Farewell to Summer’s sweet end   2 comments

 

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Summer shies away

while autumn draws nigh and cool

I bid sad farewell

To the season’s warm sweet smells

Of late August blooms, and sigh

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


There came…   4 comments

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There came a brave little chipmunk

just half the size of a skunk

to our picnic in the park

from his home in the dark

to eat the crumbs by the trunk.

He stuffed his mouth and searched around

for more breadcrumbs on the ground,

scampering here, running there.

There came his friends. He had to share,

but to their delight, the bowl they found

was filled with food for our dog, Maggie

who stood watching, her tail a wagging.

Bread crumbs eaten, they tried hers too,

a different taste, but guess it will do.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


Rocky Mountain National Park – 100 years   4 comments

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This year (2015) marks the 100th year since RMNP opened and declared a national park in 1915. We live in Loveland which is only about thirty miles from the park entrance and every time we go up we are in awe at all there is to enjoy and photograph. Longs Peak (14,000 + ft.) and other mountain peaks, their majestic beauty, the wildlife, and wonders of nature and environment always makes us so thankful for what we have in our own ‘neck of the woods’ to the west.

No matter what kind of storms or situations come such as the devastating flood in 2013 that washed away so much of the pristine natural areas  we find that in time nature restores and replenishes all, eventually. Much of it returns and comes back in a new or different way like the re-channeled Big Thompson River. Work is still being done on roads, campgrounds, and monumental markers of significance that was affected during the flood. RMNP and the town of Estes Park has seen record attendance this last summer bringing in the much-needed revenue to fund and support the projects still in construction. But, whatever the storm took from us there will always be the magnificent awe-inspiring mountains that welcomes visitors each year, and us who live near them who never tire from seeing all God has created for us to enjoy.

For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park and the 100th anniversary celebration you can find it here

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

The games we played   2 comments

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The floor was our playing table. It was not cards or dice we held in our hands, but Jacks. Not the Jack of cards, but those tiny metal objects with spokes poking out from the center. The other thing needed for the game was a small rubber ball with a good bounce.

With our playing hand full of jacks we threw them out onto the floor.  One by one we picked up a jack after tossing the ball six to eight inches from the floor, and catching the ball before it bounced twice retrieving both in the same hand.

When a player collected all the jacks with the ball bouncing just once the turn moved to the next player. If the ball bounced twice before retrieving the jack the player was out of the game. And like cards or dice we played to win, as it soon turned into a competitive match with our opponent.

There were as many different variations to the games of ‘Jacks’ as there are to a deck of cards, or pair of dice.  When we completed each round we continued on to a harder game, like scooping up all the jacks in one swipe before the ball bounced even once.

If we dropped or moved a jack in the process of picking one up we were out of that round and would have to repeat that game at our next turn. The turn then went to the next player. The better we got at these games, the more fun we had, and new ones were invented.

In the game, ‘Around the world in eighty days,’ the player tossed the ball, picked up a jack and with a swift hand encircled the ball before the ball bounced twice. If at any time the ball was dropped, or hit a jack the player was out until his/her next turn.

In the game, ‘Pigs in the basket’, the player had to pick up a jack in one fast swoop before the ball bounced once. The process was completed with each jack in the same manner. Then, the player advanced to the next round as the player attempted to collect all the jacks in one swoop before the ball bounced.

In one game the player grabbed a jack, and tapped it on the floor before the ball bounced.

The trick to playing these games well was not to scatter the jacks so far away that they became unreachable to a quick hand, yet not have them so bunched up as to touch and make it more complicated for the player to retrieve the jacks without disturbing or touching another in the process.

Today, these games may not be known to most kids who play digital or arcade games on their tablets and smart phones, as my grandchildren do, but when I was a child Jacks was one of my favorite games. A set of jacks and ball were one of the most affordable, inexpensive games.

One day when shopping at a hobby store I found and bought the above large decorative ‘Jacks’ to display and use like bookends. On another occasion when going through some kept mementoes from my childhood I discovered I still had a few from my old set even though I keep a newer set and ball for my grandkids to use. But, they just can’t ‘get into’ the game like I once did.   :)

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)


Two brothers, two nations, and what divides them

She was hated by one, yet loved by another; the God of the father of her illegitimate child. The Egyptian maidservant approached his tent with trepidation.

Abraham didn’t want to do it, but he had no choice if he wanted to keep Sarah happy. Hagar and Ishmael would be cast out, homeless and destitute, they set out alone in the barren wilderness with no promise of a future, and certainly none of the ‘promised inheritance.’ That was reserved for Isaac, Abraham’s legitimate son and rightful heir to the Jewish nation of God’s chosen to inherit His coveted blessings.

Hagar could not bear to watch Ishmael die, the first-born son of a Jewish father. There was not enough food to sustain them both, so she chose to die, so he could live.

Was it an omen of things to come, a future not yet prophesied? She gave him what was left of the rationed bread, then walked away alone to die. But, the God of Abraham did not walk away from her. He heard her cry, and saw her tears. He spared them both, and the Palestinian nation was born. But, their God was not the God of Abraham.

This story is not fiction, but true. The bible does not give the date and time of this historical event which separated two brothers, and divided a family. Yet, each of these two boys would lead their own to the creation of two cultures and two nations living side by side. It was hate then that sent her away, and it is hate today that divides them still.  

