Nature’s Monet Art


The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.”

Claude Monet

Today nature treated me to this inspirational scene . . . a blooming azalea and Japanese maple reflected a Claude Monet impressionist painting on the still waters.

Oscar-Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who painted nature as he perceived it. It has been said no painter in history ever used color more precisely than Claude Monet.

After an art exhibition in 1874, an insulting critic labeled Monet’s painting style “Impression” since it was more concerned with form and light than realism, and the term stuck.

At 65 Monet noticed his 20/20 eyesight was getting fuzzy . . . he was developing cataracts. By 1912 his vision had dropped to 20/50. Ignoring the problem, his eyesight continued to deteriorate. Over the next six years his vision declined from 20/50 to 20/100. By 1922 he was legally blind, his vision now at 20/200.

As Monet slowly and painfully began going blind, his painting began deteriorating along his sight. The fine, intricate brushstrokes of his realism paintings used before, now became coarse and thick. There was no more light touch and airiness. Worse, his cherished sense of color started to fade. Colors no longer popped like they once did. He struggled seeing “cool” blues and greens, attempting to compensate by using other colors – fiery reds and brilliant yellows.

Cataract surgery was not yet the routine operation it is today, and it carried considerable risk. After observing another artist go blind from a botched cataract operation, and much deliberation, Monet finally opted for the surgery.

Surprisingly, the operation seemingly changed how Monet’s vision now functioned, instituting a new intensity to his paintings. Already a master of color, it’s thought the cataract surgery may have altered Monet’s vision to be able see color in the realm of the ultraviolet, beyond the normal human spectrum.

Normally, ultraviolet light is invisible to humans. However, many animals can see UV light, especially insects. Butterflies use ultraviolet spots on their wings to distinguish males from females. Some flower species which appear plain to us, actually have a variety of ultraviolet stripes and patterns to attract bees for pollination. There exists a whole world of color in nature that’s completely invisible to us, but evidently, no longer to Monet.

It’s been said, “God never made a mistake.” His awesome mercy and grace gave “…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning…” (Isaiah 61:3), taking a depressed artist’s cataracts to produce an entirely new genre of art for all to experience, an indisputable testimony that . . . “God never made a mistake.”    . . . and He never will!

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Beauty and the Beast


Spring in the Smokies is in glorious bloom! Today’s woodland wander was a stroll along Beauty Boulevard.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as one of these.”

Matthew6:28

. . . until going off-trail onto Creepy Cove where Snappy was sunbathing in his pool

(Couldn’t find any Scripture referencing snapping turtles 😊)

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

We not Me


This reflective English Proverb was posted by a fellow blogger the other day:

 A wise old owl sat on an oak.

The more he saw, the less he spoke.

The less he spoke, the more he heard.

Why can’t we be like that wise old bird?

. . . and to this I would respectfully add the footnote . . .

Who much of what he heard was distressingly absurd . . .

  • How our society’s cyber-communication has depersonalized relationships
  • How our society’s fast-paced pulse of life has fragmented families
  • How our society’s chaotic-dysfunction government has enraged division
  • How our society’s narcissistic-confrontational Me attitude has derailed altruistic We collaboration

So, what’s your point Fred?  . . . you’re sounding like just another old, grouchy, complaining curmudgeon, lamenting the ‘Good Old Days’.

I’m aware I’m old. That it now takes several boxes candles and a torch to ignite my birthday cake confirms that😊. However, I refuse to acquiesce joining the ranks of grouchy, complaining curmudgeons. I remain an optimistic subscriber to Yogi Berra’s classic one-liner philosophy,

It’s not over till it’s over

My point is . . .  positive change begins one-person-at-a-time. I’ve seen and heard lots of distressing Me absurdity, but also much encouraging We camaraderie.  It’s time to become more involved advocating a “wise old bird” We-not-Me outlook before molting my final feathers.

In his book The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, Brennan Manning shares the following encouraging story that inspires me to keep-on-keeping on, believing . . .

