ACT YOUR AGE

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“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C. S. Lewis

Wouldn’t it be nice if we never had to age – if we could remain children forever – if we never had to experience all the aches and pains that grown ups do?  Wouldn’t it be grand if all our worldly needs were take care of by someone else – we had no responsibility – we could simply play all day and do the things we wanted to do?

I’ve often thought of myself as the proverbial child.  The thought of growing old was never appealing. Doing childish things wasn’t a choice, it was an obligation.  In so doing, I never really did grow up.  I try finding the joy in the silly things.  I stand tall even when my weary frame is folding and shrinking.  I put on a happy face when my heart is full of tears.  A Pollyanna sort of philosophy, I guess.  However, aging is truly over-rated.

I was reminded of that yesterday as I had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of young actors.  When I revealed my age, there were sighs of wonder and amazement.  How did I live this long?  How could I still be moving on my own effort? It got me thinking about how much I need the energy of young people to keep me energized.

When we reach these elder years of life, it’s easy to sit in a recliner and watch the world slip into oblivion. The road less traveled becomes appealing. The quiet moments and times of solitude are fine for a while, but then what?  More quiet moments, leading to more inactivity, resulting in lack of enthusiasm and zest for living.

It’s easy to see a pattern within my life.  I don’t consider myself to be a workaholic, but I am not one to shirk work either.  I’ve discovered over time that I cannot not work.  I was raised with a strong work ethic.  I’ve discovered through raising a family, that I’m not the important one in my life and that doesn’t bother me.  I love seeing others flourish and grow.  If I can be an element in that growth, I’ve gained more than they have.

God gives each of us gifts to use throughout our lives – even when we feel we may no longer serve a purpose – even when our bones creak, our voices crack, our skin wrinkles and most of our bulk is now hanging down around  the waist and hips.  As long as we have life – as long as breath is surging through our nostrils – as long as God allows us time on this planet – we have a job to do.

We don’t have to grow up.  Life can be a blast if we allow it to be, or it can become drudgery if we let it.  When we think that way, we need to start thinking like children again.

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HAUNTING

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A ship through swirly water glides, no rest upon its deck,

For this old craft of yesteryear is nothing but a wreck,

Its crew has long since passed away, its captain is gone too,

So all alone it sails the sea, over the waters blue.

 

This once pristine and mighty boat, was master of the sea,

But now there’s no one to sail her, a pirate ship was she,

She raided the ships around her, kidnapped and plundered too,

Still no one comes to rescue her, she’s met her Waterloo.

 

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SO, THIS IS HAPPENING AGAIN

43532548_10204831158495827_2275536577511817216_nLast October, I embarked on an old career.  I stepped on the stage to perform again.  The play was, “Southern Fried Funeral,” in which I portrayed Ozella Meeks, the church lady who tended to all the funeral arrangements.  I guess you could say I was typecast, since everyone knows I’m a church lady.  It was a true challenge to myself to see if I still had the ability to memorize lines and bring a character to life.

As you see in the photograph, I was the recipient of a pie in the face at the end of each performance.  Let me tell you, this is something that has to be choreographed as precisely as a fight scene.  At first I tried to defend myself and the pie went in all directions.  As I anticipated getting that slippery confection, it took a lot of restraint to just let it hit me without looking like I was expecting it.

Well, the same theatre which produced this show last year discovered that there’s a sequel called, “Southern Fried Nuptials.”  It was decided to put this on the docket for July of this year, so this is how I’ll be spending my summer evenings from now on.  Most all of the original cast will be on hand to create more laughter.  This time, there are no flying pie missiles, but who knows.

As I embark on this adventure again, I am again plagued with self doubt.  I’ll be 77 years old in a month.  I tire out when I take more than twenty steps.  My memory has taken a big dive in the past six months.  Last time, I kept rewriting my lines and delivered them in my own words.  Who knows what will happen this time?  Thank goodness I have a director with lots of patience.

So here I go again.  There’s no stopping me.  I wonder if there’s room for performers in heaven?

 

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I’M SORRY

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There are times when the phrase, “I’m sorry” is just a phrase of empty insincere words. The words mean nothing, because they’re said out of obligation.  Being truly contrite means that we know we’ve done something wrong and feel guilt over it.   Because of the shame we feel,  we ask for forgiveness.  Sometimes we receive it – other times our repentance is ignored.  As I mentioned the other day, we often spew words that have no real value.  We say them because we feel obliged to do so.  We put a sad face emoji on an email and expect everything to be fine.

