When morning comes

When the morning comes, we will start a new day.

The sunrises up to greet us pushing away the darkness that flooded the night.

The worries we had in the depth of black time fades away with its first rays.

Oh, the pain and grief that we shared, that enveloped the river of thoughts that streamed through our minds float away on the morning breeze.

When the morning comes, we will find a new way.

Our weary feet will hit the floor, though timid at first, their strength will swell with the drawing deeply of the sweet wisp of fragrance on the morning breeze.

The ticking clock reminds us that the day is precious and each moment should be filled with the hope of appreciating the grace gift of life.

An early morning shower like a dip in the baptismal pool washes away all concerns and focuses life upon the path that is ahead.

When the morning comes, we will be blessed with what to say.

Our feet step out into the morning sun and the feel of it upon the face warms the soul to its depth.

We meet our neighbor on our way, he seems lost in the shadow of his day, so the words we share uplift him there and make his steps lighter upon his way.

A little further along the path, there stands someone from our past, a bit of hurt still looms within, but with the word forgive, a future sighting will make us live.

When the morning comes, we will live life to the full.

We will go somewhere we have never been.

We will learn a skill that could help us win within our hopes, dreams and desires.

We will set the world on its edge and spin it with a solemn pledge.

When the morning comes, we will give it to God

He will use us wherever we trod to be His hands, His feet and share His heart with all we meet.

 

On which side do I sit

I recently found myself sitting in the doctor’s office for an annual test that I take. This was the first time that I noticed that the waiting room had been divided into two. On one side it was marked well side and on the other side it said sick side.
I figured that I should sit in the well side and before long I noticed someone else sitting in that side coughing.
I am sure this new division is to try to keep germs from spreading but since they are both sitting in the same room; I wonder about how effective the practice really is.
Why do you think folks that are well are going to the doctor?
I like my doctor, but I just don’t decide that he is lonely and go visit him and the pay for the
privilege of seeing him.
I really wonder if this division will soon bring on a new class action from one group or the other claiming they are being discriminated against because they can’t see the TV in the waiting room  as well, or the well folks have to walk further when having to go to the bathroom.
Maybe the Census department will add a couple of new categories upon which to divide us up, sick and well.
We may find the politicians working to curry favor with each of us to gain our votes by legislating more benefits to one side or the other.
As I sat there pondering the potential of these two new political powers, I wondered what would be the real defining criteria of membership?
I am in the well side because I am there to get an annual test. I get an annual test to make sure medication is not making me sick. I take medication because I am not well. So I really don’t qualify to be on the well side or I wouldn’t be taking meds in the first place.
So now I should be sitting on the sick side, but those folks might give me something, so I refuse to acknowledge that I should be there instead.
In reality, all of us must be sick in some way or we would not be there, maybe the signs should read somewhat sick side and sicker side. That way we are all in this thing together.
Really considering what our country is currently facing – the divisions that seem to be widened by the media and politicized by elected officials, maybe creating some new groups is not the best idea.
Maybe the best idea is to eliminate the divisions, create better understanding, foster cooperation and work together to make sure we are all along for the ride. Ultimately, whether we are well or sick, old or young, rich or poor, one color or another, one religion or another, one political party or another, one ethnicity or another, we must remember that within the borders of the United States of America, the goal is to be one people – Americans. The divisions we choose to align with or are born into must not prevent us from being that!

Are you sure you want to answer that?

Sometimes in life we have a sense of foreboding, a phone rings and we know there is bad news on the other end of the receiver.
Do we pick it up and find out the feeling is true?
If we don’t, we will never know. If we do and it’s not what we expected, we are worried for nothing.
Perhaps there is the feeling at the pit of our stomach when we are speeding down the highway that makes us place our foot on the brake.
Have we averted a disaster, we wonder?
The answer may never be revealed or it can be bolstered in our mind when we find an accident just ahead of us.
We have been equipped with such feelings, some are innate, some are learned, some are simply inspired by God’s messengers speaking to our soul.
I know there was one night I was driving through the mountains on a road I knew like the back of my hand. Audibly in the cab of my truck I heard “Slow down!” There was no one to say it either in my vehicle or outside in the early morning hours in a sparsely inhabited area of the mountains.
As I rounded the next curve, just after slowing, there standing in the road were more deer than I had ever seen in one place in my life. I would have likely been killed at the speed I was going before, but the audible voice – changed the potential of my future.
Was it only in my head? Perhaps. Was it a woodsman whose voice cut through the speed, the radio, and the closed windows to be so audibly clear? Perhaps. I think it was one of God’s angels helping me thwart disaster.
There are many points in life an inner voice or an outer one could help us to steer clear of a place which will change the life we know in a negative way. I pray that we all hear it, heed it and hopefully make the appropriate choice.
Should you answer the phone? As Franklin Roosevelt said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Fear is simply – False Evidence Assumed Real. So, answer the phone, it may be good news.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

There are not many instances that we today have an application for such a question.

Tunnels are few and far in between in our day-to-day travels unless you live where subways or mountain tunnels are the norm. Read more

Activity helps strengthen each day

Click, click, click, click, emanates from my sneakers as I walk along the hiking path ever hopeful that with each passing mile I am a little more fit and well on my way to losing the few pounds I am seeking to shed.

