LUKE SIX – BLESSED WORDS

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READ LUKE SIX
This chapter is filled with so much meat. It begins by discussing the Pharisees insistence on not working on the Sabbath. Such things as eating some gathered corn from the field or healing the sick from their infirmity were considered labor by the elders of the church. Jesus quickly set them straight by stating that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. Those words must’ve stung deeply, as they were seen as a threat to the church itself.

By this time, Jesus had chosen all twelve of His disciples. They indeed were helpful to His ministry, as many of our own church elders can be of help to our officiating pastors. Jesus was a man and because of that He got tired and hungry. He needed time to pray, to rest and take nourishment just like we do. On the other hand, He is also God and could’ve easily provided for those needs, but it wasn’t part of His mission on earth.

We see in this chapter that Jesus prayed a lot. As our example, we can glean much from this. God is available to hear our prayers at a moment’s notice. We don’t always take advantage of that.

Jesus and his band of disciples covered a lot of territory. The crowds were growing. People came to be healed, out of curiosity and because the message was one they had longed to hear.

The Beatitudes are listed in this chapter. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh,” was one of them. These were akin to the proverbs of old, but they carried an entirely new meaning. He said things like, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”  These words were foreign to them, but they certainly held their attention.

Jesus must’ve been an exemplary speaker. His voice would have to carry to great lengths to reach the many in His audience. Imagine the voice of God speaking directly to them and us. He was nothing extraordinary to look at, yet he commanded the crowds. When He told them not to judge others, but to forgive them as we will be forgiven. He told them to be good fruit and to build their lives on the foundation of God. By doing so they would not be shaken.

Jesus was bringing that foundation back to the people. He came to establish His kingdom in our hearts. Let us continually stay rooted in His Word so we continue to flourish and spread the Good News of salvation to all people.

We are definitely living in troubled times.  The church is being attacked on a daily basis.  The devil is using every tool in his toolbox to take advantage of us.  Don’t let Him in.

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BIG GIRLS DO CRY

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The feminist movement did great things for women.  It allowed them to leave the ties of housekeeping behind and venture into a whole new world.  It was a world which challenged their abilities, their brain power, their industriousness, their ingenuity, their organizational skills, their talent and their compassion.

Yes, I said compassion.  Now where in the world does that word fit into the world of commerce?  Up until then, compassion was woven into the fabric of nursing or caring for others.  The corporate world was and still is, filled with money driven men who were trying to change the world.  Not a lot of compassion was necessary  When women became part of that world, things changed a lot.

In the beginning men said women’s place was in the home, raising a family, tending to the chores of the day and caring for her husband.  The game was on.  Women started attending colleges for things other than secretarial or medical skills.  They proved that they could work under pressure and handle the stress of corporate life.  It wasn’t an easy road, because these same women still had the responsibilities of running a home, but they managed to do both.

Today women are deeply imbedded into politics.  They hold positions of power in the medical field, the corporate world, high finance and industry.  They have proven to be equal to men, but still fight the battle of equal pay. I’m sure that day isn’t far off

In the process, families have become accustomed to both parents working.   The material things that were put on the back burner until they could be paid for are now staples in most homes.  The home fires still burn, but most of the management of that place is being carried out by hired workers.

In the meantime, women have become equal with men.  In my opinion, they always were in God’s eyes.  Woman was created to be a partner for man.  I’m sure there are statistics that prove that men are the hunter/gatherers and women, the caregivers, simply because of the way they are made up physically.  Women are sensitive, intuitive and have the ability to listen.  The tenderness of their hearts is something that continues to exist, even though they try to put on an armor of toughness.  Women cry.  Yes, so do men, but women seem to do it more often.

As women take on some of the roles of their counterparts, they’re expected to be tough,  put their emotions aside and act like a man.  However, even in a society that wishes to determine their own gender, men are men and women are women.  The differences were designed to compliment each other.

Women do have a softer side.  Our emotions are often worn on our sleeves.  Our compassion is evident in the way we work with others and live with them and should be considered a medal of honor.  It’s not an attack on your character to say you can cry if you need to.  There will be days when the pressure of work gets in the way of family – when the demands of travel take you from those you love – when the extra hours of work keep you from kissing your children goodnight.  It’s OK to feel bad about those things.

