Archive | September 2014

Writing 101: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual ) Horizon

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

She had one blue and one brown eye, and she sauntered up the driveway, hypnotizing my son into loving her. He saw her unique facial features, and had to come and get me to see her too.

The last thing I wanted was a dog. I told my young son that there was no way we were having a dog. He said that he knew that, but just wanted me to see her. I took a look, and said she was cute, but she had to go home. I walked back into the house, not realizing that I had left my son with that conniving dog.

I had two dogs for over fifteen years, and they had passed away from old age the previous year. I missed them dearly, but was actually glad for a clean house, no more doggy muddy footprints, no more shedding of hair, no more daily feeding, walks, or brushing. I was free from being a slave to dogs. I had more time for travel, more time for my son, and I loved my year of freedom.

With the arrival of this red and white Australian Shepherd, with different-colored eyes, I was pushing my son very hard to get her to go home. No luck. I put signs up all over the neighborhood, with pictures of her, telling my neighbors to come and pick up their lost dog.

I also had another dog problem where a big black lab, named Bear, would come to our house when his owners were gone, or not caring for him, or when he was hungry. I stuck out food for him at night, and that was probably why this new dog would not leave.

Whatever kind of home she left, she did not want to return. No one called about the advertisements I left everywhere. A neighbor, Bear’s owner, suggested I take her to the vet, and see if they recognized her, and if she was chipped? She was chipped, and through some phone calls, the owner was found. She denied owning this pretty Ausie, and said she had three other dogs, and didn’t want her.

I then found a home for Abby, that was her name. My son was heartbroken. He cried, and that meant he really loved her. He hardly ever showed emotion. I told him that if it was God’s will for us to have Abby, God would give her back. Mind you, I had just given her to this other family who lived a mile away. I took a walk with my son, hoping he would feel better. I bet you wouldn’t guess what happened. Yep! By the time we walked home, Abby was back on our driveway. She was watching us walk up to the house.

Crystal, the lady I gave her to, said that she didn’t want a dog that wouldn’t stay with her, and it looked like she wanted to stay with us instead. I guess it was God’s will?  Abby had eight puppies soon after. It was a lot of work, but very rewarding. My son was able to experience love, new life, and the crazy full life that animals bring to a home. I have lots of Abby stories. She has been a great dog!


Matthew 24, Continued:

For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginnings of sorrows. Matthew 24:7,8

Signs of the end times are made known to us through the words of Jesus in Matthew, as well as in other places in the Holy Bible. We have the benefit in our day to read the news, watch current events on different forms of electronic devices, and have real time information. All one has to do is read the news headlines today, and each of these events can be found happening.

Nation shall rise against nation — Israel and Palestine, Russia and the Ukraine, the United states and the different groups that make up ISIL are experiencing war. Recently, the U.S, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have been in conflicts. There is unrest across the world. There is no peace, as there are many civil wars within governments taking place all over the world.

The next events that Jesus addresses are pestilences and famines. Ebola is the big disease on everyone’s mind. The toll for deaths according to the CDC, is well over three-thousand, now.

There are other diseases and afflictions too, like MRSA, and different antibiotic resistant staph related infections that have caused massive deaths.

An article about this disease MRSA, said that it has caused over twenty-three thousand deaths in the United States each year: (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause about 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.) A link to this article can be found here, and includes information on how to stop the spread of MRSA: (It is very catchy)

Also, here is a link to information on current infectious diseases:

Jesus then talks about the various earthquakes, and we are experiencing those as well. We can remember mass casualties from Tsunamis in Japan and Indonesia and Thailand in recent years, caused by earthquakes in the ocean. Haiti in 2012 experienced over 300,000 deaths. Here is a link to some of the most deadly earthquakes:

Jesus then says that these things are not the end yet, but they are the beginning of sorrows.

I will continue the discussion on Matthew 24, with my next post, God willing.

Lord, as we see all these things happen, help us not to lose heart, or become troubled. You have told us what to expect, so that we can know You are in control and are aware of all these things. Help us to be strong and of good courage. Help us to be good ambassadors, and good workers for Your kingdom. Keep our eyes focused on You. Amen.


Writing 101: Size Matters

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

Twelve was a good age for me. We moved when I was twelve-years-old, to the small town of Oriska, North Dakota.

My parents went to an auction for the sale of my mother’s, uncle’s house. They won the bid for $900. It was strategically situated on a corner lot at the edge of town, across from the Burlington Northern railroad tracks.

The house was very run down. It needed a lot of work. My dad and mom worked tediously to make the home livable.

They put an oil furnace in the living room, put carpet on the floors, painted or wall-papered the rooms, and painted the outside of the house. They washed windows, mowed the tall grass, and put in a garden. They removed piles of wood where rats had previously made their homes. They used a lot of elbow grease to bring life and cleanlinesss to this old house.

