SOME DAYS ARE MADE FOR PAINTING

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ART & INSPIRATION BY KATHY BOECHER©

Last week I posted about taking advantage of the good days.  I planned on a rerun the next day, but having overdone it the day before, led to less strenuous activity. I love my garden time and even though I was a sweaty mess, Paul said I was “glowing.”  Not sure if it was the perspiration or the joy of digging in dirt.

The next day was another picture perfect day so we decided we’d enjoy the day instead of working.  So I suggested we get out our easels and paint outdoors. Since Paul never says no to painting , we did just that.  However I’d forgotten what it was like to paint plein air.

Preparations  often take longer than the actual painting time.  My easel hasn’t been used for some time so the first piece of business was getting it dusted off and set up in a shady spot.  There were a few more trips inside to get my paints, a canvas, some water and brushes.  In the process, our dog Gage managed to escape from the yard.

Gage is a runner.  That’s why we have a fence.  We also have a number of feral cats in the neighborhood who love to taunt him.  I quickly dropped my canvas and took “chase,” while Paul got in the car to search him down.  I am not a runner.  I’m not even a fast walker, but I pressed on.  I got sight of his long white tail making its way behind one of the houses.  I hobbled as fast as I could, but he was long gone before I ever got there.  Thankfully, Gage just turned eleven, which means he’s now surpassed me by one year.  He isn’t as quick as he used to be either.  We somehow managed to corral him into the car and back to the fenced in yard.

At last it was time to paint.  Gage curled up next to my chair.  I put paint on my palette and began applying it to the canvas.  It was a perfect morning to “catch the light,” as Paul noted.  I slipped my brush into the crimson paint.  The fingers of my now arthritic hand also fell upon the paint and became covered with what looked like a bloody mass.  Despite the dog chase and the newly painted fingernails, I managed to come up with a painting.

Sometimes the things we plan for each day, can turn into something totally unplanned.  The enjoyment we hope to experience through something different may quickly turn into disaster.  The way we handle those obstacles is going to affect the way the day ends.  I realized that my body is aging fast and I better do something about getting back into shape.  I learned that my dog still can outrun me.  I discovered the joy of painting outdoors comes with many challenges.  In the end, I enjoyed the beautiful day with the man I love and had fun creating some art too.

Most of all I’m reminded that you have to laugh at your circumstances.  Can you imagine a woman running after her speedy dog at the rate of Tim Conway as an old man?  Can you not laugh at all the things that can go wrong when trying to create art in nature?  When we can see the funny in things, it makes the icky seem a lot better.  I’m sure God had a few good laughs that day too.

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PRAISE THE LORD, OH MY SOUL

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Today as we face the week ahead, let us remember that new life comes from the Lord, God, Almighty.  Nothing we can do will change that.  With Him at our side, we can do great things.  With Him as our leader, we can overcome all obstacles.  With Him at our back, our power is undefeatable.

Give praise to the Lord and forget not all His benefits.

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FIXER UPPER

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A little house stands all alone, no people left inside,

There once was life within that house and laughter did abide,

The windows are now boarded up, the grass is overgrown,

The roof is battered, walls need paint, some love needs to be sown,

A fixer upper, yes indeed, but still a strong foundation,

Where walls can once again be filled with strong determination.

 

 

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IN GOD’S HANDS

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When tomorrow seems uncertain – when all our fears mount up within our hearts – when even our faith is put to the test – we can be sure of God’s enduring, unchanging, undying and all consuming love.  He has a plan in place for all our tomorrows. He knows exactly where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.  The hard part, which really should be a piece of cake, is for us to surrender to His will. Pray today for hope in the future.

GOD HAS THIS!!

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HE LEADETH ME

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

You never cease to hold me in Your strong and mighty hand,

You calm and gently guide when I so blatantly demand,

You guide my steps, You hold me tight,

You strengthen me with all your might,

You lift me from the deep, dark pit of ever sinking sand,

I’m just one speck upon this sinking ground,

There are so many other folks around.

