Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poetry Sunday ~ Soul Sisters

Soul Sisters

I know she’s there
across the sea from me
Where the wind ripples
through her hair
causing a stir in the waves.

I know she cares
as I sit drawing in
the emotional bond
that led me to her
as her spirit is lifted.

Isolated from the sand
that laps the shore
the current rides the tide
bringing me to a place
in her heart.

My soul sister thinks
an anchor holds me
in place so that I
can feel her thoughts.
We are kindred spirits.

I watch as the sun
drinks in her essence
filling her with light
a luminosity that is emitted
from the two of us.

Our bond is there
while no despair will
bring us to our knees
we’ll please the heavens
that call us.

We’re enmeshed
to the one beauty that
fills our spirits.
We cry, we sigh, we fly
into the night.

You are there
across the sea and
think of me as the wind
stirs my hair causing
a wave of emotion.

My soul sister is one
with the light and beauty
of the world.
I am here, she is there
together, we sweep the ocean floor.

Note: This also goes for my soul brothers who have connected with me. Whether across the pond or on the soil of America, you all have touched my soul, and prayerfully, I have touched yours! ~Joni

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Angel: A Poem

My Angel

In my mind I watch her grow
the little baby I’ll never know.
I held her nestled in my womb.
her ringlets of hair I’ll never groom.

I watch her in the grass to play,
I swing with her on a sunny day.
Her fancy purple Easter dress,
her softened skin I often caress.

She sinks into the books she’s reading
finds sheer joy in our yearly seeding.
I watch with her as the seedlings grow.
Dances around when they make a show.

Twirling and spinning I often see
some little part of a younger me.
I long to hold this small-framed girl,
My angel, my daughter, my pleasant pearl.

Some things in life are not meant to be
As with my baby, little Astri.
Motionless I held her in my arms
A lifetime of beauty and earthly charms.

But lo and behold He needed her more,
She took with her a piece of my core.
I find solace in her place above,
Knowing heaven is her garden of love!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Miracle Pumpkin Story

Acts 4: 22 “For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”

I’ve noticed that still sitting around my house, I have two pumpkins still healthy looking from last October. We just got rid of two last week and as my readers know, we had quite a display of our homegrown pumpkins around the house. There HAS to be a story in there somewhere, I thought. So now I give you, The Pumpkin story.

It was October 2011. Steven had gotten his cornea transplant in Omaha, where we stayed a couple of days. The first thing he saw that day the bandages were taken off was my beautiful face. He looked around the office, at the Doc who had been caring for him for months while he was blind, and I just sat there with tears in my eyes (and a few already wet Kleenex, if you must know.) We went back to the hotel and as you can imagine, people who saw us leave, Steven holding my arm, were quite puzzled when they seen him walk back in, not needing assistance, and no cane in hand!

We made a couple of trips out to the front of the hotel so he could look at the sky, the flowers, the cars and people. He was like a kid in the candy store trying to pick out just one thing to look at but as you can imagine, being totally blind for three years (wondering if you’d ever see again) there was a lot to look at and behold.

The next morning we left for home three and a half hours away. Steven just stared out the window with his heavily tinted glasses. On occasion he took them off for a better view. It was such a joy to bring him home to SEE the house he had lived in for almost three years, without ever SEEING the place.

Finally the moment came when we pulled up to the house. Right by the front steps were two pumpkins left by his mother who had taken care of our dog while we were away. His mom and sis live pretty close by, so they enjoyed helping in that way. I called them our miracle pumpkins because they were received during our time of a miracle happening in our life. We entered the house and there was balloons welcoming us home and a note from Sassie, our dog, saying she missed us.

It was a little overwhelming as Steven was now a sighted person again, and I was busy not being so busy. It wasn’t long before he began cleaning up things and making this home, his home. He was finally touching and feeling AND seeing everything for the first time in three years!

Months had passed by but one occasion as we arrived home from Church, we noticed the pumpkins getting soft and leaning to the side. It was quite a few months sitting in the cold brisk Nebraska air and it seemed like forever, but those pumpkins endured and looked as if they were never going to die!

We told Adam (my son) to scoop up the soggy miracle pumpkins and throw them in our garden, where they lay for months on end until spring, with a splash of miracle, took hold of them. That is when we noticed our miracle pumpkins had taken root and decided to flourish.

