EASTER MEMORIES

I recall the times when we would get all dolled up for Easter. Even the term, “dolled up,” is kind of telling. We put on our best. We wore brand, new clothes, shoes, hats, gloves and other adornments to celebrate the resurrection of the King. Like most traditions, those days often pale in comparison to the perfect message of Easter. No matter how we come to church, no matter where or how we worship, we are all coming to praise Jesus for His gift of eternal life and freedom from the guilt of sin.

Resurrection Day is the most glorious day of the church calendar, but it’s also imprinted on the hearts of everyone who believes in God’s amazing grace and love for the entire world. The hosannas and alleluias will fill the air. The timpani will sound, the trumpets will blare, there will be beautiful flowers on the altar and songs of praise will ring out all over our world. The “noise” of Easter can’t hold a candle to the peace that it gives us. Jesus went uncomplaining forth – He suffered on a cross – He spoke to His followers and even forgave those who were putting him to death. He breathed His last and died – yes, He died. On the third day, He overcame death. He came back to life in a glorified body, with only the scars on his hands, feet and side. Those remained as proof that He indeed is the Messiah. The suffering was over. Jesus, Christ was risen – risen indeed!

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18

EASTER BLESSINGS TO ALL OF MY BLOGGING FRIENDS. MAY THE LOVE OF GOD REMAIN IN YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND GIVE YOU ETERNAL PEACE!

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A DAY OF UNREST

It was the Sabbath day – a day dedicated to rest and meditation. Jesus’ body had been interred in the tomb of a rich man. Time would not allow for preparing the body for burial, because the Sabbath required no work of any kind.

It was a fact that Jesus lay dead in that grave, but the leaders of the Sanhedrin wanted to make sure that the body wasn’t stolen by His followers – which would create even more of an uproar. They remembered that Jesus spoke of rising from the dead. If His body disappeared, it would open a whole new can of worms. They went to Pilate and asked that extra security be placed at the tomb so this wouldn’t happen.

Where were Jesus’ followers? We know that John took Mary, the mother of Jesus to his home, but what about the rest of them. Peter, after his denial of Jesus, must’ve felt great remorse and went into hiding fearing for his own life. Judas, the betrayer had already committed suicide. What about the rest of them? Surely, they must’ve recalled the words of the Messiah as they sat at the last supper together.

“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 15:20-22

Those words were spoken only two days before. They were uttered by Jesus to give his disciples hope and peace of mind for the events that would follow. I imagine all they had in mind was grief at the loss of the One they called, Messiah. They were confused, frightened, anxious, depressed, really afraid for their own lives. Aren’t we much like them in that way? When our faith is challenged – when ugly things happen in our lives – when there seems to be no future – our first inclination is to run away. Our God is omniscient, which means “all knowing.” We can’t hide from Him. We cannot run away from Him.

As we ponder the happenings of Holy Week, let’s remember that our fears and anxieties will soon come to an end. As Jesus foretold – “I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” A new day is coming. The day of Resurrection. Don’t let anything take away the wonderful joy of that message.

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YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

When life gets tough, we sometimes feel we have to run away.

We look at things much differently with every passing day.

It seems too complicated to stay and go the course.

We give in to selfish thinking, we give up to remorse.

This force can pull us far away. It takes away our hope,

It leads into a web of fear where we can’t even cope.

It pulls us in – devours us – and spits us out again,

It doesn’t care about us. Our souls it must obtain.

To fight these awful feelings which leave us all alone,

We have to change these hearts of ours, that now have turned to stone.

“Come follow me,” our Savior says, “come walk with me today.”

“I’ll take your hand and lead you and help you find your way.”

You can’t escape the woes of life ’til death is at your door,

But when you trust in Jesus, He’ll give you so much more.

Stop running from the Prince of Peace, instead run to His arms.

He’s waiting just to help you and rid you of life’s harms.

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A LIGHT THAT SHINES FOR ALL

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER


Our world is filled with sadness – depression all around,
Where can we turn for comfort when there’s none,
The darkness draws around us – no respite can be found,
We search for answers but they never come.

The days close in upon us, we feel that no one cares,
We walk in darkness and in hopelessness,
We lose our will to carry on, our eyes are filled with tears,
We think we’ll never be free of the mess.

