Through the Mist and Forever! 


Humidity registers at 100 percent on a New York State mountain on the dawn after thunder-storms broke the late night sky. Stickier than freshly-coated honey buns, we march through the forest with very little stopping along the way and with much huffing and puffing we finally reach the summit.   

Normally from this rocky mountainside you can see for miles and miles and on a clear day catch a slight glimpse of New York City but not today.

Today the mist is so thick, maybe we can see 200 feet beyond the cliff in the pure steam-filled skies as if the lake below is an overflowing boiling pot of water that blew its cover. 

Today, I cannot see the city but I do KNOW tall buildings are reaching for the sky this very moment. With amazing awe, I have experienced the breath-taking view from this vantage point on a number of occasions and I promise you NYC is still there.

But I can not see it. How do I know it is actually there? Well…sometimes we can see things and some days we can not.  

On days you can not see it does not mean the facts have changed, as mentioned, we know the city still stands tall across the cloudy skies. It is still there. 

I relate this to love in some degree. We may not always see it but it is still there. Some days your loved ones may not actively display loving actions or thoughts but that does not mean the love is not there, maybe you simply can not see it today because of a recent storm and on others days your heart swells up bigger than a canyon in Arizona. 

That is how it is with God’s love. Some days His love manifests itself so powerfully, the joyful experience offers more peace in five minutes than one can get in three full days in notorious Woodstock, NY. 

On others days maybe it can not be seen but it is still there. He promises us throughout the scriptures and He showed His love to the world via a sacrifice (to end all sacrifices) so we can experience His love.

God’s love is always there. His written Word (The Bible) says seek me and you will find me and God is love. My take on that is seek God and you will find love. I know I did, Praise the Good Lord! 

For me, I would not want to take this journey any other way than finding true-love. A love that never ends and never fails and as I just noticed on my shirt in the enclosed picture, a love that lasts Forever and Forever is a long time. Amen!! 

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Ocean’s Ten Cents


Out for a walk in the crisp soft rain a small shiny piece of metal lies face up in the street.  
So what’s the big deal,there’s a dime on the ground? For me the big deal is I met this guy in San Francisco recently and he finds a dime on the ground every single day for the last 12 years. He is the epitome of a free spirit. He says he sold his company, sold his BMW, and sold his jet-ski and moved to Hawaii where he earns $50 a week creating some sort of green sustainable ecosystems. 

After my trip home from San Francisco I was chatting with a friend when she asked me what am I going to write about next, I tell her, “While in California, I met a guy named Ocean and he finds a dime on the ground every single day and there may be a story I can write about him finding a dime everyday, I just don’t know what the message is yet.”
Sure enough as I speak these words, FDR’s Presidential head lies face up on the sidewalk. There it is. A dime laying in the street, (talk about timing).


I find a dime here and there every once in a while, but tonight when I stumbled across a dime on a late night summer-stroll through the gentle misty rain it begs me to ask the question what does this mean? 
I still do not know the answer but I find it remarkable that I came across the dime as I was telling a friend the story about this guy I met in San Fran finding a dime everyday. 
Ocean finds spiritual significance in finding a ten cent piece, for me, I think it may symbolize God will always provide for me financially. 
I have become Facebook friends with Ocean and of course when I found the dime I messaged him a picture of the dime I found in the street, his typed reply is, 

“that is so kewl,,, try to remember what you were thinking about at the time,,, thats what i do,,,, try to find the spiritual meaning to it,,,,,,, haaa now you have your own collection !!!! you are on your spiritual journey!!!!on step everyday !!!! aloha!!!”
What was I thinking when I found the dime?? Well, the fact is I was thinking about Ocean at that very moment and thinking about “writing” a story about him.  

I will take Ocean’s advice and try to find the spiritual meaning to all this..
Ha, I think it just hit me. When speaking to Ocean in California, he was convinced that I am to be a writer. Afterall, Ocean’s real name is Jeremiah and Jeremiah is an Old Testament prophet and my favorite verse comes from that book.
What if I am to write and God is telling me to spend more time doing it and the rest will fall into place? That could be delightfully cool.
Unlike Ocean, I don’t have a BMW to give up and I don’t have a jet-ski to sell and I’m not ready to plant plantations in Hawaii for $50.00 a week but I do know God provides for His children and from here on in every time I find a dime in the street I will be reminded of Ocean’s message.  
Angels deliver messages and Ocean conveyed a message to me, maybe Ocean is an angel. 
I don’t know for sure but until I do, In Harry Chapin style, I will stuff the bill (or in this case-a dime) in my shirt and I will pray for Ocean with every dime I find.  Care to join me?  