We separated all the plants into tidy rows, and as the summer months came and went, we had an abundant assortment of different sized pumpkins. Now keep in mind, we’ve never grown pumpkins in our life, but my newly sighted man took it as his project to see these pumpkins become something wondrous rooted in a miracle. He tended them daily and nurtured them to fully grown pumpkins.

Our miracle pumpkins had multiplied. At this time we were also experiencing a bountiful amount of blessings in our life. Steven had gotten his license back, a job, and all was going right in the world AND my garden.

Then came time to harvest the miracle pumpkins, one here and one there. We sat a few on our steps but knew the cold would sweep them away and a few, it did. But many were salvaged and saved and brought into the house in October 2012!

And here we are April 25, 2013 and I have two remaining very much-alive pumpkins! How’s THAT for miracle pumpkins?

Jer. 33: 6 “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poetry Sunday ~ The Path I Take

The Path I Take

As curious winds dance about

snow lay at my feet

swirling in my mind is doubt

for all the world to meet.

Take my hand and walk me through

the life that has a muddled hue.

Swift soft whispers of the day

spin my life around

stellar are the stars I see

they lift me off the ground.

Hold me now for I am weak

my Father’s face, do I seek.

Step lightly as you pass.

on wilted willows bough;

Windows open breath falls in

I’m here amongst you now.

He breathes new life into me

I share for all the world to see.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Quotation Saturday

Fort McHenry ~ Baltimore Maryland
* ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ * ~~~ *


“You've faced horrors in these past weeks... I don't know which is worse. The terror you feel the first time you witness such things, or the numbness that comes after it starts to become ordinary.”
~ Tasha Alexander, A Fatal Waltz

“Have we raised the threshold of horror so high that nothing short of a nuclear strike qualifies as a 'real' war? Are we to spend the rest of our lives in this state of high alert with guns pointed at each other's heads and fingers trembling on the trigger?”
~ Arundhati Roy

“There is a loveliness to life that does not fade. Even in the terrors of the night, there is a tendency toward grace that does not fail us. ”
~ Robert Goolrick, The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life

“The more you approach infinity, the deeper you penetrate terror”
~ Gustave Flaubert


“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
~ Mother Teresa

“Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.”
~ Joni Eareckson Tada, The God I Love

“The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.”
~ W. Somerset Maugham

“From childhood's hour I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.”
― Edgar Allan Poe


“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
~ Mother Teresa

“When we make judgements we're inevitably acting on limited knowledge, isn't it best to ask if we seek to understand, or simply let them be?”
~ Jay Woodman

“Even god doesn't propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?”
~ Dale Carnegie

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”
[Matthew 7:1-2]
~ Holy Bible: King James Version


“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”
~ Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Atlantis

“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.”
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Wellspring of Imagination

On days like this, where the wind is howling, a late spring snowstorm is sweeping across the state, and a mug of coffee in my hand, this is when I have a wellspring of ideas. In this setting, the birds have risen early and are all scattering about getting caught up in a wind gust, the sun is refusing to come out and play and school buses are plowing through the snow-covered roads filled with children wishing they could have just stayed safe at home.

It’s mornings like this when I look out the window and see the trees come alive, eerily walking in the cornfields only to realize it is the wind sweeping branches across the field and the crane hiding within them for a brief break from the gusting winds.

It is at this time my imagination is full of ideas wandering into a different realm that normal man and women dare not go. But writer’s, we’re of a different caliber; we see a story in every waking moment. Upon every tragedy that faces the nation we climb into our imagination box and create a story. Hiding within every triumph and selfless attitude that shake the people’s psyche to the core, a story is born.

Inspiration is the doorway to the Wellspring of Imagination. While normal (or not so normal) folk gripe and grumble of each aspect of their lives that bother them, the writer instead digs in and finds a story to tell. While journalist go out and seek a story to give to the people, the writer need only to open his eyes at sunrise and see a story unfold right out there window of inspiration.

As a writer, you know full well that the story is right there, tumbleweeds roll, thunder claps, lightning blazes across the sky, houses topple, trees sway, the music is words that have come alive in your imagination which sends you to the keyboard, tapping out a tale for readers to catch a glimpse of in the quiet of their day.

As you, the writer, are filled with inspiration from the previous days events, the glorious sunrise that puts shadows across the fields, the chaos communities endure places you smack in the middle with a story to unfold. You are going to write a fictional story or non-fiction that sheds a new light in the wells of darkness sweeping the earth.

