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April 21, 2021

Shortly after we moved to North Carolina, the father of one of my students found out that I loved to fish. One day we went out on Kerr Lake and we got a few here and there. We then decided to go back in on a tributary. I asked him why he was not getting closer to shore and he said because he did not want a snake to drop into the boat. I laughed but I was not going to fall for his joke. Well, I guess he sensed my skepticism, and he went on to explain that snakes would sun themselves or rest on tree limbs and, occasionally, when a boat would come to close, they would drop into the boat. I still did not believe him, and he knew it. We then moved closer to the shoreline and in a few minutes, he pointed to a limb hanging over the water. Do you see it? I really wanted to say no, but there was a snake on the limb. We moved another twenty yards or so and there was another snake sunning itself of a limb. That ... Read More »

April 7, 2021

I was driving down the road the other day, listening to tunes and pondering life when these two songs came on, back-to-back. The first song: “Breakin’ rocks in the hot sun, I fought the law and the law won. I fought the law and the law won…” The second song: A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm, a boy filled with wanderlust who really meant no harm. He changed his clothes and shined his boots and combed his dark hair down, and his mother cried as he walked out “Don’t take your guns to town, son, leave your guns at home, Bill. Don’t take your guns to town.” I have to tell you; I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It brought back memories but also made me reflect on life (been doing a lot of that lately). Talking about memories, if you ever were through the Central Wisconsin area (around Black River Falls) in the early 80’s, you would have witnessed my work (and others). As part of being incarcerated at the Black River Falls Correctional Institution, one of the jobs was to prune ... Read More »

March 31, 2021

I had a conversation with someone the other day and we talked about how we were both always amazed how Spring brings growth.  He was telling me how his wife had planted some seeds, and, in a few days, they were sprouting.  All they needed was light to warm the soil and water to help them grow.  I always look forward to Spring when the maple sap flows, when the ground warms and especially when it is time to plant a garden.  I love planting and especially get excited when the first radish seeds start sprouting.  It is just so awesome.  But without the water, there would not be much growth… “One of the blessings of my time was the opportunity I had to study Hebrew.  For those who truly love reading scripture, I encourage you to read it in its original language, for, as cliché as it may sound, so much can be lost in translation.  On almost the first day of Hebrew class we explored the creation story in the original words it was written.  I will never forget reading how ‘Adam’ (man or human) was formed from ... Read More »

March 27, 2021

I woke up in a fog the other day and had been in one ever since.  Have you ever been in a dense fog?  I have been in a few dense fogs, especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the mountains of Costa Rica and the Cloud Forests of Costa Rica.  But the worst fog I have ever experienced came on our farm.  I had come back from North Carolina to do some deer hunting on the home place.  This particular day I was hunting on our neighbor’s land (I had permission) and the rain started coming down.  There was snow on the ground, and it was starting to get dusk and I was probably ¾ of a mile from the house.  Visibility was starting to get poor so I thought I would head in early…  but it wasn’t early enough.  The fog came in strong and thick, and I couldn’t see but a few feet ahead of me.  Nothing looked familiar and was not sure what direction I was going.  I finally found the creek that goes through the back of our property but wasn’t sure which way to follow ... Read More »

March 18, 2021

One of the hardest lessons to learn from death is that life must go on. As I write this, the tears just won’t stop… I have had many influences in my life and as I have gotten older, I realize more and more how much they mean and to cherish them. Yesterday, one of those folks passed away and our church, our community and my world was shaken up and rocked. He was someone who, though I hope I helped him grow spiritually, he also helped me grow… even though he often called me “knucklehead.” 😊 Words just cannot express what his friendship has meant. “When I was tree, my father passed away. But when I was seven, my mother remarried. And I became the luckiest little girl in the world. You see, I got to pick my daddy. After Mom and ‘Dad’ had dated for a while, I said to my mother, ‘He’s the one. We’ll take him.’ I got to be flower girl when Mommy and Daddy got married. That alone was wonderful. How many people can say they were in their parents’ wedding (and actually walked down ... Read More »

