No Matter What, Be Thankful

On Friday, the 13th day of November 2020,  someone famously sarcastically exclaimed, “What could possibly go wrong?”  Even though it elicited laughter, the truth is, most of us recognized we might want to avoid stepping on cracks in the sidewalk, breaking any mirrors, or walking under ladders. 

Today, we are fatigued from worry, sadness, and in many cases, loneliness. Many have lost loved ones due to the pandemic and others, have lost jobs and income.  We have suffered the slings and arrows of a bitter, contentious election that disrupted many relationships and hardened our hearts. 

Now, it seems as if the COVID Grinch is trying to sabotage our traditional joyous holiday season.  What else could possibly go wrong?  None of us should be surprised if there is a turkey recall or a limit on yams or cranberry sauce the week before our 2020 Thanksgiving!

So, how are we suppose to elicit gratitude around our Thanksgiving tables this year?   How do we find happiness amid such sorrow?  Where do we toss our bitterness, division, and heartache?

There is an answer

The answer is found in one word: God.  We can all say we believe in a higher power, attend religious services, and tap our prayer emojis on our phones, but there are times we are each called to “use” our faith.

When we face daunting hardships and seemingly hopeless tomorrows, we can either succumb to defeat or turn to our faith.   The Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.  My take on that is we are to find gratitude amid a pandemic, loss, uncertainty, and insecurity.    

A good friend of mine was shocked by the sudden news of a possible cancer diagnosis.  As I held her while tears ran down our cheeks, I found myself extremely thankful that she is a part of my life. God gave us many years of love and laughter, and I pray there will be many more.  However, I am thankful that she is blessed with the personality and strength to forge forward and fight.  She will “use” her faith to travel the rocky road she is to navigate. 

There is a moment of gratitude in every situation, even as tears fall, and life is upended.  Perhaps, we just need to recognize them.

Much to be thankful for

We fight over politics and elections, stomping our feet and gritting our teeth.  Yet, we raise our flags and take pride in our country, being the land of liberty.  God gave us a gift in the men and women called to service who maintain our freedom allowing us to openly pray to Him.  Our hearts should be filled with gratitude even as we stomp our feet and grit our teeth.

As a pandemic sweeps our world and fear grips our souls, there is much to be thankful for: The doctors and nurses who risk their lives caring for those suffering.  From the grocery clerks who stock our shelves to farmers who supply our food. The first responders who rush to our aid and the scientists striving around the clock to find cures and treatments.  So many people who are diligently working; the least we can do is be thankful.  

A question

Often, I question why some folks do not have faith.  Perhaps, if folks study and contemplate the diversity of the individual skills we possess, they might change their mind.  If we were all born to become doctors, then who would put out the fires?  If we all were meant to be firemen, who would cure the sick?   The vast network of talent and skill knitted together for the survival of mankind was not generated by a computer but by the hand of the Divine.

There is a moment of gratitude in every situation. When we can see the light of God cut through uncertain darkness, we discover hope.

This Thanksgiving may not resemble a Norman Rockwell painting for most of us. Instead, perhaps, this is the year we turn to the guest seated at the head of our table and, with a resounding, heartfelt shout, exclaim, 

“Dear God, thank you for you!”  Thank you for being with us, for teaching us that trusting you is how we find gratitude, joy, and peace.  It is how we love, how we forgive, and how we forge on with strength.  Your grace and mercy are immeasurable.  Please help us to believe that in all circumstances,  we are to give thanks for the blessings you bestow upon us.”

The COVID Grinch may try to sabotage the holidays, but nothing can steal our hopeful joy when faith provides us with grateful hearts. 

The Shining Stars of America

He was raised in a small southern town where his family operated a lumber company.  Most thought this bright young man would follow others’ paths in his family and become a lumberman.  However, God had another plan for Paul.

Paul left home to pursue higher education, then onto medical school, aspiring to become a surgeon.   After his residency, Pearl Harbor was bombed, and like many, he traveled to war.  He packed his medical bag and served his country throughout World War II onboard a hospital ship in the Pacific.

