle of high stress

and a smile will calm your mind and give you a moment of rest

The power of laughter one cannot negate

it can give you the energy you need after a long day

it’s better with friends and those you love

to share a little bit of laughter and a lot of love.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Travels to Israel: The Garden of Gethsemane & Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony)

Although it is said that the exact location of the Garden of Gethsemane is unknown, there are many reasons that point to this location being the most likely location of where it would have been.

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     The Garden of Gethsemane was full of olive trees and the literal translation actually means “olive press.” The olives that were harvested from this garden were pressed to make olive oil that was of such high quality that it was reserved for kings. Is it any wonder that this is where Jesus was praying the night before His crucifixion? He was about to be pressed like these olives for the sins of all mankind.
     Today, if you choose to visit the Garden of Gethsemane (which I highly recommend if you are visiting Jerusalem, it is worth it), then you will still find a garden of olive trees* that are indeed thousands of years old.
     There is also a church called the “Church of All Nations” or Basilica of the Agony. It is absolutely stunning. From the outside, the large columns protrude from the building and a large colorful painting covers the top front part of the church building. You can look up at it but I definitely recommend crossing the street to get a better view.
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The church photo taken from across the street.
    At the entrance, there is a sculpture of an olive tree constructed from iron that you can’t miss as you enter the church. As I walked in the church I was in awe of the beautiful purple stained glass windows, the colorful array of mosaics and the massive dome that is the canvas to even more elaborate paintings.
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    The church is dark inside for the purpose of remembering that this is the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that Jesus prayed in such deep sorrow before He was handed over to be crucified. The Word describes it best.

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46

     This was definitely worth visiting and I am so grateful that I got to visit it in person. If you have the opportunity and you’re interested, I would definitely add this as a place to visit.
*Factoid: olive trees can live and produce fruit for literally thousands of years. Ponder: could some of these trees been the same trees that existed when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

Rivulets

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

Rivulets

by EE Winkler

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Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

I was walking in darkness I could not see

until I was awakened to His truth about what He has done for me

It was a day that I won’t forget

He was knocking on my heart and I let Him in

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Within His kingdom there is a place

for anyone and everyone that will profess His name

not as slaves but as children to the Father’s love

a love greater than any other I cannot completely fathom

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Grace, grace is what He gave

paid by the His body broken and blood poured out to save

Love, love is found in His name

purer than any other all for love to this earth He came

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

©All Rights Reserved

Authentic You (an inspirational & motivational poem)

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

Authentic You

by EE Winkler

There is only one authentic you

not another one could do what you do

uniquely created by God’s loving hands

whose good thoughts about you outnumber the sand

There is only one authentic you

shaped and molded for good things to do

with a plan and purpose for your life

you can live at peace knowing God is right by your side

There is only one authentic you

perhaps you need to see yourself from another view

stop focusing on all the negativity

but see your potential and the possibilities

There is only one authentic you

beautiful, brilliant and accepted too

you will never be able to measure the depth of how you’re loved

with a love so deep that a billion words would never be enough

to describe the magnitude of His love for you

it would make you love yourself  and your neighbor too

There is only one authentic you

oh the peace if you only knew

that there has never been and never will be

another person just like you or me

you might find a twin

or have familiar looking kin

but none of this will change what’s true

that there is still only one authentic you.

©All Rights Reserved

 

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Parallel Lives

via Daily Prompt: Parallel

 

Parallel Lives

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Javier Graterol on Unsplash

We were walking parallel lives

but from two different parts of the globe in time

each traveling round on roads unknown

to learn about life outside of our home

while others around us stayed in their comfort zone

we destined out to unafraid and alone

We were walking parallel lives

each within the same lifetime

yet with all of the places that we trekked

we still somehow never met

we were both being shaped and prepared

for one another and the love we’d share

like a harvest there would come a time

when the fruit would finally appear on the vine

We were walking parallel lives

until suddenly our worlds collide

some might describe it as a cute first meet

while others say it was simply meant to be

you reached out your hand and I reached out mine

two parallel lines became one life

with all the years I waited for you

in a moment a thousand prayers came true.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Daily Prompt: Fret

via Daily Prompt: Fret

Why Fret?