The way we react to another’s sadness over something that made us unhappy – the hurt we feel when attacked by another’s tongue – the depths of despair when someone wrongly accuses us – shows how very human we are.

God, on the other hand, can’t wait for our repentance. It seems such a small thing, but when we sincerely ask for forgiveness, He is overjoyed.  It makes me wonder why we’re so afraid to ask forgiveness from one another.  Maybe because we know that our fellow man doesn’t possess that unconditional love required to forgive.  Maybe we fear being rejected.  Maybe we simply don’t like to admit we’ve done something wrong.

What does God say about repentance?  He expects it.  In order for us to receive all the benefits of His kingdom, we must come before Him with contrite hearts – begging for forgiveness – truly regretting our ability to keep His commandments – but also fully confident that He has given us a way out of that dilemma.  He sent His only Son to be our Rescuer – our Champion – the One whose body was slain for our salvation.

When we forgive another person, it frees us from anger, hatred and a whole assortment of emotions,   When God forgives us – we are the ones we no longer carry the weight of sin.  He gives us that freedom without cost.  He gives it because we say we’re sorry.

God I know that I’ve fallen short of your commandments.  I also know that your love for me is limitless.  You ask only one thing of me – my sincere repentance.  I’m sorry for not placing my complete trust in You. I can’t even begin to say all the things I’m sorry for, but I know that your have invited me to lay my sins on Jesus and that through Him I will receive your forgiveness.  Help me always to follow His example in my life and though I am free, allow me to be a servant for your name’s sake.  Amen!

 

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JUST THE TWO OF US

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Two lives mingle into one,

Of one mind,

One spirit,

One body,

Tempted at times by distractions,

Yet always returning to each other,

God watches over these creatures,

As He sustains us in marriage,

Never leaving,

Always faithful,

Watching and protecting,

Cuddling us in His arms,

Lifting us when we fall,

Teaching us to depend on Him,

And each other,

Breaking us,

Through all kinds of peril,

Building us,

Through disappointment,

Through misunderstandings,

And always returning to Him,

For guidance.

 

 

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BREATHLESS

I suffer from asthma and many other breathing disorders.  As my life progresses, each breath I take becomes harder. I find myself getting short of breath after just a small amount of exertion.  When I need to use my inhaler I’m usually gasping for air.  It’s a feeling of helplessness that I can’t really explain. Once I’ve breathed in the medicine, my symptoms usually subside and my breath returns.

Do you ever feel like you’re suffocating under the pressure of every day living?  The weight of getting through it all  can be oppressive.  When our breath is taken away and our airway seems to have tightly closed,  we become helpless, out of control  and fearful.

There are obstacles that seem to close in on us.  We walk the walk, follow the rules, stay on the righteous path, yet there are still problems.  We get an overdue bill.  Our relationships are a mess. We can’t’ seem to muster up the energy to get through a normal day.  We get a bad report from the doc.  We hear of friends who are ill and passing away. Gloom and doom surrounds us.  At times it feels like we can’t breathe.  There are no instant cures for momenta like that.  Sucking in some oxygen or taking a pill is not going to resuscitate you.  What we all need at that moment, is the life giving breath that only God provides.

His Holy Word is filled with remedies for every malady.  He has erased the sin from our sick souls. He has redeemed us by is precious blood.  We have the confidence that these old bodies will be renewed when we reach heaven.  We are more than special to Him, because He laid down His life for us.  If God loves us that much, we need to start having a better opinion of ourselves.

We can be crushed by the problems or we can push them aside with the power of God.  Alone we will feel breathless, overtaken and hopeless, but with Him at our side, we can conquer anything that comes our way.  He is our lifeline and the things we face today will be gone in just a little while.

 

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BREAK OF DAY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Within the mountain’s early dawn, His majesty is seen,

The skies fill up with brilliance, and glorious golden sheen,

His breath is seen in morning mist, His voice through eagles’ song,

His power displays in sunlit rays, He shines the whole day long,

His love for us unspoken, but seen in every rock,

He leads us like a shepherd protects his wandering flock,

I am so weak and fragile, like many a stubborn sheep,

My trust oft wanes, my fears o’er take, I toss through dream filled sleep,

My tears won’t stop, my faith grows weak, I stumble all the way,

But He’s right there, surrounding me, protecting me each day,

I’ll never grow to understand His unconditional love,

But thank Him that He grants it from His throne high up above,

My God, you are my fortress, my strength when I am weak,

You carry me through deserts, you lead me when you speak,

Through pastures green and waters clean, fulfilling every need,

You fill my heart with gratitude, my soul your Word does feed.