God made tears for a purpose.  They come out when we grieve, when we’re frustrated or angry and even when we’re happy. The silent tears you pour into your pillow each night do not go unnoticed.

There’s someone who understands those feelings.  Jesus wept.  He knows all about sorrow.  He understands our pain.  He is also our comforter.  He hears our prayers and dries our tears, but He allows us to  bring all our burdens to Him, so he can carry them for us.

 

 

 

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WISDOM

” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”  Proverbs 9:10

Dear, Lord,

You know all things.  Nothing is hidden from you. You are the only consistent in our lives.  I pray that you guide our leaders to proceed with dignity and fairness.  Two people have been dragged through the mud and may never recover from what’s happened over the past few weeks.  Please give the men and women in the position of passing judgment, the wisdom to do your will.  Help us all to accept what is happening and what will happen because of these events.  You are also with every one of us. You’ve judged each of us with fairness and abundance of grace, giving us a freedom we don’t deserve.  May your Word be upheld.  May your will be done, in Jesus name.  Amen!

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HOWLING AT THE MOON

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Two lonely hearts stand tall against the moon so bright above,
Proclaiming sounds unheard by men, of their undying love,
They lift their heads up to the sky, yet keep their gazes locked,
They plan a secret rendezvous, as hands move round the clock.

The winter sky so ghostly looms and weaves among the stars,
No voices heard except their own, the sound bares many scars,
Just two alone at last are they, within the pale moonlight,
They shine like diamonds in the snow, this lady and her knight.

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ARE YOU LISTENING?

As most of you know, I’m losing my hearing so I miss a lot of the conversations that go on around me.  I can’t really enjoy a television show, because it’s hard to determine the plot when you can’t hear the words.  Recently I switched to closed captioning, but even that can lead to misinformation. For example, as I watched the news one day, they were talking about a person who was resigning from her professional position. The announcer said she had been on the job for six months. The caption said, “she had been on the JOHN for six months. I guess I would resign too under those circumstances.

My husband is starting to experience some hearing loss as well, so our conversations have become not only interesting, but at times comical. Since we are locked up together for the duration, we have no choice but to pay close attention when we talk or we miss the entire flow of the conversation. This can also lead to one person raising their voice while the other feels like they’re being yelled at.

A dear friend of mine gifted me with a set of hearing aids that once belonged to her husband. They’re just like new. I’m hoping to figure out how to use them, but until that time I will have to learn to read lips, continue to laugh at the closed captioning or just nod my head in agreement and hope I’m not agreeing to something I’ll regret.

With all the things we currently have on our plates, it seems like a cacophony of noise that is often indecipherable. Politicians are vying for our attention. Health experts are on hand with new ways to avoid getting a virus, reminding us to get our flu shots and even conducting yearly physicals virtually. Our phone conversations have changed into emails and texting. Our discussions turn into arguments. All of this because we aren’t really listening at all.

Friends are becoming enemies. Relatives aren’t speaking to each other. Communication skills have turned into one sided conversations with no thought for another person’s opinion.

Listening is different than hearing and is one of those things that can be selective.  We can choose what we want to hear.  We can sift through the muck and pick up what we hoped to hear.  We can ignore the really important things and focus only on the things that apply to us.

The art of being a good listener is slowly fading from our existence. We’re being fed so much information electronically, that it’s almost impossible to listen.  Our minds act like sieves, sorting through it all and trying to make sense of it.

Unfortunately, when we fail to really listen, we can miss some important stuff.  A child may have some important words to share about being teased at school.  A teen may have feelings of depression or worthlessness.  An older child is struggling with decisions about their future and you have tuned them out in deference to a sporting event or the news.

When your life becomes so filled with outside distractions, it’s time to sit down and look at what God has to say about listening.

James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. “

Ecclesiastes 3:7 “A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

Proverbs 18:13 “”If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

When we take the time to actually listen to someone, we’re opening our ears to true discernment. Take time today to listen with an open mind. Don’t jump to the conclusion that only your opinion matters. Our country was founded on many ideas and innovations. If we lose the ability to really listen to others, we may possibly miss the answers we’re looking for.