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Nikhil Mitra on Unsplash

Why fret and worry your life away?

when one worry will not gain you an extra day

we only must live this life to the full

and make the most of every moment to do good

Why fret and worry your life away?

it does no good to get so carried away

on the things that are beyond our control

we can only have faith and trust as they unfold

Why fret and worry your life away

there’s more to this life than words can convey

have you ever seen a bird worry with a furrowed brow?

searching for food and hoping to build it’s house?

Does a bird have more faith then you?

To believe that God will provide it with food

Why fret and worry your life away

you are treasured and loved just as you are today

simply have faith and believe

that the God unseen will provide your every need.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Daily Prompt: Song

via Daily Prompt: Song

A Song for You

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Sergei Akulich on Unsplash

She wakes up in the morning

tosses and turns while she rubs her eyes

The sun is shining on her face

through the window pane so bright

There’s no telling what this day will bring

but she awakes with a smile in the presence of her King

And she sings…

“I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you”

With a few steps out of bed she pours a cup of ‘Joe

and gets herself dressed from head to toe

With one last glance in the mirror she heads out the door

“here we go,” she says with a smile and on her way she goes

She stares up at the pale blue sky

and whispers, “if you’re listening I hope this one makes you smile,”

“I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you”

She never would have guessed it that this very day

would be the last one of this earth before her heart gave way

A sudden accident and in an instant she was lifeless and cold

but when she opened her eyes again, her King, she could behold.

And she smiled said…

I wanna sing a song for you

I wanna make every line a melody so true

I wanna sing a song for you

cuz you gave me this voice and singing is what I do

oh, ohhhh, a song for you

©All Rights Reserved

 

Glimmer – Daily Prompt

Glimmer

Glimmer

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

a single flame that lights our way home

just a small flicker, a gentle light

that takes us onward through the night

Watch it glimmer watch it glow

we only see a little but still we know

there’s a purpose behind this journey we take

and very soon we will see more of the way

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

our story still continues to unfold

the flame dances as the wind blows strong

we walk slow and steady and carry on

the night is dark but our flame glows bright

keeping us with our vision and our sight

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

just a little longer, we’re almost home

we press on though weary and tired

we know this journey will be worth it when we arrive

Watch it glimmer, watch it glow

this single flame it seems to know

that there’s a reason why we’re rushing home through the night

someone awaits for us to behold Him with our eyes

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

Daily Prompt: Disrupt

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt 

A Sleeping Lion

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Johanneke Kroesbergen-Kamps on Unsplash

Shh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

he’s stretched out reclined in his den

but with one shout you’ll find him awake again

his eyes will open slowly like a shade

to reveal his large golden eyes glistening beneath his mane

Shhh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

although he might look like a cuddly friend

he’s the king of the jungle and he’ll make sure you know it

with a single pounce he can jump over 10 feet

and there before our eyes the lion will be

our feet are not fast enough to outrun his

and if it was a race, well the lion would win

Shhh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

all around him his pride is sleeping

but with his orders you’ll find them creeping

seeking a prey for their dinner to be

when the lion awakes he’ll be alert and hungry

Shhh…be very quiet

whisper, don’t shout

there’s a sleeping lion we don’t want to disrupt

©All Rights Reserved

7 Strategies for Starting a New Career & Making a Career Change

Starting a new career or making a career change is not always an easy transition. It takes courage to step out in the first place and then endurance to keep going in pursuing your goals and dreams.

7 Strategies for Starting a New Career & Making a Career Change

1.) Humility: Walking into a new career with humility speaks volumes. It shows that you have an open mind, you’re eager to learn and willing to start from the bottom. It’s true, that you will not be the expert, but humility will pave the way to success.

