Pushing through the smallest spaces, reaching to the sky above,

Drenched in sunshine and in splendor, nurtured by God’s own pure love,

As blood flows through each dark vein, bringing life within and out,

Tender leaves declare His name, of that truth there is no doubt,

Suddenly a bud appears, blooming with a beauty glorious,

In that flower God proclaims, He gives hope and life victorious,

Spring is just around the corner, new life soon will rise again,

When we think of God’s compassion, loving us in spite of sin,

For the gift of His salvation, lifts us from the pit of hell,

Cleansing us from our transgressions, heaven waits and all is well.

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Several years go, I wrote a play for my children’s theater about the old west.  It was called, WILD WEST WOMEN & A FEW GOD MEN.  The play spun a story of many of the women of the west, which required me to do a lot of interesting research.  Characters like Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Belle Starr and performers in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show were included.

As I walked through several articles, books and films about these women, I happened upon an interesting man named Ned Buntline.  He wasn’t the average westerner. This fellow got his start by traveling to the new frontier, to write stories about the people that lived there.  In his travels he heard retold stories, which had become twisted fact.  He checked things out himself and became one of the hottest dime novel writers of the time.

His often romanticized stories turned into a career in publishing and made him a millionaire.  The stories didn’t give a clear picture of the west.  He even made the outlaws look good and turned them into heroes.  His goal was always to make the most money he could off of his sensational stories.  He was in it for the dough.

Born on this day in 1823, Edward Zane Carroll Judson used several pseudonyms throughout his life, but became well known with his name, Ned Buntline.  His father was a lawyer who hoped his son would someday become a minister.  Ned had other plans.  At the age of 11 he ran away from home and became a cabin boy and the following year on a navy vessel.  During the Civil War he enlisted in the Union Army and rose to the rank of Sergeant, but was dishonorably discharged for drunkenness.

In 1843 the prodigal returned home to his father’s home in Pittsburgh under the guise of studying law.  In fact, his intention was to start a literary magazine.  After only two issues of his magazine appeared in print, his business failed.

Buntline was a known womanizer.  He was married 7 times and had numerous affairs.  One of his first encounters was with the married, teenaged wife of Robert Porterfield in Nashville in 1846. On 14 March 1846, Porterfield challenged Judson to a duel, and Judson killed him. At his trial for murder, Judson was shot and wounded by Porterfield’s brother and, during the chaos, escaped from custody.  He was apprehended by a lynch mob and hanged.  Fortunately for Ned, he was rescued before he died.

He was also a heavy drinker, but went around the country giving lectures on temperance.  This fellow talked out of both sides of his mouth, but who am I to judge?

It was at one of those lectures, that Buntline met William Cody.  That friendship led to Buntline’s writing many stories about the fascinating man whom he renamed Buffalo Bill.  He was responsible in part for making Cody a media sensation out east.

He could’ve been considered the fake news of the day, as he embellished his stories to make money.  His dime novels were selling like hot cakes and creating a buzz about the new frontier.  Like our modern day tabloids, he was feeding their inquiring minds with overdone fodder.  Though he never wrote the great American novel, he made more money during his lifetime than Walt Whitman or Mark Twain.  It goes to show you, people often prefer gossip more than quality literature.

Buntline died at his home in Stamford, NY at the age of 63.  He rubbed shoulders with the men and women of the old west and made them famous with his short stories.  He became part of high society with his wealth. He created a legend out Buffalo Bill, leading him to great success.  I wonder what would’ve happened if he had followed his father’s choice of careers for him.  We’ll never know.


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Having come from a long line of sociopaths, Herod Antipas relished in the shock and awe of his domain.  The more outlandish the behavior, the better. Like his father, Herod, the Great, he was much a chip off the old block.  His dad was responsible for the death of the innocent babies at the time of Jesus’ birth.  It must’ve been a family trait, because Antipas lived a pretty shocking lifestyle himself.

He married twice. His first wife was Arabian, whom he eventually divorced. He then married Herodias, his own niece and the wife of his half-brother Philip, and persuaded her to leave her husband and to accompany him to Tiberias. In fact he lured her away from her husband and his relative.  When his first wife heard of this, she told her father of her disgrace and he waged war on Antipas. Herod simply divorced his first wife.

John, the Baptist condemned Herod for his infidelity and incest which sealed his eventual beheading.  Herodias was the one responsible for it because of her daughter’s demands, but Herod carried it out.  Herodias was a social climber and wanted her husband to achieve more than he did.  She was always interfering in his political dealings, pushing and driving his every move. She must have had tremendous influence over him.