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IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR TOWN


ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The broken down feed mill remains firmly planted aside the river bank,
Like a noble guardian, staunchly overlooking the water,

Once filled with golden treasure of the harvest,
It now stands as a tribute to its former glory,

It serves as a place to buy seeds, animal chow and bird food,

The silo which once poured grain into train cars,

Now stands as a monument to its former self,
In a place that offers no solidity –

No barricade against destruction –
No hope of replenishment,

Our harvest is not of this world, but a result of the seeds planted within us,
Treasure beyond measure,

Abundant life,

Fulfillment,

Satiation from hunger and thirst,

No fear of death,

Only eternal life.

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SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER

Dear, Holy, Father,

It seems strange to be coming to worship you virtually. Unfortunately this is the way of the world right now. When I think about our relationship, it really has nothing to do with the physical edifice of the church, but more so the connection I have with you through the love of your only Son, Jesus.

It took me a long time to realize that you are a God of mercy – that your love comes with no strings attached – that it’s all about you and that perfect love.

Sometimes it feels like this world is too much to handle. We become burdened with all the rhetoric flying around, during a political campaign. We wonder what we should believe and who we should trust. Everything lately seems to carry conditions. We must follow the mandates, wear masks, live with certain protocols and there seems to be no hope for the future. Yet I know that isn’t true.

You have this. You alone control the world, the climate, the storms, the plans you have for us here and in eternity. I should not be afraid. I should be confident in that hope, but it seems an unending test of our faith. Even that is controlled by you and your Holy Spirit.

I come to you this morning in humble supplication. Watch over my country. Remind me that my life in this world is just a time of grace before I come to you in your kingdom. You have already secured my place there. You will help me to overcome the fears of the unknown, because you are all knowing. I place my heart in your hands and ask that you watch over all of us and bless us with the confidence that in the end you have already won the victory. Amen!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY ONLY SIBLING

When we were young and innocent, so very long ago,

I didn’t think too much of you at all,

You’d tag along behind me like the shadow you would throw,

Our youth is gone, but still we can recall.

The nights we danced like movie stars, dressed in our own bed sheets,

The mud pies made at grandma’s old farm house,

We fed them to the hungry dog who treasured those weird treats,

We kept that secret quiet as a mouse,

When we became young women I was just four years ahead,

But still you took the spotlight for a while,

The boys all came to court you, I’d lay waiting in my bed,

To hear about your first kiss and I’d smile.

The years went by so quickly and we both took different roads,

We lived our journeys far away from home,

Our families grew, our work increased, we lived each episode,

We shared our lives upon the telephone.

Now as our lives are ebbing and we turn our thoughts to death,

We know that God is waiting for us there,

And when we get to heaven, each day will bring us new breath,

New life and peace, eternal rest we’ll share.

But now we’re in the present and the truth is we’re not dead,

The Lord has more He wants for us to do,

Now texting is our visiting, and emails must be read.

Those things for now will help to see us through.

So on this special birthday, for my only sibling’s years,

I’ll text you with this little poem you see,

My love for you won’t waiver and even through happy tears,

I’ll never forget what you mean to me.

My dear sister, Carol, is celebrating another year of life. She’s had her share of turmoil this year. It seems that 2020 is the year that keeps on giving – more and more surprises and things we find hard to deal with. Carol is one of those steel magnolias that most women strive to be. I’ve cherished her from the day she was born, even though I didn’t always seem to.

My life and the lives of all those she’s touched along the way, have been so much better because of her. I know God has a special place reserved for both of us in heaven and that we will be reunited again for all eternity. Until then, happy birthday to my sister, my dearest friend, my shoulder to lean on and my connection to the past. I love you.

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TIME FOR TOLERANCE

Tolerance is described in the dictionary as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. The opposite of being tolerant is to be narrow minded, unbending, inflexible and one who is considered a bigot.

In today’s world we’re asked to be tolerant of everyone, even if it goes against what we believe. It has become the new “in thing” to be. Jesus told His disciples not to judge others, lest they be judged by God. We all face that final judgment, but even though God is tolerant and has forgiven the entire world, He will not receive those who defile His word or His name.