After the war ended, the doctor continued to serve America in the United States Public Health Service, where he retired as Medical Director by age 50.

Yet, his duty to the country was still not over.  Once he ended his government service, his family thought Dr. Walker would begin a private practice in his beloved Seattle or back home in Tennessee.    However, Paul thought otherwise.  He again packed his medical bag and moved to the impoverished coal-mining region on the West Virginia – Kentucky border.  There, he recruited other physicians to join him and establish a clinic.

For the remainder of his life, Dr. Paul Walker served those in dire need of his skills and aid.

Paul was a son, a father, and a healer.  However, he was also a proud veteran who remained on duty until his last day.

A million stories

There are a million stories, such as Paul’s.  Men and women who are called to serve our country.   They are touched by the hand of God to exemplify courage, commitment, and honor.  Each one leaves the comfort of their homes to save their homeland.  They are the elite group of citizens who were chosen to lead, serve, and give all to keep America free.

These blessed souls, who lay their lives bare on the fields of battle, are from every corner of America.  They are representative of every race, creed, and political persuasion.   Yet, they come together for one cause, defend their home, and claim victory for their fellow country’s citizens.

He was called to serve in Vietnam.  John was a lieutenant in the Navy assigned to a destroyer for over a year in those dark Asian waters.  He was my brother—an engineer by education, but a soldier by heart.  In the summer of 1965, our beloved grandfather died suddenly.   When the Red Cross attempted to contact John, he could not be located.  His ship, the USS Pritchett, was missing. 

For the better part of a year, my mother received no information on her son.  Where had the destroyer gone? 

One afternoon, the doorbell rang, a Navy representative stood with an envelope to hand my parents.  Tears welled in my mother’s eyes, fearing the worst.  However, the letter was from the office of the President, Lyndon B. Johnson.

The letter explained that the destroyer and its crew were deployed on a secret mission for months.  The President apologized to our family for causing suffering, but it was necessary to do so for the victory America hoped to ascertain.  He thanked my parents not only for their son’s courage but for their sacrifice. 

Lt. John came home

My brother was coming home.

Toward the end of Lt. John’s life, he would find comfort in the group who regularly assembled at his local VFW.  Their shared stories of war and comradery were healing and transformative.  On an April day in 1998, proud veterans assembled around their fallen comrade’s grave and wept for the loss of one of their own.

Stories of sacrifice and duty have swirled through our history since America began.   None are more important or more significant than the other.  However, within each narrative, we find loyalty, unity, valor, honor, and a deep unadulterated concern for others. 

Our servicemen and women come from every corner of our country to fight wars on foreign lands and train to shield America from our harshest onslaughts.  They are the elite, the chosen, the heroes, and the shining stars of our country.

We should honor those who serve not by our division but by our unity.  Applauding the fact that we can still debate, still worship, still vote, and still rejoice in our freedom. Our wars should always be fought on foreign soil against those who intend to harm us, not on the soil these brave men and women battled to save.

The Veterans,  our soldiers,  are the soul of America, the best of who we are, and we should learn from their stories, their devotion and realize that these are the ones who bestow honor upon us all.   

May all American hearts be filled with gratitude not only on Veteran’s Day but each day we live in the land of liberty.    

Let Us Move On

By the time you read this, the goblins of Halloween and the ghosts from this election year will hopefully not haunt us.  However, no matter what the results of November 3rd reveal, we must move on.

Some of us will undoubtedly not be happy after all the votes are counted, but we must abide by the majority’s decision.  After all, it is America.  We might want to settle down and remember that we elect a President for only four years.  We have the option to redecide our decisions in a mere 48 months.

Sure, a lot of damage can occur in four years, or progress can be made to better all citizens’ lives.  We should never jump to the conclusion that all is lost because our choice for the leader of our land did not win. 

What we all want is simple; we want America to triumph. We are so politically divided that it seems to me that because we are, we are losing.  The race for our government officials is over, but the race for unity is just beginning.  COVID has put a spotlight on our anger and our rudeness.   I never understood how a virus could become partisan, but how amazingly sad that it did.  

