THANKFUL FOR GOD’S WORD

When I was thirteen, I became a confirmed child of God. I’d taken all the necessary classes pertaining to the tenets of my church. I went through an examination and had to memorize several Bible passages, which made it possible to stand with other kids my same age, in white robes before the altar of God and become full members of His family. It was another way of expressing my faith, without really having experienced much of life.

One of the gifts I received was a white, leather covered Bible, with gold edged pages. I was so thrilled to have my very own special Bible. It even had my name engraved on the front, truly insuring the fact that I was a child of God. That Bible was my mainstay through my high school years. I used it in the religion classes I had daily in a Christian school. I opened it from time to time when I was confronted with a problem and didn’t know how to solve it. I turned to it during my college years too, but it eventually lost its brilliant white cover and the golden pages had been dog eared into oblivion.

Over the years I’ve had a number of Bibles. Some were purchased as a new translation came out. Some were easier to understand when not in the King James’ English. Some had footnotes describing the historical setting, the tradition, the original meaning of various words. I’ve given Bibles as gifts. I’ve used the Bible as a resource for many of my blog posts. I’ve found some new lesson in words that applied to my life in a different way from the last time I read them.

When my mother-in-law passed away, one of her prized possessions was the leather bound Bible she had made use of so many times in her life. By now it had become tattered and torn, with many notations in the empty spaces. Well into her eighties, she found so much refuge in that book. The words written there have been revised over the centuries, but the truth remains the same.

God’s Word is the greatest thing we can pass down from generation to generation. Within the pages, we have examples of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, with God at their side. We see typical human beings going through difficult situations and being able to endure them with God’s help. We see the greatest story of love ever told through God’s compassion for His creation – us. His undeserved kindness is woven meticulously throughout..

When I think about things that I’m thankful for, the Bible is at the top of the list, because it’s God’s way of communicating with me on a personal basis. It also gives me hope that death holds no fear for me. I have eternity in paradise to look forward to.

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GOD’S WORD ALONE

ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER

I once in poverty did lay; my heart was full of need.

You came and took my sins away and now I’m rich indeed.

You gave your richest treasure – your one and only Son.

You are my greatest pleasure. With you I now am one.

Your Holy Word is perfect, Lord. Its teachings pure and true.

By faith we now accept it for it’s not by what we do.

The Bible offers strength and peace to our weak minds each day.

Our path is made both clear and straight by things you have to say.

You reach your hand out to me and you smother me with love.

The day cannot come soon enough, to see you up above.

But as I wait ’til that great day, I’ll serve you here below,

And know that when I leave this place, to heaven I will go.

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WHAT DO WE HAVE TO BE THANKFUL FOR?

I consider myself to have been richly blessed with many special acquaintances on this planet. Of course my family is number one – my husband, my three children and their better halves along with their children and countless pets. I’ve also been given the friendship of classmates in school, co-workers, students and a whole big church community.

Why shouldn’t I be thankful? Why shouldn’t I be filled with gratitude? When you measure life with the number of people in it, you aren’t always being realistic. When times get tough, you often find out who your real friends are. Those who stick with you when you’re down and out – who aren’t just along for a free ride – those who genuinely care about you.

There were days when I didn’t think I had a friend in the world. I felt the pressure of my peers to be a certain way, to dress to fit the mold, to fit in. In my efforts to please everyone else, I compromised myself. I made mistakes which I would eventually regret, but at the time it seemed right.

Now as I get closer to the end of my years, I can look back and thank God for putting obstacles in my way, so that I would learn how to deal with them in the future. He allowed sadness to overtake me when loved ones passed before their time. He showed me how hard it was to live on little, yet He also showered me with earthly treasures and then brought me back to reality by letting that pass and showing me what was really important.

I think we all face times of complete emptiness, when we think we’re alone in our battles. That time can lead us to self inflicted pain, anxiety and even thoughts of the world being a better place without us. I’ve felt that way a few times over this life span of mine.

We live in a world filled with unknowns and indecision – conflict – anger, hate, division – corruption, lies, politics as usual and a pandemic that seems to be touching everyone. All of that is enough to make a normally cheerful person, feel like crawling under a rock and hiding forever.