My mom painted the dwelling a Robin’s Egg blue. She worked so hard, and I never really thought about it until now. She wanted this to be the home she never had. It was a new start for her as well as us.

This was the place where I made friends. There were thirteen kids in my class in seventh grade. I loved Mr. Christianson, my science teacher. He made science fun and interesting. Mrs. Schock was my typing teacher and my reading, and language arts teacher. She was also the music teacher. We did a Christmas nativity play that year in music class. I played the part of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, because “Mary” didn’t have to say anything. I was a very poor public speaker, and was grateful for the part of Mary. I enjoyed singing the Christmas songs, and the treats after the program. I went to my first school dance in Oriska. Fifties music was still popular there, even though it was 1976.

We lived on about an acre of land. A man was selling a horse for $25., so I begged my dad for that horse. I didn’t know Bender would be so mean. He was a part Shetland and part Welch pony. We didn’t have a lot of money, so my brother and I would get oats for a dollar a bag from the elevator. It was grain that fell off the train cars. The oats could have been the reason for Bender’s high energy and meanness. Bender loved to go under trees, and he would try to knock you off when you rode him. He was only green broke, hence the reason he was $25. He was also known to bite and kick people and other horses. I kept him for several months, but one day he tried to bite my dad’s ear off, so my mom sold him before I came home from school, for $5., and she threw in a halter with the deal  My mom did the right thing, but I still missed Bender.

I rode my bike for hours on dirt roads, picked potatoes for farmers for fifty cents a bag, read Nancy Drew Mysteries, and pretended to be a detective with my friend, Joni. We swam in cow ponds, explored old abandoned houses, and played on hay bales.

I learned to Crochet from an older woman across the street. She made rugs, and had about eight German Shepherd dogs. They barked and lunged at me when I would visit her. They were a little scary, but I didn’t let them prohibit me from visiting this nice, dear lady.  Her dogs were kept outside, and each had a little doghouse.

Inside, her house smelled of moth balls. She had wire rim glasses, gray hair in a bun, and long muscular fingers, that were so talented at crafting. She showed me her homemade oven mits, braided rugs, and doilies, along with her new projects. I never saw her kitchen table, as it always had fabric on it.

I was thankful for this small town atmosphere, where I could ride bike down to the little gas station with the dirt floor, where Penny Woofly would give me a glass bottle of coke, or an ice cream bar, and he would chat with me like I was a grown up. The lady at the post office, where I would check our box for mail, knew me by name. Sometimes she had a treat she would give me. I was in 4-H club, and was in Basketball. I was terrible at basketball, but they let me join anyway. It was an old-fashioned town with old-fashioned fun. There was a lapidary on main street, where a man polished rocks, and would give me a few of the pretty, shiny, colorful stones when I went in his store.

Later, we had to move, as this town was too far for my dad to drive to work, especially in the winter. North Dakota winters are severe, with lots of snow, blowing wind, and lots of ice, frost, and below freezing temperatures. I wish I was more understanding of that. I was so angry about the move. I even wanted to have a different family adopt me. “When I was a child, I thought like a child.” We moved and life went on.

I loved being twelve, though. It was a good memory of Oriska, North Dakota.

Matthew 24

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3

I think of the disciples living in a time so different than my own. However, they were experiencing some of the same things I do today.

Just before this verse, Jesus was departing from the temple, and the disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. They probably thought how grand and beautiful and strong they were. Jesus surprised them by telling them that not one stone would be left on another that wouldn’t be thrown down.

Then the disciples asked him about the end times, and what would be the sign when he returns at the end of the world?

That would be the kind of question I would want to ask Jesus — When will be the end of the world? They asked him privately, but Jesus openly answered them.

First, he started with a warning: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

Many churches today are telling people that they are the place to find Christ. But inside some of them, you will find ungodly entertainment, buying and selling, and you will be told what your ‘itching ears’ want to hear. Instead of the truth, lies are being told. What God called abominable and detestable, these things you will find are accepted in these ‘false churches’ that are confessing Christ. They are places of deception, beware of them! (Not only my advice, but Jesus’ warning) Test all things that are told to you with the Word of God.

Next, Jesus says, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

With all the chaos in the world, how does one “not be troubled”? I read in the news about secret prisons where the U.S. is holding prisoners indefinitely, and where some have been tortured. I read about children being killed by stray bombs, about ISIS beheading Christians and killing people by the hundreds, and putting them in mass graves. There are stories of many countries having their leadership challenged with riots. I admit, I am troubled.

Jesus says to see to it, not to be troubled. So, I am going to try to have more faith, and believe these times are in his hands.

Are we close to the end times? Jesus says more about the signs and times to come. I will write about them in my next daily post. If you would like to read with me, check out Matthew, Chapter 24.

Dear Lord, thank You for telling us what to expect when the end comes. Many generations have experienced troubling times. So many things make me think that you are preparing to return soon. Most of all, I know you’ve been patient, not wanting anyone to perish. Thank you for being slow to wrath and anger, and for saving me. Many people that I know have not received You as their Savior. I pray that You would send workers, and that many more would come to You. I pray that Your children will not be deceived in these days. Protect our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Keep us in Your care. In Your name I pray, Amen.



