Playful Temptation

When asked, I’m the neighbor that will feed the cat, water the plants, and take in the mail. It is ironic to witness an incredibly hypnotic spider web in the home of an arachnophobic. Two years ago I brushed a spider off of Annette’s back porch, and humbly rewarded with a plate of fresh baked cookies.

What fun it would be to send Annette a photo of her kitchen. Temptation is at play. What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD) Love thy neighbor comes to mind. Sorry spider, you need to find a new home. Today I choose lame store bought cookies.

Friday Fictioneers is a compilation of writers from around the world who gather online weekly, guided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge? To write a story in 100 words or less based on a new photo prompt. Click HERE to read more stories in an online flash fiction anthology by the Friday Fictioneers.   This weeks PHOTO PROMPT is from ©Victor and Sarah Potter.

Puzzling Prayer

I was surfing youtube the summer of 2016, and came across a wood and nail puzzle. I found it somewhat mesmerizing, and pondered, “How did that nail get in the block of wood?” Wondering the how, is more exciting than knowing the how. I made over 50, and gave them as gifts. The gifting response varied from no comment to, “My boss borrowed it to use in a presentation about problem solving.”

My wife and I are on a prayer team in our church.   When prompted, I will gift a wood and nail puzzle to the person I prayed with. Luke 1:37 reads, “So the impossible is possible with God.” I think it is fitting knowing prayer works, not so much how it works.  Not long ago a prayer partner shared a short story with me. A guy he was visiting with said, “Hey check this out, I want to show you something.” He reached into his pocket and produced the wood and nail puzzle.  My youtube surfing effort had been confirmed.

Production line. Wood blocks are cut to shape, boiled, compressed, allowed to dry,  drilled, nail inserted, then boiled again to regain shape.
Wood blocks being boiled after nail has been inserted. Second boiling allows wood to resume original shape and size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood blocks drying on top of furnace. Prior to final machining.
Ready for gifting.

No Shoes

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”  –  Helen Keller

So you had a bad day. I get it, we all get it. Here is another perspective of your bummer day/week/year. This is public information, it’s out there, it’s on the internet. It’s mine, it’s Susan’s, and it is yours to think about. Susan Briscoe has a blog site titled   “The Death Project”     She has terminal cancer and courage to document.   My sister Les passed away about a year ago due to cancer.  Susan is unsure about the truth of an after life.  I responded on her blog with my insight as follows.   (Posted with permission)

Dear Susan,

Bless you for your courage and diligence on confronting death. The Latin word for possible is possibilis, literally meaning, “What can be done?” It has connotations of power, capability, and capacity. You Susan are expressing the word possibilis perfectly.

A year ago last November, my wife and I visited with my sister. It was a precious time. The day we arrived in Texas I sat on the couch next to Les, her shoulder was touching mine. Quietly we sat holding hands.   In a short time I told her I could feel her spirit, and asked is she could feel mine? She said, “Yes.” Two day’s later before we left I was compelled to rest my left hand on her bald head, and hold her left hand in mine. We did not speak. She could not. I felt her spirit doing a happy dance with mine. That was my last visit, and last conversation with Les.

Death also met me 20 years ago. My weight had gone from 202lbs to 118. My colon had been removed, and peritonitis took over. Eleven weeks in the hospital and faith the size of one half, of one half, of a mustard seed was enough to extend my days to now. I had an epiphany, and God’s healing hand touched me. I love your conviction to speak of death. Everyone will share this life event. There is no getting around it. You are a brave soul, with a kind spirit Susan.

Addressing your post Ask Me Anything #8: Afterlife: This is my belief. One day I too will take my last determining breath, and find myself before Jesus. He will rest his hand on my shoulder, and say to God, “I know this man.” And as a child of God I too will inherit the kingdom along with all his other undeserving children. You asked, and as crazy as all that sounds, it is what I know. It is my faith that gives my soul the permission to believe. This free gift, this inheritance is available to everyone. Keep posting Susan. You are a true treasure.

With Joy,

Dan Bohn

 

The Extra Zero

“Those dammed Himalayan Kerchoos.” Church deacon Samantha’s self-scolding was enough to make her blush. She had always been a stickler for details. Planning a luncheon date required a minimum of two day’s notice. She often ate alone.

“Stupid purchasing job!” “I was happy, my income was sufficient.” Looking towards the window she wished to relive the quick easy order for fifty Himalayan Kerchoos, “That damned extra zero.” “I’m a good person.” Samantha’s self-talk played like a good cop bad cop script.

Hiram, her boss, brings her a cup of tea and smiles, “Mrs. Johnson would like three dozen for Christmas.”

100 words

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Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

The Final Blow

With hammer in hand and gripped for the blow. My umpteenth visit to uncle Harold’s abandoned farmstead produced little fruit. Disposal is everlasting. I was uncle Harry’s favorite runner. My sister his favorite dancer, and the favorites list went on.

