Thursday, July 22, 2010

Need I Say More???

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw huh,..
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love,..

Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, aw huh,..

Stay with me,..
Let’s just breathe.

Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, aw huh,..
Under everything, just another human being, aw huh,..
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
To make me bleed.

Stay with me,..
You’re all I see.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw huh,..
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, aw huh,..
Nothing you would take,..
Everything you gave.

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one know this more than me.
As I come clean.

Nothing you would take,..
everything you gave.
Hold me till I die,..
Meet you on the other side.

Sing this one to the One Who Created You. Everything you gave, nothing you would take. Mmmmmm. Yeah. This one's Pearl Jam by the way!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Our thoughts have such power and determine so much in our lives, in the lives of others, and in the world. Our mind is a container for true power over our lives. And when I say power, I mean power to direct our lives to God. If we are able and courageous enough to learn to control our thoughts, we are capable of truly giving our lives to God. Idle thoughts are the devil's playground and bear no fruit in our lives. Thinking the same negative thought 50,000 times does nothing but waste our time and energy. God says to go quickly to those you have offended and ask forgiveness ~ that is because He doesn't want us wasting our time mulling over the offense. What's done is done, but how you react is what gives power to a situation. If you go immediately in forgiveness, it is released from your mind and has no power to create negative thinking.

Ok, let's put it this way, we can only have one thought at any given moment. One! And within you is the ability to control each and every one of those thoughts. God is masterful in His creation, and has equipped us with an innate ability to train our minds to think of that which we desire. Stop yourself right now ~ what are you thinking? Really thinking? Are you even aware most of the time of your thoughts? Or do they run free with wild abandon, having their way with your emotions and heart? Because we can read His ways, and know His ways, but without control over our minds and thoughts, none of that matters. If I'm still thinking angrily about something that happened a week ago ~ what good is the scripture I memorized but am paying no heed to? If I hold unforgiveness in my heart and allow that presence in my mind ~ the devil wins. If I run the same thought over and over throughout my being, that thought has power over my soul and over what comes out of my mouth. If those thoughts are negative and of this world, they do no good for anyone or anything and tend to write themselves on our heart. But if we can think on those things that are lovely and of our Father, those will also write themselves on our hearts and have power over my soul and what comes out of my mouth. Hmmm...I'll take the second choice for a thousand Alex!

If we can learn to first, become aware of our thoughts, and second, to train them to go toward Him, we will learn the way HE desires for us to live. This is no easy feat ~ I will not lie here. But it is possible. It is possible to control our minds and lead them to Him. I think this is the way to bring balance between the inside and the outside.

Wow. Ok Father, I'm aware. I'm ready to take this next step and learn to truly be aware of my thoughts and continue to fill them with your ways. In prayer you teach me how to direct my thoughts to you. I must spend more time praying and and going within, to where you reside. May I pray without ceasing Lord, that my thoughts remain constantly with You and Your ways and Your hope and Your love. Without ceasing Lord.

“As he thinks in his heart, so is he”(Proverbs 23:7 NKJV).

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 (GNT))

The more I accept God’s control over my life, the more self-control he gives me!

'Be Still and Know that I AM GOD' -Psalm 46:19

“Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG)

Mmmmmm ~ here's a great one:
“But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!” (Romans 6:16-18 MSG).

As always, I am so filled by your ways Lord. That I have been praying and crying out for you to show me the way closer to you, and you bring it together in this way ~ holding my hand and putting the pieces exactly where they need to be. To know that 5 years ago, before I even believed in You, you were equipping me with the knowledge I would need today, in order to walk closer to you. Wow Father. Wow ~ you are awesome and amazing & my thoughts and heart live with You. May they constantly return to you until there is no separation to be had. I love you Father and I am so grateful that you've chosen me as one of your children. I hold your hand and I marvel at your grace and power and goodness. Thank you Lord, thank you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The main character of the movie "Office Space" says at one point ~ "Every day get's a little bit worse, so basically every day that you see me, that's the worst day of my life." Well I rebuke that, shake it up, and turn it around to say that every day I walk a little closer to God, and therefore, today is always the best day of my life! Yeeeaaaaahhhhh! That is so awesome! Wow, what a way to look at this thing called life and more importantly, our walk with our Father. Every step I take toward Him is one more step away from the ways of our past and the ways of this world. To wake up every day, knowing it is the best day of my life. And no matter what the day may bring, it remains the best day of my life thus far because I know my Father better today then I did yesterday. And each step I take is easier than the last. He truly directs my footsteps. The more I listen, the louder He speaks and the more I see His hand at work in my life and the lives around me.