It’s then that God will rescue, when we are laid down low,
And come before His throne with saddened hearts,
He grants us His forgiveness, our sins He will let go,
The sting of death no longer He imparts.

A child will come and lead us, His promises are real,
The work has been completed through the Son,
Our God will not forsake us, through all the things we feel,
With Him we can face life with joy and zeal.

He came to earth to save us, He then became a man,
Experienced things that we now suffer through,
He was also there before our time on earth began,
And soon He will return for me and you.



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GOOD FRIDAY?

I never quite understood the meaning of the words, “Good Friday.” What’s good about it? Today we’ll hear sermons and watch movies depicting the horrendous torture and death of Jesus of Nazareth. We will experience the pain of the lash, the crown of thorns, the humiliation and crucifixion of an innocent man. Our minds will be filled with thougths of death by execution, blood spilled, betrayal, denial and followers running away and hiding. The whole story is filled with disturbing and dark images. Why Good Friday?

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1

God was there at the beginning of time. He loved the world He created and continued to do so throughout history. Even though the first sin occurred in the Garden of Eden, God also gave Adam and Eve the promise that He would provide a Savior to take away the indelible mark of disobedience. This Savior would be flesh and blood like every other man, but He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and thus was without sin. He was both God and man. As we read in the Bible, the history of the Israelites was filled with laws and expectations of obedience to God. Time and time again those laws were broken, and the people drifted away from God. Still God remained faithful to his chosen people and eventually sent the promised Savior, Jesus – His one and only Son.

It was all part of the divine plan of salvation that Jesus come to take the sin of the world upon His own shoulders. He would carry that load to the cross for our sake. He didn’t have to do it this way. He was God, after all. He chose to show His unconditional love, by humbling Himself and allowing His holy self to be humiliated, scorned, beaten and killed for our benefit.

For years, the people offered sacrifices to God as a means of atoning for their sins, but none of those oblations would suffice until the worthy lamb of God, Jesus was offered up on the cross. That’s the reason Good Friday is so good. Instead of focusing on the cruelty of that day – or the bloodshed – or the mocking of an innocent – let’s think about the love God poured out, by paying the price Himself. What a magnificent, loving, sacrificial, unconditional perfect God we have. He gave the ultimate sacrifice by laying down His life for us. He rose again on the third day, so that we could be assured of the same resurrection after our own death.

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

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HE KNEW . . .

As the days wore on leading up to the Passover Feast, Jesus continued to teach. It seemed to Mary that He was more urgent in His message.  There was so much He wanted His followers to know and yet He knew that His time on earth would soon be over.  He had so much that He needed to tell His disciples and so little time to share it all.

As the leaders of the Sanhedrin plotted against Him, Jesus sent Peter and John to arrange for the last meal they’d share together. As Jesus traveled back to Jerusalem from Bethany, He knew full well that He was walking into a trap designed to silence Him forever.  He went forth, like a great warrior ready for His battle for the redemption of humanity. It was after dark when He arrived with the others. They entered the upper room where the Passover Feast awaited them. Since it was the custom to wash feet upon entering a house, Jesus prepared the water and started to wash His disciples’ feet.

They had just walked two miles from Bethany, through the rough terrain and into a city now inhabited with thousands.  The streets were cluttered with filth and their sandal-clad feet were now covered with scum.  Still Jesus insisted on washing their feet.  It was an act of a servant, but also another opportunity to teach His followers.  He wanted them to know what was expected of them as His disciples – to care for each other in deepest humility and love. He then proceeded with the feast – again a mysterious act of submission.  Jesus was offering Himself as the final sacrifice and this was how He was teaching them to honor Him after He left them. He spoke of the betrayal and denial to come from Judas and Peter.  He knew they wouldn’t be able to stay awake as He prayed in Gethsemane. He knew Peter would cut off the ear of Malchus, the soldier.  He knew His band of brothers would desert Him when He was arrested.  He knew He’d be bound, spat upon, flogged, harassed, humiliated and suffer death on the cross.  He knew and yet He went bravely forward as the sin-free, unblemished lamb. He knew that the sacrifice was the only way to fulfill God’s covenant to the world. 

