Springs of Hope – A global Forum creating a new narrative for the Voice of Victims of Terrorism being held in Jerusalem March 1-4. 

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A grandfather stood before the ISIS group and was given the option of denying his faith or watching his grandchildren be slaughtered in front of him.  He denied his faith and called his minister, Andrew White, to confess. “Will God forgive me?” This was his question. When the terrorist approached the children for them to deny their faith in Jesus or else die, they joined hands and said, “We cannot deny our Jesus. We love him.” Then, they each were killed.

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This is the third day of the conference on Terror I am attending in Jerusalem. The sad reality is that we are sitting within the beginning of a movement that is coming to fruition. A group of people are intentionally killing men, women and children who do not agree with them. It is happening here before our very eyes.; just as the Holocaust happened. These are real people in real time. And, it demands a response from me, from us.

I was born during the Holocaust in 1942.  Here, I am meeting with the children of people who were born during this horrendous time or immediately thereafter. Their parents survived and lived with the trauma of PTSD.  And the impact afflicted on them as the children of Holocaust victims is and was horrendous. I met Peter (not his name) whose parents met in Auschwitz and married afterward. They all suffered and continue to suffer.  I do not know what I am going to do, but I am going to do something. 

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What I am witnessing is that there are refugee camps with children who have had no food for a month. We can begin by getting them food. My new friend, Andrew White, who is the Anglican Vicar of Bagdad told the story of a little boy who heard him speak to his school. After school the boy brought him a dollar to help the children. He shared this with many people who want the children to be fed and asked them to began sending their dollars. If you are interested in joining me, in giving this Anglican Vicar a dollar for the children, the address of where to send your donation is: 

Address: Go to website www.frrme.org: To make a donation

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You may also go online to discover information regarding Andrew, his remarkable life and the books he has written. He can no longer be in Bagdad or they will kill him. Although he remains in contact with those who are caring for one another and those in the refuge camps. He is truly on the front-line of this tragedy. His bodyguard was standing beside him as I talked with him. Andrew is the real deal, a man that can be trusted, and any and all monies donated will make it to the children. This I can assure you.

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 We cannot sit by and do nothing. Please join me in praying for these people and  what you can do.  I can give a dollar and so can you. This, at least, will be an immediate start.

If you will, join me in sending dollars for food and care for those driven out of their homes and land and will likely never return.  I will not stand by and do nothing. It is something we can do now.  This is just the beginning.  

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In the face of terror one feels the powerlessness like no one can imagine. I am sitting among people who have lived it this week in Jerusalem. Last night I met a man and his 25 year old daughter. She was kidnapped in France when she was only three years old. It was seven years before he and his wife were able to get their daughter home.   “All to Bring Victoria Home” by Delwyn Jones Schmidt –  check Amazon.

As I read Psalm 32 and 62 this morning David reminds us that there is only one place to go to when the terror man comes upon man. Then I listened to the story of a man whose parents met in Auschwitz in Poland. Both his parents lost most of their love ones, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in the camp. Incomprehensible!!! I experience the joy in both of these people. In reflecting on these Psalms I found a place to go that is helping me keep perspective by setting my heart, mind and soul on the giver of light and life. David the Psalmist led me there in reading Psalm 32 and 62.

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Tighten the strings of my heart
Draw near to me, Gracious Lord
I am yours to do as you will
Your joy – my center
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I sense your divine power
Please deliver me from pride
I pray for humility
Love will rule my life
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The lust for recognition
Deliver me from man’s applause
I want a pure heart, O God
Courage to do right
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I am powerless
Deliver me from man’s greed
Fill me with your peace
May compassion flow through me
The light of your presence seen
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God says:

“I will instruct you
And teach you the way to go
I will counsel you
My eyes will be fixed on you”
There’s no greater joy than this
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You’re my hiding place
The giver of love and life
Your promises renew me
Your light breaks the dawn
Brings hope in the darkest times
You count my tears; I’m refreshed
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Let it be so!

Five Decisions for Life

February 22, 2015

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I need the tools
The ones that open the mind
To inexpressible joy
There’s a way to find peace
That passes understanding

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Five decisions must be made
First a decision to live
Then don’t make friends with your pain
Are two essentials

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Now you are ready
Take Responsibility
Stop blaming others and self
This is the big one
There’s no growth till this happens
Life begins with your beliefs

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The past is a gift
You know what you don’t want
Or you know what you do want
Get a clear vision
Of who you are and what you want
Then you will know the questions

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This is the big one
Decide you are worth fighting for
Yes, you are worth it
Your value is in being
You must learn to love yourself

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So there are five gifts you must give yourself
1) Decide to Live
2) Decide to Not Make Friends with Your Pain
3) Decide to Take Responsibility
4) Decide to Get a Clear Vision
5) Decide You Are Worth Fighting For

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All the best on your journey.