Being the show man Herod was, he was intrigued by the man called Jesus and was anxious to see some of His miracles.  When called on to intercede in the crucifixion of Jesus, Herod jumped at the chance to get a look at this fellow.  Jesus knew this was the man responsible for His cousin, John’s death.  He could’ve zapped Herod right there, but He said nothing.  Because Jesus remained silent, through Herod’s interrogation, He was sent back to Pilate because Herod didn’t want any part in the politics of this event.

Isn’t it amazing how God orchestrates everything to accomplish His plans for us.  Without the bad guys, there would have been no crucifixion, no death and no resurrection.  Of course, I’m sure God would’ve found another way to make it happen, but it’s exciting to see how all these characters had such an important role in the carrying out of our salvation.

Oh, what a great God we have.  He’s given us the victory over death and has designed our life here on earth, according to His exquisite blueprint.

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I’ve always liked cowboys.  I married one. He never branded a cow or roped a steer, but he happens to be an 1800’s kind of a guy.  Cowboys and outlaws and men of the west were always considered to be quite adventurous as they made their fortunes in one way or another.  My husband fills the bill even today.

Wyatt Earp was born on this day in 1848 in Monmouth, Illinois.  His family settled in Iowa when he was only a year old.  By the time he was a young boy, he was eager to join his brothers who were fighting in the Union Army.  He ran away from home several times to do so, but was always retrieved and brought home.

Wyatt moved to Lamar, Missouri in 1870.  He married Urilla Sutherland and became a local constable.  His wife soon became pregnant.  He lost her to Typhus along with her unborn child.  At that point his life turned into turmoil.  He took to drinking heavily and was accused of embezzlement.  He made a quick get away from Lamar and moved on to Peoria, Illinois.  He had several run ins with the law and was arrested for horse stealing.  His life was literally a mess.  He was at his lowest point.  Eventually his dark past led him to become a lawman.

We’ve all heard the story of the gunfight at the OK Corral.  It was the final result of a long standing feud between the Clantons and the Earps.  Virgil, Morgan, Wyatt and their sick friend, Doc Holiday, went up against the Clanton gang and within 30 seconds the gunfight ended, but the feud continued. In those days they settled their family feuds with guns.

Brother Morgan was fatally shot while playing billiards.  Wyatt went on an avenging tirade in search of his brother’s killer.  He, along with Doc Holiday and a small posse, roamed the frontier on a killing spree.  Taking on the wild west cowboy culture, made headlines around the country.  He became a hero of sorts and fodder for many dime novels.

After Wyatt left his common law wife, Mattie Blaylock, he took up with Josephine Marcus, a saloon entertainer.  They remained together for the remainder of his life.  His final years were spent as a bartender in various saloons in California and Nome, Alaska.  He never achieved the fortune he wanted, but his fame lived on after his death.  He died January 13, 1929, at his Los Angeles home.  Josephine claimed they were married in 1892 but there is no record of a marriage license.

It must’ve been horrible living in the old west, with crime in the streets and gunfights happening on a daily basis. Sounds kind of like the streets of many of our cities today.




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Mary and Martha were Lazarus’ sisters and all of them called Jesus their friend.  He’d been a guest in their home.  Mary couldn’t get enough of His words and Martha was more concerned that the house was in order and food prepared for the Master.

Don’t we all act that way at times?  We want to hear the Word.  We make preparations to do so and then something gets in the way.  Martha wanted so much to please Jesus, that her concerns were on earthly things, rather than the gift of His message. I think we have to cut Martha a little slack here, because it simply shows us that these women both had the same intentions, but their ways of expressing them were different.  Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened intently to the words as Martha slaved away in the kitchen.

As time went on and Jesus was moving from place to place, Lazarus became ill.  The sisters sent word to Jesus to come and do something to restore his health, but Jesus didn’t come immediately. He waited for two days.  He then told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep and He needed to return to waken him.  His men didn’t understand.   It was much too dangerous to return.  Jesus was a marked man in Judaea.

Now it was Martha’s turn to do the right thing. She ran to greet Jesus, when she heard He was on the way, and said to Him , “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. She expressed her faith in what she knew God could do through His Son.