2.) Teachability: How easily can you be taught? Is it difficult for you or do you see something that you can learn from anyone and everyone. We must be eager and willing to learn, regardless of whom is teaching us. In a new career, this is essential since almost everyone who’s been working in that field a day longer than you will have something to teach you.

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3.) Patience: Success does not happen overnight and starting a new career requires an extra degree of patience because it’s almost like starting over again. But success is a process. Day by day, you’re making progress if you stay diligent, committed and keep putting in your best.

4.) Disciplined Focus: Don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked but rather remember why you started in the first place. Get disciplined by creating a schedule for yourself in order to make ample time for your new tasks, responsibilities and independent learning. Focus on what you want to achieve and don’t let your failures weigh you down. Instead, use them as teachable moments to take you further.

5.) Adaptability: Your willingness, eagerness and speed to adapt will make a dynamic impact on your overall progress. Are you willing to accept that there will be differences, there will be things you did not expect (both good things and bad things), there will be obstacles to overcome and there will be opportunity.

6.) Positive Attitude: You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control your reaction to them. To have a positive attitude is something you must practice. See the best in every circumstance and try to find something positive. Choose to let difficulties make you better and not bitter.

7.) Courage: The voice of fear will always try to keep you bound and rob you from achieving your dreams. But having the courage to see the fear and do it anyway says a lot about your character. Courage in the midst of fear is like paving the road for possibility just simply taking the first steps.

 

©All Rights Reserved

5 Lessons in Character Building from ‘Black Panther’ (the movie)

Perhaps you’ve seen the movie Black Panther. Was it just a movie to you or did you glean anything insightful from this feature film? 

Valuable life lessons exist in a myriad of contexts and feature films are no exception to this principle. I was excited to see the movie Black Panther and after I saw it, I was not disappointed. It was a great movie! But not only was it entertaining for me, but it was also insightful.

Here are some things that I gleaned from the movie:

5 Lessons in Character Building from Black Panther (the movie)

1.) Community — in the movie you see a deep rooted sense of community that’s held together in times of celebration and defeat. We all need community — essentially, people that are in our corner and who have our back through success and failures. Your community can be your family, colleagues, friends etc.

2.) Sacrifice — nothing good in life is achieved without sacrifice. It’s actually what makes a story interesting and in the movie you see that sacrifice is a vital component of overcoming obstacles. From time to time we too have to make sacrifices in order to achieve our desired goals. Sacrificing by waking up early to run, sacrificing by working extra hours to complete a project, sacrificing your career to stay at home with your kids, etc. But the positive sacrifices will always reap a reward in due time.

3.) Justice — it’s something we all inwardly crave; this deep desire to make the what’s wrong right. In the movie we see that when the Black Panther loses the battle, for many of the people of Wakanda, they seek justice. They seek for the wrong to be made right. In our lives, we must let our desire for justice not just be used to benefit our own lives but also the lives of those around us.

4.) Integrity — doing the right thing at all times. In the movie, we see the integrity of the Black Panther shine through because he does the right thing even when it would be easy and acceptable to do the wrong thing. At the end of the movie, we even see him willing to make some changes and speak at the UN in order to offer the resources of Wakanda to benefit other nations. We also must be people of integrity, committed to doing the right thing even if it’s not popular or common. We must not compromise our integrity.

5.) Love — an essential part of any good character, love is what makes it all worth it and the driving force. Especially if it’s a love that it unconditional and selfless and truly seeking the greater good of whomever is the object of your affection. This type of love is what kept people fighting for what it right until the end. And ultimately, love conquers all. If you let love lead your life then it will affect every area of your life in a positive way and most certainly build your character.

      Character-building is an ongoing process but thankfully there are so many opportunities for us to learn and grow on a daily basis. What character-building traits did you find in the film?

