Archives October 2022


woman carrying baby at beach during sunset

Matthew “6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

“As we all breakfasted together on the morning of 24, March 1943, I could have no idea of the shadows that were already reaching out towards my two light-hearted passengers.” Hugh Verity, We Landed by Moonlight~

Research—I tend to enjoy much of the reading that goes with research. The distinguished Hugh Verity was a decorated pilot who, as the title of his book says, was a part of the RAF that helped land agents in the French resistance movement by moonlight during World War II.

There was research for each one of my first three books (the Ebenezer series), such as research behind (beginning date on June 10, 1987, for the first book, If I Should Die) the weather, clothing styles, music, technology for phones and computers, cars and many different aspects we don’t normally think about.

At this time I’m working on a new book set in the 1930s through 1957. As I work in the era of what we call “The Great Depression”, I’m amazed at the depth and quality of life and death.

The late 1800s and on through the 1900s exploded with inventions from the automobile to airplanes and trains. As one gospel preacher, Marshal Keeble, put it, From Mule Back to Super Jet with the Gospel.

The thoughts here aren’t about research they are about legacy. Legacy has an edge of memories to it. As someone said in an earlier post, “we exist as long as we are remembered.”

But legacy is more than memory. A legacy is something left behind to others—sometimes by someone who is/was known to them but not always. A legacy can be good or bad, beneficial or a hindrance.

There is a term for the WWII generation that gave so much, not just for our country, but for the freedoms the entire world has enjoyed since. They are known as “The Greatest Generation.”

They have given us the benefits of their sacrifices—a legacy. As I work through the research for my next novel, “Gene’s Story: Tears In His Bottle” there are so many nuances, and although the tough grit and determination of those men and women have been so outstanding…

As someone stated, it’s the parents of that generation who ought to be applauded. The generation that went before the greatest generation were the ones that suffered as adults through the depression era and the dust bowl era, the horror and struggle of raising their families.

Some didn’t make it. They walked out on their families, but many did hold the course. They went from the roaring twenties into the fire of the thirties, forging the generation that fought in WWII in the forties.

Legacies begin before they are inherited. When you ponder the idea that God put you where you are for such a time as this, and there are no coincidences, we ought to wonder.

I am past the point of contemplating on my life’s purpose. As quoted by Corrie Ten Boom, “Don’t bother to give God instructions, just report for duty.” I watch nature and after many years I’ve decided the sun doesn’t ask, why do I exist? and animals don’t wonder what their job is. The birds and bees don’t fret about any of those things either. They just report for duty.

So, what’s the legacy of all of this? The scriptures tell us all sorts of advice. The first necessity is to know God (and be known by God). The last is to trust God.

Jeremiah 9:

“23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

Matthew 6:

“27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

As the two “light-hearted passengers” that Hugh Verity referenced in the first paragraph, didn’t know the horrors that were to come—none of us know what shadows, good or evil, are reaching toward us. However, it is important to be ready, to be prepared.

Matthew “6: 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Many Are Broken

backlit cemetery christianity clouds

“Here’s to lookin’ at you, kid.”

When people look in the mirror they often see what they’re looking for. Are they looking at what they think is perfect or are they looking for something that needs to be corrected?

I learned many things in my young life. One thing that has been beneficial was learning not to take myself too seriously. Since I was the youngest in my family I ended up the back side of a number of jokes.

I admit that if I couldn’t find a dumb way to do something there wasn’t a dumb way to do it. For many years I had an inferiority complex due to being the object of jokes such as “When God was passing out brains you thought he said trains, and since you weren’t going anywhere you didn’t get any.”

Well, it is kind of funny, but it does present a difficulty in getting over such logic. Yet, the ability to laugh at yourself is a commodity that is lacking in society today. And too many people, especially young people are way too wound up in themselves and their safe space.

A few months ago I read a reply a famous person made to someone trying to control who he affiliated with. The critic said to the man, “If you’re working with Prager U, I won’t have anything to do with you. You’ve lost all my respect.” I believe it was written to Mike Rowe, and he replied, “Dear, *** since I don’t know you, what makes you think I value your respect?”

A good question indeed, he wasn’t running for any office, and even at that, we should choose whose values we support. Back in the late 1980s, Phil Gramm was a congressman from Texas. He ran as a Democrat and won his seat, but sometime into his term, he realized the party had left him behind. They no longer represented his values. He went back home, explained to his constituents what had happened, and ran again as a Republican and won again.

