My Own Little World What If There's a Bigger Picture

What is going on in your world and in my world today? When I heard Matthew West’s song, My Own Little World this morning, my thoughts went back to the way we spent our 4th of July morning for many years.

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Peachtree Family Memories

Donny and I, lots of friends, as well as family members have participated in the Peachtree Road Race more than a dozen times.

Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining. Anne Lamott

On Independence Day, since 1970, this race is the world’s largest 10 kilometer race. Started by the Atlanta Track Club  with only 110 runners, the 2016 race, including a wheelchair competition expects over 60,000 participants. All finishers win the annual t-shirt! Some of you reading this may be training for the 2016 10K.

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Peachtree Family Memories

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Call me naive or sentimental, but every single time I stood at the extremely crowded start line, my eyes would well up. You see, here were my thoughts, every year, again and again:

What if all of these humans worked together for one cause, whether it be to stop hunger in its tracks, to put a final end to all human sex trafficking, to unite, standing shoulder-to-shoulder for a common cause, regardless of their race, gender or religious beliefs?

And then, year after year, on the 4th of July, the crowd I was standing and waiting with would begin the slow trot towards the start line in front of Lenox Mall on Peachtree Road, our goal before us to complete the race and get our coveted t-shirt.

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Kim and Amy Peachtree!
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Karen and Joan Peachtree!
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Our Family Peachtree Fun!

Here are the lyrics to this thought-provoking song:

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Precious time with my sister, Laura Lea. June 18, 2016.

I had a chance to visit with my sister, Laura Lea this past weekend and I shared this post with her.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Laura’s initial thoughts were,  “I am quite sure that many of us live our lives this way…watching for ways to make a difference in another’s day.” I believe she is right, and I also think we can all do a little better.

How can you and I forget about our own world for a time and reach out to the hurting humans in our path?

One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” John F. Kennedy

If you live in a home that houses and nurtures young people, please make caring for them,loving them well, the most important priority of all.

This is no dress rehearsal, and I don’t want to spend another day just going through the motions!

I don’t believe I’m the only one feeling this sense of urgency. Especially in light of the current events across our globe today. I feel, we, each one, can be the hands and feet, together, to make a difference.

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Without really intending to, this has turned into a Matthew West post, so as we remember the Orlando shooting victims and families left behind,  and  many others who have had a recent loss, I will share one more of this artist/songwriter’s songs: Save A Place For Me.

A friend just shared something with me and I wanted to pass it onto you. Allow ten minutes for viewing. An awesome young lady shares her heart in an original poem about her perspective on our broken world and where we can find hope.

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Climb Every Mountain The Great Smoky Mountains

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“Climb Every Mountain,

Ford Every Stream,

Follow Every Rainbow,

‘Till You Find Your Dream.”

(from the musical, The Sound of Music)

Do you have dreams for the future?

In any given moment, we are guided by one of two maps: a vision map, which is a deliberate map for our future, or a default map, which is made up of our past. Choices made from our default map---our repetitive, automatic programming---DO NOT nourish our flames, nor do they move us closer to our dreams. AND even though they might feel right to us, they do simply because they are familiar. The right questions wake you up! from page 23, The Right Questions: 10 Essential Questions To Guide You To An Extraordinary Life, Debbie Ford

Have you begun to let some of those dreams slip away? Nearly one year ago, my hiking buddy, Kathy invited me to join her and three friends for a hiking adventure. I immediately said yes, not knowing that this past week, our eight-hour hike up, viewing the sunset from a 7,000 foot vista, and trekking back down in six hours would inspire me so.  After my recent climb up to the Summit of Mt. Le Conte in the Great Smoky Mountains, my dreams have been rekindled. Laughing, singing Rod Stewart, songs from musicals, Carole King, and JT, telling long stories, and “unplugging for a time” all served to rejuvenate and inspire the five of us!

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thanks for this, Melissa Chambers! Let’s Do This!

Especially in light of the horrific current events in Orlando, Florida, it is easy to feel discouraged, defeated, and hopeless, too. If your dreams are trying to die on you, watch this for inspiration!

It has been said that “getting old is not for sissies”, and as I draw nearer to the end of my fifth decade, I am finding this to be true. Life, at any stage, takes great courage. Climbing a huge mountain has helped to decrease my fears and rebuild my courage for the days ahead.

I was able to celebrate my friend, Cyndi’s 60th birthday this past Saturday and a friend I saw there shared that she found it hard to do things for herself during this season of her life, with grown married children and grandchildren now here. I told her about the 3 nights I snuck away to climb Mt. Le Conte with friends, and how doing that ( I am hoping) will make me a stronger and more loving woman, Mother, and Mom-In-Law, as well as a Grandma to our (future) grandchildren. <smile>

So what are the dreams you have had in your past that might be trying to slip away because of time and circumstances? What’s on your list, what “mountains” would you like to climb to gain serenity and hope for the future? Our adventure happened to be extremely physically challenging, but your dreams and my dreams can be whatever they are, unique to each one of us: keeping a journal, visiting a historical nearby community you’ve been thinking of,  increasing your fitness, snagging 15-30 minutes each day for some solitude, some alone time, and more. Take a few moments to sit quietly, perhaps with pen and paper at hand, and jot down a few of your dreams.

