STRECTCHING THEIR WINGS

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As you know, I’ve been part of the Board of Directors of Northern Starz Children’s Theatre for about a year and in that time, I’ve done some work as a stage manager, blog writer, director and volunteered for many other things.  The latest of these endeavors includes an exceptional performance of “Annie, Jr.”  The reason it’s amazing is that the cast consists of youngsters with special needs.

As part of a grant, Northern Starz is the first children’s theatre in Minnesota to embark on this journey.  It’s called the Penguin Project.  The special needs kids are called “Penguins.” Each special needs child has a mentor who is close to their own age.  Together they’ve been spending the last several months, working on choreography and music.  The past two weeks has introduced them to the space they’ll actually perform – the local community college.

For most performers, going through the process of learning music and dance for a show is a huge commitment.  When I went to visit one evening, I was flabbergasted by the progress they’d made.  Each element of putting a show together – music, choreography, blocking, getting familiar with their character, learning lines, brings a new challenge even for the seasoned actor.  When you add set, lights, sound, costumes and makeup, it brings new challenges.

They have adapted to all of these changes beautifully, but the final magic occurs when they present to a live audience.  Theatre can open doors to the imagination.  It stimulates, excites, challenges, encourages creativity, self confidence, team building skills and future success.  Why shouldn’t those with special needs have the same opportunity?  With this program, that’s exactly what’s happening.

The best case scenario is that each seat in the theatre be filled.  Stars shine most when the lights come up and they have a captive audience.  I know the audience and the cast will not be disappointed.  When the curtains open, the fun begins in earnest.

When the show comes to an end, everyone involved will have wonderful memories to hold in their hearts.  The staff will see the fruits of their labor.  For the mentors it will be a feeling of satisfaction from helping another person – being at their side for the long run and becoming friends.  For the Penguins,it will have been an opportunity to soar like they’ve never done before – to be part of a group effort – creating moments that will last a lifetime.

We’re already looking ahead to next year and another production.  The goal is to give all kids a chance to enjoy the theatre as they demonstrate what they can achieve.

 

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POINT ME UPWARD

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A great expanse of brilliant blue,

Interspersed with misty clouds of purple, mauve and gold,

Within the space beyond our imagination,

Heaven waits,

Time passes,

We live,

We flourish,

We make our mark,

And then we die,

But it isn’t over,

God’s mighty hand reaches out of the expanse,

Hangs tightly to yours and leads you,

To eternity,

To peace,

Fulfillment,

Satisfaction,

There will be no more tears,

No more sadness,

Only joy will fill our hearts,

The sky is the ladder that leads to heaven,

What glory we shall behold.

Touch me, Oh Lord, and through that sweet sensation,

May peace come through Your Word, and quiet contemplation.

You hold me in Your precious wings, my spirit now does soar.

With you, Lord my sick heart now sings, your name I will adore.

 

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MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

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Each day is a new beginning, Lord, and still I often feel things are out of control. I’ve been praying for the same thing for so long and don’t get answers. Maybe I’ve received them, but they aren’t yet clear. Maybe I’m praying for the wrong things. I try to lay my burdens on you and trust that you’ll take on the tasks that I can’t do by myself.

I pray again, at the start of this day, that you will carry me and bless what you have already given so freely to me. Help me to walk away from my own intellect and reasoning and lean totally on you. I need your strength for this.

I know you’ve given me a free will and the ability to work through my problems, but I always wait to turn to you until there is no other way. Remind me of all your answered prayers – even the blessings you’ve offered without my asking. Dear, Lord Jesus, be by my side today as you are every day. You are my rock and fortress – my guide and my deliverer. You are the only answer.  AMEN!

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TGIF?

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ART & INSPIRATION FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Another week speeds swiftly by, a faded sun dips out of sight,

We contemplate a time of rest, a time rich in the joys of night,

Where neither loss nor discontent, can grip us from our cheerfulness,

Nor past mistakes be swallowed up, we just contribute to the mess,

Our sin creeps slowly into sight, we need to leave our work behind,

We numb our brains with pills or booze, finding it hard to clear our mind,

The softness of the setting sun, gives some relief, but it’s still hard,

To cherish every joy on earth, without one plea you stand on guard.

