When a dog steals your heart   8 comments

Our yellow labrador, Titus Maximus, my husband and I on a walk, taken over seven years ago.

When a dog steals your heart

it becomes that kind of love

where a bond of mutual trust

is formed from the start.

It grows stronger through the years

and when it is his time

and your heart is filled with grief

you watch through your tears

as he’s quietly put to sleep.

You’re thankful for what you had

and the memories that you keep,

but now you say goodbye

after his last and final breath,

and when it’s time to part

you clutch his collar, leash and tags

like they’re pieces to his heart.

__________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Paw notes: Our beloved yellow lab, Titus Maximus was ten years old when we had to have him put to sleep. He had a cancerous brain tumor that caused epileptic seizures with other deteriorating side effects. We got him when he was just an eight week old pup, and he was the most mellow yellow lab we’d ever seen, easy to train, and so loving and affectionate with everyone. Titus was the second lab we owned as we had a black lab once too before getting Titus. Blackjack became paralysed due to deteriorating hip dysplasia and arthritic joints. Although they both were not our only dogs owned through the years they all were very special and we have good memories of all. It never becomes any easier as time goes on when you have to make a difficult decision after they’ve lived a long time, then have to say goodbye and have them euthanized.      

Eye to eye   7 comments

DSCF0983

Like me, this lone dove

on our roof waits patiently

for spring to arrive

__________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)


Those days gone, but not forgotten   9 comments

That's me at age 10 I think in my 'poodle skirt'. Wish I still had it. :)

That’s me at age 10 I think in my ‘poodle skirt’. Wish I still had it. :)

 

Have you got some old memories of your childhood you wish you could go back to? Or maybe, those were times you would rather not. For me, they were days that are today like little bytes of memory not just stored in the back of my brain, but on my computer as well as I begin shuffling through the oldies but goodies of the good old days of my childhood and scanning them to my computer photo files. Those old pictures, black and white, or enhanced in color are gems by which I can revisit my yesterdays.

I feel so fortunate to have had so many of those good years and times I can still remember well, and hope from time to time share a few that had special meaning to me. In this photo above I was standing on the steps in front of our house behind the church my parents pastored dressed in my poodle skirt and the little wool red jacket I wore that my mother and father bought for me on a mission trip to Cuba once.

I remember growing up when I went from baby dolls in buggies to paper dolls nesting in their cardboard box homes, to jacks tournaments, bicycles and roller skates. Then of course by my teen years my favorite pastime was gawking, but not always talking to the boys for fear of drawing attention to my ever-present insecurities. I was one of those late bloomers too afraid to come out of my shell long enough to socialize with a bit of confidence. But, like a favorite song of mine in the 60’s era, to quote a phrase, ‘Growing up is hard to do.’

But, with every passing birthday and they come too often for me it seems, I am thankful to still have them, :)  and remember all I can of those good old days in poodle skirts, 45 rpm records, skating on a hardwood floor at the roller rink, and getting up enough nerve to smile, wave or talk to a cute boy. :)

____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Mellowed through the years like a fine, aged wine   4 comments

Scan_20150212 (2)

Mellowed through the years

like a fine, aged wine

Love is that thing

that invites itself into

your heart and seeks

to make its home.

________________

Even though it was such a long time ago I can still remember the year; 1966. We were engaged, planning our wedding and looking forward to our move to California to begin our marriage as 19 yr. old newlyweds starting college and new jobs in L.A. We were kids never having been out on our own before.

As the years rolled by I remember how busy we were, raising our girls, involved in so many things with our school and church, then as our girls grew up things slowed down a little and we could begin to relax. There were nice dinners out, roses and bouquets, those special dinners I fixed at home on holidays, and cozy nights on a cold wintry night in February, celebrating another Valentine’s Day expressing our sentiments and messages in cards like the one above my husband gave me one year.

The years were not all roses, or as sweet as aged, fine wine, but then I never really did like wine much.   :) But, roses I loved. They were like the kisses and fragrance of God’s sweet breath that blew softly upon our union, and when difficult times came the roses just made things all the more bright and beautiful when we learned that the best gift we could give each other was just respect. And when things seemed crazy, out of order or weird we learned how much better life could be when we learned to just laugh at our mishaps, and know that with every new day the sun did shine, even though at times it was behind a cloud. :)

Happy Valentine’s Day

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

A Country Taken (Part 3, conclusion)   4 comments

It started with a rumble, a sound like a thousand pair of boots trampling, racing across the compound. The skies erupted with loud claps of thunder.

Suddenly, the roof was knocked off its structure with such force as if smacked by an angry hand. A memory flashed before my dazed brain, and I was a child building my fortress and towers with my blocks. Just as quick someone knocked them all down with one fast swoop. My life was then filled with repeated attempts to succeed at all I tried, only to see all come crashing down like my pile of blocks. Never did I really believe God could think me worthy to love when all I did was fail.