When you find a dime, say a quick prayer for Ocean.  He will be forever blessed. 

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Breathtaking Beauty

Standing in Church today the guest preacher asserts, “Our beauty takes God’s breath away.”  I think to myself….Does it really? Do we really take His breath away?? 

I know God sees us as diamonds as I wrote in a recent journal entry and I believe He sees us as beautiful as I mention in my previous “Beautiful You” writing but breathtaking? How many people can take your breath away? I’ve seen a few but the amount is in the single digits.

Right after the preacher proclaimed this bold statement, with my eyes closed, I ask God if that statement is true. My thoughts toward God were, I know you see me as a diamond but if what this guy (preacher) is saying is true let me see diamonds.  

I suppose I could have looked on the left hand on some of the engaged or married women nearby and seen a few representations of somebody’s love and commitment shining forth on their ring finger but I like to ask God for less obvious clues.

Opening my eyes and looking towards the pulpit, I do not see anything. I glance down and nearly popping off the chair is a pattern made of diamonds. I have been going to the same church for three years and I never noticed the diamonds all around me. 

When God wants to show us something He will make sure the message is perfectly clear. As if the diamond fabric answer did not satisfy my soul as soon as the service is over, I turn around and say hello to the lady behind me and it just so happened that she is the woman that sang the words “Your love is like radiant diamonds” sparking my previous diamond story written last month. 

I tell her I wrote a story about diamonds and how she inspired it. Pointing out the diamonds on the chair; I share with her diamonds are everywhere and without hesitation she shows me her notepad and says,

 “I know, I was drawing diamonds, look…the diamonds are dripping diamonds.”


Taken back in delightful surprise, with a WOW, I ask if can I take a picture of the diamonds she doodled. 

I share this story with you because I want you to be encouraged and for you to know your true beauty, “breathtaking beauty.” You take God’s breath away! 

Apparently we do take God’s breath away. I do not know why I am surprised by this conclusion, after all He made us. 

God is very much alive and He speaks to us vividly. He spoke this breathtaking message to me today and how we take His breath away. Simply ask God a question and listen. His answer may just take your breath away too. It certainly took mine. :) 

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“A Proverb A Day”

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“An apple a day….” Well, you know the rest… “keeps the doctor away.”

I know of something even better than that. I call it “A Proverb a day.” Reading and applying just one Proverb a day gives you more wisdom than an ant working diligently everyday in the summer storing up its food for the winter.

Imagine taking a shot of wisdom each and every day for free. I say shot because they are less than one page each yet chock-full of instant and powerful wisdom. The Book of Proverbs beams a total of thirty-one chapters. I like to see it as one for each day of the month.

You can find time-tested winning words in the Old Testament of the Bible. The 31 chapters are loaded with God’s wisdom spoken through King Solomon who is arguably of course considered the wisest King of all time and certainly the wealthiest.

It is no coincidence the Book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters. By ingesting one chapter a day, every day, you complete the whole Book of Proverbs each month 12 times a year. You are privileged to have access to such sage advice twelve times a year ensuring this available wisdom sinks into today’s mind that is more cluttered than the contents of a 3,000 square-foot home being stored in a 100 square foot storage shed.

Clear your mind for a minute or two each morning and start your day with Godly instructions. You may gain a productive/rewarding, and healthy life when you apply the principles Proverbs suggest. The King’s Proverbs teach us about foolishness, wisdom, pride, fear, wealth, gossip, insecurity and a whole host of pertinent ideologies as well as today’s materialistic concerns.

A Proverbial example is Proverbs 12:24 suggesting diligent hands will rule for laziness ends in forced labor. This Proverb is probably common sense but applying it is where wisdom comes in. God offers His wisdom freely if you ask Him for it. Sometimes wisdom is just common sense with ardent application.

