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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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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 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” Matthew 9:22

Jesus spent the last three years of his young life, performing miracles, captivating audiences and achieving a following. He crossed borders physically as well as socially. His time on earth was limited, but He crammed a lifetime of lessons into it for us. Lessons that would build our faith in Him – turn us back to God – help us recognize our sin – remind us of the openness of God – showing us how much we need someone to take away our sins. As a woman in Jesus’ time, they were not considered on the same level as their counterparts, but Jesus took a special interest in them. He proved, in His short life, that God loves all people and wants them to join Him in heaven someday.

On one occasion, a woman who had been suffering an unknown ailment for twelve years, followed Jesus as her last hope for healing. She’d heard about the miracles He was performing. Her condition wasn’t common. She had seen many doctors, but no one was able to heal her. She spent most of her money on her malady, but to no avail. Because she was considered unclean, she became obsessed with finding someone to help her through it.

There are so many times in life when we simply don’t get answers for certain health issues. Even in this time of medical exploration and discovery, there are certain diseases that are still incurable. There are still conditions that leave us feeling helpless, hopeless and even to the point of obsession over them. There will be times when turning to God is the only answer. It should never be the last resort.

So, here was a woman, considered unclean by those around her. She had been bleeding for all those twelve years. She had come to the end of her rope. She could’ve chosen to end her life – as some people do when they’re desperate – but she heard about Jesus and the miracles He had performed. She acted in complete faith. Pushing her way through a crowd of mostly men and boys, she was moving into dangerous territory. She would be even further ridiculed because of her gender. Even so, she made her way with persistence. She even thought to herself, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” That shows complete trust in someone she didn’t even know – someone who gave her hope – someone who she had confidence in because of what she had heard.

She must have been shoved to the ground by the growing crowd, but she managed to crawl to her Savior’s feet. She touched the hem off His garment. He immediately felt strength draining from Him. He knew her thoughts before she spoke a word. He felt her faith. He could tell she believed Him to be her Messiah, because of what had just occurred. The woman was immediately healed of her infirmity.

This is precisely the kind of faith God wants from us – total reliance on His will – trusting that He can do the impossible -believing that all our troubles, worries, infirmities and even death have been overcome by our Savior, Jesus. His strength is unending. His power immeasurable. He’s just waiting for you to believe in HIm.

Posted in Faith, Lent, perseverence, repentance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Today is “As Young as You Feel” Day, according to the list of wacky holidays. I guess you could say that today I feel like I should’ve died a long time ago. The skies are grey. I have no great plans. I’m highly unmotivated. There are a million things to be done around the house, but I’ve managed to stay clear of those things for five years now. Why should I change?

I discovered recently why I stopped wearing panty hose several years ago. OK, so that’s out of the blue, but it really is interesting. A couple weeks ago, I decided to wear a dress to an event I was attending. I don’t wear a dress often, but I felt I needed a little tucking in here and there, so I purchased a pair of panty hose. It only took me an hour to get them on. The first leg wasn’t too difficult, and I thought it would be a piece of cake, but then came the second leg. I didn’t go into cardiac arrest, but there was a brief moment when I thought I might. I’m sure the sounds radiating from the bathroom may have caused my husband concern, but he has long ago given up trying to figure me out. Eventually the task was done, but I realized I would have to control my bladder for some time before having to go through the same thing all over again.

The whole event gave me pause to think of alternatives. Maybe I could invent something made out of spandex, which would tighten everything from the tips of my toes to the base of my neck. Then it occurred to me that most of the sagging was caused by gravity. Therefore, everything that has fallen down, would then be pushed up and my head just might explode. When we get old, we think about stuff like that. That and how many possible fractures we can avoid by thinking of several tasks to accomplish when we are bending down to get something off the floor.

So, to all my old friends and to those on the cusp of becoming old, remember a day has been specified for you not to act your age. That’s something anyway.

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At this time of year, something weird happens to human hair.  Static electricity slithers its way into our frost laden prairie.  No amount of hair spray or styling products can fully eliminate it.  Hair simply does its own thing.  The same thing is true when you’ve been snuggled up under a nice toasty blanket, put on your slippers and reach for the light switch.  Electrical charges have no problem waking you out of your semi-slumbering state. Electricity indicates power. It fills our homes with light and energy to operate all our various appliances.  Now we’re able to speak a word and an electronic device will set those appliances into motion without our even touching them.  That device requires the same power that makes hair fly and gives us shocks.

