A Sad Place to Visit, and I Wouldn’t Want to Live There

ASadPlaceToVisitButIWouldntWantToLiveThere

A wayward life, a ghastly past,

Sin in my heart, a life-long mask.

Stealing, lying, raping and killing,

All mournful deeds, wrenching and chilling.

 

Loss of a child, ripped from a heart,

Broken marriage, torn apart.

Abuse of a child, or partner or friend,

Fractured hearts, impossible to mend.

 

Now comes the Savior, He for to heal

Miracles flow, hearts to seal

With His blood cleansing, claiming His own

Gathering His children, bringing them home.

 

Caring and soothing, shaping and mending,

New place to live, no more pretending

To live in fear or doubt or unease;

Basking in joy and love and peace.

 

But what of those memories, those dark inner thoughts,

That keep intruding and cause such knots

Of turmoil and sadness and regrets of things past –

What to do with those burdens held fast?

 

Lay aside every weight, and the sin which ensnares,

Casting all care upon Him; because for you He cares.

Turn your mourning into dancing, praise Him always,

Obey Him unto the end of your days.

 

And of those dark recesses, those past mournful times,

Visit them sometimes, and use the eyes

That God has given, for you to perceive

That all things work for Him, to those who believe.

 

Use God’s perspective to view these past wrongs;

Turn your mournings into new songs.

There is now therefore no condemnation

Dance with His saints in communal celebration.

Missing You

MissingYou

‘Tis bittersweet to miss loved ones

Too far to hug and hold dear;

Time or space betwixt us and them

When all we want is them near.

 

Prospects of meeting, or fond recollections

Of laughter our memories evoke,

Will bring to us faces of those we love

And emotions of times we last spoke.

 

Thoughts drift to you-and-me times,

Musings of faces in hands;

Memories of smiles and kisses

Or simply of holding hands.

 

Love is our bond that keeps us aglow

Love is the reason we cling.

Love is the light in our unveiled eyes

Love is this poem I bring.

Realio Trulio Spring!

We’ve had a long, hard winter in our neck of the woods. At last, spring is here! I rejoice!

RealioTrulioSpring

It’s Spring, realio and trulio!

We seek the blue sky, faces aglow.

Tiny buds with petals so coy,

Fresh breezes and rain our senses employ.

 

Oh, the joy, the ecstasy, the mind-freeing new birth!

The wonders peeking out from fresh and moist earth.

Gray skies and blue, clouds dark or white,

Paint us all over with God’s creative might.

 

Such magnificence leads me to bow in awe,

To dance with glee and shout, “Hurrah!”

And to praise Him in His might and grace,

And thank Him for this pleasant place.

 

Psalm 16.6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

Where are Your Oars? (Revisited)

Originally posted July 9, 2018

oars river

We all travel the River of Life.

God controls the flow, the bends, the swirls and eddies, the calm and the rushing waters. He guides each boat with wisdom and love. Some boats must endure the whitewaters for a time: baggage may be lost overboard; passengers may look up, seeking faith; lives may be lost. Some boats float along in the still waters, enjoying the view, hanging out, or stuck, as it were, for a time before being carried away or steering away. God also provides assorted kinds of boats and oars, depending on the needs of its passenger.

We all bring into our boats varying kinds and amounts of packages. Some have disorganized baggage with odds and ends leaking out; some have neatly stacked and packed boxes.

Some who go through life with messy packages strewn about may never find their oars. They travel downstream uncontrolled, hanging onto their baggage tightly, or sometimes flinging it at others. They continue adrift, hanging onto the gunnels, crying out “Oh, this is happening to me!”

Others with messy boats begin the process of tidying up. They throw overboard those items that weigh them down; they organize their things as best they know how. They may eventually find their oars.

Those with neatly stacked boxes can come into their boats with knowledge of their oars and how to use them. Some of these will use that knowledge and steer their boats accordingly. Some, even with good teaching, will make a mess of their boats and misuse their oars.

What to do with those oars?

Some who find their oars never figure out how to use them. They whack other passersby with them, or splash about aimlessly. They may think oars are for holding out to others, and that others must provide for them.