He realized that He was about to face a court of those who hated and feared Him.  They would call Him a heretic, a radical, a fool, a blasphemer.  He would endure the scourge as it tore through His flesh.  He knew what was coming.  Yet He went forth as the long-awaited Messiah.

His mother would weep in the darkness of that night, because she also knew.

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WASH ALL OF ME

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

You came to wash my feet, my hands, my heart and soul.

You washed me in your Son’s own blood.  You made me clean and whole.

From sin’s dark grip you pulled me – from Satan’s hands of steel,

Your love did then enfold me.  Your tears for me did heal.

Because you cleansed my soul, enslaved I’ll never be.

You loosed the chains that held me tight – You set my spirit free.

A bond that took the place of chains – exists within your touch.

A love that man cannot explain – a love that means so much.

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THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

At first his heart was filled with excitement to simply be with Jesus.  Like the rest of the disciples, the message appealed to him.  He had grown up with the promise of a Messiah and this Jesus seemed to fill all the prophesies written about Him.  Like many of his brothers in the faith, He didn’t fully understand God’s plan. Jesus’ words resonated with an authority that commanded their attention.  Their world was full of rebellion over Roman rule.  Poverty lined the streets of the common man. The time was ripe for these words.  What Judas didn’t understand was that Jesus was not an ordinary man.  He was the Son of God.

Being the treasurer of the group, Judas always had money on his mind.  How would they feed all the people that had gathered?  How would they supply themselves with the necessary gear to survive the elements?  When Jesus had his feet washed with expensive nard, Judas considered it a waste of something that could easily be turned into quick cash.

We often look at Judas with disdain, but he was truly a product of his environment – as all of us sinners are.  By being so focused on the material things he missed what was right in front of him. He had God with him – right in his midst – and he didn’t recognize.  We aren’t much different. We may go through life without thinking about Jesus and the importance of what He did for us.  We get wrapped up in the things of this world like money, politics, doctrine, government, material things and we simply put Jesus on the back burner, when He should be the main focus of our lives.

When the devil entered Judas’ thoughts, he was overtaken by greed and betrayed the One who had come to save the world.  When Satan gets into our heads, we do the same.  We need to put our total focus on the One who has already conquered sin and guilt instead of our own selfish needs. So, let’s cut Judas some slack.  We aren’t much different than he was.  We need Jesus to intercede for us.

Let’s remember our own daily betrayal of Jesus through our thoughts, words and deeds. Let’s ask God for forgiveness, and let’s be confident that our sins have already been forgiven. May He then give us strength to live our lives for Him.

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EASTER BUNNY VS. JESUS

As I was doing my weekly grocery shopping the other day, I was amazed to find a whole section devoted to Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs, peeps, sugary treats, cavity makers and artificial grass – along with baskets of all sizes and shapes filled with toys and more sweet stuff.  Maybe it has something to do with growing older, because when I was a young mom, the Easter bunny was a big part of this most holy of days.

When our children are growing up, why do we feel we have to sugar coat everything?  I mean it’s the same with Christmas and other Christian observances as well.  Anything wrapped in chocolate becomes our focus.  The truth of Good Friday isn’t pretty at all.  It’s raw and ugly.  The suffering Savior, bruised for our iniquities died.  He was buried in the secure tomb of a rich man.  He overcame death and foreshadowed our resurrection through His own.

Again, maybe it’s because I’m aging ungracefully.  My ideas about Christian holy days has deepened over time and I get a little miffed at the thought of my salvation being covered with jelly beans and chocolate eggs.  Maybe it’s because I can’t afford to indulge in those special treats and gifts as much as I once did.  Maybe it’s because our world has forgotten what was involved in that original Easter morning.  Instead of being shrouded in empty burial cloths, we’ve chosen to view Easter as the coming of spring.

What is Easter all about?  Is it all about me?  Is it all about celebrating?  Is it just another day?  Is it about fancy clothes and gorgeous spring flowers?  Is it time for another extravagant feast with special food and over indulgence?  Yes to most of those questions.  Unfortunately, the most important of Christian holidays has been commercialized into just another flashy, marketing extravaganza.

