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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REFURBISHING

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Today is my last day of being 76.  Thus you will notice a variety of posts on restoration, rebranding, renovation, rebuilding and many more redos.  When you’ve lived this long, you feel it’s time for a make-over.  The thousand mile checkups and replacement parts are getting more and more intense as time marches on.  So this week I’m talking about the aging process and all the humor involved in becoming old.  Actually it’s nothing to laugh about.

The image above kind of describes my life right now.  Everything is in need of repair.  We do have an indoor bathroom, but it’s time for an extra large toilet seat.  Also, as indicated in the cartoon, everything is now in a state of sag.  Things that used to be in certain places are now much lower and indefinable.  You lose inches from your height and add them to your girth.  Your face resembles a road map with lines and squiggles all over the place.  Your memory returns to your youth, but you can’t remember why you went from one room to another.  The once soft and pliable skin resembles an old leather shoe yet it’s fragile enough to bleed or bruise instantly.

When our homes start to show wear, we refurbish them with paint and add something new to dress them up.  When we get old, everything we try to do to improve our health, our looks, our outlook, our daily living seems to be just a cover up for what’s really going on within.

We could stay within our dwellings and ponder our demise – we could feel sorry for ourselves – we could feel lost, deserted, lonely and useless.  We could do those things or we could lift ourselves up by the bootstraps and live with it.  Or we could rejoice that we’ve been given all these years to share God’s love with others.

When Job suffered the loss of all his material wealth, the lives of his children and became diseased ad ready to die, the advice of his friends wasn’t of much help to him.  The only comfort came from the actual voice of God, who demonstrated His power through His words.  As I grow older, I will never completely understand that power – that majesty – that wisdom, but I have been endowed with His voice, which comes through His own words written in the Bible.

As another year goes by, I’ve attended a lot of funerals, but not all of them were old folks.  I’ve seen a change in the way people accomplish things, how they communicate, how they solve problems and how they live.  I’ve witnessed a turning away from God in our society and more focus on self.  Maybe it’s because of my age that these things bother me, but I truly believe that we need to turn back to our Creator for wisdom and knowledge.

I do have the assurance that my life here on earth has value no matter how long I live. I know that He has mapped it all out for me.  I also know that when I die, life will go on.  At that point, all the wrinkles will disappear – the aching muscles will grow stronger – the tears will stop and it won’t matter what I look like.  I’m  going to be a child of God eternally.

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REBRANDING

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This familiar piece of art is one of my favorites, because it shows how something old can become useful when someone has the vision and the wherewithal.  It’s also an inspiring reminder that  when our time on earth is ebbing to a close, there is no reason to despair.  God will be with us until the end and beyond.  While we are still breathing here on earth, we have opportunities to live life to the fullest through Him.

There will be days when you feel completely broken down –

Physically, emotionally, spiritually,

When every ounce of strength has been sapped,

When it seems you can no longer go on,

When life kicks and punches you,

When there seems no hope for tomorrow,

Where do you turn for restoration?

Where do you go when your will has been crushed?

Where will you find relief?

When your lying on your back in complete submission,

The only place to look – is up,

Turn to your Creator,

The God of the universe,

Your Savior, Redeemer and Comforter,

He can mend broken bodies,

He can lift your spirit beyond expectation,

He gives you new life, new strength,

With Him, you will soar with the eagles.

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EXCESS BAGGAGE

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“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” John Muir

We moved into our new “old” house almost three years ago.  At that time we had to downsize everything, because the house is half the size of the one we left behind.  Since both my husband and I had a huge collection of stuff, that meant letting go of a lot of things that were dear to us.  Since that move, we’ve been struggling to unpack all the things that managed to get stored in our one car garage and shed.

Some things we simply could not part with.  We’ve come up with a way to reuse some of the excess baggage which will never make it into the house. Instead we’ve begun to use some of those things in our outside area.  We have a large lot, so we’re filling the space with interesting recycled furniture, newly created sculptures out of odds and ends and things that we’ll never use again.

Being married to an artist has a lot of advantages, because this man of mine has the vision to see things and how they can be used to become part of the environment.  For a couple years we have had piles of unused wood stacked in various locations in our yard.  At one time it looked like a giant Jenga game.  He is now making use of those pieces as part of the landscaping.  Many will get sculpted, some won’t, but they’re being used instead of being piled into a heap.

