Whiling Away the Airport

I don’t travel by air often, but when I do, I like to imagine what might happen when I’m whiling away the time at an airport. Sometimes I imagine desperate renegades (of course, I’m the hero), or interactions with other of the waiting passengers. I discovered one of my fictional pieces today, and I share it:

On my way home from Michigan, I had a 2-hour layover in Chicago. My flight arrived early and, if all went according to schedule, I had two hours and forty-five minutes to use up before I could board my next flight.

I had already grabbed a bite to eat and wandered around enough to work my cramps out. I figured it was time to make my way to the boarding area and read my book for the remainder of the wait time. As I neared the gate, I was surprised and dismayed to discover how crowded it was. After an in-depth perusal I discovered that there were, in fact, only four seats available. I didn’t usually like sitting next to unknown persons; I would have enough of that, after all, during the next flight. I was ready to take a load off, though, so I chose a seat near a frazzled looking young woman holding a newborn. She also had a three-year-old who kept trying to escape. The three-year-old had her own chair. I looked at the woman and pointed to the empty seat next to the little girl’s.

“May I take this seat?”

She looked up at me and all but rolled her eyes. She sighed and reached for the little girl and started prodding her to remove her hands from the seat I was eyeing. “Come on, Tanya. Move this way.”

Little Tanya was compliant, but active. Fortunately, the newborn was sleeping; however, I guessed that a sleeping baby now meant a crying baby during the flight, and hoped that my airline seat was far from this little family’s.

I took my seat and found myself the target of a small pair of inquiring eyes. Tanya was standing quite still and staring at me, in that blatant way that kids have. I was intrigued by the sharp intelligence I sensed in the light of those eyes. I squeezed my lips together to make fish lips and puckered at her. The eyes remained intense. I relaxed my lips and wiggled my nose. The fluff of her eyebrows went up. I worked my lips again, and watched as the tiny pink bow of Tanya’s lips pursed and moved, as though she was remembering how to suckle. As I wiggled my nose, her lips and nose waxed and waned in an attempt to copy my movements.

I glanced at the mother. Noting her sentry eye on Tanya, I held her gaze as she looked at me.

“I’m a retired teacher,” I said. “I’m wondering if little Tanya knows any sign language, or if she might like to learn a song.”

The woman shrugged. “I guess.”

I started singing softly, and moved my hands to sign the words to You are My Sunshine. Tanya watched me intently, eyes darting from my face to my hands.

At the end of the chorus, I said to her, “Now you help me sing. You can move your hands, too.”

“You are my sunshine,” I sang and signed slowly. I was careful not to reach out to Tanya to assist her hand movements, as it would scare her mother, and kept my signing hands close. “ooo, you’re good!” I exclaimed between lines, and I gave her an encouraging smile.

I was amazed and taken aback at the dazzling smile Tanya gave me in return. A pretty child to begin with, she was transformed into a cherubic beauty of fairytale features. I gasped and stared, transfixed. Again, I glanced at the mother. “She’s beautiful!” I exclaimed.

Mom’s face softened and she smiled. “Yes, she is. She doesn’t usually smile for strangers, but it looks like you’ve really tagged her.”

We continued chatting and singing and signing until the flight was called. We didn’t end up sitting near each other, but Tanya and her mom waved and smiled to me as they passed.


Playing Around with George

So I added a story to my blog site, on a separate page. I haven’t done this before, so I don’t know if followers get a notification that I added anything.

The new page is a link at the top of my blog site, The Mystery of George. Here’s the link: https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/the-mystery-of-george/

Does anything show up in your notifications? I’m thinking of doing something like this for my Maggie Tiggles story – making a separate page.

Every Perfect Gift (Part 2 of 2)


{Part 1 click here}

Luke’s thoughts drifted to several times when he’d really bungled it, and he groaned.  “Please, Lord, just direct me.  I need you.  Amen.”

The next night was their date night.  Once a week, Luke and Tess made sure to clear their schedules of all else, to devote time to one another.  Whatever they did together, and however things panned out, they’d made a pact to always close in prayer before they went their separate ways for the night.  Luke and Tess had both confessed that they were glad they’d made the pact during the pink-and-rosy times, because there had sure been times they could have parted differently, and there had been some few prayers muttered between clenched teeth.  Tonight, however, both were really glad to see each other, and their eyes shone.

They were meeting at Tess’ apartment, and she’d prepared a simple dinner for them.  They chatted as they ate, about nothing in particular, and there was just a little spraying of water and snapping of towels as they washed the dishes up.

“Let’s go for a walk,” Luke suggested, as he held his hand out to her.  Tess searched his eyes, and shyly took it.  Luke wondered if she knew something was up, too.

They strolled to their favorite park in the evening twilight.  Luke escorted her to a bench, sat next to her, took her hands, and looked at her.  He saw a hard swallow as she looked down.

“Tess,” he began, “you know I love you.  You know I love the Lord more than I love you, and I know the same about you.  We both know where we’ve each come from; some of it ain’t pretty, but God has meant it for good, to bring us together.”  He paused, not knowing where to go, searching for words.  Tess looked up at him.  Now he looked down, and let go her hands.  “Tess, we’ve talked about marriage before, and I’ve never sensed that you’re sure, that it’s what you really want.  I don’t want to push you into anything, and I don’t want you running away, but I just feel that I have to say something.”

