Archive for May 2012

Friday Fictioneers 100 word story, June 1, – ERUPTION

Breathing is difficult, the air thinner. We estimate the mesa just another few miles. Closer now, we gain momentum, our excitement building.  We approach the last rise. Nearing the edge we feel heat generating under the earth’s surface, hot to the soles of our feet.  Snow runoff forms puddles, then mud, sliding into our boots.

Why is it so hot? Something isn’t right.

We’re here! Peering down we stare into a deep cavernous cauldron. Whooshing, boiling, sulfuric acid white clay rising, spinning, up the mammoth mouth it comes, towards us. An eruption, eminent.  No protective cover. No time to run.

Posted May 31, 2012 by Joyce in Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction, Writing

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Happy Memorial Day to our military, troops and veterans.

I wish all the veterans, military service men and women a very happy Memorial Day. The wars have been many, the cost of lives so great it is beyond count, the battles they fought to win and keep our freedoms innumerable. One day a year seems too few, or to short to stop and pay tribute to all they have done, and are still doing, but it is with gratitude on this one day that we can express our thanks to them all. When my husband and I turned eighteen in 1965 we became engaged and he registered for the draft as it was mandatory then during the peak years of the Vietnam War. With trepidation and anxiety the year passed, both of us working, planing and saving for our wedding in 1966. We had no way of knowing if or when he would be called up. He was registered and enrolled to begin seminary (a Bible College Institute) in California in the fall of 1966. On the day he checked back with his draft board and his paperwork to enter college he learned he was cleared and exempt, and not being called up  to serve. At the time we were thankful, but hopeful that one day after graduation from seminary he instead could help those in the service by serving himself as a chaplain. He graduated but did not go on to further and advance to his masters degree in theology to serve as a chaplain and has always been one of his regrets, but entered ministry all the same. My father served as a chaplain in the Air Force unit of the Civil Air Patrol as he was a pastor also, and served many years along side the Air Force in this service. But, whether we are civilians, military, veterans from past wars, we are all so grateful to all of our troops for their time and service to our country, to us all and to our freedoms. Thank you to all our military and veterans today. Our support, thoughts and prayers are with you all. God Bless you, and yours.

Posted May 28, 2012 by Joyce in Uncategorized

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# FRIDAY FICTIONEERS, Massacre at McDonald’s – 100 word story, May 25

The place is closed now, deserted, a sign posted with large ugly moths looking for entrance. I can’t forget that horrible day at McDonald’s. Nine people were killed, six wounded. A crazed maniac walked in, pulled out a gun and shot at random. I was working my 4-11 shift at the pick-up window when I heard ear-splitting screams, running, yelling, “Get down!” I hit the floor, crawling around, pulling others down with me, even as some fell after being hit. Some said he was a former “disgruntled” employee. It’s been a year now. I’m still grieving. Where is the healing?

LEAVING BEHIND A LEGACY

Leaving Behind a Legacy

No one has a monopoly on their tomorrows; only a down payment on their today.

Success will not be found on a game board, but in our ‘journey,’ down the road of

life.

If you had a premonition that you would not be around to reach your next

birthday, what would you do between now and then? What we do between our

first and last breath of life will determine the legacy we leave behind. What will

our legacy be after we are gone? Will it have impacted another life? Will it count

for something besides lost time? What changes would you make in your life? The

direction we take determines the legacy we leave behind for others. As a parent

and grandparent this is always something I think about. It is foremost in my

mind. What I leave behind for my children and grandchildren is not mere material

possessions, but things I hope have counted in my life worth real value, without

a price tag attached.

My teenage grandchildren (twins) graduate from high school this week. I think

back, remembering with a clear head, and good memory all the times I babysat

them since babies. There were happy days, sad days, busy or difficult, easy

or stressful; they were all days covered in prayer. But, watching them grow up

into young adults, ready to go out into the world with fresh ideas, unmet goals,

dreams not yet realized and questions unanswered leaves me thinking how

none of us have the answers to the questions in life. I certainly do not.

But, I know the One, Jesus Christ, who does have answers to everything, and will

walk beside them. I know He will lead them along paths straight and sure,

through valleys dark and deep, up steep mountains difficult, and treacherous, and

of course through pastures and fields where the journey is pleasant. I know He

will guide them when, or where they do not know the path to take and confusion

or uncertainty sets in somewhere, sometime. Because, as sure as a new day

comes there will be those times, and I can only pray and hope they will be ready

for the challenges that come their way, as they did for me when I was their

age. Without that hope, we are destined to succumb, or fail at whatever we are not

ready to cope with.