We’ve created several little sitting areas, which each has its own personality.  Secret gardens and places to sit, also allow us to work and relax in those areas, because we can take little breaks as we work.

Eventually, our yard may become a showplace or an eyesore, depending on your point of view, but in the meantime we’re putting our excess baggage to use in new ways and we might even be able to get a car into our garage.

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MEMORIES OF SUMMERS PAST

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I hear there’s such a thing as a “stay-cation,” which allows you to sleep in your own home while visiting local sites of interest.  That sounds like a good plan to me.  We do have a lot of interesting things to see right here in Minnesota, like flour mills, fur trading camps, lakes and rivers galore and the Mall of America.  Somehow  those places don’t hold the allure they once did.  In fact, our vacations always included some adventurous place which would take us as far away from home as possible without breaking the bank.

When you get into your golden years, a vacation sounds more like work, so we opt for watching the travel channel for our journeys.  I can’t help recalling some of the family trips we took when our children were growing up.  There was their first camping excursion with our first two kids.  The tent was set up.  We roasted marshmallows on the open fire, hiked, looked for signs of wild animals and explored the beauty of nature.  When it was time to go to sleep the kids were so tired their eyes closed instantly. In the meantime, we enjoyed the fire for a little longer and then went off to our sleeping bags.

It might be important to note that I am a city girl.  I’d never gone camping before.  My husband, on the other hand, is a great adventurer and even though he was brought up in the city, he knew everything about the outdoors.  It wasn’t long before rain began to fall gently upon our little tent.  Within seconds torrents ripped through the campsite and the wind had fiercely tossed our tent about – with us in it.

My husband immediately outside the tent trying to secure it to a tree so we wouldn’t be gone with the wind. Did I mention he was clothed only in his underwear.  I stayed inside and tried to help keep the tent upright by pushing on the walls.  Not a good idea.  Water began to drip down my arms and into my armpits. This was not the first or last time, but my life passed quickly before my eyes as I pictured myself and my family being swept into oblivion.  An abundance of prayers were said by both of us as the storm raged around us.

The children slept through the entire event. We, on the other hand were soaking wet and completely exhausted.  The next day as we spent the morning at the Laundromat drying our clothes and sleeping bags, we heard that a tornado had touched down in our campground the night before.  And there we were in the midst of it.

Since that vacation, I much prefer staying at a Holiday Inn, but it did prove one thing to me. If my kids could sleep through a tornado in a tent under the stars, they were ready for anything.  It also showed me that God was there to protect us even in the storm.  It wouldn’t be the last time or the last storm.

  “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”                   \ Psalm 107:28-31

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VACATION TIME

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The city life has strangled you, in every single way,

You pack the car, the wife and kids and make your getaway.

You fight the traffic and the heat, you long for the serene.

You need a place to hide away, a different kind of scene,

The fence has seen its better days, the roof is leaking too,

Mosquitos fill the air at night, to get a taste of you,

The rooms are small and crowded, you think it holds such peace,

A place where you can get some rest, your troubles to release,

A cabin in the woods is great, a tent will also do,

Get further from the noise of life and touch the morning dew,

A sleeping bag under the stars will fill the space within,

But I prefer my bed at home or at nice clean inn.

 

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TO THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN

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Originally posted 06/10/2014 as Ten Ways to be a Good Dad.  We are no longer in the young parenting stage of life, but have tons of memories about our parenting years.  Those treasures have compiled and sustained us through some of the most difficult times in our lives.  When you have a strong father figure at the head of your house, you will have a strong family.  When God is that head and is leading the dad, your house will not fall.

There are many experts on fatherhood and the best ways to approach the job, but it seems to me that God gives us all the answers we need in His Word. Parenting is mentioned countless times in this book and the requirements are clearly spelled out.