It’s not over till it’s over” . . . together We can begin to heal society’s distressing absurdity.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

During a two-hour layover in the Atlanta airport, I decided I had better get a shoeshine to look more presentable to the Episcopalians to whom I would be speaking.

An elderly man shined my shoes for the going rate of one dollar and 50 cents, I handed him two dollars and said,

Now you get up in the chair and I’ll shine your shoes.”

He said, “Huh? What?”

I won’t charge you.”

He stared at me suspiciously,

What for then?”

Because you’re my brother.”

He really looked disconcerted then. Finally, he said,

Well, when I ain’t busy the boss leaves me some shoes to shine. But thank you anyway.”

When I saw tears in his eyes I reached out and hugged him, and he said softly,

No white man ever talked to me like that before.”

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Luke 6:31

You and I may not change our society, but if our behavior matches our belief and touches but one soul, that person’s world has been changed forever.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Jeremy’s Egg


Tomorrow is Easter. As done on previous Easter eves, here once again is one my favorite true stories. May it encourage you as together we rejoice remembering . . .

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”—Clarence W. Hall

Over the years I’ve listened to many excellent presentations by respected bible scholars on Christ’s empty tomb. However, none has ever touched my heart as much as Jeremy, a 12-year-old chronically ill, physically and mentally handicap’s child.

This modestly simple, yet profoundly insightful ‘Empty Egg’ grasp of Easter’s eternal significance humbles me. His unfettered, trusting faith challenges mine to ever increase . . . Thank you Jeremy.

From our home to yours, may each of you experience a blessed Easter tomorrow surrounded by loved ones as together we celebrate the empty tomb of Author of Love  . . .

He Is Risen!

Jeremy’s Egg

Ida Mae Kemple

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life.  Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and sent him to St. Theresa’s Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn.  His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him.  He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain.  Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.  One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Theresa’s for a consultation.

As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them,

Jeremy really belongs in a special school.  It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems.  Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. 

Miss Miller,” he said, “there’s no school of that kind nearby.  It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school.  We know he really likes it here.

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window.  Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul.  She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters.  After all, their only child had a terminal illness.  But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class.  She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy would be a distraction.  Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write.  Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. 

Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining, when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family!  Please help me be more patient with Jeremy.

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares.  Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.

I love you Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris’s face turned red. 

She stammered, “Wh – why, that’s very nice, Jeremy.  Now please take your seat.

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter.  Doris told them the story of Jesus, and to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. 

Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life.  Do you understand?

Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically –  all except Jeremy.  He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face.  He did not even make his usual noises.

Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’s death and resurrection?  Did he understand the assignment?  Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris’s kitchen sink stopped up.  She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it.  After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day.  She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk.  After they had completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.

In the first egg, Doris found a flower. 

 “Oh, yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said.  “When plants peek through the ground, we know that Spring is here.” 

A small girl in the first row waved her arm.  “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real.  Doris held it up. 

 “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly.  Yes, that is new life, too.” 

Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine!

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it.  She explained that moss, too, showed life. 

Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom.  “My daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg.  She gasped.  The egg was empty!  Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand the instructions.  If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents.  Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up.  “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?

Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy –  your egg is empty!”  He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’s tomb was empty too!

Time stopped.  When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?

Oh, yes!” Jeremy exclaimed.  “Jesus was killed and put in there.  Then his Father raised him up!

The recess bell rang.  While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried.  The cold inside her melted completely away. Three months later Jeremy died.  Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Easter – Pay It Forward


Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”

Kate McGahan.

Easter is this ole ragamuffin’s most beloved holiday. Recently I was both humbled and convicted reading a historical account where Easter’s resurrection message was acknowledged and fearlessly declared in the face of adversity and certain punishment.

Inspired by Marxist doctrine, Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1923) incited the workers of the world (proletariat) to unite and free themselves from capitalist oppression to create a world run by and for the working class. Vladimir Lenin led a Marxist coup which abolished capitalism and established socialism in Russia. Joseph Stalin followed leading the Communist Party until his death in1953.