But still You find the time for me,

You gave your life to set me free,

Your mercy lives, new life will now abound.

 

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

 

 

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SMURF YODA CUT IT DOES NOT!

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TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOOD DAYS

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We don’t get too many perfect days where I live.  When you suffer from breathing issues, allergies and old age, you relish it when a day comes along that’s just the right temperature, with low dew points and not much pollen in the air.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve not been able to venture any further than the door of the house to the door of the car.  Not being able to get to the gardening has put me into a terrible mood.  Yesterday, at the crack of dawn, I thought I might be able to plant some new flowers before it got too steamy, but the morning dew hung in the air and the steam fogged up my eyes.  I quickly retreated to the air conditioned house.

Paul was on his way to teach an outdoor painting class, hoping the air would clear too.  He said it might get better as the sun burned off the humidity.  He was right.  I went out again when he left at 8:30 AM.  The air was just right, so without further ado, I donned my garden gloves and got those flowers in the ground.

A funny thing about aging – when you’re down on your knees, it’s a good idea to get as much done before getting up.  So I began pulling weeds and the nasty grass that’s so hard to get rid of with the lawn mower.  By the time Paul got home, I had filled two large garbage bags with weeds and trimmings.  I planted and tended to the other blooms.  I cleared off the raspberry bush of its remaining fruit.  My face was red and sweaty.  My knees were black with dirt.  I was desperately ready for a bath.

When you have a good day at my age, you have to take advantage of it.  Paul had an inspiring painting session with his students and was ready to get some outside work done too. After a light lunch, we went back outside and finished the work I’d started. The grass was mowed, the continuation of weeding ensued and thanksgiving for a beautiful summer day poured from our lips.

Today looks like a carbon copy of yesterday.  Plans are in place to purchase some mulch and fill in the bare spots of the garden.  If our bodies hold out, we may actually get it done.  Aging is much like gardening. Our bodies need attention.  If they don’t get it, they fall into disrepair, wither and die.  Which reminds me, I need to take some Ibuprofen, rub some liniment into my aching muscles and spray myself with bug repellent- all of which should keep the mosquitoes away.  Next week, I will surely pay for all this extra activity.

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INSTANT SUMMER

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

When we left for our trip to So. Carolina at the end of April, our ground was still covered with the remnants of a winter blizzard that pounded us a week before.  We spent ten days on our journey, traveling across beautifully countryside which had already burst with the signs of spring.  Purple Wisteria interspersed the now blooming forests and richly darkened fields of soil lay ready for planting.

By the time we returned ten days later, the snow had melted, but temperatures remained chilly.  Hopes of spring seemed forgotten in an instant. The long month of May was filled with some quick growth as buds popped and trees filled with singing birds.  Maybe all was not lost. However, it seemed we jumped right from winter into summer within those days.  When you live in Minnesota, you expect to have severe extremes in weather, but those seasons of spring and fall are so elusive, you barely know they exist.

I wrote a poem a while back which led me to sounding a lot like Dr. Seuss.  I guess you get that way when you live in a land of extremes.

Was it only yesterday, I didn’t put the hose away?

The winter months sailed swiftly by, but when they left I did not cry.

The winters in the great Midwest are absolutely not the best.

But finally the cold days passed.  I yearned for spring, but it went fast.

It seems we’ve jumped from cold to hot.  I do not like it – absolutely not.

The hose still lies where it has lain, for it will now be used again.

To water all the blooms that popped,

 When summer came and winter stopped.

 

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THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

What is the price of liberty? Where lies the victor’s prize?
Is it in bodies laying still, beneath the cold, dark skies?
The cost to win our freedom cannot be seen in life,
But in the brave hearts smitten to take away our strife.

Our Savior did this willingly when tortured on the tree.
He gave His life and rose again so we could be set free.
No human life could do this. It had to be from God.
So we could see His love for us both here and far abroad.

His word He gave to teach us all the things we need to know,
His life He gave to save us from the pain that lies below.
So lift your voice to Jesus. His love will never die.
He purchased for us paradise. He’ll care for us on high.

