BIG GIRLS DO CRY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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WISDOM

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

Dear, Lord,

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

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ABANDONED

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

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

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

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

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WHY GO TO CHURCH?

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The number of excuses for not attending church is unending:

Everyone acts one way in the church and another every other day of the week.
I’ve got a meal to prepare.
I don’t have time.
Church makes me feel uncomfortable about myself.
I don’t like all the formality of worship.
I can worship anywhere.

Add these –

I study my Bible every day.
I don’t need to make an outward show of my beliefs on Sunday.
I have accepted Jesus, I don’t have to do anything else.
I live a good life.
I don’t need to hear how bad I am.
The ones who really need to be there are those who don’t believe in God.

When we try to come up with reasons why we should be there, it’s more difficult. Start with these –

I want to thank God for getting me through another week.
I want to praise Him for helping me through difficult times.
I want to be with others who believe what I do so we can encourage each other.
My life is packed with so many things to do, I should be able to give my God at least an hour of my time. ‘

When we turn things back to God, rather than ourselves, it’s easy to see why we should be in His house.  He loved us so much that He gave His Son to carry the sting of death we should have endured. The least we can do is give Him one day. Praise Him, thank Him, ask for His blessings on your week, share your love for your fellow believers, encourage each other, lift others in prayer – WORSHIP!

“Come to me you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

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WALLY’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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SOMEDAY THESE WILL BE THE GOOD OLD DAYS

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I remember hearing stories about the good old days when I was a child. My grandmother would talk about riding a horse and buggy to town every Sunday for church and spending the rest of the day with relatives.

There were no telephones, no washing machines, dishwashers, televisions or modern conveniences, but there were still good times. Now, as a grandmother myself, I look back at the days of my youth as the good old days.

My family didn’t own a car until I was 17. We went everywhere on the street car or we walked. Family was still important, even though we didn’t see them every week. There were enormous family reunions at least once a year and I spent most of my summers with my grandparents on their farm. We listened to the radio until I was ten, when we acquired our first TV; a huge console model with an 8” screen (slight exaggeration.)

We had a phone with a party line and found it fun to listen in on others’ conversations. We played in the dirt and didn’t use hand sanitizer. We drank out of the same drinking glass. We never wore seat belts. We saved our money until we had enough to buy something we really wanted. Women were treated with respect – not as competitors. We made our own toys out of old cardboard boxes. We hung sheets up in the backyard and put on plays for the neighbors as entertainment instead of playing games on a little box. I know there are a lot of things to be thankful for in this modern age, but there will never be anything like the “good old days.”

Someday our children will be telling their kids about their own good old days.  I pray that they’re busy making good memories to share with the future generations  We can learn much from our past.

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EVERY HILL WILL LAY LOW

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

 

The trees stood tall at the gate,

Once serving as sentries to guard the city,

Today they were used for another purpose,

They were needed by God,

To hold three prisoners being executed by the government,

Each of those crucified served a purpose in God’s plan of redemption,
Two of the victims were guilty,

The One between them was guiltless, yet He had to die,

It was His purpose for living,

One of the criminals came to realize,

That this truly was the sinless Son of God,

The other chose to mock and scorn,

As did those who chose not to believe,

He came for every single person on this planet,

The trees no longer stand,

They have served their purpose,

Just as our precious Lamb of God,

Come to seek and to save that which was lost,

Including me.

 

 

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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Bet you can’t tell who it is.

 

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TRUST IN GOD’S PLAN

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Being strong isn’t always about the amount of weight you can lift or the size of your biceps.  Strength can be determined by your dedication to a project – your ability to encourage another person – your willingness to tackle the problems of life.  Courage is much like strength, but it relies more on faith and trust that our plans aren’t in our own abilities.

When we’re placed in circumstances that seem impossible, we need both of those traits.  When we face insurmountable obstacles – when relationships break up – when we lose someone close to us – when disease overtakes, there is only one thing we can truly depend on and that’s the knowledge that our lives have already been mapped out by God Himself.