 

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HOW ARE YOU?

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When you get to be my age, this is a question you usually don’t ask much anymore.  If you’re asked the question, expect a long drawn out answer which you had no intention or the hours required to hear.

In the world today, we can post an emoji to show how we feel, without going into a lot of detail.  Sometimes those emoji tell it all and it takes no time to spill your true feelings.  You may have a plethora of emoji which indicate a true state of confusion.  However, we are not a people of little, yellow, round faces with various emotions pasted on them.  At least not yet.

Getting older, as I and most of my friends are, when asked, “how are you doing?” the answers can be as simple as, “I’m still horizontal,” or “Still standing.”  They can be as witty as “At least I’m above ground.”  If you’re told, “It’s good to see you,” you can always respond with, “It’s better to be seen than viewed.”

Enough of the silly comebacks.  If we were to really tell someone how we feel, we would need more than a few hours to describe everything that’s going on in our lives.  Most of the time, we’re afraid to ask for that very reason.  No one really wants to know how you’re doing.

When this phrase was first spoken, it must’ve been in all sincerity.  The person asking would wait for a response, perhaps because the person had been in poor health before their meeting.  I assume as time went by and people got tired of enduring the long answers, it just developed into a catch phrase and eventually wound up becoming the slang, “How ya doin’,” which is more like a simple greeting today.

These words have gone by the wayside and seem almost uncaring and meaningless.  The same can be true of the phrase, “I’ll pray for you.”  How often have you said that as a catch phrase or cop out for someone who is going through difficulty?  How many times have you sincerely prayed for that person?  How many have stopped what they were doing to actually pray with that person?

When we throw words around, they should have something solid to support behind them.  In all our prayers and petitions, we should be sincere and honest with those we are praying for, otherwise it becomes another meaningless set of words.

Prayer is our communication with God.  This has been granted to us by the work Jesus did and what the Holy Spirit continues to do within us.  This gift is our way to go directly to the source with all our needs and cares.  We need to mean it when we say, “I’m praying for you.”

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”  Matthew 6:7

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CLOSE CALLS

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ORIGINAL ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Like ships that pass upon the open waters,

We sail through life effortlessly, or so it seems,

Under the surface there are tangles and weeds that strangle,

Above, prevailing winds determine the journey,

There are perils at sea as in all parts of living,

Storms that take our breath away,

Dangers that surround and drown us,

No matter the breadth or depth,

No matter the willingness or weakness,

No matter our desire or passion,

There is still only one way to reach home,

By taking His hand and following Him,

By living life with Him at the helm,

By putting complete trust in the pilot,

The Captain of the ship,

Will lead us to our eternal home.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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To all the moms out there, no matter what they call you, you are amazing.  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all my blogging friends.  You rock!!!

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TO MOMS EVERYWHERE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

There are days when you grow weary, when your back will hold no more

When your eyes grow sad and teary, and you run for the back door,

Your dreams of sleeping in are crushed,  the coffee’s running out,

The oatmeal on the wall is mushed, you have no strength to pout.

 

When you fill the cart at Walmart, with things they should never eat,

You wish you were inside that cart, so you could rest your feet,

When day is done and dishes call,  your patience has been spent.

You were a child once after all,  to your mother please repent.

 

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MY WRITING JOURNEY

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With all the fiction in the political scene, it probably would be more lucrative to put your writing skills into that market.

I’ve finished my mandatory 60,000+ plus words.  I’m adding a few more as I begin the editing process.  You can’t imagine my excitement as I saw the word count hit that mark.  It was liking watching the odometer on your car turning to 100,000 miles.  There’s a feeling of accomplishment.  There’s a certain amount of pride for reaching the goal.  There’s the anticipation of what comes next – fear of rejection and hope that people will love your work as much as you.

That fear of rejection has always been my nemesis.  I’ve written countless short stories, plays, poems, screen plays, blog posts and always come to that final pinnacle.  the time actually submitting my work.  I can’t push myself beyond wanting to get it done.  I know that the hardest door to open is my own, but  still fear the entire process.  Maybe it goes back to my eighth grade teacher’s discouraging words about my writing.  As I look back now, it could have deterred me from ever writing again, but it actually acted as an impetus to go on.  Even though there were a couple of wasted years because of it.  After many tears, self inflicted feelings of inferiority and lack of courage, I continued to write because I felt I had to.

I still wonder about self-publishing.  Is this the best way to market your work?  I’d like some feedback on that.  I self-published my biography a few years ago, but that was mainly for the benefit of my family and its history.  There is money involved in self-publishing as well.  When you’re a starving artist and married to one to boot, money is tight.