Can you imagine what life would be like without electricity?  We’d be using candles to read by – campfires to spin stories at – fire to heat our food and hand washing our clothing down at the creek and stones as a washboard.  Praise God for allowing man to discover this wonderful force and helping him to contain it somewhat. Unfortunately, as with most of man’s discoveries, they’re often abused, thus creating problems within the environment. We may think we’ve lassoed power, but we’ve just moved it from one place to another.

During the creation of the earth, magnetic forces must’ve been flying and electrical impulses pulsating through the air, like a zillion arrows at one time.  At the time of Jesus’ birth, that same power was surging through the skies as angel armies sang His praises.  When He died on the cross, a power so great was able to pierce through the sky and divide the thick curtain in the temple. No more would man be separated from God. When Jesus showed His dominion over death and the devil, His face shone with a radiance that couldn’t be replicated.  At the Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and tongues of fire danced above their heads.  That Spirit would permit them to unleash a force never before felt.

We know God is omnipotent – all powerful.  A portion of His power has been planted within us at our baptism, through the Holy Spirit, but we can never harness the vastness of it.  Only God has the wherewithal to hold it in His hands. Are we shining as beacons for those who need to know about God and His love?  Are we electrified with the message of hope?  Jesus gave that charge – that commission – to His followers, when He told them to go and tell everyone about what had been accomplished through Him.  The stunning message of forgiveness for all and the hope of life eternal is the charge that can reignite our floundering world.

The Holy Ghost bears witness to us of the truth and impresses upon our souls the reality of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, so surely that no earthly power or authority can separate us from that knowledge.”   James E. Faust

Posted in Holy spirit, Lent | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments


“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

Why did God allow this to happen?  How can a loving God cause so much pain to those He loves?  Why do we have to go through this?  Where is God?  These questions pepper our lives with feelings of abandonment, fear, depression and much more. Every day we’re confronted with evil.  There are wars, rumors of wars, destruction, hatred, inhumanity and it seems never to end.  It’s impossible at times, to believe that God is even listening to us.

Our Savior, Jesus, went through every physical, emotional and spiritual trial that we experience.  Yet He never sinned, because He was true God as well as true man.  Think about that.  Our God could’ve simply wiped out the devil at the start, but because of His love for us, He took on flesh and blood and suffered right along with us.  Not only that, His suffering took away every sin from our blackened souls.

The word empathy is derived from the Ancient Greek word empatheia, meaning “physical affection or passion.  The dictionary definition refers to empathy as being able to relate to another’s dilemma, because you have also experienced the same difficulties. From the day of His conception, Jesus knew the human experience first-hand.  He suffered poverty – watched His friends and family struggle through it – endured growing pains, bumps and bruises as a boy.  He knew what it was to be hungry and poor.  He felt the pangs of Satan’s temptation, and yet He never succumbed to its lure by sinning.  He was homeless, hungry, downcast, but never without the presence of His heavenly Father.

It was all part of the plan mapped out by God, in the Garden of Eden.  It was a masterful plan, designed with the greatest love and compassion for those He created in His own image.  He took our place.  He came into the world in a flurry of controversy.  He was cruelly beaten and suffered a horrific death, so we wouldn’t have to.  He paid the ultimate price for our salvation. This is one of the most wonderful mysteries of the Bible.  God loves us beyond measure.  He doesn’t want us to suffer, be anxious, go through Cancer or die.  He wants us to have a perfect life and He’s accomplished that through His Son, Jesus.

We rejected Him.  We were responsible for His death.  We caused His blood to pour out.  We continue to do so when we forget that He has perfect empathy for us, because He lived life and suffered death.  Now we are assured of eternal life.  Just as He overcame death, we will also. The perfect life is waiting for us beyond the grave.

Posted in death, Lent, Salvation, sin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments


I didn’t post yesterday, because we ventured out to church in the morning and then spent the rest of the day on a date together. Usually I post some of Paul’s art on Sundays along with some poetry of mine. So today I plan to talk about the arts and give you two samplings of Paul’s art, to indicate the endless winter we seem to be experiencing here in Minnesota.

My husband spent the majority of his career in the advertising business, but in order to prepare for that he had to take many art history classes along with his regular studies. When he turned 50, the tables turned on advertising and he had to reimagine himself. The loss of his business led him into fine art and he’s been doing that ever since. It’s hard to put a price tag on art. When you consider all the years of study, work and experience one must first go through to become an artist, the pay should be comparable to that of a brain surgeon, but today art isn’t valued in the same way. Today you can buy a copy of anyone’s art for a fraction of its worth. Computer imaging and Photo Shop have given way to a whole new set of rules.