He looked again at Tess.  She swallowed again, but was silent.  Dared he think her eyes reflected hope?

“Okay,” he started again.  “I had this idea.”  He reached into his shirt pocket.  “I brought my lucky coin.”  He locked eyes with her.

“Heads we get married, tails we break up.”

Tess looked at the coin, looked at Luke, and smiled.  It was a great, huge, joyful smile.  She knew that coin, that old Roman coin, Luke’s lucky silver coin from his father.  The one with the head of Zeus on one side, and the head of Jupiter on the other.  “Go for it!” she said.


Luke and Tess were again seated on their favorite park bench.  Luke reached into his shirt pocket.

“Remember that lucky coin?” he asked.

Tess smiled and nodded.

“It’s in this little box.” he said, and opened it.  Inside was an exquisite ring, detailed with diamond and ruby.

“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,” he went on: “not in luck or false gods.  I had that coin melted down, and now it symbolizes the unbroken circle of our love.  Proverbs 31 asks, ‘Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.’  Tess, you are far above rubies, but I hope this symbolizes the infinite value I place upon you.”  He took her hand, and slid the ring onto her finger.  “And the diamond, well, …”

Tess beheld her beloved through mizzled eyes.  “This diamond is forever,” she finished, “and I will wear it forever, as my pledge of love and respect for you.”

*photo from http://www.alamy.com/

Every Perfect Gift (Part 1 of 2)


James1.17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Luke turned back to that verse again.  James, chapter one, had been the topic in their Bible Study group last night, and verse 17 had jumped out at him.  His thoughts had gone immediately to Tess, and he’d looked over at her, wondering if she had sensed it, too.  Not evidently.

Now he was prepping for their next Bible study already.  They only met once a week, but God was tapping him on the shoulder.  In Chapter two, it happened again: For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.  Luke knew that: he’d known Jesus as his Savior for ten years now, and had jumped into God’s Word with both feet, no turning back.  Today, though, he was seeing this verse with a new perspective.  He was thinking of Tess, and he was pretty sure God had brought his thoughts there.  To know what to do, and not do it – that would be to dishonor God.

Luke and Tess had met as sophomores in a study group – Shakespeare, of all things.  She’d helped him limp through that one, and, although from almost antithetical backgrounds, they’d found in each other kindred spirits.  They shared all kinds of interests, from sports (he had a pretty good batting average and she had a mean hook shot) to coins (both their fathers had had coin collections).  From friendship had come deeper feelings.  Now, both in their last semesters, they had tailored their classes and activities to spend as much time together as possible.  Luke had known for the past year that Tess was The One; had known with all his heart, without a doubt.  He’d prayed about it often, and it was during times like right now, when he was talking with God, that he knew it the hardest.

Tess was skittish, though.  Luke could understand that.  She’d had a rough time of it in her home, growing up with alcoholism and divorce and death.  Luke was excited at the joy and peace he saw in her as she grew in her faith.  They’d talked about marriage several times, of course.  At first, just skirting the perimeters, dabbling, speaking in the most general of terms.  More recently, conversations had turned much more personal, and timelines had been touched upon.  Tess still seemed evasive and nervous.

Luke knew God must be working in her heart, just like God was working in his.  When he thought of asking Tess to marry him, his heart jumped, and he had that sharp feeling in his gut that he always got when he knew it was God.  Was it time?  Now?

Luke folded his hands over his Bible, and bowed his head.  “Lord, I think You’re telling me that it’s time to ask Tess.  You know my heart, and you know how much I want it – I think You put that desire in me.  I’m praying, Lord, that You are also working in Tess, and that this is Your perfect timing.  If it isn’t, if I’m reading You wrong, please let me know.  I don’t want to do something really stupid.  ‘Cause You know I do that.”  Luke’s thoughts drifted to several times when he’d really bungled it, and he groaned.  “Please, Lord, just direct me.  I need you.  Amen.”

The next night was their date night.

To be continued…

*photo from http://www.alamy.com/

Leona’s Secret (Revisited)

Fictional story originally posted Sept 10, 2018


I received an interesting call this summer. The caller identified herself as Leona Green and said she hoped I didn’t mind that she got my number from the phone book.

“I saw your picture at the Fair,” she said, “and it brought back so many memories. The one of the old truck. May I ask where you took that picture?”

I replied that I’d found the rusty old relic in the Hills one day when I’d been hiking.

“Do you think it’s still there?” she queried.

“Very likely,” I said. “It looked like it had been there for a while. It’s on forest service land, off a dirt road.”

There was a long pause, and I wondered if I should say something to fill the gap. Finally she spoke. “I’d like to ask a big favor of you, but I think we should meet first. Do you live in town?”

I told her the area where I lived, and she chuckled. “Why, that’s just down the road from where I am at Clarkson.”

“The assisted living?” I asked.

“Yes, that’s the one, on Maple Street. Would you like to visit?”

Since I’m retired, we agreed to meet in a half hour. I got ready and drove the short distance, bringing the picture with me. She met me at the front desk and took me to her neat-as-a-pin room. I handed her the picture.

“Oh, my. I really wonder if it’s the same one.” She sighed as she held the photo and stared intently at it. She looked up at me. “I used to know someone with a truck like that. It was painted green at the time.”