Each day becomes a battlefield, but when the weekend finally comes.

You ask yourself what is this day, you stumble through the restless crumbs,

Of empty days and lonely nights, you wonder when your life will end,

When you are old and turning grey, you treasure each remaining day,

Each one’s a bonus from the Lord, within His arms you’ll always stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHO SHOULD WE BELIEVE?

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Does anyone remember guys like David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite?  When we tuned into the news on our TV sets of the 1950s, we could be pretty sure that we were being fed the truth, because those guys had no reason to do otherwise.  Journalists were taught to check all their sources twice before reporting a story.  They included the “who, what, why, when and how.”  There was a race to get a scoop in those days, but not before all the facts were known.

With the onset of Watergate and the Viet Nam War, our nation became one of enquiring minds wanting to know.  With the advent of the internet, they wanted to know immediately.  Watergate opened the door to investigative reporting, relying on questionable sources and meeting in dark corners to get the story.  Viet Nam gave way to imbedded reporters on the battlefields and the ugliness of war became an addition to our evening meal.

Today, there are still those who look for truth.  They check their sources before turning in their stories.  They are ethical in their reporting.  However, as with anything intended for good, someone is always lurking in the background with the temptation to get the story first – no matter what the cost,

Fake news has become a commodity for those who long for the sensational.  Our love affair with seeing others in a bad light is one of the most successful tools of the devil and he wastes no time in making sure we get it.  Those of us who want the truth, have turned off the news and opted for something on the travel or history channels.  We need an escape from the daily tabloid news which has become a steady regimen for the world.

So, who do we believe?  What do we believe?  Can we believe anything?

We need to stay informed as to what’s happening in the world, but we also need to know we’re getting the truth.  Unfortunately, we’re daily being exposed to false stories without fact checking –  opinions rather than solid reporting and a media that stirs discontent and anger among the people.  Most crimes don’t even reach a courtroom before they’re judged by the media and popular opinion based on the same.  Reporting of protests with supposedly thousands of people are being manned by a dozen or so.  We’re often only getting half the story.  CNN was responsible for the way the news was reported and it continually slants their stories to say they got the scoop.

I believe in free speech.  I know a press controlled by the government would be disastrous, but isn’t what we see today, just as bad?  It comes to a point where trust is a non-existent word in our every day vocabulary.

I believe the only truth we can count on comes to us in the form of the Bible.  This is God speaking to us through men He inspired to write it down.  The fact that it has continued through the ages – in spite of various translations – proves to me that it’s truly from Him.  God doesn’t lie.  He remains consistent through His Word and actions.  The Bible supports itself throughout and it changes lives.  Because God remains the same each day, His Word is the only source of truth.

There are nuggets for every aspect of living – stories of average guys like you and me doing extraordinary things – unexpected goals being accomplished – the truth that we’re God’s children and He loves each of us unconditionally.  Want some good news?  Read the Bible.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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FULL OF LIFE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

What started as a single seed reclining in the earth,

Is now a giant masterpiece with monetary worth,

The time it took to grow this tree encompassed many years,

It suffered many bruises and witnessed many tears,

Some of its limbs were withered, while others brandished life,

Its trunk was strong as iron, yet endured all kinds of strife,

As winds defiled and bent its frame, it seemed that he was lost,

Its roots exposed, its spine now bent from cold and bitter frost,

Still it survived and grew some more and pierced right through the clouds,

Its life went on and does today, evading death’s dark shrouds,

We like that tree continue through life’s discouraging path,

We place our hope in worldly things and we receive God’s wrath,

But when we put our hope in Him our life will never end,

And it will be much greater than our minds can comprehend,

The growth that we experience throughout our earthly days,

Will never reach comparison to what His love purveys,

We lift our eyes to heaven and know what waits beyond,

To see the face of Jesus and know He will respond.

 

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INVISIBLE

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For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself, though in another dress, And as the evening twilight fades away The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I was a kid, I thought it would be so cool to be invisible. I could listen in on conversations that I never would’ve been able to.  I could sit with the adults and not be seen or heard.  I could drive a car and freak everyone out.