God may open the eyes of some and bring wisdom and knowledge of the various uses of oars. J-strokes, back sweep, right draw, and using the oar as a rudder all provide methods of proper steering through the disparate waters. Oars may also be used to reach out to others in their boats, to draw alongside or hold onto.

We don’t travel alone down this River of Life. We bump into others, cross paths, join together, jostle, or commune with all those God sets in our ways. Sometimes we don’t get to go where we want to go. Sometimes we are brought into new and exciting channels. Sometimes we are called to come alongside others. We must remember to be gentle and kind, to use our oars to help, guide, and steer clear.

Give some thought to your oars, and what your path will be until you cascade into the great ocean of eternity.

Maureen’s Bad Day (Revisited)

Originally posted June 12, 2018

While I am immensely glad to be retired, and I very much enjoy staying at home, I will say there were many perks in my special ed teaching job. Those almost always had to do with my students. I had a great bunch, overall. At the high school level, I received new students at the age of 13 or 14; because we were a self-contained classroom, I kept them all day, every day, until they turned 21. I got to know them and their parents pretty well.

One student in particular became close to my heart. That was Maureen. Maureen and I simply liked each other. We were kindred spirits. Her dad was the ROTC teacher at my school. Maureen had really cool parents – both of them, and a really cool family.

Each morning in our classroom the students would come in from the buses and hang up their stuff in their individual cubbies. This area was a new addition, and I had designed it so that each student had a coat hook, and a small area above the hook to put their books or other belongings. The students had supervised free time before the bell rang.

Promptly at 8 a.m. the bell rang, and everyone was herded over to sit at the tables in the calendar area. Everyone was expected to participate in calendar, when we went over what day is today, what happened yesterday, what today’s schedule would look like, counting, colors, patterns, etc.

One morning I had started on calendar, and I noticed that my aide, Gloria, was looking a little harassed. She came over to the other side of the bookcase between the calendar area and the coat area and flagged my attention. I went over, and she explained that she couldn’t get Maureen away from her cubby. I gave an inquiring look, and Gloria simply pointed. I peeked around the bookcase and beheld Maureen, la plus pathétique.

I don’t know if it was the parent in me, or the teacher, but I immediately and silently started to laugh. Not one to let a good situation slip away, I grabbed the camera and took the shot.

Maureens bad day Fall 2012

Gloria explained that a bus driver had told her that one of the other kids on the bus had screamed all the way to school, and Maureen hadn’t taken it well. Mind you, school bus rides are often longer than an hour. I had Gloria take over the calendar while I ministered to Maureen.

I went over and gave Maureen a hug. It didn’t seem to help much. I asked her if she needed a hug from her dad. She looked hopefully at me. I took Maureen to my office area within the classroom, and talked to her about the picture I had just taken of her. Together, we decided on some words to go with it, and I printed out the picture with the caption: “Dear Dad. I’m having a no-good, very bad day, and I need a hug.”

I gave the picture to Maureen, and together we walked down a few hallways to her dad’s classroom. He came to the door when he saw us, and we explained what had happened. Maureen got her hug, Dad kept the picture, and the rest of Maureen’s day was much better.

I e-mailed that picture to a fellow teacher who knows Maureen. She got quite a kick out of it. She printed the picture to put by her desk; her caption was, “Some days are just like that!”

It’s Tomorrow, and the Sun Came Out

We’ve been having some wild weather here in South Dakota.

February brought record cold temperatures and above average snowfall. March 3rd we set new temperature records for coldest temp and coldest high temp; and it continued to snow. All that cold means the snow is piling up, and not melting.

20190302_075656

Last weekend we got hit with a winter storm across the state, and forecasters were throwing out broad hints that a whopper was coming. Tuesday brought milder weather, and cities across the state started preparing for “the big one” – clearing storm drains and culverts and so forth. At our house, we (by that, I mean my husband) shoveled snow away from the house, and cleared window wells and gutters of ice build-up. Even so, Tuesday night we discovered water leaking onto a basement floor. (We were thankful that the floor was bare concrete, and not carpet-covered, as are most of the other rooms in the basement.)