  • Spiritual Leader – A dad should be an example of his family’s spiritual path.   It isn’t just a suggestion,  it’s an obligation.  Proverbs 4 is explicit about a father’s responsibility to instruct his children in the ways of God.  Take the time to read it today.
  • Family Authority – Fathers have been relegated to a lower position lately, but according to God’s book, the father is to be the head of the house.  This does not mean he should rule his family with an iron fist, but love them above all things and defend them with his very life.
  • Disciplinarian – This doesn’t mean a dad has carte blanche permission to whip his children into submission.  It does mean that a loving father will always administer discipline to guide and teach them.  A whole post can be devoted to this one.
  • Good Role Model – The world view of a great dad is one who is a child’s buddy – his benefactor – his yes-man.  God wants dad to set a good example by trusting his Heavenly Father to get him through the difficulties of life.  That is setting the stage for the way the child will approach life.
  • Compassionate – Sharing in your child’s losses, weaknesses, burdens and challenges is one of the best ways to express your love.  When your child is sick, you sit with them. When they are hurt by the words of others, you comfort them.  When they need your protection, you are there for them.
  • Prepare for the Unexpected – When you are trying to shave in the morning, expect to be joined by all your children and the pets in the bathroom.  When you leave for work, plan for the entourage to follow you out the door and into the car.  When you arrive home, expect to give answers to questions that have already been presented to mom for approval without knowing what her answers were.  When you tuck them in at night, expect a long litany of reasons why they shouldn’t go to bed.  You get the picture – right?
  • Protector – In a child’s eyes, a dad is a super-hero.  He can defeat the monsters under his bed – destroy the giant spider on the wall – leap tall buildings with a single bound.  Of course in reality dads are human and their power source comes from a place different than from within.  Let them know that you are willing to do anything for them, but sometimes even you don’t have all the answers.
  • Provider – There are many men who have fathered children and then walked away from them.  It doesn’t take a lot of brains to create a life, but it requires tons of self-sacrifice to be a father.  There may be times when you can’t find a job.  Your income doesn’t meet your budget needs, but to provide for your children doesn’t always mean monetary things.  The blessings you shower on them come in many forms – love, encouragement, advice, knowledge, confidence can be even more beneficial than things and they will go much further in the long run.
  • Counselor – By the time we become parents, we have a little life experience under our belts – at least enough to know that we’ve made some foolish mistakes.  We can’t teach our children how to avoid doing the same things, but we can give them the tools they need to make the right choices.
  • Encourager – We all want our children to succeed, but they won’t always succeed in areas that we expect.  It is the responsibility of a good father to help his children find what they are good at and then to encourage them to pursue it with gusto.  We can’t live our own lives through our children.  They are unique individuals with their own amazing gifts.  A father can help them discover those gifts and give them the courage to pursue their dreams.

Being a father isn’t an easy job, but consider it as an adventure instead and you will be reap benefits beyond your comprehension.

I’ve chosen this post to honor my husband today, because he has been a perfect example of what it takes to be a dad.  He wouldn’t admit that.  In fact he would be the first to tell you that he’s made mistakes in his parenting, but so have I. In a way it’s all brand new for us as parents too.  We’re often flying by the seat of our pants, but every step of the way is well worth it. When God is the essential part of the mix, you can’t fail.

 

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, SONS IN LAW

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When our daughters choose the man to spend the rest of their lives with, they are bringing along a whole additional set of baggage, which includes another entire family.  We’ve been blessed with two sons in  law and they are as different as the two women they married, but they are perfect for each of them.

Our first born decided to marry her husband after only a few weeks of dating.  It was a match that suited both of them.  They were both quiet, contemplative, compassionate and followed all the rules.  Since our family is known to be rather outgoing, I was almost afraid we scared him away with our bold and sometimes over confident behavior.  He managed to grow used to us and has proven to be a wonderful dad to our two grandsons and husband to our daughter.

Our third child was more of a free spirit, yet one with solid values and a good Christian base.  The man she chose is funny, hard working, dedicated to his family, willing to help others and did I mention funny.  The blend of their two personalities has created a lovely young woman of sixteen who shares the same strong will as her parents. We call her granddaughter.  This marriage took a little longer to happen, but it has weathered the test of time.