Truly, Easter is all about JESUSHE is the One who took on the sin of the world.  HE did so willingly, because of His love for us.  HE suffered, was humiliated, broken, pierced, spat upon, tortured, bloodied and abandoned by God.  HE endured all of this so we wouldn’t have to.  HE died.  HE conquered the devil and fulfilled the covenant between man and God.  HE ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY!

Take time this Easter weekend to think about why we Christians are so happy about this amazing grace. Ponder the cost.  Get down on your knees and thank Jesus for what HE has done for us and bring on the Alleluias.

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WISDOM IN AGING

I’ve witnessed the birth of new life – watching as those precious, little lungs take their first breath.  I’ve experienced holding my own breath as my little ones grew into adults.  I’ve observed each step of their development with anticipation, worry, yet seasoned with love, joy and pride.  That experience taught me to be patient, loving, caring and humble. I’ve lived my life seeing characters unfold before me.  My mind has become a library of sorts – holding a treasure of representatives of the human race. Some are stellar members of society.  Some are dark and broken.  What I see is how much we are all alike – trudging through life with hidden secrets, fears and needs.

I’ve observed a young, homeless girl, jumping cement highway barriers as if she were leaping hurdles on a racetrack. She is like a speck in a sea of concrete, but moves like an antelope in the wild.  I see this child as a survivor, yet pray that she will eventually find some measure of peace in her life. Yet, maybe she has for the moment.

I’ve considered a blind man as he walks with his unleashed dog – tossing a Frisbee in the air for the dog to catch and waiting for him to retrieve it and bring it back to him.  The two are inseparable and totally dependent upon each other.  I wondered who was leading who.

There are those within the walls of a church – who hold secrets that need to be dealt with.  They come to the church for solace not realizing that everyone in that building is in need of something. I wonder what would happen if one day everyone opened up to each other, rather than trying to blend in to the crowd.

I have known those who can’t move forward, because they are locked in a way of life that they can’t change.  I’ve been aware of those who go through physical pain and wonder if it will ever end.  I’ve seen the caregivers and the strain that is placed on them as they unselfishly help others.  I’ve gazed in wonder at the rich and famous.  Through my own experience of having both wealth and poverty, I have found that there really is no difference in the two.  Problems as well as joys occur in either sector.

There are the public figures, who often are placed on pedestals, destined to fall – The scholars who put their faith in science and knowledge – the skeptics who believe in nothing. There are those who profess to trusting in God but are pushing to make it on their own.

The addict, the thief, the murderer, the prostitute, the bold and brazen are in the same category as the benefactor, the motivators, encouragers, the preachers and teachers.  We all have one thing in common.  We’re imperfect.  There is no amount of makeup, plastic surgery, botox, body building or weight management that removes imperfection.  Only God can do that. The other truth is that we will all die one day.

Solomon observed his life in the book of Ecclesiastes.  He had it all, yet felt life was meaningless – that there was nothing new under the sun.  He had wealth, status, everything that man strives for, yet it wasn’t enough.  The word Ecclesiastes actually translates into meaningless. The world is broken.  We muddle through it, often without hope. We go through life and at times are confused.  We experience life in ways that don’t satisfy and leave us empty. Yet we have hope if we have God in our lives.  He can fill us up in ways that the world never can.  He will restore us, mend us, lift us up and walk with us on this earth and He has prepared a perfect place for us in heaven.  On that promise, we can depend.

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POWER SURGE

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

A galvanizing glow penetrates through the stillness.

Animating a darkened forest.

Giving life to lifeless limbs.

Exploding into a myriad of brilliant color.

Intoxicating the senses,

Illuminating,

Thrilling the imagination.

The shadows give way to the energy – slipping into darkness,

Permitting the light to percolate through every inch of space.

Awakening all who dwell within its path,

Shocking, volatile, energizing,

Waves of life-giving light,

A new day dawns!.

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ANOTHER PROPHECY FULFILLED

Thirty-three years before, Jesus was carried in His mother’s womb on a donkey. The donkey is a beast of burden and so this is telling in a way. Our Savior, King would humble Himself by doing this. He would not come in glory, like his ancestor, King David. There would be no magnificent stallion or all the trappings of a king. He simply entered Jerusalem for the Passover on a working animal – one which often carried heavy loads.