Photo by Chris Leggat on Unsplash

Daily Prompt: Radiant

via Daily Prompt: Radiant

Radiant

by EE Winkler
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Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

His love is so radiant it shines so bright

too brilliant to see with the naked eye

beyond our comprehension our minds cannot grasp

His eternal love that always was and is and never will run dry

His love is so radiant it dazzles more than any star

it has no limit and it covers everyone near and far

there’s no way to measure His love so divine

so pure and perfect by design

Just as you are you are accepted by Him

His radiant love has covered your sin

a free gift open to all

whosoever will answer His call

Not with condemnation did He come

but with arms open wide on a cross He hung

forever don’t forget His open embrace

His love so radiant that He came to save

©All Rights Reserved

Never Again

An original poem inspired by #NeverAgain 

Never Again 

by EE Winkler

Now ain’t the time to stay seated

we’re rising up…

Now ain’t the time to stay silent

we’ve had enough

Haven’t enough lives been lost

Isn’t it time we count the cost

If we really want to live a life that matters

Then we need to start speaking up

Never again are we going to let this happen

Never again on our watch…

 

 

©All Rights Reserved

I’m Speaking for Her (a poem inspired by International Women’s Day 2018)

Although one day is designated to celebrate International Women’s Day, this is something we can choose to see, embrace, support and celebrate every single day of the year.

I wrote this poem on International Women’s Day 2018. I am inspired by the movement of so many women who have come before me and paved the way and I’m ready to lay some pavement for my generation to make this world a better place for those after me.

I’m Speaking for Her

by: EE Winkler

Every woman has a voice

Every woman has a name

Every woman has a purpose to fulfill today

It’s time we start embracing the truth within our hearts

You were created so beautiful with a purpose, a role, a part

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

If we want to make this world a better place

Then it’s going to have to start with us today

We’re going to speak out for justice

We’re going to speak out in love

We’re going to speak with compassion

We’re going to shine with a light from above

We’re done with the sidelines, we’re kissing them goodbye

Cause I have a voice and I’m using it tonight

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

We are not guaranteed tomorrow

We only have this day

It’s time we seize this moment

And make the most of this day

What are we doing that matters?

What are we doing that counts?

We’re speaking out against injustice, and we’re speaking out right now

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

© All Rights Reserved

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Are You Ready to TESTIFY? “Master, I Want to See”

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Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash
What if the one thing that’s standing in the way of your testimony is you? What if you are the one that God is waiting for to participate with Him? What if we’re waiting on His timing, only to discover that He is waiting on us.
We cry out for help and healing and he’s ready to do it but we are not. Sometimes there is some sort of resistance in our lives. Maybe pride? Maybe unbelief? Maybe unforgiveness? Maybe hopelessness? Perhaps we are relying on our own understanding or past experience or present circumstances instead of relying completely on Christ. And so, He waits.
Is there anything in your life today that God may be ready to heal but that He’s waiting for you on? Cry out to Him. He’s listening. If you’re a human being on this earth, He loves you regardless of who you are.
In the story of blind Bartimaeus we read the story of a blind man sitting by the roadside who calls out to Jesus. Even when other people tell him to be quiet, he still cries out even louder until Jesus calls Him over and asks Him something so beautiful,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
What if Jesus is asking you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” Are you honest enough to tell him what you really need? Bartimaeus didn’t sugar coat it, at the heart of his blindness he just said what he desired, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?

The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!

 Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”

Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.”

Mark 10: 51-52

Could it be that the obstacle is not God or someone else but you? Could it be that today is our day where we lift up our hands to him, humble our hearts and profess to Him, I’m ready now. “Master, I want to see!”
Are you ready to testify? I am. 

