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More like home   6 comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where corn grows ready waiting the harvest

and granaries are tall white towers

stretching upwards into bright skies.

Where trees, large and twisted

their bark like wrinkles baked in the sun,

with heavy foliage on hanging branches

 bow low to the ground now covered in leaves,

and busy little squirrels scurrying around.

 The sound of trains rumbling down the tracks,

the blast of a noon day whistle heard,

with the semis and tractors sharing the road

between quaint shops that line the street;

a bank, a post office, grocery and gas pump.

Are all beginning to feel more like home.

_________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter © Oct. 2018

 

 

 

Posted October 26, 2018 by Joyce in Autumn, blogging, My Photos, My Writings, Photography, Poems, poetry

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Change

Change is not something I do well. My old ‘routine’, or to put it more aptly my personal agenda was like wearing a comfortable, favorite pair of old shoes or blue jeans. But, even a new pair of shoes or blue jeans has to be broken in until softer and loose enough to easily slip on.

But change is what my past year has been like since making some tough decisions in my life, good or bad. And when those changes come with a new name, address, relocation and relationships and all that goes with it there comes with it a time to stop and rethink priorities, goals for the future, and focus on what is immediate and most important; things that must be dealt with here and now.

There have been many who wondered, questioned or just stood by and prayed while I and my husband went through a divorce this last summer, and a broken marriage after fifty-two years together. The serious mental illness and suicide attempts my husband suffered through 2017 and  2018  became more than I could handle physically, mentally and emotionally. I had to make a decision that was not only very difficult, but I knew things would never be the same for us again. When I filed for divorce and we put our house and properties we owned jointly up for sale other things followed that made it harder to bear as the months went by. My husband became unpredictable, with varied mood swings and personality changes that shocked everyone who knew him, and frightened those of us who once loved him; our two daughters, our grandchildren, family and friends, and myself included.

When he started buying up and carrying around guns, deliberately threatening the lives of others and demonstrating a delusional, hallucinating mind and personality that conjured up stories we knew were not true, driving around with reckless abandonment, and pursuing women on internet match sites I knew I could not stay married to a man I hardly knew anymore.  I had to put my life and future at the forefront, find a new place to live and put my trust in an unfailing God who I knew would never leave, or forsake me. I knew God would walk with me through the shadow of dispelling darkness and despair I felt engulfed in, though at times I wondered if I would ever find my way through it. But, I was not alone. I had the support and prayers of friends and family, who knew the struggle I was going through.

During the months following he committed a serious crime, and the felony landed him in jail. He faced court hearings, convictions, a possible prison sentence, and numerous months of mental and psychic evaluations. For months I was angry, deeply hurt and resentful of all that he had put me through. But, deep down I knew he was a very sick man, that something had claimed his mind and soul causing his problems or contributing to all that he’d done. The many medications he took were adjusted and one by one each possible diagnosis came back unconfirmed. Things would never be the same for him. As for me, I was determined to grow through the experience and become the person God was shaping me to be. But, I knew I would need to make changes in my own personal agenda and reset my priorities. There would be no comfortable routine.

In Philippians 3:13 & 14 the apostle Paul speaks of his own experience; “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV I hung onto that hope that God was working in my life and I believed He would do a work in my husband’s life as well, that one day he would be healed and made whole again.

There will always be many unanswered questions as to why and how one could change so much that no one recognized him anymore. After the divorce and the sale of our home I set out on my own to relocate, buy another house in another state, and took a long break from blogging and social media sites. I have now taken back my maiden name of Mannhalter and though it is becoming once again more familiar and comfortable like my old sneakers and blue jeans when signing my name I will remember forever the fifty-two years I had with the once wonderful, giving, loving man I married when I was Joyce E. Johnson.

Joyce E. Mannhalter (October 2018)

 

Posted October 12, 2018 by Joyce in blogging, Faith, My Writings

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Why I blog

Many years ago I would never have thought about doing a blog. I was always a very private person, more of an introvert. When I opened one with Word Press in 2011 I left it idle for a whole year without posting anything publicly. I didn’t think I wanted to open myself up to the world out there with my personal stuff. My first draft was never posted. It sat in the draft folder for a whole year. I was still grieving over having lost my dog to an incurable disease after spending ten wonderful years with him. The decision to have him euthanized rather than suffer through his illness was still too painful to even share and I wondered if I could ever feel open enough to share the things that touched my soul so deeply. Except for some articles, poems and stories that were published by a traditional publisher prior to that time I felt that a blog would require more of myself than I was willing to share.

When I finally felt ready to go public and come out of my introverted self, I opened up other social media accounts; Facebook and Twitter. I saw the way others posted with such candor and graphic accounts of their lives, the good, the bad and the ugly. I said to myself, Do I really want to do this? Expose myself to strangers? Will anyone care what I have to say, or write? Will my poems or stories resonate with anyone out there? Yet, I could not deny how much I loved to write, and thought at least if I put it out there, be bold enough to bare my soul, share my life, maybe I have something to offer. People are hurting, from things we don’t know anything about. What if a kind word from someone, who cared enough to share encouraging thoughts, words, or prayers was enough to make a difference? Wouldn’t it be worth it, if someone was helped by something I contributed via my blog, Facebook or Twitter?

