The Prayer Journal: The Woods

The 15th installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.

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Monday, June 10, 1918

Richie could see the jagged silhouette of the woods straight ahead. It was dark, early morning before the sun had risen, about 0400 hours. They’d left Verdun for a couple weeks now. No more quiet; this was it.

There was no doubt of it, either. His battalion, the 1/6, they’d been lucky so far. They had taken a reserve position while most of the others had been storming the woods to route the Germans back. The Huns had been making an attempt on Paris but were stopped by the AEF, and now the Americans were set to push them back. Them Germans dug up in the woods, dug deep in the trees and rocks with Maxim machine gun nests all over. Shells crashed overhead day and night, shellfire so intense it made Verdun seem silly. Little water and almost no food for days. They said whole platoons had been wiped to only a handful of survivors.

And now it was his turn… (Read more)


The Prayer Journal: Different Kind of Trust

The 14th installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.

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Saturday, April 13, 1918 – Trust

The 74th got hit by gas shells early this morning right where they were sleeping. They’d been pulled back to reserves, too. A few poor souls had a shell land right in their barracks. Heard it wasn’t too bad for the others at first, the boys could hardly smell it and were allowed to take off their masks less than an hour after the shelling. As the day’s gone on, though, more and more pass us on their way to the infirmary, blisters all over and choking. It’s been an awful sight.

“Hey, you, Jack,” a marine Adams addressed Richie. “Where be Rivers? I ‘aven’t seen ‘im.”

“He headed over to the delousing station first thing this morning,” Richie replied.

The features of Adams’ face scrunched together in disgust. “Cooties?”

“Yup.”

Adams shivered. “Nasty blood-suckers, them lice. Thanks, Jack, now I’ll be itchin’ all day.”

Richie laughed to himself and turned back to his book. As the thought about what next to write, an artillery gun boomed from across No Man’s Land. He hardly flinched now that he’d heard them a few hundred times. From his experience, cowering didn’t help much if your trench was hit.

Faith is different out here. It’s not the same as it was back home when it was going to church and helping out the neighbors. That doesn’t help much when we’re dealing with shrapnel and gas. I remember the preacher’s sermon once, how our war isn’t “against flesh and blood.” But what about when you’re in a war that is?… (Read more)


From the Mouth of Babes

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While on vacation the past week, I was able to spend time with my mom and sister and family.  My little niece often says things that reveal she is a deep thinker even at 4 years old.  During a ‘tea party’ with her sister and friend, she said, “In all this world God is the boss. You gotta know that.”

Out of the mouth of babes.


The Prayer Journal: In the Trenches

The 13th installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.

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Monday, March 18, 1918

The lead of Richie’s pencil scratched the date onto the journal’s page, the markings becoming less and less visible in the ebbing twilight. He leaned with his back against the clay wall of the trench, his boots standing on the slimy duck boards that had been placed in the mud. His rifle was leaned next to him. Beside him stood Private Rivers and a few other doughboys who had relieved some French soldiers the day before. Those men had looked so exhausted when they arrived. It was not an encouraging welcome.

Richie didn’t bother writing a request next to his date; it was good enough he was even praying at this point. He wasn’t even sure what he had planned to write when he pulled the journal out of his coat. Maybe it had been the boredom, the monotony, or the cramped, stinking quarters of mud and smoke that brought him to write, but he was writing nonetheless…. (Read more)


I Can’t Resist A Good Challenge!

Rene Yoshi:

My blogging friend, Bill, who has had ALS for almost 18 years, did the ice bucket challenge. Way to go, Bill!

Originally posted on Unshakable Hope:

Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Top $100 Million in 30 Days compared to $2.8 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 29).

Mary looked at me like I was crazy when I told her that I wanted her to dump a bucket of icy water over my head.
“You might gasp and breathe in water and choke,” she warned. But after a few days of prodding she finally agreed to play her roll in the Ice Bucket Challenge. I was hoping that the ice cold water being poured over my head would cause me to jump out of my chair and run, like my Australian friend, Phil, but (SPOILER ALERT) unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Seventeen years ago, almost a year after being diagnosed with this horrible disease known as ALS, I was asked by MDA to participate in the local portion of the Labor Day…

View original 245 more words


Where Heaven and Earth Meet

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“Behold, He shall come up as clouds, and His chariots shall be as a whirlwind.”  —Jeremiah 4:13 KJV

 

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Wings Like Eagles

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The Prayer Journal: Hindsight

The 12th installment of my son’s online fiction series.  If you are just joining, click here for the previous chapters.

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The morning of March 15 greeted the Marines with a cold and foggy curtain. Mist and smoke blew out from Richie’s mouth as he flicked the stub of his cigarette onto the ground. A few months ago his body would have been sore from the construction job of the day before, but having done these jobs over and over, the work hardly bothered anymore. His headache from the drinks the night before, however, had already put him in a foul mood.