Choose Love

“Love is a choice. Beyond feelings, beyond a moment in time, it’s a daily deliberate decision to choose to love.  But in order to be able to love like this, you must first know how much you are already loved by Him.”  -EE Winkler

Choose Love

An original poem by EE Winkler

Choose Love when your enemy spits in your face

criticizes you and calls you harsh names
Choose Love when hatred feels like a fiery flame
seeking to destroy you and your name
Choose Love when everyone else is choosing to hate
with excuses that seek to justify their pain
Choose Love when every door is closing to you
you can open a door with kindness to a stranger caught aloof
Choose Love when your soul is in pain
when loving seems to be all in vain
Choose Love when the world seems calm
and when life serenades over you like a pillowy balm
Choose Love when the sun sets on your season
and you have to find in hard work a brand new meaning
Choose Love when there is no friend in sight
and you find yourself crying through sleepless nights
Choose Love when it all closes in like a storm
and you’re left with a sadness like never before.
Choose Love when it’s hard and not easy to do
in choosing you’ve selected the greatest option for you
Choose Love when a day turns into a night
and the hardest thing to do is just stay alive
Choose Love when no one believes in the truth
listen closely Love is rooting and cheering for you
Choose Love when it’s not popular or in style
you’ll find it’s always the better choice to go the second mile
Choose Love when it’s hard to persevere
when the going gets tough and the end is near
Choose Love when things don’t go your way
there’s a plan for you just wait and pray
Choose Love when you’re ready to give up
hang in there a little longer – beyond the corner is the mountaintop
You can love because He has first loved you…
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For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

An original poem by EE Winkler. Don’t ever, ever give up. 

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

EE Winkler

For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Stop for a moment and consider the ant
watch how steadily and diligent he moves
to carry up to 10 times his weight over hills and grooves
you won’t hear him whimper or complain
but slowly, slowly he builds his place
no matter how small each item seems
it all adds up in the greater scheme
For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Consider the smallest plant
that starts as a seed buried underground
concealed in darkness it can’t be found
yet diligently it extends its roots
then out from the ground it moves
just a little glimpse of green but everyday
you’ll see the plant growing in the sun rays
For all the times you hear “I can’t
Consider this little chant
I can, I can, and yes I will
onward I’ll tarry across rivers and uphills
until I’ve reached the end of the race
I can, I will for all my days.
In Video:

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash (2nd image)

Don’t Let This Moment Pass You By–Making the Most of Time

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Photo by Crew on Unsplash
It’s gone. That moment when you first read this title. It has passed you by and it will never come back again. I think that we lose sight of the ugly truth about time. Time is the most expensive commodity in this world and yet we waste it. We find ourselves being distracted by things that don’t matter. Distracted by things that at the end of our lives, will not be something that we recall to mind. Yet although we know these distractions exist and we’re irritated that they exist, we still nurture or pacify their existence.
But what if we starting reclaiming the hours, minutes and seconds of our time back? What if we were more intentional about our investment in the way that we spend our time? Not for the sake of getting more done, but rather for the sake of living a life that brings more fuliment and meaning to our existence.
Time has no meaning outside of relating it to someone higher than ourselves. The Creator of time and the ruler of time. The One who designated a time for us to come into the world and a time for us to leave the world. The One who simultaneously sees our whole lives from beginning to end. At the end of our lives, what will He have to say about our investment of our time? What if the all the things we worked and strived for that we thought mattered, actually don’t?
If a rich man loses his wealth, his title and all material things, but looks around him and sees his beautiful wife and children, is he not still rich? Is his wealth determined by the material things or the people that surround him and love him?
We are each given a predetermined allotment of time on this earth. But do we live a life considering that there is an eternity that will follow this life?
How Do We Make the Most of Our Time?
  1. Take a Recap. Ask yourself the tough questions. What did I do with my time last year? Was it worthwhile? Was there anything I would have done differently? Be honest with yourself. If your recap doesn’t look the way you wanted it to look, then be joyful, today you can start making this a year that will be better than the last.
  2. Examine Your Life Story. If someone wrote a book about your life right now, would it be a story that you were proud of or would it be full of regrets? Would there be things you wish you would have done or did you take every opportunity to do good? Would it be full of excuses or would it show that you made the most out of what you had?
  3. Invest in People. This is the investment that will never be affected by a stock market or interest rate. The investment you make in the life of another person, is indispensable. We need each other. We were made for relationship with other people. No one is an island, nor is anyone a self made person. It was through the investments of many people that made us who we are. Parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, friends —they all made an impact in our lives to shape us into who we are today. So, how can we invest in other people?
  4. Seize the Day (and the hours, minutes & seconds). See beyond the mundane aspects of daily life and see what’s really there. If it was your last day on earth and you were ironing clothes would your attitude have been positive or negative? Can you see the beauty in the simplest tasks? Can you see the beauty in serving someone besides yourself?
  5. Know the Creator of Time. How can life really be meaningful if you don’t know the Author and the Finisher of life? If you were a computer engineer, and you had the opportunity to sit in a room and talk with Charles Babbage, the father of computing, would you? Wouldn’t your friends, family and colleagues think you were crazy if you passed up this opportunity? Yet, what if daily you’re passing up the opportunity to talk to the Father of life? He’s already extended the invitation. It was sent via an old wooden cross. If you thought it was just a story for the “religious,” think again when He said “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” What a joy it is to know, that includes you and me.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick…