Now that I’m a senior citizen, being invisible no longer holds great appeal.  I often feel as though I’ve slipped through the cracks.  I can walk through a store, looking for assistance and be ignored completely.  I can be pushing my cart through the aisles, with people whisking past me at the speed of light, never seeing me.  I’ll be in a crowd of people and completely hidden from most people.  It seems when you reach the golden years, you actually  become invisible.

A funny thing about aging is that in our time – in our society – in our place in the world – old people are pretty much invisible.  Young people are  so buried in their own realm, that they don’t always see you.  The successful, look at aging as a burden to society.  The government pays you a stipend – which you have invested over your entire working career – and thinks it’s giving you a bonus for living so long.  Aging isn’t pretty for most folks, but the truth is, everyone is probably going to get old.

So how can we become visible as the aging generation? Do we still possess value to society or are we just a drag on it?  Does anyone appreciate the struggles we’ve gone through in life?  Do they know the disappointments, pain, suffering and fears we’ve pushed through?  Most folks don’t really care about our problems, but there is still One who sees us clearly every minute of every day.  He knows all our needs and provides for them.  He gives us a reason – a purpose – a value – that we don’t deserve, but because He loves us.

Life is geared to the young and up and coming – the entrepreneurs – the famous – the flashy – the stars.  Monty Python phrase “I’m not dead yet!” became a popular phrase after the movie “In Search of the Holy Grail.”  I like to think we have much to offer the world – especially the young – because we’ve lived life.  We know what to expect and how to deal with it.

If I were to die today, I know I’m not invisible to God.  If I live another twenty years, I know that I still have a purpose in life or I wouldn’t still be here.  I consider the elderly, the survivors – the ones who have achieved their stardom.  The stars aren’t visible in the bright sunshine, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still there.

START NOTICING OLD PEOPLE!

 

 

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ONCE OLD, NOW NEW

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

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POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

The years of more than seventy five, have drifted quickly by,

I’ve shuffled on this rugged orb, I’ve laughed a lot and cried,

Fell hopelessly in love one day, the true love of my life,

I gave my heart to him alone, when he took me as his wife,

We watched three precious children grow, we stretched each single cent,

What we gave up, we did for them, and out the money went,

As parents we don’t often think of what the cost might be,

For if we did, the chances are, no children would we see,

Our lives rolled on as theirs did too, they fledged out on their own,

They found careers that filled their lives, but still they were alone,

When love found them and touched their hearts, life’s cycle turned once more,

They pledged their lives to those they loved, they opened  life’s great door,

So many years and memories can fill us to the brim,

The days are marked off quickly, our eyesight may turn dim,

Our bodies lose their power and strength, our minds may also fail,

The simple things we used to do, are lost to no avail,

Old age is harder than you think, just wait ’til you get there,

Your skin will hang on withered bones, you start to lose your hair,

Your waning physical prowess, has all but lost the war,

You’re wrinkled and you’re weakening, your muscles are so sore,

You’re cranky and impatient too, you can’t escape the truth,

You’re not much longer for this world, your drooling is uncouth,

You’ve turned into a child once more, you need another’s aid,

Is this all there is left for you, is this why you were made,

Of course I know that isn’t true, for this is just the start,

My dying wish will be fulfilled, it’s written on my heart,

No matter what I’ve done in life, no matter where I roam,

My fate is sealed through Jesus, Christ and heaven is my home.

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I MEANT TO DO THAT!

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I came across this cartoon the other day and was reminded of my infamous golf story.
Actually when I was in my prime, I was a pretty good golfer.  I was a pretty good bowler, volley ball and tennis player as well.  Notice I said, “pretty good.”  I’ve never excelled at sports.

I’ve not played golf for decades, but that particular day was special.  It was a day of quiet respite for this young mother of three young children.  My sister was visiting and we decided it would be fun to play a round of golf.  She paid for the baby sitter, which made the deal even sweeter.   Being the stay at home mom that I was, I didn’t always have time for myself.  As usual, my hair wasn’t cooperating so I wore a wig,  which wasn’t uncommon in those days.