I encourage you to start today. Pull out your Bible to whatever day you are reading this writing and read the one-page Proverb of the day.  If you are reading this article on the 24th day of the month, start with Proverbs Chapter 24.

Start today. It is a good-read and offers keys to prosperity with a well-balanced life. Wisdom can be as sweet as the sticky stuff bees make after digesting nectar and storing it in a wax comb. Read Proverbs 24:13,14 below:

13 “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.” 

Wisdom is good for the soul and leads to a reward, a reward of hope and hope is a good thing.:)

What’s your favorite Proverb? Do you have one.? Do tell.

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50 & Stage 2

tim 50

I spent a lot of mental energy recently pondering what great life event I should embrace as I turn 50 tomorrow.  At best I get another 50 years here.  I want to enter my 50’s with a full heart yet an open heart, full of vigor, drenched in wisdom, filled with love, gentleness, and kindness yet be a warrior when needed.

Walking past an aluminum shiny pull-off soda can tab recently, I thought it would make a fun picture for I have a newly developed interest in photography. The tab although old, was in intact even though these were not used on beverage cans since I was a teenager in the early ‘80s.  It sat on the ground in great condition probably being unearthed recently with all the spring rain.

Broken in two pieces lies the tab in the wet street the next day.  Oh well!  So much for my fun picture of the unbroken ring.

Today while winding down my 40’s and taking photos down at the local river, a shiny tab reflects through the clear streaming fresh waters.  Of course it is another soda tab and it is not broken, lying peacefully in the river-bed all in one piece as posing for a photo.

The tab serves as a metaphor for me. If it could talk, I think it would say….  “You missed the first picture Tim but as you enter stage 2 of life, here is a second chance to take your shot.  Do it now before I get carried away forever in the waters.  Do it now, tomorrow I can be broken in two pieces like the first tab you found. You procrastinated and that picture is gone.  Take your shot now. Do it now.”

soda tab1

I took the picture.  I got a SECOND CHANCE!

I often hear a cliché people say…’God is a God of second chances.’  I do not know exactly what that means but I do hope to enjoy the sounds of waves crashing, birds chirping in the rain forest, raindrops  falling as I walk hand in hand with the woman that walks with me into eternity and God pours His grace out on me.

I am ready to hear her heart beat speed up as I pull her near.  This is phase 2 of life for both of us and there are seas to be traveled, rivers to be walked, oceans to be swum in and skies to rocket across.  I hope to see as many shooting stars as I have over the last few years.

Some of the best and most important things happened to me in Stage 1 of life and I am forever grateful and thankful for those of you that were/are a part of that and I pray for those continued blessings into Stage 2.

More peace, love, and understanding are coming my way.  It will be more than just an Elvis Costello song.  Being well grounded in my faith, I trust a new maturity is unfolding for me.

As I mature, I hope to stay forever young.  I hope my spirit remains youthful and I never stop laughing.  I want my heart to always radiate joy and my baby-face never to lose a smile.  I will continue dancing even though I can look like a lanky fool sometimes.  Who cares? Life is to be lived. No one is watching anyway.

I am ready to rock.  I enter my 50’s with great optimism.  As a 50 year old friend whom I have known since High-School tells me, “50 is a very strong solid age.”  I like that. It sounds grown-up.  Other friends say age is just a number.  As I say goodbye to my 40’s, 50 is a number I am ready for.  Come on 50. I am ready for you.  I welcome my old friends to come with me and I look forward to all the new people I will meet.  Are you with me?

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A Needed Message

Patience, we all need it. 

When in need God always delivers when we ask Him.

He doesn’t always give us what we want when we want it but as Mick Jagger says, “You just might find you get what you need.”

I needed to be reminded today about waiting. Facebook has that new feature offering to post a memory of a previous post. 

Today’s memory is a brief story I wrote about patience as sung by the one and only Bono. See story Story on Patience….

Once I post a story I tend to not reread unless someone brings it to my attention.

My post about patience 2 years ago is right on with today’s need. I would not change a single word.  

Furthermore as I went to write what I am writing now, a poem came up on my screen that pertains to waiting, this also was written two years ago.  