She asked me about who I was, and we chatted and compared notes until we’d arrived at a few common friends and acquaintances. She had a quick wit and lively sense of humor, and we were enjoying one another’s company when she suddenly peered intently at me. “Are you up for a little adventure?”

I raised my eyebrows. “Uh, maybe.” When dealing with a 97-year-old, one should never jump right into anything without seeing a few yards ahead.

“How would you like to take me on a drive, and we can go see that truck?”

I did a short mental calculation, looking at the clock: 45 minutes to get there, a few minutes to look at it, then back should still get her home in time for her meal. “Are you sure?”

“It’s a beautiful day!” she exclaimed. “Why not?”

A half hour later we were winding our way up the highway on a hot summer day, Leona’s walker folded in the back seat. I knew right where the truck was, and drove straight to it. We parked on the side of the dirt road, her passenger side window giving her a clear view of the truck.

She turned her head to look at me. “I’m going to push my luck and ask you for another favor. I’d try it myself, but I’m too old and too short.” She pointed to the truck. “The windows are all gone, so you should be able to reach right through that opening, on this side – the passenger side. There’s a lever you can push, if it’ll still move. It opens the air vent. If you get in there, you might find a box. Could you do that?”

“You bet,” I answered, my door already half open. It was an easy task to reach my arm into the truck. Not so easy was the lever she’d mentioned. It was big enough to get a good grip, and I yanked and pulled until it gave way. I hesitated only a split second before my hand entered the dark slot, but found her little box immediately. I drew it out and brought it to her. We both sat in the car while she dusted the box tenderly. She cupped it between her hands for a good five minutes, then opened it. We both gasped. It held a diamond ring.

She pointed at the truck again. “That’s a 1934 Chevy pickup. See the hand crank out front? It used to belong to a Mr. Dewey Nelson and it was green. He was 24 when I knew him, and he’d bought it used. The spring before I turned 17, he asked me to marry him. I was absolutely dizzy in love! He was so much older than I was.” She smiled at me. “Of course, it’s that way when you’re young, you know. Twenty-four, for heaven’s sake!

“Well, I said yes, and he gave me this ring. Isn’t it beautiful? But we didn’t want anyone to know yet, not until after I turned 17, so we kept it a secret. I wouldn’t wear the ring except when we went out together. When he dropped me off at home, we’d put it back in its wee little box, and we had that cunning hidey spot for it in the truck, inside the air vent.”

She was quiet for a minute or two, remembering. She looked up at me again, this time with tears in her eyes. “About a month after we were engaged, I got word that he’d been killed in an accident. We had one of those spring snow storms, and the roads were terrible. He missed a curve. No seat belts in those days, of course.” She shook her head. “What a long time ago that was! I was devastated. I never did tell anyone that we were engaged, not until just now when I told you. No one else ever knew about this ring.” She sighed. “But that,” she pointed to the truck, “is why I am Leona Green now, instead of Leona Nelson.” She closed her eyes and smiled. “God has been very good to me.”

Tears of Gold (Revisited)

Originally posted Sept 16, 2018


There was once a poor man who cried and cried because he did not have enough money.  He cried in the morning because he had no fresh butter to put on his bread.  He cried in the afternoon because he had no horse on which to ride into town.  He cried at night because he had no hired servant to prepare his dinner.

Every day the man toiled at his house, alone but for the stray dog he’d adopted some months ago.  Every day he went through the motions of caring for his needs:  cooking his food, washing his clothes, tending his garden, caring for his cow and chickens.  And every day the man dreamed of having more money.

“Oh, for a fine carriage, with four graceful steeds to dance ahead of it.”  The man sighed and looked at his dog.  “Then I would not have to stay at this house all day.  Oh, for a stately mansion in which to live, instead of this hovel.”  On and on the man would dream, crying all the while for that which he did not have.

One day the man heard of an old witch who lived in a cave some distance from his home.  “I will visit this witch,” said the old man.  “Surely she will see that I must have more money.  Perhaps she can cast a spell to make my poor life more bearable.”

So the man and his dog took a journey to that cave.  The old witch stood near the opening, leaning upon a stick.  She fixed a shrewd eye upon the man.  “Hah,” she cackled, “you want money.”

The poor man looked up, astonished.  “Truly, she is a wise woman,” thought he.  He began to cry.  “Take pity on me, kind lady,” he said.  “I have never had enough money and have lived a hard life.  Can you help me?”

“Are you starving?” asked the witch.

The man stopped crying, shocked.  “Of course not.  I work hard to provide myself with something to fill my belly.”

“And your dog?”

“He gets the scraps from my table.”

“What kind of work do you do?”

The tears began to flow again.  “Every day I must get up, milk my cow, feed my chickens, tend my garden, cook my own meals, and keep my house clean.  When finally I tumble into bed at night, I scarce have time to enjoy a good book before I am fast asleep, so tired am I after the day’s exertions.”

“What do you need money for?”

The poor man mopped his eyes and blew his nose, to no avail.  The tears flowed faster than ever as he described to the witch what he could do with some money.  “Alas, I am able to enjoy only the barest of life’s necessities.  With more money I could buy a horse to travel to town.  I could buy some of the delicacies sold there, to embellish my dinner table.  I could hire someone to help me with my huge workload at home.  Ah, woman, the things I could do with a little money.”