{A bit of background: SD is divided by the Missouri River, and one’s location is known as “West River” or “East River.” Each side has its own climate.}

The whopper hit us Wednesday and Thursday.

West River, all the way to Pierre (our capital, in the middle of the state) got snow both days, between one and two feet, with drifts up over 15 feet. They’re still digging out today (Friday).

We live East River. It rained all day (high of 36 degrees) on Wednesday: 2.38” onto frozen ground. We dug pathways through the snow in our yard, trying to make drainage channels out to the street from various locations around our house. Our dryer ran all day, between our wet clothing and the towels we were switching out from the basement floor. My husband put a submersible pump outside our house, where water was pooling (same spot where, below, water was coming into the basement). Around 4 p.m., we looked again to the back yard, where large ponds were developing around trees in our neighbor’s yards and around our garden shed. But now our garden shed was about floating away. We moved the submersible pump to the garden shed area, and strung hose out to the street (and extension cord from the house). The sump pump in the house kicked in for the first time since December. My husband stayed in the living room all night, getting up every couple of hours to check the pumps and the basement towels.

It continued raining all night, and in the wee hours of Thursday it changed to freezing rain, and then snow. Our low temp was 30, high was 36. The wind kicked up: 40 – 60 mph. We had a bona fide blizzard: 4.2” of heavy, wet snow, with wild drifting. The snow stopped in the afternoon, but the wind stayed. We went out to re-dig our drainage channels as best we could, dealing with slush and ice.

The sun came out just before sunset.

ItsTomorrowAndTheSunCameOut

Today is sunny and chilly; the wind is dying down. We went to the hardware store and got another submersible pump. Everyone is saying this is a once-in-a-lifetime storm, but we’re thinking, with the way the weather and our planet have been acting, things are only going to get worse. We’re planning ahead for the next weather show-down.

Our washer and dryer are still running overtime. But we are awestruck and grateful. We’ve been watching the news of surrounding areas. There is major flooding going on, streets under water, basements flooded with 4- and 5-feet of water, bridges and dams washed out, whole huge areas under freezing water, people stranded and in need of help.

God help us, and have mercy on us.

2 Chronicles 7.14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

ItsTomorrow2 {Snow does funny stuff 😁}

Cold and Flu Remedies

ColdAndFluRemedies

I was immensely blessed to buy an Herbs and Essential Oils Ultimate Bundle a few years ago, which included online classes from various instructors. One of the most helpful of these was the Joybilee Farms “Joybilee Academy DIY Herbal Apothecary.” She has a website here: https://joybileefarm.com/ and I highly recommend anything she offers. I am on her e-mail list and her facebook page.

Colds and flu abound this time of year, and I paste, following, information directly from her course notebook concerning the different stages and different needs; along with recipes for teas. FYI, decoction is when you boil the ingredients, infusion is when you steep the ingredients (like making tea).

My first choice (other than growing my own or buying at a local store) for gathering ingredients is with VitaCost: https://www.vitacost.com/

My second choice is Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/

Other great sites include https://www.planttherapy.com , https://www.mountainroseherbs.com , https://www.frontiercoop.com , https://www.starwest-botanicals.com , and https://www.bulkapothecary.com .

Joybilee Farms Information:

The Five Stages of a Cold

Colds and flu seem to begin with those achy muscles, sometimes sneezing, or sore throat. Often these maladies can be headed off with some judicial use of herbal remedies like vitamin C, elderberry syrup, fire cider, or other common immune boosters. These can be taken hourly at the first sign of a cold or flu. Often that is all you need to overcome the virus. This lesson is about what to do when the immune system is weak, and the body succumbs.

At the point where taking elderberry or fire cider begins to make you feel worse instead of better, try these remedies.

Stage 1 Rest

At the first sign of a cold or flu the most important action is rest. Take the day off. Crawl into bed. Sleep. Think of a cold or the flu as a warning flag that you need more rest. Take antimicrobial mixtures like fire cider, vitamin C, and olive leaf tincture every hour.