We always hope that our children will find the same kind of happiness we’ve experienced in our marriage.  They’ve grown up realizing the importance of having a strong male role model along with a faith in God that will sustain them through all trials and obstacles along the way.  We are truly blessed to have these men in our lives.  Each of them has strong family ties.  They have fantastic work ethics.  They love their wives and children.  They are available to help us when they can.  They have become so much a part of our family that we don’t think of them of in-laws.

As tomorrow is a day to celebrate dads, I’d like to thank God for giving our daughters husbands that fill the bill completely.  They have accepted our family as theirs.  They’ve inherited us along with our daughters.  They know that they are deeply loved and appreciated by us.  Happy Father’s Day to our two additional sons.

 

 

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FRESH

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ART & POETRY FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

GALATIANS 5:22-23   “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Fruit, luscious, ripe and sumptuous,

A result of tender care and nurturing,

A life giving sustenance for those who taste of it,

God’s gift to man is the fruit of the spirit,

A gift that cannot be measured by the insight of man,

It is inborn,

It comes packaged in our relationships with others,

In the engraved command of God upon our conscience,

In our caring for others,

In our ability to serve,

In our ability to put others first,

Sometime it sits stagnantly,

It slowly rots and dies,

Still there is hope,

Jesus came and restored its life,

He stirs the rottenness of inactivity,

He washes the putrid darkness of sin,

Making it clean,

And creates new life from old,

To actively be of use once more.

 

 

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WANTED – A FATHER

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There is no real job description associated with the title of father.  Many men have fathered children, but are not fathers to them.  It takes a man of real character and strength to be a good dad.  If you were to fill out a resume for the position, which would be rare in itself, you might see something like this list of qualifications

Wanted – man to fill the following requirements.

  • Must have strong moral values.
  • Be willing to fill a management position.
  • Able to act as counselor, disciplinarian, validator, encourager, teacher, life coach, financial advisor/provider, and spiritual leader.
  • Experience: None.
  • Pay: None.
  • Benefits: Unlimited.

It’s not an easy job and it certainly isn’t always what you hope it would be. At times it can be thankless, frustrating and one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in life. There are days when you can’t seem to do anything right. Today society is placing a stigma on the very job of fatherhood. A woman can now get artificially inseminated. She can hire a nanny to care for her children. Our government provides for single mothers in a way that a husband used to.

Who needs a man? A child does. It is so important for the father to be involved in the raising of his children. It’s even more important that the man leans on God to help him do the job. With God at the head of the household the task not only becomes easier, it becomes a blessing.

Thank you, Lord for fathers and for their impact on future generations. They are a gift from you. Thank you also for providing mentoring male role models for families that no longer have dads in their lives. May their role be recognized and revered as you established it to be.  Amen

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RAISE THE FLAG

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Originally posted 06/14/2018

A country’s flag is a symbol of what that country stands for and believes.  The American flag is no exception.  With its stripes, we’re reminded of the thirteen original colonies which fought for her independence from a tyrannical country across the sea.  We see representation of the fifty states which make up the United States of America in the white stars on a field of blue.

Many believe that the first flag was designed and by Betsy Ross.  This was substantiated by Ross’ own family members, but the truth is a man named Francis Hopkinson was commissioned to design flag by the Continental Congress, according to journals from that organization.  Betsy was a seamstress and it’s likely that she fashioned the first flag.

Walmart claims that they sold around 115,000 American flags on September 11, 2001, as compared to 6,400 flags on the same date in 2000.  I remember that being one of my first thoughts after the terrorist attack of 9/11.  I felt compelled to buy a flag and display it in support of my country – but there were none to be found.  For that one day in my memory, the flag was a hot commodity.

Flags have been placed at half staff to honor those who have died.  We raise the flag to honor our heroes.  We fly the flag as a show of support for our nation.  We salute the flag to show how much we love our country.  Flags have been used to drape coffins.  They then are folded and handed to the closest next of kin.  We place flags on graves of fallen soldiers.  A flag was placed on the moon when the Americans landed there so many years ago.  The Star Spangled Banner was written during war time, by Francis Scott Key, and is referred to as waving over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

On the other hand, flags have been spat upon, used in demonstrations against the policies of our country.  They’ve been burned, torn and destroyed as a show of protest.  Somehow, over time, our flag has been abused and scorned.