In my opinion it’s much easier to go along with the masses and accept everything and everybody. It’s harder to stand up for what we believe in and stay true to it. Will we be tolerant today? I hope we can continue to remain so without losing our convictions.

God is the most tolerant of all of us. He loves each and every one of us, despite our sinful natures and He wants us to be with Him, but He also expects us to stay strong in our faith, true to His Word and to follow His commandments.


Dear God, As we draw near another presidential election, help us remember those who are running for office. Help us also to keep open minds and look at facts rather than rhetoric. You have placed our governing bodies for a purpose. Our voice – our vote – our opinions can best be expressed through the election process. Amen!

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2

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MY ONE TRUE GOD

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

My God is like no other God, His wings span wider than an eagle,

Searching,

Watching,

Uncovering the majesty below,

He lifts me up beyond the sky,

Into eternal paradise,

His hands protect me every day,

He leads me through His perfect way,

He won’t let go, though try I will,

He takes my hand, my heart He fills,

He is my true salvation.

I have no way to thank Him,

My words are not enough,

He’s done it all for my own good,

To make me strong and tough.

When my last breath I finally take,

I know His promise He won’t break,

He loves me more than life you see,

He gave His life to set me free.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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TIME TO FLY

When you reach a certain point in life, you wonder how many things you might cross off the old bucket list. I’ve never thought too much about a bucket list. I’m happy to see the dawning of a new day – to enjoy the company of my husband – to have the memories of a lifetime.

The fact that I’ve never really had any wild goals in my life would probably indicate that I’m a pretty boring person. I’ve never jumped out of a plane to free fall. I’ve never driven at speeds over 200 MPH – swung from a bungie cord across a wide canyon or stood on the top of a pyramid.  You could say, I’ve led a pretty dull life, but I don’t think so.  In fact, I feel like I’m still a work in progress and every day allowed to me from now on is just another opportunity to grow closer to my Savior – my God.

If I were to write a bucket list, I would undoubtedly have a tough time.  I’m afraid of heights; I’m not a very good swimmer; my out of shape body would never carry me to the top of a pyramid – much less a flight of stairs.  I’ve never been one to take chances.  I really play it safe most of the time.  I’m way too conservative to spend money on foolishness.  I know, most bucket lists are designed to take you outside of your box and make you do something you’ve never done before, but I think that most of the things that would be on my list have already been accomplished in my lifetime.

For example I might say I would like to witness a miracle – but I have already seen many.  I have three children, I have been given God’s forgiveness of my sins, I have had all my earthly needs provided for even when I didn’t think they would be. 

Sure, these are the every day miracles that we’ve all seen, but there are more.  There was the Christmas we were up to our ears in medical expenses and it looked like we wouldn’t be able to buy gifts for our children.  That year was bleak for the company my husband  worked for and they weren’t giving out bonuses – except to him.  There was the time I drove for over a mile with a broken tie-rod and made it safely to a place I could get help.  There were numerous occasions when I thought my life would end due to some illness or surgery, but God had other plans for me.  Miracles are all around us if we just look for them.

If our lives mean anything, a bucket list isn’t really necessary.  God has our life all planned out for us and we can expect to have adventures and excitement along the way.  He loves our laughter.  He enjoys our successes.  He grieves when we grieve. He sometimes molds us like a potter punches his clay to make us a thing of beauty.

I’m happy with the life I’ve experienced so far – even the low times, because I know that something wonderful is waiting for me on the other side of eternity and that is where every hope, dream and aspiration will be fulfilled. 

“So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.”  Ecclesiastes 11:8

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YOUR WILL, NOT MINE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

My God, you’ve shown your will for me in everything you do,

You break the earth, you cut through rock, you kiss the morning dew,

The skies surrender to your voice, the clouds contain your breath,

You’re seen in every place we go, from life until our death.

Stretched across the mighty seas – far beyond the mountains high,

Your blueprint for each life is planned from morning until night,

The creatures of the forest and the fish beneath the sea,

Are in your constant watch and care, as much as you love me.