When folks are lying in a hospital alone, wondering if they will defeat their illness, I do not believe their priority is politics.   When doctors and nurses are frantically, exhaustingly trying to save a patient, I doubt they are worrying too much about the fate of their state senatorial races.  

Politics and pandemic

So, why did the pandemic become political?  Simply, to get your vote.  Now that the voting is over, what will the coronavirus do? It will still try to kill us after the first week of November.   What can we do?  We could try living by putting in place proper priorities.  The great American polarization should end on November 4th, period.  We must heal, and the only way we can do that is to watch out for each other’s well-being.   

The pandemic is not an American disease.  Its tentacles spread in waves across the globe, sickening and killing each nation’s residents no matter what type of government rules them.  COVID is not a hoax, nor is it something to merely get tired of.   I guess the next time we go to war to save our country, we should stop in the middle of it because we became fatigued.  Really? 

America is quieted, the rhetoric is over, but we are still in a fight to return to life as we once knew it.  Our citizens want to see school buses everywhere, watch parades, notice Santa’s on every corner, and businesses with doors wide open.  Each of us want to go to reunions, weddings, and parties.  We desire hugs, view smiles, and hold hands without worry.   We are drained of a virus stripping us of those joys, but the way we return to those joyous times is to continue doing the right things no matter how painful.  

Hungry for normalcy

Today we know America is suffering from oozing wounds, disappointments, and enough faded candidate signs to litter our land from coast to coast.  However, we are still free, we are still hopeful, and we will survive.  We just need to take our medicine, get our priorities in line, and be patient.  

Yes, we are hungry for a return to normalcy, but we need to act with wisdom to be well.  If we continue sowing seeds of division or rebellion, I doubt we will see any smiles anytime soon. 

For the love of America, let us put our swords down, clasp our hands together, and pray for God’s grace and mercy to fall on this land.

Let us rejoice in the spirit of solidarity, of peace, and move toward a brighter tomorrow. Hopefully learning that nothing in life is to be taken for granted.   Not our country, its freedom, its people, nor the air we breathe.    

Yes, the election is over.  Who knows what the next four years will bring? However, I do not believe the outcome is totally left in our government’s hands, but in our citizens’ behavior. Why not join to refresh America? Work together to rid the country of a viral menace first and watch our collective spirits’ soar.  

Let us turn off 24-hour news for a minute or a day, talk to God, and ask him to guide us toward a unifying tomorrow filled with compassion and understanding.  Take a shower and wash all the dirt of this long campaign season away and enjoy the sun rising in the morning of a new day. 

Let us move on.

We will not pass this way again

October 2020 is drawing to a close.  We will not pass this way again, yet I doubt any of us will forget this autumn. I suppose in 200 years, people will still tell the story of the year when our planet stood still trying to tame an invisible viral menace and much more.

This fall, fires consumed much of the west, and Greek named hurricanes flooded the coasts.  Violence erupted in our streets, and hate groups flourished across our land.  An unsettling cloud covers our country, filled with uncertainty and fear.

We gather with our loved ones and pray we all will survive to witness another October. We wonder why some seem to be living in a bubble where masks are not needed, nor is social distancing necessary.   Yet, science tells us we could save ourselves and 140,000 more by doing such a simple task.  Who would want to live in such a selfish, uncaring bubble?  

God says to trust Him.   He repeats it over and over, so maybe I should just let my worry go and let Him take care of bursting the bubble.

Fires, floods, and fuel

The fires rage, and the storms billow.  American citizens are battling the pandemic while viewing an empty lot where their homes once stood.  We watch from the comfort of our living rooms as their tears fall on barren or flooded grounds.  Sadly, some show little compassion because of their political liberal or conservative alliances.   Who would want to live in such a place that displays no concern for others because of their state’s political color?

God says to trust him.  He repeats it over and over, so maybe I should just let my worry go and let him take care of those who judge all by whether they live on land painted red or blue.