It’s time to restore our love of country again.  It was founded on Judeao /Christian value, placing its trust in God. We need to be strong in defending her to the death.  In spite of mistakes made, corruption, the power of the devil and fake news, we still live in the greatest country around – where we have the right to stand up for our flag.

HAPPY FLAG DAY! 

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WALLY’S FRYDADDY FRIDAY FUNNY

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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CONTRAST

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This is another favorite of Paul’s art.  The stark contrast of the lone white tree in the center of darkness is so true of us once we have become part of Jesus’ family.  We stand out from others, not because we are better or that we’ve earned our way to heaven, but because our God is so good that He loves us and washes us clean in spite of our darkness.

ART & POETRY FROM PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The world is filled with darkness, the sky is filled with clouds,

The hold of sin entwines you,  the weeds encase like shrouds,

But in that deepest sadness, one light remains unmoved,

His arms reach out to hold you, your life will be improved,

Just ask that Light to guide you, repent and follow Him,

By giving up the darkness, new life in you begins.

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MY WRITING JOURNEY

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Most people have a preconceived idea about artists.  Some think being one requires living in squalor, experiencing all areas of life and staring at the face of a computer all day.  While others imagine the debonair, carefree lifestyle of one who has tons of money and needs to fill their time.  There are also those who think that an artist is full of themselves, arrogant, time squanderers who can’t manage to get a real job.

The truth is an artist may be all of those things.  A painter or sculptor may spend days weeks and even years on a piece of work which can easily be duplicated and sold for so much less by mechanical means.  A dancer works on a piece of choreography for weeks only to injure a calf muscle and be unable to perform. A musician strive for years to compose a complicated orchestral piece and die the day before it’s performed.  A writer can write every day with discipline and dedication to the art form only to have his work disappear into cyberspace in just an instant.

As a writer I’ve made it a habit to write at a certain time of day so that I am able to remain on top of my craft.  I write about things I’ve experienced or know about.  I write because it’s an inner thing which I can’t not do.  I’ve published a few things, but always seem to fail when it comes to the submission part of the work, because of my low self confidence and unworthiness.  I’ve never felt good enough at what I do.  I suppose that has to do with having such high expectations.

Today anyone can be an artist.  The proof is in the fact that there are so many out there.  The competition is fierce.  To self-publish is the norm.  Book publishers are almost a thing of the past.  It’s kind of like the magic has been taken out of authorship.  No more do you hear about an Edgar Allen Poe, dug deep into the depths of depression – alone – suffering – pondering on thoughts of death and suicide.  Well, maybe Stephen King, but I don’t know the guy.  The multi-layered tales of Sherlock Holmes and the character driven stories of Victor Hugo are classic, but who are the classic writers of today?

Maybe I should be satisfied with my desire to write and not so concerned with my success.  I believe once we let ourselves write for the sake of feeling the need to, we are freeing ourselves to do our best writing.

 

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THE PRODIGAL’S FATHER

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Originally posted on 06/17/201

Parenting is one of the most difficult occupations out there.  You’re responsible for another’s life, for the things they learn and become, for their discipline and social skills, for their behavior, what they eat, how they dress, healing their bruises both physical and emotional and that’s just the first year.

By the time they’re old enough to leave the nest, you’ve had a profound influence of good on your children.  They’ve become outstanding citizens, hard workers and responsible adults – yeh, right.

For most of us, parenting is done on a wing and a prayer.  It’s a learn-as-you-go process not only for the kids, but the adults as well.  God gives us lots of examples on raising children, but one that imitates His Fatherly love and compassion comes from one of Jesus’ parables.

The story of the prodigal son tells how an irresponsible young man left home and spent all his inheritance (which his dad gave him in advance) on foolish living.  Within a short time he was begging for food and even eating the scraps intended for pigs.  It isn’t a pretty story, is it?

How often do we squander the inheritance God has so richly blessed us with?  We take it for granted.  We waste it.  We squander all of it without gratitude.

Most fathers would find that to be the behavior of a rebellious, ungrateful son.  God, the Father (the prodigal’s dad in the story) welcomes his wayward son with open arms, just as He does for us.

We’ve all sinned and deserve His punishment, but thankfully, His love is way beyond human comprehension and He welcomes us back without a blink or any expectations.

