Where We Go

close up photo of chocolate cake on a gold colored saucer

We were just out there spending money like we had some to spend.

Something I don’t understand is where time goes. I was up not early as I used to get up, but early enough to get my Bible reading done, and the next thing I knew it was time to go get my hair washed.

For a year and a few months since I was so sick, I’ve been having my hair shampooed at the shop in town. I found I was too incapacitated to do it myself and Old Fuzzy, no matter how wonderful is not a hairstylist or hair washer either.

We are not set up at home for washing hair like the shop in town and so that’s the way that went. After getting my ‘scalp massage’ as they term it, Old Fuzzy and I stop and buy ice cream at another shop, and today we ordered pizza for lunch. We were just out there spending money like we had some to spend.

Young Fuzzy and his brother, Good Fuzzy was working at getting some of the harvest harvested and we picked up the pizza for lunch and took it out to them. That was a win-win for all of us, except…

In our area, it’s real difficult to find a better pizza than our local Casey’s pizza and that is what we ordered. When we get Casey’s pizza I eat it like it’s good and after two pieces of pizza, I was so full I had to nap.

My Cousin Coco when we were growing up was a fifty-pound weakling, then eventually a hundred-pound weakling. None of us were huge eaters but when we ate she would always have to unbutton the top button on her jeans until everything settled.

Well, today that was me. Not just the top button but the second button as well. I was that stuffed. A nap was good, but that’s the way that went as well, my afternoon was pretty much gone.

Looking through the lens of time, what does life look like? What does society look like? Narrowing it down, what do we look like? Are we trying to encourage others? Are we working to help our friends, neighbors, and countrymen?

The meme says, ‘Be the reason someone smiles today.’ Or there is another meme that reads, ‘I may not be your closest friend, but when you hear my name, I hope it brings a smile to your face.’

There are helpers and there are anti-helpers. I kind of made that word up, but here in third John, we have contrast as to this. The anti-helper is Diotrephes, an arrogant fellow. The opposite here is Demetrius.

3John 1:

8) We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

9) I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

10) Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

11) Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.  12) Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. 

Alternative Universe

scenic view of sea against sky during sunset

Each week is different, yet each week is the same. Our plans sometimes come to fruition, and sometimes they don’t.

What did I do this last week? I don’t know. What did I plan to do this last week? I don’t know that either.

I used to make out a list of things to do. This was quite helpful. I would number the things on my list as to what I wanted to do first, second, and so forth. At the end of the day voila! I could look back and see what I’d done.

Those were the days when I had an idea of what I was able to do the next day and I never questioned that ability. That world seems to have disappeared into an alternative universe.

What now exists is a world in which from one day to the next my body doesn’t respond the same. I’ll go to bed thinking that in the morning I’m going to get up and… And I have a litany of things I plan on doing.

But maybe I don’t have a good night of sleep or I would have a good night of sleep IF I didn’t have to get up every hour on the hour for five straight hours. The next morning I’m wiped out for the whole day.

Or maybe I get up and begin working on some of my decided on projects when I time out. That means for all of my good intentions at that point I have no more energy, no more anything left and it’s time for someone else to take over the job I was invested in.

I genuinely don’t know what happened. It sounds trite but I went from a superwoman to what’s left.

This isn’t always easy to come to terms with. I’ve read other people who write about similar problems that come with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. They have similar comments and a common observation is how because they don’t look sick everyone believes they are being dishonest.

People who have been their friends tend to drift away thinking they are being overdramatic. Some specialists insist fibromyalgia doesn’t exist because you can’t measure or touch it to confirm the diagnosis.

And then there is the advice. The advice comes from people who are about half my age and live on the planet I used to live on in the universe that made sense. The universe that said things like plan your work and work your plan.

Some of my readers will understand where I’m at and some won’t. The idea is we need to give people their space. I’m thankful I’ve had my time when I was a superwoman.

At least this time in my life has come about later in life. My heart goes out to those who are young and are going through the winter of their life in their spring or summertime.

Ecclesiastes 1:

3  What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.

5  The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

6  The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

7  All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. 8  All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

How Far to Go

ancient antique armor armour

“1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

“John 8:3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst…”

Words would fail to express how this woman must have felt. To be snatched from the arms of someone whom she had considered a lover, tossed into the midst of a group of angry men, and then dragged in front of the Son of God.

There are many things we don’t know about this happening. We don’t know if the man involved was privy to the scheme of the Scribes and Pharisees or merely a pawn as the woman was.