The way He designed this whole thing absolutely blows my mind. I don't believe that we are capable of completely or truly grasping His ways, as intricate and interwoven as they are. And that used to frustrate me. I needed to know. I had to understand why? I had to question it all. But the fuller I become with His love, the less I question and the more I see that I don't need to know...and what I do need to know, He'll show me, in His timing, in His gentle way. This eradicates fear. Fear of the unknown. Because what I don't know won't kill me, as I am saved by the one I do know! His love trumps all.

And I was told something last night by dear friends, that hit home and reminded me to see what He sees ~ He thinks I'm perfect just as I am and His love for me does not change depending on what I do. Anyone here on Earth do that for you? I don't know of anyone, but if you do, please give them my name, cause I'd like to meet them! Just let that gravitate for a minute - He loves me no matter what, and already sees perfection in me. If only we were all to see ourselves and each other with those eyes and heart.

I am ready to take His ways further and deeper. I know I keep saying this, but please understand that every day, while I am taking steps forward, I also tend to stumble back quite a few. But ultimately, my motion is forward, and that is what matters. Actually, I could stand still for the rest of my life, and He would love me. So what truly matters for this life is that I learn to accept, return, and grow in that love. I have no desire to stand still with my time here on Earth, which you can probably tell from this post, cause I'm all over the place! Sorry, but this is what happens. He overwhelms and I can't type fast enough to completely explain every bit of it.

I just know that it's becomming a masterpiece of His, this canvas I have become, wanting Him to paint His ways all over it. I just resisted typing that I am a blank canvas because I feel I am not blank, but rather too drawn on by this world. So maybe it's better to picture my Father with an eraser in one hand, cleaning up the ugliness, while in the other hand is a paintbrush dripping with the most magnificent colors the mind can imagine, and He is artfully swiping it all over my heart. Hmmmm, there's some imagery for you visual thinkers. Wow, I just love it when you do this God. When you just have your way and it flows out of me as though I am a faucet pouring water. You bring such joy to my heart. And peace. Beautiful peace. You are my everything and I thank you for your presence in this heart that was once so broken and chipped and bruised and damaged. Now there is such light, such light...such light and glory. Your glory. May it dwell here forever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'll Get There

I went home last night and did the complete opposite of what I've been writing about recently. Driving home, I noticed how dirty my car had gotten, and upon arriving home, I noticed how lacking my home is and that what I do have needed straightening and cleaning. This sent me into a tail-spin of a foul mood ~ the mood that used to prevail most days, 3 years ago. But that's not me any more. And I knew it was wrong and so completely out of balance, even as I yelled at my children and husband. As the ugliness ejected from my mouth, in my head I was praying, "God please change my heart. Right now Lord, please stop me." Yet, on I went for hours. Hours people, the whole time hating myself and knowing how wrong I was, yet still trying to justify my diarrhea of the mouth (sorry for the graphic description, but truth!). My precious children felt badly enough to take it upon themselves to go out and clean my entire car while I continued my tirade in the basement, alone.

How many times can you say sorry before it loses it's effectiveness? Because I've said this sorry way too many times, and I could see on their faces last night that they were thinking, "yeah, sorry this time, again...". And as children do, they will forgive. But as I looked, I could see in their faces that I haven't changed as much as I thought I have. Because I still have to say sorry, much too often, for similar rampages. While my heart says this is no longer the way, my mouth and mind have a mind of their own, and are out of balance with my heart. Again ~ a lack of balance between what is on the inside and what I actually do in this world. And I hurt them last night because of it. You may be saying it's just one little rampage, but all those little rampages have changed my children's hearts. I could see that last night. And my husband looks at me with confusion and disappointment. I can hear him thinking "I thought we were past this, and I want to believe you are different, but here we are again."

