A Letter to my Son

I’ve been a little preoccupied the last several weeks as this season of life is swiftly passing by.  In just one week my youngest child and only son will walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma …. and in three weeks he will leave for Parris Island as he has enlisted in the Marine Corps.  It’s just a little emotional around here right now.

{OK, it’s just me that is  little emotional.}

Today is Bradley’s senior picnic, and as a part of the traditions at Loganville is the receiving of senior letters from friends and family.  I wanted to share my (rather long… sorry) letter that I wrote to Bradley as he enters a whole new world in the coming days.

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May 2018
Dear Bradley,

When you came into this world you taught me to look at things in a whole new way! After having three girls, I didn’t know what to expect of this chubby darling boy God knew I needed. In a way I have dreaded this day for 18 years now, but at the same time I am so excited for your future that I can’t help but beam with pride between the tears. You have grown up to be an amazing young man with a future so bright others should be jealous! Everyone loves you, is proud of you, and I absolutely know that you will be able to do wonderful things in this life, not only in leadership (you are a natural born leader), but by being your own kind hearted, loving, intelligent and entertaining self!

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First Day of Kindergarten

I’ve loved watching you grow and mature these last 18 years; growing into a responsible man, but also maintaining your irresistible ­mischievousness of spirit. My word how you have always been, and I hope will always be mischievous! From sandwich incidents at school to thinking you were being sneaky to visit grands, I can’t begin to count the number of times you have managed your way out of trouble because of your wit and that twinkle in your eye. You’ve tried my patience, been my conscious, a fitness cheerleader, accepted change with little complaint (although your heart hurt) and stepped into the roll of a man while helping around the house while your dad travelled.

Through all your life I have talked to you freely about everything. That is because I love you. While I always wanted to shield you from the darkness of the world, I also wanted you to know that things aren’t always what God had intended for them to be. By being open with you I hope you learned the difference between right and wrong, what God expects for you in your life, and know you can always come to me with anything. Just for a moment I want to talk freely with you again as you graduate and leave for boot camp.


Live a Life of Love. Love is not just romance; it is a way to live your life. Love is so many beautiful things as pointed out in I Corinthians 13 (patient, kind, self-sacrificing, etc)… You can take these principles of love and use them in all aspects of your life, even boot camp believe it or not. Living a life of love means every person you encounter will see God in you and know you truly care for people.  You can live a life of love and still be a man.  Love is not weakness; it is strength.

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Live a Life of Purpose. God wants us to lead purposeful lives and lives that reflect Him. There are so many ways to do this, but it’s mostly living your life with a set of values and beliefs that God expects of you. I hope you have grown to have your own, and not just relied on your dad and I to give you a purpose. Have passion in all that you do and set priorities so that you accomplish all the goals that you have for your life.  Be the strong man God intended for you to be and you will be a world changer.

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Life a Life with No Regrets. See the world, love passionately and give of your time and efforts to those you are close too, as well as strangers. Not everyone will appreciate it, but at the end of the day do not regret anything you have done. At the same time, don’t hold grudges. Life is too short to spend hating and not forgiving others. They may not reciprocate the actions, but when you look back over your life know you have forgiven and don’t regret how things went. In the same manner, see all that the world has to offer; from history to culture your adventures in the Marine Corps and even after when you return to the civilian world will be amazing. Savor every moment and DON’T FORGET TO TAKE PICTURES!!!


Live a Life Being True to Yourself. Don’t let the world influence you into doing the wrong things; you influence the world into doing the right! Unfortunately peer pressure doesn’t disappear when you walk out of high school and into the adult world. Sometimes I think it is worse as an adult. Stay true to the values and morals you have been raised with and maintained over the years and don’t let some other Marine, girl, job, or even Christian (you know not all are who they say they are) influence you to turn away. I have said it so many times, you are a natural leader. From the friendships you have chosen to the wonderful work ethic you have developed, we know you can lead.  Be that leader.

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Live Life my son. Climb a mountain, learn to sail that boat, earn your pilots license, work for promotions, try that foreign cuisine, learn to scuba dive, preach a sermon at least once, marry the girl who completes you … don’t be afraid to live, experience, and share your life! When you are older and telling stories to your children and grandchildren I want you to be able to tell them you truly loved and lived! Don’t look back and say “I wish….” LIVE. And yes, I am repeating myself, TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

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I know you will do the right things in life because you were raised to do so. Always remember to keep your temper and your given word, stay faithful to the Christ and the Church, and always be loving.

I Love you so much my son,
Mom

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I Love Christmas

Every once in a while I find something that expresses exactly how I feel.  This is it and I just had to share on this beautiful Christmas morning.

 

“I love Christmas.