The untitled writing from my notes reads: 

“The forsythia are in bloom reminding me it is worth the wait,

the forsythia are in bloom reminding me He is never late.

Releasing thoughts of rhyme, 

seasoning all things in His time

Yellow brushing as forth comes the sun,

constantly reminding me His work is already done

Thank you Jesus! ”

So the point of my story is God reaches us and delivers our every need when we reach out in prayer. He is always talking.  Listening is key. 

For me, right now I need to continue my journey in patience and if I may be bold enough to ask for my first prayer request publicly, I do ask that you pray for my patience (and that I wait patiently on God) and if you have a prayer request please feel free to post your request in the comment section or email me at justaguyonajourney@yahoo.com

Thanks for the prayer and thanks for reading. 

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Want it! 

 

Lake Arenal in Costa Rica

 

What do you want? What do you really want? Do you really want it? I mean not like you have to have it and if you don’t get it you feel like a fish without gills, but you really want and desire it.

Is your soul guiding you to want it? Are you afraid to want it because you may not get it? Let’s face it, no one likes disappointment.

What if God wants you to have it too? Do you we really know what God wants us to have? Doesn’t He give us certain desires?

Yes, I believe He does. The key is to line those desires (wants) up with God’s will for your life.
If the want and His will diametrically oppose each other, they self-destruct and then you will not want it anymore anyway.

If your deepest want is your biggest dream, bring the power of God to make it come true. In fact, it is true already. You just have to live as if it happened while exercising the wisdom the good Lord endowed upon us.

Make sure your wants line up with His desires for His children. Commit to it if you know it is right and it creates mutual blessing and watch it unfold in His timing.

It says in the book of wisdom (Proverbs) the desire of the righteous will be granted, Proverbs 10:24.

Ask God if it is not His will for you to have such a desire or want, ask Him to remove it from your heart and have it wash away faster than a smashed bag of crackers washes away when opened and tossed into the surf.

If it is good you will have it. If you do not get it you’ll be shown why it would not have been good for you.

Don’t be shy, don’t be afraid. Be bold. Ask for it. Get ready for it. Embrace it, bury fear. Allow faith to make it happen.

Be patient. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for.

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A Diamond!

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photographed by LPS.

“Your love is like radiance diamonds.”  We just filled up my daughter’s car with gas and 99.1as the car starts, those words come over the air waves on New Jersey’s 99.1.  We both smiled as the song came on and she said now you have to write your diamond story tonight.  I shared this same story with her today verbally and it goes like this…

A friend of mine last week reminded me of one of my canned sayings back in the day when we sold real estate together. “Stick with me and you will be wearing diamonds.”  Yes, I used to say that as a cocky 20 year old kid.  It was all in good fun though and effective salespeople need to feel good about themselves with an air of confidence.

The next day a surprise visit from another friend that I worked with in the mid 80’s, chuckling he asks me, “Swartzteen, do you remember when you used to always say, “Stick with me and you will be wearing diamonds.”  Well of course I do.

Pulling a pack of matches out of my winter coat the same week, a diamond logo is displayed with the word diamond prominently written across it. I think there may be a message centered on diamonds.

A short while later at my Church, I reach in the box of K-Cups and the brand pops out at me….Double Diamond.

The next morning, I see a billboard promoting diamonds.  Later in the day, I receive an email referencing diamonds.  With no fianceé on the horizon I am not in the market for a glitzy rock yet diamonds are coming at me everywhere I turn.

The word diamond radiates in my mind.  Maybe this is the answer to a prayer I have. I have been asking God recently how He sees me.  Does He see me as a colorless piece of carbon, formed and made stone-hard and beautiful under great pressure?   Maybe He is getting me ready for my bride, perhaps I should be saving for that flawless stone. Again, with no fianceé in sight, I think it is the former thought of how He sees me.

Surely I can be reading into things and simply focused on diamonds because some old friends brought up my classic one-liner so I take it up in prayer with the Lord.

I ask God if He is speaking to me about a diamond to be clear and let me know.  I want to know God is speaking if it is in fact God surrounding me with diamonds. I specifically request from God, if you are telling me something about diamonds please bring it up at my home-group tonight (Bible-Study).