So I went to my room. Tail between my legs, knowing how wrong I was and questioning God, saying, "See Lord, this is what I am talking about. I need balance! I need the inside to be seen! I need to go deeper in You and get over myself and make this choice to walk with you Full FORCE! No more lukewarm, when I feel like it or when I have time. Change my heart Father! Help me see the blessings that surround me rather than all that I don't have!" Here I must mention that earlier in the evening, in my mad haze of cleaning, I found a book that I have never seen before. I noted the oddity that it was in my living room, and moved on. Remember ~ mad haze! When I went to my room, I intended to watch a movie and zone out for a while before bed. Well, God had different plans, because my DVD player refused to work. So I said, ok, I'll read. That was when I went and picked up the book I had found earlier, still no idea where it had come from.

All I can say is, thank you Father! Your timing is impeccable and the way you know my heart is seen in your ways. Thank you for your grace and for showing me that the discomfort I've been feeling inside is actually You, prodding me further along in our walk. You do have much bigger plans for me and mine, but first we have to work out the kinks, and last night was one of those kinks. But you are providing the tools and people needed to truly change my ways in order to walk closer to you. You will bring me to the place where sorry's are farther and fewer between. Do your thing Lord! Amen!

And then this morning, I was reminded of how extremely blessed I am. A friend wrote this, and I thanked God. Being upset last night because my house is less than I desire now seems absurd and I realize how askew my focus is. I love how you do that Lord ~ so gently, but so impacting! In the past 15 hours, you have shown me:

~ that I am truly blessed...truly
~ my walk with you IS deepening
~ I have all that's needed to go deeper, but I must follow your lead
~ I must align my head and mouth with my heart and You
~ You are with me...always!

So, in recognition of Your awesome ways, today is a great day to re-cognize my blessings. Let's realize the Ways He Whispers "I Love You!" and add to the list.

Je suis reconnaissant:

58. While I complain about my job, it provides much for those I love.

59. Forgiveness given freely.

60. My vegetable garden, teaching me how to grow.

61. Honesty ~ not always easy, but always worth it.

62. Patrick's desire to grow an orange tree.

63. Quicker & quicker recognition of stumbles.

64. Watching bubbles float by on a lazy wind.

65. Mckenzie's missing teeth, reminding me that she will grow but I can always hold her heart in mine.

66. The touch of a kind word.

67. Laughter that touches the soul.

68. A clean car.

69. New perspectives.

70. Authors who have the courage to put it out there for all to be affected.

71. Clarity creating clarity.

72. A narrow path.

73. Choices made that get me back on the narrow path.

74. Realizing that everything involves a choice.

75. The desire to be better.

76. Love given.

77. Knowing I'm loved.

I got this fantastic idea of counting our blessings as a way to praise Him from an incredible woman, named Ann Voskamp. If you are interested in reading more about this, and joining her Gratitude Community, see here. As she says, once you start it's very hard to stop! Blessings and love to all!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beauty in Him

I have been searching the Bible and other sources lately on how to be a better parent. There are plenty of books out there, way too many if you ask me, with a thousand different theories and methods on how to be a good parent. And the Bible offers several references on parenting, which are so so true. But I haven't found exactly the recommendations that I am looking for. Like I want explicit details on how to truly live life and help my children do the same along the way. How to listen to them in a way that teaches them what it means to be heard. How to pray over them in a way that shows them the power of prayer. How to be honest when asked a tough question about the ways of this world, while still maintaining their innocence. How to know their hearts and their souls the way they should be known. How to hold those little hearts for such a short time, while also preparing to let them go out into this big world. How to engage each day as though it were the magic that it truly is because we breathe and love.

God is the perfect model for parenting. He is the only one who could teach me that which I yearn so deeply to learn. While the Bible is a treasure to behold, knowing Him, diving deeply into Him is a way of existing that a book can't offer. If I explore His ways as my Father more, He will make me a better parent, one way or another. Whether it be from His awesome example of an insanely capable Father, or just a deeper walk with Him that ultimately will change my heart. How awesome is that? There is no downside to knowing Him. I've wanted to go deeper with Him, and He knew this day would come for me. So to help me along in our walk together, He's placed this great desire to be a better mother at the core of my being, and He is slowly uncovering it...leading me to Him. So knowing Him will offer me that which I can see for my life, but also that which I can't even begin to see. And automatically, I will be a better mother for walking even further into His love.

