MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO

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After writing my blog this morning, I thought more about how our children model themselves after us.  They learn by watching our behavior.  The retain the words we use, the actions we take and some of those not so nice habits.  It brought a few examples to mind.

My husband and four year old son came home one day, after a successful day of fishing.  Paul caught a record breaking fish and our son caught a smaller one, but just as important to him.  Every time someone came over, Paul would take the fish out of the freezer for his friends to see.  Soon our son was showing his catch of the day to his buddies.  Unfortunately, he was too little to reach the freezer, so he stored it in his toy box. It didn’t take long for me to realize the fish was now decomposing, as the smell emitted from the toy box.  It wasn’t funny at the time, but showed me how our children so want to be like us.

When the same son was playing soccer at the age of 8 or so, he was fortunate to have a coach from South America.  All the boys adored this fellow and wanted to be just like him.  As the coach began his training, he wanted the boys do everything he did – following his every move.  The demonstration began and the boys were right on it.  Especially when the coach swallowed a gnat and began to cough.  The whole team began to cough as well.

When we moved into a new house, I was putting up pictures on the wall.  My, then five year old daughter, proceeded to pound nails into her bedroom wall to display her Barbie clothes.

They watch us.  They learn.  I’ll bet there are hundreds of stories out there of how your kids followed the leader when growing up.  Please feel free to share them.  We all need a good laugh.  It’s Friday and maybe some humor would lighten things up a little.

 

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WHAT DO THEY SEE?

When children are young, they look to their parents as super heroes – men and women of steel – those who can make their boo-boos better and dry their tears when they’re hurting.  When they get older, the mask and cape quickly disappear and it soon becomes apparent that parents aren’t much different than anyone else.  They have problems – they can’t do everything – they make mistakes.

When children become teens, those original super heroes transform into absolutely ignorant.  It isn’t until they begin life on their own that parents get the honor they deserve.

Parenting is one of the most difficult occupations out there.  Most of us learn everything on the fly.  No one tells you that your life is going to change completely.  No one tells you your kids will get broken bones, hurt feelings and need protection from dangerous situations. I didn’t expect numerous trips to the ER. I wasn’t prepared for snakes, bugs, baby ducks, frogs and  dead fish in the toy box.

Parenting is tough. You feel guilty going to bed with a sink full of dishes. You have so much to do, but your child wants a bedtime story. You’d really love a new pair of shoes, but school starts soon and the kids need school supplies. You put your plans on hold so you can visit your child’s school and share hot lunch with them or be their ‘show and tell’ item for the day. You cry when you’re not there to say goodnight and tuck them in for the night.

Martina McBride wrote a lovely song about this very subject. One verse kind of sums up what the whole parenting thing is all about.

“In my daughter’s eyes,
Everyone is equal,
Darkness turns to light,
And the world is at peace,
This miracle God gave to me,
Gives me strength when I am weak,
I find reason to believe,
In my daughter’s eyes.”

Our children look to us as role models.  What kind of example are we setting? We’re their first connection to the outside world. Our opinions, our frustrations, our verbal attacks, how we regard our fellow man, how we extend ourselves to try and fix things, affect our children and the way they turn out.  We have them in our care for the most malleable years of their lives.

Negativity is damaging and can turn ordinary folks into bullies, naysayers, doomsdayers and angry individuals.  Is that the kind of kids we want to be running the world in the future? When kids come out of college with their degrees and a huge financial burden and no job, the example we originally set for them in our parenting days will either leave them feeling hopeless or ready to face the world.

Positivity is much harder to achieve. It requires hard work, patience and persistence.  It also works best when motivated with God’s direction and assistance.  We can’t do this alone.  We can’t do anything without Him. He is the positive influence that can push us out of darkness into light.