This was to fulfill the prophecy written long ago about His entry as the Messiah: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech 9:9)

It was necessary for Jesus to humble Himself in this way – not only to fulfill the prophesy, but to come as a servant – a sacrifice that would take away the sin of the world. That sacrifice had to be the unblemished lamb, without sin. God rode that donkey to carry the burdens of every human life – past, present and future. He didn’t have to do it this way. He is God. He could’ve commanded His angels to proclaim His entrance with pomp and circumstance, but He took our baggage on His own back so that we wouldn’t have to. By doing so, He became not only our Savior, but our brother, our confidante, our Lord, our Redeemer, Savior and King. Because of Him, we have a close relationship with our Creator. We’re part of His family and will someday take part in the inheritance of His kingdom.

As we celebrate this special day, let’s remember that God’s plans are always designed for our good. He s sacrificed Himself, so that we wouldn’t experience damnation. He gave His life so that we could live. This is the ultimate sacrifice. Hosanna – the Messiah has come!!!!!!!

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. . . AND JESUS WEPT

They had arrived outside the city of Jerusalem. Jesus and His band of brothers made the journey for the annual Passover celebration. They were tired from the long journey, but Jesus was well aware of what would soon come to pass. He would send some of his followers ahead to arrange “special” transportation for their Rabbi. As the Messiah surveyed the landscape, He had to be thinking of the coming days. Tomorrow, the very people He had come to save, would open the gates and praise Him as their King. Within less than a week, He would be arrested by the same people, rebuked, tortured, spat upon and pinned to a Roman cross to die.

He knew that this was the plan His Father had made for the salvation of all mankind. It was His reason for being here all the past 33 years. Tears began to well up in His eyes as He looked off in the distance at the holy city and spoke these words:

“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

Are we ready to welcome Jesus as our King of Kings? The time is ripe for His second coming, but will we recognize Him as the true Son of God and true Man? Will we praise Him today and toss Him aside in a few days – or will our relationship with Him thrive and flourish? The next few days will be filled with mixed emotions. We’ll hear about the price Jesus paid for our transgressions. We’ll be humbled by the fact that God Himself took on our burden of sin. His love is unconditional, yet as He said in His sermon on the mount – we should not only hear and believe His Word but put it into action and live our lives accordingly.

The price for our salvation has already been paid. Because of our devotion to Jesus, let us live as He would have us do.

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REIGNITE ME!

ART & POETRY BY KATHY BOECHER©

What started as an ember which seemed to be snuffed out,
Is quickly revived by the breath of God.
He whispers His true amazing grace to those who would believe.
His Spirit fans the dying light and inspired it with faith.
The dwindling glow renews once more, turns into a raging fire.
The fire spreads across the globe, invading time and space.
It won’t be diminished by the screams of those who believed it didn’t exist.
Even though the evidence is right there in their face.
Some days it seems the light of the world has lost Its luster,
But all it takes is one miniscule ember, with the breath of God inspired,
To reignite the world and show the way to the truth everlasting.

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KING OF KINGS & LORD OF LORDS

The people crowded across the expanse just surrounding the Mount of Olives. Jesus would give His final instructions to those who claimed to be His followers. The place was covered with thousands of men and even more women and children. Ears waited patiently for those treasured words. This Rabbi from Galilee was gaining popularity and notoriety all at the same time. The crowd had been there for some time, and were growing hungry. The feeding of the 5000 was an example to all who were present of the provision of God in all situations. Some were there for the food. Some came to see another miracle. Most of them were influenced more by His Words. They were words of hope in a time of poverty, oppression, foreign rule and need.

Jesus spoke about loving one another. He made a list of those who would be blessed in His kingdom – not a worldly realm, but one in His own home – heaven. He would be followed in a few days by many of the same crowd, but they would be among those who would cry out for His death. The power of popular opinion and mass hysteria might have something to do with it, but it was all part of God’s amazing plan of salvation. Jesus knew what lay ahead. He knew the suffering He would undergo. He knew people would hate Him, spit on Him, whip and shout obscenities at Him, but He also knew that it was part of a greater plan. He endured all of it, because He loves us so much.

As we prepare for Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, let’s thank our God for providing the perfect sacrifice for our forgiveness and praise Him always as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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WHAT IS YOUR REALITY?

