Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “spirituality”


Yesterday was Father’s Day. It turned out to be an eventful day around our house. I received the customary phone calls and the usual assortment of Father’s Day cards. And I am so grateful for my children and grandchildren. So, thanks to all my family and especially to my “Rancherette” wife.    However, there was a moment of sadness yesterday. If you are a pet lover as we are, then perhaps you may understand. We have many animals around our home. Chickens, geese, dogs, and they all seem to cohabitate with each other, within certain parameters of course. We love each and every one of them. So it is with that certain sadness we grieve a bit over the loss of one.

Prada, a beloved standard poodle, lost her bout with cancer. She was two weeks shy of her 10th birthday. She was an exceptionally sweet dog with a like disposition. In all of her days, I never heard her bark. She never growled. If there was ever a dog that smiled, she was the one. She was shy, yet playful in her own way. Never a cross word with any other dog. She was small for her breed and never had puppies.  She loved peppermints as do all of our dogs. However, she was terrific at “helping” to unwrap the mint. When we let the dogs run from their kennels in the afternoon she would hang around in order to get an “extra”.  It was almost like a game with her. I’ll miss that.

I do not know God’s plan for animals. He certainly must have enough love for each. It is with a certainty that dogs bring about a sense of belonging in the world. They serve a purpose. In my life I have had many dogs and a few cats. I have loved each and every one and each has brought joy to my life in one form or fashion. The remaining dogs in our kennels must sense a loss in some sort of way. I suppose they grieve a bit as well. So this new day breaks and our lives continue and the days move forward.  This will happen again and again. I will never get used to it. RIP, dear Prada.

Is It Christmas Yet?

Ever have that feeling about not wanting to get up in the morning? One day this past week, it was my desire to stay in bed a little longer than usual. But we have animals to take care of and they usually do not want to stay in bed. The dogs in the kennels do not seem to mind the cold or that it finally warmed up.  And the chickens could care less. They are ready no matter what. The humans, not so much! So out of the warm bed I arise. I stumble to the kitchen, turn the switch on for the coffee pot, (the “Rancherette” is sweet enough to prepare the ingredients the night before), put on my long johns and make ready to placate the aforementioned animals.  I do insist on having a steaming cup of coffee before I brave the elements.

Having a touch of the “I don’t wanna’s” this morning, I slowly began to move around. I am feeling the effects of a cold I contracted from a recent chicken show we attended in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Then, the “Rancherette” comes bouncing from the bedroom full of vim and vigor. She wonders, “How are you feeling?” I mumble “OK”. Probably, not too convincingly I might add.

So after my jolt of caffeine, I make my way to the dog kennels. Recently, the morning temps fell down into the upper teens, and with that, their water dishes turn to ice. This was my first clue that winter is approaching. With the dogs fed, ice in their water broken and fully attended to, I turn my attention to appeasing the chickens. Ever try to appease a chicken? Good luck with that. The “Rancherette” usually comes along to save the day. She definitely knows how to appease a chicken. She is in the chicken appeasement business. I’m not sure but I think they understand the “bach,bach,bach” of my voice and I am convinced they really know what the “Rancherette” says. I am pretty sure she understands what they say, too. Me? I don’t think so. Now when it comes to the dogs, I am much more enlightened by their “voices”. I fully understand them. I speak dog, fluently. I practice every day. However, one could possibly acquire some of the characteristics of these fine feathered fowl (maybe osmosis).  For example, I catch myself crowing on occasion. Nothing out of the ordinary, that is until they crow in return. Scary!

For those of you who do not know, the “Rancherette” raises show chickens. Silkies and Bantam Cochins are her favorite breeds.Both breeds are also very funny birds. Most of these birds have names, such as Mick (after Mick Jagger) Bella, Cowboy, Cowgirl, Smoky Bear, Miss Peggy, (she has a peg leg) and so on. Thus one can become attached. (Her name shall remain anonymous).

