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July 2016

Ever since I was a young boy, dreams have been interesting and intriguing to me. Seldom do I recall dreams I have while sleeping; however, on occasion, I may wake in the night to revisit a dream I’ve just had. As early as fourth grade, my most memorable, recurring dream would be the one of flying from the second story balcony of a large concrete building, drifting in the wind like a well-piloted kite, soaring above misty mountain tops and the still waters of a vast lake.

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Be True

Last month, I was fortunate enough to take a little break from the home zone. The little cabin where we stayed was down in a valley, where the only rush we had was the soothing, rumbling water of a wide mountain creek. There was no cellular service, so no fussing over devices, and no television, so no drama over channels. We made sure the children knew what to expect, and we were upfront about the pending uselessness of their electronics on the journey north. Saturday was spent mostly in or near the water, next to a roaring campfire or relaxing with board games after dinner.

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Growing up in central Cherokee County on a small, rural farm with my parents and brother, I learned a lot about simplicity. My father was the head of household until I reached my teens, and then my mom took over that role. Mom was stern and to the point. After some back talk from my brother or me, mom often would say, “period, end of conversation.” Nothing else would be said. There was no gray area. You were going to be good, or you were bad; simple enough.

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April 2016

There have been times in our lives when we’ve found ourselves in situations where we may not have been very sure of which way to turn, yet we just trusted “the flow” and went for it. Our life is often like a wild river and tends to carve its way through the sands of time, frequently without regard to our desires or plans, and push us along in its wake. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, we all end up downstream a little wiser, a little more well-rounded and often eager with anticipation as to what may lie around the next bend. 

We will plan the work, and work the plan. Other follies may enter our route and find us making quick, last minute adjustments to stay on course. We might find that we make some moves instinctively. Often, our faith is what ultimately moves us to react.

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March Forward

March is here, and my favorite season is about to burst forth with all the splendor of spring’s abundance of life. I hope everyone had a great vacation and enjoyed time with their families, had some time to reflect on their goals for the year, or I hope you were at least able to share in the joy of making memories with a friend during a time of departure from their daily routine.

Now we are ready to march forward. Spring is a battle cry that we simply cannot ignore. Everything changes from the ground up during the wonderful season of spring. We made plans in January, laid the groundwork last month, and now the time has come for us to take root and grow so that we make positive changes for ourselves.

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Wait for it.

A couple of months ago, I was enjoying one of our annual, southeastern meteor showers with friends. I was asked, “Why do stars twinkle?” I stumbled over my words, finding fault in what I was trying to say, as I was saying it, as I admittedly do sometimes. Growing up, I was told, “think before you speak, not as you speak.” Suddenly, I caught a twinkling planet out of the corner of my eye, which stopped my blundering explanation. So the very next day, after an extra cup of coffee, I went and scoured through the archives...and “Googled” it.

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“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”

When I’m active, I get tired. The activity is certainly remembered longer in my muscles than it used to be. Back in my younger days, after running around in the woods, riding up and down Toonigh Road on my bike, working in the garden with my dad or completing other chores, I would soon be sleeping on a pillow, surrounded by shag carpet, while being comforted by the breezy hum of an old metal fan. So I think I like being physically active. It reminds me of when I was younger, enjoying youth and simpler times.

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Our Gifts are Meant to be Shared

Each one of us is born with certain gifts and various combinations of talents that set us apart from those in our circle of friends, family and others around us.  Our talents and gifts may change as we progress through the years, or perhaps, that which makes us special matures and gets better over time, becoming even more precious. The joy of having our individual gifts, no matter what they are, is the fact that we have the ability to share them with others.

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Blessings Always Count

Sometimes, I have to admit that blessings go unaccounted for in my life and may go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle. Even if for a short time they do, I am usually reminded of how wonderful it is that even the smallest of blessings can be used as a daily reminder to be thankful. It’s about the little things, little things that add up to greater things. Just the other day, I was picking up laundry to do a load of darks; my arms were full, and I was fumbling around trying to keep from dropping socks. Then, there on the floor was the last piece, a burgundy towel, and it was large enough to hold everything together. That may sound like just a coincidence to some, but to me, it was a tiny reminder of how good life really is, one moment at a time.