The days turn into star filled skies, your finger moves the sun,

Your love for us immeasurable, with you we become one,

Our dreams are not impossible, our hope will never die,

You touch the waters and they rush to reach the other side.

Your will be done forevermore, let me become your tool,

And may I find true peace in all that you would have me do,

I trust your perfect path for me, I’ll never walk alone,

You are right there beside me now and you will take me home.

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6-8 INCHES OF NEW FALLEN SNOW – BLEH!

I guess we should have expected it. Last week’s little dusting of snowflakes was just a foreshadowing of what was to come. Yesterday, the white stuff, which we refer to in Minnesota as that horrible four letter word, starting falling at about 1 PM and didn’t let up until around 8 or 9 PM.

There were more that 350 accidents and spin outs as those who still commute to work had to adapt to different driving conditions. I don’t know how driving has been in other states lately, but during this pandemic, people drive much faster in my state, with little concern for those around them. Anyway, we were fortunate not to have to go anywhere, but I couldn’t help wondering if this is just another addition to the growing list of complaints about the year 2020.

This morning the sun is glistening over the new fallen snow. Thoughts of hot chocolate are calling to me. As I grow more and more introverted during this time, I’m wondering if I’m alone in feeling this way. I know that we’re three quarters of the way through this year. I know that more is yet to come. Life doesn’t stop during a pandemic, it just becomes more intense. What we do with this time is imperative.

We could sit around, feel sorry for ourselves, cry, “oh woe is me,” or simply give in and pull ourselves deeper into the pit of depression. We could do that, but how is that going to make things better? As I think back to the Renaissance Period in history, the plague had destroyed many lives, but out of that time came artists like Michelangelo and DaVinci. Innovation began to spring up like new growth in springtime. Beautiful poetry was being produced, books were written and published by the newly invented printing press. The Reformation of the church was underway. More and more people were being educated and able to do more than simply eek out a living.

During the time of the Civil War lives were being shattered all across our country. But another disease in the form of tuberculosis was being called the Masque of the Red Death, by Poet Edgar Allan Poe. This genius of a writer lived in poverty for most of his life. He lost many of those he loved to tuberculosis and eventually died penniless and hopeless. Still we have a plethora of his writings to enjoy today.

There will always be sickness in our world, but there will also be those who rise above it – those who use their talents to enrich the lives of others – those who we can count on to get things done – those who serve others before themselves. I pray that this time in the wilderness teaches all of us how much we need each other and God to get through this life. How blessed our lives will be once we reach the other side of it.

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EMBARASSMENT AT THE MOVIES

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I usually read other people’s posts before actually staring my own. This is sometimes a way of sparking some thoughts when I’m not sure what I’m going to write. This morning I read a poem by Carol Congalton at https://adivineunraveling.wordpress.com. Carol always has writings that amuse and she has a fun way of telling stories through her poetry. Go check her out.

The poem she posted today had to do with Matinee Poets. I’d never heard the term before, but it stirred a memory of a time I went to the movies with my grandkids and husband. I think the movie was “Lincoln.” What I saw of it was outstanding. The costuming was spectacularly accurate for the time period. The acting was well done, but I fell asleep during one of the many battle scenes of the Civil War. I’m not sure why. It may have had to do with the fact that I was sitting in a reclining chair that embraced me with heat and comfort. I may have simply tuned out when the guns started shooting and blood was flowing. Whatever the case may be, I fell asleep. That wasn’t bad enough. I started to snore to the amusement of those sitting around me. When I finally was shaken back to reality, my package of Mentos had melted all over my orange jacket. I looked like a Jack-O-Lantern.

Anyway, I promised Carol a poem this morning and here it is.

EMBARASSMENT AT THE MOVIES

I once went to a picture show,

With popcorn, treats and drink in tow,

Reclined in leather seat was I,

I thought I’d died and now could fly,

The dreams of sleep soon overtook,

I fell asleep, felt like a schnook,

Around me bombs were falling fast,

I was part of movie cast.

Guns were firing and blood ran red,

I realized I wasn’t in bed,

When woken by a gentle nudge,

I reached around to find my fudge,

Melted into my jacket there,

From that infernal leather chair.