Violence regarding racism has rocked our nation. How ultimately tragic for any human to judge another by the color of their skin.  Poverty, hopelessness, and bias fuel the anger, regardless of our ethnicity. So, it is not our color that is the problem; it is the systemic hostility, hatred, and resentment that rises from the depths of troubled souls.

God says to trust Him.  He repeats it over and over, so perhaps I should just let my worry go knowing that He will be the final judge once the soul is stripped of its color.

On November 3rd, our citizens will elect their chosen leader.  The political ads will be over along with the debates both on television and in backyards everywhere.  America will have spoken.

On November 4th, the invisible enemy will continue hospitalizing people in record numbers.  The flames and smoke will still billow toward the sky.  Hurricanes will once again swirl toward our coasts.  Our skin color, or the color of many states, will not be changed.  Science will continue trying to find that magic potion to heal a deadly disease.  And we will still reside under a cloud of uncertainty.

Cure is caring

I definitely do not know the remedy for all our problems, but I absolutely believe much of the healing lies within us.  WE MUST CARE FOR OTHERS. If we could put our political differences aside and simply show concern for another as human beings, our faith in humanity would soar. Is solidarity to a party or cause more important than the wellness of our neighbors?  If we continue with our divisive, offensive behavior, then how do we get well?

If I had my druthers, I would paint America’s map with a white primer and then paint it pink; just because I like the color.

In every American community resides both liberal and conservative voters.  Children play in backyards in all fifty states where church bells still ring with joy on Sunday morning.  Every town’s population has multiple ethnicities suffering from the same virus and biases we all endure.

We are America, one nation that lives under the umbrella of a merciful God.  We should remember it is under that umbrella where we will find comfort from all our storms.  He loves all of us, no matter where we live, no matter what color we are, and no matter how we vote.  None of us will be remembered or judged by those things, but by how we loved each other. 

God says to trust Him.  He repeats it over and over, so I will lay my worry down.  I will trust that He will save us, remind each of us what is important, and heal our fearful, uncertain hearts because we will not pass this way again.

Sensitivity is not a Crime

When I was a little girl, my parents would often say, “Lynn, you are too sensitive!”  Yes, I would cry at the drop of a hat, and my feelings were hurt regularly.  Bullies frightened me, and I despised when whispers floated in front of me.  I hated strife, ridicule, and injustice toward anyone.

I did not like, understand, or enjoy possessing such a fragile nature.   Being too sensitive was a cross I knew I must bear for the remainder of my life as if it were a cosmic defect in my character.

“Grow thicker skin!” Friends would say.  However, all I seemed to develop were more freckles and rashes on my sensitive epidermis.  When they would advise that I should harden my heart, I did not comply. 

How was I going to live in a perplexing world without growing a thick skin or hardened heart? The task was daunting and often still is.

A Grandmother’s empathy

My grandmother believed my sensitivity meter was near where it should be. She could turn my tears to laughter in a heartfelt minute with her humor.  She also taught me to always “walk a mile in another’s shoes” to achieve understanding for our fellow brothers and sisters.  

My grandmother declared, “Shoot, honey, the most sensitive person I ever met was Christ.”

  “How’d you meet Christ?”  I asked as a child.

“Through the good book!”  She continued, “The Bible will tell you how the Lord treated the downtrodden, the lepers, the sinners, the homeless, and how he was crucified because he didn’t follow a popular path.” 

“There are a bunch of folks who would have labeled the Lord “too sensitive, forgiving, or compassionate!”  She added. 

Is sensitivity gone?

Today, I wonder where our sensitivity has gone?  Pigeonholing, ostracizing, branding, shouting, and whispering have replaced sensitive thoughtfulness. Plus, folks now applaud such horrendous conduct!  I pray much of it will end after the election but has the damage been too much?  Have we forgotten how to be considerate toward others and their beliefs?

How many times have we witnessed despicable actions this year?  We are fighting to survive a pandemic, and yet, many keep adding to the pain with a lack of caring or concern.

For example, I hear folks publicly declare the coronavirus is a hoax or overblown.  I wonder how the families of 220,000 Americans who have died or who barely survived feel after hearing such a dismissive statement?  How do the exhausted teams of caregivers and the medical community react when they overhear such flippant words?     