But, although Abraham and Sarah made mistakes then there were other decisive moments later that proved and tested the faith and strength of a man obedient to God who was willing to sacrifice his beloved legitimate son, Isaac on an altar to God. But, God stayed his hand in time before Isaac was slain. A transition and period of time in between events shows Abraham’s strong character and maturity changing forever the direction of his life, his descendants’ lives and ultimately the destiny of Israel’s.

Today, centuries later we see still the turmoil and unrest in the Middle East as reports come almost daily of terrorist’s acts, missiles and rockets fired at Israel, and new threats of war as tensions rise and Iran promising the destruction of Israel, a country blessed by God since its creation. There is no ‘deal’ or treaty that will work to stay the hand of a country like Iran that seeks to destroy another.  

It is not just the prophetic events that unfold before our eyes, but the same hatred and animosity that has prevailed since Abraham’s time. We can pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the Middle East, even the world, but unless the tide of hate turns, and evil is eradicated completely there will always be those who bear the kind of hate and evilness that wishes only to destroy life, not preserve it.    

You can find the stories of Abraham in Genesis, chapters 21: 1-20, and 22:1-14. of the Old Testament, NIV

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

 

 


And may my words pour like rain

Sometimes I sit and stare

At the blank page before me there

I think, What shall I write today?

Do I have anything worthy to say?

Something forming or stirring in my brain

I can express in whatever, clever way

An idea I’ve not yet used, or just a nudging thought this day

God, let the words now come and flow

Upon my page and pour, like rain

And if it be, please let them find

A receptive heart or open mind

And may they be just what one needs

To lift one’s spirit, encourage, hope or strength

And my words not found in vain.

____________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


Posted July 27, 2015 by Joyce in Faith, Inspirational Poems, my musings, My Writings, Poems, poetry

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Memories of vacations past

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It was the morning of July 5th, 2005. My husband, and I with our daughter, husband and children headed north out of Colorado towards Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.  It was not my first trip to Yellowstone. I had gone on earlier trips there as a child and years later with our youngest girl.

The beautiful red mesas, buttes, and plateaus of Wyoming merged with the vistas of the serene Grand Teton Mountains as we entered Yellowstone. The sun disappeared as dusk settled over the mountains. We all watched for wildlife and enjoyed the scenic drive through steep terrain and thick forests.

Suddenly, my eyes caught sight of a beautiful animal standing still behind the brush. Too soon, it was gone from view. It looked like a gray wolf with its gray and white fur coat. Yet, from that distance I couldn’t be certain it was a wolf, or a coyote.

After checking into our cabins and getting a good night’s sleep, we got up early to go sight-seeing.

We headed first for the Norris geysers and Old Faithful. The strong sulfuric geysers smelled like burned hard-boiled eggs.

We stood, fascinated at the effect created by the boiling, bubbling pockets in the earth. Steam, heat and odor spewed forth from belching, gray puddles.

In the next three days, we explored the park, the sights of waterfalls, gorges, forests, lakes, rivers, went horseback riding, and hiked trails.

Amazed at the mammoth brown bodies and girth of the grazing bison, my grandson sat up on a mound of dirt  in front of our cabins watching them intently. They watched him just as intently looking too dangerously close.

One morning we headed across the park to the east side towards Roosevelt Lodge for breakfast and stopped to photograph the lush, green pastures and landscape. That night we enjoyed an old-fashioned cowboy style cook out and wagon ride through sage brush, prairies and pastures. Wildlife of all kinds roamed freely about undaunted to our encroachment on their habitat.

On the way back down to Canyon Village that night sitting contentedly in a wet marsh just a ways further was a big male moose. Parking the SUV on the side of the road, we all jumped out. My excited husband was once again ready with the camcorder and ran down the road towards the marsh. The moose got up and sauntered out of the marsh, up into the hills all the while unaware that my husband had captured his essence on tape.

A trip to the wolf and grizzly bear game preserve on the northwest side of the park was another place we visited while on this trip. The preserve had several different species of bears, mountain lions, snakes and other game set back into a natural area where they were treated and cared for as if in a royal zoo.

It was 6:00 a.m. and our last morning there when we drove south, watching the wildlife grazing for food when we spotted it. There, coming towards us was a huge male grizzly bear off the side of the road. The sun was just coming up over the horizon. What an amazing sight to see this beautiful creature foraging for his early morning breakfast. The large humped back bear sniffed the air as if sensing our presence parked, about fifteen feet away, snapping pictures and taping his every move and turn.

“This way, over here. Now! That’s it. That’s good. Great! We got him.” My husband said as he was sticking halfway out through the sun roof aiming his camcorder. The bear stopped and stared back as if daring us to come closer. We had no way of predicting his movement or reaction to our being there. My son-in-law was prepared with his foot to the pedal if we needed to get away in a hurry.

Before leaving the park that day we had photographed and videotaped grizzly bears, black bears, a moose, elk, wolves, coyote, fox, otters, bald eagles, and bison.

We reluctantly headed south out of the park through the Grand Tetons, thankful and felt blessed to see what our country and national parks has preserved and maintained for over one hundred years.

Although a big fire in 1988 destroyed much of the park’s trees and forests, it has since revived itself with new growth, and regeneration. Old burnt down trees lay beside the new seedlings and saplings reminding us that nature can restore it and compensate for its loss. It is a vivid illustration of rebirth.

The bears, bison and wildlife still remain one of the biggest attractions for tourists. But, because of the confrontations and attacks by bison and bears the rules were changed to protect visitors to the park. They aren’t allowed to feed peanuts to the bears like we did when I was a child as we hung out of car windows to get a good picture of them, luring them ever closer with the peanuts.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

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