Here’s to you, Kristen and Chris, and to life, new challenges, experiences and

success, and to the rest of the Class of 2012, (high school or college) and to the

Hope they can have in Jesus, the ‘friend’ without a facebook page, but a book

written to His honor and glory, to the One who never changes, grows old with

time, leaves you, betrays you, or departs because He has another agenda, plan or

‘life’ to live.

Congratulations! Image

“RAINBOWS” – 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, May 18

Ribbons of pastel stretched across the sky in a half-moon. Sunlight poured out of heaven covering the meadow in a warm blanket. Trees and plants suddenly looked greener, fuller after the summer rain. Robby stood staring up at the rainbows, his mother beside him. “See, mama? They came to cheer you up.” he said. “Don’t worry.” But, his daddy still had no job, and often got grumpy, mean. His mama cried a lot. They had no money, hardly any food left. Robby said a prayer. A short time later, his father burst through the door. “I found a job!”

It has been a b…

It has been a busy week as I have worked at fine tuning the elements and options on my ‘pages’. Since I have not been posting officially (I signed on March, 2011) with WordPress prior  to April of this year, it has taken quite some time to learn my way around it, but am making progress. I finally got the pages figure out now and have posted and uploaded five chapters to the ‘Historical Fiction’ book I am writing. With re-checking on spelling and sentence structure, and other things it has helped me find new parts to edit, shorten or correct. So, bear with me on my attempts to create a credible piece worth reading or following. I also had major computer problems and a ‘crash’ last weekend on my old standby Gateway desktop PC. So, had to reload and reset my programs, do back-ups and clean up old files and those duplicated.  I recently had a birthday and got something I have wanted to get for some time, a laptop (HP Pavilion) so was nice to have the new ‘spare’ to check and read e-mails, but it is my old desktop that I am most used to and love working on with old and new files, pictures, etc. The one thing I do not really get into and care  about is downloading songs, or movies, etc. I do videos of my kids, grandchildren and family with my Sony camcorder so often need to work on those but am more tied up in the writing, and setting this page up to my liking. I have barely glanced at all the ‘posts’ on blogs I follow, but plan to go back and take a closer look at those too, and make comments as much as I can. I had a really nice Mother’s Day last Sunday as I have two really great grown daughters that are awesome and four grandchildren (two girls, two boys, two kids per daughter) with our two oldest grandchildren graduating from high school this next week. They are twins (boy and girl) and awesome kids too, as are the two little ones belonging to our (husband and I) youngest girl. I won’t dare give my age, except to give you all a clue that I and my husband just signed up for our Medicare last month. Whoopee doo. Well, that wraps up a little about myself to those who do not really know me except what they have read on my blog page. I will add what I do consider thee most important part of who I am though. I am a Christian, and believer in the One, Jesus from Nazareth who went to Calvary on my behalf, so is another reason why you will see occasional pieces of mine posted with scriptures, references or encouraging inspirational tidbits in my posts, devotionals and poems. And, thank you all too for reading my page and following. More to come later.     

Posted May 16, 2012 by Joyce in Uncategorized

Friday Fictioneers – The Storm – 100 word story from picture prompt

The below brief story is one I wrote for the ‘Friday Fictioneers’ writing group, based on the picture prompt. It is a writing exercise I enjoyed, and had fun doing. If it were to have a title I would just call it, “The Storm.”  It has exactly 100 words, the required amount. I plan to add more fiction soon, but will be another chapter to my novel, “Where Lies the Truth.”

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The Storm

Hail pelted my head. The wind’s furry bucked my efforts as I struggled to get back.

It was a  stupid decision to set out on a late night run down the road, away from camp.

When I started out there was only a sprinkle. Breezes blew the leaves around. Then the moon disappeared behind dark clouds. I could barely see. The forest’s trees stretching upward succumbed to the winds’ howling strength breaking off limbs, falling near my feet. I panicked.

“Help me, God.”

The rain turned to a drizzle. The moon opened before me, giving me light.

I’m home, Safe.

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Posted May 11, 2012 by Joyce in Friday Fictioneers, Short Fiction, Writing

A Sweet Smelling Fragrance

A Sweet Smelling Fragrance

By: Joyce E. Johnson

Like the sweet-smelling fragrance

of lilacs in bloom, so is His essence that

wafts forth from my soul;

It permeates the air of my

all-consuming space.

I stand in awe, at the wonder of it all

how He could create one such as me,

  and love unconditionally with infinite grace.

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A Sweet Smelling Fragrance

A Sweet Smelling Fragrance

By: Joyce E. Johnson

 

Like the sweet-smelling fragrance

of lilacs in bloom, so is His essence that

wafts forth from my soul; 

It permeates the air of my

all-consuming space.