I think it is time to wash away our thickened skin and add a softener to our hearts.  Let us rest the battle politics wages and concentrate on wellness.  Go vote and accept the next four years.  What we should never do is accept lasting callousness.  

  We need to remember the grandmothers who told us to not whisper lies, not demean or mock another, and to walk that mile in another’s shoes.

Time to let our tears fall

Perhaps, it is the grandmothers, the mothers, the sisters, and all those compassionate souls who need to stand tall and let our tears be shown and wear our hearts on our sleeves.  Because being sensitive and compassionate is not a crime.  They, instead, might be the attributes that could heal us.

Not every situation we face can be remedied easily or by any one leader, but many times can be solved by our collective spirit.  If we unite and prioritize killing a virus, our economy will flourish, our differences will wane, and our kindness will temper the meanness.  Isn’t that what we all want? 

When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the spirit of America became united overnight.  We forgot the petty differences and political fights and marched to war.  Women helped build airplanes during the days and cradled babies at night while their husbands battled on foreign shores.  Most of our citizens were sensitive to the needs of each other. 

Well, we can do that again.  We must band together to defeat COVID, pray for the scientists to find cures, plus follow medical advice and instructions no matter what.   It is not fun, it is not easy, and it will take a bit of time, but did it not take sacrifice for us to win World War II? 

Even though I got a bit tougher, a bit sassier, nothing cured my sensitivity.  However, I decided to take my little cross I bear and remind others that inspiring our hearts will create a kinder, healthier world.  We will not find any peace in our divisiveness, nor our flippant harsh words or hateful actions.  

I believe that was proven years ago when the sensitive, considerate, compassionate son of God walked the earth to heal our souls and save us all.   

The Pink Sunsets of October

When I sat in the dental hygienist chair last week, she attached what I call the “bib” around my neck as they all do.  The paper bib was adorned with a pattern of pink breast cancer ribbons scattered across its surface.

I have been so consumed with worry over COVID, fires raging throughout the west coast, political upheaval, and protest, the pink ribbon suddenly startled me.  My mind flew back to an October nine years ago, when my daughter celebrated her 38th birthday. 

The family trip was planned to coincide with her big day.  All of us gathered at the beach where we rented a house to accommodate a slew of folks.  On my desk is a photograph of my child hugging her six-year-old daughter as the coastal sunset threw a pink cast across the beach behind them.    It is one of my favorite pictures taken that October evening, but it comes with a story like many snapshots.

My heart jumped with fear

Earlier that day, shortly before the photograph was taken, I strolled into the bathroom, where my daughter had just washed her hair.  As we chatted, I noticed strands of blond hair laying over a good portion of the cold white tile.   My heart jumped with alarm as I grabbed a cloth to clean them up. 

“Guess it’s time to get my head shaved, Mom.”  She announced with such resolute calm, the lump in my throat disappeared.   “Unless you want to keep cleaning this mess up, I would say you are right!”  We both laughed a bit, but to this day, I still get a lump in my throat when I recall that day.  

When I see pink ribbons, a jar for donations at the convenience store, football players wearing October pink, or anyone who is the throes of chemotherapy, the heartache is just beneath the surface of my soul.   For me, it is a reminder of a disease that attempted to take my precious child from all of us. 

The old saying that is true

There is an old saying that pretty much applies to many life events, “You don’t know anything about it until you have lived through it.”  The ‘it’ can be a disease, poverty, hunger, or racism.  The ‘it’ can be what it is like to lose your home to a fire or a hurricane, lose your loved one to suicide, or lose your job because of a killing virus.

Until then, I certainly never knew what breast cancer can do to a family other than what I read.  I did not understand the despair, the uncertainty, or the raw courage required to withstand such pain.  I watched as my daughter underwent a year of physically struggling and fighting to return to wellness.   Yes, we do not understand until we have lived through it. 