During WWII there was an effort to retrieve all the stolen art the Germans had hidden away. Most of the pieces of art were from the old masters. Much of it was never recovered, but the efforts of this group of soldiers, allowed for many of them to be found and returned to their original owners or put on display in museums for many people to enjoy. This didn’t come at a cost, however. The lives lost far outweighed the value of those paintings and sculptures.

Things should never trump human life. The works would not have survived had they not succeeded in their efforts – but again, lives were of less value than things of this world.

As the wife of an artist, I know the time that goes into creating art. It’s a daily struggle. Even when the body is breaking down, there’s a passion in this medium that drives the artist. As a writer and performer, I can understand that, because I still feel the need to contribute to God’s work through my own art form.

The truth, however, is that what we do here on this planet has no real relevance. When we die, those things will not go with us. They will not be necessary for what happens beyond the grave. They will be part of what we leave behind. Our worldly treasure cannot buy our salvation or eternal life. The perfect life of Jesus, His death and resurrection is the masterpiece that God created to bring that about. He alone is the only fortune worth preserving. It is our greatest heritage.

Posted in art by Paul T. Boecher, death, Inspiration, Salvation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments


According to US Government statistics, the average monetary value of a human life is ten million dollars. If you factor in inflation, you can kick that up another million or two. How do “they” come up with this number? It is an average, but still, how can we even begin to put a dollar sign on human beings? What about the child that lives only a few days after birth? What about the elderly, who live to be over a hundred and require constant care? The fact is, there isn’t a number that really can be placed on our value, but God happens to think we’re worth everything to Him.

We often underestimate our own personal worth.  If we’re able to breathe and move, we have value.  If we wake up each day with a sense of purpose; if we take time to listen; if we lift others up with words of encouragement, we have a reason to be here. Sometimes our own value gets set aside so we can spend more time on family.  We may even become overwhelmed by the everyday mundaneness of life.  We feel unwanted, unimportant, un-noticed and way under-valued.  The kids’ needs come first, the house is a mess, there are dishes in the sink, we haven’t even looked in a mirror.  We put so much energy into everyone else, we forget about our own needs. We have obligations with our job, our church our communities.  We don’t have the time in every day to get it all done.

It’s enough to make you raise your hands in despair – or at least think you are the only one in the whole entire world that feels this way.  Let me fill you in on a little secret.  Every person who has ever walked on the face of the earth has at some time or another dealt with a lack of self-worth. 

There are a couple ways of handling this malady. You can beat yourself up for your failures – little and big.  Soon the little failures become gigantic in your mind and overtake you.  You can go on antidepressants to help you cope.  You can join some kind of group of people like you who are facing the same problems. You can turn to a substitute like drugs or alcohol to numb you into believing you don’t have to prove yourself. You can become a drain on society and your fellow taxpayers. You can give up.  None of those ways is productive.  They may be temporary fixes, but they don’t eliminate the problem.

So, instead of turning to those “things” it’s so much easier to turn to the One who created you. His love for you is incomprehensible.  You will find none other like it. His care for you is beyond your understanding.  His willingness to sacrifice His own Son for your forgiveness and eternal life, is inconceivable. The value He places on us is beyond our wildest imagination.

We are important.  We are not meaningless individuals who are just coping every day.  There is so much more to us than that.   WE ARE GOD’S TREASURED CREATION.  He loves us just the way we are – imperfect, unclean, unworthy, but still loved and forgiven.  He no longer sees our sin.  It has been washed away. In place of that darkest wall, He sees Jesus, who changes everything. He doesn’t want us to wallow in self-pity, so He encourages us to carry on in all circumstances.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV 

Posted in forgiveness, Jesus, Lent, Salvation, SELF ESTEEM | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


I will be undergoing cataract surgery in the next few weeks. My eyes probably are about all that I can claim as Irish. The image attached to this post is not me, but those eyes are so nice and clear and beautiful, I just had to include it in this post. My hearing is also going, but hearing aids will have to wait until I win the lottery. The fact that I can’t hear, might explain why I thought the eye doctor said he was going to remove the Cadillacs from my eyes. Not really true, but it makes for more laughs in one of our next “Jewels of deNial” scripts.

Today we focus on the Irish and their patron saint, Patrick, who not only brought Christianity to the pagan country of Ireland, but he also supposedly got rid of all the snakes in town. I’m not quite sure if the snake part is true, but it makes for interesting reading. Sort of like the Pied Piper ridding the town of all the rats by playing his flute and leading them into a lake where they all drowned. But, I digress again.