Is any among you afflicted? let him pray, Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:13-16

James tells us to pray when people are sick, when we are afflicted, and when we have faults. Pray always, pray fervently, and with faith, knowing God hears our prayers, and they are important to Him.

Recently, I wrote a letter to the president of the United States about an issue that will affect our community. I received by email, a form letter, that was not even relevant to the issue I wrote about. When we seek out the help of a powerful entity, it is sad to feel rejected, and belittled for something that you feel strongly about.

How different the God of the Universe is! He hears our prayers and petitions, and like a loving father and wonderful friend, He is interested in fulfilling the requests we make. He has the power and the desire to help us. His intentions are to show us mercy, forgiveness, healing, and salvation. We need to look no further than the God of Creation to make our requests known to.

He hears. He heals. He restores. He delivers, and He is the great I AM, my real Executive Power.

Thank You God, that we can trust You with our requests, whatever they might be. You are all-knowing and all-powerful. With Your wisdom and knowledge, You are able to fulfill our requests in righteousness. Not everything we ask is good for us, and You know that too. I pray that Your will would be done in all things. Thank You!


Jesus knows Us

I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10,11

Jase, from Duck Dynasty, wrote about this verse today. He said he remembered as a kid, his dad telling him that the key to being a great duck hunter, was to do what ducks did. He said he needed to observe and listen to real ducks to know how to imitate them.  Then, he said that Jesus became like us to connect with us and reconcile us to the Father.

Jesus knows us. He became flesh, and suffered and died. He knows our sorrows. He saw the troubles of humanity.

If you have any problems, Jesus is well acquainted with whatever you are going through.

The lyrics to a song come to mind:

What a Friend we Have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,

cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge–

take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield you;
you wilt find a solace there.

Thank You Jesus for carrying all my heavy burdens, and helping me through so many troubles. You are truly my best friend!


Writing 101: Happy Day of Feasting


Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

I have too many fond food memories, now that I am thinking about it. Thanksgiving turkey dinners, Christmas extravaganza dinners, Easter dramatic dinners, and just plain Out for dinner, dinners. I will focus on my childhood memories of holiday feasts at my grandparents house.

Since I grew up in a big family, big dinners were always celebrations. My grandma and aunts, were wonderful chefs. They would rival any fine restaurant, and serve food lovingly to a bunch of wild kids and grown-ups, around any kind of makeshift table that would provide enough room.

Tables were loaded with mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato salad, scalloped potatoes, and sweet potatoes. There were usually basted turkeys or savory roasts for the main affair. Then, every kind of salad: pistachio jello salad, glorified rice, raisin-carrot salad, mandarin-orange jello salad, fruit salad, and macaroni salad, and stuffing with cranberries and marshmallows. Delicious breads and rolls with butter, and homemade jams and jellies, were passed around to the feasting family members. Corn on the cob that tasted sweeter than you could ever find today. There were pickled beets, peas, carrots, and string beans, from the garden. The pies were apple, cherry, pumpkin, blueberry, lemon, banana cream, and there were cream puffs, brownies, and all kinds of bars and cookies, for dessert.

The ladies all displayed their baking skills, and were rewarded with all the compliments of how much each dish was liked. Full bellies and laughter filled the room! Loud voices of the baritone men, and the soft pretty feminine voices of the women, all enjoying and taking part in the conversation.

Oh, how I remember the ladies all serving, and busy with keeping tables full of food until we were sure we would explode! Then coffee, juice, lemonade, tea, milk, and pop, as much as we could drink. Punch was on the table too. More talking and laughing and loving.

Then, the ladies would clear the tables, do dishes together, and talk in the kitchen. They washed the dishes and pots and pans the old fashioned way– without a dishwasher. They had pretty aprons to protect their holiday clothes. Joy, stress, nervousness, relief, and lots of other emotions, were in that kitchen too.

The men were busy doing more talking, playing “whist”, and drinking beer, resting, and snoring. The kids were outside playing baseball, hide and seek, climbing trees, playing at the park, or ringing the old church bell. They might be found inside, playing board games like Uncle Wiggly, 7-Up, Kings in the Corner, Slap Jack, Go Fish, Old Maid, or Rummy, and sometimes even napping from the after-effects of the huge meal.

Entertainment also came from skits the kids made up to perform before the adults. There was my cousin, playing the accordion, and there was singing, dancing, jokes, and more fun. When it came time to sleep, the kids would fill the living room floor with sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows. There wasn’t any room to walk. Every inch of the floor was covered in kids.

The smell of food lingering with the sweet dreams of youth, filled my night with a sound sleep. What I wouldn’t give to return to those days of family and fellowship, along with the most fantastic food, and relatives that are now long gone. What memories!