When we need the courage to take a stand for our country – against the lies and hate which disrupt our journey – when no one else is willing – when only a majority has a voice – someone needs to take a stand.  When values and morals are being challenged – when churches preach only a feel good philosophy along with prosperity preaching – when children are being sold into sexual slavery, who do we turn to for the courage to fight against those things?  Would I be capable of taking a stand? Would I be willing to risk my life to save someone else?

It seems so difficult a concept, especially when we’re daily bombarded with words that tell us to put ourselves first. We’re taught from little on that we should be confident in ourselves .

When David gave his son, Solomon instructions on how to build the temple, the task must have seemed impossible. It was designed to serve as God’s house of worship for His chosen people. David told Solomon to follow God’s plan which held certain specifications, measurements, types of building materials and ornamentation.

I Chronicles 28:20 “Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”

When God determined to send a flood to cover the entire planet, He gave Noah a very specific blueprint for an ark to house two of each kind of living creatures and his own family.  The people thought he was crazy.  Noah and his family were ridiculed, but they pressed on to do God’s will.

When we place God first, trust in His wisdom and have faith that He will carry us, we’re not guaranteeing a life of ease.  We’ll be laughed at for our beliefs.  We’ll struggle through adversity in life.  We’ll face danger and death, but we know that God is in control of every aspect of our living and our dying.

His Word is filled with encouragement to be strong and courageous.  That encouragement is only possible with God at the head of our lives.

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GIANT TOASTED MARSHMALLO FIELD

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

The words are in the art.

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THIS TOO SHALL PASS

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OK, so I have two kidney stones.  I’m not sure why these nuggets keep forming within me. I may be able to use them somewhere in my garden, but unfortunately these are the kind that need to be blasted, so they can go be crushed in tiny particles rather than giant rocks.

I keep wondering what is it inside of me that has the proclivity to make these little buggers.  How do they continue to come back?  It took five years for these two to show up, so I had a bit of a reprieve.  I understand that diet has something to do with it.  I may also have a metabolic problem.  Add another malady to the list.

I don’t like to talk about my health, but I’ve been spending a lot time with an assortment of doctors lately.  A couple of months ago bursitis in my hip appeared.  After that, X-rays indicated that my knees are great for someone my age.  An orthopedic doctor shot some cortisone into my aching knee with no real results.  I got a brace to keep me balanced.  Then off to the urologist after a CAT scan revealed two stones in my right kidney.  Within this entire time, my allergies flared and the usual aches and pains took a vacation. This all within two months.  I’m scheduled for surgery in mid November.

Now that you’ve heard my life history for the past few months, remember this.  Never ask someone how they’re feeling unless you have a couple days to listen, and have an adult beverage in your hand.

Actually, I’m learning a lot about myself in this whole process.  The hitch in my get along has turned me into my mother.  I’m getting old.  I’m feeling the results of carrying three children within me.  I realize that holding them on my hip as infants and toddlers, also had a bearing on my back which has three compressed disks.

Years of breaking through clay soil to build a garden of beauty, not only caused sweat, blood and tears, but aches and pains – on my knees scrubbing floors – sanding wood floors – painting walls –  raking, shoveling – and running a business, have taken a toll on this old woman.

However, I will not let those physical things get in the way of keeping myself busy and using my mind (or losing it.)  The aging game is overrated.  Retirement is supposed to fill our lives with new adventures, but fixed incomes are a joke so we continue to work.  See the excitement you have waiting for you as you journey into the Golden Years?

I’m one of the lucky ones.  All of my health issues are minor compared to most of those my age.  I have the knees of a younger woman, my arteries are clear as a bell so I thank and praise God for keeping me here for a while.  Obviously He isn’t ready for me to go to heaven yet.  I might stir things up too much.