I often feel like Solomon – chasing the wind. Both my husband and I are artists. I can still hear my dad saying, “Why don’t you get a real job?” Most folks would think we’re chasing the wind and perhaps we are. Still I feel that even though we can no longer physically enrich the world with brain or brawn, we can fill the desire for beauty and words that will encourage and inspire.

Besides that we do have an everlasting friend, who will not let us down. Who will be available 24/7. Who will provide answers when we feel lost or alone. Who will love us unconditionally and want only what’s best for us. What a friend we have in Jesus.

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IN HIS MERCY, HE HEARS MY PRAYER

ART  & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Arms raised, reaching up to heaven,

Pleading for forgiveness, longing for deliverance,

Eyes surveying heaven’s darkest recesses,

Mind in turmoil, pain and agony,

Out of the depths I cry to you, oh, Lord.

Release me from the sin that clings to me,

The weight of those transgressions rests on His burdened shoulders,

The sting of death pierces His side,

He dies taking every sin to the grave,

Death is swallowed in victory,

My tears fall no more, except for tears of joy,

My arms rise to heaven again,

This time in grateful thanksgiving,

My deliverance has come and the darkness remains no more,

No more pain or anguish,

The agony died on a cross with my Savior,

My sins lay in ashes and are forgiven,

No more will I fear death or hell,

The price has been paid, the ransom fulfilled,

Eternal life waits and I have reason to look forward to it.

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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WHAT DO WE HAVE TO BE THANKFUL FOR?

This Thanksgiving will certainly be different. Our governor has put additional restrictions on our gathering because of the recent spike in COVID19. I know this is hard for most of us, but it’s just another glitch in a year that seems to want to take away our joy. Instead of feeling sad about this, we need to take a look at the lighter side of this holiday. Is there a lighter side?

I suppose if you believe every conspiracy theory out there right now, you’re having a lot of problems with the restrictions. If, on the other hand, you are one of those who has contracted the disease or one who must serve in the front lines fighting it, you might think differently. In any event, this time of thanksgiving shouldn’t be limited to one day. Every day we need to find something to be thankful for. Can you think of 365 things?

A few years ago, my husband and I downsized from a house twice as large as the one we’re now living in. We spent 24 years in that house. One of the highlights of those 24 years was the appearance of a gang of wild turkeys who made their appearance from time to time. We called them the Johnson Street turkeys. Here’s a piece I wrote about them.

When this time of year rolls around, I can’t help but be reminded of a gang of turkeys that lived in our old neighborhood.  A group of turkeys is actually called a rafter or a gang, so the Johnson Street Turkeys were aptly named. They resembled a gang of hoodlums, strutting down the street – showing off their metallic plumage – displaying their ample size.  These birds were known to cross the street on a green light.  At least they were a law abiding gang.

Not too long ago, I saw another rafter of wild turkeys slowly making their way off the exit ramp of the highway which happens to sit right behind our house.  Had they followed me?  Did it actually take them two years to discover that I’d moved?  I know they were well liked by the folks of my old neighborhood.  A local newspaper even wrote an article about the blatantly, emboldened flock which ran after the mailman and trash trucks.

They didn’t do much damage, as you’d expect from a gang of ne’er do wells, but they ate all of my expensive cocoa mulch.   They were also known to nibble on gravel near the railroad tracks, which happened to be situated right near the local butcher shop.  My husband saw one unsuspecting bird catching some rays one day as the butcher was coming at him with a cleaver.  We never saw the results of the incident, but refused to buy poultry from that shop ever again.

Where are all the activists when it comes to this holiday of overeating?  Where are the “save the turkeys” folks with their signs of protest?  When you think of all the frozen turkeys sitting in your grocery store’s freezer case, think of all those birds who gave their lives so you could have a piece of white meat.  I may just become a vegetarian after that rant.

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence”. Erma Bombeck

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FILL MY HEART WITH GRATITUDE

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Each day our hearts should swell with joy, for treasures that we hold,

And count the blessings God employs, much greater than pure gold,

The gifts within His creation, the untouched land and trees,

The waters with deep hydration, the tender, soothing breeze,

The forests untouched by mankind, a habitat for life,

Protected by the Mastermind, who shields them all from strife,

For cities and towns we live in, for things we eat and drink,

For sharing, loving and helping, when lives hang on the brink,

Through laughter and tears we give thanks, God gives us a way out,

When we seem to fall through the ranks, His Word turns us about.