Rumors were that command decided to give them some real experience and they’d be heading out soon. About time.

The past few months had been cold and tedious. Between combat training, railroad work, or unloading cargo from ships, they’d been kept busy doing everything other than what they had been sent to do: killing Germans. It didn’t help to see the trains come through with wounded French soldiers from the front lines. The veterans used to tell them that when you’re in the 1st line of trenches and all between you and the Hun are parallel rows upon rows of barbed wire and the open, lifeless expanse of “No Man’s Land,” you no longer wish to get out unscathed as that seems a pointless fantasy; you’re hoping to get out as soon as possible, and just praying you don’t leave too much of yourself on the battlefield…  (Read more)

 


Christian Life Coach Ministry

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Meet Lyle Newell, founder and ministry leader of Christian Life Coach Ministry. I met Lyle a few weeks ago while volunteering with a local fire department’s biker’s breakfast fundraiser, a breakfast held before the annual toy run to benefit The Shriner’s Hospital. He was one of the bikers riding in the run.

He told me a cute anecdote related to biking. While gassing up his motorcycle one day, a van drove up and he heard a child say, “Mom, look! A biker!”

“Where?” thought Lyle as he looked around and realized the child was talking about him.

Since I also had the privilege of riding in the Toy Run, I was able to spend some time getting to know Lyle through the event as well as through Facebook. He is the husband of a lovely wife and father of two sons. He has a lot of energy and seems to have a genuine love for God and people.

CLC.logoChristian Life Coach Ministry provides services to individuals, couples and groups on a donation basis. It is based in northern Vermont, but provides online services as well. Services include: spiritual and personal growth, career planning and development, effective communication, motivation, stress management, time management, transition management, finances and budgeting, relationships, intimacy, family and parenting, household management, health and fitness, lifestyle, and self-care.

You can find out more info or contact Lyle through the Christian Life Coach Ministry Facebook page.

Serving others – One life, One moment, One step at a time.

 

If you liked this, you might also like Leave No One Behind, in which Lyle is pictured wearing the “Born2” t-shirt.

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When Life Begins to Fray

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The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18 NLT

I recently bought a colorful, artsy scarf, which I quickly noticed can snag and fray somewhat easily.  Even though the fray looks like a mess, the nice thing about the scarf’s design is it seems as easily fixed by stretching the fabric in just the right place and with the right amount of tension.  I was reminded of how God designed us in such a way that we are not so easily broken, and when life begins to fray, if we will allow God to stretch us a bit, even when it looks like a mess, our lives can become untangled.  He knows just how and where to stretch us, so our lives can look like a beautiful tapestry once again.

 

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God and Mr. Miyagi

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How to Get Attention

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I learned something this weekend— how to get and redirect attention.

While helping a local volunteer fire department with its car wash fundraising event, I agreed to put on a firefighter’s turnout gear to attract the attention of passersby.  I prefer helping by washing cars or being behind a camera rather than drawing attention to myself, but it was for a good cause.  Since the station had a sandwich board with neon green posters announcing its car wash, I thought it would be a good idea to stand across the street.

Wrong.

I realized that by drawing attention to the opposite side, I was drawing attention to myself instead of to the station and the car wash.  Hey, I had very little experience doing that kind of thing, but now I know.  I did eventually stand by the neon green signs, which was much more effective.

I hate writing this next part, but I can’t leave it out and still get the complete point across.  And by the way, I am not fishing for compliments, ok?  So don’t embarrass me… please?  That reminds me of a quote.

“You better be very careful fishing for those compliments.  You might not like what you catch.”  —Steve Cobb, pastor in “The Deacon”

Ok, so years and years ago when I was 20-something, an out-of-state visitor to the church I was attending, asked me out on a date.  I accepted even though he was quite a bit older than I.  While strolling along a sidewalk after dinner, we talked about our faith in Jesus and future plans.  He turned to me and told me that God had given me the gift of beauty.  Although I feel pretty some days, I don’t think of myself as being beautiful or having a gift of beauty.  Anyway, he said that God could use it to help point people to Him.

Although outer beauty can capture attention, it can also keep it for itself.  Although I, like any woman, long to be considered beautiful in someone’s eyes, what I desire most is an inner beauty that reflects the love of God, because that is true beauty.  He’s still working on me.

One of the things I have learned in life and the blogging world is people are drawn to images more than just words, and through the stock photography business, I have learned that people are drawn to faces more than to mere objects.  Photos with people are much more profitable, because companies know that customers are drawn to faces, especially happy ones.  So even though the fire station had signs posted, and even though they were neon green, having a person either holding a sign or drawing attention to the signs and event is much more effective.  In the same way, although billboards, funny church signs, and religious tracts may draw some attention, what is much more effective is love… personal interaction that draws attention in His direction and not just to ourselves. After all, Jesus has so much more to offer.


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