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THE SIMPLE THINGS

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October brings thoughts of Apple Cider simmering on the stove – the scent of cinnamon permeates the entire house. Pumpkins have been carved and set on doorsteps. Straw scarecrows stand as guards at the door. Farmers are looking forward to some time off from their hard labor as fields have been stripped and the bounty has been stored or sent off to market.

We’re in the month of transition where leaves turn gold, crimson and rust.  Where a few flowers are still showing off and exhibiting their last hurrah.  Where children look forward to the scary things that act as reminders of superstition, witches and goblins.  Soon they will don costumes and gather candy and treats as the poor did so  many year ago.  The air is turning crisp.  Skies are a brilliant blue, when the clouds don’t hid it.  Apples are being harvested as bales of hay are placed within the fields that they came from.

Thoughts of Thanksgiving sneak into our brains along with the beauty of a formally set dinner table complete with many delicious things to add to our girth.  We all know what comes after November so we take advantage of this month to plump up and get ready for the long hibernation ahead. The squirrels are amassing nuts hidden in various places.  I hope they will find them when the snow flies.

God provides us a bounty each and every day. Some days we may feel there is nothing to be grateful for. We may think that God has passed us by when it comes to fruits of His Spirit. We may feel we don’t know how we can be used to serve Him. He does have a purpose for each one of us.

Galatians 5:23-23 “The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

These attributes have positive connotations. What a bounty we receive from the King of Creation. Let’s use those things to prepare ourselves for the winter storms of life and the spring of our new life in eternity.

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SEEDS OF GOLD

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ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

As rain fills the sky and large droplets invade the dark spaces of the earth,

As moistures is sucked into waiting soil and refreshes as it brings life,

As dreams of new growth and bright, colorful flowers, dancing in the wind,

As birds search for sustenance with the deepest crevices,

A tiny seed lies waiting,

For just the right moment,

For just the right time,

When sun drops fill the air and give birth to living things,

When sun drops revive, restore and rebuild,

The Son has risen indeed!

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MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT

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When I teach acting students, I refer to them as  instruments.  We all possess the skills to accomplish things we never thought possible. An actor requires many tools to do their craft.  First and foremost is the brain.  We must be able to assimilate our character, memorize lines, stay focused, solve problems and create a believable person from the written page.

We also use our senses to stir a memory which enhances the character.  Our voices  tell the story.  Use of dialect or annunciation, diction and projection all come into play.  The rest of the body is also part of our instrument.  How the character moves – what they wear – the time period in which they live – their age all have a bearing on creating an actual person.

Not all of us are actors, but I think this lesson is applicable to each of us.  God made each of us uniquely individual.  There are no two people in the world who have precisely the same DNA.  We are all subject to our environment, to those we interact with, how we live and what we believe.

We’re not merely actors on a stage, but breathing, thinking, human beings with minds of our own.  God gave us the freedom to be who we choose to be.  Each one of us has a purpose in the plan He laid out for us.  He will often use some of the most ordinary people to do His will.

Moses was a poor Israelite baby, set in the water of the Nile by his sister to protect him from death.  He was adopted by a princess – learned the art of war – became a scholar, a prince and a murderer.  He fled to the desert to escape and God used Moses to deliver an entire race from bondage.

David was a young shepherd boy when he was anointed the next King.  He went on to kill a lion, faced danger every day to protect his sheep, slew a giant and became a great warrior.  He also was a human being with worldly desires.  He desired Bathsheba, took her as his own, had her husband killed and fathered her child.  When the child died, he confessed his sin and repented.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was just a young woman when she was told by an angel that she would bear a son.  The child would be the Son of God. In faith, she followed God’s plan for her life.  She would go through a normal pregnancy, deliver a normal little boy, watch him grow into a normal man, but He was anything but normal.  Even though she had no voice in the matter, Mary followed God’s lead in faith, as she watched her Son suffer on the cross for the sins of the entire world and witnessed His resurrection and ascension into heaven.