There are many of you out there in Blogsville who know a lot more about this process than I do.  I’d appreciate any help I can get.  In the meantime, I will continue the editing process and let you know how it’s coming.

 

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THE KIDS WHO CALL ME MOM

314998_2315034252366_408561122_nMy children Joy, Amy & Bob

I have been blessed by God with three wonderful kids.  Each of them is unique in their own special way.  This picture was taken several years ago.  Hair color has changed somewhat, time has caught up with them, but this is the only one I could find that shows them all together at the same time.

To say they come from good stock would probably sound like any proud mother, but I’ll say it anyway.  They were born into a Christian home, loved to the moon and back by Christian parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.  They knew Jesus the minute they came into the world, because both mom and dad prayed with extremely grateful hearts when they were born.  The prayers continue every day.

It always amazes me how quickly they’re aging.  I don’t feel as though I’ve aged a bit. Somehow my oldest daughter is going to be 53 this year, our son is 51 and our baby girl will be 47.  How did that happen?

Our prayers for our children have not stopped.  Even though they’re all self sufficient, we continue to ask for God’s presence in their lives.  We confidently pray that the things they learned as children still remains in their hearts.

I could go into great detail about the successes these wonderful human beings have achieved.  I could use fancy words to describe how much they mean to me.  I could wax arrogantly (how’s that for fancy words?) as to their good looks, their sparkling smiles, their wit and charm, but no one would believe me. I tend to wax too much when it comes to my kids.

I’ll just say this.  I am proud to be a mother.  I was never really prepared for all the things that came along with parenting, but God was with me through the journey.  It’s been exciting, frustrating, worrisome, wonderful, nerve wracking and the best thing I ever did. I thank God for the honor of allowing me to be a mom.

 

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PULL ANCHOR – RAISE THE SAILS

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Morning air, crisp – fresh –  invigorating,

Sun dapples the still water with sparkling, glittering diamonds,

Soon the solitude is broken, as sails are released from their sleep,

As the sound of starched, white canvas tickles the ear,

You hope for a hint or more of wind, enough to fill the sails.

And carry the vessels swiftly across the great expanse.

 

As more sails rise, the sun soaks up the dew on the shoreline,

Sleep is wiped from the eyes,  tired muscles are flexed,

Thoughts turn to second chances and fresh starts as you welcome the day,

Life is renewed with the refreshment of rest, but  now is the time for recreation,

Seagulls soar above, knowing there soon will be a tiny morsel of tasty fish.

The anchor is lifted, nothing holds you back, you are free,

Sails catch the wind and vessels gather.

 

Anxious hearts begin to race, excitement surges through muscular arms,

The sound of a single shot sets things in motion,

Freedom is yours as you glide unfettered upon a lake of glass,

The race won’t be easy, there will be obstacles and spills,

You will return home a winner or not, but always exhilarated,

Anchored again in a safe harbor,

Ready for another day, another contest another challenge.

 

REGATTA!

 

 

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WALLY’S FRIDAY FRYDADDY FUNNY

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JULIE’S FRIDAY FUNNY

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PROUD GRANDMA YODA IS OF BABY NEW.  YODA MAYOR SURE IS NOT.

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DAYS IN THE LIFE OF A MOTHER

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Every mom has a few funny stories she drags up once in a while to amuse her friends or remind her kids of how much fun it is to parent.  Our kids usually aren’t amused at the retelling, but that doesn’t deter us from doing so over and over and over again.  It’s a mother thing.

I’ve shared many incidents involving my youngest daughter, much to her chagrin.  I didn’t have time to think much about the silly things my first two did.  They were born 20 months apart and kept me busy thinking about other things – like staying awake, changing diapers, washing diapers, potty training, managing a household and hanging on to my sanity by a thread.

When the third came along, I was a seasoned mother.  At least I thought I was. She arrived five years after the second one.  The first two were in school so I had her all to myself.  She was a very good baby.  I’m sure it was because I was a much calmer mom by then.

Since she’s usually the recipient of my funniest memories of motherhood, I’ll give her a break today.  You won’t be hearing about the dog she spray painted blue or the chewed gum she stole from a little boy in church – right from his mouth.  I won’t talk about the fact that she designed a little closet for all her Barbie clothes on the wall of her bedroom.  She saw me pounding nails to hang pictures and did the same to display her doll’s wardrobe.  I will not mention art project that I ate.  I won’t say a word about all the boys she gave her phone number to.