Through sickness and health He molds us, the potter and His clay,

With His strong hands He enfolds us, and brings us through each day,

He guides us through the dark shadows, and leads us safely home,

He offers us a sweet repose, upon a royal throne,

So turn your thoughts to thankfulness, for all that God has done,

To alleviate your distress, and bring you safely home.

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IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Give thanks to the Lord for His creation,
In His hands all things came into existence.

The trees perfectly designed and crafted to bring shade, comfort, and shelter,
The seas in all their majesty, blown into place by His breath,
Abundant with life, food for our stomachs and beauty to behold
The sky is filled with the voice and color of His paintbrush,
A glimmering sunset, a rainbow of promise, clouds to gather the tears of man.


The secret places are His also, He formed great mountains from formless clay,
He carved the crevices from steely granite, penciled in the lines,
Washed the canvas with water, tweaked, punched, chiseled,
He created every living thing,
Formed from nothing into intricately executed works of art,
Giving the first man a likeness of Himself,
And the first woman taken from the ribs of the man,
To forever be a part of him.

God is the Creator of all things,
Let us praise Him and thank Him for His wondrous gifts,
And remind us that He created us to be the caretakers of His creation.

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WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR

There are days when we don’t feel very thankful. Instead of being grateful for 8 months of time to take a serious look at our lives – to contemplate new and ingenious ways to do things – to be alive and not yet suffering from the thing that caused us to be isolated, we have grown frustrated, angry, anxious, and impatient. So what do we have to be thankful for?

We may believe our government is trying to control everything in our lives. We may even blame our elected officials for trying to interfere with our holiday gatherings. We are feeling cheated from some of our most treasured traditions. So what do we have to be thankful for?

I’m concerned for my fellow man – the one who relies on his income from the small business he’s invested his life into. My heart aches for the kids who will not have all the memories of a senior year. I am saddened by all of the lives that have been physically affected by this disease. I want to sing in church again. I want to hug my relatives and friends. I want to laugh with them, cry with them, share with them and love them as I used to do. So what is there to be thankful for?

It seems when things are out of control, our thoughts often turn inward. We can’t help how we feel, yet this whole year has been filled with disaster after disaster and we can’t come to grips, because we have absolutely no control over it. The greatest frustration is not being able to solve a problem immediately. We’ve grown so accustomed to instant results, we can’t understand why it’s taking so long. So what is there to be thankful for?

Instead of blaming the president, the governors and others, let’s turn to the one who never disappoints. God’s timing is not always instantaneous, even though He could wipe COVID off the map with just one word. His reasoning is not like ours. Perhaps He’s allowing this time for us to reflect on what’s really important. Is it on our needs or the needs of others? Is it on our desires, our wants, our stuff? Is it all about us? So what is there to be thankful for?

And what about the addict – the homeless – those suffering with mental or terminal illness. What have they got to be thankful for? We often sit in our comfortable lives feeling sorry for ourselves, but there is an entire population of those suffering in poverty, loss and hopelessness. There is an opportunity there. One which will not only bless them, but those who reach out to them.

I woke up this morning. God has preserved my life for another day, now how can I serve Him? I may not have much money, but I have enough to live on. How can I share my abundance with others? I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I know that God is in control of all of it. I know that this world will crumble, but God’s kingdom will remain. I need to share that good news with someone. That’s something to be thankful for.

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KITCHEN CENTERPIECE

POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER


As I think back to times that warm my heart, I can’t help but remember the old cast iron stove that was the centerpiece of my grandparent’s kitchen. That huge conservator of heat kept the house warm – listened to conversations from a family of ten for years – watched as tears fell for those who died well before their time. It was the site for drying wet mittens – holding heavy irons used to touch up the collar on a shirt – held loaves of rising bread before they were placed in the oven – was the meeting place for dogs, cats and even some unwelcomed critters.

