Posted in Faith, life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

An Unfulfilled Dream

It was so exciting, our dream of moving to the country seemed like it was going to come true. My parents had brought three beautiful acres in the country, and it would not be long before we left the city life for the peace and quiet of the country. My father was so excited that he every time we visited the he would pull down a few of the thin trees that would easily give way.

He even went to the store and purchased a chain saw so he could cut down and clear the land.

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Posted in life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

A Tough Milestone

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission. 

For the past few weeks, I have repeatedly sat down and tried to make a post. But even though my head is full of ideas, as soon as I sit down in front of my computer, the words seem to evaporate, and I quickly find myself mindlessly scrolling through articles I have no intention of reading, doing my best to avoid the painful memories of my first year without my head cheerleader, sounding board, and father.

He was the first one that I went to after hearing about self-publishing and when I decided that I would like to start my own You Tube Channel. When I was ready to start running Amazon Ads, he was the one who helped me with the funds. Whenever it came to major purchases or decisions on what step I should take next, it was his patient ear that I turned to. Without him I felt like a ship without a rudder struggling to weather the storm.

Over and over I felt the pang of loss as I faced a tough decision and turned to look for advice only to be greeted by his empty chair. When a bit of good news such as having 5 books sell in one day or like today when my Poetry Channel finally reached the 200-subscriber mark brought a smile to my face, how fast it faded as I realized that he was not going to be there to share in my simple joy.

Life had already brought enough lonely tears as I watched the mile markers of life pass me by. Locked away by endless days of pain and seemingly forgotten by the world at least I could count on the support of my family. And now that one support, that one precious gift that I had been blessed with, was being taken from me. Love, career, success, friendship, the satisfaction of earning my daily bread, the joy of having my own home, children, independence, and all the pleasures of adulthood had been denied me. Like a time capsule buried in the sand I had watched the years go by, yet my life had remained unchanged. I ate, I dressed, did what I could to maintain my sliver of health, put on a cheerful face, and waited for my chance to become a part of life as I had since childhood. Only now there was one less voice to celebrate the few successes and encourage me when life rained down its many disappointments.

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Posted in life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Bread Maker A Definite Winner in My House

My father was the baker of the family. Every few months he would make a half dozen loaves of bread and a batch of pizza dough. After I learned that some of my symptoms was the result of food allergies, this special treat became a lifeline as buying bread from the store was nearly impossible. After his unexpected death almost a year ago, I cherished that last loaf, not only because it was a symbol of his love, but with my chronic health issues, making bread by hand was not an option. Therefore there was a definite possibility that this precious loaf might be the last time I was able to have bread.

Years ago we had a bread maker. And once in a while I would use it to make a loaf of bread. But shortly after moving to our new house my mother, wanting to do a big favor, made a loaf of bread. The problem was that she did not realize that this particular model had a tendency to shake rattle and move. And move it did, right off the counter onto the floor which was of course the end of our bread maker.

For years we looked for a new one, but without any success. Then one day a few weeks ago, my mother and sister went shoe shopping during tax free week and was surprised to find a break maker on sale. Fortunately, instead of walking away they called to ask me what I thought, and of course I told them get it.

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Posted in life, Thoughts

Wish List: My Perfect Comfy Office Chair

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission.

It is nearing midnight, and I am desperate for sleep. But my little dog Happy who was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, was struggling to fall asleep. So like a restless wave he was marching back and forth. We tried taking him outside, adjusting his bed, giving him water, but nothing worked. The only hope was for me to crawl out of bed, turn my computer on, and play some soothing hymns to help him relax and fall asleep.

Unfortunately that not only means that I have to give up my sleep, but I have to spend an hour or two stuck in an uncomfortable garden chair. I used to have an office chair, but after ten plus years of service it had reached the point that its cover was peeling all over the floor (which was not good because if Happy is feeling hungry he will lick the floor in hopes of finding a tasty treat), and it had worn in such a way that it would kick me out of the chair. Finally, since it had reached the point that the outdoor chair was actually more comfortable than it, that it had seen better days.