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DAYS GONE BY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Sun kissed cobblestones, line the streets of gold,

Streets we long to walk one day when heaven we behold,

Dreams of simpler times, days of having fun,

Time to spend with those we love, under the summer sun,

Those days will wither like the trees, we’ll see them disappear,

We hold the memories in our grasp, for just another year,

Those moments alter over time, they’ll never be again,

We move on towards our final goal, we don’t know where or when,

When eyes are tightly closed in dreams, the past may reappear,

We treasure all those golden days, and every sound we hear,

The rap of traveling horses, clopping upon the stones,

The smells that waft from the bakery, tastes of freshly baked scones,

Long dresses dusting the sidewalk, gentlemen tip their hats,

The rat race doesn’t exist there, we’ll leave that to the rats.

 

 

 

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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BLOWING IN THE WIND

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We have yet to be able to control the weather.  We can predict when a storm will come, but altering the course of the natural world is beyond our comprehension.  As with all things we don’t understand,  it somehow becomes part of “Mother Nature’s” realm.  We forget who really controls all things.

We come up against many storms in life.  Have you ever lost a job?  Have you been told you have a terminal disease?  Does the state of affairs in our country grab you by the bootstraps and cause deep depression?  Can you get through another day without shedding a tear?  Do your tears turn into torrents, leaving you hopelessly lost?

The only human being who ever controlled the wind was Jesus. He spread out His hand and calmed the swirling air currents and thus the tumultuous sea.  That wasn’t an illusion or some magic trick.  It happened.  It is written about in the gospel as a lesson for all mankind – one which would show us that Jesus is not merely human, but also God.  I know the Bible is God’s truth.  He doesn’t lie.

When there are storms in life – when the turbulence knocks the wind out of our sails, when our breath dissipates in the eye of it – when there is no where to go – some may eventually surrender to God’s will.  We pray.  We ask for intervention.  We wait and wait and wait for answers, but they don’t come as quickly as we’d like.  Our faith weakens, but our inner voice tells us that God has a handle on all our life experiences.   That tiny voice of conscience reminds us of the unconditional relationship we have with our Creator.

When we’re forced up against a wall, we call on our Savior.  It isn’t a matter of giving up.  Surrender means more than that.  We’re putting our complete trust in One who can calm the winds.

Dear, Heavenly Father, we come to you for guidance.  Our world faces the winds of disharmony, hatred, fear and division.  You have proven your power to us through the forces of nature.  Still many of us cannot accept your majesty.  What they can’t see, doesn’t exist.  You reveal yourself through the weather. You show us your face in the eye of a storm.  We ask that you watch over our country.  Be with our president as he faces difficult criticism.  Be with our lawmakers as they try to sort through legislature regarding immigration.  Our nation seems to have deserted you in the last few years.  Many don’t believe in you.  They laugh at those who do.  Please, work in their hearts.  Let your Holy Spirit inspire us as a nation.  Bring us together and unite us.  In Jesus name we ask.  Amen!

 

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SOLSTICE

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Soft, buttery shades of yellow, melt in the summer sun,

Reaching to touch the face of God, finding a place to run,

Days at their highest peak of light, soon like the flowers fade,

We bask in the glow of its heat, we search refreshing shade.

We wilt, we wither and we die, our life is spent in years,

Longing for perfect contentment, but never find it here,

As life moves on in this planet, we hope it’s for the best,

Our hearts fill with disappointment, we can’t pass every test,

We flounder in our summer days, hang on to every hope,

We place our faith in things above, to help our bodies cope,

The days now become much shorter, we lack the warmth and glow,

We struggle with the things of life, we cling to things below,

When we surrender to Jesus, our lives will be fulfilled,

He takes our hand and leads us, are fears will now be stilled.