However, when it comes to our kennel dogs, that’s another story. They are retired show dogs, from the Standard Poodle line, living out their retirement days. Apollo, Ty, Denali, Grendel, Prada, Andora, Stella, and so on. They all have a very extended name, fitting the royalty of the breed, but way to much for this post.Then there is Alfie, a hitchhiking female Airedale. “nuff, said.

.So I am up and “at’em” this morning. This Christmas Eve, Eve! Got all my presents wrapped for the “Rancherette” and placed in a conspicuous space where she cannot miss them and this in turn tempts her a bit. No shaking the packages or X-rays allowed. This is premeditated on my part. Now that the gifting is completed (and a day early, I might add), I turn my attention to checking my social media pages.

I see numerous and varied accounts of people and their activities on social media pages. Hidden among the many postings, I see some with treasured memories of years past. For others it brings sadness and a dread this time of year. Still others delight in the many celebratory events of Christmas.

I see posts from a varied assortment of people, from my friends and others I do not know. First and foremost are the many varied posts from all of the chicken friends on social media. There is a considerable amount of “chicken speak” in these posts. (i.e., the “Rancherette”) I have not yet learned much of that language.

Then others are depicted wrapping Christmas gifts and sharing their experiences. Some are wondering if other family members will make it home for Christmas. Some are showing the results of a toy-drive for kids. There are pictures of children sharing their love through homemade Christmas gifts with nursing home residents. Some use the social media pages to outline their Christmas list. (Personally, I’m not sure this works well, but give them credit for ingenuity) Let me know if it does.

I see posts of young children sitting on the lap of Santa, some crying, some in awe and others readily sounding off their wish list. Obviously, they have all been good, wink, wink!

I see posts describing recipes for Christmas Delights and I admit they all look inviting. These are very interesting.

Then there are still a few who either challenge the presidential election results or laud the outcome. To these very involved people, I say, Merry Christmas to both groups.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more posts we see about the event. Not all will be about a religious phenomenon and yet it is my opinion that it was never about a secular circumstance. It was and always will be a celebration of the birth of Christ, whether one chooses to believe that or not.

I find it fascinating that our animals depend on us for their survival while many humans do not depend on God for anything. In their own way, these animals say thanks every day, a tail wag here and a “bach,bach, there. Would it not be great if the human race could acknowledge a better understanding of peace and joy on this earth?

I grant you that we live in a free society and thus are completely free to agree or disagree. However, I for one am proud to say I believe the Biblical account of the Christ Child born for the salvation of mankind.

Thus I can say unequivocally,

Merry Christmas.

Perfect Plan, Perfect Price

Woven tightly on His head,
Reeds of thorns, discolored red.
Vision blurred, eyes so weak.
Broken voice, He tries to speak.
Lips so dry, about to crack,
Raised red whelps across His back.

Spiked to wood, the crowd demands,
His feet, His caring hands.
Pierced veins, muscles torn
Naked body thus forlorn.
gall to drink, unquenchable thirst,
spat upon, grossly cursed.

Downcast friends, broken hearts
Shaken earth; veil that parts
Opened tombs, souls released
Pain and agony decreased
Execution is complete
Sin is vanquished in defeat.

Earthly body laid to rest
Mourners saddened and depressed
Lamenters rift, beset with gloom.
Stone removed, empty tomb,
Risen Savior, sacrifice,
Perfect plan, Perfect price

Merry Christmas and Happy Nostalgia

I first wrote this in 2010, for my new great-grandson, Judah. He was about to celebrate his first Christmas. I thought it was interesting then and still relevant today. I have had time to reflect on the subject in this article and have sort of updated it for this posting. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Nostalgia