A stereotype is defined as an over-simplified or standardized conception of a culture, profession or group.  How often do we categorize people?  For example, everyone knows that cops and donuts go together – right?  The Italian people are all members of the Mafia.  Rednecks have only one tooth and park their used furniture outside next to their pickups.

I happen to be composed of five different nationalities.  I’m Irish, English, German, French and Swedish.  I should therefore be a green beer swilling drunk- with a stiff upper lip – without a sense of humor, stubborn and serious all the time – a rude and arrogant romantic who loves freedom – and a blond socialist who shops at Ikea.

Well, I certainly hope that doesn’t describe me.  It’s funny how we put people into pigeon-holes before we ever get a chance to know them.  I think if were honest with ourselves, we have to admit Christians are also placed into their own special category.  Many people think that if you’re a Christian, your life is perfect – that you have no problems and if you do, it’s because you’ve done something to displease God.   They think you’re a goody two shoes – you’re too conservative – you don’t have any fun.  They think you worry too much about sin – that you are all show and no action and that you believe in fairy tales.

Many of those attitudes are formed because it’s easy to put people of one race, one nationality, one ethnic group, one religion into one category.  We aren’t all the same.  Every human being was created to be unique. God tells us not to judge others.  That job is up to Him.

Dear Lord, help me to keep an open mind in all my experiences today.  Keep me from making judgments about people, their intentions, their thoughts, their motives, without really knowing what’s in their hearts.  You alone are our judge.  Don’t ever let me forget that. Amen!

Posted in America, God, judgment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments


This is a rerun from last year, but the jokes are timeless.

Since I’m about a fifth Irish, I decided to post a few good Irish jokes for this special day.

  • ‘I was going to give him a nasty look, but he already had one.
  • O’Gara was arrested and sent for trial for armed bank robbery.
    After due deliberation, the jury foreman stood up and announced, ‘Not guilty.’
    ‘That’s grand,’ shouted O’Gara, ‘Does that mean I get to keep the money?
  • ‘Hello, Mary, how’s your new false teeth?’ asked Bridget. ‘I’m leaving them out till I get used to them!’ said Mary.
  • An American lawyer inquired, ‘Paddy, why is it that whenever you ask an Irishman a question, he answers with another question?’
    ‘Who told you that?’ asked Paddy.
  • An Irish lass, a customer: ‘Could I be trying on that dress in the window?’
    Shopkeeper: ‘I’d prefer that you use the dressing room.’
  •  Mrs. Feeney shouted from the kitchen, ‘Is that you I hear spittin’ in the vase on the mantel piece?’
    ‘No,’ said himself, ‘but I’m gettin’ closer all the time.’

‘O’Halloran,’ asked the pharmacist, ‘did that mudpack I gave you improve your wife’s appearance?’
‘It did surely,’ replied O’Halloran, ‘but it keeps fallin’ off.’


Posted in holidays, Humor | Tagged | 9 Comments


The sun sprinkles a handful of fairy dust upon clinging icicles. Each one hangs on for dear life hoping that tomorrow the thermometer allows them to dwindle a bit, but in reality each day only adds to their girth. That solar disk will return to full strength and eliminate them altogether. Until that day we accept our circumstances knowing that every season will present itself at just the right time

Icy winds push glistening remnants of the last snowfall across roads and fields. Long spires of stalactites cling to the eaves. The mercury in the thermometer longs to move to the opposite end. Time passes slowly as the skeletal branches of trees have given up the memory of the tender touch of rain and the warm sun only to replace it with thoughts of shriveling up and dying. Thus, it is in the winter of life and yet for those who have not yet given up the battle against the elements, the war wages on. Soon it will be replaced with green pastures, fields of gold and perfect temperatures. What shall we complain about then?

Sparkling facets of frost are scraped from our windshields so we can get a clear view of the road, but do we take time to really inspect the beauty of that frost? The tiny patterns etched into ice by the finger of God Himself are just one example of His majestic power. Each snowflake has its own pattern and becomes a kaleidoscope of intricacy. We hurry through life without often noticing the many gifts given to us through nature. The sun casts a wintry glow upon frozen lakes, the sound of crunching snow crackles beneath our feet. The chill in the air enlivens every nerve in our bodies. All the senses are aroused.