So now, instead of being able to lean back and relax while the music plays, I have to struggle to find a semi comfortable spot and struggle to do something while I wait for Happy to relax enough so I can crawl into bed.

As I sit here, I find myself wishing for the perfect comfy chair. But what makes the perfect comfy chair. Getting another office chair is the cheaper solution, only it is not very comfortable for a day that I have to spend a couple of hours sitting at my desktop to accomplish a must do task that can only be done at my desktop next to the printer and important files.

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Posted in Faith, life, Religion, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Thoughts about Faith

Faith, it is a very small word containing only five humble letters, yet it certainly is a mighty word. When everything is going right, and the road of life is quiet and well paved, it is really easy to say I have faith and think that you understand what that word really means. But how can you? What faith is required when life is at its best and want and fear have no place in your life.

What faith is required to walk on plush carpets and eat ice cream by the pool? What faith do you have to rely on when your life is like a romantic postcard or an add for a tropical resort? What exercise of heart and mind is called for when your life could be flashed up for the poster image of successful because your every want and need is met for years to come. When your beliefs line up with the crowd and are excepted at every turn as the only way to live, saying I have a measure of faith takes neither courage nor self-denial.

It is not until trial and adversity hunt your steps, when discouragement and disappointment hunt you down like a pack of hungry hound dogs that you really get a glimpse of the depths and power of faith. Because it is then that you have to chose to hold on to faith. It is then that you have to chose to grab hold and cling to faith, that it become more than words.

From our comfortable arm chairs it is easy to look back at the mighty men of faith and say, I would do the same. Or to look down at those who fell short of the mark and say, I would never do that. Nothing would make me lose my faith. I would never chose the comforts of this life over faith in Jesus. If I were in that garden, or if I had been King Saul, or if I had been so and so I would have done this and not done that.

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Posted in Thoughts, Uncategorized

Just Day Dreaming

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission.

Today I am in one of those rare moods where I want to imagine what it would be like if through some positive change in circumstances, I was finally able to have my own bathroom. For years I have hoped and prayed that some day I would at least have a chance to have my own bathroom space that I could decorate. I would love to have a theme for each season to keep things from getting boring. But if not, my top pick would be the beach.

I love going to the beach. and listening to the soothing sound of the waves and feeling that refreshing breeze against my face. I used to look forward to those 2-3 days a year that we got to stay at the beach. In honor of those precious memories, if I ever had my own bathroom, at least part of the year I would decorate it with a beach theme. For starters I would pick out a piece or two of beach-themed wall art to help create a relaxing beach mood.

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Posted in Faith, life, Poems Begining with H, Poetry, Thoughts

He is Coming

Is it just me, or should the saying it never rains, but is pours should be changed to it never rains but it hurricanes. Because that is the way that it feels like right now. First it was a string of severe health set backs, and before I could catch my breath, it was six painful losses, one right after another.

Now, when it seemed like I might have time to catch my breath and finally begin to grieve, the bad news hits that it looks like my little puppy is following my Father’s footsteps. His sugar is high and his liver and kidneys are not doing so good. They are beginning to fail him. He has lost 8 or 9 pounds and that is a lot for a 28 pound little dog.

We have gotten the medicine and started treatment. Right now there may be hope, at least we hope that there is some hope. But it is too early to tell. For the next few weeks it will be a waiting game to see how Happy responds to the treatment.

During times like these it is so easy to get discouraged. To feel like all hope is lost and that joy is forever dead. Knocked down and tested to the point of breaking it seems like tears and sorrow are your undesired lot. In moments like these, where the pains and sorrows of life press down upon the heart seeking take away one’s breath, it is easy to forget that the pains of this life are for a moment. To forget that there is hope, because one day soon, sin will become a distant memory.

In the hour of darkness it may seem like sin is wining. That it is quickly going about swallowing up hope and happiness. But the good news is that the hour is quickly approaching when the tables will turn. Sin and its cruel companions, want, hunger, pain, sickness, and death, will be swallowed up. Truth, justice, hope, mercy, grace, and life everlasting will win the day.