We are studying creation in my Bible Study and the story of Adam and Eve.  How can diamonds come up during a discussion about the Garden of Eden?  Very unlikely so if it does, I will know God is speaking to me with something related to diamonds.

Sure enough, during the lesson, the lady next to me asks the leader a question and asks did you hear the song ……? With an enthused reply a melodic voice sings, “Your love is like radiance diamonds.”  Bingo, there I have it.  I know God is speaking diamonds to me.  God did exactly what I asked Him to do.

I was hoping to get an answer of some sort in my spirit as I waited 10 minutes on a dark cloudy night outside of my car after the meeting. Looking up into the late night sky there is a diamond suspended in the sky.  It is a star.  There is only one visible star in the sky.  Shining bright and brilliant in the Northern sky is a solitaire diamond dispersing light over my path looking over me with a twinkle.

Diamonds are the most precious and valuable gemstones on Earth.  At times I am guilty of selling myself short and although I appear ‘full of myself”, I have questioned my own self-worth when things go wrong.  I will never question my self-worth again, regardless of all the wins and losses along the journey. I now know the answer.  I am a diamond.

I do not say this in a proud or pompous way but in a humble way I confidently assert I am a diamond.  We are all diamonds for we are all beautiful, precious, and extremely valuable.

God sees me as diamond.  Jesus is my rock.  Diamonds are rocks.  Jesus’s love is like a radiant diamond. Diamonds reflect back what is in front of them.  Through God’s radiance I am a bright and brilliant diamond.  Talk about having something worth its weight in gold. We are worth more than that.  I am over 200 pounds in carats cut by the Master Himself.

I hope to reflect all facets of God’s beauty, love, faithfulness and goodness.

The scriptures say in Isaiah 62 “For the Lord delights in you and your land shall be married and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”

Wow!  God rejoicing over me?  I am just a guy on a journey yet He rejoices over me??  Yes He does.  He shows me I am as precious and as valuable as the most prized of all prized jewels.  I love it.  I believe He sees a diamond when He sees me!

As for the bride, I trust God is working on me to be the unselfish and loving Godly man she deserves.  God will awaken this lovely lady when we are both ready.  In the meantime, I will keep saving for that weighty stone perfect in cut, color, clarity.

Now the double diamond makes sense to me, it just came to me as I close this story for now.  This lovely women sent from heaven gets a double diamond.  She gets a diamond for her hand and she gets the diamond writing this story.

I do not say that in a cocky or self-inflating tone.  I am thrilled to be who I am and I am a diamond.  I am keeping the diamond matchbook until I strike the perfect match.  My diamond match and we will one day light the unity candle.  Thank you Lord for making us diamonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A HEaled HEart

 

dormant treeApproaching the small park where my favorite vista of cold water flows smoothly through a bunch of round rocks, I ask God to show me His love today and also to lead me to a picture He wants me to see.

Fully armed with my plastic camera wrapped around my neck, strong faith, and covered in prayer, I am ready to find my spiritually directed photo along this stony nature-trail.  New life pops out of a tall nearly dead tree.  The new growth catches my eye. I see a heart in the bark.  The interior of a heart bleeds through the damaged bark displaying the chambers and the wounded core of the heart.  I know God lives inside my heart so I take a quick photo and continue my journey.new growth 1

The chopped up heart needs healing.  The new life in this branch will heal the cut-open heart from the inside out, creating a healthy branch as spring-time unfolds and abundant life awakens.

 

Peaceful in prayer, step by step, I enjoy every breath in this beautiful landscape crested along a busy double-lined road in the Garden State awaiting quiet discovery.

Taking a few other shots along the river’s edge, an uninitialed heart stands tall carved into a tree.  Usually man-made carvings tend to have lovers’ initials whittled into the tree; I did ask God to show me His love, so I am happy the unsigned artwork is pointed out to me.  The clean happy-looking unadultered heart is healed stitched up, ready for love to be written upon it.

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A Healed Heart

Jumping onto the rock where the whittler stood doing his artwork, my focused camera catches a joyful message for me.  God is Love and I trust He is showing me His love as I needed Him to do.  My heart rejoices as God answers my prayer on my novice photography outing.