The walls and foundation shook till fissures opened wide to the chaos outside. Beams of light poured in with such intensity it came as a shock to my system having become accustomed to this dark place. The noise grew louder, and closer. Everything happened so fast, and yet I was not afraid. Now, as if looking through a magnifying glass the scene before me became crystal clear.  There was a sense of euphoria, an anticipation as I watched in amazement at the battle being fought before my eyes. The ISIS were dwarfed before an army the size and strength of one I could not even imagine. They stood over ten feet tall covered in armor like polished silver. A ruby cross carved into their breastplate with a jewel-studded gold crown at the top was identical to the one on their drawn swords gleaming like early morning sunbeams. The contingent looked like an international army of ethnic and mixed race from countries all over the earth, reclaiming territory, declaring victory. Their eyes were like diamonds, so bright that the brilliance was too great for one to look or gaze upon. Celestial warriors!

A penetrating heat spread through my body from head to feet, and I knew it was not from the fever. The weakness, fever and pain was gone. The bleeding had stopped. I pulled off my bandage; my wounds and abrasions, healed. Adrenalin and strength returned.

I looked at others around me. All were experiencing the same. The presence and spirit of another in the room with us was so powerful I could hardly stand. As His power was unleashed, so great was the impact, I stood in awe, and I believed. There is a God who loves me and it is His Son who came to set us free. His arms reached out encompassing the whole of our little band of fighters, and we passed through the portico into a new realm.

__________________

This story is a work of fiction, but the truths and message are real. There is a God who loves us, will protect us, fight our battles for us and will never let us down or leave us. The book of Psalms in the Old Testament Bible was written by the psalmist, David, a warrior himself, shepherd boy, king of Israel and slayer of Goliath, the giant. Many times he found himself in danger hunted by Saul, the first king who wanted to kill him, but David stayed faithful, persevered and called on the Lord for help. In Psalm 59:16 it says, “But, I will sing of your strength in the morning. I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” NIV

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

 

A Country Taken (Part 2)   6 comments

When I woke, I saw only the blackness in what seemed like a bunker somewhere below ground level. I heard coughing, the whispered cries of one praying, and agonizing pleas for help.

I felt someone’s breath on my ear as he leaned in.

“What’s your name?”

“Get away!” I hissed.

“I’m not going to hurt you. Just want to talk.”

I said nothing; just scooted closer to my corner of the cell. He moved too, towards me.

“Well, if they’d wanted to kill us they would have done so by now, don’t you think?” he asked.

“Maybe. I don’t know.” My head felt like it would explode. Whatever was in that injection was not something to help or heal, but to finish me.

“The beheadings I think are just a small part of a larger plan to rid the world of us Christians, Jews or by whatever name or label we give ourselves. In their eyes, we’re all ‘infidels’ of some kind or other. I think what they want is to turn us into weapons of terror.” His rambling now had my attention.

“How?” I asked him.

“Well, we all thought we could count on the protection of our country’s administration, police, and military arms of service. But, we were wrong. They acted too late to destroy these terrorists before they came over, infiltrating our country. So, here comes this new wave of ISIS from somewhere. But, where? They’re popping up everywhere, and no one is safe. They behead some, but not everyone. Why? We fought back, but they grew stronger in number, and our little band of resistance fighters grew smaller and weaker. The worst of it is I think the ISIS have plants in the government, maybe in congress, the pentagon, the military.”

“You’re crazy. That’s absurd.”

“Is it?”

“Did they inject you?” he asked.

“Yes. But, if it was an antibiotic it isn’t helping. I’m shivering. My head is burning with a fever, am dizzy, and so… ”

“It is no antibiotic they gave you.”

“Then, what was it? Since you think you have all the answers.”

EBOLA.

____________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015) This is a work of fiction and Part 2 of a 3 part story. Part 1 was posted last week, and Part 3, the conclusion will be posted in a few days.

A country taken

They rushed the streets like a swarm of locust. Except for the eyes and above the forehead they were covered in black from head to toe, knives, guns and sabers drawn, bullets riddling all in their path.

When they closed in it was more in their eyes than with gesture or knife that revealed their heart or intent; seething hatred for all but those sworn to serve Allah and Islam. Caucasian, clipped sharp tongue, and blue eyes muddied brown as they bore into my soul, and I daring to not look away, but rather stand like the warrior I’d become as they swore to take me down with a clear swipe of the sword to my head.

Hours later, my head bandaged, my mind struggling to make sense of my surroundings things are murky, shadows moving in and out as if passing through patches of fog.

The face is blurred…shrouded in black.

Their words, “You will convert or die.”

It played through my head like a grinding, hated repeating reel, over and over again. ‘Land of the free?’ This can’t be happening. It isn’t possible. I must be dreaming.

Then, I felt the jab in my arm; an injection of some kind, and knew I was not. Slipping into unconsciousness, I was shoved into a black hole.

______________

 Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Footnotes: This is a work of fiction (Part 1). Continued parts will be posted as finished.

 

 

Posted January 30, 2015 by Joyce in A Country Taken, Faith, Fiction, Flash Fiction

Tagged with , , ,

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