My hopes of ever becoming a member of the LPGA were dashed as we set foot on the course.  Of course I never had a chance of even seeing one of those tournaments in person, much less participating in one.

The course we chose was on was a series of winding paths and intermittent hills, so we opted for a cart rather than walking.  We were close to the 18th hole when it happened.  We got into the cart, started it up and went sailing down the hill.  It soon became apparent that the cart didn’t have working brakes and, as my life swiftly passed before my eyes, I was convinced that I was about to die.

We hit a tree and everything went flying.  Golf clubs scattered everywhere along with a few toys which had been earlier stuffed into the bag by my children.  My wig sat cockeyed upon my head.  We lived to see another day, but I was so embarrassed when a young, handsome and burly man came running to our aid.  He began to pick things up and noticed some of the toys on the ground.  He politely asked if they belonged to us.

I must confess – I’m not a very good liar – but I simply couldn’t bring myself to admit they were mine.  That, in addition to my unusual appearance, must’ve given him a lot to talk about that day.  It turned out that the young fellow was an NFL football player for the Green Bay Packers who happened to be golfing that day.

Maybe this is why I have such a hard time with R & R.  I can handle rest, but relaxation conjures memories I’d sooner forget.

 

 

 

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FAKE NEWS ISN’T NEW

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July 18, 64 AD

It was a steamy summer night in the city of Rome.  The wind picked up, bringing some relief, but before the night was over a large portion of the city was engulfed in flames.  It started in the poorest part of town, where the merchants set up their wares each day.  It didn’t take long for the fire to spread through the wooden marketplace.  With encouragement from the wind, it spread quickly and destroyed almost 70% of Rome.

Rumors added fuel to the fire as the emperor, Nero, was claimed to be responsible for the disaster.  Did he actually give the order or start the fire himself?  Was it true that he sat on the balcony of his palace, fiddling away as the city was consumed? Could he possibly look out over the burning city that he had built, with joy in his heart?

Nero was one of the most unpopular leaders of his time.  He was known to use Christians as human torches to light the city streets.  His sadistic deeds were well.  Yet was he so evil that he’d actually have a city that he ruled burned to the ground?  He was proud of what he’d built  His narcissism most likely wouldn’t allow him to wipe out the grandeur that was Rome.  His reputation would be at stake.  He had plans to create an even more grandiose Rome with his name attached to it.  That plan was carried out when he rebuilt the city to even greater heights.

Still the people weren’t particularly fond of this guy, and when their livelihood and residences were snuffed out, he was the one they’d name as the perpetrator.  Nero wasn’t ready to be victimized in such a way.  He needed someone to blame and the perfect scapegoat would be the Christians.  Their beliefs were infiltrating Rome faster than the wildfire which spread through the streets that night.  In order to satisfy the rumors about him, the Christians were taken to the amphitheater and fed to the lions.

There was no proof that Nero fiddled while his city burned.  He was out of town when the fire broke out.  Of course he could’ve ordered it, but there was no actual evidence of such a plot.  If it were true, it would’ve been like shooting himself in the foot.

He was not playing a fiddle as is often depicted. The fiddle had not yet ben invented. If anything, he would be playing a stringed instrument like the lyre.  The one truth in the story that has been handed down through history is that Christians would now become the object of even greater persecution.  Someone had to take the fall.

So the media doesn’t always get it right.  Some things never change!

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DISCIPLINE

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As a child, my instrument of choice was the piano.  There happened to be one left in our apartment when we moved in.  I was probably no more than six, but the idea of playing the piano occupied my dreams for many years.  My parents couldn’t afford to have me take lessons, so most of my playing was self taught and done by ear – which is incredibly hard to do.  I mean, have you ever tried playing any instrument with your ear – but I digress.

I developed a love for music at an early age.  As I grew into a teenager, my tastes went from Twinkle, twinkle, little star to more advanced pieces like Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  Without lessons, my music left much to be desired, but I did manage to sound out Clair de Lune just by rote.  I listened and I learned.  Still I wasn’t all that good.