As we look forward to celebrating dads this weekend, let’s not forget our heavenly Father.  His love spans the breadth of the world.  His love endures forever.  He never stops loving us, even when we abandon Him.

 

 

 

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COVERED WITH HIS PINIONS

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This place that we have loved, this lonely withered space,

Has faltered with the winter snows and cannot rise again,

Without that inner life, that comes from heaven’s place,

Our lives will be diminished and scorned as dead terrain,

Within the ashen colors, inside the lifeless trees,

The damage has been sown, there is no longer gain,

Tempests are replaced with a quiet gentle breeze,

 

Though life has been drained from it, the fight will not be lost,

The battles will remain, but victory has a cost,

The precious blood of Jesus has paid for every sin,

And wrapped us with the will to live and new life to begin.

Our loss in life will be our gain, when to the end we come,

When we decrease we will increase, God’s plan than will be done.

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MY HUSBAND’S DAD

 

Another Father’s Day rewind from 06/13/17

I was blessed to have wonderful in-laws.  My father in law was an undertaker – a kind and caring man with compassion for everyone.  His job was not an easy one.  Add the fact that they made their home in the upstairs quarters of the big mansion which housed the funeral home.

He passed away at 56 years of age.  It was far too young for this man, but many years of hypertension and cigarette smoking took him before his time. He died as he lived – peacefully.  He never lived to see his grandchildren.  His wife suffered greatly at his loss and grew more and more paranoid and disturbed as time went on for her.

During his short life, he accepted the occupation of his father, and carried it forward into a time when the neighborhood had become run down.  It was the location in Milwaukee in which many race riots occurred in the sixties.  Still, he persisted keeping the business going and doing the best possible job he could.  He was determined, dedicated and had a genuine sympathy for the families that came to him for service.

He was active in his church. Took his children fishing and swimming.  Taught them how to be independent, with great people skills.   He also gave them a Christian upbringing, a quiet sense of humor and enjoyed a good laugh.

I never got to know him well in the short years I knew him, but his legacy was passed down to his children.  Both my husband and his sister have the ability to work through difficult times, stand tall in adversity and have an amazing work ethic because of the example their father set for them.

The greatest gift he gave his children, was his love for God.  Their home was only a block from the church, so there were no excuses for not attending.  He came from a German heritage, with strict upbringing, but his gentle spirit made him a great dad, because he had the best of both things.

I wish my children had known him, but they see him in their own father.  He continues to live in him and the lessons they’ve learned will be carried on to their children as well.

We tend to immortalize those who have passed before us, but I sincerely believe my father-in-law had a great influence on me, even though I didn’t know him for long.  I thank God everyday for producing the son that would eventually become my husband and for giving me a chance to see the beauty of the relationship that grew through them.

 

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SUMMERTIME MOVIES

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I know it’s summer, because school’s out and it’s time to go to Tuesday $5.00 movies with my granddaughter.  This has been a standing date, whenever there is anything worth seeing.  My granddaughter is sixteen, yet she is still a child at heart.  She loves Disney movies.  She still enjoys animated films and make believe.  So do I.  I guess we’re cut from the same cloth.  Yesterday, our date almost didn’t happen, because all but two seats were sold out.  I snatched them up.  Our seats were one row apart and she sat behind me so she could make sure I behaved.

I’d almost forgotten the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp, but as the film unfolded it all came flooding back into my brain.  The thought of a magic lamp, a flying carpet, three wishes and the possibility of having anything you ever dreamed of started sneaking into my memory.  Maybe this is why I’d forgotten about the story.  Throughout my life, promises of having everything necessary for a luxurious lifestyle was never meant to be.

As the story spilled onto the screen, it was apparent that luxury wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  The poor street urchin, Aladdin, was an orphan, fending for himself on the streets of Agrabah.  Straight from the tales of the Arabian nights, this story has evolved over the years, but still has one main thread running through it.  That being, the triumph of good over evil.  This theme has been manipulated over time, but I love the way this film depicts the wrongdoings Aladdin was involved in just to get a meal each day. Even though he said it was OK as long as he didn’t get caught.  The idea of a young child having to live that way is sorrowful, but he was doing what was necessary to survive.