The Vine

An original poem inspired by John 15

 

 

 

The Vine

The Vine called out to me the branch…
whatever you do, just don’t let go
I love you more than you could ever know
you don’t have to fret and fear
just look by your side
and you’ll see I’m near
I make the sun to shine upon your face
and I’ve given you everything you need by my glorious grace
my love it truly knows no end
I’m holding you together again and again
The branch replied…
But the wind it blows and it shakes my life
I try to hold on and I’m holding tight
but I feel like this storm is going to tear me apart
it’s hitting me to the core of my heart
The vine said…
Don’t worry about a single thing
In me you’ll find everything
even if the storm blows everything away
I will still be holding you at the end of the day
Your tears I’ve gathered like precious gems
In your ear I’m whispering sweet encouragement
If only you will just stay connected to me
You will find the beauty in everything
The branch it smiled and leaned in close
looking at the vine it could suddenly know
that every care and concern
the vine of course had surely heard
the branch experienced the love of the vine that day
when the fiercest storm came and threatened to blow it away
but as it held on to the vine it soon began to see
that the all along the vine was holding onto me.

“Keep Your Eyes on Me,” He Whispers

Keep your eyes on Me,” I hear him whisper.

     Life is full of ups and downs. Even on the calmest day, I still have to pause and refocus. Where are my eyes? Where is my hope?
If I keep my eyes on myself, I’m headed for trouble.
If I keep my eyes on other people, then I’m headed for trouble.
But if I keep my eyes on Him, there I find peace and the meaning of life.
Apart from Him there is no hope. He is hope. So in Him, keeping my eyes on Him, I find hope.

Who is this HIM I’m referring to? It is no other than Almighty God. Father, Spirit, Son. The Great I AM. The One Who Was and Is and Is to come.
Maybe you have heard of Him or you know Him in a way that’s not true to His character. If you met Him today, you’d be pleasantly surprised that He’s absolutely crazy about you! He loves you more than you can imagine being loved.
Instead of waving a finger when He looks at You, His arms are wide open and He’s running to greet you. Politely, he knocks on the door of your heart. He waits for you to respond to Him. He doesn’t barge His way in. But when we allow Him in, we find all we’ve ever wanted. Finally, that part of us that we’ve tried to fill with a billion other things is complete because our Savior resides there.
Life will not always be smooth sailing, but the comfort and peace is found in knowing Him we can rest assured that we know the Captain steering our ship, and He is good, VERY good. Not everything that happens to you will be good. The world is a fallen place. But you can rest assured that He is always Good.
If you feel like you’re carrying a weight that’s too much for you, then cast it all on Him. He’s always available and He’s just waiting for you to say YES.