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Refiner’s Fire

Crisp fall mornings have made their way back into our lives, and the time has come for us to settle like the tree sap, and slow down a little. The forests will soon be covered in the magnificent hues of our southern autumn, and the time to frolic in the leaves and enjoy fall festivals has arrived. To me, fall is a time to relax and recover from the busier days of spring and summer. It is a time for a sort of inner renewal, not like the aesthetic, external rebirth of spring, but more of an internal reflection or evaluation of who we are at our root level.

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September 2015

The word “respect” has really been popping up a lot lately in the media, conversation and even at church recently, which, of course, means I’ve been pondering the term some in relation to this. As it seems, the demand for respect has started becoming more prevalent, yet the actions that I would deem respectable in their own right, seem a little less so. Then I really got to thinking; maybe I’ve been looking too hard.

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One Nation...

If you’re reading this right now, you are probably aware that there is a quite a bit going on within our country today. Since I’m not one to go on about bad stuff, hop on the rhetoric wagon or throw folks under the bus, there really isn’t any need to list specifics. On occasion, I admit that I might slip up, take a side or voice an opinion based on how the past has formed my view of a particular, random event or happening in the world around me. It happens. It’s life.

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July 2015

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” — George S. Patton

Sometimes we find ourselves burdened with worry and feel like we are walking about with a dark cloud bearing down on us, feeling the pressure of an impending storm. We’ve all been there. We’re often challenged by an obligation, oppression or something else we perceive as ominous. We find ourselves drenched in worry, paralyzed with inaction, at the edge of fear, dizzied and confused.

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There’s a certain aspect of our character that I believe reigns high above in regards to not only personal relationships but to business dealings as well. One thing we all look for in a relationship of any kind is support. Support stems from the trait of firm and solid loyalty. An unwavering loyalty is one thing I’ve always admired as something that is not only difficult to find in others, but may be equally as challenging to discover within ourselves.

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May 2015

After several years of vacationing locally, I was blessed last month with an opportunity to hop on a plane seeking new adventures and visit a little island in the south Caribbean for some scuba diving. A small group of students, wide-eyed with enthusiasm, had studied new skills; got ahead at work and made plans at home; in preparation to be away in a foreign land. None of us on the trip had been there before and what we found there makes each of us look forward to our return.

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April 2015

Has anyone noticed recently a decline in the quantity of drama since the last time you checked? I must say that I’ve found a little hope since I quit making marks on yesterday’s calendar. It’s come to my attention that the day flows better when it starts fresh, clean and new. Waking up may not be the favorite part of your day, but we all do if we’re inclined to and allowed the opportunity. We may or may not wake to fortune, good looks or fame, but we all wake by grace — we awaken to a new beginning and a new set of circumstances that no doubt fall into place.

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March 2015

Spring is right around the corner and many of us are starting to wonder how to spend our warm and sunny days. Of course, just because of the change of season; that doesn’t mean we will have more actual “time” to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. We will simply make it happen because it is what we do in better weather, longer days and more sunshine.

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February 2015

In the blur of today’s cultures, it may become necessary to reflect on the thoughts of forward thinkers from simpler times whose words were intended to better future generations. The following is one of my personal favorites, “Desiderata,” displayed prominently in my office and in my home — I reflect on it often. Its historical origin is of question, but its purity and direction ring true.

In the blur of today’s cultures, it may become necessary to reflect on the thoughts of forward thinkers from simpler times whose words were intended to better future generations. The following is one of my personal favorites, “Desiderata,” displayed prominently in my office and in my home — I reflect on it often. Its historical origin is of question, but its purity and direction ring true.

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April 2014

Spring has always been filled with inspiration for me, in life and in work. Of course, the warmer temperatures tend to lead us outdoors and we are generally more active than in the colder months, yet the newness of life almost makes me feel like a child again. The second Saturday of last month was spent almost entirely outside cutting brush, weeding, prepping container gardens, cleaning gutters, blowing leaves and some general straightening up, or “spring cleaning” as it has come to be known. This year, working in my yard seems to have more purpose; I’ve been putting more heart into it. 

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