 

 

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AGING LIKE A FINE WINE

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“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Breadand Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”
Omar Khayyam
Yesterday I celebrated 76 years of living.  The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.6.  I’ve still got a couple to go, so I better make the most of the time allotted me according to statistics.
Statistics don’t predict the future for individual life spans.  They simply revolve around data of a selected few.  It’s probably better for us not to know the hour of our death.
I’ve mentioned before that I used to be 6’9″ and have slowly shortened to 5′ over time.  Thus my height has diminished, but my girth has increased.  I have not lost my ability to exaggerate. My wrinkles have turned into crevices and craters.  I’ve hair in places I’ve never had it and a lack of it in others. My eyesight is beginning to fail.  My ears have long ago bit the dust.  My skin is not longer elastic, but it bruises easily and every scar I’ve earned over time, is more apparent now.  I take naps.  I put off housekeeping, even though my house is half the size it used to be.  The freckles I used to long for have turned into liver spots.  I walk slower and drag my feet.
Aging is a process that demonstrates our need for salvation.  The closer we get to death, the more that need becomes apparent.  We see how decay and physical deterioration have taken over our bodies and minds.  Memory slips back to vivid pictures from way back, but you can’t remember why you were going into the other room by the time your get there.
Kids can’t possibly imagine getting old.  The elderly to a young child is someone in their 20s.  When you become and adult, you can’t wait to retire.  When you retire, you try to keep your life busy so you don’t go the way of other elders.
Still God has given me these 76 years to get to know Him better – to rely on Him in every situation – to follow His ways – to share His love with others.  When I get to 78.6, I will count every day beyond that as a bonus.
Actually we should look at aging as the process of creating fine wine.  It isn’t a good idea to open the bottle too soon, but when you wait, the taste is amazing.
When we age, it will take time for us to come to complete maturity, but we can be sure that God indeed has a plan for us.
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A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

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“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.  The river was cut by the world’s Great Flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.  On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by the waters.”  Norman Maclean

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Cutting through the raging waters, waiting for the perfect time,

Stealing comfort where we find it, carving out a place sublime,

When upon a deep division, faltering we flail and drown,

When we have a firm foundation, we will surely come around,

Sailing through the roughest waters, leaving caution to the wind,

Caring not for intervention, even when our hearts have sinned,

United we can have it all, when we split we surely fall,

We must learn to live together, listening to the Savior’s call,

Don’t let go of His great wisdom, Never falter from the Word,

God will captain your adventure, all your armor He will gird.

Life’s too short to drift and flounder, we can do this if we try,

When we place our faith in Jesus, He will lift us up to fly.

 

 

 

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DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA

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It’s been a while since I’ve spouted off.  When I do, I’m like one of those geysers in Yellowstone, that can’t contain itself.  Lately, I’ve been trying to distance myself from the news and all the back and forth drama between political parties.  Social media also has become a place to spew venom.

It angers me when children are used as political pawns – when they’re used to enter a country illegally – when their sole purpose in life is to be a piece of a broken puzzle.  We’re in the midst of a huge debate as to the inhumanity of our sitting president.  A man who clearly has stated that he is following the rule of law. The law is imperfect.  It can and should be fixed.  Instead it is being tossed back and forth between political factions, while the media has turned it into another circus.

Solomon, in his wisdom, made a judgment to split a child in half and divide him between two women claiming to be his mother.  Of course the real mother relinquished all her rights for the benefit of her child’s life.  Sometimes we need a good slap in the face to realize the truth.

Illegals coming into our country with children, may be trying to seek asylum, but they aren’t following the law.  They are criminals.  They’re placing their children in harms way by pushing their way into a country that has always welcomed the oppressed.  We as a nation are touched by seeing men in cages and children being carted off to shelters.  As a mother, my heart cries at the sight.

There has to be an end to the division in this country.  We cannot become a nation of sheep – herded up and put into separate pens.  We need to trust that our government is doing what’s best for our nation.  We must begin to come together again and stop bickering over everything that is presented to us in the news, without gathering our own facts.  Friendships take a hit when opinions divide.  Families differ and argue.  Words are said in anger and hatred follows.  When we don’t fact check, we can be left flailing our arms in despair.