The witch was silent.  She looked at the man as she chewed her lip with toothless gums.  She spoke.  “I have good news for you, Friend.  You will be a rich man, indeed.  Go home now.  I must work my spell.  When you wake up in the morning, you will see the magic I weave for you.”

The tears dried up.  “I’m going to be rich?” the man asked delightedly.  “How much will I get?”

“I said go home!” The witch answered fiercely.  “But leave the dog here.”

“What?”  the man asked, blankly.

“I said, the dog stays.”

The man shrugged.  “Do I need to do anything else?”

“Nothing.  Go home.”  She spun around and disappeared into her cave with the dog.

“Hee, hee!”  The man danced all the way back to his house.

Early the next morning, he awoke, eager to find his riches.  Without stopping to get dressed, he raced about his house, looking for the money.  Not on the table.  Hurry.  Not under the bed.  Hurry, hurry.  Not in the closet.  Where could it be?  He flung open the front door.  Not in his garden.  Run, run.  Not in his shed.  Maybe in the barn?  No!  He ran back into the house and began tearing the place apart.  Everything out of the dresser.  Everything out of the cupboards.  Nothing!

Finally, the man sat down at his table, panting.  That witch!  Nothing.  Nothing!  He began to cry.  He wept and wept that the witch had tricked him so.

Suddenly the man opened his eyes.   Something was happening.  Gold!  There was gold on the table, gold on the floor, gold in his lap!  From where had it come?  He reached up to wipe a tear from his cheek and drew his hand away.  There on his finger was a teardrop of gold.  His eyes darted to the other gold pieces.  They were all shaped like teardrops.

“Why, this is too fantastic,” exclaimed the man!  “Surely… Surely… But it is true!  I am a rich man!”  He pranced about in his nightshirt with glee, tossing golden teardrops into the air.  He listened to their tinkling music as they danced with him on the cobblestone floor.

Now the man’s dreams began to become reality.  He spent his gold with a flourish.  Ah, what fineries he enjoyed.  First, a fine white horse and a small carriage.  New pieces of furniture for his house, and new clothes cut in the latest fashions were fast to follow.  He ordered the tastiest delicacies from the baker and butcher.

The man threw away his old clothing, threw away his gardening tools.  He burned his rickety old furniture.  Soon all the gold he had cried that first morning was gone.

“Oh, my!” he wailed.  “I have not bought nearly all the things I most desperately need.”  The tears flowed again.  He opened his eyes, hoping.  He was ecstatic to see that his tears were still of gold.  He would be the richest man in the world!  He would never run out of gold!

Immediately, he started planning how he would spend his fortune.  Why spend so much trying to fix up this old hut?  Why not buy a new house?  And, he would certainly be very busy with his money; far too busy to worry about mundane household chores.  Servants!  He would need an army of servants to staff his new mansion.  And more horses and carriages.  He would need more and finer clothing: he was a man of import now.

And so it went.  The man spent his gold, and then cried more.  Soon he was having a hard time thinking of reasons to cry.  He couldn’t cry because of lack of money – he knew he could produce more any time he needed it.  He tried crying for other people’s problems, things he’d heard about in the town, but those were hard tears to squeeze out.  He had a hard time feeling sorrow for that which did not touch his own life.

One time he tried rubbing onions in, but the tears that came to his stinging eyes were only wet.  No, to produce gold, his tears had to be those of true sorrow.

“Wretched, wretched life!”  The man screamed.  “How am I to cry if I cannot feel sorry for myself?”  Tears began to flow again before he realized it, and quite a pile of gold was all about him before he stopped to wipe his eyes.

He used this tactic again and again, but soon found himself walking always in sorrow, trying to eke out a few more bits of gold.  He would stroll aimlessly about the echoing halls of his mansion, take excursions in his fine carriage pulled by six graceful steeds, spend hours in his counting house, sifting through his gold.  All this he did with dry-eyed sadness.

He found he did not want to cry again.  How did he no longer enjoy his mansion, his horses and servants?  Why did he always feel he had to cry, had to have more gold?  What was to become of him?

The man went for a walk one day.  He found himself at the cave of the old witch.

She hobbled out and leaned on a rock, her gnarled hands gripping her stick.

“So,” she said slowly, “you return.”

The man kicked the dirt with his tooled leather boot and hung his head.  “I have everything I need now,” he said, “everything I’ve always wanted.”  He shrugged.

“Yet you still are not happy.”

The man sighed.  “I thought if only I could buy whatever I wanted, then I would be happy.”

“And you aren’t’?”

The man was silent.

“You must be very careful what you wish for.  Sometimes it’s not something you truly want.”  She gave her toothless smile.  “But sometimes it is.  You are a rich man.”  She turned and went back into her cave.

The man left and wandered through the fields.  He stopped by a tree and sank to the ground.  “Money!” he spat out.  “How could I have thought it would make me happy?  This is not what I had in mind.”

Money and sorrow were now forever linked as one in his soul.  Perhaps he could go back to his garden, his cow and chickens.  At least work could take his mind off his sorrows, off his money.   Where was happiness?  Joy was not to be found in money; he had at least learned that.  Contentment, maybe, could be found in the work of his hands.