Later in the year, he had a communication with his mother. “I have some good news and some bad,” he said. “They were thinking of putting my face on a postal stamp.” (Just a note here, this was before they had come out with the self-stick stamp.) “—They decided against it due to the number of people who would be spitting at it and pounding on the front.”

That was my remembrance of the exchange but not being able to find the quote, it may not have been his exact words. I remember it as very funny in his speech. The point of which was don’t take yourself too seriously.

Matthew 22:

“11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

It is my understanding that the host provided the wedding garment. All the guest needed to do was put it on. No wonder the guest was speechless, and no wonder the host was offended. How rude. “Many are called but few are chosen.” In this case, he was called but didn’t choose to be chosen.

Matthew 20:

“14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

In this case as well, many are called but few are chosen. The workers in this instance aren’t content with their wages compared to those who worked a short time and received the same amount. Well, as the landowner says, it’s my money and you agreed to work for…

In the military, boot camp and the time spent therein is designed to ‘break’ a new recruit in order to remold them into what the military needs. In that sense, many are called and all are broken—and remolded.

And there you have it. We are all called for salvation, but it is up to us to accept the challenge to be chosen.

The Last Sunset

silhouette photo of person riding on horse under twilight sky

“I’m always busy.” And that’s true, but …

Here we are, the days are growing colder, and the year is drawing toward its end. Outside trees are losing their leaves, and leaves are letting go of their branches. I told someone lately “I’m always busy.” And that’s true, but as someone else opined once, as I get older it doesn’t take as much to keep me busy.

I will write a thought then sit and think over it and ponder on the next thought I’m thinking. It’s a real cycle.

No, unless I’m researching, I don’t read more than one book at a time. Each book deserves its own place in the sun and it is disrespectful to try to read two at once. That is my opinion on that. I sit down and read one book then I read the next. Or I would, but I don’t read two books in close proximity, mostly because my eyes give me grief.

I watched a documentary concerning people who have been influenced poorly by current medical practices. The point isn’t what they were damaged by, or how they became disabled.

The point is that these people had been active, vibrant contributors to the workforce and to other people’s lives only to find themselves slammed against a wall and suddenly disabled to the point of old age at a young age.

Psalms 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old;”

And there you have it. We don’t all enjoy a long, youthful life, even when we “Have the world by the tail on a downhill slide.” As my grandmother used to describe children’s lives, too often we don’t appreciate it.

And no matter how often we’re told to appreciate what we have—and no matter how often we smile and nod our head, we don’t really understand what we have until we don’t.

A short time ago I was reading an article about “Jimmy Dean” the country singer and sausage maker. The person writing the article described reading about how “Dean lived in semi-retirement with his wife, who is a songwriter and recording artist, on their 200-acre estate just outside of Richmond, where he enjoyed investing, boating and watching the sun set over the James River.”

The woman writing the piece explained why she had taken up reading the obituaries. She had done so after her mother passed away a few years prior. “Perhaps I read the obituaries because I believe that we exist as long as we are remembered. But how do we want to be remembered?” She wrote and you can hear a sigh in the words.

Apparently, her mother didn’t have the option to enjoy watching the sunsets. In her closing paragraph Stephanie Gertler (I do hope I got that name spelled correctly) asks some questions. I will leave it to my reader to determine if they are relevant.

“I wonder what my mother would have written in her own obit to capture her essence.
I wish that my mother could have spent evenings watching sunsets in her “golden years” rather than spending five years tarnished by illness and true confinement. I wonder when it was that Jimmy Dean unknowingly watched his last sunset over the river. I’m guessing it was probably better if he didn’t know that it was his last one.”

She has said more than what she wrote in those last few lines and left several unanswered questions. I hope she got to spend some of those years lifting at least a bit of the tarnish from her mother’s life.

It isn’t always easy and life situations can be tricky. Back in the day, my Adorable cousin visited her mother in the nursing home daily, taking her doughnuts. After driving her route, Adorable would grab some pastries and swing by for her visit. My aunt no longer recognized people, and so she labeled Adorable (her own daughter) the doughnut lady.

In my own day, my husband and our family would on a Sunday after church take a crockpot meal to my grandparents’ house in the afternoon. We would eat with them, and I would clean up the dishes. Until my grandma became mentally unable, we would play Canasta with them.

At one point grandma didn’t know me… but she liked me whoever I was. That was important to me.

But how do we want to be remembered? Indeed, what would each of us write as our obituary? What is our essence? Would we write something like, “(he) she lived, laughed, and loved—This person was a hero, was courageous, took time for other people, was selfish, stingy and whiney?”

How we are remembered takes place most often before the sunset years. How we are remembered is built on the foundation of how we treated others and how we lived our lives. Take time to walk with others. Sit with them and listen to both younger and older people.