We do know that the scribes and Pharisees had set this scene up and planned at least the woman’s part in the ‘taken in the very act of adultery.’ So that there was no doubt about the charge and what had happened and what they believed should be the verdict.

They believed they had an inexcusable charge and that Jesus was backed into a conundrum that he couldn’t escape. This wasn’t the first setup Jesus had been ‘backed into’ and wasn’t the last one.

Many guilty sinners use this scenario to tell others that ‘you can’t judge me.’ But what is the story and what does it tell us? The real story is that under the law of Moses both parties to the adultery are brought before the judges and both parties are stoned to death if the charges are true.

Since the man wasn’t brought it was apparent that it had been a planned setup. I marvel at the wisdom of Jesus in not just this case but many others. He doesn’t give a railing accusation to the men involved, just a quiet time of introspection.

The ‘you can’t judge me because Jesus didn’t judge her’ people pass right over the facts here. The phrase ‘go, and sin no more,’ doesn’t seem to register with them. Jesus doesn’t tell her she’s all right, go and continue as she was.

In one sense that’s a judgment for all of us. How many times do I find myself at the end of that barrel? As John says “1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Humility. As Christians, we truly know that what we deserve is judgment. The guilty you can’t judge me person is like the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They think they have Christians backed in a corner.

What they have is a tool of the devil. Convince people they’re fine and don’t need salvation and Satan has them. The sad thing is at what time does sin cost us nothing?

These words are from a song by the Cathedrals using the quote from Ravi Zacharias:

As a child I foolishly turned God away
Not knowing the heartache a sinner must face
But God in His goodness has let me return
To share with His children this lesson I’ve learned
Sin will take you farther than you wanna go
Slowly but wholly taking control
Sin will leave you longer than you wanna stay
Sin will cost you far more than you wanna pay

“Matthew 12:

42  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

Borrower Nor Lender Be

silhouette photo of person riding on horse under twilight sky

In my daily Bible reading, I come across many witty sayings. Some are witty, some are thought-provoking, and others…

Back in the day—or better yet—back in MY day, we learned witty sayings. Often those sayings came from none other than the famous Benjamin Franklin also at times known as Poor Richard.

In my daily Bible reading, I come across many witty sayings. Some are witty, some are thought-provoking, and others are poignant. My first book title (If I Should Die) came from the children’s prayer If I should die before I wake, I pray dear Lord, my soul to take…

The second book title, from the book which I’m currently preparing to release in November, comes from Ezekiel 33:32 “And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”

The short title is, As A Lovely Song. It is a continuation of the MacDonald family saga and involves Seth and his wife. The lovely song is their song and this is their story.

I do include many of my treasures in my writing that I find in my daily Bible reading such as the lovely song, or the reference to ‘tears in a bottle,’ or ‘reaping the whirlwind.’

The one I’ve chosen for today is one I’ve come across several times in the past readings and it always gives me not just a moment of pause, but a chuckle of agreement.

“Jeremiah 15:10 Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.”

How absolutely hilarious. There are days when people at social events are friendly, but more often when I find myself in social situations I have the same feeling that Jeremiah expresses here.

It may be from something innocent, and I on occasion wonder if I have mustard on my nose or somesuch infraction. Then there are the days when I open my mouth and…

For instance, many years ago we began homeschooling our children. We had spent many hours at our state capitol building speaking to our legislators on behalf of our right to choose the type of schooling for our children.

During our forays into the political world, we saw many of these politicians up close and their habits, beliefs, and whatnot. It goes without saying we were and still are somewhat conservative. Old Fuzzy was filling the pulpit of a congregation shortly thereafter and unbeknownst to me or us, the congregation was a bit on the unconservative side.

During a governor’s race, one of the political leaders was running for governor and someone in the news threw out the accusation that the candidate was ‘a big spender.’ Something several from the congregation were discussing. As I listened to their rhetoric my mouth opened and the truth came out.

I said, ‘well I’ve seen him in action. He is a big spender.’ There were a few other incidents of like happenings where my experience as a homeschool parent and our work at the local and state level served to make me popular.

I was so popular to the point that when I opened my mouth on those occasions, people would sidle away from me by several steps.

Truth—truth doesn’t always make us popular, but that’s the way things are. It didn’t make Jesus popular either.

John 8:

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Drawing Near

view of ocean during golden hour

It’s difficult to grasp the idea that we are drawing near to the end of another year.