He was just starting to rise when he heard rustling behind him.  He looked around, and there was his dog, tail wagging.  His dog!  A friend!  The man felt instantly guilty, knowing he had not given the dog a second thought after leaving him with the witch.  Yet, here was this dog, a gift sticking its nose under his arm.  Maybe this is what the witch had meant, a gift to make him rich.  He pulled the dog to him, hugged him and nuzzled his head against the dog’s.  The touch, the willingness of the dog to come close to him, suddenly overwhelmed the man, and he began to shake deep inside.

He felt tears welling up in his eyes.  “No!  No more gold!”  He pushed his hands against his eyes.  Try as he might, he could not stop the tears.  He sobbed and sobbed with grief, rocking back and forth as he held his dog.

Suddenly he stopped.  He rubbed his eyes.  His hands came away wet.  Wet!  Wet tears!  The words of the old witch rang in his ears, and he smiled.  “I am a rich man, indeed.”  He laughed and laughed as the tears of joy ran down his cheeks.  They rolled onto his fingers and he held them up.  Truly, these were tears of gold.

Forgiveness (Revisited)

Originally posted July 28, 2018

forgiveness pic

So, you still have told me nothing about ‘the incident,’ as you put it.

You pretty much know what happened.

Well, that’s only what I’ve heard from other people. It’s not the same as your perspective, and I think it would help our relationship if we could talk about it.

I don’t talk about it.

Can we talk about it without discussing what actually happened?

Sure, we can skirt around it all you want. But I will say one thing up front. Being a guy, you’re never going to understand the perspective of a victim like I do.

You’re right. One, I have never been a victim like you have. And, mine is the perspective of the male, the one who is usually the authority, the stronger, the dominant one. I think you know me well enough by now that you know I view my gender as a gift from God, to handle wisely and lovingly; that He created us both, male and female, as different but equal.

Yeah, I get that. And you must know that I trust you, given that we’re even having this conversation.

Thank you for that. Please know I will never knowingly break that trust. If I come close, you will let me know?

Yep, and ditto for me?



From our previous discussions, I know that you’re struggling with your relationship with God because of the incident. You’re upset that He would as willingly forgive those men who hurt you as He forgives you.

He doesn’t seem like a fair God.

Do you have difficulty seeing Him as a God Who loves you?

I get that He loves the world, you know, the whole, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

Do you think He loves you, personally?

I’ve seen His grace in my life a lot. I mean, like a lot. I credit Him with my rescue in the first place. That could never have happened if God hadn’t intervened. And I do thank Him for that, I really do. I think that shows His love for me. And other things. Yes, I think God loves me.

So, God loves you, but you’re mad that He loves those guys as much as He loves you?

No, He can love them as much as He wants. But, for what they did, they should never be forgiven. They should never get to spend eternity with Him because they should go to hell. That’s justice and righteous. God is a God of justice and righteousness, too.

I agree that those men deserve hell for what they did…. Do you think you deserve hell for your sins?

You do NOT get to put me in the same category with them! I would never do to anyone what they did, over and over and OVER!

I’m sorry that happened.

Listen, I have to get going. I think we’re finished talking for today.

I get that. Before we part, I’ll leave you with these verses: James 2.10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Also Jeremiah 17.9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” And you know Romans 6.23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.

That’s the part I’m so mad about. Goodbye.


It’s been a while. Have you been able to process?

Yeah, I admit I sin. Everybody does, I know I’m not a saint or even close to it.


But I’m NOT like them. I could never be like them. They do NOT deserve forgiveness.

Do you deserve forgiveness?

Of course not. No one does. But God gives grace, and He gave me grace.

But you’re mad that He could pour out His grace on those men.

You would be, too! You have never been in my shoes, but I’m pretty sure you would feel the same way if you were.

I’ll never know, Lord willing.

No. So don’t speak to me like you ever will.

I can’t. All I can do is give you what God says.

I KNOW what He says! And that’s what makes me mad at Him!

So you think there should be a rule, some sort of plumb line that, if a person crosses it, then they are automatically scratched from the Heaven list.


Well, there is such a plumb line. Any sin keeps us from Heaven. But you think that some sins can be forgiven and be on the Heaven side, and some sins can’t be forgiven, and be on the hell side.

Something like that.

So you think your rules are better than God’s?

I think it’s only right.

And that God’s wrong?

Listen, I know that God’s never wrong. I know what the Bible says, and He’s perfect and all that. I just don’t agree that He should ever forgive people like that.

Maybe He didn’t.

That’s not the point. The point is that He could. God can forgive anyone, and He does! He just chooses, and He grabs them, and He changes their hearts and then they get to go to Heaven.

And that’s not okay?

Not after what they’ve done.

And you can’t forgive them?


So, again, I ask: Do you think your rules are better than God’s?

I’ll leave it at this: I know God’s right. He gets to make the rules. I just don’t like all of them, and I don’t agree with Him. He’s a big God. I think He can take a little disagreement. … … I have to go now.

Then today I leave you with these: 1Samuel 15.23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” And Matthew 6.15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”


I agreed to meet with you today. Don’t you think I’m doing really well?

Yes, I do. Why do you think you want to meet with me?

~sigh~ Because, against my better judgement, I like you very much, and I respect what you have to say.

If your judgement votes against me, who or what is the driving force behind you being here?