Right now the enemy of soul’s is angry. He sees that his time is short, and like a roaring lion he is going about trying to turn the eyes of all from their only hope. He is trying to crush the hearts of men and keep them from looking up and through the eye of faith beholding the approaching promise of the great day of salvation.

He sees that final battle is getting ready to begin. He knows that it will not be long before the last decisions will be made, before the last heart will take their stand for or against God. And then the final crisis will begin, and just when it seems like he has gotten the victory, Jesus will appear and fill the heaven’s with His great glory.

Oh right now it is so easy to lose sight of that wonderful day. The pain and fears of this life seem like they are going to swallow us up, and there is no reason to smile anymore. But it is at this very moment that we need to look up. We need to look up with the eye of faith and behold the promised day of salvation. Because when we do our burdens will be lifted and our pain eased. Yes, the tears will flow and the heart will ache, but even in this fearful hour peace can and will fill our hearts as we set our sights not upon the darkness of the tomb, not upon the fearful uncertain of sickness and want, but upon the glorious day when this world will pass away and Heaven with its wondrous, unspoiled, and unfading glorious will be our home.

Posted in Articles about Writing, life, Poetry, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Maze Craze: A Very Fun Idea

Disclaimer: This article contains an affiliate link  to Maze Crazy.  If you should choose to purchase it, I would earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I have used this product for nearly a year before deciding that I liked this program, and becoming an affiliate.

About a year ago I learned about a program called Maze Craze. Maze Craze is a program that allows you to create square mazes and with or without a solution, that are simple enough for a very small child, to the extremely difficult.

Maze Crazy allows you to make very simple mazes that are perfect for very young children, to extremely difficult mazes that are perfect challenge for the serious puzzler.

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The nice thing about this program is that you keep the rights to the mazes that you make. This means that you can not only make mazes for your own personal enjoyment, but to sell as well. You can use your mazes to create maze or puzzle books, activity sheets, or designs for cups, pillows, t-shirts, and more.

Here is an example of an experimental maze book, where I took a poem about adventure, pictures of my adorable dog Happy, and some of the simpler mazes that I had created using Maze Crazy, to create a unique children’s book.

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The mazes are created as convenient PNG files that can easily be inserted as is, onto a pdf making file such as ADOBE, Smallpdf, or Sodapdf and transformed into a file and uploaded to KDP. If you would like to make the mazes more interesting, the PNG file can be uploaded to a program like Canva or affinity publisher where other elements can be added to make your puzzles more interesting.

With a bit of imagination, you can turn a simple square maze, into an exciting adventure.

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What really makes this program exciting is the fact that the creator of Maze Crazy is working to improve this program. Taking the maze crazy experience to the next level by giving the maze creator the option to turn the standard line maze into a maze made out of flowers or clouds.

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And an addition that has really improved the value of Maze Crazy, you now have the ability to alter the maze the shape and path of the maze. Giving you creative control over both the shape and style of your maze.

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Once again, if you want to increase the creativity of your puzzle, you can upload your maze as a PNG file in a program such as Canva or Affinity Publisher. Add a decorative background, insert some interesting elements such as numbers, letters, symbols, or pictures in or around your maze. And before you know it, you have created a unique maze that can tell a story, spread a message of love, or the adventure of your choice.

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With Maze Crazy, you have the power to tell the story you want.

Posted in Faith, Religion, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Hope in this Hour of Trial

If one were to describe the news cyle of the past few weeks, it would be that it is doom and gloom on steroids’. Fear of the invisible, fear of getting too close, fear of going outside, fear of breathing,  fear of touching, fear of work, fear of not working, to fear of fearing fear, has filled the headlines for the past few months as through the news we live and breath the pandemic.

Locked away inside of the same four walls, wondering when and if life will ever get back to normal, it sometimes seems like life has been permanently put on pause. Bombarded day after day with words and images of fear, filled with worry about what bad news tomorrow might bring, and how close to the brink of financial disaster we might come, it is easy to forget the little pleasure that life once held, and to think that sorrow and worry will forevermore be our unenviable lot. To believe that the pandemic has forever wiped away hope and joy from our hearts. Deprived of the warmth of gathering together with our loved ones, of sharing time with our best friends, and the simple comfort of an encouraging hug, it is easy for fear to caste its devastating shadow and take over our weary hearts.