Our nation should be united. our soldiers fought to defend that fact throughout the years.  We’re free to express our opinions because of our Constitution.  We’re also a nation of laws and for far too long, the law has been twisted, abused, ignored and rewritten.  For some unknown reason, the writers of our laws refuse to amend one which would put an end to this.  Such a simple solution, to a heartbreaking problem.

Being united sometimes means bending a little to reach a conclusion satisfactory to all parties.  It also means working together to solve problems.  As long as there is a faction intent on getting rid of our current president, we can’t come together.

“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” 

Mark 3:25

 

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BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE

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 “Last scene of all…Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”  AS YOU LIKE IT, Shakespeare

Every life stage is composed of its own specific pattern,

In infancy, we demand,

We scream,

We cry,

As toddlers, the screaming becomes louder,

Demanding more,

Exploration,

Discover,

Our teen years explode with hormones,

Unleashing grown up passions,

Not yet ready to act upon,

The screams are there,

For different reasons,

You move into adulthood,

Securing your future,

Praying for success,

Driving,

Pushing,

Using every ounce of energy to make it,

To succeed,

To climb the ladder,

To make a difference,

The screams become internal,

Often hidden from others,

Yet still alive,

Middle age carries us into the beginning of aging,

You reach the pinnacle of your life,

You are at the peak,

Success may or may not have touched you,

You look forward to time with family,

Friends,

Hobbies,

Your family is growing too,

They leave the nest,

Your life is transitioning,

From youthful exuberance,

To lonely days,

Your joy turns to sadness,

You have too much time to wallow in the thick of it,

Those internal screams have become,

Weakened,

Tired,

Quieter,

Yet they exist in the recesses of your heart,

You become old,

The bridge leads to your end,

To the finality of life,

To death,

The screams persist,

You fight them,

You grow anxious for heaven,

Your body changes,

No teeth,

Thinning hair,

Body weakness,

Lack of energy,

Lack of everything,

Except for the hope of heaven,

That final destination,

Without tears,

Without aging,

Without pain,

A place where we become new again,

And stay young forever,

Your screams turn into praise,

HALLELUJA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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QUE SERA, SERA

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A few years back, I played the part of a medium – though I look more like a large – make that extra large.  A medium is one who says they can talk to the dead, reveal what might happen in the future and pass that information on the unsuspecting and naïve  – all to make a buck.

My mom read her horoscope every day.  I believe she only liked Chinese food, because of the fortune cookie she received for dessert. Whenever she visited a carnival, she wanted to have her fortune told by one of those charlatans.  She didn’t plan her life according to it, but she seemed to be quite interested in what the future held.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what lay ahead for you?  I would love to see my grandchildren grow up, marry and have children.  I often wonder what the future will hold for them.  I’d love to get rid of my excess poundage and regain my hearing. Will I be rich? Will I find success?  Will I become famous?

Some things might be nice to know, but on the other hand, if we knew everything we’d also be privy to the horrible.  When will the next world war break out?  Will I develop a terminal illness?  How much longer will I live?  Will there ever be peace? Will we ever see a return to the values our country was founded upon?  The answers to those questions and may not be pleasant or what we want to hear.  We may even lose sleep or become depressed over them.  We could put ourselves into a state of anxiety which may lead to suicide.  So is it better to know or not know what the future holds?

I believe God knows what He’s doing by withholding those facts from us.  He’s all knowing for a reason.  He wants to protect us from ourselves.  He wants us to rely on Him for everything we have or will have in the future.  He loves us so much, He even drew up the plans for our lives, in advance of our birth.  His plan is always for our good.  Sure there will be obstacles, but they’re there for a reason.  Through our difficulties, we grow closer to God depending on Him to provide for us.

My birthday is today.  To me it’s just another day in the journey God has laid out for me.  I thank Him for bringing me safely through another year.  I am confident that what lies ahead is in His hands and que sera, sera.  Whatever will be, will be, when we trust in our Creator.

” Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:11-12

 

 

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IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS

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Our world is a sea of people.  I often wonder where I fit in, in that massive expanse.  Little old me, is like a speck on the radar.  Sure, there’s a heartbeat and blood flows through my veins, but it’s hard to consider how I stack up in comparison to all those other specks.  We all seem to have inherited the desire to be noticed or be better.

We push through life with hopes and dreams, which may become shattered and bruised.  Those goals we set, get trampled on by life and leave us breathless, hopeless, downtrodden and lost.  Each hit brings another contusion – another slap in the face – another defeat.  Still each of those bumps also bring growth, perception and discernment for the future.

In our civilization, it’s not the meek that gain success. It’s the powerful, the beautiful, the rich and the famous.  The quiet ones go unnoticed.  The underdog rarely hits the mark.  The poverty stricken may remain that way until death.   However, Jesus gave a very different picture of what success means.

In speaking of those that the world views as winners, Jesus noted they will have a hard time reaping the benefits of heaven.  To God, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or famous.  He cares not about your appearance or outward pizazz.  He turns the other way when He sees those trying to buy their way into heaven.  His love is unconditional and yet He does demand our allegiance.

He gave the greatest sacrifice to pay for our souls.  As His own flesh and blood were laid on the altar of the cross, Jesus paid the ransom for all mankind.  Even the repentant thief that was crucified with Him was assured of eternal life in paradise.  Our value is not measured by what WE accomplish, but by what God has completed for us.

As we start another new week, keep that at the forefront of all you do.  Remember how valuable you are to the Creator of the entire universe.  With Him in your life, you can move mountains.

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.  Aim at earth and you will get neither.”  C.S. Lewis

 

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WASHED CLEAN

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER© – Painted at the Erickson Farmstead this past rainy weekend.

Shades of grey, crimson and yellow dot the landscape with a magical mist,

Covering a multitude of sins,

I wonder if this is how we look to God?

Covered with a veil of repentance and grief over past sins,

Shrouded in a haze of uncertainty,

No!

God looks at us and sees

Only His Son and what He has accomplished,

We no longer carry the undistinguishable,

The hidden,

The burden,

It has all been washed away in the blood of the lamb,

No longer are we seeped in darkness,

No longer in fear,

God has forgiven us all through His own Son, Jesus,

Let His love shine through us and bring that light to others.

 

 

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TRUE PEACE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

There are places we simply crave to be,

Serene, comfortable places where we can find solitude,

Tightly clinging to the quietness of alone time,

Away from the clamor of every day life,

Isolated, apart from others, in your own little world,

Yet we are never completely alone,

You may be steering the ship, but God is guiding the way,

You may think you’ve got it all under control,

Until you hit a bump and capsize,

Gasping for air,

Pleading for salvation,

Longing to live, just one more day,

One more hour,

One more minute,

God holds you in the palm of His mighty hand,

He will never let you go,

He is there, setting the boat aright,

Keeping you alive,

Breathing air into your dying lungs,

So you will surrender to Him,

He is our perfect Father,

He will see you through trials and tribulation,

He will rejoice with you during times of joy and celebration,

He will watch over you for the rest of your living,

And welcome you into His home,

Where you will a perfect life forever.

 

 

 

 

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

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Fathers are under a lot of criticism these days – for that matter so are all other men.  Somehow there’s been a push to make both sexes generic. I suppose it’s because we want to be equal in every way.

I am of the opinion that we are equal in God’s sight.  He doesn’t differentiate when he doles out salvation.  Why would He hold back in our every day living?  There are things men do, which women can’t, and visa versa.  We were designed by One who knew that both would compliment each other.