My husband was on his own journey in the area of music at a young age.  His parents possessed an old violin so this is what he would play – whether he liked it or not.  He was fortunate (I guess) in that he did take lessons.  His instructor was an elderly, strict, German fellow who insisted on perfection.  A little extreme to expect from a six year old boy who would much rather be catching frogs or playing ball.  Still his parents thought the discipline would be good for him.  He would need to practice every day and follow directions, which always led to good things.

After a number of lessons, a sort of rebellion took place.  After numerous reminders to keep his left arm from sagging – instituted by the poke of the professor’s bow – it was finally just too much.  The stubborn little boy, quietly stood up, set his violin on the chair, raised his bow and took a very impressive fencing stance.  A little sword fight with bows ensued, but after a few strikes, the instructor boldly stated, “I will not teach you anymore!”  Paul responded, “I quit,” and thus ended his musical career.

The instrument became an heirloom, seldom played, except for a squeaky rendition of
“Barker Roll.”  It collected dust for several years and was finally sold to someone who could actually play and enjoy it.

The idea of practicing, rehearsing, reciting, being disciplined, is never easy for most of us.  It’s often easier to muddle through life, just getting by.  In a way, that attitude can lead to all kinds of problems.  We begin to feel sorry for ourselves because we aren’t as talented or smart as someone else.  We think we’ve been cheated.  We make excuses.  We set ourselves up for disappointment.

God’s discipline comes with our well being in mind.  Being told what to do, how to do it, rules that must be followed is always hard to digest, but as any parent knows, without it things often become impossible.  God is our heavenly Father and wants only what’s best for us.

I still love most types of music and so does my husband.  We are not the purveyors of it, but there must be an audience and we fit that much better.  There was a point when I purchased a keyboard, complete with rhythm and genres built into it.  I got so caught up in the background noise, I forgot to play the melody.  Thus officially ended my music career.  I’m sure God had better plans for my life.

 

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SHADOW OF DEATH

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ART RECENTLY COMPLETED BY PAUL BOECHER – POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”   Washington Irving

My sister’s mother in law passed away yesterday. She was a woman of faith and Christian character. She raised a large brood of children to become successful in more ways than one.  She loved life, but nearing the age of 95, she was ready for heaven.

This woman personified the typical church lady. She had a deep love for the Lord and made sure that all her children were trained in His way.  She served the Lord in many ways, beginning with her family.  This is the greatest legacy she could possibly leave.

We’ll all face our final breath someday. Some of us fear it more than others.  Some long for freedom from pain and suffering- from depression and the muck of this world.  What we’ve done upon this planet will not matter much when we leave it, but our heritage will be measured by the way we lived.  It will serve as an example for those left behind to continue what was begun in us at an early age.

Rest in peace, Marliss.  You served as a beacon to many through your long, rich life.  May you now enjoy the rest you deserve!

Our lives on earth are temporal – a whisper hushed and still,

We’re placed here by the Father’s hand and through His mighty will,

He guides us through the depths of pain, He takes our hand and leads,

He washes all our sin away and cares for all our needs,

When faced with darkness, fear and loss, He lifts us in His arms,

Protecting us from Satan’s wiles, his misery and charms,

When life becomes to hard to bear, He takes our cares away,

He gives us hope, He shelters us, to see another day,

So turn to Him upon this day, when all seems lost and gone,

Rejoice in His unending love, replenished every dawn

And when that final day arrives and death knocks at the door,

Our tears will never overpass, the glory that’s in store.

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A DIFFERENT TIME

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This painting was done at a re-enactment rendezvous several years ago.  Paul’s character was an artist from the 1800s, who like Seth Eastman, would paint the people of the new unexplored parts of our young nation.  A Native American had his tent set near Paul’s, so  he asked if he could paint him.  He agreed and between the two – they made a trade agreement.  Paul would give him the painting for a pair of earrings for me.  Oh the simple life of days gone by.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could still live that way?