It has been nine years, but I still remember the medical teams, the doctors, and nurses who compassionately walked with us through 2011 and 2012.  I vividly see the chemo room where women gathered with their magazines as they watched chemicals slowly flow into their bodies.  It was as if they were casually sitting under a hairdryer at the salon.   The scene belies the fatigue and desperation that are hidden behind their masks of raw, unadulterated bravery.  I was astounded at their sisterhood, their spirit, and determination.

No, unless you have been through it, you do not understand.  Nor would anyone who has experienced such grief want you to.   However, we must recognize that we need to acquire empathy even though we may not personally endure such hardship.  It is compassion for others, the gifts to others, the desire to aid another, is what will heal us all.

Bringing hope home

There are so many who are living through extreme heartache this year.  Breast cancer and other cancers will continue to claim lives, and so will coronavirus, fires, illnesses, accidents, and violence.  Those families who are grieving and struggling to survive, trust me, need our help in prayers, donations, and tangible aid.

My adopted hometown in Georgia is like most of small-town America.  They are reeling from dropped income because of the pandemic and watch as their friends and family suffer.  Yet, LaGrange citizens still wrap the town square with a vibrant pink ribbon around its perimeter.  The large fountain in the middle cascades ribbons of pink water that arcs into a pool of rose.  It is a wonderful sight to behold, bringing hope home.  Storefronts attach pink ribbons on their doors because there is compassion for breast cancer victims.  Theirs is a reminder to all that the “it” can still happen to those who once simply did not understand.

Many diseases have no cures, but donations and prayers get us closer to one every day.  Give what you can to those who are living only to see a beautiful pink sunset once more.

Where did God go?

As the leaves begin to pale and clutter the ground, I am reminded of my childhood days of fall.  In the Tennessee hills, there were plenty of leaves around by October.  No matter how much Dad would rake, gathering leaves into piles, the yard was never cleared.  Plus, my friends and I raced and jumped into those mounds of color as he grumbled his way through the chore.

Once the trees were bare, we all knew the holidays were just around the corner.  Mom would start planning early, as I do today. I noticed she spent more time at her sewing machine and studying recipes. There was a sense of anticipation when the cool air became cold, and kids everywhere prayed for the first “big Tennessee snowstorm.”

Now, as I watch a leaf fall to the ground, I realize it is the simple pleasures we once enjoyed that captured our hearts.  Those life’s little joyous moments fill our minds with a longing, a desire to return to a time when it seemed safe, carefree, and filled with wonder.

Challenging times

This fall, perhaps it is good for us to just be still and watch with fascination as a leaf falls to the ground.  We are living in challenging times filled with uncertainty and angst.  200,000 people will not be joining us this fall.  There will be empty seats around tables at Thanksgiving and no Christmas gifts for many who have lost their businesses, jobs, or homes. 

This fall, I find sadness in every corner and anger rising to a new level.  We are consumed with politics.  We cannot make a cup of coffee without it becoming political.  And, we can ostracize a friend if they disagree with our view on issues.  There is not another time in my life that I have witnessed such a prevailing spirit.

As a people, we are dealing with so many complicated, controversial problems at one time; it is overwhelming.  They can overtake our spirit,  cloud our perspective, and diminish our faith.  We may ask, “ Where in the world did God go?” 

Have we lost our way?

The truth is God has not gone anywhere, but perhaps we have.  Have we lost our way with our sorrow, our hopelessness, our anger, and let the state of America today cloud our lives?  Has our spirit fallen like the faded leaf that wearily falls to the ground?

I would say the answer is, “Yes, we have.”  The only true healer of our spirit is our spirit.  Our relationship with the Almighty is what will motivate us to mentally recover.  Perhaps, God is reminding us that He alone is in charge and is watching how we handle diversity and a complex, contentious fall.

Folks worry and fret, but forget the word of the gospel, “Do not fear, I am with you.”   Our brothers and sisters spew hate and spread evil like wildfire, but forget the gospel’s greatest commandment:  “Love one another as I love you.”

God has not gone anywhere.  Perhaps he is watching us as we turn away from Him.  We will not recover if we do not turn around.  Faith is the most essential medicine we have.  It is not found just in words, or our sermons, but in our individual actions.