After opening boxes, and pulling jeans up only to find they will not close and a crowbar will be needed to get them back off. Read more

Share America presents guitar to Soddy Daisy, Tenn. youth Logan Puryear

 

The Share America Foundation was able to fulfill the wishes of  long-time supporter Joey Chamberlain​​ at the Ringgold Opry​ by presenting a guitar she donated to a talented youth musician Logan Puryear, 17, of Soddy Daisy, Tenn. in honor of the Apison Lions Club. Joey is now staying in Oklahoma and was unable to attend but Frankie Hood stood in for her, and Ringgold Depot Opry organizer Ronal Graham joined Randall Franks in making the presentation of a Fender Paramount valued at around $900. Logan performed with Randall Franks on the Ringgold Depot stage sharing the guitar classic “Wildwood Flower.”

The mirror reflects only what it sees

Many of us find ourselves each morning at least for a few minutes peering into a silver backed piece of glass which reflects back towards us the mirror image of ourselves.
We see the teeth as we brush, the pores of our skin as we wash our face, shave, and/or trim the hairs which grew out since the day before. Finally, we put each hair left on top of our head in place with a comb or a brush.

Then off we go to dress and then we pop back in for one last look before we run off to meet the day and all that entails.

As the day progresses, we will stop by other bathrooms like a racing car making a pit stop, and once again we will have a moment to peer into the silver backed glass to see if all is still in its proper place.

These are rituals that we have been taught passed from parents, siblings, friends and they are common to most every human being who has access to such an opportunity.

As a child, at amusement parks and fairs, I can remember going through a house of mirrors which distorts the mirror image to make us look short or tall, skinny or fat, oddly shaped in all forms and sizes. It was always a laugh to see yourself or your companions going through the metamorphosis of illusions that the fun house mirrors reflected.

The present day mirror was brought to us from the work of German chemist Justus von Liebig about 180 years ago. For nearly 200 years, human beings found the looking glass a means of self-discovery.

I have often heard people say something to the effect of ‘You won’t be able to look at yourself in the morning.’ I really wonder how many of us take that to heart.

Have you ever really looked in a mirror and tried to see beyond the superficial image of yourself staring back? Have you tried to look down into your own heart, soul and mind to see if what is reflected upon that image is something you really want to see or you want others to see of you?

We all have blemishes, scars, warts, sores and sometimes wounds that can be seen when we look close enough that we want to cover over and hid from the outside world. No matter how much concealer that is used, they eventually once again rise to the surface trying to once again draw your or someone else’s attention.

I guess no matter how hard we try, we must learn to live with those and become comfortable in our own skin allowing all those imperfections not to bother us or anyone else. God did not create vessels of perfection in human beings. He created people who have the opportunity to strive for perfection despite the brokenness within their lives and their souls.
The image in the mirror will never be perfect, to strive for that is an exercise in vanity but to use the mirror to step closer to internal perfection might be an interesting step into the looking glass.

 

Be resolute

From childhood, I was taught that the arrival of the new year brings tidings of new opportunity.
The process begins with collard greens, black-eyed peas, hog jowls and cornbread ringing in the new year with the potential of good fortune.
After the meal is over then begins the hard work. What are the goals for the new year?
New job? Lose weight? Stop doing something you feel you shouldn’t? Make new friends?
What will make your life better than it currently is.
I will start by looking at my own. I could use some more financially secure work.
Let’s see, how can I accomplish that. Review my skills, study where I need improvement, improve my resume, and find some new opportunities and then apply.
Going through my closet, I find that several of my clothes no longer fit. I guess I should look at my exercise routine and my food intake and figure out how to better fit what I have.
Or I could just go buy an all new wardrobe and be happy with my new sizes.
Either could yield a smile depending my ultimate desired result.
Let’s see, looking around my house, there are several projects that need to be completed – new garbage disposal, paint the refrigerator, clean out all the closets – just to start.
I will make a list and begin plans to accomplish one objective per week until the list is gone.
Next, I need to make better plans for my retirement. But since I will never retire, maybe that’s too ambitious.
I need to finish that book I have been working on and maybe get out that new CD.
This is the year – everybody will buy them, they will both be best sellers! There it is, all the collards and peas I ate will pay off.
No matter what you need, what you hope, what you desire, it’s a new year and with God’s blessings, stick-to-it-tiveness and being resolute in your plans 2019 will be a year to write home about.