Upon loading my pictures onto my computer, on a large screen the new branch offers more than just a depiction of an open heart exposing chambers ready for spiritual surgery.  On the upper stem, there appears to be a robed man walking with open arms symbolic of Jesus Christ. Jesus is walking with me overseeing the deception being cut out of my heart.

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Robed Man in Branch

I did not see the resemblance of Jesus when I took the photo, after all, I did ask God to lead me to the photo He wants me to see and now I see it clearly.  Jesus is the great Physician.

Wanting to make sure it was not just my vivid imagination; I send the photo to some friends electronically, asking them what they see… if anything.  Two friends see a bird, a brother sees a face, and a few other friends see nothing.  Without prompting them of what I see, four other friends clearly see what I did not catch the first time when I shot the photo.  They see a Godly image made by nature.

An out of state encouraging friend, shares the photo with her friends and right away ten people see an image of Christ. They actually see the robed man before seeing an open heart.  This picture was taking at the same riverside park where God recently delivered a message of “healing and freedom” to me inspiring my story the River and the Moon. The River and the Moon

I know God loves me.  The Bible tells me He loves me.  God loves us.  He designed us for love.  Time after Time God shows His love, we just need to receive it and be open to His love.

At first we may not see it (as in my picture) but when we open our eyes and listen; walking in faith we will find Him and His love, Time after Time. Time after Time

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The River and The Moon 

  
I am so excited. Last night speaking to a friend discussing the beauty of the moon that gleefully glowed in full force upon the NJ/NY sky, I learn there are other people out there appreciating the big circle in the wide-open sky the same way I do. I do not know many people who appreciate the beauty of the moon as much as I do, so it was a refreshing conversation hearing somebody as intrigued as I am by its stunning beauty when painted perfectly over our heads. 

Several times the moon rose over the ocean with breathtaking harvest moons, blood moons and the moon parallel to the water where I was lucky enough to snap a photo. She goes on to tell me there are certain times of the year when you could see the moon rising over the mountains up this way and it is breathtakingly gorgeous. 

On my way home from work tonight with a deep question in mind, I send out a text or two to a couple friends hoping they would have a potential answer. They too want to know the answer and when I find the answer to let them know, lol.

Stopping at the gravel parking lot near the river where I often go for peaceful, quiet reflection and time alone, I had a specific question that I struggled to find the answer to. For my own peace of mind and restoration of my soul and spirit, I ask God the same question I asked my friends. As soon as I got to the bottom of the hill along my favorite riverbank and grabbed a seat on a giant rock, answers started flowing to me quicker than an unleashed dog can chase a squirrel. 

Typing the words as quickly as my thumbs would allow, 

I instantly capture three or four paragraphs of productive life enhancing notes. While writing them I feel the Holy Spirit moving within my heart. 

The crystal-clear answer I received is not what I wanted or expected to hear, but nonetheless it was the answer that I needed. 

As soon as I took the instruction, (yes the Holy Spirit is also a counselor)immediately I felt freedom and loads of bricks being lifted off my chest. 

I felt renewed as if I was 17 years old again and able to do cartwheels across the rocks spread out in the ice cold spring that is flowing rapidly near my feet.  

  
As the sky darkens I send out a text exclaiming I found the answer. I feel like I was stranded on a deserted island and I just spotted a boat. With an heir of joy and tremendous relief I turn around to walk up the hill to head home. Feeling light as a bee, I look up and boldly ascending from behind the trees is a giant white pizza-pie circle in the early evening sky. The glow of gladness in the form of a bright full moon peeks out over the treetops rising behind the mountains.

The moment reminds me of a poem I wrote last year called See the Moon, an excerpt from that writing is: 

“Listen actively, listen for His will, 

Seize this moment monumentally allowing the time to stand still.”

Time stood still for me tonight as I looked at the moon, celebrating the victory I just received. The moment has been seized and I will always remember the night I received my get out of jail card for free in Riverdale NJ. I am free. 

Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord! Thank you for hearing my prayer and the prayers of people that keep me in their prayers. I am free and thank you for the beauty of the river and the moon and your everlasting grace.  

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