Archive for September 2014

A Colorado Autumn

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For the sake of technical correctness

It came to my attention lately, quite by accident that I had a really messed up category listing with much or most of all my posts (poems, fiction and misc.) incorrectly categorized under, THE INFORMANT’S AGENDA  although I did have all of those previous posts under their proper category, i.e. poetry, fiction, etc. as well. Just how this happened I’m not sure, but am certain I did not intentionally mark them all that way. 🙂  I believe my ‘link category’ and my ‘category’ exchanged places somewhere, or I inadvertently created the beast myself by mistake. 🙂 Regardless, I am now aware of the ‘category’ error on all those pasts posts and am correcting it as much as possible as I check each post in the past three years to ‘update’ all.

Because of that error when a reader would want to view the posts and chapters to my long novel length story, THE INFORMANT’S AGENDA  by using the category listing on the left they would get all of those posts labeled incorrectly coming up, so I am sure that created confusion or frustration for one wanting to read current posts or chapters of that story. And on that story I did some revising, re-editing and re-organized the order of posted chapters.  But, the easiest and best way to pull up the chapters on that story is to go up to the ‘menu’ selection at the top of the screen, and come down to each chapter one at a time to read or view where all chapters are current and properly displayed from chapters 1 to 24. A few of my misc. posts that were related to material used in my story chapters are also categorized with that link as they are bits and pieces used for a writing prompt or update sometime back. Anyway, I hope I have not confused anyone wanting to go back into my archives to look up a post (of poetry or any kind) or chapter to read.

To add to my problem I am dealing with a very old Gateway desktop about 8 years old. Remember those?  🙂 Even with the highest internet speed my old desktop is sluggish, very slow at loading and wants to die in its sleep. 🙂 So, even though I have a newer HP laptop I like using the big clunky desktops for most typing, editing and posting jobs as it is a more comfortable keyboard. Besides, my husband likes my laptop for his games. So, I will be on the hunt for a good deal on a new desktop for myself, equipped with the latest. 🙂

Thank you all for following, reading and commenting on my story, and reading my fiction, poetry and varied posts. It is all greatly appreciated.


Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


Posted September 26, 2014 by Joyce in My Writings

Emerging – Chapter 24 of The Informant’s Agenda

The Informant’s Agenda

Chapter XXIV (24)

Searing pain in my eyes from the explosion left me incapable of seeing anything or anyone beyond the smoke and debris. Yet, my feet were compelled to take one step at a time.

“The Lord is my shepherd…I shall not…want…” In spite of the oxygen mask I wore I could not contain the sobs that broke as I remembered each word, each verse of the 23rd Psalm, the one I learned as a child and recited to my Sunday school teacher.

My throat felt as if it had been scraped raw. It was difficult to swallow, but with each step feeling my way along I mentally recited it again as if standing before the class.  “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” An image of green pastures on a Nebraska farm where cattle grazed contentedly came to mind. I coughed and felt the sticky bloody mucus make its way up to my lips.

He leads me beside quiet waters.” There was the hiking trail my cousins and I took along the Blue River where the water narrowed in places and we walked across the river on rocks. The water was so still and transparent in places we could count the fish swimming downstream as we sat with our legs dangling over high boulders while fishing.

“He restoreth my soul.”  Tears washed the sting from my eyes when I thought of the time I walked down to the altar in our Lutheran Church to pray and asked Jesus to be  my ‘Shepherd.’ The pastor told us we were like His little lambs following the ‘Shepherd’.

“He guides me in the paths of righteousness.” He spoke about the ‘cost’ of what it meant to ‘follow.’  I knew my faith walk would not be an easy one as I entered college, and hung with kids that partied hard.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” No matter how many times I felt fear and anxiety while here in the former Soviet Union countries I told myself that He was with me wherever I went. And, yet I still went to sleep afraid and dreamed those dreams that came to me each night.

Your rod and your staff; they comfort me.” Though, I kept my bible with me at all times, promising God to read some each night I was too exhausted much of the time from a day of archiving names, documenting records, and photographing cemeteries.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” All those times I  shared meals with Irina, Vasily or ones served by Olga at her Inn I did not know if they were my  ‘enemy’ or ‘friend.’ There were so many strange things that happened during these months that made no sense I continually wondered who it was spying on me.

“You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.” Lord, I don’t know if there is anything in my life that seems worthy to be anointed by you, but my cup certainly overflows right now with more than I can handle of bad luck, but I will trust you either way.  I will believe there is going to be good that will come from this, as I follow after you, and dwell in your house, that secret place where you reside in my soul, but I pray that you do not let this stream of bad luck continue if I make it out of here alive.”       

What felt like a nudge came from behind like the arm of someone pushing me. It thrust me upward, forward through a fissure that opened before me.

A rush of sweet, fresh air engulfed my senses. Hands lifted me, wrapping me in what felt like cool, soft sheets under and over my body, and I heard the sounds of sirens and screams everywhere, people yelling, “Over here!