As we were driving through our small middle of nowhere town yesterday morning on the main street there were some workers with a lift. I wondered out loud what they could be doing when Old Fuzzy said they were probably putting up Christmas lights.

At the moment he said that I thought ‘O goody, Christmas lights.’ In reconsidering the thought I believe they were just fixing something. It’s too early even for us to be putting up lights for Christmas.

My disappointment aside, it is still October and we will need to get to the first of November at least. We are being told to start purchasing our Christmas presents early or there may not be presents available this year.

My mind is wondering several things. In the last few years, stores have been doing some waffling. Some stores open their doors for business on Thanksgiving Day instead of allowing their workers time off to spend with their families and loved ones.

Not the normal ‘public service’ type stores such as gas stations and mini-mart stations, that we are used to being open, but others are expanding to a business as usual day.

Some of these are hardware stores or farm stores that generally were closed. They’ve found it can be profitable for them to be open and so they are. Then there are the stores that were open on those days and are now closing in order to give their workers time to be with their families and…

Waffling—which way is better? Is there a way that is more right? There are probably few people alive anymore who will remember the days when Sunday was a sacrosanct day of rest—An actual day when nothing was open. You had what you needed on Saturday because stores were closed on Sunday.

Old Fuzzy and I don’t make it a practice to frequent stores on Sunday, but, and of course, there is always that exception. We have become more lax in stopping at the Dollar General for cookies, or some item on the way home from Sunday worship. Sometimes we stop at the gas station—It’s easy peasy in our current culture.

I’m sitting here this morning as we experience a weather shift. Yesterday was mild, not sunny mostly cloudy. Today it’s cooled off considerably, the clouds are a steel gray. They are a beautiful background for the changing colors of leaves. A background for the reds, yellows, golden browns, and even still green of leaves clinging to the trees.

It’s a day to bundle up if you’re going outside…and as I sit inside it’s a good day to heat up my oven and bake some squash, or sweet potatoes, or maybe even cinnamon rolls. To drink hot coffee or brew some hot tea.

Often times when we are young we search for our reason or purpose in this life. When we are old we are no longer searching for that answer, our purpose was to live, to love, and to praise God.

We have no right to cruelty, ugliness, but to be ruled by the precepts of God. As the ten commandments state, to love God and keep his commandments and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Genesis 1:

28  “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Matthew 22:37-40 KJV

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Writing Time and New Release

“Two hearts, Two secrets, Truth made known, God’s providence continues through strong family values and faith tested by fire.”

I will block writing time on my calendar, and I will honor that time commitment and hold it as sacred, creative time.

I have been doing better at my creative writing time endeavor. That could be evidenced by the FACT that I’m closing in on my next book being ready for publishing.

When I look back to just a few years ago, thinking that someday I would maybe be a published author that dream seemed like something in never-never-land—something only dreamed of.

But then the first book became not just some words on my computer, but an actual hold in your hand reality with a cover, and readers, and the whole ball of wax. Now, a year and a half later the second book is through an edit, has a beautiful cover, and is looking at a pre-Christmas release.

The first book, If I Should Die, is a mystery detective fiction. It begins with the undercover agent, Julius C. Armstrong, and his work in the solving of his last case. This takes place in a small Midwestern town similar to many here in the middle of nowhere—where of course nothing ever happens in the sleepy small town.

Detective Julius C. Armstrong must face the past he has been running from to bring this final case—and his career—to a successful end.

The second book picks up with Seth MacDonald and his brother, Joshua. Seth has had a rocky start to his marriage and after eight years plus of the struggle, his wife Gwen decides she can’t continue watching him kill himself because of addiction.

Seth has come clean and wants to start over, but now the secrets they’ve been harboring come to light. Can they face those secrets or will it really be the end? Book number two, As A Lovely Song is due out soon.

These are both family-based, inspirational, Christian fiction. As in my editor’s evaluation—What began as an action-packed crime story ends with a tender married love story–with kidnapping and other criminal intent. The novel will have a base for readership on a lot of levels. Its strong Christian theme is a testimony to family love and Christ’s redemption, which will benefit many. I wish you much success with this novel.

2 Thessalonians 2:

13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

14  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

16  Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

17  Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Fred and the Walnuts

close up photo of a hand holding three white kittens

I am seeking to share time, experience, and parts of my life with my readers. Somewhere they call this ‘building my platform’, but I’m not sure what I call it. I might call it ‘making a connection.