Karl Marx called religion “the opiate of the masses.” Stalin stated, “The communist Party must have an anti-religious policy.” They opposed God and all forms of religion.

Anatoly Lunacharsky was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and the Bolshevik Commissar for the Ministry of Education. Shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution he was lecturing to some 7,000 people in Moscow’s largest assembly hall. The Commissar spoke profoundly of the irrefutable logic of science, and the senseless myths of Christianity . . . “the opiate of the masses.

Finishing his intellectual, arrogant discourse, the Commissar condescendingly asked if there were any in the audience who had anything to add. A twenty-six-year-old, newly ordained Russian Orthodox priest stepped forward, awkwardly apologizing for his ignorance.

The Commissar addressed him scornfully,

I’ll give you two minutes, no more.”

I won’t take very long.”, the young priest assured him.

Stepping up to the podium, he turned to the audience and declared in a loud voice,

Christ is Risen!

As one, 7,000 people roared in response,

He is risen indeed!

Such bold, courageous faith is often seen among the poor, oppressed, and enslaved in our world, but seldom witnessed among the affluent, comfortable, and free?  Why?  

By the grace of God alone. . .

  • I’m a well-off middle-class American, not a lowest stratum caste, destitute dalit in India
  • I’m in comfortable, safe surroundings, not huddled in a dark Ukrainian bomb shelter
  • I’m free to worship, not confined in a tortuous North Korean prison camp for my faith

The unmerited favor and mercy God has granted me astounds me! I could never begin to offer one iota of recompense for all I’ve been blessed with . . . and I’m not required to . . . my debt was paid-in-full on a blood stained cross 2,000 years ago. The limitless Love of our Abba Father desires only one thing . . . to ‘Pay it Forward’ by “loving Him with all our heart, soul and mind, and loving our neighbor as ourselves” (paraphrased Matthew 22:37-39)

Imagine what our dysfunctional, divided nation and the chaotic world we live in would look like if each of us began to do so. Impossible? Perhaps, but every long journey begins with the first bold, courageous step. This Easter may our gratitude prompt each of us to do so.

Happy Easter!

Christ is Risen!

News vs. Nature


This evening we visited a friend who has a home on Tennessee River. Instead of watching the network evening news, we tuned in the local nature documentary on ABC . . . Abba’s Beauty Channel . . . commercial free😊

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Psalm 119:1

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Sleepless ‘Miracle’ Teacher


Memory often begins to fade with age. However, mine seems to have remarkably shifted into reverse.

The recent road trip my wife and I took has delightfully rejuvenated memories in ways that has me contemplating returning to college to pursue a PhD in astrophysics . . . justifying some who claim I’m ‘spaced out’😊

I seldom remember my dreams. However, last night a feature presentation from 5o years ago filled my cranium.  I awoke, not wanting to, with a smile.

Here’s the script of my joyful dream for your imagination to color outside the lines.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Alan, a farmer; Dave, a military contractor; Rick, a corporate executive; Paul, our pastor; and myself, a public-school teacher, gathered around the parsonage’s dining room table in the small bucolic village.

The hour was late. Over the past year our fledgling Christian School Board had prayed and met together to organize and bring to fruition a new K-4 Christian school in the small rural town nestled in the Pennsylvania mountains.  One by one, barriers to the new school’s formation had been overcome. With school scheduled to begin in just a few weeks parents had enrolled nearly 40 children (two mine); tuitions paid; classrooms set up; and Elementary curricula purchased. One major ‘obstacle’ still loomed . . . our school had yet to find a 3rd/4th grade teacher.

The meeting had been long, and an aura of unspoken anxiety hung over the room.  We’d exhausted every possible option we could humanly think of to recruit a teacher for our upper two grades. Midnight was approaching as we began to wrap up and prayed around the table once more. Our pastor’s encouraging, fateful words still echo in my mind, “Gentlemen, we all believe the Lord wants to start a Christian school here, and He will provide a teacher.  Keep praying.”

