Archive for December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted December 30, 2012 by Joyce in My Writings

Benefactor

The story below is fiction. It is my submission for this week’s Friday Fictioneers 100 word story based on a photo prompt, provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Comments and feedback are welcome.

Thank you all for following my blog and stories through the year, and for the positive welcomed comments. I wish you all a healthy, happy, prosperous new year in 2013.

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A “secret benefactor”, her lawyer said had fronted the last twenty thousand needed for her to buy the coffee-house cafe, add the bookstore, and turn it into the profitable venture she had only dreamt about before.

“The contract is ready. All we need is your signature and everything will be legal and tidy to close the deal.”

Could she trust him? This new “business partner” was too secretive, a figure in the shadows. He chose to remain anonymous, requiring her lawyer to keep confidential his identity until the meeting between the three.

Here they come.

“NO! Not my ex-husband!”

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Having a ‘Mary’ Kind of Christmas

HAVING A MARY KIND OF CHRISTMAS

Mary had no home or dwelling to decorate a tree with ornaments, tinsel, or lights. They had no hearth with a fire to warm them, yet, the sky was lit up with the brightest and biggest star ever created for the most honored king ever born. God led them to a stable when they were refused a room at the inn to rest and await their child’s birth. It had no provisions or comforts for expected guests. But, there were many visitors who came, seeking the Savior, the prophesied Messiah. Among those visiting were three kings from far off countries to honor him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is written that the ‘Son of God’ was wrapped in “swaddling clothes” and placed in a manger, a feeding trough used for the livestock.

There was no media standing by with cameras and microphones to announce his birth. Yet, the news was broadcast abroad by shepherds leaving their flocks and fields to see the one whom the angels foretold had come. They had no visible means of protection from the murderous king searching for the child, ordering his death. But, the little family was protected by a  host of heavenly angels.

Scripture says Mary pondered all that happened in her heart. I interpret that to mean she was a quiet, young woman who did not question why she was chosen to be the mother of the Savior of the world. She did not complain over her status in life, lack of material possessions or fret over how to be a good mother. She did not question God’s choice to choose her, or fear she would make mistakes. She did not advertise her celebrity status to the world. But, she was human. After all, she could have protested, or refused to marry Joseph, the man she was betrothed to. But, she did not. She just trusted God in all these matters because He was the most important one in her life.

Mary, a teenage young mother, was chosen to help carry out God’s master plan. She was not particularly from a select family, or clan, or a member of the hierarchy of royalty. But, she found ‘favor with God’ to birth the Savior, a virgin birth. God knew she would never boast to be the Savior’s mother, or wail in front of all at his death on the cross, or attempt to bring pity or compassion upon herself. She just continued to ‘ponder’ things in her heart long after her son’s birth, his childhood, his adult life and ultimately his death on the cross.

I have wondered too, over the things Mary dealt with as Jesus’s mother, and the strengths she had as a woman. I wonder how she coped, stayed humble, and merely ‘pondered’ things. She no doubt had a strong faith, questioning God only once as to how she could give birth to the Savior when she had never known a man, intimately. Because of her faith and trust in God she never doubted him.

I wonder if we can have such a faith at times when horrible times come, and life deals us frightening blows. God knows our pain. He weeps with us through our sorrow when chaos or crisis come. Whether it is from the loss of a child or loved one through a violent act, or loosing our home from a devastating storm, or fire, these things cannot be explained. We cannot understand them. But, it is in Him where we draw our strength. Then, maybe we can move on, beyond a crisis so that there is healing. It does not move one forward to keep asking questions like, “Why did this happen?” or “How could it have happened?” It takes the kind of faith Mary had to trust God to know what He was doing, and just ‘ponder’ his ways and will.

There have been numerous tragic events that have taken place this last year in 2012 with the most recent in Newtown, Conn.The news reports are full of sad stories with a list that just goes on. We live in perilous times. My prayers and thoughts are with all those who have suffered through these difficult times in their lives. But, there are many out there too who suffer in other ways we know nothing about because they suffer alone, privately without someone to share their pain, or seek help and support for their needs. God knows our need.  We can trust Him in all things. He is all we need when we  have nothing, or no one else.

The story of Mary and the birth of Jesus can be found in the New Testament. Matthew l:18-25, 2:1-12, and in Luke 2:1-20.

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I want to thank all of my blog ‘followers’, bloggers, writers, Friday Fictioneers and readers out there for visiting my blog site this past year. I wish all a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, healthy, and happy new year in 2013.

Joyce E. Johnson (2012)


Posted December 23, 2012 by Joyce in Devotional, Essays, Faith, Illustrated story, Writing

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“Guilty” – Weekly 100 word stories of flash fiction, based on a photo prompt, Dec. 20, 2012

The below story is my submission for this week’s Friday Fictioneers flash fiction based on a photo prompt. Comments and feedback are welcomed. I want to wish all the writers and bloggers in the Friday Fictioneers group, and those who visit my site a Merry Christmas and hope you will take a few moments to view the other Christmas poems I have posted recently, below the story. Thank you all for reading, following and commenting on my stories and posts through the year. It is always appreciated.

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“Yep. Got them made, cooling on a rack. I tried that new recipe, ‘Cranberry Chews… something. You know, with the white chocolate chips? But, with everything going on this week before Christmas it’s been frantic trying to get everything done. Hey, I got to go and feed my cat. I’ll see you at the party. Bobcat comes meowing when it’s past his feeding time.”

I filled his dish. “Bobcat!”

CRASH!

Oh, no! He didn’t! I heard the plate fall to the floor, and ran to the kitchen.

“Meow.”

His apology, maybe?

“BOBCAT!”

Cookie crumbs everywhere, but no cookies.

Just Bobcat.

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Joyce E.  Johnson


Posted December 20, 2012 by Joyce in Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction, Writing

Tagged with ,

He Came Like a Star

 

He came like a star

Piercing the darkness,

A radiant light

To a world that cannot cope

He came to be born

Alone to bear

The sins of all

That we might know

His incomprehensible

Enduring love

He came to serve

The homeless and hungry

Each seeking refuge

Waiting at his door

He came to redeem

The tiny babes ripped apart

From a nurturing place

That they might rest

In peaceful quiet,

And be rocked

In the cradle of grace

He came to seek the lost and poor

Offering shelter in outstretched arms

A tender embrace

And a compassionate touch

He came to be

The eyes for the blind

Ears for the deaf

Hope to the disabled

And the Savior to all

Called by his name

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Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson © 2012

CHANGED

The below story is fiction. It is my submission for this week’s Friday Fictioneers 100 word story. The reference to ‘Scrooge’ is based on the old classic Christmas movie and book by Charles Dickens. It is a favorite of mine. I love the theme and story that is woven throughout the story, from the person he once was to the one he has now become. It is what Christmas is all about, accepting the One gift given to us all, the Savior to the world.

Comments and feedback are always welcomed.

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“I wish we could decorate, for Christmas. It’s so bare, and dull.”

“Our ‘Scrooge’ boss won’t allow it.”

‘Scrooge’ entered, leading a cadre of men carrying a big spruce tree, boxes filled with ornaments, garland, sweet treats and presents directing men where to put the tree, strands of lights, and decorations. Then he began passing out candy canes, pastry treats and presents to all.

His employees stared in disbelief at their boss as if he had taken leave of his self.

He smiled, nodding. “Yes. I’m a changed man. Forgive me, all. Bless you for being such faithful, patient employees.”

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