We often wonder what they would say if walls could talk, but I imagine that old iron beast would have plenty to share – stories of joy and delight, the birth of another child, the death of a family member, the jokes, the arguments, the tall hunting tales and so on. This inanimate object reminded me of a silent giant who was collecting a lifetime of stories, but had no way of telling them. That being the case and me being the story teller in my family, I wrote this poem to celebrate its existence.

Originally published on 11/24/16


The old iron fortress stood ready and tall within the empty room.
Wood stacked at one side – boots and mittens there dried,
But no one would share in the warmth that it’s belly consumed.
The snow outside glistened, no footprints did lead to the door,
The smoke lifted high to the stars in the sky,
The only one home was an old, tired soul who lay curled up asleep on the floor.

He had worked all day long, chopping wood for the old iron beast.
So he took to the floor, like he had once before,
And fell fast asleep while waiting alone for a fabulous feast.
His dreams soon were shattered by voices that chattered outside,
He rose to his feet. At the door he did meet,
All the friends from his past who long since had gone on and died.

As each person walked by, they could hear the man cry and in a soft murmur he said, You once were my friends but where’ve you been all my life,                                                   My children have died and for them I’ve cried, yesterday I lost my wife,                      Within just an instant he knew God had called him to his eternal rest,
This new life that it gave him, would no more enslave him,
The warmth of his Savior was beyond so much more than the very best of the best.

Posted in Poetry by Kathy Boecher | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR?

It certainly would seem that this Thanksgiving doesn’t give us a lot to be thankful for. We’re basically going into lockdown again. We’re not being permitted to gather with our families and loved ones. We’re seeing an economy slowly dying – a never ending election process – people losing jobs – some developing serious mental health issues – and the list goes on. We’re told to count our blessings, but they are often clouded by the negative news, the violent protests, the division and hopelessness that seem to be taking over the minds of even the most positive people.

Counting our blessings is really important to our mental health. When we get good news about a loved one and troubling health issues, it makes our hearts so glad. When we see the accomplishments of the children we’ve raised – when we watch our grandchildren grow into amazing adults – when we are blessed with good health and still have a spouse to share our lives with. These are all things that make our hearts glad.

The trials we face can also be considered blessings if you look at them in such a way. For example: Losing a job can lead to another door opening and a much better opportunity for advancement. Losing a child or a spouse and enduring the grief connected with it can make it possible for you to lift up someone else who is going through those same feelings. When we experience tough financial times, we grow more appreciative and can become compassionate to those who are in need. God allows these negatives in our lives to strengthen us as well as to use us to help others.

As we near Thanksgiving Day, it might be a good time to start thinking about our blessings, so that when we sit down to enjoy the feast, we have a clear vision of what we’re thankful for. God is so good. His love endures forever. His mercy endures forever. His patience and compassion will never die and He wants all of us to enjoy the greatest blessing of all – heaven.

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

Irving Berlin

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STUBBY, THE SQUIRREL (SOME MORE)

There are at least five of us that frequent your bird feeder from time to time.  Take my friend, Flash, for example.  I think he has a little ADD. Every time another squirrel comes around, Flash makes a real nuisance of himself.  He gets right in your face and drives you crazy and then he’s up a tree making someone else crazy too.  It seems to be his mission to drive us all crazy, but he’s just a little hyper.  He can’t help it.  He’s also known for jumping very high and doing flips from time to time. Flash is a suitable name for him and it doesn’t make him feel any different than the rest of the squirrels. In fact he likes being called, “Flash.”  It makes him feel like a super hero or something like that.

I have another friend named, “Nutsy.” He’s quite an acrobat. Some of the older squirrels think he should be in the circus.  Last fall he bravely carried a branch across the electrical wire.  The branch had a nut on either end of it.  It was like one of those balancing dumbbells you see at the gym.  Nutsy was so good at his high wire act, we were sure he’d take his show on the road, but we never found out if he did or not.  He hasn’t been around for a year or so.

My friend, Bigley, is the one who makes a pig out of himself.  I’ll bet he’s gained at least a pound since you started feeding the birds.  A pound is a lot for a squirrel.  All that extra weight can slow you down and make it easier for the cats to catch you if they can.