Just in the Knick of Time

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Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash
       Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere that is absolutely contingent on whether or not you’re on time?
      The doors close at 9:00am sharp or the race starts right on time or the last tickets are given to people that arrive on time or even early. Time is the one thing that no matter how much money you have in your pocket, you can never buy it back. Once a minute, hour or day is over, it is over. There’s no way to try and get it back again. And yet with the basic cognitive awareness, we still lose ourselves in the concept of time.
      We plead for time to somehow speed up during the times of drudgery or boringess (e.g. at work or waiting in line or while on the subway headed home) but yet we plead for more time in the midst of the most blissful moments (e.g. wedding day, dinner with your aging grandparents, a once in a lifetime trip). But time is not in our hands, nor does it submit to our selfish whims no matter how we try to justify it, time simply does not belong to us.
So who does time belong to? 
      You see it’s a question that you must answer for yourself at some point in time in your life. It’s not a question that anyone can answer for you, it’s up to you to answer it for yourself. We all embrace the concept that we didn’t decide when we were born, nor are we given the foreknowledge of when we will die. And when we are met with near-death circumstances, only then does it really seem that we think about it more in depth. But what if thinking of death does not fall into the grasp of sheer morbidity—what if thinking of death allows us to really make the most out of this life.
      Some say you never know what you have until it’s gone. If we don’t see the preciousness of life in light of the fact that there will be an inevitable end to it, well, how do we really know if we have allowed ourselves to live to its maximum potential. 
      We were all made uniquely. Each with a unique string of DNA that tells our body to have green eyes or brown eyes, curly hair or straight hair, brown skin or white skin. And yet somehow we forget our uniqueness and strive for the ideal of sameness, of fitting in. And yet, we were never made to be the same or to simply fit in, we were made to stand out. Each uniquely designed for good works to do by our Creator.
      So who does time belong to? And what are you doing with the time that you’ve been given. At the end of your life, there will be something said about you, have you considered what words would matter the most? Does your life now move in the direction of this?

The Rest Note is NOT the End of the Song

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Life is like a song. There are many notes, some high and some low, that will fill our lives. And our lives are not complete without these much needed rest notes. We often misinterpret the rest notes as our “defeat,” or the end of our story but we are not looking at the rest notes through the eyes of the composer. When the composer includes rest notes into the song, it is an act of kindness and a way to beautify the musical piece. He allows the song to have a “breakdown” or decrescendo only in order for to build it back up in a way that it never sounded or looked before.

If you’re in the middle of a season of undesired “rest” where it seems as if nothing is happening, it seems as if your efforts are not paying off, it seems as if what you’re doing is not making a positive difference — hold tight. Your song is not over. This is just a pause and if viewed correctly you will be ready for the next new exciting notes that will follow immediately after.

Here’s what I know to be true about “Rest” Notes in the Song of Our Life:

There is a Reason for the Rest: we may not know or understand why, but we can trust in faith that God has a reason for our season of rest. He has a purpose for our lives and for every season of our lives. Even if we don’t understand, we can draw nearer still to our loving Heavenly Father who sees us and understands.

God is making something beautiful out of us. He is the ultimate composer; making melodies more beautiful than we could ever dream.

Rest is the Preparation: we must not discount the importance of rest in the preparation process. We consider preparation to be the “doing, doing, doing” but there also must be those intervals of rest in order to complete the preparation process.

Peace in the Middle of the Rest: it’s amazing how sometimes when we have a period of undesired or unexpected rest (unemployment, waiting to hear back from a university, etc.) how we will throw ourselves into a bit of endless worry or anxiety. The worry and the anxiety never solves anything. It only makes things worse and it’s an act of disobedience because God has already told us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” What a beautiful promise and remedy we have for our anxiety. We can be at peace even in the middle of the rest.

Something Big Always Follows the Rest: If you’re in the middle of a season of undesired “rest” and you’ve been seeking the Lord but it feels like nothing is happening or changing, hold tight. At any moment, the rest will come to an end and the musical notes will sound triumphantly unlike ever before.