God, as always, I am in awe of your ways, when I truly stop to see them and know them. Stop me regularly Lord, that I may see you in everything. I want to know you to the depths of my soul and I crave relationship with you as though you are water and I have walked a desert for 40 years. I need your ways in my life, my children need your ways in my life, my husband needs your ways in my life, YOU need your ways in my life. At this very moment I am clay in the potters hand and I can slowly see you re-shaping me into who you dreamt of long ago. Remove the old, but keep the gold that you've placed within. Continue to peel back the layers until you reveal that gold Lord ~ You within. How blessed am I that you speak to me in these ways and that you are using me to bless the little souls in my life. That I might be a blessing to others speaks of your tremendous work in me already. Thank you crazy awesome Father! Thank you. Amen...

Wow, that was not where I was going with that, but I always end up exactly where He wants me to, so I trust the meaning of this post will speak to your soul the way God just spoke to me. So much love pouring out to you right now!!! There is sooooo much beauty in the world, so much beauty in Him. Go deeper in Him, today, please!

By the way, this picture is titled "Deeper Dive" and I love it. Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

English or the Heart?

Do animals understand English? Or do they prefer Japanese? Or maybe Cretan Greek? I ask this because it just occurred to me that animals do not understand the words we say, it is how we say them. It is our body language that they understand, and our tone, and our volume. They speak love, sadness, exuberence, nastiness, gentleness, they speak the same language as our hearts do. I think children are the same way. Although they can understand our language, and may eventually learn several languages, I feel they are best spoken to through the heart. That's where God speaks to them, and that is where they are most capable of hearing. When you speak to a child in the language of love, they listen attentively and soak up as much as they can, and then that love floats back out and wraps itself around this world. But the same goes for violence and meanness and ugliness. When those ways touch a child's heart, and they usually do, it hardens their heart and what is spewed back out is sadness for the world. Unfortunately, I fear that more children experience the latter rather than the former.

There is so much brokeness in this world, and that brokeness transcends generation upon generation upon generation. We treat our children the way we were treated. We expose them to the same hurts we were exposed to as children. We continue to pass along the same destruction that has always surrounded us, because we are broken and hurting and incapable of seeing things from a different perspective other than the one we've always known. It is not until someone, adult or child, decides to stand up and choose differently for their family, that this generational curse is broken and one's history becomes the past. I am in the process of changing the future of my family. I will not pass along to my children what was passed along to me. I will heal my brokeness in order to help them heal the hurt I've already imposed on them in their short little lives thus far. They will not be a product of their lineage who, while best intentioned, did not have God at the heart of their lives, and thus lived half-lived lives.

So I am choosing to speak to their hearts. I will speak to my children's hearts and help them become fluent in the language of love. The great part about this is that, as I've said before, love given is returned ten fold, and love from a child is of the purest kind. I want to break the ties that have held me in bondage for so long, alcoholism, poverty, divorce, brokenness, distance from my Father. So that they will have no hold over the lives of my children. And then once I've learned to just purely love all over my children (which I am getting pretty good at), I will learn to love all over other broken children. I will help other children see that there is goodness in this world and that they are loved by their Father, if no one else. I will help our next generation learn to love rather than hate, and I will do it on a wide-scale, affecting many. God has shown me that He is healing me and will use me for good, and children are at the heart of the matter ~ that's where brokenness begins. But that is also where brokenness can be healed and children can become the people they were created to be, not a product of those who came before them, broken and lost. Showing a child the way to God and wholeness delights our Father in ways we can't imagine. This affords them a different future, a different life ~ the life God intends. This is my desire, to be a light for children, before they become broken adults and suffer through years of darkness the way I have.