I stand in awe, at the wonder of it all

how He could create one such as me,

  and love unconditionally with infinite grace.

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Posted May 10, 2012 by Joyce in Inspirational Poems, Poems, Spring

There is no shame…

There is no shame in accepting failure; only in not accepting someone else’s success. Through the years this has been a learning lesson for me, when I heard of other writer friends’ reaching that point in their life to see their name and work in print. It is more a lesson in humility than merely reading the stories of literary success and greatness of well published novelists or poets. When one’s success at publication is not my own, but another’s. Rejections on submitted entries and manuscripts to writing venues, publishers, and editors can have one feel as if all their work on a story or book is in vain, not worthy of publication. At times when discouraged, or  disappointed,  I felt as if it was time to give up on writing. Sound familiar to some of you writers? Maybe. I don’t think I am the only one, but rather one of many to feel like this at times. But, I made a decision to continue with my writing, my prose, rhyming, story, or whatever my project was at the moment. Writing  is too much a part of me to give up. It is a part of who I am,  and cannot be compartmentalized, or put aside. That is like giving up on myself, and giving up on God who ultimately blessed me with a gift to use however He chooses to use it, and what I choose to write. When I believe in myself, what I can do, and what I am inspired to write is often a time  when it comes more naturally, unrestrained. And, when I am not under stress to ‘edit’,  meet a ‘deadline’,  ‘delete’,  or ‘cut’ what I feel is worthy to be read. But, part of that contentment I think too requires me to be happy for those, and congratulate the ones who have reached the pinnacle of success in having a ‘New release’ out, or ‘contract,’ for publication. Succeeding in that, is a lesson learned.

Posted May 7, 2012 by Joyce in Writing

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Seizing the Moment

To cast away time is to cast away opportunity; When opportunity is not seized, one does not realize momentous occasions in life.

Posted May 4, 2012 by Joyce in Writing

Parable of the Butterfly

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parable of the Butterfly

 By: Joyce E. Johnson

The butterfly struggled, working to free itself in the jar. A few holes in the lid allowed only a small amount of air to enter the glass chamber. But the heat and humidity was suffocating. It would not live much longer. Kept in a dark confining place since coming out of its cocoon, it would never know wide open spaces, or retreat to a flower under a bright sun.

It worked hard, pushing against the lid on the jar, but it became more difficult with each effort. One wing broke leaving the butterfly weak and disabled as it slid once more to the bottom of its chamber.

The captor held the jar up to his face peering intently at his prize, smiling. What a specimen I have caught.

There was little movement now from the defeated, dying butterfly.

Soon, someone came along, seeing the trapped butterfly in the jar and said to its captor. “I will give you any amount of money you want if you will let me buy your butterfly.”

The captor asked, “But, why? It’s almost dead. It’s part of my experiment.”

The prospective buyer replied, “It is mine. It is beautiful, special. Look at its color and markings. The orange on its wings are the color of sunset, and the black markings like peaks meeting the sun at dusk. There is no other like it in all of creation.”

The purchase was made, and the captor walked away clutching his wad of money.

The rescuer was happy too, buying back what He had created. Opening the jar he allowed a gush of sweet, fragrant air and warm sunlight into its chamber.

A gentle touch from his finger nudged life and energy back into the broken, disabled body of the butterfly. It soon made its way back up the mouth of the jar, feeling it’s way around, looking out at the vast amount of space beyond.

It climbed out, hugging the rim of the chamber, too afraid to go further. But, a large hand cupped close to the chamber opened, welcoming the butterfly onto its palm. Soon, the butterfly   began to explore its space, thankful to this one who rescued it, giving it a new life, freedom.

Amazingly, the broken wing was healed. Testing its wings it began its ascent into the unknown. It felt whole and strong. Taking off like a tiny glider, it soared into the sky, lifted by a soft breeze.

The rescuer stood tall, larger than life watching, smiling as the butterfly swooped higher, now free to be all he was created to be.

***********

         I wrote the  story, “Parable of the Butterfly” as an illustration based on the following scripture in Psalms 18:1

“He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.”

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:17 & 19 (NIV)

I love the  Psalms that David wrote as he went through the most difficult times in his life, crying out to God to deliver him from his sorrow, anguish and torment.  He was set free from those things and from his enemies (King Saul) who kept him running for his very life. He was in grave danger, hiding from his enemies, but God knew where he was all the time, watching over him, protecting him. Not only did God deliver David, and spare his life, but made him the new King of Israel, blessing him beyond and above what he once was before, a shepherd watching over his father’s flock. (Story can be found in I Samuel, chapters 17,18 & 19).

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