Oh brother. Okay, it’s God.

I’m going to agree with you on that one. I’m grateful He’s working in you. I’ll tell you, He’s been working in me, too. I’m struggling with this; not like you, but I’m ‘way not enough to cover this. I’ve had some pretty deep times with God. I know you pay attention to Him. Have you had good conversation with Him lately?

I did a study on the verses you left with me. Number one, I looked up idolatry. Basically I came to the conclusion that you’re hinting, ever so subtly, that I’m being stubborn in not agreeing with God, so I’m committing iniquity, or in iniquity, or however you put it. And that, because I think I’m right and He’s wrong, that I’m setting myself up as my idol, putting myself on the throne and deciding that I know best. That about cover it?

Did you hear my voice telling you that, or God’s?

Same thing, isn’t it?

Really no. Really really no.

Umph. Fine. That’s what God was telling me while I was reading His Word and studying it.

You didn’t like it, I take it?


I never do, either. Hebrews 12.11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” That means all of us are grieved when God chastens us. But, He gives us the peaceable fruit of righteousness if we learn from it.

So I have to learn from it in order to get the peace fruit.

Matthew 7.16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Do you want peace?

You know I do.

You already have the Holy Spirit within you, and He empowers you with the Fruit of the Spirit. Part of that is peace. Learn from Him. What about the second verse?

The forgiveness part?

Matthew 6.15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

I’m hitting a brick wall there, one that I prefer to walk away from.

I know you already know this, but I’m throwing it out anyway. Forgiveness isn’t for letting anyone off the hook. It’s for the forgiver. It’s one of God’s gifts for blessing you.

So I’ve heard.

My dear, you don’t have to generate forgiveness. It’s not in you. I see that, and I think you do, too. It’s not in anybody to forgive such a thing.

So, just let God do it in me or though me or whatever?

Pray about it. Just a tip: when I’m really struggling with something, wrestling with God, so to speak, it helps me to physically put myself in a position of obedience and worship.

What do you do? Kneel?

Well, actually, I … prostrate myself.

Like, on your belly?

Full out, face down, nose rubbing on whatever is under me. I humble myself and pour myself out to God, begging for His mercy on me.

~gulp~ Umm

Here’s a tissue.

I can’t even think about that without crying. I really don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know that I even want to. What about 1 John 1.9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” Can I confess my sin of unforgiveness and be forgiven?

I think God will handle that. Just give it to Him.

Waters (Revisited)

Originally posted June 15, 2018

water W imageaters, born from above

gurgle and babble, stumble and tumble.

Bubbling, dodging, splashing against        

obstacles in the way, as a springboard,

                      running between deep and shallow,

                      flowing like sinews and muscle


                      leveling, slowing,

                      sliding into silken pools

                      gliding sedately in their paths,

                      nodding and yielding to immovable rocks.

                      Deep underneath

                      tribulation, distress, leaps and joys tangle,

                      rising to the surface as lines of grey,

                      and forming ripples and swirls

                      like wrinkles

                      as time suddenly catches up.

                      It straddles the precipice, clinging to moments

                      before its swooping descent, splashing

                      in streaks of wild white strands

                      plunging with reckless abandon

to its end





water W imageaters born from above

                                                      gurgle and babble stumble and tumble.

                                                      Bubbling, dodging, splashing against

                                                      obstacles in the way, as a springboard,

Amy’s Necklace


“My darling, you look magnificent tonight.” He bent to kiss his wife’s neck as he fastened the clasp of the gold necklace.

Lilianna’s face remained passive. “Yes, how very thoughtful of you. Your secretary has such exquisite taste.” She allowed her dulled eyes to meet her husband’s in the mirror.

He turned away to reach for his tie and handed it to her. “You will wear your new bauble to the reception tonight. We are meeting the new Russian ambassador. It is not yet widely spread, but he will take my place next month. Our time here in America will end soon, and we can return home.”

“And what have we there?” she asked as she tightened the knot. She regretted being unable to keep the bitterness from her voice.

He grasped her shoulders. “Family. We have our family there. We will return to our roots, to our homeland. We will return to the glory that is due our service these many years.” He chucked her under the chin. “We have done very well here, and will be repaid for many years to come.”

*           *           *           *           *

The affair was grand, indeed. Lilianna smiled at all the right people, turned her shoulder to those who were not, behaved just as she had been trained these many years.

She kept her eyes on the time, and offered her excuses at five minutes prior to her short tryst.

Certain no one had seen her, she slipped to the side alley and into his car. She fell into his arms.

“Oh, Brian,” she whispered. “Our time together is so short.” She took his face in her hands, caressing. “How can I thank you for what you have meant to me, how you have saved my sanity in this crazy life I must lead?”

“Lilianna, my love, surely you cannot leave with him! Come away with me!”

“You know we could never do that. They would search for us and find us, and that would be the end.” She paused and looked out the window. “But maybe that would be a better end than what I will have back home.”

In another twenty minutes she joined her husband, and took his arm.

“My dear!” He took her hand. “The music starts again. Shall we dance?”

They had just stepped onto the floor when his eyes dropped to her neck. He stopped abruptly. “Where is the necklace?”

Eyes wide, her hand went to her throat.

He shook her. “Where is the necklace?”

“I – I don’t know,” she stammered. “I had it on. It must have fallen off. I don’t know!”

