Archive for the ‘My Writings’ Category

God gave me a rose   2 comments

I needed just a sign

that God turned not away

disappointed in His child

for what we could not hide,

or dwell on what went wrong.

We would choose to now move forward

not look back on Why or How,

or think upon the long

days of waiting you’d come around

as we stood by in silent sadness;

yet hanging onto hope

that you’d make it through the days

 and your life we prayed to keep,

while God standing watch over you amidst your fear.

 He returned to you your life,

and assured us that in spite of what he did allow

He’s not yet through with you, and here.

He never really left, but gave us just some space.

 How precious every moment, every day of our lives,

like the rose, the sign I needed

  to know He’s always there, and with us day and night.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

Succumbing   2 comments

 

A flower that blooms in the spring, and 

produces through a season if warmed by the sun, 

  watered by the heavens if nurtured will bring

beauty for the times when the trials of life 

weigh me down so my soul can’t sing,

and for the bee for which it must have

that succulent nectar to live and thrive

 will grow weary too, lie listless, weak and die.

So, it is like that in life,

and like the flower and the bee

when our days we cannot number,

each and every one known to God

we have no guarantee. But still, I often wonder

over the day when I too shall slumber,

but until that time, I’ll give all I have

to Him who guards my quaking steps,

and steadies me when I fall,

for I know that in all I do

it is with Him that I do all.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

 

Hanging by a thread   1 comment

I photographed the (second and present) jumping rope here at the jump site just off the walking trail at the Big Thompson River, Loveland, Co. The kids still use the rope and jumping site and have for years. To my knowledge there has not been a serious accident or one reported with the kids using the rope and jump site, but the dangers from the river during flood stage is real and has resulted in deaths, from the devastating flood of 2013.

 

“It’s just what kids do,” grownups said when kids met up at the river during the hot summer months, jumping into the water from the old rope that hung between two trees.

But, once again, the river rose higher, and the current ran faster through the Big Thompson from the rain with little letup. It could be a clear flowing stream at its lowest point, a murky green at its deepest, or a raging menace at its worst. Today, it was the latter. Yet, they paid little attention to the warning signs posted, ‘High water. Dangerous current. Potential for flash flooding.’

“Will this work? I found it in the garage.” Shawn asked, holding up a spool of plied rope.

“It isn’t going to be as good as the old one, but it might.” Nathan said.

“I bet that old rope was at least an inch thick. I wonder what happened to it.” Danny said.

“Don’t know. Maybe someone took it down. Or maybe it broke off and washed away in the flood.” Nathan replied.

The wooden ladder rungs were still there, nailed to the side of one tree allowing the kids to climb up and jump into the water from the top. Nathan climbed up one side, tied a length of rope around the tree and threw the other end over to Shawn, waiting on the other tree. He caught the rope, pulled it taut, tied that end, and each boy secured their side with double knots. Danny stood below with a longer section of rope and threw the loose end over. They tied it off, then made knots for hand holds.

“Done. Let’s try it out.” Danny said.

They took turns launching themselves out over the water. Long enough to jump to either side they grabbed the rope, swung out and landed on the opposite bank. Then, they dove off the trees lunging at the one swinging from the rope. They played the game of, ‘Catch me if you can,’ when Danny caught hold, hanging onto Shawn, but neither saw the loosened knots tied at the trees, or noticed the fraying threads on the rope, straining under their weight.

“Dudes. Stop! Get off! The rope…it’s…loose!” Nathan yelled, but they did not hear.

A tree branch cracked. The frayed rope snapped, and Shawn and Danny tumbled into the water. Their sounds and yells were not heard above the roar of the river as they were swept downstream.

It had been a month since the accident. Nathan stared down at the still water. He kept seeing Shawn and Danny as they fought against the current that threatened to swallow them up.

A park ranger walked over. “Your friends almost died that day, Nathan. If they hadn’t found that broken tree limb to latch onto they might not have made it out safely.”

Nathan nodded. “I know.”

“Using good common sense to make right choices is a better way to learn a lesson, don’t you think?”

“Yes, sir.”

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Footnotes:  The above story is a work of fiction, but the following scripture verses seemed appropriate to share in emphasizing the truth or lesson illustrated in the story above. Proverbs 8:34-36 on wisdom- “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from the Lord. But he who misses me or sins against me wrongs and injures himself, all who hate me love and court death.”

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

Tagged with ,

Because of Freedom I Come

 

In freedom, I come

with my heart lifted in song

I sing

for unto Him, who sits on the throne I come

without shame, into His presence and bring

myself, an offering I give

that He may bless

all that I have, all that I am,

all that I ask of Him, and confess.

Let it be unto Him and none other

I lift up my voice

in praise, in worship, rejoice,

and may my freedom, like the flags held high

be forever, and lifted up towards the sky.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

I’ve always considered myself patriotic. A flag hung where a slight breeze could send it waving a humble salute up to the sky. Parades and picnics, hamburgers and hot dogs, sweet corn, ice cream and watermelon always seemed the standard, typical fare I enjoyed in celebrating a holiday that pays tribute to the freedoms we share in this great country. All of the day’s events and festivities climaxed and culminated in the final grand display of fireworks and sky show after the sun went down and the sky lit up with color and boom.