You writer, have the Wellspring of Imagination right at your fingertips waiting to be expelled. There is no need for you to be dismayed because you can express what you imagine other people are feeling at the moment. The wellspring of imagination opens up to you just as a new day dawns each and every morn.

On April 18th, 2013, the snow blowing in has caused me to be inspired in ways you cannot imagine. It has awoken in me the need to write, relay the anxiety people are feeling with such  storms in supposed Spring. This is the season where trees burst forth seed, plants come alive; life, as we know it takes on new meaning. This is the season earth has taken on new tragedies, new eruptions of turmoil. This my friends, is the Season of the Writer!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poetry Sunday ~ Seasonal Change

Pss. 102: 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:

Seasonal Change
* ~ * ~ *
The winds came briskly at the start of the day
sweeping the fields while out to play.
The sun partially hidden by bold dark caves
peeking out in increment waves.

The dormant trees bend to and fro
as new spring blossoms hang on and grow.
Shivering in winters seeming last touch
deadened limbs break off and such.

Just as in life wild storms erupt
making the soul feel somewhat corrupt.
Wrestling with the maniac season
calmly you pray for a justified reason.

Slowly you’re rid of worn out sorrow
you’ve reached a path to a better tomorrow.
Reclaiming your soul you fuse with God
standing strong upholding the rod.

Rejoicing now with hymns of praise
the cloudburst passed with sun-swept rays.
There’s only one storm you’re sure to win
The realization that your God’s within!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Quotation Saturday


“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
~  Søren Kierkegaard

“Being an American is about having the right to be who you are. Sometimes that doesn't happen.”
~ Herb Ritts

“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”
~ William Pickens

“To-day, in more than half of Europe, man is at the mercy of the police; in 1900 even the most conservative and reactionary Prussian Junker would have been unable to imagine, let alone approve, that a citizen could be arrested and kept in prision at the pleasure of the Government.”
~ Salvador de Madariaga, Essays with a Purpose

“To-day, in more than half of Europe, man is at the mercy of the police; in 1900 even the most conservative and reactionary Prussian Junker would have been unable to imagine, let alone approve, that a citizen could be arrested and kept in prision at the pleasure of the Government.”
~ Salvador de Madariaga, Essays with a Purpose


“To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.”
~ David McCullough

“The average juror wraps himself in civic virtue. He's a judge now. He tries to act the part and do the right thing.”

“It is the State which educates its citizens in civic virtue, gives them a consciousness of their mission and welds them into unity”
~ Benito Mussolini (Italian dictator, 1883-1945)

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."
~ Justice Robert H. Jackson

"... any broad unlimited power to hold laws unconstitutional because they offend what this Court conceives to be the `conscience of our people' ... was not given by the Framers, but rather has been bestowed on the Court by the Court."
~Justice Hugo Black

"The Court has assumed, gradually, the role of deciding the problems on its own and ...the American people and their selected officials gradually have accepted the Court as the political instrument for lawmaking."
~Prof. William Forrester, Cornell law school

"Obviously, a man's judgment cannot be better than the information on which he has based it. Give him the truth and he may still go wrong when he has the chance to be right, but give him no news or present him only with distorted and incomplete data, with ignorant, sloppy or biased reporting, with propaganda and deliberate falsehoods, and you destroy his whole reasoning process, and make him something less than a man."
~ Arthur Hays Sulzberger, 1891-1968, American newspaper publisher

Monday, April 08, 2013

Audiobook Mania

Today I had the honor of writing a review on an awesome audiobook blog, Audiobook Heaven. Call me the guest author for the day.

Audiobooks is a craze that isn’t going away any time soon. It’s not a passing fad, instead it seems to be the end of curling up on the sofa and reading page by flipping page, by holding an actual book in your hand.

We have Ebooks, Ereaders, Audiobooks and the same with publishers. It scares me as a writer, to want to get my book ‘published’, because what does that mean exactly? Will it be on pages, read by people or will it be in an audible format or Ereader where no one will fill their hands with my actual words in a paper bound book?

Audiobooks are to the writing industry, what cell phones are to landlines, what email is to snail-mail, what the massive exodus of internet and social sites are to speaking face-to-face, they are a quick means to an end.

While I love the audiobook industry, ripe with bloggers-a-plenty. The Twittersphere is crawling with audiophiles; Facebook is streaming with pages of audio lovers, and I can also find a couple of the narrators there too. The internet is all abuzz with sounds; with the likes of YouTube, you never have to leave your desk chair. The audiobook community is a world of its own there.