Grungy wooden reality check sign on a sign post against cloudy sky

With all that’s occurred in the past two years, it’s no wonder that there’s more mental illness, depression and anxiety. The number for young people needing counseling has risen at alarming rates. Those individuals from 15 to 24 years of age, show that suicide ranks as a leading cause of death.

It makes me wonder about the reality of these stats and what can be done to change them. I know from my own reality, that adolescence is one of the toughest stages of life one must endure. Hormones are raging – self-image is in the pits – bullying was happening even in those long ago days.

Conflicts surrounding a teen are immense. They hear and learn something at home which is in direct conflict with what they’re being taught in school. The moral issues, the gender issues, the political influences, the society norms they try to live up to, the peer pressure, the inability to find their path – and the list goes on and on. We oldsters could put the blame on the fall of the family unit or technology. We might say that lack of respect – inappropriate behavior – decline of morality – all the stuff that we were required to do as teens. The fact is each generation is faced with conflict the minute they leave the safety of their own homes. Many don’t have that family base to begin with, with marriages breaking up, blended families, unmarried couples, and again the list goes on.

I’m certainly not going to expound on the psychological reasons for this. I’m not equipped to do that, but I do know some basic things that will set the stage for dealing with raising teenagers. I was one. I birthed three of them and I’ve enjoyed being a grandmother to three. Those events don’t make me an expert, but if they can be of help to young families out there, they might squash some of the depression kids face today.

  • From day one, let your child know that you and the rest of your family loves them. It’s a known fact that children who are held securely in the arms of a family member will feel safe and secure. They will also experience the love you’re giving to them.
  • As they grow into toddlers, allow them to explore their surroundings, but be nearby to make sure they stay safe. That doesn’t mean you hover over them or overprotect them. Be involved in their learning what is right and wrong. Let them know there are consequences to wrong behavior.
  • When they leave the safety of your home, be prepared for lots of questions and be able to answer them. If you don’t know the answer, let them know that. They will soon learn that you aren’t perfect. Don’t look at your children as if they were your buddies. They are your responsibility – a gift given by God for you to care for at least 18 years or more. As a gift, you treat them as that, but they must show you respect, and you must also deserve it.
  • Teach your kids that everyone is accountable for their actions. The Golden Rule – treat others as you wish to be treated – try to see their point of view – teach them to find solutions to problems without conflict – show them what teamwork is.
  • You don’t have to involve them in every sport, competitions, musical endeavor or the performing arts. You don’t have to overload them with extra-curricular programs that often interfere with a task at hand.
  • If you are a believer in God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, you will find so many references to parenting in the Bible. It is the perfect manual for good parenting.
  • In a world that is filled with so much violence, hatred, disobedience, lawbreaking, placing blame on others, we must prepare our kids to face the reality that exists out there and give them the tools they need to be kind, open minded yet accountable, confident, and poised for any situation. That begins in the home and must be nurtured throughout their lives – even when they no longer are in your care.
  • Be available – love them – realize you are building strong character in those who will one day rule the world.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4

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TRAVELING WHEN RETIRED

Retire, they said.  It will be fun, they said.  You are free to go anywhere, do anything and scratch things off your bucket list, they say.  Who are “they” and I’ll bet they’re not retired?  Traveling today isn’t easy, no matter what your age.

If you’re flying, you have to arrive two hours prior to your flight.  You must sit and wait until your flight number is called.  Once on the plane you’re asked to buckle your seat belts and given  instructions for surviving a crash.  You are then told to wait again while the air bus waits its turn for take off.  Your in the air for a couple hours, praying you won’t have to remember those crash instructions while white knuckling the arm rests.  When you arrive, you go to collect your baggage.  You watch as several suitcases go round and round, trying to locate your own.  Too bad you have the same color luggage as everyone else.  You decide to wait until everyone else retrieves theirs’, hoping the last one will be yours.  You wait at the curb for your ride to pick you up or trying to flag down a taxi.  By the time you reach your destination, you’re exhausted.  What could have been a three hour road trip has turned into a five hour panic attack.