Trying to find the beauty in an endless winter is like looking at your reflection in a mirror and hoping to recapture your youth.. It seems that new life will never surface again. Everything is cold and dead. The green existence of spring seems eternally wrapped in a blanket of white. Somehow we hang on to the hope of a new day when the sun moves closer and embraces those withered limbs and forces life to bud forth again. Spring – will we ever see you again.

When winter’s final grip releases her icy hold on us, it’s such a relief. Our spirits soar, our coats come off, mittens are hidden in the recesses of the closet not to be donned for at least a few months. We breathe in fresh air instead of the stale, musty, dusty stuff that has permeated every inch of our homes. Curtains open, sunlight bathes each room with warmth and comfort. Windows may be cracked an inch or two simply to wash away the smells of the past duration. Memories of blooming gardens seep into our minds. Interesting remnants of the long season pop up everywhere – the snake of a hose that never got rolled up in time for the first snow; the remains of withered weeds and overgrowth of un-mowed grass; the Adirondack chairs which had become another level for snow to build upon. Ah, spring! It sends the senses into hyperventilation and a serious asthma attack.

Posted in aging, inspiration., Winter | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments


In 2020, we were in the beginning throes of a worldwide pandemic. Things have changed since then. We’re more attuned to the necessary alterations to our lifestyles. We still wear masks in certain situations. We’re leery of government yet have become more reliant on them. We’ve separated ourselves because of the necessity of isolation, but we’ve also cut ourselves off from interaction and communication as they once were. Slowly, things are returning to the old normal, but we’ve created some very unusual rabbit holes for ourselves in the meantime.

SOME EXAMPLES: We communicate by text – often only a few words or emojis to express how we feel. We’re lacking face to face contact and are unable to read body language. We opt for online church services, because we’ve found it safer to stay at home, yet we long for fellowship with other believers. We assume the worst when we don’t hear from each other. We fall further and further into an abyss, with very little hope and a great deal of depression. Mental illness is at an all-time high and suicide rates are on the climb. We are suspicious, angry, frustrated, lonely and even frightened at times. The saddest part about all this, is that our younger generation has been relegated to the world of technology and have adopted it as their new normal, when there is a whole world of other things beyond the screen.

In Lewis Carroll’s story of “Alice in Wonderland,” we see an example of how the minds of the young can be easily transformed by the most unusual circumstances. My own personal opinion on the story, is that it is a tale of what it’s like to be an adolescent going through all the changes of puberty, but that’s a whole different post. Carrol had some insight into this dilemma of change. Here are a few quotes from the story.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”

Sometimes we need to be shaken to the core, before we see our need for God. The wonderful thing about that, is that He’s always there to catch us if we fall – to encourage us to go on – to push us and shape us into a new person – to help us work up to our potential – to provide a way for us to overcome death and find eternal life – because He loves us so much. That is the truth we can ALL depend on, even when things around us are collapsing.

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I love musical theatre. One of my favorites is “Les Misérables,” by Victor Hugo. Hugo lived in a time of great turmoil. The French Revolution was in its early development. People were living in poverty while their rulers partied the night away. Hugo’s father was a general in Napolean’s army making it necessary for the family to move often. He witnessed the ravages of war – the politics of it – the drain on society – and the effect it had on the common man. In the 1830s Hugo started to write his major study on social misery and injustice. It wasn’t until 18 years later that his novel reached completion.

The Song, “Who Am I,” came later and centers around a man who has been wrongfully accused, serves a sentence in prison, escapes from his bondage, loses his identity, finds a redeemer, makes a new life and uses it to serve others.  This lovely story isn’t just about revolution, it’s about forgiveness and redemption.  Sounds kind of like the struggles of all our lives, doesn’t it?

I’ve often wondered about my purpose in this life. Who am I? I’ve lived a fairly average life. I’ve experienced things that most folks endure. I married my high school sweetheart. We raised three children. We struggled financially many times. We have three exceptional grandchildren. We experienced wealth for a few years too, but there isn’t much difference. I’m a writer, a poet, a sometimes artist, performer, theatre instructor and fairly healthy. I like to consider myself an encourager, but often find I’m the one who needs encouragement. I was raised as a Christian in a Lutheran church, I never really understood what a relationship with God meant until was older. Sin was often the topic of the sermons I heard as a child, with very little hope for salvation.

So far, my life sounds pretty boring, but that’s a good thing. Since I’m getting close to the end of it, I wonder if there is more I should do before my last breath. Jean Val Jean, the hero of “Les Misérables,” was serving a prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his hungry family. He escaped and made a new life for himself. It was a life devoted to helping others through their adversities. Always, in the back of his mind, he struggled with being found by the officer who pursued him all his life.