Dreams CAN come true, like the rigorous hike that five women, including a social worker, three nurses, and a teacher, all in our fifties took on June 7-8, 2016.  Though there are no showers or electricity at the top, the Mt. Le Conte staff took great care of us feeding us delicious, family style meals. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I will use mostly pictures to share our experience with you. Click here to see a cool, short video about the LLAMA Train that takes place on Trillium Gap Trail 2-3 times each week!

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We hiked up this trail. The first 2.7 miles is part of the AT!
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We hiked down this trail. We were able to see the llamas several times!

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Getting started at Newfound Gap. The first 2.7 miles of Boulevard Trail is part of the AT!
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My hiking buddy, Kathy.
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Connecting with Nature.
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A panoramic view of the vistas and Kathy.
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A favorite spot: Myrtle Point
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A fellow hiker taking in the sunset.
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A panoramic view of our sunset on June 7, 2016, Cliff Top.
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Pure Joy pouring from my new friend, Linda.
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Lisa staying warm at sunset, Cliff Top.
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Our cabin. The bucket was for the hot water to wash our faces with!
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Recorded on my Apple Watch after the hike down.
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Tho we saw no bears, there were lots of sightings in the days just following our visit.
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At 6,593 feet, Mt. Le Conte is the 3rd highest peak in the Smokies.
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The llama train travels 3 days each week, delivering supplies to the Lodge.
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Almost to the end of Trillium Gap Trail.
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Grotto Falls, about 1.5 miles up from Trillium Gap Trailhead.

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What Feeds You And Me? Let’s Follow Our Heartsong.

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What feeds you and me? Let’s follow our heartsong.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of evil, a ton of loss, in our world today, what with the continued, enormous conflict in the Middle East, not to mention the very recent terror attacks in both Paris, France and San Bernardino, California, only 19 days and 5,000 miles apart from each other.

Terrorists feed on fear.

It seems their greatest delight must lie in horrifying others. Their goal-fear, our reaction-fear… is a normal response to the circumstances in our world today.

Call it naivety…

…but what if we decided to “fight back”, not with weapons, but with hope paired with our fear?[pullquote]For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7[/pullquote]

There was a brave, young soul, named Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek, who lived between the years of 1991-2004. [pullquote]A heart song is something deep inside each of us. It’s our sense of why we are here and how we can keep going. It is like a purpose. It may be to live as a mommy or a daddy, or a firefighter or a delivery person, or a child with a disability who teaches others about patience and love and acceptance. Heartsongs are usually easy to hear when we are young, but we sometimes get too busy or hurt or angry to listen to them as we get older. And just like any gift that isn’t cared for or used well, it is possible to forget how to listen to the message of each song. But even if we completely lose our heart song, we can share someone else’s song until we are able to reawaken or recreate our own.” Mattie Stepanek, in the Introduction to his 2002 Best Seller, Hope Through Heartsongs [/pullquote]

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Mattie’s Poem penned in 1999, just five years before he passed at the age of 13

Despite a rare, debilitative disease (dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy) Mattie managed to publish five poetry books before his passing at the age of 13.[pullquote]We are each Angels-in-the-making, and that is why we can see and honor in others, such as Mattie, the goal that each of us is traveling toward. Mattie reminds us of that goal and makes us thankful.” Gary Zukav in the Foreword to Mattie’s 2001 Best Seller Hope Through Heartsongs[/pullquote] Mattie began writing poetry at the age of three to cope with the death of his brother of this same genetic disease. Did you know? Mattie’s fans included Jimmy Carter and Oprah Winfrey. He was well-known for his promotion of peace. As I consider Mattie’s heart and work, I am inspired to “fight back” with goodness. But how does one do that? In Mattie’s poem entitled “Bravery Prayer”, he suggests we pair hope and fear together in one great force, leading to Bravery!

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Mattie’s thoughts remind me of another great example for making the discovery of what feeds us:

The Tale Of Two Wolves

ONE EVENING, AN ELDERLY
CHEROKEE BRAVE TOLD HIS
GRANDSON ABOUT A BATTLE THAT
GOES ON INSIDE PEOPLE.

HE SAID “MY SON, THE BATTLE IS
BETWEEN TWO ‘WOLVES’ INSIDE US ALL.
ONE IS EVIL. IT IS ANGER,
ENVY, JEALOUSY, SORROW,
REGRET, GREED, ARROGANCE,
SELF-PITY, GUILT, RESENTMENT,
INFERIORITY, LIES, FALSE PRIDE,
SUPERIORITY, AND EGO.

THE OTHER IS GOOD.
IT IS JOY, PEACE LOVE, HOPE, SERENITY,
HUMILITY, KINDNESS, BENEVOLENCE,
EMPATHY, GENEROSITY,
TRUTH, COMPASSION AND FAITH.”

THE GRANDSON THOUGHT ABOUT
IT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN ASKED
HIS GRANDFATHER:

“WHICH WOLF WINS?…”

THE OLD CHEROKEE SIMPLY REPLIED,
“THE ONE THAT YOU FEED”

So with that old story, along with the courageous, short life of Mattie Stepanek, I ask us again…What feeds you and me? Whether we fear tornadoes, death, terrorists, or tax collectors, let’s follow our heart song. Let’s start within our own families, in our homes, today.

Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let It Begin With Me

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