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For more information go to http://www.coachinglifematters.com.

My Biggest Challenge

February 20, 2015

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I’ll live with the scars
Of all my past failures
I won’t forget them
They have been my hard teachers
My joy is that mercy reigns

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I found the biggest challenge
Is to learn to forgive me
When others cannot forgive
The wrong I have done

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I cannot please men
Measure up to my own rules
I found a friend in Jesus
Looks at me with compassion
Gives what I do not deserve

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This relationship
I can’t explain to others
It’s a mysterious love
From another world
Love broke through a story
Real man in real time – real love

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I have fallen many times
Failed to trust, done it my way
Suffered consequences
Felt the despair

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He is the one I trust
No other one can bear it
My soul’s deepest pain
When I am alone I know
My Father’s hand is on me

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I arise with His power
Renewed by Eternal love
Accept forgiveness given
Live today in peace

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Reflections of the morning as the birds sing behind me in the bitter cold.

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When I read this “Haiku” to Charlotte she said “You make yourself sound like you were pretty bad.” I said, “I know that I have hurt people. I don’t remember ever intentionally hurting anyone. But looking back I see I have. I just take responsibility for my part in that hurt and I am very greatful for the kind forgiveness I have received from God and those I have offended.”

The Gentle Way of Love

February 18, 2015

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Light in the darkness
Peace in the midst of the storm
Joy larger than circumstance
Hope impossible
For those who believe in love
Death will have no hold on us

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Love demonstrated
A life well lived speaks loudest
I have decided
Today I will choose to trust
My heart, soul and mind in HIm

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I will name the enemy
The lie handed down to me
The empty dark way
My mother and father lived
And lost what really mattered

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You are who they lost
Without love at the center
Everything breaks down
Religion; psycho-babble
Are built on the empty way

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Love’s the foundation
Peace is the gift that’s given
Work of the Spirit
Modeled in one man who loved
Courageous, gentle and kind

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You’re loved by God
The master truth of God comes
To those seeking truth
Who have the courage to stand
Who believe they are worth it

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After winter spring will come
After death you will be raised
One came to overcome death
And give life to all

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Darkness called me to seek light
Pain called me to seek healing
Through failure came forgiveness
Love came through a man

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David, King of Israel stated: “Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” Psalm 108:12
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“Delta Blues From Darkness to LIght” is available at Amazon/Kindle for $0.99 cents.
http://www.coachinglifematters.com/delta-blues.html

The Father’s Touch

January 24, 2015

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What do I yearn for
Where does my heart go when still
I will seek your face
When you appear I’ll see your face
I have set my heart on you

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My weaknesses still cry out
The sadness-es all around
So many lost in nothing
My inner soul weeps

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The little sparrow
Finds a place to rest and sleep
God knows what is happening
I’ll praise His greatness
Enter into communion
With my Father who loves me

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You’re my sun and shield
Light to find my way today
Protection from enemies
Angels to attend
To all those who will trust you
Who seek you with all their heart

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Your power’s displayed
You do the impossible
When you are trusted
You surprise with your answer
Light comes, love’s demonstrated

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Trust takes away fear
Anxieties are dispelled
I’m surprised by joy
Your living presence reveals
A Father in touch with you

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There is no trouble
That he does not understand
And promises to take action
Of all the voices
I can choose who I will trust
A gift from the Father’s touch

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I have fallen many times
Failed to trust, done it my way
Suffered the consequences
Felt desperation

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I arise with His Spirit
Renewed by Eternal Love
Accepted, forgiveness given
Live today in peace

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Reflections after reading Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114 and Proverbs 24. Sarah Young speaks to the promises in the pain in her book “Jesus Calling.”

Music In My Soul

January 20, 2015

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There is music in my soul
I’ve trained to practice basics
My body is the instrument
My soul holds the strings

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When the strings get tight
And stress gets unbearable
A surprising sound
When I surrender my soul
Music flows that brings comfort

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I draw near to God
A daily practice I’ve found
When I feel good or feel bad
He always comes near
That is the promise he made
One I choose to trust today

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The winds on the sea
Can toss the soul all about
The storm and the rain bring grief
I learned this one thing
When I’ve set my sail to seek
The storms have become a gift

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This mystery comes
To all and not just a few
Who choose to seek love
To be defined by what’s true
To align the soul with joy

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Freedom is the fruit
Peace passes understanding
My mind and heart are captured
Knowledge will illuminate
Hope is born in the darkness

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I interviewed a young musician years ago and asked him how he played the instrument so well. He said, “My coach is a concert violinist. Every day she pulls out her instrument and practices the basics until she gets the sound out of the instrument she wants. I do the same.” My instrument is my body. My soul holds the strings. I found the coach of life eager to train me to be loved and love. Psalm 20 holds promises I have found to be true. The music in the Psalms is what I train to practice. All the best!