We may suffer with some past sins, which come back to haunt us from time to time. We wonder how we can ever be forgiven from those trespasses. For those who trust in God’s plan for their life, we can be assured that our salvation has been paid for in full. Instead of seeing our sins, God, the Father sees only His Son and the cost He paid for our redemption.

Who am I?  I am a redeemed child of the One and only God.  I am guaranteed a place in heaven.  I am a witness to his love for me through His Holy Word.  The world will be an evil place until Christ returns, but we have a new life waiting to begin every day,


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There seems to be an interest in getting a bird’s eye view of other people making foolish mistakes or trying to be something they can’t possibly be. We see it in the weekly reality shows on television – movies- in the entertainment industry – in the news and just about everywhere we go. Somehow it makes some folks feel better about themselves when others fail. If we are to believe that what we see on the tube is reality, it’s easy to understand why we’re in such a mess right now. None of us is in a position to judge others. Only God can determine what is right and wrong. However, we have a legal system in our country that is currently upside down. The laws are often made to protect the offender, rather than the subject of the offense.

Everyone of us is a sinner.  It’s part of our DNA and was passed down from  Adam and Eve.  When they disobeyed God, humanity’s relationship with Him was severed.  He no longer would physically walk with His disobedient children.  There now was a separation that put man and God at opposition.  Still God loves His children and doesn’t want to lose them, so He provided a way for their redemption –  His own blood.

Everyone has a secret we don’t want the world to know.  We fall short of God’s expectations, but He invites us back into His arms when we realize our sins, repent of them and strive to change with His help.

The church has been referred to by some as an elite country club full of hypocrites.  I like to think of it as a hospital for sinners – a cafeteria where the food of life is served – a place to come and get a fresh start. Our hope is built on God’s generous, undeserved forgiveness.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV

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I’m at the age where TIME is running out. I’ve gone through 160 TIME changes in my lifetime. I’ve gotten used to falling back and springing forward. I now have a lot of TIME on my hands, but no TIME to spare. I’m still trying to figure out how to change the TIME on the clock in my car, so I just leave it that way because Daylight Savings TIME is short anyway. Besides, my Check Engine light has been on for three years and it’s still running. Much like me, however, my car is old and both of us are living on borrowed TIME.

When I went to bed last night it was 10 PM, but it was really 11 PM so I was living on the wild side for a while. I woke this morning at 9 AM, but lost an hour and it was really 10 AM. My computer must’ve sprung forward twice, because it’s two hours ahead. It’s TIME for a TIME out. I’m so confused, but that’s nothing new either. Every day is a challenge. It’s also a blessing to be alive and gives me more TIME to share God’s amazing grace with others. There will come a TIME when TIME won’t matter. It will be a TIME when I will no longer shed tears so much of the TIME. There will be no more suffering, no wars, no fear – just TIME in eternity with God.

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”  —C.S. Lewis

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Wallowing in the quietness of God’s beautiful creation,

Breathing in the scent of flowers and freshly mowed grass,

Observing wispy cloud formations, trying to make something of them,

Lost in the peace of the stillness.  Like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole,

Surrounded by the unknown, but enjoying the ride,

Every second an adventure – each thought full yet empty,

A noisy plane soars through its flight path, a pesky mosquito seeks an opening,

The sounds of a lawn mower, a power saw and occasional passing car –

With bass pounding, penetrates the moment, bringing you back,

Back to reality.  The stillness has been shattered, but only temporarily.,

In Gods original Creation, a masterpiece was made from nothing.

No sky, to seas, no divisions of land and water, nothing, yet everything,

When He placed his finger in the mix.

When He perfectly guided the process.

When He brought perfection out of chaos.

God, the Creator, the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

Always was and always will be.

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Winter simply wants to hang on this year. We’re blessed to have help shoveling our way out. It’s not a pretty sight seeing to octogenarians outside in below zero weather, trying to push snow around. In my part of the country, record snowfall and subzero temperatures are the fare for the day – the soup du jour – the endless number of snowflakes continuing somewhere into May. I love the beauty of snow. I love the glistening, diamonds that pop up on top of the freshly fallen white stuff. I enjoy watching flakes dance onto branches and snuggle into dry foliage, but enough is enough, already!