Mom questioned Harold’s judgment. Firecrackers, slingshots, and coming home after dark my friend, my uncle Harry invented excitement. We installed the Kohler together, he taught me basic plumbing.  This summer is a lesson of endearment.

I don’t want to liquidate. The back shed is not an eyesore. It is a treasure. One day we will walk together. Jesus promised.

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Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based lon this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Please Give Blood! A plea by Susan Briscoe

The Death Project

blood drop

Last year I received several blood transfusions and put out a call for friends and family to donate blood, especially as I no longer can. (Also to please sign their organ donor cards! I have a friend waiting for a healthy kidney.) Our blood supply in Quebec is all from unpaid donors, which is impressive considering the many restrictions to keep the supply safe. I am anemic again due to abdominal bleeding from my sarcoma, and have been prescribed two transfusions tomorrow. I feel bad taking from our blood bank without being able to give back. Since I’ve been ill many of you have asked if you can do anything to help. Could I ask a few of you to donate on my behalf? (To be clear, I am not asking for direct donations; yours would go to someone else in need.) This is an easy way to give during…

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Warrior Parent

The warmth of a newborn cradled in adult arms. Holding one so tiny transports you to a zone where nightly news and woes don’t belong. The wonderment of creation, the blessing of life, instilling values, schooling, life lessons, and family dynamics, <deep breath> WOW!!

My siblings, peers, workmates, and neighbors have kids; by choice we do not. I do hear of projectile vomiting, messes, parent teacher conferences, crashed cars, running away, and a whole lot more. My insight concerning parenting is limited. I ask, “How can a parent instill virtue in any of that?”

The daughter of my nephew would be called my great-niece, or grandniece. Different words, same meaning. Thanksgiving Day, 2017, ACG was put on my ignorant great-uncle/granduncle heart.

This little blond child will look at you straight on and study you. Like all kids if she feels like it, if she is of the right temperament she will abide to guidance. She runs, plays, screams, and interacts with siblings and cousins. ACG will quietly entertain herself with color crayons and formulate thoughts. One day she will interpret her thoughts and speak out. Through faith I pray to God – in Jesus’ name that ACG will soon share her thoughts, intentions, and what ever else goes on in a child’s mind. So far she has not spoke, not even a “Mommy” or “Daddy.” Speech therapists, and other professionals have met with ACG and cannot determine why her quiet behavior. The warrior parent will fight for their child.

I admire how mom and dad took time to enlighten us. Parents instinctively live in the goodness of God, and they stretch themselves to do the next right thing.

Cheers!

Perseverance NEVER happens right a way. Difficult times, fun times, set backs, giant leaps forward, basically everything we are passing through is a learning opportunity. Life’s difficulties and joy’s are training grounds for what you are. I find myself being humbled, and blessed to be called great-uncle or granduncle. Tomato Tomatoe.

galatians-6-9

The Weathered Boot

The weathered boot dropped to the ground as it had a thousand times before. The man, a dozen times older than the boot peeled off his sock as if he were ripping skin off a catfish. In the late fifty’s his family had immigrated to Mexico from Portugal. Jamison prefers to be known as a Texan, not American.   He spoke English with a heavy slant towards Spanish, and the word “banditos” stood out.   Hanging in mid air translating itself into “hate”, the word faded into the remaining part of the sentence. Our conversation started with my question, “Would you like prayer?” “Yes, but let me tell you.”

His story begins with banditos cutting off his toes and mailing them to his wife as proof of his being held hostage. On a suburban street in Texas I found myself looking down at an old mans foot. I counted three toes.

He once owned and operated a successful shuttle bus company in Dallas Texas. Jamison was not flamboyant by any means, but fresh clothes and an upright walk tagged the old man as a target for the kidnappers. Where dust blows and settles upon debris, litter, and sleeping dogs, targets clearly stand out. He was one of many.

Manhandled and forced into a vehicle Jamison was taken into the hills of Mexico. His existence now reduced to someone’s payday. Not a very sophisticated bunch. Yet cunning enough to create fear, and urgency for the prisoners and their loved ones back home.   Guns, threats, force, and primitive conditions took the meaning of breath to a whole new level. Body parts were exchanged for money, promises were made and broken. Morally depraved conditions became the norm. On the fifty-second day realization made an appearance. No one had ever been released.

The buses had been sold, the home was sold, the bank accounts depleted. Prompted by a voice Jamison wearing only under ware disappeared into the night. The once proud well-dressed man now stumbling, running, tripping, falling, is prey, a frightened creature of the night.

Lost and finding direction, maintaining speed, and having a fresh purpose to live Jamison prays desperately, and makes a personal promise. “Save my life, help me God, and I will honor you the rest of my life.” An adrenalin-fueled grace granted nearly naked escapee found aid on a backcountry road.