“I wonder when it was that Jimmy Dean unknowingly watched his last sunset over the river.”

There are a few times when we can know something is our last time. If we come to retirement we can know this is the last time we will do thus and so, but for most of our lives that will not be true.

Generally speaking, we will not know, this is our last sunset, our last sunrise, our last hug, our last kiss—our last farewell.

I’m sitting at the close of this day. I have an hour and twenty minutes before the scheduled sunset for today. We finished cleaning our chimney and lit our fire for the evening and probably for the weekend. We had a freeze a week ago and the garden is now winding down.

Our year is winding down—six weeks until Thanksgiving, ten weeks until Christmas, and eleven weeks until New Year. Five hours and thirty-five minutes until tomorrow.

In the back corner of my office, it looks like I’m becoming Miss Havisham. I’ve got a serious spider web building there. It’s so fine and light, only during certain times of the day can it be seen. I have a dust mop that at some time on someday I intend to wipe it away and clean the corner out. I don’t know when someday will come.

Our lives here on this earth are like that delicate web.

Ecclesiastes 3:

1) “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 

2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5) A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Holding the Pen

silhouette photo of person standing in neon lit hallway

Considering all the different nuances of a situation is necessary to make a right judgment.

Faceless and baseless—People say the strangest things. Sometimes what they say is true—sometimes it isn’t. The amount of vitriol doesn’t even have to match the amount of truth behind the words. I have a frequent person I read. His daily short thoughts come regularly into my inbox. Recently I came across a post he made entitled The Beef Tax.

In his not long, but longer than normal rant he asserted “We all pay this beef tax and it makes our beef expensive and much more…” It took him seven paragraphs to vent on the horrible nature of beef and its influence.

I try to tie my post to something spiritual. Sadly, sometimes the spiritual point is missed so before I finish—almost at the beginning—I’m going to put out here several takeaways.

First off, I’m not an expert in many things, and I wouldn’t try to give my expert opinion in any area in which I have no knowledge. I couldn’t tell you, for instance, the relationship between our taxes and Lockheed Martin or Haliburton, or… You see what I mean, and I wouldn’t spout off stuff just because I see or hear it in the news. Being truthful and accurate is necessary.

Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

The beef tax article has nothing to do with truth and is certainly not speaking the truth. A second issue here is an honesty issue. It goes with the only line in his diatribe on the beef tax that I agreed with. “What would happen if we simply charged a fair price for the beef and milk that people consume?” (Or paid a fair price for these items? We could dream.)

James 5:4 “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.”

People should be paid a fair price for their commodity, whether it be their time or labor.

There are two primary issues in mister unhappy beef-tax person’s rant. The first is addressed in the valuable question, “What would happen if we paid farmers a fair price for their beef and milk?”

A few years back I came across an article in a farm magazine, obviously not from an actual farmer, about how “farmers were just raking in the money taking advantage of all those government handouts.” My fuse was lit and I had words. I started out to write a rebuttal, but as usual, it got lost in the shuffle.

Here is part of that answer. Farming is the only business I know of where we are told in the springtime how much our inputs (such as seed, fertilizer, crop necessaries, fuel, and equipment) will cost us. Then at harvest time, we are told how much we will be paid for our crop—regardless.

We are told how much it will cost to put the crop in, then when we are ready to sell the crop we are told how much they will give us for the crop—and it doesn’t make any difference whether the end price will cover the beginning price. No one says, what’s a fair price for the farmer?

It doesn’t make any difference if our bills are paid, or our family is fed or clothed, or any such thing. Yes, people do ask, “then why do you continue to farm?”

Why indeed? There is a saying “If you ate today thank a farmer (and in many cases a truck driver). If you ate in peace thank a soldier…”

My beef tax article writer goes on to say that “U.S. taxpayers subsidize the cattle industry with billions of dollars… most goes to pay for feed crops and land allocation (to graze cattle)…”

There are programs that some farmers, who are willing to sell their souls to the government can sign up for and receive benefits. But that’s not every farmer, and does this mean farmers are raking in government handouts, and U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the cattle industry? No, those are specific programs and not all farmers take part in those programs. Most of those programs are an attempt to keep farmers in line to do what the government wants them to do.

At one time some programs were designed and instituted to prevent farmers from going bankrupt. Now it’s evolved into the carrot and the stick. However, it’s not just in the government’s best interest to have farmers not go bankrupt and for them to provide food. Most people appreciate being able to go to the store and find food for their families.