Kathy Boecher

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FREEDOM

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A great nation once united, now tarnished black with hate,

One nation bound by God’s own love, lies corrupt at Satan’s gate,

We hold all these truths apparent, that God created man,

We know that He has set us free, from Satan’s ugly hand,

Our God will once more lead our land, if we allow Him to,

He’ll lead us to true freedom, unite us through and through,

We simply must believe in Him and turn our prayers His way,

To trust in His intervention, and let Him guide each day,

We will only know true freedom, and feel that peace within,

When we join and be united, and put our faith in Him.

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WORDS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

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“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Did you know that two of our early presidents wanted the celebration of our independence to be held on July 2nd?  That was the day the actual signing of the Declaration took place by 12 out of 13 of the original colonies. After Jefferson, Adams and Franklin made some alterations, late in the morning of July 4, 1776, all agreed to the terms and it became official.  Those two presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wanted July 2nd to be the day of celebration, but it was not to be.  How peculiar that both of them died on July 4th, 1826, within hours of each other.

The Declaration was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson with the help of four others, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.  The preamble remained untouched, but some of contents had to be changed after being presented to the Continental Congress on July 2nd.  Delegates from all 13 colonies then adopted it.

Even though two of its writers objected to the actual date of celebration, it was determined by the majority to use the fourth of July.  Even in those days, congress had a hard time coming together on things.  Some things never change.

The fourth of July continued to be celebrated for years following its signing and actually became a Federal holiday in 1870.  It was adopted as a national holiday in 1941 – only 77 ago.  Still throughout the years it would be celebrated as a special day of freedom for those who live in our great country.  Picnics, fireworks and special music were all part of it.

As flags fly and the heavy heat of summer rages down on us, let’s never forget those who stood up for their rights to govern themselves.  Through their act of patriotism they gave us the opportunity to join in its glow.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY – LET FREEDOM RING!

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FRENZY IN THE CITY STREETS

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The big parade on the fourth of July always included children. There were those who watched on the lawn chair laden sidewalks, or on the broad shoulders of someone taller. There were those who spent time decorated their bikes, tricycles, wagons and doll buggies Crepe paper streamers would be meticulously woven through the spokes of wheels. Some of the doll carriages had crepe paper flowers of red, white and blue. Each mini-float carried its own signature. If rain occurred, it bled through the flimsy paper onto whatever it was attached to. Many times children arrived home with red, white and blue hands or backsides.

There were the “real” floats which carried lovely ladies, wearing flowing gowns and crowned with tiaras. Their gloved hands waved at the crowds. Marching bands from all the area high schools strode the streets with sweat rolling down their cheeks. Even in the heat of the day, these valiantly uniformed stalwarts pounded on drums and blew hot air into their brass instruments. Months of practice would turn even the most amateur group into a spectacle to behold.

When I was a kid, parades weren’t about having candy thrown to waiting children’s hands. It had everything to do with the pageantry – the patriotism – the celebration of freedom. Somehow those things have since turned into soap boxes for various other causes.

The fire truck signaled the end of the parade. Sirens blared and men in uniform rode atop the vehicle. Flags were everywhere. They dotted the sidelines as those in the audience waved them vigorously. Almost every house in every neighborhood had a flag somewhere on the property. Store fronts and other places of business were proud to display the red, white and blue. Today, respect for this symbol has been questioned and even ignored by some.

We live in a small town – actually one of the first cities established in Minnesota. The homes close to Main Street continue to display flags. Tonight there will be a parade in an adjoining town. There continues to be a spark of patriotism left in these little communities. I pray that the spark be reignited so that love of country doesn’t fade into oblivion.

As we enjoy the warmth of summer, let’s consider how important our freedom is and how it was bought. Thank God for our country and may He continue to bless it.

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REVOLTING MEN IN SHORT PANTS

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No, I’m not really back yet, but words from Wally Fry’s post yesterday, got me thinking.  First he talked about having a catchy title for our posts – ones which certainly would stir interest.  Then he mentioned the fact of reposting some of his older pieces during his busy times so he wouldn’t lose his following.