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THE GHOST LIGHT

A ghost light in theatre terms, refers to a light that remains on when the theatre is empty. For those who have been affected greatly by the COVID19 pandemic, this traditional light has remained lit for far too long and it doesn’t look like it will be turned off for quite some time.

The performing arts have been a part of society dating back to the earliest of civilizations. It is a means of expression – a chance to make a statement of sorts – an opportunity to display talent – to offer a voice – to dance, to sing, to create. Even in Biblical times, David danced as he victoriously entered the city – he played the lute to entertain and comfort King Saul through his angst and depression. It is part of our heart and soul as human beings.

We’re told that Broadway will not be opening any shows at least until August of 2021. Recovery from this plague is probably going to take three to five years according to the experts. Little performing venues are closing their doors for good. Children who have gained so much through the creative and performing arts may not see a renewal of that experience during their childhood.

The heart of man is being touched in so many ways through all this. Sometimes things need to go through a cleansing process before they are restored. Sometimes we need to reevaluate, regroup and return to our roots.

I believe we’ve been given this time for such a purpose. We could look a this year as one which should be erased from all time, but then what will we have learned from it? If we take a defeatist attitude, we surely will be defeated. If we look at -our current situation as full of amazing opportunities for change, for doing things new ways, for igniting the creative process, we will have turned the lights back on and given new purpose to the arts and also for the way we face life in general.

God gives us reassurance in this area too, by reminding us that even one tiny glowing ember can grow into a blazing fire. It doesn’t take much, but we must keep that fire lit and never let it go out. Even when things seem their darkest.

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ABANDONED


ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

It was nothing more than the skeletal remains of a deserted old building. The facade bore scars on its sun bleached boards. It had become pock marked by the bullets of hail. Remnants of a large bird nest topped the crooked chimney. Windows, soiled by years of lost memories, were now clothed with the silver threads of spider webs, glistening in the light of day.

Within the empty walls, you could almost hear voices from the past. Wallpaper barely clung to the mildewed walls. The floors creaked. A few dishes lined the sink- now coated with dust and dehydrated food. A broken rocking chair sat at the center of the open space. How many babies had been rocked and comforted in that relic of broken furniture?

A tree branch crashed through the roof at some point and now seemed to belong there. The new life, budding from that seemingly dead branch, presented some semblance of hope in the midst of misery. It seemed that the bones were still in place. The foundation was solid. When the sun cast it brilliance on it, I knew this was once a home and it could be again.

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SURVIVOR

ART & POETRY BY PAUL  & KATHY BOECHER©

This painting was done several years ago, shortly after a tornado tore through the city of Minneapolis.  An entire rookery was destroyed, except for one lone survivor.

He sat majestically in his tattered nest, surveying the remnants of his environment.

A tornado ripped through the night before, cutting trees in two,

Uprooting some and destroying hundreds of nests in the rookery.

This Great Blue Heron survived the turmoil – the devastating wind –

The fierce torrential rain.

Now he sist, staring out over the destruction below.

Many of his friends had vanished or died.

The aging bird was spared, remaining behind and lonely.

Would he be able to pick up the pieces of his former life?

If God’s eye is on the sparrow, He certainly would provide for this king of the river.

He would rebuild day by day, with the help of his Creator,

But today he was simply a survivor –

Crushed by defeat, yet hopeful.

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MAKING NEW KINDS OF MEMORIES

Here we are, in the midst of a pandemic, waiting for another legendary election, waiting to go back to church as we used to, hoping for that job promotion and praying that we stay healthy during the coming winter months.

Really, if we were to take the word of every politician out there, we would be doomed to an eternity in hell if we choose the wrong candidate. If we refused to wear a mask because we can’t breathe when we do, we wouldn’t have to fear being thrown into jail or fined for doing so. What if, instead of living each day in fear of one thing or another, we decide to create new ways of doing things that will lead to new memories.

Memories are the things that fuel our old age. They capture our minds and fill us with warmth beyond measure. The good old days were not always that great, but the memories created during those times will live on and give us some hope for the future.

When I was a kid, it seemed my self-appointed job to entertain people. One of my grandsons felt that same obligation when he was a young boy. He said he felt it his responsibility to make people laugh. We’ve both grown up since then, but somehow that desire to entertain and make people laugh is still within our souls.