Because I know you have put this in my heart so dearly Father, I also know that you will guide me through this and provide the people and resources needed to reach the masses. But first I believe you still have some serious work to do here Lord. You've taught me so much and brought me so far. But let's tie it all together, what I've learned, and stamp it on my heart forever. Bring the outside, what I do, into direct balance with the inside Lord, so that this goodness you have placed within can shine for all to see. So that my actions mirror my thoughts Father, instead of the ways of my past. Because my heart is pure Lord, you have broken down the walls and cleaned house. But the ways of this world still dictate my behavior and I am out of balance. Until I can bring balance into this life, I cannot rightly teach your ways to the littles of this world. I won't preach what I don't practice. So continue to cleanse Lord and direct these footsteps, openning doors while closing windows on the past, equipping me to truly shroud darkness for your children, the children of this world. Show me the way Lord in the way you do. How I love your ways and thank you Father for your love. I love to love!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Being a Daughter

In today's world, it is so easy to be overwhelmed by the many hats and roles we must wear. Men, don't take offense, but this is especially true when you're a mother ~ we are truly a special breed! But that's a whole other topic, and not what I want to write about today. Today I want to dive into the idea of being a daughter. I forget my role as a daughter many days, and I also am very unsure of how to properly return the love given by my Father. I don't put that role first because I have all the other hats on and I'm running here and there, doing this and that, all the while forgetting to focus on my role as daughter and His role as Father. I can easily blame this on a shattered relationship with my birth father, and never learning what it means to really have a Father, or how to truly operate in the role of daughter. But I think even had my relationship with my dad been better, I still wouldn't completely know how to live in this role, eternally, the way He desires. So, let's put blame and doubt aside and accept it for what it is, and figure out how to grow this relationship that so deserves my full attention.

It's so easy to get lost in the details of this world and day-to-day living. This world will swallow you whole if you allow it to. But maybe it's in finding your way back to Him that actually is the journey and what He desires most. I think He watches as I screw up, day after day, but is pleased all the while that my heart finally belongs to Him, that I've found my way back. So each day, as I dust myself off and try again, He is there, ordering my footsteps and cheering me on, just as a Father should. But He is also saddened when I turn away from Him and forget Him, just as a Father should be. In fact, I can be pretty sure that my Father has shed tears with His daughter. Imagine that! He cries because I cry, just as a Father should. I'm pretty sure He's got this Father role down pat!

But as a daughter, how am I to act and fill that role? What is it that I should be doing to honor the most awesome Father one could ask for? I have this amazing, grace-filled, all-knowing Father who loves me regardless of...well, regardless. Yet I don't turn to Him when I need Him most, in everything! I disregard His love for me at so many turns while hope floats by on missed opportunities to fully experience His love.

So what is a daughter to do? Hmmm, I obviously don't have the perfect answer to that question. And I'm guessing it's not ONE thing I can do, but a process of letting Him gently and gradually change my heart. So I think for now I need to just curl up on my Daddy's lap and let Him lead the way. I'll bet He can show me how to be a great daughter, if I would just give Him the opportunity. If I would trust that His ways are greater than my ways and always remember that as my Father, He will protect, provide, guide, encourage, and love, just as a Father should!

How I love your ways Father, that without giving me the answer, you guide me to You, because that's where you want me...right where I belong! So that you can teach me to be the daughter you created me to be. Yeah, Amen to that!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Down, but not Out!

Dear God ~

I am feeling down, and I am sad and disappointed that I am feeling down, because I know I shouldn't be feeling down. I shouldn't be comparing my life to others and looking at all that I don't have. I shouldn't be deeply saddened by a marriage that continues to prove how little I know about being married and that I have no idea how to reach his heart and be the woman he deserves. I shouldn't be mad that I've never been given the tools or proper examples or step up to be financially stable and provide a good life for my children. I shouldn't be wondering why my family isn't like those around me, and why my life has been seriously difficult. I shouldn't be mad that I can't go away on a vacation while others are packing and leaving. I shouldn't be disliking my home because it's not all that I desire. I shouldn't be sad that my parents and siblings feel so very far away and disconnected. Like we are all so broken, but that brokeness is our only common thread, which is just not cutting it any more. I shouldn't be bitter that life has never once been what I thought it would be. I shouldn't grapple with the question of "why" ~ why am I the way I am and why did those things happen so long ago? And why do they still affect me today? Why God? Why is goodness constantly just out of my grasp? Why am I not capable of functioning like others and it is such a grappling struggle just to try to be a good wife and good mother and good friend and good person?