The same is true of relying on other forms of public transportation.  It’s always a waiting game.  During that time you size up the crowd of passengers you might be seated next to.  You notice the most unappealing of them all.  You assume that person is a serial killer or worse and pray again that you will never see them again.  You watch as sticky fingered, snot covered little ones tug on your leg and ask to sit on your lap.  You retreat to the restroom.

When we get older we have a lot of issues when we travel.  We pack differently than when we were twenty.  For example, our toothbrush is now accompanied by a plastic container for our teeth.  We pack Depends instead of bikini briefs.  We include outfits that will cover our aging arms and legs.  We add an extra pair of spectacles, a separate suitcase for our medications and a slew of word game puzzles.

We also don’t move as quickly as we used to, so we may include a cane, a neck pillow, a brace of some kind, a walker or any other device to help us navigate.  When we run out of breath getting from one plane or train to another, we sit down to catch our breath only to miss our connection.

Traveling by car is fine for the short trips, but as we age we often need to make more stops than the average person.  We need to stretch our arthritic legs, use the rest room, get a snack or lunch.  When planning a road trip remember to include those stops into your itinerary.  It may take longer than you thought, but you will be thankful that you did.

Posted in aging, America, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

EARLY MORNING LIGHT

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER©

As the morning light arises, on a pasture green sublime,

Sun light kisses trees and branches, balancing the sands of time,

Though through danger I will wander, snares are set at every turn,

God is there to guard my footsteps, leading me to where I yearn,

Peaceful, green and tranquil landscapes, skies are filled with golden light,

Yet the heat from summer sunshine, hasn’t risen to full height,

Listening as He sits with me, as my heart to Him I spill,

Understanding all I ask for, promises to do His will,

When at last my days are finished, I will walk on streets of gold,

No more tears, no pain or sorrow, only peace and love untold,

The darkness of an evil world, purged with grace from God alone,

I’ll walk in valleys green with life, for heaven will be my home.

Posted in aging, Art & Poetry by Paul & Kathy Boecher, light | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

WRINKLES ARE JUST UNPRESSED PLEATS

Each day seems to etch a new line onto my face. With all the junk going on in the world it’s enough to make one look like a prune. Actually, a prune was once a flawless plum with tight, shiny skin. Maybe wrinkles are just a result of drying out. I prefer to refer to my wrinkles as laugh lines, because that’s what most of them were caused by. I’ve always been good for a laugh. I love corny jokes. I prefer comedy over drama and the sound of laughter is delightful to me.

There are days when we just have to laugh at our circumstances. Not every day is going to be perfect. We aren’t always going to be happy. All our dreams may never be accomplished. I suppose we could just pack it all up and throw in the towel. A lot of folks do just that. They give up!

God doesn’t want that from us. He wants us to be refined by our troubles – to be crafted into a fine masterpiece. Some of us will be polished and smoothed while others will be shriveled and beaten up, but the point is that He’s constantly reshaping us – smoothing out the creases, straightening the path we walk, and making even the ruts and bumps along the way.

I expect that all my wrinkles will be gone when I get to heaven, but then no one would recognize me. I guess it doesn’t matter what I look like as long as I have an eternity to spend in a perfect place. Life can beat us up or lift us up. It’s our choice. As for me, I’m happy to have the ability to laugh – even at myself. Think of the alternative.

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

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TEACH ME TO NUMBER MY DAYS

ART & POETRY BY PAUL & KATHY BOECHER

Our days are numbered in God’s timeline.

We don’t know how long, where or when, but we will all die.

There is no question about it.  We have no control over it.

Consider these days He has given us as a time of grace,

A time to realize all the wrongs we have done 

and to appreciate the gift of God’s sweet mercy.

For some it is a lifelong relationship where growth continues.

For some it happens after they’ve hit rock bottom,

For some it is revealed right before they take their last breath,

For others it is never realized.

But as it was with a condemned criminal on the cross next to Jesus,

The mercy of our dying Savior Is still available.

Our seconds, minutes and hours must become consumed with Him.

His message is satisfying food for those starving for it.

His Word can heal wounded spirits and renew hope.

His use of ordinary people to do extraordinary things is evidence.

His love endures forever!

These numbered days should be filled with thanksgiving and praise

To our God and King.

It is with Him that we can look ahead with anticipation

To life eternal, where time no longer exists,

Where death has been conquered and true life begins.

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