And may my words pour like rain   2 comments

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   4 comments

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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.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

Stepping back in time   13 comments

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It has been forty-nine years ago today when we stood at the altar of our church in Kansas City, Mo., at the young, tender age of nineteen. We said our vows, declaring our love, promising to cherish and keep sacred what we hold dear. A merging of two lives, one man, and one woman joined together in holy matrimony in a union that God created, ordained and blessed.

We have been not only blessed to have two wonderful girls and four grandchildren, but have had the blessing, support and encouragement throughout our marriage from family and friends. With a tenacious spirit and determination we hung onto  hope to not give up when things got difficult. It was our faith and belief in a living Savior that kept us strong, believing for the impossible when there didn’t seem to be a way through those rough times.

Yes, I believe in God’s plan of marriage between one man and one woman, and it is in that kind of union blessed by Him that it not only will last and endure, but one where there is always hope. It is in that hope that assures us a new day, a new dawn when clouds are there upon our rising. The sun does come out, and we have the favor of God who loves us so much He does not give up on us when we screw things up. He does not bring us through the bad times only to give up on us just to throw it all away. I am so happy to have the best of those years today.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

The things I once did   6 comments

I remember the hop, skip and jump

between the ends of a jump rope with childhood friends

and practicing the hurdles and running a relay

was the thing I did inside the gym.

Our coach yelled, “Go!”, and we set out to win.

All of the walking and bicycling back then

was enough to stay fit and trim,

and when I put away my hula hoop

to go dancing to a new kind of ‘hop’

 I was thirteen and moved about

and around on a polished wooden floor

to music of the sixties and  ‘be-bop’ tunes.

But, as I got older the pains, creaks and cramps

wore down my knees, and I’d had enough.

Whatever my fears, dreading the outcome

I succumbed to a ‘procedure’ providing the way

to find relief and walk again

without the pain from arthritic knees.

Now, I look forward to the things I can do,

even though I’m no longer a child of ten

with jacks and jump ropes and hula hoops.

I can walk and bicycle, dance, or prance,

and feel like a filly let loose at the gate.

The world is my arena and I sport ‘new’ knees.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

Footnotes:  I had my second ‘total knee replacement’ surgery done on June 30th. The first one (left knee) was done almost four years ago. The second one (right knee) done on June 30th is I think going well, as I am in the middle of my therapy, so I’m taking some time off to recuperate and recover before getting back to my usual posting and writing routine.


When I gaze upon heaven’s blue sky

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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)

Legend of the black stallion

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.

Posted June 21, 2015 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry

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The scarlet cord

“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

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