When I drifted off and quiet returned there was a sterile smell and the soft padding of feet, and hands adjusting tubes, IVs and monitors around me in a hospital.

My eyes stung from the effects of the gases emitted during the explosion, my skin still burned like that of a very bad sunburn, and my throat was painful and tender, but knew I was making progress. When I was released to go back to my hotel to rest up and recuperate I decided it was time to prepare for my return home to the states. In my heart I knew I was more than ready, anxious even, but I knew too there was still some last-minute things I needed to see to, or people at least I wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to.

Irina came to visit me more than once to give me news and updates on the investigation of the explosion. And also to inform me that Vasily and the superintendent had both died of injuries sustained in the explosion.


To be continued…

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

One year after


  Nature reclaims what

the flood took away last year.

This weeping willow’s

branches bow with due respect

to trees lost last September


Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 Footnotes: This week marks a year for our state when devastating floods from days of unrelenting hard rains and raging high rivers destroyed much of our front range; parks, roads, homes, businesses, even parts of the Interstate highway. It took lives too. Our local newspapers have run stories on surviving families and people who have forged on and begun the rebuilding of their lives and homes again with a strong commitment and determination that is born from tragedy leaving scars and wounds in ways that devastate lives and livelihood. There are other posts on this story in my archives under the Big Thompson River Flood.  And also  here

A nostalgic yesteryear of bygone days


A BNSF train passes through Loveland, Colorado

A BNSF train passes through Loveland, Colorado


This is my posted submission for the Daily Post Writing Challenge

The loud whistle sounds, first long and lingering, then short staccato bursts that pronounce their arrival, momentarily breaking the monotonous silence. Vehicles lined up behind the blinking red lights and barrier arms. Traffic came to a halt, when the rumbling wheels rolled through.  BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) and the Rio Grand faithfully kept to scheduled runs through quiet country towns. They were as predictable as old Western television reruns.

I could be lulled to sleep at night with train whistles and their endless line of cars making its slow, sluggish way across wide open prairies, their tracks crisscrossing fields of wheat and corn before climbing their way up over the foothills, through the Rocky Mountains until finally disappearing out of sight, out of hearing range, but not out of mind. When we went to visit my grandparents in a another small town they lived so close to the tracks behind their house we could feel their little house rattle and vibrate during the night when trains came through. And still, I slept.

I loved watching trains, loved hearing the whistles, and loved taking trips on trains as I got older, some harrowing, some nostalgic like yesteryear. Trains are an icon to the past, but thankfully today they still rumble through town, stop traffic and sound their warning system when approaching.

Today, I live in a different town, close to the tracks here as well. And each night around 10:00 p.m. when I hear the train coming I listen for the long shrill whistle to announce itself. And still, I sleep.   🙂


Joyce E. Johnson (2014)



Living Water

Boyd Lake, Loveland, Colorado

Boyd Lake, Loveland, Colorado

‘He who drinks from the

pool of living water will

never thirst again’


A woman came to a well to draw water when she came upon a man, a stranger weary from a long day who asked if he could have a drink.  She inquired as to why he had no vessel to use for water. But, he replied if she knew who he was she would not have asked why, but instead would have asked for the, Living Water. He was not a mere stranger, but one who knew everything there was to know about her and could read her life like a book. He was not a psychic, fortune-teller, spy or stalker.

She soon realized that it was Jesus she was speaking to, the Son of God who spoke with the authority and knowledge of His father in heaven. When he asked her to go share this news with her husband she replied, “But, sir I have no husband.”

He said, “Yes, that is true, for you have had five husbands, but the one you live with now is not your husband.”

She wanted to hurry home to share her news about the man who knew all their was about her and offered her the gift of Living Water. She only needed to believe and trust in Him.


Footnotes: I love this story because it tells about the caring, loving, compassionate Savior who makes that gift available to everyone, whatever their background or ethnicity, if they will only believe in Him. This is a true story, and can be found in the New Testament Bible in John, chapter 4. The above haiku poem is just my own paraphrased interpretation of the gift of Living Water. 

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Ancient Family History

Below is my submission for this week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge Full Tanka 


I pulled from the box

old photos; dour faces

staring back at me;

There is not one, a smile; but

just their sad look that graces


our new family

seeking ancient history;

For all they will have

is what is left to pass on

in this box of old faces


so I pulled it out

and began with my long search

looking for good clues

but learned it was not to be

so easy once I started


so I shoved it all

back into the dusty box

where they all remain

together even this day

sealed inside their box coffin


Footnotes on the above Tanka poems. This story poem is true fiction in the literal sense as I actually have over 30 years of successful family genealogy on my paternal grandfather’s German family from Russia with boxes full of not just photos of ancestors but piles and stacks of documents and many other resources used throughout the years as well as membership into one of the leading German Russian genealogy organizations. So, even though this story is fiction, my own family is not, and has a long heritage of Germans from Russia.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

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