I turn once more my eyes toward you
when I gaze upon heavens’ blue sky
your promise of faithfulness I keep
though I don’t always know just what to do
when confusion swirls about in my mind buried deep
my muse grows mellow through time when I’m weak
and though I seek, but not always find
every answer that comes to all that I see
I know without fail you’re there in my need
and I hope the image one sees in me
is a reflection of the greater one seen in thee.
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)
He befriended just one, a boy in danger
And placed his trust to the heart of this stranger
The perilous journey brought them to shore
Survivors of a shipwreck entwined once more
The black moved cautiously allowing the boy
To stroke his mane as if shy or coy
But the stallion once wild beyond good reason
Had been hurt before in another season
It was a time he could easily recall
His head shot up remembering that fall
He pawed at the ground warning the stranger
How could the boy understand his anger?
From this giant black in frustration and fear
Challenging any who dared to come near
He threw up his back as if tossing a saddle
Demonstrating his power, keen and agile
No one would break his spirit or force
Their will or claim to set his course
He was set free to run with great speed
Freed by the boy respecting his need
Tearing across the sands with exceeding gait
He defied any who would determine his fate
The expanse of land would become his home
He’d rear up to all wherever he roamed
But he came back to the boy on shore,
And tried to forget what happened before
Here was the one whom he’d given his heart
Winning his trust for an impeding new start
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)
Footnotes: I love horses and growing up as a child there were some favorite Children’s classics I loved reading, and watching on TV when they were made into a movie. One of those was, The Black Stallion, about a young boy, Alec that befriends a beautiful black Arabian horse after they alone survive a shipwreck, and find their way to shore after a perilous journey at sea. After finally bonding they become inseparable, and eventually the stallion is trained as a racehorse by another friend and trainer who teaches Alec how to ride and race his horse like a pro. The above poem is one I wrote many years ago, but revised recently to post here with this photo taken from the internet advertisement of the movie. You can find more information on The Black Stallion here.
“Go! Check out the land, especially the city of Jericho. Then report back to me.” Joshua said.
The two men entered town under the cloak of darkness. A thick wall rose above them encompassing the entire city.
They went directly to the home of Rahab, a prostitute whose house was built into the high wall. She agreed to hide them under stalks of flax on her roof.
But, the king learned of their mission and where they were. He sent his men after them. “By order of the king, you are to release the spies to us.”
“They were here, yes, but they have left. I didn’t know who they were, or where they’d come from. But if you go now, and hurry you might catch them before the city gates close.” Rahab said.
When the king’s men were gone she went to warn the spies they would be pursued.
“Everyone knows of your strength and reputation. All the people fear you. They’ve heard of your victories, how you have conquered all where you have gone. Promise me you will spare my family and household when you return, since I have been good to you.”
“You have our word. Hang this scarlet cord from your window the day we return and you and all your family and household will be saved.”
Rahab agreed. “It will be as you say.”
They lowered themselves down by the scarlet cord from her roof, and ran into the hills where they hid for three days until it was safe to return to their camp.
On the day that Joshua and the Israelites took possession of the city of Jericho Rahab and all her household were saved because she hung the scarlet cord from her window above the city wall.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2015
Footnotes: You can find the story of Rahab and the spies in Joshua, chapters 2 – 7 of the Old Testament bible. Rahab put herself at risk hiding the Israeli spies, and lying about their whereabouts. But she chose to take an active part in their plan to capture the city of Jericho because she knew they were God’s chosen people. Because of her courage she and all her family were saved.
The ways in which God performs His miracles will astound us because in the natural we cannot comprehend it. Our walls may look impenetrable, doors and gates firmly shut beyond our control. But, when Israel’s army marched in and surrounded the city their loud call and shout brought down the wall, collapsing all at their feet, and the entire city was open to them so they could take possession, because they believed. “Everything is possible for him/her who believes.” Mark 9:23
His love enfolds me, His arms embrace me
in every situation in life there can be.
Though great be the testing, through faith I have learned
it isn’t by something I’ve done right, or earned,
but the assurance that He walks alongside of me
and though storm clouds come, and rush at my door
and rage about, and floodwaters deep,
it is on Him I turn my eyes, and think upon the calming sea.
My spirit is hopeful, lifting me
for I am made stronger, humbled and meek,
and for all that I ask, and for all that I seek
my heavenly father gives to me.
I will lift up His holy precious name,
Jesus, Savior, Redeemer, King.
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)
1848 – The printing year of this antiquated Bible. I was recently given this bible from someone. I love rare and antique books, and collecting classics.
My own personal study NIV Bible
From quill to papyrus, or pen to paper
from cable to typewriter, to keyboard device
words have traveled down through the ages of time
written on scrolls, copied, or transcribed;
they came to be an integral tool expressing our voice
like a sonnet of tales, fabled or true,
not always believed, nor always rhymed.