Herbs to Support the body at the first sign of a cold or flu

Antimicrobial herbs – Fire Cider, oil of oregano, olive leaf tincture, garlic, onions, ginger, eucalyptus, peppermint,

Immune boosting herbs – echinacea, elderberry, astragalus, olive leaf, peppermint

Tea or hot infusions are the best ways to take herbs for a cold or flu. The fluids help with hydration and elimination. The moist heat helps with sinus congestion and sore throat.

Stage 2: The Hot/Dry Cold

In the second stage of a cold or flu, where there are aches and pains, chills and fever, sore throat, swollen glands, or plugged nose, cooling and moistening herbs are needed. At this stage elderberries and elderflowers help support the immune system. Elderberry prevents viruses from replicating in the body, and if used regularly at this stage of the cold, there is still the hope that the body will overcome the virus.

Try this herbal infusion to help when you are hot and dry.

Yield: 4 cups of herbal infusion

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon elderflowers (cool and slightly dry, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, diaphoretic)

1 teaspoon elderberries (cool and slightly dry, immune stimulant)

1 teaspoon mullein leaf (cool and moist, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, demulcent)

1 teaspoon red clover flowers (cool and moist, lymphatic)

½ teaspoon peppermint leaf (cool and dry, antimicrobial, antiviral, diaphoretic)

Directions:

Combine the herbs in the mesh tea strainer of a 27 ounce cast iron tea pot or tetsubin. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drink liberally. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal infusion.

Stage 3: The Hot/Moist Cold

In the third stage of a cold or flu the person feels feverish and damp. The nose is running. The cough is wet and productive. The mucus is profuse. There is a need for herbs that are cooling, drying, and toning.

Try this herbal infusion to help when you are hot and damp.

Yield: 4 cups of herbal infusion

Ingredients

1 teaspoon peppermint (cool and dry, diaphoretic, antiviral/antimicrobial)

1 teaspoon elderberry (cool and dry, immune stimulant)

1 teaspoon yarrow (cool and dry, diaphoretic, antiviral/microbial, anti-catarrhal)

½ teaspoon mullein leaf (cool and moist, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, demulcent)

½ teaspoon calendula (cool and dry, antimicrobial, lymphatic)

Directions:

Combine the herbs in the mesh tea strainer of a 27 ounce cast iron tea pot or tetsubin. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drink liberally. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal infusion. Drink this freely.

Stage 4 The Cold/Dry Cold

Yield: 4 cups

This herbal decoction will warm up the circulation and ease the dry, hacking cough. Since this herbal blend is made up of roots, it should be made as a decoction rather than an infusion.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon elecampane (warm and moist, diaphoretic, antimicrobial)

1 teaspoon echinacea root (cool and dry, immune stimulant, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial, lymphatic)

½ teaspoon licorice (neutral and moist, expectorant, demulcent)

¼ teaspoon ginger powder (hot and dry, diaphoretic, antimicrobial)

Directions:

Simmer roots in 4 cups of boiling water for 20 minutes. Keep the pot covered. Strain and drink hot. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal decoction.

Stage 5: The Cold/Moist Cold

This is the stage of cold where the fever is broken but there is lingering sinus issues, sneezing, coughing, and mucus. At this stage warming foods like chili peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and raw garlic help warm up the sinuses and dry up mucus. This is a good time to eat curry and Mexican food. Bitter, drying herbs make the best infusions to help expectorate mucus and calm the lingering cough.

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

½ teaspoon thyme (warm and dry, diaphoretic, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial)

½ teaspoon sage (warm and dry, diaphoretic, antimicrobial, anti-catarrhal)

½ teaspoon calendula (cool and dry, antimicrobial, lymphatic)

½ teaspoon elderberry (cool and dry, immune stimulant)

A pinch cayenne (warm and dry, diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, antimicrobial)

Directions:

Combine the herbs in the mesh tea strainer of a 27 ounce cast iron tea pot or tetsubin. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drink liberally. If you want to make this ahead and package in single serving tea bags, each tea bag should have 1 teaspoon of herb. One teabag is enough for a single cup of herbal infusion. Drink this freely.