With excitement Jamison invited us to his newly founded church. As the car door closed I looked him in the eyes, and promised I’d bring him home. He laughed. In a half empty strip mall Jamison unlocked the church doors. We toured the facility and met several of his Mexican members. It was great fun having him as our translator, and sharing the message with his congregates. In its basic form the Time To Revive (TTR) message revolves around (5) verses formulating “The Good news.” To meet people of peace and share the good news is why we were in Dallas, TX. Meeting Jamison and hearing his faith story all started with a question, “How can I pray for you?”

Bless the Lord… who satisfies your years with good things   Psalm 103:2, 5

Once you start practicing being grateful and thankful for things, people, and events, you may notice that you start to attract more positive things, people, and events in your life.  Stephanie Conkle, Happy Person. Happy Life 

 

Anxiousness

Anxiousness

“Caaaareful, caaaaareful, watch what you are doing.” Concentrating on where the spinning blade meets the board, I found myself wondering, “What the??? am I crazy? Can I really become a minimalist? Where will I keep this table saw?“ Worried about cutting my fingers off, I shut down the saw. The notion of selling the Bohnarosa and all its trappings hit me hard as I was working on a project. As the saw powers down I look around. This is my happy place; I like being surrounded by hand tools, power tools, and mechanic tools, large and small. A generous inventory of lumber sits against the far wall. Bins of sorted nuts and bolts, both standard and metric thread waiting for use.  What am I considering? “Sell the Bohnarosa!!!” This is nuts, and I don’t mean metric.

Growing and bailing hay, feeding horses, tractors, farm implements, and fencing. Years of coming and going calling this, “Home.” With the help of friends we planting over a thousand trees the size of pencils, and now an establishing wind break stands. Providing shelter for deer, birds, and other critters. Putting up out buildings, cutting and splitting wood for heat. Thirty-six years in development and now the daunting proposition of putting up a For Sale sign!! Cheeesse, gimme a break.

Within its boundaries the Bohnarosa contains a personal history. Idea’s becoming realities, hardships blooming into beauty, years of a married couple getting better at, “Doing the next right thing.” It’s not just the compost pile that is decaying. My self is melting.  I’m in Stress City.

The Bohnarosa was once a cornfield; now it is a reflection of how I define comfort, safety, and refuge. I walked away from the table saw and unfinished project. The next three days required some thought and Biblical truth.

It’s good to know my days are numbered. Only God knows the number.  I’ve been blessed and had days multiplied by years. I’m grateful for that. So why am I anxious about going on an adventure? I mean really, how many coffee tables can you fit into a travel trailer?  Seriously I stressed over not having materials at the ready.

Planning and creating, tools and equipment; I take pleasure in projects and accomplishments.  They represent a connection to my dad.  Many of the tools were his.  I’m past the table saw melt down, and working towards a very manly garage sale, not to be missed by the DIY types.

My ambition to do, is morphing into, “To go”.  I’m sure there will be plenty of “To do’s” along our journey.  This is still the same book, just a new chapter.

 

 

The Inheritance

Two plain wood tables each hosting a computer terminal and chair face one another. Blood had been spilt. Lives had been lost, and widows out number wives. An agreement had been reached after years of direct combat. The adversary’s were tasked to compose why they deserve to rule the kingdom. Game on.

In thirty minutes the best reasoned written hypothesis will be judged, and the winner take all contest for all times will be decided. The red light turns to green and they begin. Large screens above the contestants reveal their work. Line by line, paragraph for paragraph they match each other’s speed and thought. Careful word crafted reasoning streams across the grand overhead display faster then the onlooker’s comprehension. Seconds before the final moment the lights go out, the terminals go black, and the apprehensive audience holds their breath. The power returns and based on the writings a clear winner is evident. Jesus always saves.

Last week we attended a celebration of life gathering.  Cirrhosis of the liver was the cause of death. The deceased man’s two adult sons hosted the remembrance at a Holiday Inn. It was good to view the video loop of our friend. We watched the time line progress from child hood, to young man, husband, and then father. Life as we know it now will someday change for all of us. It will happen. Breath in, breath out, breath in, and then the determining final exhale.

Fifteen years prior I sat in this man’s basement and we talked about the “Party on” life style. Our stories ranged from funny and hilarious, to sad, shame, and regret. The assurance of always being a child of God was also part of the requested visit. The question was asked, “Will God reject me?” “The gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23). How can eternal life be anything else but eternal? It cannot be lost, forfeited, or sinned away, for “the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29). Eternal life once given is an everlasting gift.

Shame is the thing behind the thing that will hunt and search you out. Shame can keep you from experiencing joy. As children of God we are heirs to the kingdom. My friend received his inheritance.