Light

December 27, 2014

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To say I’ll walk in the light
Brings me joy and great sorrow
Because I can remember
And I am aware

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When I walked in the darkness
I was blind and did damage
To myself and other ones
This is the problem

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I lost some good friends
Who gave to me from the heart
I took and did not return
Give back the love gift
I know I’m hard on myself
That is still all about me

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Growing up is hard
When one misses the stages
Others will suffer
Maturing comes through the pain
The trials and the hardships

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What is good in me is this
I was looking for the light
Darkness is what held me captive
My tears called his love

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Confusion and the chaos
Growing up was the challenge
Navigating the losses
Is what each must do
No one escapes the darkness
No one can hide from the light

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Moments of silence
In the abandonment years
Came my life questions
Suicides, alcohol, grief
Love entered in little ways

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Pinholes of light came
Little kindnesses given
A smile and a gentle word
Of affirmation
Were the surprising moments
Were embraced with great delight

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Light brings the delight
Forgiveness breaks through with joy
For myself and the others
This love was revealed to me
Through the life of Jesus Christ

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He led with real compassion
His gentleness drew me in
Religion orchestrated
Making sure he died

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He died a horrible death
I cannot even fathom
The magnitude of this loss
Love it represents

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He is my pinhole of light
My failure as a human
Is connected to his death
And resurrection

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I have peace today
Forgiving myself right now
Forgiving others
Accepting the light of his love
And giving it to others

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I’ll make no demands on you
We can be a reflection
But not the reality
God is near to love

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These secret truths are revealed all along the way in the process of growing up and deciding to never give up! There is so much to learn on the journey and I hope to never stop learning. One thing I am determined to do is never stop moving toward the light even in the darkest hour. The movie “Unbroken” is a good example of light coming in the darkness and the power of never giving up. Love never fails. It must start with me and not the other person. Forgiveness opens the window of the human heart to the light of inexpressible joy!

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“Delta Blues From Darkness to LIght” can be reviewed on Amazon and is $0.99 cents on Kindle. It is my story of the painful but hopeful process of continuing to discover light.

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Blue Christmas

December 23, 2014

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This season brings awareness of deepest joy and unspeakable sorrow!   I think about my mother who for many Christmases sat in desperation at not being with her four children. She abandoned them when they were ten, eight, seven and two in 1950. I found her broken and devastated in 1968, eight-teen years later at the age of forty-five. Jesus’ story of meeting the woman at the well had inspired me to contact her. She had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. She spent Christmas with us in Boston in 1985, and her story and picture were on the front page of the newspaper on Christmas Eve, telling the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. People with hatred, guilt, shame, and broken relationships were at the heart of Jesus’ mission.

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The experience with my mother created a desire in me to reach out with compassion, which is why I started Coaching Life Matters. Coaching Life Matters is committed to removing barriers to healthy relationships and restoring people to joy. We are a non-profit educational organization that chooses not to charge for our services. To learn more about the work we did in 2014 and our plans for 2015, please click the link below to read our December newsletter.

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http://coachinglifematters.org/resources/Newsletter-Dec-2014.pdf

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If you would like to know more about some of the stories of our work with veterans with PTSD,  Operation Stand Down, (an organization working with homeless veterans), and our work in the prison, you can view video clips in newsletter:

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If you are already connected to Coaching Life Matters, we want to thank you for your continued support and encouragement in our work. If you are just hearing about us, please check us out and consider joining us in going “outside the camp.”

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May your hearts be filled with hope, and if you are in despair, I pray you will find that “pinhole of light.” Special thanks to Boyle Investment Company, which donates office space for CLM to operate.

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Wishing you the best Christmas and a joyful 2015.

Thankfully, Terry and Charlotte

Why Christmas?

December 23, 2014

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I will meet with you alone
There is no greater moment
Than being in your presence
The secret treasure

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You delivered me
From the bonds of slavery
A prison inside

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My heart demands perfection
I can never measure up
To be able to please all
It’s impossible

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So I stand guilty
Behind the bars of performing
Looking for affirmation
So someone will see
I am a person of worth
My grief and losses scream out

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I have hidden faults
Secret ones that condemn me
I can’t measure up
Beliefs about me are a lie
I keep looking for relief

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I found in silence
Behind the condemnation
The noise of judgment stopped cold
When I looked in eyes
Of the Creator of life
Who showed me that He loved me

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Stillness is so hard
Because my own heart condemns me
I need to be held
Comforted like a small child
Held in the arms of my friend

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I found this unseen love
In stillness God came to me
I focused on His dear son’s
Compassionate love

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He knows each of us
With understanding He comes
He has chosen you
Knows your name and your pain
Says, “Your are my Beloved”

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I could be right about this
“You are Special and Beloved”
I’m not talking religion
But relationship