Just then the phone rang in the kitchen and Betty, the pastor’s wife entered the room . . . “Paul, it’s for you.”

Pastor left to take the call. Waiting for him to return while the four of us began re-hashing possibilities to fill the crucial teaching position before adjourning. Several minutes later pastor Paul returned, wearing a strangely subtle smile.

Gentlemen, that was a young lady named Jean. She apologized for calling at such a late hour, but said she was unable to sleep and felt led to call.  She told me she had recently graduated college and heard our church was starting a Christian school.  Jean went onto say that at this late date we had undoubtedly filled our staffing needs, but asked if she could still submit an application in the event a future teaching position might arise.  I then asked her what her degree was in.  Elementary education, and I particularly enjoy teaching the upper Elementary grades”, she replied. “I took the liberty of scheduling her for an interview next week.”

Smiles abounded as we rejoiced, thanking the Lord for answering our prayers.

However, as we began discussing the details concerning our new ‘sleepless miracle teacher’ prospect, a new ‘obstacle’ arose. This young lady lived some 50 miles away. She had shared with our pastor that while she still had some family responsibilities with her mother, if needed, she could and would be willing to trust God to handle the nearly 100-mile round-trip daily commute. Four of the five of us began to allow logic to erode faith, subtly drifting from ‘God can’ to ‘We can’t’ thinking mode . . . “How could Jean possibly afford the gasoline expenses on the meager salary we could afford pay her? And what about the winter driving hazards she undoubtedly would have to navigate?”

With a firm but gentle reprimand pastor Paul interrupted, bringing us back to ‘God can’ mode from ‘We can’t’ thinking . . .

 “Gentlemen, have you forgotten what just happened here less than a half hour ago?   God has this.  Let’s continue to pray, come back next week, and see what He does.”

Having been humbly and duly admonished, we adjourned. However, we were still trying to ‘help God out’, and Rick and I privately agreed that we could each chip in something to help defray gasoline costs . . . “O ye of little faith.”

The following week Jean was interviewed and hired as our new school’s 3rd/4thh grade teacher/student transporter.  With ‘guarded faith’ we tenuously anticipated how our omniscient, omnipotent God, who “…owns the cattle on a thousand hills…”, would somehow be able to ‘miraculously’ cover our new educator’s fuel costs, and grant her traveling mercies . . . “O ye of little faith” . . . like God really needed us to solve these latest ‘obstacles’.

Once again, we met around the parsonage’s dining room table, eagerly awaiting any new news our pastor might have to share.

Paul welcomed us sporting a subtle smile strangely similar to the time he’d received the late-night phone from our ‘sleepless miracle teacher’.

 “Gentlemen, thank you for praying. For the past several years our Catholic friends, who pay taxes like us and choose to send their children to parochial school, have been lobbying our state to be reimbursed for transporting their children to school.  Just recently the state finally approved legislation to do so.  We have three students enrolled who live along our new teacher’s route to our school who will require transportation.  I’ve spoken with Jean, and she’s more than willing to transport these students with her to and from our school each day.”

Once again, smiles filled the room as we rejoiced together, praising the Lord for reminding us that, whatever the situation, God can’ overcome all of our ‘We can’t’ ‘obstacles’.

That first school year Jean faithfully served her dual role as teacher, and student-transporter without mishap. ‘Miraculously’, her student-transport reimbursement from the state more than met her gasoline expenses.  Seems like God was able to accomplish it all without us having to ‘help Him out’,  and in spite of our cautiously ‘guarded faith’ and anxious, ‘hopeful prayers’ . . . “With God, all things are possible.”

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

It was there . . .


The view in life’s rear-view mirror is much clearer than through my front windshield . . . all fogged-up, cracked-up, and mucked-up from wrong-turn crashes. To blame it on my spontaneous, ADHD, pedal-to-the metal, chaotic journey along life’s highway would be a convenient cop-out, but . . . I knew better! As Grandma often chided . . .

Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart.”😊

One stop during our recent road trip was an idyllic little Baptist church on the banks of the Delaware River in rural northeastern Damascus, Pennsylvania.

·         It was there we attended church

·         It was there built our first home

·         It was there we raised a young family

·         It was there, one glorious Sunday many years ago, my two younger brothers came to visit, and went to church with me.

Of all the many pastors whose preaching I’ve been privileged sit under over the decades, Pastor Paul has remained my most special. He spent more time on his knees praying for his flock than some spend on their feet. That Sunday his message spoke directly to brothers’ hearts, and …

·         It was there they each found Jesus

Today I e-mailed my brothers these pictures taken of that idyllic little Baptist church, asking “Remember when?”. The inexpressible joy experienced some 50 years ago as I walked with them to the front of that idyllic little Baptist church flooded back in reading their ‘rear-view-mirror’ responses, blessing my soul.

Mark – “Amen! I remember that day. It was Jeff going first that prompted me to go up with him and my life has been changed ever since! All this and Heaven too. Hallelujah, what a Savior, my Rock, peace and comfort ever since. Thank you Jesus!!!

Jeff – “I too remember that day in that little church, the day I was saved. I think about it often and know that was the beginning of the many blessings that God has given me in my life, loving wife, wonderful children, beautiful grandchildren, and loving family. It was so simple, open your heart and soul and ask, so happy I went forward that day.

Thanks Bros . . . Thanks Pastor Paul . . . Thanks Abba . . . Thank You Jesus

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

The White of Spring


Technically, white is the absence of color. Symbolically, white represents an ethereal purity, innocence, simplicity, clarity, cleanliness, goodness, hope, perfection, rebirth.

White inspires emotional peace, restoration, and healing. Bride’s dress in it, and its brilliance adorns Christ’s robes.

The white of snow’s fading grip blanketing Appalachian heights graced my wife on our recent 2,263 miles – 8 state -10 day road trip north . . . evoking nostalgic journeys down memory lane.

Returning south, we witnessed Spring’s white rebirth. True to the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, I’ll cease my ramblings (you’re welcome 😊) and send off couple pics of Spring’s vibrant resurrection of life revealed to this ole ragamuffin today.

Spring Blossoms

Wishbone in Flight

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

Road Trip


Road trips are fodder for unforeseen adventure and blessings. Thus far, our current one has traversed nearly 2,000 miles through eight states. It has been laden with a variety of unexpected adventures and blessings that have God’s fingerprints all over them. Here’s snippets of some that have been ours to experience along the journey.

Memorial Service

With eight decades behind me, memorial services are no longer a stranger. They’re becoming increasingly somber, considering mine could be next 😊.

Our road trip began with attending a memorial. A wonderful centurion, Betty epitomized loving life to its fullest while loving and encouraging everyone to who crossed her path.  I was my privilege to be one of her e-mail correspondents. Betty would always evoke a smile by signing off each email with a string of XOXOXOXOs . . . she was my oldest girlfriend 😊

Shortly after her 100th birthday Betty passed into Eternity to be with her Abba . . . but not before planning her own celebration of life memorial. The auditorium was packed with people whose lives her contagious spirit had touched with the love of her Savior. The eulogies, music , songs, and personal stories shared by her children, grandchildren and pastors portrayed a legacy unmatched by any memorial service I’ve ever attended . . . truly a live well lived by my oldest girlfriend 😊 – Thank you Betty

Highway ‘Sam’aritan

Back on the road, the steady drone of the highway was suddenly interrupted by the ominous vibrating sound that churns every motorist’s stomach . . . we had a flat tire!