Audiobooks are a sheer delight in that, you DON’T need to be sitting in a chair to read your book. You can be exercising on a treadmill, running the morning’s park-path, driving in the car, everything except shower (until they come up with a water resistant mp3 player)!

Audiobooks are here to stay just as the internet is here to stay and deliver you the information you just couldn’t get from a face-to-face conversation or leafing through a book. Sometimes an audible rendition is good for the soul, too.

We listened to the book I did a review for while driving to Omaha. It’s a six hour trip in the car so having an audiobook was a welcome distraction to the long drive ahead of us. This book touched my heart in many ways. This is a non-fiction book, and while I’m close to the author/publisher/editor of Audiobook Heaven, non-fiction is not his niche of audiobook reviews, as you will see when you visit his site, Audiobook Heaven.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Poetry Sunday ~ Soul Storm

~ Soul Storm ~

Beyond the tempest storm I see
a rainbow waiting there for me
clouds they merge then pass me by
my eye always on the erupting sky.

The storm boils over without warning
lasting through the mumbled morning
I wait with hope for the sun to win
against this beast the angry kin.

He gnaws and gnashes, biting trees
he shreds the land then heads for seas
Finding joy in causing  pain
Unleashing torrential slashing rain

I think destruction is its friend
he takes away the ability to mend.
But does he know you have more power
within your grasp through every hour?

The more he taunts and tries to break
the more you seek the rainbows wake.
You know its there; it’s in your view,
holding hope and all that’s true.

The rays burst out of the hidden shell
erasing the storms evil spell.
the arc of promise rears its head
the rainbow shows your faith’s been fed.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Quotation Saturday ~ Rob Bell

Upon listening to ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About God’ by Rob Bell, I chose to post quotes by him from his many works.
*   *   *

“Take faith, for example. For many people in our world, the opposite of faith is doubt. The goal, then, within this understanding, is to eliminate doubt. But faith and doubt aren't opposites. Doubt is often a sign that your faith has a pulse, that it's alive and well and exploring and searching. Faith and doubt aren't opposites, they are, it turns out, excellent dance partners.”
~ Rob Bell, What We Talk about When We Talk about God

The peace we are offered is not a peace that is free from tragedy, illness, bankruptcy, divorce, depression, or heartache. It is peace rooted in the trust that the life Jesus gives us is deeper, wider, stronger, and more enduring than whatever our current circumstances are, because all we see is not all there is and the last word about us and our struggle has not yet been spoken.”
~ Rob Bell, What We Talk about When We Talk about God

“What we see in these passages is God meeting people, tribes, and cultures right where they are and drawing and inviting and calling them forward, into greater and greater shalom and respect and rights and peace and dignity and equality. It's as if human history were progressing along a trajectory, an arc, a continuum; and sacred history is the capturing and recording of those moments when people became aware that they were being called and drawn and pulled forward by the divine force and power and energy that gives life to everything.”
~ Rob Bell, What We Talk about When We Talk about God

“When I talk about the God who is with us, for us, and ahead of us, I'm talking about our facing that which most terrifies us about ourselves, embracing it and fearing it no longer, refusing to allow it to exist separate from the rest of our being, resting assured that we are loved and we belong and we are going to be just fine.”
~ Rob Bell, What We Talk about When We Talk about God

“If the gospel isn't good news for everybody, then it isn't good news for anybody. And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the "un" and "non", they work against Jesus' teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, "God shows no favoritism." So we don't either.”
~ Rob Bell

“Freedom is not having everything we crave, it's being able to go without the things we crave and being OK with it. ”
~ Rob Bell

“Most of the Bible is a history told by people living in lands occupied by conquering superpowers. It is a book written from the underside of power. It’s an oppression narrative. The majority of the Bible was written by a minority people living under the rule and reign of massive, mighty empires, from the Egyptian Empire to the Babylonian Empire to the Persian Empire to the Assyrian Empire to the Roman Empire.

This can make the Bible a very difficult book to understand if you are reading it as a citizen of the the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Without careful study and reflection, and humility, it may even be possible to miss central themes of the Scriptures.”
~ Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile

“As we experience this love, there is a temptation at times to become hostile to our earlier understandings, feeling embarrassed that we were so "simple" or "naive," or "brainwashed" or whatever terms arise when we haven't come to terms with our own story. These past understandings aren't to be denied or dismissed; they're to be embraced. Those experiences belong. Love demands that they belong. That's where we were at that point in our life and God met us there. Those moments were necessary for us to arrive here, at this place at this time, as we are. Love frees us to embrace all of our history, the history in which all things are being made new.”
~ Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

“If we want hell,
if we want heaven,
they are ours.