I was so excited last Tuesday, when a few of our local feral cats showed up. I know, most folks look for a furry groundhog to predict the future weather, but I watch the cats instead. I thought this was a sure sign that winter had finally come to an end. These hardy little critters had survived another jump from solstice to equinox. They took advantage of the February sun, to bask upon our Adirondack chairs,. We have renamed them – the CATarondack chairs. In fact we’ve concocted an entire story around those cats – CAT scans, CATamaran chairs, CATapults, etc. But I digress. My heart leapt for joy as I saw them. It was like viewing a glimmer of hope. Most people look for the first blooms of narcissus or tulips. I watch for winterized cats to appear.

Keeping our creative minds as active as possible is a huge necessity when you get old, even though there is very little funny stuff going on during this time of life. We almost have to create our own funny. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. So, I’ll keep my eyes open for those stray felines – get out my seed CATalogue – review the CATegories – check my peripheral vision for critters on the CATwalk – hope I don’t become CATatonic or that no one steals my CATalytic converter, especially because I now have CATaracts to worry aboutl.

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The snow is slowly melting now, soon green will take its place,

Long nights of winter darkness pass, soon sun will kiss our face,

Warm caress of springtime sunshine, drops of rain shall fall,

Dreams of golden days of summer, will surround us all,

Today becomes tomorrow, tomorrow slips right by,

Soon comes the end of living life, and like all things we die,

But Christ gives us the sweet promise to meet us at that bend,

To be with us forever, where life will never end.

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I’d driven that same road several times during the week. Funny how you get in the habit of going somewhere and never really stopping to notice the things around you. There was one thing I did manage to see almost every day. There was a rather ragged man, with hair tossed about, riding a broken down, rickety old bike. He was accompanied by a strong, healthy looking Golden Retriever. The dog was leashed to the bike and the two seemed like old friends as they traveled the path into town. The weather never seemed an obstacle to either of them. Even on snowy days, I recall seeing the two of them, cutting through the white flakes on a quest of sorts.

In the summer months, there was a particular park bench where they stopped to rest. The man would unwrap his lunch and share it with his companion. The dog waited patiently for his portion.  His mouth began to salivate.  It was as if he could taste that sandwich before he even got some in his mouth. They were like two peas in a pod – always together – friends forever. There were days when the man walked the dog unleashed.  The pup would never go far from his master, except when the man threw a stick out ahead of him and his pal scurried to retrieve it and return it to his master’s side.  The scruffy looking fellow would pat him on the head and throw the stick again.

One day, I decided to park my car and get a closer look. There was no way of my knowing that the man was blind.  as I watched them interact, I soon figured it out.

The dog had shared his own eyes with those of his master. He’d carefully lead him where he needed to go, and the man would reward him with love and compassion. The man relied on the dog for guidance.  The dog trusted his master for love and friendship. All he asked was a little sustenance once in a while.

If I had let that whole story go unnoticed, I would’ve missed out on the treasure within.  We all need someone to rely on.  These two depended on each other and had a strong bond. We can depend on someone to help us when things are going bad, or we need a friend or confidante.  We have a straight line of communication to that One.  He invites us to be His own, because He loves us with an unconditional love.  Dogs seem to possess that same kind of love.  They’re forgiving, faithful, forget past mistakes, love us and bring us joy.  God loves us even more.  He never wanted man to be unhappy, anxious, lonely or desperate.

“Certain periods in history suddenly lift humanity to an observation point where a clear light falls upon a world previously dark. ”  Anne Sullivan

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I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s – when you were either a square, cool, a greaser or a beatnik. I’m sure every generation has their own labels, but to be a beatnik in the 50’s might’ve been akin to a pothead today. I never actually fit into that lifestyle, so I guess you could call me a square. Today, I’m an old lady of 80 and still kicking, so I’m blessed to be called “alive.” This thing which I love to do has begun to consume me.  As time swiftly flies beyond me – as my days grow shorter – as the need to make money is constantly on the brain – I come to the conclusion that I’m simply chasing the wind.  Still, I feel it’s something I must do.

I began writing stories when I was seven.  It was one of those things that came from loving to read.  The desire to weave intricate, beautiful words together and stitch them into my own stories carved out a lifelong passion. My dreams of being a writer included a French beret, lots of espresso, a dark, smokey coffee shop where kids would hang out and read their poetry. When I became an “adult,” reality hit home.  There were bills to pay, a family to raise, responsibilities.  The crunch of life got in the way of those moments of quiet contemplation.  No more the beatnik in black. Now a wife, a mother, the spitting image of my parents.  It was time to face reality and grow up.