And they’re off! Here we go a shop-eling

The Christmas shopping season is in full swing and so has the mad dash to get everything done before all the kinfolk start gatherin’ around the icicle-strewn Douglas fir tree to open presents.
I remember waking to the smell of bacon frying Christmas morning. As I rushed into the living room, the tree would sparkle with what seemed like a thousand stars. I just knew that I caught a glimpse of Santa as the jolly old elf was moving about the house the night before.
There were so many beautifully wrapped red, green, silver and gold packages that my mother carefully placed under the tree, only to see all her handiwork destroyed in a matter of minutes Christmas morning.
My parents worked hard to put inside those packages items we had our eyes on, that we said we just could not live without. I know there were times they sacrificed what they wanted so that we would have a memorable Christmas. It is amazing though, since reaching adulthood I realized that “our wants will not hurt us.” If we do not get something we want, it is not going to be the end of world. In fact, in most cases, it is probably for the best.
I know my parents also were awakened much as I was with the smell of homemade buttermilk biscuits cooking in the oven. I’m sure they and their siblings rushed in to see the tree and their stockings filled with their presents.
Unlike my brothers and I, many in my parents’ generation were lucky to receive an orange, a stick of candy and maybe some small toy that their parents scraped and saved to buy. Toys were usually a luxury, as practical items like shoes or clothes were more likely.
My parents worked to give me and my brothers more Christmas gifts than they knew. Even more than the gifts they shared with us, it was the true spirit of the season that stands in my memory today.
As we push through the crowds of shoppers at Wal-Mart, we see the aisles covered in Barbies and GI Joes, icicle lights, and light-up Santa statues of every shape and size with which we can adorn our homes. When we attend the church plays and school recitals, we should remember really what the spirit of Christmas is, as we recognize the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. In the center of the celebration are our families. We are given the opportunity to pause and remember God’s greatest gift to us, his son.
Children today would probably look back and say what little many of our parents had for their childhood holidays. Back then they did not know they only had a little, because they had as much as any of their neighbors and in many cases more. During the holidays, our family gathered together around a table set with a mouth-watering feast prepared by loving hands with the ingredients available no matter how meager or abundant. The family would make a trip into the woods and select a tree off the farm, which they cut down and brought back home. The family decorated the tree with popcorn strings, construction paper chains and ornaments they crafted by hand.
Like the decorations, many of the gifts they shared were also fashioned by the hands of the parents, grandparents or siblings.
To me more than the toys, I remember what our family did together.
At our family dinners, mother always made it a point to include a neighbor or relative who was alone. While the holiday can be joyous for some, for others who are alone due to distance or the loss of a loved one, the time can be unbearable. Including someone outside the immediate family in your holiday festivities reminds us and our young people the importance of caring about others.
We always worked to gather items for those in need. Sometimes we knew them, sometimes we didn’t. Whether it was clothes, toys, or food, we tried to make someone else’s holiday better. I remember one year my mother and dad worked to gather and repair old bicycles to improve the holiday for the children of a large family.
I learned to cook very early. One of my tasks was to help prepare the Christmas cookies, which we shared with others who might not have them.
I’ll never forget one year. I thought I would help by getting a jump on the baking tasks, so I followed my grandmother’s cookie recipe. What I did not realize is that I had to adjust the mixture for the use of self-rising rather than plain flour. So, let’s just say the salt I added gave a new meaning to the words bitter sweet. But the gallons we prepared were still eaten, with more wanted and needed.
No matter what you plan for the holidays, remember it is not how brightly you decorate your home, the expense or number of the gifts you buy or the volume at which you play and sing the beloved carols that make it Christmas. It is what you do with your family to make it a memory that will stand for a lifetime, not only for you but for all those your family can touch this Christmas season. Take the time to make a difference. God never promised tomorrow, so make sure this holiday counts. You may just change a life —yours!

Alabama’s Randy Owen receives special honor

When I started in country music one of the acts which was taking the
industry by storm was Alabama. Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry
left the cotton farms of Fort Payne, Alabama to spend the summer
playing music in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina bar called The
Bowery. It’s a classic American tale of rags to riches. From humble
beginnings picking cotton in the fields, to international stars that
went on to sell 80 million albums, while changing the face and sound
of country music.

Culverhouse College of Business Dean Kay M. Palan formally inducts Randy Owen into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame / Photo credit: JAMM Entertainment

Recently Alabama frontman Randy Owen was formally inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. Owen’s induction comes as result of his business dealings in music, agriculture and humanitarianism.

“It’s a great honor to be one of this year’s inductees into the
Alabama Business Hall of Fame,” says Owen. “It’s very special that my
entire family got to share the night together. God bless all the
fellow inductees, their families and our home state!”

Founded in 1973 by the Board of Visitors of the Culverhouse College
of Commerce at The University of Alabama, the Alabama Business Hall
of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the names and outstanding
accomplishments of business personalities who have brought lasting
fame to the state of Alabama.

Owen has been the lead vocalist of ALABAMA, the most successful and
awarded band in country music history, for nearly 50 years. When he’s
not writing songs or performing on the road, Owen stays busy in Fort
Payne, Alabama, operating his 3,000-acre ranch, Tennessee River
Music, Inc., where he tends to 500 head of Hereford and Angus cattle.

Much of Owen’s time is spent helping others through his humanitarian
efforts, such as launching Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, an annual
radiothon fundraising event that has garnered more than $800 million
for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He received the Ellis
Island Award for his charity work with St. Jude.

Owen and ALABAMA have played a key role in several disaster relief
initiatives, including organizing and playing concerts to support
rebuilding efforts from tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa in 2011 and
Jacksonville State University (his alma mater) in March of this year.