I fully understand that the decorations, gifts, music, consumerism and Santa Claus are not a part of what we are celebrating. I understand there are plenty of arguments about the pagan ties to our celebrations. I totally get that Jesus’ birth likely wasn’t even when we celebrate. To me these things don’t matter, they all remind me of the One we are to celebrate.

To me, all of it points to Jesus. The good. The bad. All of it.

Everything that is Christmas is being redeemed by who He is and what His birth meant for us.

When I see Christmas lights hanging on a tree… I think of Him.

When someone tells me “Happy Holidays”… I think of Him.

When I listen to Christmas music… I think of Him.

When I see sales ads and busy stores bustling with people buying gifts… I think of Him.

When I sit with my family around the Christmas tree… I think of Him.

Everything that is Christmas as we know it reminds me of the greatest gift humanity has ever received. They fill me with anticipation and hope, joy and peace.

I. Love. Christmas.”

~Borrowed from Kyle Froman

 

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In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

~Luke 2:1-14

Merry Christmas my friends!

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Tyler Perry’s Higher is Waiting & a Giveaway!

When the days get shorter, the temperatures become cooler and it feels like I’m being pulled 100 different directions with mom life, there is nothing more comforting than a cup of tea, a cozy and worn patchwork quilt and a good read.

Higher-Is-Waiting | ohfiddledeedee.com

Those moments of peace are some of my favorite and a great way to expand my thoughts beyond, “What’s for supper,” “did I get Bradley’s wrestling gear washed,” and “is this the weekend Madeline is coming in from school?”

While I love good historical fiction, a sappy (not trashy) romance, and a decorating book full of inspiration, without a doubt I will always choose nonfiction over it all.  And this fall nonfiction seems to be dominating my reading list!

“Ever since I was a little boy I’ve always known there was something greater than myself, This holy force was protecting, loving, and keeping me close. It was helping me live through physical pain and emotional heartache and guiding me to envision and believe in extraordinary possibilities.”

~Tyler Perry (Higher is Waiting)

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Tyler Perry has established himself as a cultural icon through acting, writing, producing, directing, as a playwright, and even songwriting.  Of course Perry is most well known for his Madea movies, but the road to reach this status was rough and troubled.  Perry’s new book Higher is Waiting is one of inspiration that will resonate with me for quite a while.  A little biography, inspiration and faith this book encourages readers to keep going in their lives reaching out for a more purposeful life, looking for something greater than self, and of course, never giving up.

“My childhood was a story of discouragement, belittlement, and unthinkable abuse.  There was no way I could have found any kind of happiness, hope or vision if my mother Maxine and my aunt Mae hadn’t shown me the grace of God.”

Due to hit shelves this week, Perry’s book is described as a “spiritual guidebook, a collection of teachings culled from the experiences of a lifetime, meant to inspire readers to climb higher in their own lives and pull themselves up to a better, more fulfilling place.”

Tyler-Perry-Higher-Is-Waiting | ohfiddledeedee.com

Perry’s life story is truly extraordinary and in sharing his experiences he hopes to inspire others to reach for the stars.  His success with the Madea franchise, television shows and plays is a stark contrast to the hardship he faced in an abusive home living in poverty, growing up in 1970s New Orleans; an area still suffering from generations of Jim Crow law.  He recalls the beautiful moments that shaped him despite the brutality that also existed through physical abuse of his father and sexual abuse from a neighbor.  He kept his dreams quiet, but worked hard with determination to reach higher.

Throughout Higher is Waiting, Tyler Perry affectionately recalls the people that kept him going, while instructing him in integrity, faith, discipline and even forgiveness.  He shares stories of his mother’s never-ending faith who always maintained “God is good,” no matter the pain she lived through at home.  Seeds of experiencing God even in the little things planted by his aunt Mae, and the kindness of a blind man, Mr. Butler who taught him that sometimes you have to stand still, wait and be patient when looking for answers to prayer.

 With each memory shared, Perry also shares a devotional thought and scripture encouraging you to dive into your own faith.

The book is divided into four sections using the metaphor of a tree: planting seeds, nourishing the roots, branching out and harvesting the fruit.  From early childhood and dreaming big despite the obstacles in his path, it is so refreshing to read of a man’s faith developing over time in an age where so many are content let their faith sit stagnant.

Perry’s vivid recollection of recognizing God’s presence growing in his life, learning to listen, carry on in the toughest of times, and choose faith over fear will inspire you to step out of your own box and reach higher in your own lives.

Higher-Is-Waiting-Tyler-Perry | ohfiddledeedee.com

I am giving away one copy of Higher is Waiting to one of my readers.  All you need to do is leave me a comment here on the blog, telling me someone who has influenced your life and faith.  I will announce the winner on December 3, 2017.  Winners will receive their books in 4-6 weeks after the giveaway ends from Penguin Random House.

** If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Penguin Random House. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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