In this hour of unprecedented trial, it is tempting to think that God has left us to suffer on our own. That He has abandoned us to be consumed by the contagion, bankruptcy, hunger, and fear. Yet in His word God promises that

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13

Promising us that no matter what, He is there, holding our hands in the hour of trial, and helping us to safely make it through the hour of trial.

In the book of Psalms He gives us the encouraging promise,

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Psalms 34:7

telling us that in our time of need, He will send His angel to stand guard over us, and shield us. Protecting us from any needless sorrow or woe. Allowing only the hardships and trials, that with His aid, will remove the dross from our characters and transform us into jewels fit for the heavenly kingdom.

And while it is not easy to endure the refiners purifying touch, we can take comfort in knowing that like Job, there is a hedge about us protecting us from many unseen arrows. And set our hearts firm in the promise that although unseen, as we walk through the treacherous valley of death, we can take courage knowing God is by our side, holding our hand as He promised. And like the Paslmist we can declare

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4

And one day soon, when we victoriously come out the other side of this depressing valley, we can fill the heaven’s with God’s praises. Our faith stronger, our hope brighter for the realization that God’s promise is true. And if it is true that He will hold our right hand in our hour of need, then His promise that one day He will come again,

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  John14:1-3

and bring us to live with Him must also be true. And then what joy, what rapturous joy will fill our hearts, as with great longing will look forward to the day when the heaven’s are filled with His glory, and our best friend, our brother in sorrow, and our glorious Redeemer, comes to  rescue us from this world of pain, to bring us home to live with Him in a land where death, sickness, and sorrow are unknown!

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Posted in life, Poems Begining with S, Poetry, Thoughts, Uncategorized

What is Success?

There is something about the ending of the old and the beginning of the new year that causes us to pause for a moment and reflect upon our lives and to ask ourselves the all important question, is my life a success? Have I made the right choices and earned the right to call my life a success?

With great in trepidation we pull out the familiar yard stick and measure our lives with those of our friends and neighbors. Fully believing that if we can check all of the right boxes, we can stand among the proud, the few, and declare that we have earned the coveted award of success.

The problem is, that no matter how many boxes we check off, the badge of success seems to elude us. We might have a beautiful home and family, have earned the love and devotion of our dearest loved ones, and for a moment we bubble over with pride, confident that we have reached the coveted mark. But then we turn and look at those around us and realize that while our house is lovely, it is not nearly as nice as so and so, that our furniture is plain and drab when compared to our neighbor, and that our income is a mere pittance when compared with that of our sister or brother.

Suddenly, as we compare ourselves with those around us, the warm glow of delight fades and a cold chill of hopelessness takes hold. As we realize that no matter how hard we strive, no matter how hard we try, we cannot grasp that elusive star called success.

Sadly, as long as our measuring tape is viewing our accomplishments against that of others, as long as we make the keeping up with the Jones our mark of success, we will never be able to look with satisfaction upon our lives. Because no matter how hard we strive, no matter how far we climb, there will always be some corner of our life where we will find that someone is standing taller and walking a few steps ahead.

Unfortunately we have come to believe that success is being the richest, the brightest, the fastest rising member of our circle. But this view is like a pile of fools gold glimmering in the noonday sun. It is full of glamour and glitz, but the pursuit of it will leave you feeling hollow, stressed, empty, and burdened down with disappointment.

Instead of taking out the chart and comparing every corner of our lives with those around us, it would be far more valuable to take out the measuring stick and take a good hard look at ourselves. To study where we have grown, and where we have come up short. To look and see how many times we have fallen hard and gotten up. How many times we have made an embarrassing mistake, and even though we wanted to run away from the discomforting glare of the crowd, stuck it out and determinedly got the job done.

Because as wonderful as it would be to taste the success of landing the dream job that will allow us to buy the life that we desire, it is far more valuable to become a success at knowing when to stand our grown, of gaining the muscles of endurance that will allow us to build a relationship with those we love that can stand the bitterest trials of life, and to fall flat on our face, and pick ourselves up and stand firm and tall.