Now I’m in my golden years.  Who ever thought of that term anyway?  There’s really nothing golden about them unless you’re independently wealthy or you’ve won the lottery.  Somehow the golden years have turned into tarnished brass.  We still have to make a living to survive.  Before we die, we must figure out a way to live. The starving artist comes to mind. It took Margaret Mitchell 10 years to complete “Gone With the Wind.”  It was the only book she ever wrote.  She received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and she died at the age of 49. Imagine what she might have accomplished had she lived to be my age. She wrote about what she knew and drew upon her own life in the South to tell this ageless story of perseverance and determination. I have tried to write the great American novel but have been told by some that I should really take some writing classes first. Oh well, maybe I should’ve become a beatnik.

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Surrendering to God’s will is not easy. We can think of a thousand different reasons why we should follow our own heart, think it through and make our own decisions. Do we underestimate God so much, that we think we’re smarter than He or that we have brains given to us by Him which will calculate the path we should walk? God indeed is beyond our human intelligence. His plans were set in motion before we ever came to be. Like a great composer, He wrote all the beautiful chords, made harmony out of chaos, filled the music with energy, inspiration and love. He even knew that man would fall away from Him, before Adam and Eve ever disobeyed Him. He could hear all the dissonance of wrong notes through many emotional ups and downs. He created those to sharpen our focus and help us concentrate on the song.

So, what exactly is God’s will and how do we follow it? When we take our situations directly to Him in prayer, we have some insight into what He has planned for us. When we study His Word, the Bible, we see how He has inspired many examples of humanity into those pages. If our prayers don’t get answered immediately, God may be putting a plan into action to make it possible. If the response from Him is a definite “NO,” it will soon become apparent to us that it wasn’t the right choice for us in the first place. We may have to wait. We may not understand why. We most definitely aren’t responsible for the outcome, but we will have peace with God’s choice for us.

Let the Creator of the Universe fill you in on His plan for you. Let Him show you how you can be a part of the work that needs to be done here on earth. Allow His power to make all things possible, to lead you with His right hand, into the life He has already composed for you.

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Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”  Psalm 9:10

Many of you know my husband is an artist.  He went to school at the Chicago Art Institute so that he could pursue a career in this his chosen profession.  He could have followed in his father’s footsteps and become a funeral director, but his passion for art was prompted by a desire to share his art with others. His parents didn’t discourage him.

If we find that we’re called to doing something outside of the box, or not expected of us, it can lead to great success, possible failure, starting over or giving up. It doesn’t make sense to the logical mind that our weaknesses can be used as an opportunity.  Those feelings of weakness hold no value . . . or do they?  We like the idea of success.  Failure isn’t an option in our world, but we do fail.   If we were all the best at everything, there wouldn’t be any motivation to take the next step, would there?  Goals are great, but too often we set them beyond our reach, making them destined to bomb.  Were in fact setting ourselves up for failure. We really need someone we can rely on to help us with tough decisions. Where do we go? Who do we trust?

My husband’s career didn’t take off right away.  He worked as an apprentice, did things that seemed mundane and lacking creativity, but work he did.  Eventually the hard work paid off and he opened his own business.  It grew and thrived.  At the age of 50, however, our world came crashing down because of the economy.   The doors had to be shut and we were left with nothing – no income, no savings – just the few pieces of change in our pockets when we left bankruptcy court.  Our home went into foreclosure and the only jobs which would suit our experience, we were over-qualified for. This could’ve been a time of great depression for us – and it was.

At our lowest point, Paul took up his chisels and began creating magnificent pieces of sculpture.  Those sculptures found homes in places of business and luxurious cabins and homes.  My 13 years volunteering as drama director at our children’s high school led me to a business of my own.  When it seems that all is lost, God always opens the doors to new opportunities for those who place their trust in Him. When you’re going through great difficulty, it’s hard to see any good in it.  It’s tough to understand there are lessons to be learned, but when you look back at these temporary setbacks, you’ll be able to see God ‘s hand in all of it.  He had a plan that was better than yours.  He never left you.  In fact there were times when he carried you.

He uses even our tough times to strengthen us when we trust that He knows what’s best.  Out of difficulty, we found hope.  We realized that success doesn’t come from what we do, but from the Creator of all things.  Trust requires submission.  Letting go and letting God do His work is a necessary component.  Trust also requires us to not give up, but to continue searching, look for opportunities and work at jobs or career paths that you never thought you would.  Trust enables us to surrender everything to the King of Creation.

I call that real success!

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