But, poet or storyteller, essayist too,
memoirist, or scribe; their words, old or new;
if rewarded publication on printed page,
and kept in circulation via demand or reprint
they filled libraries, bookstores, institutions and schools.
But, there is one over all I treasure most
among my revered collected few.
It is God’s words and works within
one bound volume by writers He chose
to record and document all they knew.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2015
The Milner- Schwarz House – 1873 yr. old farmhouse, Loveland, Co.
It is impossible to imagine what life was like well over a hundred years ago when we did not live in that time. This small 1873 yr. old farm-house was the first built, in this town and housed a family of farmers who made their living by what they grew. This historic home was nearly washed away in our 2013 flood here like so much else. But, fortunately it survived and is once again in the hands and care of people restoring it to its original state to be open for tours with newly added features like a miniature railroad, train like the big one that passes through town on tracks behind it, and community gardens typical of those grown with produce sold at the farmers market. It will also house antiques on display that tell their own story and history.
In preserving what once was we are reminded of things important to our community back then when farming and the sugar beet industry were paramount to living on what the land could return back in produce. Today as a thriving, growing city with its many museums and fine arts galleries hosting sculpture shows and companies with a long history like Hewlett-Packard and Woodward it continues to thrive, grow and prosper with the times. Still, the nurturing of the land with its community gardens, nearby farms, and the restoration of old homes, churches and structures like the feed and grain building that processed local crops grown, the sugar mill, the Burlington Northern railroad and depot, the old Loveland House Hotel, the Elks Lodge and others gives us a window to its past, with a hopeful glance towards its future even though we haven’t yet arrived there. We have only the present. And sometimes, even that is too unsettling or precarious to hold on to in today’s world with so many catastrophic events of nature that can so quickly, easily wipe out homes, towns or communities. So, we savor this moment in time and are thankful for what we have now.
Joyce E. Johnson © 2015
Pam leaned over the raft trying to pull the paddle loose, caught beneath the rocks.
“Let it go. Leave it!” the guide yelled, trying to stabilize the raft. But it spun around in a whirlwind of churning white water.
She was jerked from the raft, pitched into the rapids. Her scream was drowned out by the force and strength of a river gone wild.
As she floundered about trying to swim back, the guide and others in the raft tried working the raft back towards her. But, as they came dangerously close to the ‘Big Drop’ the current was too strong. The raft went over and disappeared from view.
“No! Please! Don’t leave me.” She screamed, but they were gone.
Her only thought now was survival. Getting out of the river, climbing to safety and finding help.
Grabbing at rocks, anything she could hold on to, Pam fought the current, working herself across the river to the south side where it ran parallel to the road. A rooted tree limb sticking out from the shore beckoned her.
She managed to pull herself up, out of the freezing water. As she climbed the steep slope towards the road she thought about her friends in the raft, and Mike, their guide. Did they make it? Are they safe?
She shook from the cold, soaked clothes clinging to her body. When she got to the road she saw emergency vehicles and rescue crews with Katie, their guide and the rest in their group.
“Pam! Thank God, you’re safe. We were all so worried. We tried to get to you but the water was…”
“I know. I’m sorry, Katie. It was my fault…” Like a dam opened the tears spilled over as she could no longer hold it back. Shivering, dizzy and barely able to stand she welcomed the warm blanket and supportive arms about her shoulders as the emergency crew made her comfortable in the back of their vehicle for the ride back down.
“Pam. We’re all safe. It’s OK. The bus is here to take the rest back.” Katie hugged her. “I’m coming with you.”
The guide walked over to Pam and smiled, “What are you going to do next time I say, ‘Let go of the paddle?’
“Do as you say.” She said, smiling.
He laughed. “Sometimes Pam, a lesson is best learned when taught by experience alone. We don’t always see the danger up ahead, until it happens to us. It is the way I learned.”
“Yes. I know from experience what the river is capable of at flood stage, but this is the beginning of our summer tourist season. The trip was scheduled in advance, and I didn’t want to cancel, or disappoint. So, I take full responsibility for what happened to you, putting you at risk. I’m sorry. Your next trip is on me, if you want to try this again, sometime.”
Joyce E. Johnson © 2015
This is a work of fiction, part 2 and the conclusion. Part 1 was posted on Monday, May 18th. My story is not related to, or in reference to any real person or event. Whitewater rafting is a popular summer sport (among others like hiking, camping and climbing ‘fourteeners’) in Colorado. The Cache La Poudre River is one of several that offers it. You can find more information on whitewater rafting on the Cache La Poudre River here. I hope everyone’s summer season is off to a great start. Stay safe and have fun over Memorial Day weekend.