There are so many reasons to thank men for being fathers.  Not only are they procreating to populate the world – which requires no special skill – but they’re also given responsibilities anyone would desire on their resume’.  They’re problem solvers, “go-to” men, decision makers, first aid administrators, care givers, financial wizards, teachers, spiritual guides, goal setters, fixer uppers, strong and reliable.  In addition to that, they give advice, answer lots of questions, provide for their children, give them tools for living and will stop on a dime to give their kids attention.  They know how to administer justice when discipline is necessary.  They come to their child’s defense when they know they need an advocate.  Their love should be, but isn’t always unconditional. Wow – that’s a lot to expect of anyone.

Fathers have been fashioned by the Creator – who made all of us equal.  God is the perfect example of what a dad should be.  The greatest gift a dad can give his children, besides his time and attention, is directing them in God’s path.  With God, they will  accomplish things they only dreamed.  You’re leaving the richest legacy any parent could give their child – the gift of knowing how much our heavenly Father loves and cares for them.

Thanks, fathers, for giving us life and seeing to it that we have the necessary tools to get through it.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

 

 

 

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IMAGINATION

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  • I –   IDEAS – tons of creative thought processes, melding into one.  The spark that ignites invention.
  • MMIND – The brain is the core of invention.  We have so many storage spots and memory banks, there really is no limit to how far we can go.
  • AACCIDENTS – Mistakes shouldn’t set you back, but push you forward.  They will lead to solutions, which lead to ideas and the creation of something new.
  • GGRATITUDE – Always be willing to listen to others’ ideas.  Collaboration and team work lead to even greater success.  Think if Tesla and Edison had worked together on their inventions.  The Electronic  Age would have come and gone and someone would have already taken their place.  Great minds work together to change the world.
  •  I –  INTUITION – Your intuition should be a clue to what needs to be done.  Don’t disregard that little voice in your voice that tells you to stop or go.  There’s a reason you’re hearing it.
  • NNECESSITY – It’s the mother of invention so they say.  The first man needed something to eat.  He found tools to help him hunt for his food.  His wife needed to cook it, so together they crafted a pot.  The first one probably burned in the fire, but the next guy figured out what would correct that.
  • AAMBITION – Things don’t get created by laying on your back and dreaming about them.  The dreams make you anxious to find answers.  They should be your stimulus to do something about it.  Get on your feet and put your ideas into action.  If you don’t, someone else will figure it out and beat you to the patent or copyright office.
  • TTENACITY – Stick to it.  Don’t give up.  The next experiment, design, text, piece of art, will not get done by itself.  Be persistent in your quest.  If you have a reason or motivation, it will make things happen faster than you can blink an eye.
  • IINSPIRATION – Don’t wait for inspiration to come to you.  You need to inspire yourself to – think, work, think, plan, re-plan, re-think, get excited about what you’re doing – think some more and so on.  If you’re inspired you will inspire others and together you can encourage each other.
  • OOPEN – Don’t think your way is the only way.  Open your mind and heart to suggestions from others.  Imagination is wonderful, because it can be shared with so many, and paid forward in so many ways.
  • NNOTICED – once your creation is complete, you have to find a way to get it in the hands of those who need and want it.  This requires marketing, advertising, selling your product as well as yourself.  If you believe that your work is worthy, you need to make everyone else believe that too.

Imagination is funny, it makes a cloudy day sunny. Makes a bee think of honey just as I think of you. Imagination is crazy, your whole perspective gets hazy. Starts you asking a daisy what to do, what to do. Have you ever felt a gentle touch And then a kiss, and then and then – Find its only your imagination again.  Imagination is silly. You go around willy nilly. For example I go around wanting you, And yet I cant imagine that you want me too
Lyrics from “Imagination is Funny”

 

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MY DAD

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My dad lived through the depression.  He was the father figure in a fatherless home.  He was a hard worker from the get go.  He spent his grown up years working in a factory and tending bar to make ends meet for his family.  He died when he was only 62 years old from a long struggle with lung cancer.  He was a diligent church goer with a wonderful tenor voice.  He made sure his children also went to church and got a Christian education.  He was my hero at times, my champion at others and my example through his life.