When they arrived at the tomb, Lazarus’ body had already begun to decompose.  Can you imagine? Here lay a man, dead for four days and Jesus went in and brought him back to life.  Every time I hear that part of the story, it makes my heart wonder how Lazarus felt.  He had experienced paradise and now Jesus was restoring him to life. What mixed emotions he must have had.

Jesus spoke in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The crowd was silent, but within seconds Lazarus walked out of the tomb, alive and well. No one had ever raised a dead person to life again, except for the prophet Elijah  It boggled the mind. You could hear the crowd come to life as well.  They couldn’t stop talking about the events of the day.  Many believed that Jesus indeed was the Son of God.  Some returned to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done.  Word spread all over the country and undoubtedly Mary, the mother of Jesus also heard about this astounding miracle.  Her Son indeed was God’s Son as well.

From that day on, a plot was set in motion to get rid of this man who claimed to be the Messiah.



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We can try, but we can’t hide from God’s eyes.

He knows us inside and out,

No matter where we go, He is there,

We can go to the darkest places and He will find us,

We can show ourselves openly and He will be there too,

He knows everything about us,

Things that are hidden from the world,

Things we try to forget,

But they continue to haunt us,

The reason He knows us so well is that He made us,

He designed us,

He crafted us,

He engineered every intricate part,

He knew that we would stumble and fall,

There was no sacrifice good enough to wash away our guilt,

He became flesh and took our place,

God became man,

He lived a perfect life,

He walked among us,

He traveled in our sandals,\

He gave His own life,

So that we would inherit His Kingdom,

Even though our sins have been washed away,

We need to forgive ourselves,

We can’t do that alone either,

Through His sacraments, we’re reminded,

Of what He did for us,

So that we never need to hide from Him again.



We may try, but our true colors are always open to God, but when we believe in His everlasting love and promise, we are guaranteed a wide open place in heaven, where we will be the perfect creatures He intended us to be.

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If you grew up in the Baby Boomer era, there is no excuse for not knowing about Fractured Fairy Tales or the Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle.  These characters ruled the air waves and became part of our culture from the late 1950s through the 1960s.  The hilarious fractured fairy tales were narrated by Edward Everett Horton, whose birthday was on this day in 1886.

Edward was born in Brooklyn, New York at the end of the nineteenth century.  It was the height of the Industrial Revolution.  He was known to be quite a prankster when he was young.  While attending college, he climbed to the top of a building and waited for a crowd to form.  He then threw down a dummy.  Everyone though he jumped off the building.  I’m sure there were repercussions for that deed – probably involving a razor strop or stick.  After attending college at Oberlin, he took to the stage – a good place to redirect some of his silliness.

When silent films came along, he took a crack at that and easily made the transition from voiceless movies to talking pictures.  His stage work prepared him for that.  He appeared in many movies over his career with stars like Kathryn Hepburn, Zazu Pitts and Rita Hayworth.  He was in almost every comedy that came out in the 1930s, playing the fall guy for the hero.  He developed his famous “triple take” during those years.  (One more look back than a double take.)  He also had a memorable voice, which led him to much voice over work, animated movies and commercials.

He loved making movies and never even thought about retirement.  That happens to people involved in the arts.  It’s kind of an addiction.  When you truly love the work, it becomes part of your being.

I most remember this man for his part in the Adventures of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, whose sidekick was a moose named Bullwinkle.  The plots were always comical and held lots of subtle humor.  Characters like Boris Badinov and Natasha Fatale were the villains.  Like most stories of that time – there was a definite difference in good and evil.  Today you can’t always see that in the movies or on TV.  Edward was the voice for many of these cartoon characters.

He died on September 29, 1970 a the age of 84 in his home in Encino, California, of Cancer.  There is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with his name on it.  His notable voice will remembered for many years to come.  At least for those of us who are still part of that generation.


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Through the cobwebs of existence – through the darkness of our strife,

Through the dankness of our sinning and the wickedness of life,

Through the deepest pits of hell and such helplessness we feel,

Comes a single light from heaven, for our sinful hearts to heal,

The light increases as we move, to witness a clearer glance,

But as we reach to touch the light, we’re enveloped in a trance,

It’s just within our reach we think, but no matter how we try,

Escape from the gloomy darkness, now consumes us from all sides,

Just when we think that all is lost and relinquish every hope,

The light erases darkness and through it we now can cope,

This little light from Bethlehem grew into a brilliant star,

He came to earth to save the world from sin and its deadly scar.

He came in darkness of the night, but His brilliance cannot hide,

We are redeemed by His great might,  He’s always by our side.


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