Contrary to what the Beef Tax article says, farmers raise many crops. There is a long list—corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat, rye, other small grains, fruit, and nuts and although some crops do feed cows, this list shows much more than cows are fed.

An article from a few years back stated that farmers were becoming so efficient at running their farms; many also worked at off-farm jobs, increasing their raking in the money. The article missed the real point.

The point was that their farming operation was barely paying for the farming operation itself (prices hovering at cost of production) therefore not only did the farmer work a full-time job on the farm, often a ten-hour plus day, but then they worked off the farm to pay their living expenses.

In retrospect, it’s easy to point a finger and throw out accusations but that doesn’t make it true and there is not a beef tax making people’s beef more expensive. We don’t need that sort of division in a time when too many people are suspicious of others. At a time when inflation is eating up what little wages people take home from their jobs.

This is a snippet of the rebuttal and the warning that goes along with it. In the next post, I will address the second part of the issue.

A further admonition is found in the book of James.

James 5:7 “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 

9) Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 

10) Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 

11) Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.  12) But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”

Living By Memes and Clever Sayings

serious trendy senior ethnic man recreating on embankment and admiring sea

“However often you deny the truth, it goes on existing.” George Orwell

So there you have that, and:

“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life.”

Every day there are a number of these sayings that appear on my feed, and many of them are at least clever and some of them are a bit more. I agree with most of the gist of the words, but not all the sentiments with all of them. Here are a few things we see taught today. There is some truth or value to all of these:

“Listen to your heart”

“Be true to yourself”

“trust your gut”

“Feel good about who you are”

“Happiness is what matters”

“just be a good person”

But they are only so good and go only so far. For instance, happiness matters, but isn’t all that matters. Feeling good about who you are… well, that only goes so far if you are truly doing what’s good and right, and being a good person.

There is the flip that says, “If you don’t like the path before you, or the way you’ve come, get off of that path. Do something different—make things better.”

Alternative universe, anyone? On occasion, people ask me, or sometimes they just assume, that I believe certain things. In my family, I’ve been attributed views that I may or may not believe, and it’s assumed that it bothers me if others don’t ascribe to those views.

I do not like swearing or immodesty. That is true and it won’t take much of either to get my ire up. Two years ago I was getting my hair washed and was asked by the stylist what I would think if she got her hair dyed blue—or some such color.

I didn’t have an explosive reaction. I have seven children and you know how that can work out. However, my reaction must have not been what she anticipated. She was probably looking for a shock value and didn’t get it here.

 “And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (ASV)

 In my early years, I began with the conundrum of what does God want me to be? That has been my focus. There are many aspects and I didn’t concentrate on only one thing. I asked myself, “If God were designing a woman, what would he want her to reflect? To look and act like? If God were designing a home, a parent, and so forth. How and what would that look like?”

I’m saddened when I see fellow Christians making excuses as to why they are exempt from following God’s plan, some clear-cut scriptures. I understand that the term “fellow Christians” doesn’t include those who don’t follow God’s plan of salvation. They haven’t made the first steps. Yet, in a sense, being obedient to the first steps in the plan of salvation although very necessary, if one is not following God’s plan for the rest of your life (and trying to excuse yourself for it) is that not similar to not following the initial plan of salvation?

And when I share that I’m saddened by the lack of follow through with so many people I wonder what God’s view will be. Some have taken secret delight that they assumed their actions caused me anger.

Oddly enough, just as the question on the blue hair didn’t throw a wrench in my work, other people making bad decisions might make me sad, but I’m not attempting to control someone else.

They aren’t going against me (I’m not God), but they are thumbing their nose at their creator. We all are asking for mercy and grace in this realm. The Apostle Paul likens this world and the Christian life to that of running a race—doing our best, throwing off any interference or weight while running that race.

But we all have blue hair sometimes. Perhaps not literally, but sometimes instead of a race, it’s more like a mud fight. We’re doing the best we can, but like wrestling in the mud, things get messy, or downright ugly. And it’s hard to sort things out.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12

Not that I believe we can ‘work our own salvation out,’ in the sense that some people believe. I do believe we must live our own lives, the best we can, and we are all governed by the same scriptures. And that in the last day will judge us, not our feelings, or our wants and wishes.

Listening to a clip from an interview with Caitlin Jenner, he describes how it was such a difficult decision and he had such a discussion with his pastor and so forth. How he’s tried hard and had good intentions and in the end he just hopes that when he gets to the pearly gates he’s told to come on in…

However, as the person who was commenting on the clip summed it up, “Good intentions won’t save us.

Ecclesiastes 11:8  “Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. 9)  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

10)  Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.”