He took her roughly by the hand and led her off the floor. “Show me. Show me exactly where you have been tonight. Exactly!”

Her face turned ashen as she took a moment. “Did you see it on me when we arrived?”

“Yes, yes. When we took off your coat at the entrance, it was there. We were together until I went off with the new ambassador. Where did you go?”

She walked to the reception area, retraced her steps around the rooms where she’d mingled and drunk, even to the ladies room. She looked at her husband repeatedly, her eyes reflecting astonishment at how agitated he was over the loss of a necklace, how wild his eyes looked. Of course it was a lovely necklace, of Soviet Rose gold, but really a mere trinket compared with her other jewelry.

Now he had called in security, and black-suited men scattered about surreptitiously, eyes darting into dark corners, casting suspicious glances at other guests. Surveillance cameras were inspected.

*           *           *           *           *

City headlines the next day blared the news that the Russian ambassador and his wife were found dead in their hotel room.

A lesser story, three sections back, gave few details of a man named Brian found murdered, his ransacked Toyota Matrix two miles away.

*           *           *           *           *

Ten years passed. Time had not been good to the little Toyota Matrix, and it was rather mangled by now. But, with a little TLC in the right hands, it proved to be a blessing to a nice family for a couple of years, even facing up to the challenge of the Tennessee mountains. The engine eventually blew though, and the family had to say goodbye to their trusty friend. A few days after they relegated it to a junk yard, the husband returned to it, to retrieve the seats that would prove useful for another vehicle. He was dumbfounded to discover a gold necklace under the middle console.

*           *           *           *           *

Some days later, a Mr. Smythe stepped into his home and was met by his wife, who stood on tiptoe to kiss him hello. She looked into his eyes. “That’s quite a twinkle you have today, my dear. You’ve not been seeing someone on the side, have ye?”

Mr. Smythe held his wife closely and smiled a dreamy smile. “Darlin’, you mind well my old job, from which I am happily retired?”

“With the government?” She pulled back a bit. “That smile doesn’a mean you’re a-thinkin’ to return to it, surely?”

“Oh, na, love, never you fear. But the good Lord has handed us a blessing this day, that I could use my old experiences and intertwine them with this job that I love nowadays.”

“Being a jeweler?” Now her eyes twinkled.

He went on to explain. Last week a nice man had come in and handed him a necklace. “Fourteen karat Soviet Rose gold. I knew it right off. I told him, though, I’d have it priced for him by Monday.” But, due to Mr. Smythe’s knowledge and experience, he’d known to look a bit deeper. “I canna tell you more my love, but my contact flew in that night to receive what I’d found. Many mysteries long past will be solved with this new piece of evidence.”

“With the necklace?” pondered his persistent wife.

“Ah no, love. The necklace goes back to the lovely man brought it in. ‘Twas the tiny dot impressed upon it. I wouldn’a known to look, but for my old job and our Lord’s grace.” He took his wife’s face in his hands and kissed her rightly. “Isn’t our God grand! He bringeth all things to His light, for His glory!”


Leave it to my Amy to get a real-life surprise that provided an intriguing springboard for all kinds of stories to conjure up. The story above is what I came up with.

What actually happened:

Amy’s family did buy a Toyota Matrix a couple of years back; it did take them through the mountains of Tennessee; the engine later blew, and he took it to a junkyard; he went back for the seats and found the necklace under the console; they took the necklace first to a pawn shop, but then to a jeweler to get a real appraisal; it is 14k Soviet Rose Gold; the necklace was worth far more than the pawn shop offered.

Amy! Please post anything else related.

Through a Son’s Eyes


{fiction… from a son’s perspective}

I loved my mother.  She loved me, too.  I always knew that, and it was a very comforting thought.

Mom was my only parent, and it built in us a special relationship.  We were very close, just mother and son.  I remember she always woke me up by rubbing my back, even when I was in high school.  It was nice, those five or ten minutes every morning together, while she introduced me to the new day.

Every night she sat on my bed and read the Bible to me, or a story.  Then we would talk quietly for a while, recapping the day.  Many deep, secret things were exchanged in those times between wake and sleep.

Mom was a teacher for the hearing impaired.  She used sign language with her students, and taught it to me, too.  She told me I used my first sign, “pillow,” when I was about six months old.

But our special sign was one I made up when I was about three.  Mom was so proud of that.  It was first an “I love you” sign: hand outstretched, palm facing out, with the thumb, forefinger, and little finger extended; ring and middle fingers bent down to the palm.  I elaborated on it.  I did the “I love you” sign, then put up my other two fingers as well:  “I love you – a lot.”

We used our special sign many times: every school morning through the babysitter’s window; through my bedroom doorway, the last thing I saw at night; parting to go to our separate Sunday school classes; leaving in my old van when I was off to college; striking out on my own at the beginning of my career, two states away.

Because Mom was a teacher of the hearing impaired, it struck her as the ultimate irony when, in the course of kindergarten screening, I was found to have a hearing loss myself.  It wasn’t a very bad loss, but it turned out to be degenerative.  Slowly, gradually, I lost all of my hearing.