He falls for the wealthiest woman in town and gains control of a magic lamp which houses a huge blue genie.  The genie will grant him three wishes and Aladdin learns to choose those wishes wisely. When the villain interferes there are conflicts, but in the end, the good guy always wins.  Happy endings are imperative in any good fairy tale.  The lovely lessons learned from this story is that we are all equal really.  We have the same beginnings.  Our circumstances will affect our lives, but how they turn out depends on how we live them.

My granddaughter is currently rehearsing for a stage production of “Aladdin.”  She is part of a program designed for children with special needs.  This program casts children of various special needs as characters in the play.  Each of them has a mentor who works alongside them, guiding them through the process and helping them if they forget a line or miss a cue.  In a way, she’s like that magic Genie in the lamp, allowing some very special friends to see their wishes realized on stage.

Each year, this child has astounded me with her care for others.  She is indeed a treasure in herself.  This experience has led her to contemplate a career as a special education teacher.  I know whatever she does will be part of her passion to help others.

In the meantime, we will go to the movies on Tuesdays.  We will continue to bond as grandparent and grandchild.  I will put up with her mood swings and she will speak louder so I can hear her and tolerate my driving, my breathing issues, my memory losses and my inability to keep up with her.  Why?  Because this is our story.  We love each other and want what’s best for each other.  That’s what I call a happy ending.

 

 

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ANOTHER TIME & PLACE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This painting was done as the backdrop for “Such a Time as This,” a musical play written and produced almost ten years ago with my children’s theatre group.  Paul researched the ancient cities of that time period and came up with this. He also found several pictures of the gods that were worshipped at that time, upon which he created the interior of the king’s palace.   This city had wealth beyond measure along with lavish lifestyles, a big party scene and lots and lots of sin. 

As a nation grows, this often happens.  As I think of our own nation, opulent and luxurious, it’s hard to imagine the seedy side of life.  Yet behind all the beauty and apparent wealth, there is another whole side to a civilization.  It includes the poor, the hurting, the sick, hungry and those who have no alternative for a better life.  When the bottom side of society becomes apparent, all the glory of that place is hidden in darkness.  I pray that our nation never succumbs to the evil that inhabits it.

 

It was at the height of it’s opulence, this city from of old,

It commanded respect and attention, its streets were paved with gold,

It shone like the brilliant sun in the sky, reflecting its bright rays,

Within the dark shadows secrets survived, infesting all the days.

 

The brilliance soon disappeared from all sight, as darkness slithered in,

No one realized what was happening,  knew nothing of this sin,

The ominous shadows penetrated the brilliance of the day,

Corruption and greed encapsulated and sent the good away.

 

That once shining and glorious city, no longer casts its light,

What remains are shards of days long ago, decay, great loss and blight,

If only the fire had been overseen, by those within her gate,

Perhaps a flame would rise from the embers, and new life would create.

 

We should learn from our own sweet history, but we often fail the test,

We think that we have the perfect answers, we think that we know best,

Instead of trusting our almighty God, we struggle and we fall,

Still patience abides in His gracious love, His love is meant for all.

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FLEETING MEMORY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

This favorite painting is a memory of what we were watching a few short months ago.  A white blanket of snow was spread out upon the landscape.  The bark on the birch trees mirrored the fallen snow.  Tiny flakes drifted slowly from the sky and danced among the branches.  Now those trees and ground are covered with rich green foliage. What a difference a month or two makes.

Howling, whistling, streaming through a patch of aging trees,

The wind surprises and upsets and strips them of their leaves,

One day a lush green canopy, another turned to gold,

Soon withered, dry and sapped of life, they waiver in the cold,

The signs of life are all but gone, the snow will soon be here,

The days grow short, the sun subsides, but still we do not fear ,

Beneath that cloak of white shall rise, new life again in spring,

Like we shall someday rise again. when new life God does bring.

We all are swept by winds of time, our days are very short,

We live, we dream, we try, we fail, the problems we can’t sort,

We’re push and tossed and crushed at times it seems,

But in our every trial, the blood of Christ redeems,

Our sins have been forgiven, our life is guaranteed,

God promises us His Kingdom if only we believe.

 

 

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