A simple time when days were filled with elementary things,

Like gathering wood and breathing air and songs that nature brings,

Enjoying all the scenes of life within our earthly pale,

And leaving all the cares behind when life starts growing stale,

To start each day with wonderment, instead of fear and care,

To feel the hand of God near you, His closeness there to share,

To contemplate the quiet things and not be self absorbed,

To turn your troubles to the Lord, you’ll surely be restored,

That simple place is in your heart, a place where Jesus dwells,

A place of calm and comfort too, and all our fears dispels.

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THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

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We’re probably all familiar with Jesus being compared to the Good Shepherd who gently cares for His flock. Choosing to depict us as sheep wasn’t just a matter of chance, by our Savior.  Being familiar with the agriculture of His day, it was the right choice.  People could relate to sheep.  They were their livelihood and their sustenance.

Sheep need a shepherd to guide them.  On their own, they’d wander away from the flock into dangerous situations which might even take their lives.  They were also not too bright.  The extremely stubborn needed to be chastised or even crippled so the shepherd would have to carry them – allowing him to keep a close eye on the wayward sheep.  They need to be directed to fertile pastures for food – refreshing waters – and places to lie down and rest.  They need constant watching.

We’re probably all aware that anointing was a cleansing process for human beings.  Anointing was used in the Old Testament for special occasions like appointing a king or signifying a blessing on one chosen to do God’s work.  Did you know that shepherds used to anoint their sheep with oil?  They’d rub oil into the wool of each sheep’s head, possibly laying their eggs there thus driving the poor animals insane.  The oil  deterred lice and other insects from burrowing deep into the ears and nostrils of their herd.  This act of prevention saved the sheep from banging their heads against stones and causing injury or even death.  If you’ve ever had a gnat fly into your nostril, you know what I’m talking about.

Down to the last detail, Jesus is our constant care giver – our loving shepherd.  He watches over us every step of the way. When our steps wander off the path, He’s right there to lead us back.  He may have to chastise us from time to time in order to get our attention, but He still holds us lovingly in His caring arms.  When our minds become infected Satan’s minions, He gently anoints our heads with soothing oil to protect us and cleanse us.

We don’t really like the idea of being sheep.  It’s not a very flattering comparison, but to know that we have a shepherd who loves us so much that He laid down His life for each and every human being to walk the earth.  Through Him, we never need to walk alone.

 

 

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WHAT TO DO WHEN IT’S HOT

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Picture this.  It’s almost ninety degrees in the shade. We come prepared with our cowboy hats, boots and water, but the float hasn’t arrived.  We huddle under a tree.  Soon the rest of the group arrives and joins us under the tiny tree.  Finally the float arrives and we all board and take our places on it.  Practicing my queen wave and shouting a couple of yee-haws, we’re ready for the festivities to begin.  The three couples on the float are all over 70, and there are a few children, a couple younger adults and two plastic horses.  We’re ready, but it will take a while before our float gets into line.

Time passes – an hour at least before we join the parade.  All that time sitting in the blistering sun. Oh that Paul had chopped down that little tree and brought it with us.  The parade lasts all of ten minutes.  My water is now hot enough to make a cup of tea.  My body is numb on one side.  Is it simply the heat?  Is it because I needed help stuffing my already swollen feet into my cowboy boots?  Or was I having a stroke?  My natural acting skills kicked in, allowing me to greet all the buckaroos lining the streets and invite them to Vacation Bible School. Their interest was more in the candy being handed out.

As we de-floated, we were greeted with sandwiches, apple slices, chips and more water.  As I stood under the shade of another tree, I felt the need to get home. I tugged on Paul’s arm, told him what was going on, and he quickly whisked me off to the car.  By the time we got home, I felt a little better.  After removing my tight fitting boots and drinking a gallon of water, I felt a lot better.  I laid down and fell asleep for two hours.

It wasn’t a stroke – a bit of heat stroke maybe. I think we retained or title of most rowdy on the float.  I believe we’re the only ones who talk a lot.  I’m having second thoughts about doing it next year, but then again, my competitive nature calls my name.

 

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SUMMER TREASURE

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ART & POETRY FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The edge of a bluff lined river – a glassy reflection glistens and bounces onto a hill.

