Archive for May 2016

Remembering our military on Memorial Day

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As we walked around the cemetery last Saturday, and saw all the tiny American flags sticking up from the ground around the graves of those who fought in past wars, I wondered about the stories of all those we’ll never know anything about. Only their surviving family members can provide details to the lives lost, and sacrificed for our freedom.

We read and hear of those whose sacrifice and heroic efforts changed the course of history for our country, but there are thousands more stories we’ll never know, or the men and women who fought bravely for our country on our shores, off the shores and outside our borders. It is often only the grave marker, or sadly for some a name on a KIA (killed in action), or MIA (missing in action) list filed on records and documents in the archives of history.

The picture above is just one I took at random of a World War II soldier’s grave while we were there to view the gravesite of my parents buried nearby. I had been trying out a new cell phone camera so did not get a very good image of this soldier’s grave, but it is not the image that I cared so much about, but what he had done and his contributing effort to the cause of freedom and democracy for our country.

If you are in the military, a veteran of the U.S. armed services, or even in the military of another country or army your service does not go unnoticed, but is forever appreciated to all those whom you fought to protect, and the country you served.

Thank you for your service, and God bless you on this Memorial Day.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

Posted May 30, 2016 by Joyce in My Photos, My Writings

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A refuge and place called ‘home’ to the abused and neglected

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A male African lion. After taking several pictures of him from a distance we were finally rewarded with this close up shot of him walking up to the viewing platform.

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This mature grizzly kept his eyes on us the whole time we stood watching him from the walk out.

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This black bear loved his wooden post. He hugged it, rolled it, played with it, and even used it to scratch his back. All of the larger animals have big fresh water tanks, cool, comfortable ‘dens’ made with huge concrete culverts set into the ground so the bears can hibernate, or just get out of the hot sun to cool down. There are tire swings that hang from poles too, for them to play with.

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A grey wolf, common to the northern territories of Canada and the U.S. The ‘greys’ were in a separate enclosure from the Artic wolves, as seen below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Artic wolf. We wondered if this one was the ‘Alpha.’ He seemed more dominate over the pack as we watched their behavior and movements.

 

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This big grizzly was more intent on cleaning his paw. He paid no attention to his visitors.

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Now to just get the other leg in, and he’s ready for a swim in the water tank on a hot day.

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These two grizzlies find time for play, and a rough and tumble roll on the ground.

 

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Afternoon nap. There were several in this group of lions that were sleeping, all piled up, one on top of another with legs spread out in every direction. The lions and bears are more lethargic in the earlier part of the day when hot, but get more active later in the afternoon towards feeding time.

 

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My grandkids, Trevor and Alyssa at an entrance sign, “petting the tiger”.

 

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So long, from  all of us at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the animals above, and many more from other species are all rescued animals coming from abusive, neglected or abandonment situations. They are housed and kept in this beautiful 800+ acre compound preserve in Keenesburg, CO. They are fed on a regular rotating schedule, live in a protected environment, and get the best possible care with regular visits by a veterinarian. Many were rescued from circuses; abused, abandoned or neglected. Others were rescued from people who got the animals as pets when very young and could not properly care for them, so gave them up. There are ostriches, lynx, mountain lions, and even camels on the site. This was our second trip out to the preserve. It is an awesome place to visit the animals in a more natural setting with all the comforts of ‘home.’ To view pictures of them and others there, read their stories, donate to their care, or learn more about them, you can find it here.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Things I’ve learned in writing

The things I’ve learned over forty-two years of writing since my first poem are numerous. All that I’ve learned are either through experience – what worked, what didn’t – and the much-needed instruction and information gleaned from instructors, mentors and successful published authors.

I absorb all that I learn. To get a foothold into a real publishing venue of credible, significant standing it is an ongoing process of self-improvement as a writer. The number of self publishing, vanity type venues that feed their till and their reputation on the cash and costs required of writers wanting to see their name on a book jacket is becoming as long a list as the number of writers needing representation. Who should a writer trust? What can they expect?

I have read reviews, and writers’ stories and complaints of those they relinquished their book manuscripts to, and researched others I wouldn’t trust with what I’ve spent years writing, or trying to perfect. One can take a risk with no guarantee of their legitimate services and find out that they are not what they really claim to be. In the meantime I work at the craft until I have complete confidence that my work or project is worthy of the best representation, and focus on these points hoping to progress along the way.

  • If not nurtured or practiced every day it can become weak, shallow, meaningless words without any depth.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration to come. Life is full of inspiration, every experience, an opportunity. Use them all. 
  • Use words worthy of enticing readers to the first paragraph, page and chapter, reading clear to the end.
  • In fiction, write to compel and draw them in with a plot that makes them feel as if they are there at the scene, with lead and supportive characters they can relate to, identify with, and feel as if they know them personally.  
  • In fiction, write so as to hold the reader’s attention, with well-chosen words, each page and chapter leading to the next, building emotion, suspense, imagery, descriptive scenes. If memorable it will be embedded in their minds. If a non-fiction work the message should have truth, be unforgettable, influential, life changing. It isn’t the subject or genre that matters so much as the substance in choice, and strength of words used to make a point, deliver a message, or tell a story.

Maybe, it can be said that a writer is only as good as the feedback or reviews received from those who read their works. Being conscious of this should be reason enough to work harder at the craft. It is for me, and what drives me onward, to be that kind of writer.          

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Posted May 15, 2016 by Joyce in My Writings

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A mother who knew about ‘sacrifice’

 

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She sacrificed time for herself so she could spend it caring for a family with four kids. She sacrificed new dresses for herself so she could buy new dresses and shoes for my sisters and I for every special holiday and birthday. She sacrificed a paycheck earned so she could stay home to be a full-time mother, and wife to a full-time church pastor for over forty years. She gave up much so she could give to her family and others, because that was the kind of person and mother she was. Integrity, honesty and living her faith daily was evident in all that she did, and her legacy lived on through her children when she died. Because of her faith, her sacrifice and her character, we strived to be as good a mother as she for our own children.

Though now gone, she is never far from my thoughts when those special days come around like her birthday, Memorial Day, the day of her passing, Christmas time and Mother’s Day.

Here’s to you mom, on Mother’s Day. I know where you are, and I know too that Jesus celebrates these special times and days with you as He does every day, and I know I will see you again one day.

I learned much from my mother. There is no other job more important or wonderful to have than being a mother to the children one is blessed to have. To be home with my kids and be a full-time mother to them is a sacrifice I chose also for them, and never regretted making that kind of sacrifice.

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers out there who also sacrifice in ways to be the kind of mother God wants them to be.

Posted for The Daily Post, ‘Sacrifice’

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Profusion in pink

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Profusion in pink,

and trees, their limbs full and green 

shelter birds that sing.

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The sun is shining.

May comes, and with it new life,

expectancy, hope.

~~~

Is it the season,

or the newness of things fresh?

Spring; I savor all. 

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

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