But I never just truly exist. I don't take pictures that capture memories because I'm not even present for those memories. Yeah, I'm standing there, watching, but something within is missing. Like nothing is genuine because it's just on the surface and doesn't get through to my heart. So I feel no remorse when I do things wrong, because that doesn't get in there either. Why have I struggled from one crappy job to another, never really feeling that I am answering my calling. Why do I have trouble retaining and integrating what I learn? I'll have an epiphany and a moment that changes my heart, but then two hours later I'm back doing something I shouldn't be. Like there is a disconnect between my heart and my mind. Man I am all over the place, but that's just it! This is how my mind works and why I resent everyone else for what they have, rather than be happy for their being blessed. Why I feel like my husband doesn't even like me, and he's probably right to feel that way. All the while I see these other women who have men that just can't get enough of them and their heart wouldn't work without them. Why I work in a job that I hate, knowing I'm made for more. Why I can't travel and see all that You've created and help people see You. Why I feel the same disconnect with my children at times that has always existed between my entire family. This is my secret heart surfacing that I try not to indulge often because it leads here, to thinking this way. Pity Party, table for one please!

I am just here, doing the same thing every day, all the while knowing it's there...I know it's there ahead of me...goodness and peace and joy and abundance. But when? When? I know better, and I have faith in you Father, but right now I just want to sit on your lap and cry and glimpse a shimmer of comprehension...a small idea of why this is my lot. What do I need to do to start living better Lord. Please tell me. I know it is all in your timing and I don't doubt that I will get to where you're leading me. But what can I do today...right bring that closer? I don't want my ugly hateful past to predict or control my future for one more day. Please Lord...I need a way, something I can do to take one step closer to you and one step farther from the ways of this world. Papa, I'm hurting and I need to know when I can step away from my ways in order to absorb your ways. I need to know what your calling on my life is and how I can get there.

I'm pretty sure you've already given me these answers, but for some reason I just can't reach them. Like taking better care of myself ~ I know what I "should" be doing, like getting exercise, eating better, not smoking, not drinking alcohol, but drinking in You. BUT I DON'T DO IT! Why? Where is the disconnect? The writing is on the wall, yet I go through each day, still sad and miserable, even though the solution has already been given. WHY?????? Why am I made in this way and what has happened that makes me this way? And why did those things happen Father? I'm just not understanding why I can't constantly recognize the blessings you've poured into my life. Because I know I'm blessed, but I hurt just the same.

Change my heart Lord ~ change my desires so that they are in line with what YOU desire for my life. Spread my wings and help me soar above the storms like an eagle. Use these storms to lift me above them. Peace Lord, that's what I want. No drama, no sadness, no lack ~ just peace, with all that you've given me. But also the desire to be more, to be better, to love better. To receive your love and let that satisfy. Work this out in me Lord, please. Mend the brokeness and instill patience and gratitude. Shed clarity on the things in my heart that hold me back from your ways. There is beauty to see and goodness to behold and the fact that my faith remains strong regardless of my emotions speaks of your work in me. So for that alone I will be grateful and tell those emotions to go take a hike ~ I may be down but I'm not out, and you'll use this in some way to hold me tighter and change me more ~ to work these things out for my good. Thank you for that Lord. I love you and I love your ways and stand strong in them, in your goodness.

Blessings to all for a Happy Fourth of July weekend! Take a minute this weekend to remember what it is we are celebrating ~ Independence Day, the day this country decided to stand strong on their own and proclaim freedom. I join my country on this day and proclaim freedom from hatred toward other countries and beings, freedom from thinking this is OUR country and we must keep all others out, freedom from judging the beautiful opportunities that are born with living in a melting pot, freedom from fear of differences, freedom to love everyone. And I stand strong in knowing that I am truly blessed to live in this country and I welcome others to join us here, to taste a life that may be better than they've ever known. And I hope that we can come together as a country and learn to live in love, not hatred and fear. That was the intention of founding this country in the first place ~ Freedom from oppression and proclaiming the right to praise God, yet we are constantly trying to opress freedom to truly live our lives by removing God from all of it. God gave us this country ~ love it and love others and love Him! Happy Independence Day!