Pulling off the side of the Interstate, Ellen dialed up AAA. Sharing our predicament, we were told help to remedy our ‘deflated’ dilemma would arrive with 30-45 minutes, and we’d soon be zooming back down the highway. Two frustrating phone calls and nearly 2 hours later, AAA (Annoying-Aggravating-Absent) had yet to appear. Unloading the luggage uncovered the donut- tire  . . . will this thing really work???

Just then, a black sedan pulled off the side of the highway, backed up, and a young man stepped out.. Despite my ‘macho’ “I got this” declaration,  he insisted on changing the tire, adamantly  refusing the $20 bill offered for his much-appreciated assistance. Sam was originally from Philadelphia; recently married; and had just started an emergency transport business with his brother. We exchanged contact information before parting ways, ours at considerably reduced ‘donut tire’ speed.

The next day I noticed a voicemail notification on my phone. It was from Sam inquiring if we had safety made it to our destination . . . Wow! . . . comforting assurance that in  these divisive Me First!!! times, Golden Rule  individuals like our highway ‘Sam’aritan are still out there –  Thanks Sam

Aging Reality

Discovering the school I once taught at has been closed and setting vacant for decades made me realize I’m getting old. Unexpectedly meeting a former student and previous mayor of the small rural town the school was located in made me feel ancient! Thumbing through my high school yearbook is like reading the obituaries. Reality confirmed . . . this ragamuffin’s a bonafied ole duffer 😊

The upside, recalling memories with my former pupil was a genuine delight, grateful for past times shared, and sparking hope that dying young at a ripe ole age remains a possibility 😊 –  Thanks Susan

Accepting Saints

One my life’s most priceless blessings has been the trust and counsel of a rare few, openly honest accountability partners. God has graced my life along life’s journey with such special men who listened to my most grievous sins and failures, and transparently shared theirs. When needed, they lovingly spoke hard truth without judging, condemning or condoning, and continued to love and pray for me regardless.

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.” – Proverbs 27:5

Some 40 years ago one of these men counseled me as I wrestled with a vengeful, get-even spirit. Ultimately rejecting his wise advice to forgive and reconcile with the one who had betrayed me, I chose an unforgiving “…eye for an eye…” retaliatory betrayal that, if everyone engaged in, would render the whole world blind.

Gratefully, Ed refused to abandon me,  continuing to pray and console me as I struggled and suffered the tragic effects of my wrong decisions . . . whose grievous consequences I own, and sadly remain to this day.

Ed has since gone Home. However, it was my privilege to visit his still spry 90-year-old widow Melva and her son and daughter-in-law. Openly sharing regrets that my past unforgiving and spiteful actions had caused them and others, they never once alluded to them. They quietly listened, preciously responding with unconditional love and acceptance of me just as I am today . . . not as I should have been back then. – Thank you Melva, Jim, Diana, and posthumously . . . my faithful friend Ed

Promised Land

This picture was snapped standing in the shadows of dense mountain laurel on the shore of Promised Land Lake. It reminded me that amidst those times of life’s dark  shadows, there’s always a patch of light that shines through, and the proverbial “…light at the end of the tunnel…” to press on towards.

My childhood summers were spent in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains at Promised Land State Park. Roaming its forests fearlessly stalking ferocious bears . . . building ‘secret’ tree forts among the pines. . . . and catching monster large mouth bass from its lake was boyhood Nirvana. It’s also where I learned to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) as nature gently drew me into God’s arms, listening to the still small voices and soft whispers of His creation.

Revisiting favorite places and reminiscing with my wife, names, events, stories and fond memories flooded my mind with remarkable clarity, mystically transporting me back through a portal  . . . for a fleeting moment I was a young boy once again  (some say I still occasionally act like it 😊) – Thank you Abba

Our road trip will be ending soon, but its memories will linger, and keep getting  Gooder n’ Gooder 😊

Life has been an exciting adventure, whose undeserved blessings have far outnumbered my self-inflicted calamities. This ole octogenarian is forever grateful and at peace . . . headed for the Promised Land above someday with a guaranteed reservation. Hope to meet you there at Heaven’s Gate.

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2