I pledge that I will continue to work so that I gain clarity and focus for my readers, audiences, and clients. Then I can continue to make the world a better place, one word at a time.

So, as I continue to work and strive for clarity where do I go to gain these treasured jewels?

I am seeking to share time, experience, and parts of my life with my readers. Somewhere they call this ‘building my platform’, but I’m not sure what I call it. I might call it ‘making a connection.

Today, Fred is my connection. I watched this morning as Old Fuzzy walked along the corral fence down by our feedlot. As he’s walking, I notice he has a tail. Not a tail, but…

I’ve shared how we have been cat-free for a number of years until a stray momma cat, which we named Miss Kitty, came to make her home under one of our outbuildings.

The reason Miss Kitty came to live under our building, at least this is our guess, is that the farm neighbors down the road who take in lots of stray cats have so many strays Miss Kitty was looking for someplace not so crowded.

Now Miss Kitty has had several litters of kittens and some have survived and some of those have had litters. We still aren’t to the numbers that our neighbors have, but we are no longer cat-free.

Most of our cats are not tamed strays. Even Miss Kitty, who will almost allow someone to pet her, but not catch her, is still a stray. Which is why we have so many cats. I do say most of our cats are not tamed.

That doesn’t account for Fred. Fred was named by our Young Fuzzy so why he chose the name Fred not only doesn’t have a rhyme or reason, but because it’s Young Fuzzy, it doesn’t need either a rhyme or reason.

Fred is dominantly a Siamese cat. Mostly white with gray markings on her ears, tail, and paws, and beautiful blue eyes. She loves to have you scratch her belly. She would be a mink cat collar around your neck or a lap warmer, and Fred thinks she’s a house cat.

There is no accounting for the foolishness of cats. So, back to Old Fuzzy working at doing his chores and me watching, and his tail of…wait for it…untamed stray cats (except for Fred, she’s tamed and part of the tail). About five kitties are following along as if Old Fuzzy is a ‘cat whisperer’. He may be going to get feed for the calves, or up to check on some other critter and there they go trotting along behind. There’s no rhyme nor reason for many things, I guess.

Now to the walnuts. They have nothing to do with Fred. It’s just, a few years ago I wanted some walnuts and we have lots of walnut trees in our neighborhood. Big Fuzzy and his little Fuzzies dutifully went out and gathered me lots of walnuts which got stowed in our garage never to see the light of day. I’ve been told they are still there.

I’d still like to have some walnuts for some reason. I’m still craving these walnuts for brownies and whatnot, but I wasn’t aware we still had them and doubt but wonder if there were any good ones…

Last year there were no walnuts. Even though we have a walnut tree right by our front walk there were no walnuts on the tree.

I don’t know what the squirrels did, for it was told to us by our neighbor, (not the one with the stray cats) when he went out squirrel hunting last year there were no walnuts even on the trees in the forest. That was last year.

This year the walnut tree by our front walk is loaded. This reminds me of the old warning, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Initially, this year, I picked up a few walnuts—an ice cream bucket—full of walnuts.

I’ve watched the YouTube video of turning these jewels into useable items, but, sigh. I think that’s all the further these walnuts are going to get for two reasons. The video said if the walnuts float they aren’t any good.

Well, Old Fuzzy scooped the nuts off the walk the other day and he said they all floated. This is a very sad face here.

But, to the warning, our front walk walnut tree has just this year got taller than our house and deck. As I sit in my office at times it seems as if God is throwing walnuts at me as if to say, ‘here you go, have a walnut.’

And there you have it. Life in the middle of nowhere with Fred and walnuts.

Ecclesiastes 7:

23  All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

24  That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?

25  I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

The burden of Dumah.

ocean during golden hour

The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. (Isaiah 21:11-12 KJV)

He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. (Isaiah 21:11-12 KJV)

The joke goes like this:

Parent to teacher: You don’t need to discipline Johnny.

Teacher: I don’t?

Parent: No, just slap the child sitting next to him and he’ll get the point.

Of course, we know that’s a joke and not meant as a schoolroom rule, but when we look around at our society we may wonder if some people have taken this to heart. Don’t discipline me, discipline that person over there…

I have learned much since the early days when I began thinking of myself as a ‘writer’. For instance, in the writing world, you need to have a platform. Many of us struggle with this concept.

The thought is What? I don’t just sit down and put words on paper? No, no, the experts tell us you must have not just a rhyme but a reason as well. In other words, your story must have a point.