March 15, 2021

Have you ever asked yourself how you are going to get through? How am I going to make it through the day? Maybe even the next few minutes? Or maybe you have a dream or vision and you just can’t imagine that it could ever happen? Maybe you feel weak or inadequate? Or lost? Maybe you are asking “why”? Maybe you’re feeling like you are in a rut? You know you want to make a difference but not sure how to do it? You are just overwhelmed… “We all want to make some sort of positive impact with our life, right? Whether it’s on a handful of people or a whole nation, we all hope to leave the world a little better than we entered it. But while it can be easy enough to daydream about the destination we’d like to end up at, taking those first steps can often be tricky. So just begin. Step out in faith. Make a plan and then take positive action to carry it out. If we don’t take a few risks, we will never find out the true potential of the opportunities that ... Read More »

March 12, 2021

Not sure if I have ever shared this but there was a time in my life when I really thought I wouldn’t amount to much.  It wasn’t that I was suicidal (I was past that part of my life), I truly wanted to live.  But I didn’t see where I was heading career wise, was struggling with college, struggling with integrating into society and just wondering where God was and even whether God cared.  Whatever I did, I did hope to make a difference because of those folks who had made a difference in my life.  Deep down I knew I wanted to be a teacher but wasn’t sure if I could buck the odds of getting past my past to do that.  It also seemed like, whenever I felt like my journey was going in the right direction, something or someone would crush my spirits and my vision and my hope.  It was truly a dark time in my life… “Dark clouds move in as silent harbingers of the coming storm movement.  And it all begins with one drop.  And then another and another.  Moving and watering one by ... Read More »

March 9, 2021

Tonight, I looked in the mirror at someone who was getting old and dying, and it shook me to the bones.  It caused me to pause and reflect but I guess, as someone said, we start dying the moment we are born.  Kind of a morbid thought pattern, I think.  I went home awhile back for a funeral.  Edward was a few years ahead of me in school, but I knew the family.  I hung around with two of his brothers in High School and one of them married my cousin.  I was in their wedding and stood up with one of their sisters.  Just a great family.  Edward also married one of my High School classmates.  One thing I remember about Edward is that he could make a rock laugh.  He was hilarious. After the funeral, several of us classmates got together and had pizza and shared memories.  It was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and, although I didn’t realize until later, that I needed.  I will always treasure this time with my two classmates.  It was great to reminisce, and I was reminded of how far I ... Read More »

February 25, 2021

I still remember a conversation I heard in a restaurant years ago.  The women were sitting right behind me and one said (in a fairly loud voice) to the other: “You have got to stop worrying!  Anxiety is a sin!  Get rid of it!”  Anxiety is not a sin, but it can control us, and it can lead to sin.  Many people are anxious right now and that is understandable, but we must turn it over to God.  Trust.  Yes, it is hard to do.  Do you remember?  C.A.L.M. “Why?  What is the cause of our anxiety?  Change, for one thing.  Researchers speculate that the Western world’s ‘environment and social order have changed more in the last thirty years than they have in the previous three hundred’!  Think what has changed.  Technology.  The existence of the Internet.  Increased warnings about global warming, nuclear war, terrorist attacks and, most recently, pandemics.  And what about the onslaught of personal challenges?  You or someone you know is facing foreclosure, fighting cancer, slugging through a divorce or battling addiction. One would think Christians would be exempt from worry.  But we are not.  We have ... Read More »

February 18, 2021

I was going through some old journals and came across this story that a friend had shared with me when I was about to be transferred from the hospital to County Jail (and eventually prison). It is also a belated Valentine’s devotional and a reminder of how, during this Lenten season, we can seek to change. But will we? “Many Americans are familiar with The Little Prince, a wonderful book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This is a whimsical and fabulous book and works as a children’s story as well as a thought-provoking adult fable. Far fewer are aware of Saint-Exupery’s other writings, novels and short stories. Saint-Exupery was a fighter pilot who fought against the Nazis and was killed in action. Before World War II, he fought in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists. He wrote a fascinating story based on that experience entitled “The Smile (Le Sourire). He said that he was captured by the enemy and thrown into a jail cell. He was sure that from the contemptuous looks and rough treatment he received from his jailers he would be executed the next day. ‘I was sure ... Read More »

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