Return to joyous days

Today, as my own spirit wanes, I recall those days when Daddy raked the yard, and Mama sewed my Halloween costume.   I believe we can return to those joyous times, but only if we turn toward God so that our deeds will be filled with godliness.  Empathy, kindness, love, goodness, and faith are the medicines we must take prescribed by our greatest Healer.

We must never forget that we cannot outsmart God.  We are not that intelligent; we are not that righteous. We are merely just mortal humans. God is not the President, not a Congressman or a Superior Court judge, but He alone is the supreme being who will decide our fate.

Yes, God is still in the yard, but just blurred under the leaves a bit.  He is still the one who will be thanked at Thanksgiving, and of course, Christmas is His celebration.  Let’s honor him with our actions, and maybe, just maybe, we heal our hearts and our country when we do.

Take a moment and notice a leaf cascading to the ground.  Because the wonder of life is found in such simplicity.

There is a Time for Everything

Boy, today, it is difficult to write words of hope, peace, and love.  As I sit at my desk this morning to start my column, I am a bit bewildered at the complexities I see surrounding our lives.  I look one way and watch folks helping one another, whether in hospitals, food distribution lines, or contributing to their neighbor’s welfare in countless ways.   I glance the other way and notice people ignoring solutions for the coronavirus pandemic in favor of self-gratification and political posturing.

Now is not the time to kill, it is the time to heal. 

Hate and love residing side by side in a battle for survival.  The harsh noise of anger rises above the quiet tone of love.   Some spread fear through bogus conspiracy theories.  And then others, destroy the possibility of productive social change by promoting violence and destruction.   People often judge all by the acts of a few and others who would rather have war than call a truce.

This is not the time for war, it is the time for peace.

Some say that is just the way life is, but our lives today are so tragically complicated.  Perhaps, now is not the time to accept life as it always has been.  We are struggling both physically, mentally, and financially.   Love must beat the hate, which is critically essential for our survival.

There is a time to hate, but now is the time to love.

A time to gather

At this moment, people of all races need to erase color and simply survive the pandemic. We must do better, and now is the time.  Why do we keep adding to our burdens?  Why not offer a helping hand to those who desperately need us?   Isn’t that the basis of Christian faith and belief? 

There should be one fight right now.  There is a time for all things, but today, our priority is to heal our land from a killing giant.   It will take every single human being, no matter your ethnicity, age, or gender, to do so.  

There is a time for casting stones, but not today, today we should gather them.

People are waiting for the magic potion of a vaccine overlooking the 157,000 people who have died in our country.  Many more will die before a miracle is shipped.  Until then, all we have is each other.  All we can do is be mindful of another, pray, and protect those we love.  Hate is a violent, radical action.  Love is far more powerful, if only we enact it.

There is a time to break down, but now is the time to build up.

I recall a scene when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in 2017.  Its residents were attempting to escape the rushing waters flowing down their streets.   An elderly white man lost his footing, and immediately a black hand reached down to pull the grateful man to safety.   

When we are in dire conditions, color is flooded away, hate is drowned, and we survive because of caring for one another.  Hurricane COVID floods our streets, our lives, and our livelihood.   It is time to join hands and stand firm against the forceful destruction of this windless hurricane and simply endure.

There is a time to refrain from embracing, but today is the time to embrace using our hearts.

A time to be wise

There is a time to be born and a time to die.  I have no idea if I will survive the wrath of this pandemic, and neither do you.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring.  Do we want to fill our days with spreading hatred, demeaning each other, or do we want to rise to the occasion and be inspired by God’s word to help one another?  Who are we?  Why are we here?  Are we given life to promote God’s grace and goodness, or are we given life to fuel the flames of hell?  

At some point, we all become accountable, and if we don’t want swarms of locusts to fly in our backyard, those earthquakes to destroy our land, and our evil to overcome us, then we better beat the hate before our time is up.

As wise Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes: “To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Today is the day to give compassion, hope, and inspiration to everyone living under the heavens.  We can beat hate and a virus if we understand that time is a gift from God.  Today let us all use it wisely.