But, it is the privilege of walking into a church to worship that I count as perhaps the greatest and most important of freedoms we have in the U.S. as we near the July 4th holiday on Tuesday. More and more now we are seeing less and less of those freedoms we hold dear as the threat becomes greater all the time with those who want to destroy our rights and freedoms as a believer, a Christian, an American, a Patriot, or one who chooses not to worship any. This is not meant to be a political statement of any kind, or to proclaim which side I stand with, but instead to just proclaim my right as a Christian believer to exercise my freedom to worship and serve my God where I choose. However and wherever you celebrate the July 4th this year as an American or even a new immigrant into this country I wish you a happy July 4th. JEJ

 


…as a beacon upon a hill

A lighthouse off the Na Pali west shore coast of Kauai, Hawaii

 

 Lord, guide me safely

to your shores where I might find

sanction and sweet peace,

and that my own light be seen,

and my life in You lived well

be as a beacon upon a hill;

Let it shine that one might see

a safe harbor found in thee.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV) Bible

His Dad’s Tool Chest

“Why did we have to come? He didn’t care about us when he was alive. Why should I care now?”

“Because, he was your father. Show some respect. He deserves that much.”

“Why? He left us! He didn’t want us. I want to go home.”

“Ben, we can’t. These people want to meet us. They were…are friends of his.”

“Please, mom. Can we just leave after the service?” He swiped a sleeve to his moist eyes.

“I know this is hard for you. It is for me, too. But, we have to face what is, and…go on, like we’ve been doing all these years. It will be alright.” She gave him a tight squeeze. “I promise.”

They were stopped by a man as they headed back to the car after the graveside service.

“Excuse me. Are you Ben? And, you are Shauna, I presume?” He smiled and shook their hands. “My name is Edward Jennings. I was a friend of your father’s. I handled some of his legal matters for him, and he left some things he wanted you to have. Here’s my card. If you will give me a call before you leave town we’ll set up an appointment to go over his will, and discuss some things with you both. We can’t do that here. Would that be alright?”

Shauna looked at Ben, then nodded. “Sure. That will be fine. Thank you.”

The next day they were shown into an office at, ‘Jennings, Croft and Perry’, Attorneys at Law.

Ed greeted them, directed them to chairs, then brought out a large dark wooden chest. “Ben, your father wanted you to have this. It opens up with this key.”

Ben took the key handed him and turned the lock. The chest had the initials, B.A.C. Sr. carved into the front. The lid swung back easily on its hinges revealing the contents inside.

Ben went through the chest one item at a time, things he’d never seen before, tools of some kind, turning them over in his hands.

“Those are carving tools, Ben. He took up the craft after starting in construction and made this chest. He was quite good at it, actually.”

There were some pictures, a few of Ben when he was a baby, with his mother, then as a toddler, but none of Ben past the age of four. He read the notes written on the back. There were envelopes with some money and old coins, another set of keys, and a bible with scriptures written on the inside pages. He opened it up and found a quote, “Whatever worth building in life is only as good as its foundation.”

“What does this key go to?” Ben asked.

“It belongs to a safe deposit box in you and your mother’s name. I have another set here I will be giving you and your mother also. It is a set of house keys, to his house, also left in your names.” Ed replied, smiling at them both.

Ben looked over at his mom, noting the look of surprise and shock on her face.

He then opened a sealed envelope marked, “Private; to Benjamin Alexander Crowley Jr.,” and withdrew a single letter which he read silently to himself.

    “Ben, I have no adequate words to tell you how sorry I am for leaving you and your mother. I wanted only to hold you, close to my heart, but was afraid, too ashamed to show myself after being gone all those years. When you were very small I had a gambling debt and owed some people a lot of money. I did a lot of awful things back then, drank too much, wasted time and money on all the wrong things. The people I hung around with were wild, not the kind of friends anyone should have. So, to spare you both I just took off. I thought if I could get a decent job, clean up my act, pay off my debts, and get my head on straight, I would come home. But, I was afraid. Afraid I would not be welcomed. I regret all the things I did, but my biggest regret was leaving you both to struggle alone through the years, without me. Please forgive me. It is all I ask. What I want you to know above all else is that I love you and your mother. I always have. Treasure every moment you have with her and grow up to be the kind of man I wasn’t, so you won’t live with regrets. I’ve paid off my debts and owe no one anything anymore, except to you and your mother what I stole; the time and years wasted when I wasn’t there.”

Ben looked up at Ed and asked, “What did my father do, on his job?”

“He worked for a company that built tall buildings, skyscrapers.”

“How did he die?”

“They were working on a construction site project when the scaffolding gave way, and collapsed. He was crushed underneath.”

A year later, on Father’s Day Ben and his mother stood at the grave site of Benjamin Alexander Crowley, Sr., each bringing their gifts; a bouquet of fresh flowers from the garden at their house, the one now belonging to them, and a small wooden cross Ben hand carved with his father’s tools.

Ben had no special words to say to fit the occasion. He had no memories of Father’s Day times spent with his dad. All he had was the “now moment” his mother called them.

“Thanks Dad.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there,

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

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