You may think that you don’t have the skills to talk to others about what you believe. Maybe you don’t feel smart enough, rich enough or talented enough to be an instrument for God’s kingdom.  The truth is we are all part of a great plan, which God instituted at the beginning.  He knows what we’re capable of more than we do and He will help us realize our potential.  Thank Him for His presence in your life and trust that He will use you as His instrument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DOORS

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

This is a set piece which Paul created for “Alice in Wonderland.

We pass each day and come to doors which seem so hard to open,

We fight our battles, win our wars, but have no one to hope in,

The doors are obstacles in life, they fall into our journey,

They bring success or knock us down, resulting in our turning,

We push ahead with confidence, and never walk alone,

When our God is walking with us, we will never be overthrown,

Doors can block when the latch is locked, our travels seem to bind us,

We walk through danger hoping that the enemy won’t find us,

The toughest door we run into, will be our own front door,

When we trust in Him to guide us we will live forevermore.

 

 

 

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THE GREATEST THING . . .

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“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is  love.” ICorinthians 13:13 

I don’t know where the members of the Beatles heads were.  I’d venture to say their music will remain for centuries.  The lyrics too, hang on for years.  In their song, “All You Need Is Love,” I can’t help but think of the words of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the Corinthian Christians.  He spoke of the three things needful being faith, hope and love.  He was talking about the love of God and how it will withstand all this in this world and in the next.  The Beatles were talking about a different kind of love, but the lyrics of this song almost mirror Paul’s words.

“Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy
There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love”

Our world is filled with hate.  We see it everywhere. Young children are exposed to hatred when they start school and the class bully begins to destroy them.  Hatred can be seen in city streets as teens go in search of a sense of belonging by joining a gang.  They need a family so desperately, they are easy bait for those who will turn them into  outlaws.  Hatred seeps into the workplace, where the climb to the top drives otherwise normal people into sharks.  As we grow older, the aging process turns us into angry people who think the world owes them something.  Our politicians, no matter what their party, are known to stir up hatred among the masses.  Hate is like a malignancy which starts small and finally overtakes those who feel it.

Hate is the opposite of love.  Love is patient and kind.  It is humble and caring.  It is a word we need to revive and start putting back into action.  It requires more work than hate, because we don’t always have the patience or kindness to turn the other cheek.  If we believe we’re right, it’s tough to accept another’s opinion.  Love is measured in how we treat people – how we turn out thoughts from ourselves and become servants, caretakers, intermediaries, self-sacrificing and those who want the best for those they’re closely tied to, as well as strangers.

God’s love is unimaginable.  We cannot begin to conceive how much He loves each inhabitant of the earth – even those who have no use for Him. He loved everyone so much that He gave the supreme sacrifice to cleanse us from our sin and guilt.  No one can comprehend the pain He went through to save us.  His love is unconditional with no strings attached.  The only requirement is that we believe in Him and turn our lives around.  “Go and sin no more,” Jesus said.

When I go to heaven, I will no longer need faith.  I will no longer need hope. Those things will be swallowed up in death.  All I need is love.  God is love and is all I will ever need.

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HUMILITY

There’s an old country song that says, “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.” I guess that kind of sums up pride. When we look at ourselves as better than someone else; when we feel there is no room for improvement; when we are first to judge another; when we feel we have no sin; we are setting ourselves up for a great fall.

It’s easy to see a lot of that during an election year. Each of the candidates is blowing their own horn in order to get our vote. It is no longer a show of self confidence, but a fight to the finish which often turns violent and ugly.

At times, the noise is deafening and hard to listen to.

Proverbs 27:2 “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”

Our actions can often speak louder than words, and yet even they are nothing in comparison to the love of God. Making the right decision in an election year should be based on facts, not on who has the most pizazz. There is more than a year ahead, which will be filled with words that sting, slander and hate. We have an obligation to do our research before going to the polls. May God continue to be in charge of our lives no matter what the outcome.

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NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH

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Why is there so much bullying? It seems to permeate every area of our society. It comes at you out of nowhere. It grabs your emotions and cuts deeper than a knife. Words like “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” seem absurd. Of course words hurt. They can be more deadly than any weapon.