Sounds like a great dad.  He was.  Yet he wasn’t a super hero nor a champion.  He often struggled with alcohol over indulgence.  He seemed happiest when he’d had his fill.  He made mistakes – big, serious, mistakes which affected all of us.  He was a sinner, like every man, woman and child on the planet.  Yet, even on his death bed, when he toughed it out through chemotherapy, he knew that his sins were forgiven.  He had not yet forgiven himself for his mistakes.  Isn’t this where we often fall short?  We accept God’s forgiveness, yet we can’t let go of our own guilt.

When dad passed away I’m not sure if he had let go, but God gave me a sign that dad was in heaven.  I’m not one to rely on these things as always being from God, but this one gave me great comfort.  As my sister and I were on our way to Milwaukee from Minneapolis to see our dad for the last time, I noticed a single cloud in the persistently, clear, blue sky.  It looked exactly like a dove ascending into the highest point of heaven.  When we got to the hospital, dad had already died, but we discovered it was almost the same moment that I’d viewed that cloud in the sky.

It’s been a long time since I last saw my dad.  I miss him.  I wish he could’ve seen our children grow into responsible adults with children of their own.  I wish he could’ve seen that his insistence on our going to church would pay off.  I wish I could see him again – and I know I will, because I know I’m going to heaven and I know he’s there too.

 

 

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ONCE OLD, NEW AGAIN

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ART & INSPIRATION FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Even though this weekend promises to be one of the hottest in June, my artist husband, who does much of his art outdoors, will be painting at an artisans market at a renovated farmstead, several miles outside of town.  Yesterday I went out there to see what had been done to this once thriving complex of buildings.

The farm was built in the 1800s with a five bedroom, three story home, a barn and several other interesting structures.  During the years, nine children were raised there.  Many discussions about daily life, problems, struggles and joys undoubtedly took place there.  Imagine a dining room filled with eleven family members at once. Talk about patient parenting.

The house has been renovated to create an event center, retreat, or site of a wedding and reception.  Outside there’s a gazebo, which will hold the bride and groom as they say their vows.  Several out buildings have been converted into gathering places for guests to eat, converse and seek refuge from the hot summer sun.

As I strolled through the grounds,  I got to thinking about how things can be restored into something very usable if they’re solidly made.  The vendors had proof of that in their displays of antique items, crafted into pieces of art; repainted and shabby sheik furniture; signs filled with words of inspiration and so much more.  A little imagination can convert something new out of something many would have considered useless.

Things were made with great care in the old days.  The craftsmanship of yesterday was necessary, because it had to last for a long time.  Today we get tired of things, replace them and dispose of the old.

When we’ve finished with our careers, retire, lose our jobs or have to re-evaluate our life styles, we think twice about getting rid of things.  We hang on to those memories and all that goes with them.  We cling to our belongings, because we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.  Some of us (me) even frequent garage sales in search of things to restore.

Until our death, we all serve a purpose on this planet.  When things aren’t going as we planned – when unexpected expenses arises – when a paycheck is no longer there – when someone needs expensive medical attention – God has a plan.   Our troubles and how we get through them might help someone else realize there’s hope.  Our experiences in the workplace may show another how to succeed.  God’s perfect plan is for us to serve Him and each other. We all have the ability to do that.

The plan may be peppered with hopelessness or depression.  Roadblocks and obstacles crush your joy.  Yet, through those things, we’re being prepared for heaven – a place where we’ll have new bodies, without flaw – peace and contentment always – no pain, no tears, no sadness ever again.  We will be restored to perfection.

 

 

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FATHERHOOD IN THE 21ST CENTURY

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I grew up in when Bill Cosby was launching his career.  I remember listening to his monologues on the hi-fi and watching him on “I Spy.”  He had some amazing insights into what it took to be a parent, even though his past has been called into question.  I prefer not looking at the dark side of anyone.  In his writings and recordings on parenting, he presents it in a lighthearted way, but his words also hold nuggets of truth.