Bigley didn’t start out big.  Like the rest of us, he looked like a little rat when he was born.  Maybe he has a over active thyroid and his metabolism causes him to gain weight faster than the rest of us.  That’s an uniformed guess on my part.  I’m not a scientist.  I’m just a squirrel after all. He doesn’t get a lot of exercise though.  Maybe he should start doing pushups. 

“Stretch” got his name because of his ability to stretch from the pole to the bird feeder. He’s very agile.  In fact he learned to climb that pole before any of the rest of us even thought about it.  I know you were frustrated that we were all digging in and helping ourselves to the bird seed, but we get hungry too. 

Even when you resorted to putting grease on the pole, Stretch made it to the top after sliding down only three times.  What a guy.  He then proceeded to hang onto the pole with his back feet, grab the feeder with his front and stretch out far enough to devour some seeds and cause some to fall to the ground for the rest of us.  Squirrel ingenuity I would say.  At least it’s a good way to make friends and influence squirrels.

I won’t bore you with the names of all of my friends and relatives. That could take a long time.  I do think it’s funny how we get our names.  Names are kind of like labels – sometimes good and sometimes not so good.  I guess it depends on how we look at it.

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WINTER SOWING

It’s hard for us to fathom that anything could grow,

In cold and frozen ground that’s covered with fresh snow,

But not for our Creator God, the maker of all things,

The seeds that He has sown right now, will flourish in the spring.

Those seeds come in many sizes, from minuscule to great,

When cast upon the snow white fields, it never is too late,

For plants to rise from nothingness to trees that touch His face,

God breathes new life in little things, then nurtures them with grace.

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WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO BE THANKFUL ABOUT?

In the next few days, many are planning to go ahead with family gatherings for Thanksgiving in spite of mandates set by our governor. In what might be considered an act of defiance, it’s still a time to be thankful, even if we do it differently this year.

My Thanksgivings have been celebrated by myself or with friends who felt sad for my being alone. There were special trips to visit family members far away on occasion. Being born and raised in Wisconsin, where deer hunting always occurs during Thanksgiving week, my husband would normally return to his happy hunting grounds for the week long event. We’ve celebrated on a different day as a family, so it’s not like I don’t have a chance to make turkey and all the fixings.

This year has been one of many challenges. A tiny germ has spread like wildfire, infecting people randomly in its path. We’ve been asked to isolate ourselves recently because of a spike in new cases. This changes everything for everyone, not just the deer hunting wives left behind. Because of extenuating circumstances, my husband will not be hunting in Wisconsin this year. The obvious reason is Corona, but with a change in location and not being able to check it out beforehand, he has decided to play it safe and stay home.

It breaks my heart to see him have to give this up. He’s had to do a lot of that in his seventy eight years. It’s hard to eliminate something from your life that’s been part of it for fifty years. He says it’s OK with him and I do believe that, but I know he’s sad because of it. Yet I am grateful that I will have him home for Thanksgiving. There will be more hunting trips, God willing. There will be more alone Thanksgivings, but I am so grateful for the many gifts God has blessed us with in our lives together.

Perhaps this is a selfish reason for being thankful. Perhaps this disease has me thinking differently. Covid19 has changed lives in the past 8 months. People get depressed because they can’t socialize. We miss physical contact, like hugs. We feel cheated especially during the holiday season when we often gather in large groups. It’s enough to make anyone say, “Bah humbug!”

We cannot count on anything definite in this world. Our path has already been laid out, but it’s also been masterfully crafted by the King of Creation. We’ve also been promised a perfect life after death.

With that in mind, we can be thankful for so much. God is in control no matter what comes our way. Give thanks to Him for life, for direction and guidance, for His unconditional love and for His forgiveness. His love endures forever.

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STUBBY, THE SQUIRREL (CONTINUED)

My friends and I are ever so grateful for the nice accommodations you’ve provided for us.  I think the shed is for your husband to do his art work.  Occasionally I peek in there when he’s not looking and watch him make his paintbrush fly with the music he has playing.  It’s almost like he’s conducting the orchestra.  It was nice of him to make that extra building for us. 

There’s space underneath for all of us critters to share.  In fact we divided it up evenly. There’s one section for the cats, one for the rabbits, one for us squirrels and one for a chipmunk that rarely shows his face.  We’re thinking about getting some outdoor furniture next summer.  Love what you’ve done with the yard.  We’ve already furnished the inside with a nice area rug and a few chairs.  We want to get a flat screen TV, but that might be a bit much.  When it gets very cold, we retreat to our dray. Most of the time we hide under the shed – so far no complaints from the neighbors.