That's how love works. It can't be forced, manipulated, or coerced.
It always leaves room for the other to decide.
God says yes,
we can have what we want,
because love wins.”
~ Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

“If it is true, if it is beautiful, if it is honorable, if it is right, then claim it. Because it is from God. And you belong to God.”
~ Rob Bell

“But in reading all of the passages in which Jesus uses the word "hell," what is so striking is that people believing the right or wrong things isn't his point. He's often not talking about "beliefs" as we think of them--he's talking about anger and lust and indifference. He's talking about the state of his listeners' hearts, about how they conduct themselves, how they interact with their neighbors, about the kind of effect they have on the world.”
~ Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

An Omaha Journey

As many of you know Steven was blind for three years. It has been a long exhausting journey ripe with blessings and miracles as the years since his sight in one eye was restored.

In December of 2012 his, what I deemed, bad eye had a severe infection, so severe the eye had to be removed. Four visits to the doctor in two weeks, all before Christmas was painful yet rewarding at the same time. He was devastated that the eye had to be removed and that a miracle wouldn’t happen in that eye, but it was not to be so, his eye was removed and we celebrated Christmas joyfully and appreciative of all the many blessings that we had been given.

Fast forward to April 2, 2013.

Yesterday we were scheduled for his appointment to get a prosthetic eye in place of just a clear lens he’s had in place since the removal surgery. What a blessed journey it turned out to be. The sun was shining, nary any wind, and we had a safe journey both ways. It sure takes off a lot of stress on my back with him being able to drive half the journey!

We spent three hours in the office. Steven had thought that we’d have to kill three hours time while his eye was being made, but no, we had to remain at the office, and we got to experience the making of a prosthetic eye. We watched as the eye, step-by-step was being made! It was an awesome experience to say the least.

We had thirty-minute intervals in the office then the waiting room while the doctor made, and gently painted the eye to look amazingly like his ‘good’ eye. As we waited in the waiting room, we had a God moment while there. A woman who was having her (prosthetic) eye cleaned, smiled softly and announced, “It’s my turn.”

Her husband sat and told us of her story, telling us how she had come to have a prosthetic eye and he went on to ask us questions. When she came out of the docs, she too sat and told us of her journey. Strangely, (God working?) the man had been born and raised in Minden! That is where we live, coincidentally. They now lived twenty minutes from the Omaha office but it felt like such a connecting moment to God. He went on to say, “Sometimes people need to hear another's story so they can understand they’re not alone.”

The woman surprisingly has no restrictions on her license (like Steven has) except she must wear her glasses. She can even drive at night (but she says she don’t like to, like many of us.) I found that interesting. She also noted that she would be 80 years old next month! We shook hands and parted and I think we all felt blessed by the meeting.

Now keep in mind, this is an eye care facility. Most people were there getting eye check-ups and what not. The Ocularists is only there once a month because they reside in Missouri.

We went back into the office for her to finish painting the eye. The practice is a father daughter team, and today the daughter Corinne was making Stevens eye. The whole process took every ounce of three hours time.

The father came in to watch also at times and we chatted and he immediately picked up on my East coast ‘accent’ which had us talking about seafood and his visiting a fine restaurant right down the street from where I grew up. A very personable duo these two.

The moment came where the placement of the eye was at hand. She gently placed it in the socket and voila, Steven’s eye is so beautiful! For years that eye had been losing color so I haven’t really seen both his eyes in sync for far too long. When she placed his eye in, I cried; tears of joy began streaming down my face as this mans face now came alive! It was amazing to see two eyes, exactly the same color and it felt like he was seeing me for the first time.

I am in awe of such a wonderful, spirit-filled journey. If you did not know of our story, you would not ever know that Steven has a prosthetic eye.

We are so blessed. Even our truck, whose transmission has been puttering along and giving us trouble, held out for the long six and a half hour journey. Maybe it was the awesome audiobook we listened to “What we talk about when we talk about God”. It was a breathtaking book by minister Rob Bell who clarified an awful lot for me.

And today as a bonus, my back doesn’t even feel like it had been on a long journey.

What an amazing God we have. He listens, hears our prayers, and answers. Praise Be to God!!!