Well, as someone on the show, Life of Riley used to say, What a revolting development this is. Then there are other criteria, or hoops a writer must adhere to. Rising action, crisis, falling action, and of course The End.

There is the idea that the main character is supposed to go through a change and I presume come out better for the ordeal. Well, that’s the story, and you better stick to it, but…

Life does change all of us in one way or the other—sometimes. I confess that some people learn awfully slow often times repeating the same thing that gets them in uncomfortable situations. I confess that because sometimes that’s me.

My life resembles, at times the top of my desk. I take notes on anything that has a bare spot on it then when it comes time to use the notes I’ve taken, be it from Wikipedia, the doctor’s office, a friend, or someone I don’t know, it’s all there on my desk. On an envelope, or a scrap of paper, or…

O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.(Isaiah 25:1 KJV)

The amazing thing is the number of times I need the facts or information and I can find what I need. As long as no one has cleaned my desk. However, there are a number of things you cannot find on my desk.

The things that aren’t there.

So, I am asked, what did you have for your lesson this week? I am feeling quite pleased with myself because without looking in my notebook I can remember not just the title but different points.

At my age that doesn’t always happen—

“Do you guys study a lot about the second coming and the thousand-year reign?” This is a bit more difficult since I know the other person’s stance on this subject.

“No, we do not since it’s not in the scriptures”…There’s an audible gasp and now I’m in for it.

“What do you mean? Why it’s everywhere in the Old Testament and New Testament. What about there…isn’t it in Revelation?”

“No, I don’t recall it there in Revelation.”

—And neither will she, since it’s not there and you can’t find it in Revelation and she doesn’t know Revelation as well as I know Revelation and that’s the way that goes. (Revelation isn’t my forte either but you can’t find something that isn’t there.)

Now in order to deflect from the fact that she really can’t remember where she thinks her scriptures that would support her subject are we go to another subject—the thousand years dispensation of Adam, and Enoch, and Noah…

And we end up discussing prophets, priests, apostles, and the Holy Spirit. We discuss Philip, one of the seven appointed in Acts 6, and Samaria and Simon and the laying on of hands.

We went all over my desktop of memory her looking for a chink in my armor. I wish I were as adept as the men of old who could quote the entire Bible from memory. I’m not, but people like this person do tend to give me a workout, and that’s not a bad thing. Thankfully, she doesn’t get angry or upset as some people are apt to do.

Isaiah hasn’t always been my favorite study, but Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come. (Isaiah 21:11-12 KJV) is special to me.

The commentary says no one knows exactly what the phrase means—well they probably could tell this much. A watchman is set to watch from the city walls. When they see an opposing army approach they warn the city.

In some places, we are told if the watchman warns us and we don’t heed the warning, the punishment we receive we deserve. In different places, if the watchman does not warn then he deserves our punishment.

Some ask and don’t listen, some hear but don’t care, then some hear and take heed. “The morning cometh, and also the night.” And where will it find us?

Silver Frame

close up of old black and white photos of a young girl in an angel costume and a church

Pictures—Sometimes they reflect who we are and sometimes they represent what we wish we were.

There are five people in the picture. It appears to be a mother and father possibly in their fifties and three children. Two young adults and one preteen girl. A happy family from maybe the late nineteen fifties.

The child is giving the mother/grandmother figure, who is seated, a hug and the three other figures are leaning toward each other. They stand behind the mother and child figures. The focus is the magnetism of each subject to the other subject as if they are being pulled together into one unifying force.

The subjects could be a young grandparent couple with their son and daughter-in-law and grandchild or complete strangers. I’ve been asked who the family is and I have to say, I don’t know, but…

It isn’t a picture from the seventies. The people in my picture have pretty summer dresses. Women from the seventies all dress as if they’ve barely survived a grizzly bear attack. Many families from that era are fragmented if not torn apart, they are not drawn together.

The picture sits waiting until I find a picture to fit the frame. The picture has no relationship to any of the other pictures on my shelf. There is the picture of my mother’s racehorse from the late fifties, Baby Dumpling aka Light O’ Day, the next picture is my mother as perhaps ten years old, sitting on a field plow with the horses Bobby and Danny hitched on the front.

The final two pictures jump several years, one to my sister’s graduation picture, and lastly a few years later a picture of my grandparents and their dog, Mike taken on the east side of their yard.

Pictures—Sometimes they reflect who we are and sometimes they represent what we wish we were.