The light touches the rims of trees and buildings, creating patterns dancing from one place to another .  The deep crevices fill with darkness.  The sky is magnificently dotted with wispy clouds,

Interlaced with mauve, crimson and blue.  A path of towering pines shades the heat of the sun,

Looking out at the beauty of God’s perfect creation – breathing in the sweet, fresh air – hearing the sounds of rushing water and birds singing their little hearts out – fills your heart with contentment.  This little morsel of peace is just a speck in the scheme of things.

How long we’ve waited for the glory of these summer days.  They are so few and fleeting.  Soon the leaves will turn to red and gold and then fall.  Like our lives. We wither and die.

The moments of joy we experience on this planet are nothing compared to what waits for us after the winter of our dying breath.  Once again spring returns and we’re blessed with new life when we know God.  The glory never ends.

 

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I’M BORED!

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I used to wonder how people could be bored with so many options for entertainment and recreation.  Then I turned 76 and we had a ginormous heat wave, with poor air quality – and I was confined to the house or some other location with air conditioning.  It suddenly hit me. I was becoming a victim of boredom.

It became easier to stay at home rather than venturing out into the steamy air.  It became an excuse of sorts for being lazy or uninvolved.  When we isolate ourselves, we miss out on so much that could really be making our lives anything but boring.

When we see not only kids, but old fogies like me, glued to their phones or I-pads, it becomes apparent that they’ve become creatures of habit and are trying to fill their lives with something that’s missing.  How can we become such slaves to an electronic device?

I am as guilty as my grandchildren on this one.  In a way, our social media becomes a safety net.  We can enjoy conversations with others, without making eye contact.  We can get a glimpse of someone else’s vacation time or amazing lifestyle without having to board a plane or spend a buck.  We can play games – see what we’d look like with a certain style of glasses, make-up or clothing.  We can get medical advice without going to a doctor- enjoy fine art, delicious recipes, order anything we want and have it delivered at no charge.  Basically we are becoming cocooned in our own environment. No wonder we’re bored!

So what’s the solution to boredom?  Involve yourself in something that takes you outside of yourself.  By focusing on someone else and their needs, we can fill our own lives with purpose and value.

Help someone weed their garden and actually have a face to face conversation.  Take a meal to a homebound person and offer help with something else while you’re there.  Babysit for a neighbor who’s feeling trapped and do it for nothing.  Get a job!  Take up a hobby that gets you outside – golf, swimming, walking, plein air painting.  Get together with your friends, rather than communicating online.

There are hundreds of ways to volunteer your time to help someone else, but if you are physically incapable, think of ways you can use your talents – to encourage, to sit with someone, to get them out of their box and back into the world.

If we eventually become dependent on electronics to live our lives for us, imagine what the world would be like.  Think Orwellian.  I don’t believe it will ever come to that – at least not in my lifetime – but I fear it could get close.

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.”

Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SIN

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I read an article yesterday pertaining to words Christians use, which most folks don’t understand – words like sanctification, justification, redemption and little words like behold, blessings and sin.  These words apparently aren’t on the minds of those in the world and furthermore, they carry no clout anymore.

Sin was a word introduced to me at an early age.  I heard about it in church.  I was taught the Ten Commandments.  They became engrained in my mind.  Sin means doing something against God’s authority and His expectations of us. As I memorized those words,  I realized that there was no way I’d ever be able to keep those rules.

My childhood years as a Christian, filled me with the fear that I was going to hell and there was no getting around it.  Thankfully as I continued to study God’s Word, I began to see that all was not lost.  God provided the way for me to get to heaven and it had absolutely nothing to do with me.  His own Son, Jesus, became a man and took every one of my sins to the cross.

It startled me that this three letter word is almost nonexistent in our world today, but then it explains a lot, doesn’t it?  If we don’t believe that we’re sinners, there’s no need for a Savior.  There must be a balance in what or pastors preach.  If they expound only on the wages of sin, there is no hope.  We desperately need to know that there is a way out.  That way doesn’t cost us a cent.  It’s freely given to those who believe.

Words come and go, but a word like “sin” should never leave our vocabulary.  It’ the one word that reminds us how much intervention we need from the only One who can give it.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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