Well I know you’re wondering about my tail. It used to be full and fluffy like all the other squirrels.  One day, while I was minding my own business and finding spots to hide the precious walnuts, there came a giant.  It might have been a dinosaur with his large teeth chomping on the grass.  I happened to be in the way.  Before I knew it, that extension of my backside was gone.

Let me tell you, I really miss it.  I’ve grown pretty fond of my tail, especially now that I no longer have it.  I guess the dinosaur must’ve been hungry, but I’m sure he was disappointed.  A squirrel tail has no real meat on it.  He just got a mouth full of fluff – my fluff. 

Once the initial shock of losing it wore off, I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would.  You see our tails provide balance when we’re climbing trees and bounding from branch to branch.  If we start to fall they can be like a parachute and help us float to the ground rather than crashing into it.  We also use our tails to talk to other squirrels?  When you don’t have one it can prove to be a great loss.  There have been times when I used my tail as an umbrella, as a shield against other animals, and an oar in the river which helps me swim.  Even so, animals were created to adapt to their surroundings, so when we lose something like a tail, we change the way we do things.  I guess we’re not much different than humans that way.

We certainly don’t need to lose our courage or our smartness, just because we’ve lost one piece of us.  In fact, I think not having a tail can be very advantageous.  It doesn’t get in the way.  It doesn’t have to be preened all the time or searched for nasty little fleas and gnats. A tail is just an appendage.  I’m used to it now, so it doesn’t bother me . . .  much.

Some of the other squirrels decided to name me Stubby from that day on. I certainly wouldn’t name them after any one of their faults or disabilities, but squirrels can be squirrels you know.

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TELLING THE GOOD GUYS FROM THE BAD

The above is a comprehensive list of characteristics which define the antagonist of a story. I would assume that the good guy would be just the opposite of the bad guy. In the old days it was easy to tell who was good and who was bad. The good guy always wore a white hat and rode a white horse. He never frequented the saloon. He went to church and he married the most beautiful, faithful woman in the county.

I used to perform in melodrama theatre. The good guy would always be greeted by cheers and applause, while the villain entered to boos and hisses. Pretty cut and dried, eh?

Today things aren’t as clearly available to us. Today we need to use discernment before deciding who is who. We need to do our research before speaking for or against someone. We need to take care about what we say, so we don’t offend anyone. We must be open to every point of view otherwise we’re considered narrow minded or unbending. As I look at the list above, it seems some of the antagonist’s attributes have switched over to the protagonist side, but that’s a post for another day.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but it seems to me, as a writer, that these two forces are necessary for the advancement of a good story, so I need to know as much about them as I can. It also seems to me that the protagonist must have an antagonist in his life in order to overcome the obstacles he faces. On the other hand, the antagonist is dependent on the protagonist for his side of the story to be told as well.

In our relationships, in our feelings about others, in our words spoken or written, we often speak or say things without the benefit of thinking them through before we speak. With the advent of social media, texting, Twitter and so many more instant platforms, the words fly randomly without thought about how they might affect another person. Electronics can be amazing at times, but they can also do a lot of damage. Instant news and reporting without fact checking can be the ember that emblazons riots, rage and anger.

As with most things I write about, I usually turn to my Manual for Living – the Bible. Here’s how that book begins.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1.

The last two verses of the Bible say this,

 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen,” Revelation 22:20-21.

Between those two books are many instances of good overcoming evil, protagonists and antagonists, amazing stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, hope for a future and the love of God.

The greatest love ever known was that of God’s own Son, Jesus.


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16

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WHAT IF . . .

ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

What if humanity was more like the animal kingdom,

Carefree and unconcerned about where to find their next meal,

What if we lived in harmony without prejudice, violence, hatred,

What if our leaders really cared about those they lead,

What if the people once again had confidence in them,

What if our true leader were to come to earth again,

What would His thoughts be about the state of this world,

Would He accept what we’ve become,

Would He forgive what we’ve done,

Would He sentence all humanity to eternity in hell,

What if we were just like the animals?