Comic strips often entertain us with not only a funny moment but occasionally the cartoonist will introduce a bit of insight within their colorful panels. Such was the case when Jan Eliot provided such wisdom in her comic strip called, “Stone Soup.”

One of the characters is Alix, a nine-year-old precocious girl who is sitting at the kitchen table watching her Grandmother rolling the dough for a homemade pie.

Alix asks, “Gramma, why do you like to make pies so much?”

Her Gramma explains that when she was a young mother, they did not have much money, but she and her husband had an orchard abundant with pears, apples, and peaches. So, when they could afford only rice and beans for dinner, what lifted the spirits of her family, was a delicious homemade pie for dessert.

After hearing her Gramma’s explanation, Alix replies, “In other words… before Prozac, there was pie.”

Gramma ends the story with this statement, “That’s what’s wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!!”

Growing up, I recall my Grandmother making pies to deliver to folks who were physically ailing or mentally going through a difficult time. She regularly baked my brother his favorite chocolate pie and would always make a blackberry cobbler for my mother when the berries were in season. I don’t think I ever visited her when she didn’t bake a pie out of love or compassion for someone.

I remember one summer day, my grandmother’s friend, Mrs. Harris, was ill. First thing on a Saturday morning, we visited Mrs. Harris bearing an apple pie full of concern and affection. Before we left, Mrs. Harris was giggling with her friend before hugging me goodbye.

The tradition of pie giving was passed down from those ancestors who resided in the Southern hills to hearts who needed a pie’s restorative power. Aunts, mothers. grandmothers, a few uncles, and even some grandpas inherited the gift of producing a mouthful of joy. My Granddaddy couldn’t make a pie, but he sure could mend a mortal soul with his homemade peanut brittle.

My mom could roll out the best pie crust on the planet. Plus, she had the artistic talent to create the perfect lattice top over her delicious fruit pies. She would serve them warm with a dollop of ice cream. Mom could dry tears and melt hearts with her delicious creations. I once dubbed her the “Queen of Pies,” and to this day, I believe she undoubtedly was.

Friends and family frequently question me, “Lynn, why do you insist on baking homemade desserts? You can go to Publix and get a great pie or cake and not have to go through the trouble!”

My answer is the same, “It’s not the same!”

Generosity, compassion, and joy are only found in the work you go through to create them. Not everyone knows how to bake a pie, but they sure know how to gather flowers, write a sweet note, or hold a hand. When we use extra energy to lift another’s spirit, whether it is through baking a pie or going for a visit, we deliver healing. When we go to the trouble to love, we give hate trouble.

Our world is a busy place where texting emoji hearts, sad or smiling faces, makes it simple to share our emotions. We are “convenient” happy. Whatever makes our lives easier is becoming the norm. However, our days will become more comfortable only when our society becomes a less hateful place.

A peaceful world can exist only through loving each other enough to create a pie made of sincere compassion, prayer, and understanding. Comforting another is not about easy, it is about sacrifice and empathy. There is no emoji in the technological world that shows the recipe for genuine kindness.

“Before Prozac, there was pie,” Alix declared. I suffer from clinical depression, and I understand needing medications for this illness. However, if my family and friends had been too busy to hug me, pray with me, or cook my kids’ dinner through some of those wicked dark hours, would I have made it? When those compassionate souls took the time to physically aid me, they helped me see a sunny day was on the horizon.

“That’s what’s wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!” Gramma happily tells her grandchildren as she holds her beautiful baked pie above her head. What if we brought a homemade pie of kindness to the table of hate and calmed anger with a dose of warmed goodness?

Then our Grandchildren would learn just like I did from my Grandmother; when we take the time to create love, we might just witness healing our hurts one pie at a time.


Welcome to my new site! Here you will find stories, both old favorites and new ones which I will change often. I will also write a post when something strikes me or I need to share important news.

You can send me a note, a question, or a request. I would love to hear from you!

In the meantime, keep reading, be inspiring, and change the world with kindness.