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Friendship that’s deep and lasting
A friend who will never leave
A joy that’s unspeakable
Love that cherishes

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This secret treasure
Is for all those who seek truth
Who decide to fight
Begin by caring for self
Take responsibility

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I have found the light
My soul searched with compassion
And the message, “I love you”
Comes with knowledge
Understanding the story
That God became a human

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I sing “Silent Night”
The reason for the Season
In stillness He comes

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Early morning reflections from Psalm 19

The Future

December 21, 2014

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I can see the future me
In the story of His love
His kindness calls me to look
Through the lens of hope

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The past and the present blind me
I’ve looked through the lens of despair
Believe the lies handed down
From generations

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Where is the security
Restfulness you’re looking for
The feeling of a safe place
It was not in a place

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I found that peace in a person
Not in a church or in a group
Alone and in the quiet
Searching to be found

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Love came in stillness
Knowledge became my passion
Seeking to do good
To those I meet on the way
I found a fresh way to live

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“Stop grumbling and complaining”
Is what I said to myself
I began to be thankful
For the little things

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Gratitude opened the door
It gave me new eyes to see
The heart of God became flesh
In one man who loved

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Each person gets to decide how to respond to the injustices of life. There is remarkable, incomprehensible greatness in each person. That greatness arises when gratitude fills the soul because there is “nothing on this planet greater than a human being.” *  The story of Jesus and His love demonstrated in real life, real time, real flesh, real pain offered a promise that moves us through the dark times with real hope.

*Landon Saunders

A pinhole of light

June 16, 2013

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A “pinhole of light”
Comes in the deepest darkness
Hope found me waiting

There’s a room of loss
In the heart of everyone
I go to the pain

Death cannot hold me
I am not afraid to live
A gift I receive

Joy is to my soul
What blood is to my body
This belief I hold

A certain unseen
Available to each one
Unspeakable love

Everyone has an amazing story. I believe each person is being pursued by inexpressible love. Make time to reflect. I am indebted beyond words to so many who have made that love real to me by the way they live. These things, along with my personal story, are discussed in my book “Delta Blues – Darkness to Life”.  It will be available in the fall. The introduction to my book is on my new web site:
http://www.coachinglifematters.org/delta-blues.html


Thank you, Landon Saunders for this deep true heart felt line I heard you speak 16 years ago: “Joy is to your soul what blood is to your body.” Thank you, Paul, for what you said from prison about not fixing our eyes on what is seen and but on what is unseen because what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal. Thank you, Sarah Young for sharing your interpretation of Jesus’ invitation,”When you approach me in stillness and trust, you are strengthened.” Thank you Rebecca Greer for your words, “pinhole of light.” Your story inspires me beyond words.

Joy is my lived experience!

With Great Joy I Move

October 13, 2012

With great joy I move
Not because where I go
But who is with me
 
On level ground I will stand
To the mountains I will go
To the valley I am sent
But never alone
 
I’ll not live in fear
Though evil is all around
I am confident
 
One thing I will seek
With my eyes fixed on beauty
A relationship of love
When the trouble comes
He keeps me safe with his peace
 
A song in my heart
I have seen the face of God
In the servant lives
Of those who have surrendered
Moses, David, and Peter
 
My confidence is in this
Each of these lives were broken
The light came through their failure
A love beyond words
 
God has been faithful
For generations it’s love
And, also, today
Looking back I can see it
Looking forward I claim it
 
 
Based on reflections from my own life, 
Psalms 26-30; Proverbs 6; and
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
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70th Birthday

July 9, 2012

 

Who is this God, my Father

He is mighty in power

No limit to His insight

His understanding

 

He heals the brokenhearted

And He binds up the wounded

He knows the number of stars

Each of them by name

 

Listening and gentleness

Understanding your story

Then focusing on God’s story

You’ll find peace and hope

 

Come out of the pit

Open my eyes to what’s true

The unfailing love of God

Will be my delight

It’s where I place my hope

Lead me to those who are seeking

 

Each person is free to decide

But He will sustain the humble

I have chosen to listen

Focus on true love

 

I need wisdom & insight

I seek it with all my heart

I’ll define myself

By the one who gives me life

Who demonstrated His love

 

Faithful

January 10, 2011

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I will not let fear rob me
Of the joy of God’s presence
Because He is faithful
He will not abandon me
 
Be still and listen
Go, spend time alone with God
He will come and teach
He meets you with compassion
Will give you the gift of faith
 
I cried in desperation
Looking for a place of peace
I found Him waiting
 
It’s a mystery
I proclaim with all my heart
A love that has endured
For all generations
The revelation of truth
 
He knows you by name
It is written on His hands
Just look at His son
He understands where you are
“Do not be afraid” – Believe
 
© Terry S. Smith
January 5, 2011
 
Morning reflections after practicing the mystery of His presence and meditating on Psalm 16. 
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