It was okay at first because I could still hear.  I could still play with my friends.  Soon, however, many friends tired of always having to repeat things to me, or of always having to make sure they were facing me as they talked.  They weren’t interested in that kind of thing.  I always had a small group of friends I could go around with, though, who were understanding and patient, and we had many a good time; but, I wasn’t the same as the others.

School was difficult for me, but I had sign interpreters for most of my classes.  I was able to stay out of special education because I had been hearing before, and I already knew the English language and vocabulary.  Besides, I had Mom at home.  She knew about all that stuff, and made sure I did, too.

Through the years Mom helped me bridge the gap between hearing and deaf.  She had known me when I was hearing.  As I became deaf we could still communicate easily because of her signing.  We could still exchange bedtime secrets.  In the dark, Mom and I would sign into each other’s hands.  She could still yell at me for being late, or forgetting to take out the garbage.  She taught me about the meadowlarks that nested in the field near our house, about the constellations in the night sky, and about girls and respect.

After I’d moved away and started my job I joined a church that had a sign language interpreter.  I made both hearing and deaf friends there.  At the time, though my hearing was gone, I still felt like a hearing person.  I don’t remember entering the “deaf world,” but I do recall the morning I suddenly realized I was there.

As time went on I spent more time with my deaf friends.  I found it easier to communicate with them, and we seemed to have more in common.  There was one particular deaf young lady who interested me.

Linda and I were married on a beautiful spring day.  Mom came, and cried.  We signed our “I love you – a lot” through the car window as Linda and I drove away.

Mom and I still kept in touch through e-mails, letters and texting.  “The meadowlarks are here,” she’d type.  “They’ve become fat and lazy without you here to chase them around.”

“I’ll bring Linda and the kids,” I’d type back, taking the hint.  “That should stir ’em up.”

We’d go to Mom’s for relaxing visits.  We’d have endless conversations on the back porch, on the living room sofa, around the kitchen table with our coffee.  Linda would join in, fitting easily into our “windmilling” as we signed.

Of course, daily pressures of job demands and family responsibilities often kept us out of touch with Mom.  Time stretched longer and longer between visits, texts, and e-mails as we attended to our own priorities.

Those priorities suddenly rearranged one day with a text from a neighbor of Mom’s.  A short message, really: “Your mother had a stroke.  Come home quickly.  She needs you.”

I made arrangements and flew, alone, to be with her.

Worry and concern and tears came first, in the uncertainty of whether she would even live.  As she began her recovery, those fears were replaced with warm hugs and lingering touches.  I would stroke her hair as we sat quietly together.

Because of her condition, we had decided to put Mom in a nursing home near us, praying the rehab wing would be only short-term, and that she would be able to recover most of her faculties.  Before we placed her there, Linda and I took a tour of the home.  I was pleased with the clean, friendly atmosphere, the spacious bedrooms, the well-groomed grounds.  The downstairs floor was equipped with rooms for therapy, including a craft workshop for those whose upper body mobility was limited (like Mom’s), but who were helped by making small articles of clay, cloth, etc.  There was also a separate kitchen used for therapy, to re-teach many of the basic routines the patients no longer took for granted.

Mom had lost most of the use of her hands.  Her right hand was limp, and her left hand stumbled awkwardly.  She couldn’t sign, she couldn’t write or type, and her speech was affected.  Mom did eventually start learning to talk again, but her speech was so slurred that it was impossible for me to lip-read.  Anguish shone deep in her eyes when I came to visit.  With her stroke, our means of communication had been wiped out.  Sometimes a nurse would come in to help us communicate.  She would repeat what Mom had said for me to lip-read, or write notes.

But it wasn’t the free, easy communication that had flowed between us all my life.  I resented it.  Visits became awkward, conversation stilted.  I went to see her less and less often.

I stopped after work to see Mom one day, and Nurse Julie greeted me.  She handed me a note.  “Your mother has been working very hard on a surprise for you.  I won’t tell you what it is.  It might seem like a little thing, but I want you to know it has cost her many hours of frustration and tears.  It means a lot to her.”

Julie looked at me intently.  I smiled, thanked her, and started toward Mom’s room.  “That’s nice,” I thought, remembering the craft room downstairs.  “She probably made a pot holder or something.  It’s good she’s using her hands a little.”

I opened the door to her room with a grin and walked in.  She was in her wheelchair.  As I stood facing her, Mom’s fingers began to move.  I knew immediately what the surprise was going to be.  I stood transfixed, watching though tear-blurred eyes the outstretched hand.  Thumb, forefinger, and little finger slowly, painfully extended.  Finally the last two middle fingers slowly stretched out.  “I love you – a lot.”

I sank to my knees and put my head in her lap, my arms around her waist.  Mom put her hand on my head and, with the irregular rhythm of a stroke victim, moved her hand down and began rubbing my back.

Author’s Note: I originally wrote this piece about 30 years ago. It is a true account all the way up to, “in the course of kindergarten screening, I was found to have a hearing loss myself.” I was a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, I was a single mother, my son signed his first word, “pillow,” at six months, I read to him at night and rubbed his back to wake him in the mornings, and he came up with the “I love you – a lot” sign. He was found to have a hearing impairment during his kindergarten screening. At the time, 30 years ago, I did the writer’s thing of “what if…” and this fictional piece was the outcome. (My son’s hearing was not permanently affected, and he is now 36, with normal hearing. We still use our special sign with each other.)                                 – KW