I am about to celebrate my seventy-first Christmas. I am blessed. For the previous years are memories and should I make it to Christmas Day, this one will also become a memory. I trust it will be special.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Of course, you recognize the lines from Charles Dickens’, “A Tale of Two Cities.” Taking those lines completely out of context from the novel, I reflect upon the past years of my life and I find some truth in those words. If one is to recall the events of years past, it must be noted that not only are pleasant memories embedded in the mind, i.e., the best of times, but also those situations that remain dreadful, i.e., the worst of times. They provoke emotions. Those emotions drawn by our memory epitomizes life itself. Life does not have to be perfect. It just seems that way. If it were perfect, we would be unable to live even those idyllic experiences to their fullest. For every good and pleasant circumstance that we recollect, we are reminded of those forgettable times of which we cannot forget. Our memories can confront us at any time. Although, it seems the Christmas season causes most memories to become more spirited. Yet, it is very difficult to lay aside those that I wish to forget.

My plan this year, however, is to focus only on those pleasant memories. My conscience says, “Good luck with that”. Christmas seems to me to be a time to reflect on the year that has passed from us. Who among us can forget Christmases past?

As I think back to another time, I recall my firstborn. I was stationed on board an aircraft carrier, in Japanese waters at the time of my daughter’s birth. In those days, there was no internet, no Skype, no email, no texting, not even the ability to receive a phone call. Unable to communicate, I knew nothing about the big event until the ship arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, a few days after the occurrence. The commanding officer then relayed the information to me. That was in November of 1959.

I think about how the birth of Jesus was announced.   His announcement probably reached more people faster than I learned about my daughter’s birth. Those angels and shepherds worked very fast.

I celebrated my first Christmas as a new father in a far-off land. I must say, it was not the happiest Christmas I ever had, because I was so far away from my wife and newborn daughter.

Three years later another daughter was born and then with another Christmas passing, a son arrived into our home. As our family grew, our Christmases became more wonderful and exciting. Never having a lot of money for gifts, we made up for it with the love of each other. I do not believe anyone was ever disappointed. Who could ever forget the Hula Hoops, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels, Chatty Cathy dolls, Easy Bake Ovens, Play Doh, skateboards, and Silly Putty or G.I. Joe? I would wager you are now recalling toys of your youth.

I certainly remember all the great toys I had when I was growing up. You see, that is the neat thing about memories. You can replay them over and over again. Each time you do, they become more vivid and special. I was envious of my children’s toys but my toys were just as special to me as theirs were to them. It is unimaginable the electronic devices and toys that kids receive in this day and time.

As each generation turns the Christmas traditions over to the next, it simply means you bank more memories. For many, these pleasant memories overtake those that unwillingly clutter our mind. Yet, there are those who struggle with maintaining some semblance of sanity.

I believe that each of us have both good memories and not so good memories. How do we keep from dwelling on those we would just as soon forget? I don’t know all the answers, however, for me it is a faith in God.

That is why Christmas 2010 was very special. For you see, a new generation began. New chapters of memory can begin filling the pages of our minds. Judah, my first great-grandson by my granddaughter, Misty, celebrated his first Christmas. He may not remember anything about it but you can bet we will store each little tidbit in the memory bank. Much like a musical piece as it arrives at its crescendo, getting louder with every note, the memories become more vivid, with every song, Christmas bells, laughing children, incessant merchandizing, and so forth.

After looking back over the past seventy-odd years, I find the Christmas seasons full of memories. I suspect you do as well. For Christians around the world, it is a time of reflecting on the Gift that God gave to the human race. It was in Jesus that God gave us the greatest gift. He came to save us, to give us salvation, and eternal life. He gives us that gift freely, by the riches of his grace. We celebrate the extravagant and lavish love of God, demonstrated by the birth of Jesus Christ.

Hopefully, we will recognize that Christmas is not just a time set aside for gifts or for recalling those special memories. As you celebrate Christmas this year, keep that thought in mind.

P.S. For this Christmas 2012, I have a new great grandson, Zayne.  Zaybe, your memory bank is just beginning. Judah, yours is growing fast.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my family, friends and readers

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