I still need some time off from blogging, but I’ve decided to post some of my older pieces so people don’t think I’m dead. At my age, you have to worry about such things.  As far as catchy titles, I hope you like my choice for this one.

This week is one of celebration for our country, as we honor our independence from tyrannical rule on July 4, 1776.  Flags will be raised, parades held, firework displays will explode to re-announce our freedom.  Do we know what it’s all about?

I decided to read through the actual Declaration of Independence in its entirety.  Most of us are familiar with the preamble – “When in the course of human events …” But the rest of the words aren’t usually read, but they ring true in many ways today.  Our founding fathers were brilliant in their construction of this document.  They presented their case for independence from King George and the British Empire in a very clear way.
The first pieces of evidence against the king:

  • “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.”

Those are only a few of their complaints.  I would advise all Americans to read the rest of this endictment.  Many things those early colonists faced are once again happening in our country.  I’m not suggesting another revolution, but I think it’s important for us to go back and look at our beginnings in order to heal our land.  It might even be a good idea to read through the Declaration of Independence with our children and make a lesson out of it. They will, after all, be leading this great nation some day.

The final statement of this important document says it all.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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VACATION SORT OF

I will be taking a brief vacation from blogging. I’ll continue to write daily, but until we find a different internet service. I’ll be taking a vacation of sorts. In doing so, I’m hoping to concentrate more on improving my writing, spending time in the garden, focusing more on relationships and above all, getting closer to God by digging into His Word.

See you all soon😊😊

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SAILING

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A fresh, crisp morning,

The sun barely peaking over the eastern horizon,

Boats being readied,

Sails hoisted,

The chatter of excited voices,

The race is about to begin,

Early summer days,

Filled with billowing, white sails,

Memories of a younger life,

When caution was thrown to the wind,

Now our days grow shorter,

Our time is running out,

The wind has been knocked out of us,

Yet we continue to sail.

 

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A LETTER OF HOPE

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My Dear Child,

I know things look bad.  The world doesn’t seem to realize just what a mess its created. There are wars all across the globe.  Children are dying and being sold into slavery.  People flee from their countries in search of a better place.  Every form of inhumane treatment occurs on our city streets.  People shoot themselves with illegal drugs to take the pain away, while others end their lives because they see no future in them.

I know it seems impossible.  I know you wonder why we continue struggling for a better way.  I understand why your heart is hurting and answers don’t come.  It’s been like this for a long, long time, yet that doesn’t make it any easier to bear – does it?

Governing bodies don’t have the answers. Those who lead are confused by a corrupt system which refuses to change.  Those who desperately long for the way things used to be, realize that will never happen.  Yet there is still a handful, who know there is only one way to change things – a simple solution which has been hidden by darkness of evil.

Eyes have been shrouded by that darkness until it becomes a way of life for them.  They don’t even remember what it was like to bathe in the light of heaven.  Their hearts have become hardened and they turn away from the one who knows what is most needed.  Their consciences have been twisted and devoured by hate, fear, the ugliness of sin. Their very thoughts have been consumed by the evil they wish not to do.

When all is lost, they will return.  They will seek the healing of their nation and those who have brought her down.  Their voices will raise to heaven and they will be heard.  Don’t give up.  Don’t despair.  Don’t become so emotionally spent that your hope is destroyed.  Ask and you will receive.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened for you.

Call on me in the time of your darkest hours.  Call on me when things are going well.  Call on me and I will be there for you.  I’ve got this.
All My Love,

Your Heavenly Father

 

 

 

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MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO

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

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

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

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

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

 

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WHAT DO THEY SEE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DAYS GONE BY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Sun kissed cobblestones, line the streets of gold,

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

Dreams of simpler times, days of having fun,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rap of traveling horses, clopping upon the stones,

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

Long dresses dusting the sidewalk, gentlemen tip their hats,

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

 

 

 

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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