Instead I’ll talk about all of their joint adventures as they were growing up.  There were the funerals for dead critters – like grasshoppers, baby birds and a duck called Yacky Doodle.  There were a few dogs buried on our property.  There were the family vacations.  On second thought, you don’t want to hear about those.  There were the trips to the local creek to find leeches and suckers for fishing.  Our niece went along once and thought they were looking for peaches and suckers.

There were the countless sporting events when we’d cheer them on, even if they were running the wrong way on the basketball court.  We applauded as they performed in school plays or musical performances.  Since I was also their drama instructor for all their years in high school, there were lots of challenges in that area.  More drama than I was prepared for.

I remember the tears shed when the girls walked down the aisle – the pride as each of them had children of their own – the worry when they didn’t come home at the usual time – the hours spent sewing little matching outfits for them to wear at Christmas. That ended when they turned five and it wasn’t cool anymore.  Their confirmation days and expression of faith brought more tears.  To see them develop that faith and become reliant on God to help them through their difficult times as well as the good.

All the highs and lows of parenting eventually smooth out. Those times are helping to form a person who will be prepared for the future.  The foundation we lay for our children will affect them beyond our wildest dreams.

Now I’m hearing stories about their childhood that I was never aware of.  Maybe some of them are best left untold.

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BIG MUDDY

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

The muddy waters are stirred by the giant paddle wheel,

Steam pours from the smoke stack,

The craft easily cuts through the river,

Gliding, coasting, dancing across the glasslike surface,

Encroaching on music from a choir of croaking frogs,

Standing firm within the winds of a summer storm,

Ever staunch,

Yet pouring out great effort,

Within this workhorse, inside its protected cabins,

Are stories yet untold,

Gamblers, wayfarers, moguls, those in hope of a future,

The best and worst of society,

This belle of the water is a symbol of another time,

A quieter, more peaceful time,

A time when the sound of the paddle,

Gave way only to the sounds of nature,

Oh for those long lost days.

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MOTHER OF MANY

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“He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.”  Benjamin Franklin

Well, Benjamin Franklin only had three children that we know of – so easy for him to say right?  What about large families?  My mother came from a brood of eight.  She was the second born, so became one of the caretakers of the youngers when she was old enough to change a diaper.  Large families are not as popular today, but I still know a few and they seem to function amazingly well.  In a way it’s like having a built in assembly line at times.

As times change and mother’s responsibilities reach beyond the walls of the home, women are choosing to have smaller families. It’s pretty much a balancing act when it’s necessary to add bread winner to the list of motherly duties.

When I thumb through old, old photographs of long gone ancestors, they usually contain large families.  In those times it was as necessary to produce offspring as it was to make hay or milk cows.  Those children would help in the running of the family business.  Same was true for city folks who were just getting by.  For the poor, large families would bring in more income.  For the wealthy, the size of a man’s family was a status symbol of sorts.

Large families today are not as common.  Being a stay at home mom is somewhat unusual, yet many women choose to do so and in addition are home schooling their children.  I say, hats off to these women.  I commend them especially because I know I could never done that myself.  That doesn’t mean you should feel less of a mother for not staying home.

Whether you have one child or ten of them, you are a mother.  A mother is required to love her children, care for them, provide for their needs, to nurture, nourish and nurse them.  There are no rules for being a good mom, but once you hold that precious, new life in your hands, you know that this is a gift that only God can give.  The responsibilities that come along with it are huge, but God chose women to birth children because He knew we were the ones with the tender hearts, the soft,gentle compassion and the built in need to nurture.

 

 

 

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A LESSON IN PATIENCE

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ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

Gliding through the morning waters, watching as the sun breaks through,

All alone as diamonds glisten, dancing in the morning dew,

Slicing through the still clear water, searching for the perfect place,

Never hearing sounds that haunt you, feel the wind upon your face.

 

Leaving all your cares behind you, stealing just a little time,

Grabbing comfort where you find it, carving out a place sublime,

When your life is complicated, faltering you soon will drown,

When you’re  base is God’s foundation, you will surely come around.

 

When you glide through roughest waters, leaving caution to the wind,

Caring not for intervention, even when your heart has sinned,

That’s the time to trust in Jesus,  He will never let you fall,

He’s the rock of your salvation,  He has born the sins of all.

 

God will captain your adventure, He is with you all the way,

Even in your recreation, He’ll be with you as you play,

Life’s too short to drift and flounder, take some time to contemplate,

Get away from all the pressure, bait your line then sit and wait.

 

 

 

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