What others think of us is highly important to most of us. A good name, a good work ethic an unsullied reputation are essential to our acceptance.

We need to get back to the basics of teaching our children that they are not only special to us, but that we love them and want them to succeed. We also need to let them know that Jesus loves them so much that he gave his life for them. In the process of teaching them that they are loved, we need to teach them that there are going to confrontations in life. We will be encountered with accusations, hatred, insecurity of others, unleashed with anger and all out meanness.

We see evidence of bullying in every area of life. The examples our children see on the news, on the streets, in the classroom, in our politics, in our churches, and everywhere they go will stick with them. These tender little shoots are growing up in a world of anger, concern for self alone and millions of reasons for people to fly off the handle. Those things must be harnessed and it begins at home.

We also need to help our kids recognize that those who bully are seeking attention. They are trying to look strong to their peers when they are really weak in their own eyes. Unfortunately, with the advent of the internet, social media, texting, etc. our young people are exposed to the world with all her flaws.

There once was a man who endured the most extreme physical and verbal abuse. His body was whipped beyond the severe limit of forty lashes. The beating caused not only extreme pain, but a tremendous loss of blood. Insects fed on his wounds. He was ridiculed, spat upon, dehydrated, bruised and constant taunting by his accusers.
His hands and feet were pinned to the cross with iron spikes. His head bore a crown of thorns which pierced his innocent head. His hair was filled with spit, sweat and blood.  He was completely devoid of God’s presence as he carried the sins of the world to his death.

What he did for us is unimaginable. When we begin to feel like we aren’t important, all we have to do is look at Jesus to see what he was willing to do because of his love for us. We don’t deserve this gift, but he gave it freely.

To those who hurt us with words and deeds, we need only try to understand and forgive them. The Golden Rule has been long erased from our vocabulary. We may have differences of opinions. We may have unusual situations at work, home or free time. We may have neve known the love of God. Still His love comes with no strings attached. It is totally unconditional.

We are in the month of October, a time to recognize bullying for what it is and how to overcome it. It will only be repaired through love and there is no greater purveyor of love than Jesus, Christ, our Lord.

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SATURDAY SPOOKY SILLINESS

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AUTUMN LEAVES

Yesterday as I drove to have a CatScan to see if I had kidney stones, I took the scenic route.  The Victory Memorial Parkway was alive with brilliant color even though the skies were sunless and a few drizzles of rain covered my windshield.  I snapped a few pictures along the way (I wasn’t driving at the time) and found some color right in my own backyard.  I absolutely love autumn.

The crimson reds are making their appearance this week.  The sun is trying to break through the incessant clouds and snow is in the forecast.  Still the thought of white stuff in October doesn’t discourage.  We know there will be a few more days ahead to enjoy the crisp fresh air of autumn.  The smells of fresh baked apple pie and pumpkin spice are delicious.  Thoughts of sitting around a bonfire and making that final batch of S’Mores tantalizes the taste buds.  Wearing flannel shirts and jackets for the first time in a while is a refreshing change.

Pumpkins are artisticall carved and sit on tables outside.  Big inflatable images of the Munsters, The Addams Family and other spooks and goblins are enriched by orange yard lights.  We’re getting closer to winter, but we refuse to think about that now.

I feel very blessed to live in a place that displays the beauty of the seasons.  There are times when I wonder why I live in such a cold climate, except when the artistry of God is running amok with color.

The CatScan revealed two stones.  Instead of rocks in my head, I produce rocks in my kidneys.  This isn’t my first rodeo with these pesky little globs of calcium.  When they’re in there, I have learned to listen to my body.  I know this is a treatable problem and thank God for preserving me for a few more years.  I also thank Him for the beautiful drive in spite of the raindrops.

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WALLY’S FRIDAY FRYDADDY FUNNY

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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Makes me think of “Braveheart” somehow.

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