The number of ‘likes’, ‘follows’, or ‘friends’ one gains is not important if another one who reads it is encouraged or helped by what is shared. A story, post or picture does not have to be sensational. It doesn’t have to be a part of a photo posting competition or word prompt to see who posts the best. I don’t care to advertise how many ‘follows’ or ‘likes’ I have to know that my ‘reflections’ and perspective on things are appreciated by someone. Just sending it out there is all that really matters. It is why I blog.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted July 10, 2017 by Joyce in blogging, My Writings, Writing

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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)

A glance at the former with a hopeful look to the coming

An old ketch of mine from many years ago of Theodore Roosevelt (upper left), Woodrow Wilson (center) and George Washington (right)

An old ketch of mine from many years ago of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and George Washington

 

The above sketch I did so many years ago that I cannot remember when it was. At the time I had been watching the campaigns of candidates running for president and read up on some of our former presidents, and found an old photo of these three from which I could practice my sketching. I was not an American history buff, but have always followed the presidential candidates, their platform, ideologies and campaigns so I could make an informed decision on who I wanted to vote for on election day.

But, this year will be what I think one of the most decisive election years I have ever seen as the American people watch with feverish anticipation, their attention riveted to the debates, repetitive news media coverage, interviews and promises made by the White House hopefuls.

What should we expect? Who can deliver what they claim they will do for the American people? Will they even be able to when we witness continued civil unrest and conflict on our streets?  Opposing sides differ and argue on issues that range on everything from immigration reforms and securing our country’s borders, to the justice, or lack of concerning the guilty of crimes against one group, race or another. The refugees and illegals that push across our borders and the terrorists that merge undetected inside them with no forthcoming answer or solution raises our alert status to unprecedented levels. The list of issues goes on with no end to those that exist as new ones arise. For a newly elected president he, or she has the insurmountable task to lead our country into a safer, more secure place where people can live in peace and harmony with prosperity and equal rights for all. Will we ever see a time when everyone believes their voice matters, that they can live their life without intrusion, obstruction, compromise or fear?

But, whomever that one is the people choose next November it is ultimately God who remains in control, regardless what they can or hope to do, and that is where I place my greater faith and trust. I pray that God will grant us grace and wisdom, that it is His plan put into effect, and that He is invited to reside in the White House, and in our Congress, because His presence has all but been eliminated, and we see what happens when He is pushed away.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Posted January 4, 2016 by Joyce in blogging, Essays, My Photos, My Writings

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The right word at the right time

As a writer our words can be profound, even memorable, but it is our life lived before others that will have the greatest impact. If what we write is not remembered, saved or shared by the reader then maybe how we respond and communicate back to that one might. We may never know what the reader is getting from anything we write if they do not leave a comment, but just to know that what we write, share and post can be of a positive, encouraging word to one at just the right time is something worth striving for; the right word and message to the one who needs or needed it at just that opportune time. And what about those who never comment, give feedback, ‘follow’ or ‘like’ what we’ve written? It doesn’t really matter if what we write or wrote was just the right word or post for that time. A word posted or written for a particular time or season delivered the right way does matter. It is something I care about as a writer.

Writing can also entertain just for the sake of the reader’s enjoyment. I love to entertain that way with whimsical poems or stories and have fun with them while writing them. Then there are just times when I want to incorporate a message of faith, encouragement, hope or support in something I write and send out. If I have asked God to help me know what to write, and ask Him to bless it and to bless the reader receiving it I am confident that it has gone to that one who needed it that day. That is worth it all.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Posted May 3, 2015 by Joyce in blogging, Faith, My Writings, Writing

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It is only love

It is only Love

That can dispel darkness in

A world full of hate

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Today is a day we honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of influence who had a ‘dream,’ a dream of equality and fairness for all people of color, race and religion. It is hard to believe that in 1965 back then when he and thousands marched in Selma, Alabama I was a senior in high school with little thought of him, or his dream at that time. I had only one thought that spring; to finish my senior year and graduate high school.

Little did we think or realize how things would develop and turn around, and change for a country so steeped in racial divide, prejudice and hatred back then for the black population. No one believed or ever thought there would one day be a man of color in the White House leading our country.

But, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of faith, a ‘preacher’ who not only had a dream of equality for all, but a man who was not afraid of what a ‘white man’ could do to him, only what a nation would not do to stop racial segregation and injustice, one who allowed rules where restrooms and sections in restaurants divided the white people from the black. And, where the KKK would be allowed to meet in secret under the disguise of white hoods to continue in their practice of hatred, prejudice, even killing and hanging black people to further recruit and promote for their ‘white supremacy’ agenda.

And now, we have racial division once more from the recent incidents of white police officers shooting and/or killing black people in a ‘choke hold’ defensive maneuver. The judicial system we have may have flaws, or maybe just a lot of gray area not easily defined. Time will tell and we will see where the sides and division in these matters decide who was right or wrong. But it emphasizes the fact that hatred still lives in the hearts of those who refuse to practice ‘equality’ and fairness for all, or even to love one regardless their color, faith, race or political perspective.

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