I remember taking a few of our old sheets and clothes pinning them to a rope outside. I’d find a few set pieces to place in front of the “curtains” and rounded up a few of the neighbor kids to make a play. As every young entrepreneur will tell you, you have to add some popcorn and lemonade to sell just to sweeten the pot for your audience and make a ka-ching sound in your pocket as well. Our plays were not worthy of praise, but the popcorn was good. It was a great way for neighbors to get together and share time and words of encouragement.

Well, some things don’t change even in the middle of gathering restrictions. The little theatre I’m involved with has been holding outdoor performances for the last three months. Two of these shows featured adult performers and one consisted of kids from 6th grade and up. In spite of a few rainy day rearrangements and a chilly October rendering of readings from Edgar Allan Poe, all three performances were a success.

The memory of those old backyard shows warmed my heart as semi-icicles formed on my masked face. Actually the mask was a nice face warmer. People sat socially distanced as a warm bonfire crackled in the background.

It seems to me that when life gives us lemons, we can certainly make lemonade instead of a bitter concoction of angry thoughts and hatred. For a small moment in time, we can journey into a different place and escape the maddening sounds of the world. This time can lead to the formation of new memories that will carry us during future times – times that will return again soon. When that happens, we will look back on this time as a time of healing for our nation. What a lovely memory that will be.

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TREASURE OR TREASURED

In my lifetime I have experienced living with little, living modestly, living with means and living with little once again. When you have money, it doesn’t mean you are happier or are twice blessed. It simply means you have more to be in charge of.

Having wealth can bring some sense of freedom from worry, but it doesn’t buy peace of mind or happiness or love or the things of true value including eternal life. Whatever we are blessed with in life is a gift from God and should be managed as such.

God gives us so much more than worldly riches. He gives us the silver of His forgiveness and the gold of an inheritance with Him in heaven. Thank you, Lord, Jesus for giving me this gift of promise. Remind me that earthly wealth is just temporary. I have so much more to look forward to. It’s what lies ahead that gives us true wealth.

Don’t give me a mansion on top of the hill.

Don’t give me the world with a shallow thrill.

But just give me a savior my life He can hold.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold.

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FIRST SNOW

So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!
J. R. R. Tolkien

This year has been filled with surprise after surprise. I believe 2020 will go down in history as one we’d love to forget. This morning the sky opened up and gently expelled flakes of white upon an already colorful blanket of reds and oranges. Another surprise.

We always seem stunned to see the first snow of the season, but we shouldn’t be. Snow is a mainstay in Minnesota. In a way those giant flakes of white could be construed as manna from heaven, being poured down on a weary world. It is like a washing away of all the ugliness that has transpired for the past ten months or even longer. As it actually begins to stick to the ground, I’m wondering if this is yet another sign of the state of our world right now. God has been speaking to us and we seem not to hear Him.

Maybe shaking the crystal snow ball will get our attention. Remember how as children we were fascinated as fake snow flew through the confines of an orb and dusted everything with a coating of white? Somehow that same feeling is closing in on me right now as I look out my window and watch giant flakes of cleansing snow, caress the landscape. Perhaps it’s just an omen of what is to come. Maybe, as the Farmer’s Almanac indicates, we’re in for a long, long winter. Whatever the case, there is nothing like the first snowfall of the year.


As I sit here viewing this glorious first look at winter, I can’t help but be hopeful. God is still in His sanctuary. We have His protection, no matter what comes our way. He has washed us clean of all the bigotry, hatred, bias, racism, fear, depression that comes from a long time in the wilderness. He is still in control, whether we believe that or not. Nothing will get in His way, except our inability to believe that He exists.

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BE STILL AND KNOW . . .

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©,

Weary of the noise of media attention,

Exhausted by virtuous and often untrue claims,

Troubled hearts cling to greater intervention,

Longing for refreshment from the flames,

Looking up is what we need for our salvation,

God alone brings peace from all our shames,

Quieting the dissidence and excitation,

Giving love instead of naming names,

Sin no more holds constant consternation,

Through His Son our guilt no longer blames.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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