Archive for the ‘My Photos’ Category

Bowing branches

Low hanging branches

bare and dark, as if bowing in reverence, pray,

Even trees raise not their limbs

to the sky, but like

hearts heavy, weary and drained,

beseech the Lord, and ask, “Why”?

~~~~~~~~~~~

I walk this trail a lot. On this particular day I noticed the drooping branches, bare and void, looking as if little if any life remained in the tree. But, I know this is a well maintained and popular walking trail at one of our busiest campground sites, so knew that come spring it would no doubt be again budding with leaves and new growth, if it remains rooted and connected with the source which gives it life.

It was the day after the Texas church massacre, and my thoughts and prayers were focused on the victims and families of those, and those killed or surviving other attacks in New York, Las Vegas and elsewhere.  We all have questions; why, how does this thing happen, and so frequently anymore. There are no answers, no easy solutions. We cannot be guaranteed we will have a tomorrow, but we can be guaranteed that we are ready to die if we don’t see tomorrow. God assures us of that. It is His promise to us that with new life in Him we have hope, and that hope assures us we will know Him and see Him.

Psalms 42:5 (NIV) says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

In Matthew 5:4 (NIV) Jesus spoke to the throngs of people on the mountain in a message known as the beatitudes. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

 

 

Ever faithful and true

The sky is clear but for a soft glow

and the dark silhouette of mountains and trees

reflecting back still images I see

while walking the path along the still lake

I lift my eyes to a twilight sky

feeling grateful, for it’s been a good day

My heart rejoices, and I silently pray

How great is Your name, ever faithful and true

all that I need or ever hope to be

I need only to trust in You.

_________________


Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

A New Season in Life


Like tiny bits of crinkled paper

leaves fall, scattering in all directions

chased by the wind, scorched by the sun,

some caught on rocks, some gather in piles.

Trees grow more bare day by day;

exposed and stripped branches cannot hide

what found refuge through summer’s heat.

A season ends, and another begins.

I welcome the changing times of life,

each day a gift like the leaves that scatter

one upon the other like the passing of time.

I pray there not be a day go by

that I fail to bare my soul to Thee, 

and thank you, God for what you’ve given me.

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

God gave me a rose

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

 

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

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.”

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

 


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