What if our minds weren’t so full of thoughts, hopes, dreams,

What if we had become so full of hatred, violence and sin,

That God stopped loving us,

What if God never sent His Son to save us,

We’d be no different than the beasts of the field.

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STUBBY, THE SQUIRREL

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking out my dining room windows lately. Our house is an old (1885) farm house, situated in the middle of one of the first cities founded in Minnesota. We have an abundance of critters which bring entertainment to our cloistered lifestyle right now. While sitting and watching, I can’t help but wonder what goes on in their little minds as they prepare for the upcoming cold winter. So, in my moments of alone time, I’ve been trying to come up with some stories that might entertain others – especially children. I do have the mind of a child after all. So I will be putting these out there and see what everyone thinks.

This is the beginning of the first in a series of “Animal Tales (Tails)” by Kathy Boecher.

STUBBY, THE SQUIRREL

My name is Stubby. I guess you know by now that I’m a Squirrel.  Pleased to meet you. Bet you never talked person to squirrel with someone like me before, have you?  Yes, I can talk, but not all humans can hear me – only those who have the gift.  Most people consider us a nuisance, but there are a few that see our true value.  I think you must be one of them.

I love living in the city, don’t you? I have friends who prefer the wide open space of the country, but as for me, there’s something about the city that calls to me.  By the way, I love your house.  To me, it’s the best of both worlds – a cute little country house, smack dab in the middle of a bustling little town.

Oh, and the black walnut tree out back is sublime.  I look forward to jumping from branch to branch.  I notice you don’t do that, do you?  Well, I guess we all have things that make us happy.  When I peek into your window each morning, I can’t help but notice that you’re very busy pounding away on some kind of contraption that lights up. 

For me, my satisfaction comes when those black walnuts start to fall.  I love those things.  At first sight they look like green ping pong balls, but once you get through the tough outer skin, it’s nothing but nut.

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FREEDOM FROM FEAR

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

When life becomes impossible and full of rhetoric,

When fears surround and every sound begins to make you sick,

When words of hate and viciousness, spew from the pit of hell,

When lies are spread and tears are shed, and Satan works his spell,

When words divide and separate, and fill our souls with doubt,

When no solution is in sight, and we see no way out,

The only place to find relief, a place to live in peace,

Is so often disregarded, our worry will increase,

But when we rest in God’s own hands and let Him do His will,

Our peace will come through His own son, the noises then are stilled.

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TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA

The room begins to close in on you. You feel suffocated in your inner most being. Your heart begins to race – your mouth is dry – your hands begin to tremble – your breathing becomes heavy and almost chokes you. The hair on the back of your neck bristles and you feel faint. This is how you feel when you experience fear.

Fear can consume us – disable us – cause us to hide or seek refuge. It can live in the back of our mind only to resurface at a later age.  The number of phobias included in the human psyche are countless – all the way from fear of small places to fear of going outside.  I’m not a psychologist, but I have experienced enough of life to know that fear can also be a means of protection.  It’s kind of a fail safe mechanism that goes off in our brains to let us know we’re in danger.

We’re all afraid of something.  Maybe you fear getting in front of an audience.  Or you might be afraid of high places or spiders or elevators or avocadoes.  The point is, you aren’t alone.  We all need reassurance that these fears won’t cause us to be eaten up by them.  Maybe your fears are more immediate – like knowing where your next meal will come from or where you will lay your head tonight.

The uncertainties we face every day are enough for some to require straight jackets, while others seem to be completely fearless. How do you handle your fears? I’m still in the process of figuring that one out. I should have faith that God has my back in all circumstances, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. Prayers can help, but fear will once again rear its ugly head.  Many times our fears, like unexplained dreams, are an unsettling reminder that we need someone to help us get through this life.

Everyone on this planet has something that eats at them. Our fears don’t just magically disappear when we become Christians. Sometimes we face even more of them. It’s a tough journey. Life can pull, tug at us, push us around and cause us to give up. The only thing to alleviate those anxious moments is turning to God’s Word. Within those pages we can find comfort, peace, patience and God’s plan for us.  Through His message, we can conquer our fears and move forward.  The key is putting your faith in someone who has dispelled all fear.

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