My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own fatherhood, but it didn’t because parenting can only be learned by people who have no children.

There is some wisdom in that statement.  Everyone who hasn’t parented a child, is an expert.  They seem to have all the answers.  The only lessons to be learned are through experience.  It’s like on the job training.  Those who think they have all the answers may need to wait until they’ve had a few of their own children.

No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.

When you’re blessed with more than one child, it becomes part of the job description to step in and let your children know the right way to settle disputes.  The books say to talk to them about their behavior at the time it’s happening, but when one has the other in a headlock, the time for reason flies out the window.

Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained: each generation repeats the mistakes the previous one made.

It’s not easy being a parent.  Today men think nothing about fathering children, but when it’s time to actually doing the job, they run.  Instead of passing down what we’ve learned from our own parenting experience, we need to remain involved in the process.  That means changing diapers, cleaning up messes, laughing with your children, encouraging them, teaching them and being with them.  We all learn from our mistakes, but parenting is one of the greatest arenas for learning – especially by the parents!

One final  quote from Bill:

“Whenever your kids are out of control you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence didn’t extend to His kids.”

God doesn’t make mistakes, but His kids do.  We can’t expect to be experts in all the nuances of parenting.  Every situation is different, each child unique.  All we can do is love them, give them beliefs they can count on, protect and provide for them, and pray that they will turn out OK.

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THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

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“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”    Plato

I may regret writing this post.  I may say something that will be misinterpreted or come off as holier than thou.  I may appear pompous or just plain ignorant, depending on how you think.  The truth is most of us have said something which has hurt another – led them astray – caused them to second guess themselves – cut them like a knife.  Our intentions were not to do any of that, but when we put our words out there, without thinking first, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall.

People in the public eye are often in situations where they feel the need to address something they feel strongly about.  They have a captive audience after all.  The movie stars who use an awards ceremony to state their personal opinions, are a good example of this.  I’m not saying this is exclusive to public figures.  It’s something that’s become a way of life lately.

Our kids slam other kids.  Our teachers, in frustration, might say something that inhibits a child’s growth in a certain area.  Parents are not immune.  Couples argue.  Doctors don’t always use a good bedside manner.  In the heat of a moment, we’ve all been guilty of things we shouldn’t say.  That doesn’t excuse any of it.

Thhe tongue, when not controlled, can become deadly.  Bullying in our schools as well as the work place is on the rise, even though steps have been taken to put a lid on it.  Are we not teaching our children to care about others and their feelings? Are we depending on social media to raise them?  Are we becoming numb as a whole, because everyone else is doing it?  Are we simply becoming unfeeling, uncaring, selfish human beings?

It seems to me that any kind of degeneration in a civilization takes place slowly.  Now we are faced with a problem that’s been growing over decades.  Unfortunately this age of technology feeds it.  As this uncaring nature devolves, it eventually molds us into thinking it’s normal.

I’m sick of people bashing my president.  I’m weary of our nation taking a hit by its own people. I’m disgusted when I see people I admire on the big screen, come out and use every opportunity to speak their piece.   They never stop to think how their influence will affect someone else’s thinking.  I’m also fed up with those who will not accept that our president was duly elected by the people of the United States.  They use social media to voice their hatred and disdain.  The public forum has gotten too big and now our words can go viral in a second.  That is precisely why we need to be more thoughtful in our speech.  We have the right to voice our opinion, but not to use every opportunity to spew hatred.

Not one of us is perfect in this area.  Sometimes we do it with the spoken word, the written word, our influence, our status.  The point is, we all do it.  We speak before we think.  The movie stars, the journalists, the politicians, those in power positions and all the rest of society,  need to put ourselves on the back burner and concentrate on what effect our words are having.

We’ve been blessed with the right to express our opinions, but even then, we need to be careful how we express them.  If our speech is negative, we need to shut up and listen instead.  Maybe we do that anyway.

 

 

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