The favorite Bible verse in years gone by was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Now we jump to a new favorite verse Matthew 7:1  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” What does this say about ‘us’? And what does it mean?

In John 3:16 we acknowledged the love of God, and we didn’t want to perish, but have everlasting life…in heaven. In Matthew 7:1 we just want God and everyone else to leave us alone to our own stupidity.

There are several immutable facts our current world either doesn’t want to know or (at this juncture in their life) they think they don’t care. Fact number one? There is a God and he sets the standards of morality.

You don’t have to agree with it and you don’t have to care about it. It just is what it is. Fact number two? God still loves the world, his only begotten son, Jesus, was given that we could (through belief and obedience to that belief) have everlasting life in heaven.

Fact number three? We can all be left to our own stupid devices…here, on this earth—But the sister verse that goes with Matthew 7:1 is John 7:24  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

Righteous judgment comes from God and his Word. We can’t foolishly follow blind guides that pluck scriptures out of context and wave them like a flag. God doesn’t leave us down here without a moral guide.

Fact number four and random facts? We will all have everlasting life—Somewhere. We are all broken and need John 3:16 in order that we can claim Matthew 7:1 and John 7:24 and spend our everlasting life in heaven.

Fact number next, don’t be deceived, everyone who dies is not necessarily ‘in a better place’—Just because we can no longer ‘see’ them. And flash news release, no one on this earth will reach heaven doing it their way…addendum, no one will just wake up in heaven, as in Surprise! How did I get here?

When John the Baptizer said: Repent and be baptized, put away your sins, and bring forth fruits worthy of repentance? Yeah, he meant all of us, like you and me—all of us.

Job 19:25  For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

26  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

27  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

28  But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?

29  Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Enough for Today

clusters of pumpkin scattered in the field

The sign read: There are two seasons; Autumn and Waiting for Autumn.

Funny but it’s somewhat true. Here it is just after the autumnal equinox, the day when theoretically day and night are just about equal.

In January till March and April I’m planning my garden, but thinking of harvest. From May and onward we’re planting our garden, tending our garden, and planning on the harvest. At this point in the year, we are rejoicing over the harvest and… Our garden is still producing and the song Summertime comes to the mind and could come to the lips if singing it were possible. Summertime and the living is easy…

Summertime and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You gonna rise up singin’
Yes, you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky
Mm, but ’til that morning
There is nothin’ can harm you
Yes, with daddy and mommy standin’ by

And so you have it. In a nutshell, this time of year (yes, I know it says Summertime but autumn is the real queen here) when nature is producing her bounty and we’re living in the ‘high cotton’ of the year.

I’m not forced to run the air conditioner because of the oppressive high heat, neither are we needing to heat the house because of the cold. The tomatoes, squash, melons, and garden abundance is all around us.

Every year at this time I’m also reminded of the poem by the New England poet James Whitcomb Riley, The Frost is on the Punkin…

Most of us have forgotten the story of the First Thanksgiving. How after the death of nearly half of the original Pilgrims those first settlers struggled to learn to farm and grow enough food for themselves to survive. That year they were joined with the Indians who had helped them learn survival skills coming together to give thanks.

Pumpkins…and The Fodder’s in the Shock are two staple foods pumpkins and (corn) fodder for those first settlers.

Of course by James Whitcomb Riley’s time in New England, there was a blending of the new world and the old world. The local bounty that the land provided plus the old-world animals and crops; milk cows and their abundance, the turkeys and chickens and old-world fowls and crops such as wheat, barley, rye.

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,

And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,

And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,

And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;

O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,

With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,

As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

There are several more stanzas if you would like to read the whole poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44956/when-the-frost-is-on-the-punkin

It is still one of the wonders of my world how this time of year feels like a peaceful rest. Yes, it’s a time of gathering in, of making use of those blessings God gives us, and also a time for thanksgiving.

As the rays of sunshine fall softly around us shimmering like golden drops as the snow in the snow globe glitters when the snow falls. These are the tent door moments.

The old Eskimo woman told the reporter, ‘It isn’t winter I fear. In winter I’m at the ready, pitting my will against the harsh weather. No, it’s summer when it’s peaceful and warm and I sit by my tent door, lulled into the serene dream. It’s so easy to be lured into thinking—or not thinking. I’m afraid I’ll just fall asleep and not think to wake up.’

Ecclesiastes 7:10  Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

14  In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

Ecclesiastes 8:15  Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.