Category Archives: Writing 101

Writing 101 Day 10: Will You have Coffee with Me?

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Hello dear friend, how splendid to see;

Will you have some coffee with me?

Perhaps we can stop in this quaint café

And chat this morning away.

It is such a beautiful morning

With a brilliant sunrise streaking the horizon.

Oh, you are having a cappuccino today?

I think I’ll try a mocha latte.

Yes, I do enjoy the warm coffee

When the autumn air is brisk and chilly.

So what is new with you?

Busy at work? Oh, yes, me too.

While at my job, each day is so different

And quite often it does not go as planned.

Some days are being difficult, you say?

I hope things get better; I will pray.

I must admit that I struggle too

And sometimes I don’t know what to do.

Why do we have to struggle so much?

All seems well then suddenly I’m overwhelmed and rushed.

You sometimes feel that way also?

How do you deal with that? How do you cope?

I worry too much and fret the day away.

Yes, you’re right; I need to pause and pray.

Yes, you’re right again; I need to slow down.

I need to stop, listen to God, and again be calm.

Why yesterday is a perfect example;

I complained about the rain and missed the rainbow.

I saw the arching, colorful bow later on-line;

A photo taken by a friend of mine.

Oh yes, it was too bad that I let myself worry

And then miss a blessing, God had for me.

Today will be different; I promise to try.

I’ll trust God more and enjoy the sunshine.

Thank you dear friend for having coffee with me;

Because of you, I’ve had a wonderful morning.

Writing 101 Day 7: Starting with a Quote about Hope

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“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Holy Bible NIV

I have heard it once said, “Joy is a choice; choose joy.” As I awake on any given morning, gaze out the window, I can choose to be joyful or not. Well, I am also learning along life’s pathway that hope is also a choice. I can wake up on any morning and decide to be hopeful or not. Admittedly, there are days when choosing to be joyful or hopeful are very hard to do when I am in the middle of a difficult situation or perhaps, when I have been disappointed because my latest dream was slashed to pieces.  Or I wake up realizing I have a huge problem.

Several months ago, that is exactly what happened; I woke up one spring morning and found I had no electricity in the house. I wondered around checking all the rooms. As I entered the kitchen and looked out the window, I found a huge problem; a huge tree had fallen during the night and had pulled the electrical wires out of my house. It damaged an entire wall. The lower interior south wall looked fine but once I stepped outdoors, the story changed. A large section of the outer wall was missing and a window from the attic had also flown out.  I was much shaken and wasn’t sure what to do first. Being on my own, there is no one to call for help.  I started with the city utility office and went from there. They had already found my fallen tree and turned off power to my house until I could make repairs. I had to arrange for emergency tree removal, have my wall repaired, fix the electrical hardware, and then I could have power. But all of that could not be done in one day. Completing all the repairs was a long process in which I needed to work with my insurance company and pay my deductible to have everything done.  Also due to lack of power, I was temporarily displaced from my home. My insurance company was really good and paid for my temporary stay in a hotel where I also received hot breakfasts.  Additionally, the hotel was near my worksite so getting to work every day was not a problem. No doubt, God was good as he kept blessing and providing for my needs.

But as this process continued on, it was easy to lose sight of hope. I was so anxious for everything to be fixed in an instant and life be back to normal. My mother did tell me more than once that I was too impatient. The practice of being patience is a lifelong endeavor for me. How I wish I could hear my mom’s gentle and cheerful voice one more time.  Also, my finances tend to be tight so this personal catastrophe was a huge drain. I felt sick to my stomach as I contemplated this latest mess in my life. Furthermore, I was displaced from my home over Mother’s Day weekend. Both my parents have passed away and I didn’t receive the blessing and honor of becoming a mother. Therefore, not only was I temporarily “homeless”, I also was all alone while everyone else I could think of was celebrating and spending special time with their families.  The weather did not help matters either as it was raining with heavy gray clouds in the air; the charcoal gray scene outside my large hotel window seemed to deepen my gloomy mood. So I rested on the unfamiliar bed in tears.

The next day, Sunday which was the dreaded Mother’s Day, on my calendar, I did manage to muster the willfulness to attend church and tried to stay close to God in quiet prayer. Because my own mother wasn’t here and I wasn’t a mom, I knew I would be spending most of the day all alone; a sense of hopelessness, like a large boulder, had parked itself in my stomach. Considering the special family holiday, everyone I met at church had plans to spend with their loved ones.  So, as expected, I returned to my home away from home all alone. But something made today different from yesterday. I was struck by a sense of restless;  felt as if God was nudging me and saying, “Come on, you don’t want to stay cooped up in here all day.” For by now, the weather outside had gradually changed. The dark, soaking rainstorms of yesterday and this morning had finally dissipated. In place of the storms was a bright blue sky beneath brilliant and warm sunshine. No, I didn’t want to stay indoors all day.

I wandered outside where I could smell the fresh spring air and feel the warmth of the sun wrap my bare arms. Since this area was new to me I felt adventurous enough to embark on a new path where my footsteps have never wandered before. Although the highway was nearby, I was also surrounded by the greenery of the ground, the bushes, and the trees.  Singing birds glided and swooped high above me. I smelled sweet lilacs along the way which was a tender reminder of my childhood home where each spring new lilacs bloomed along the road. As I walked along, I felt hopefulness trying to return to calm and soothe my aching soul.  It was as if the Lord was quietly speaking inside of my heart and kindly telling me it was my choice to make. I could continue this day in a sense of gloom and, “oh, woe is me” attitude or I could choose to hope and firmly believe that all will be well and fine; I just needed to continue to trust and believe over time. So with a silent prayer and taking a long, slow breath, I resolved that today I would choose hopefulness.  With a lighter heart and a burst of cheerful energy, I felt that once immovable boulder in my stomach slowly melt away. I continued along, letting God gently speak to me. And being a writer of poetry, I sensed a new poem forming in my thoughts. Often I write poems as a way to remind myself of the little milestones between the Lord and me; my writings are like a memory album of my walk in faith. God had meant for me to remember this day and how I emerged from this long tunnel of dark gloom to embrace renewed hope now resting inside of me.

After the Rain

The sun brightly appears after a stormy spell

Letting everyone know that all again is well.

The shrilling wind has lessened its’ churning

While the pelting rain has ceased it’s drumming.

Trees, shrubs, flowers, and everything green

Is bathed in wetness on this summery day in Spring.

A new fresh scent permeate  the air;

A welcomed sign that the earth is renewed and fair.

Such a sweet blessing to remember and realize

That the loving Lord is in charge: rain, snow, or sunshine.

And at night when the orange setting sun is dipping low,

He stays in charge of all our nights, and our hopes for tomorrow.

Writing 101 Day 6: Trying to Write with Meaning

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I am sitting with my mind as blank as can be

As I struggle on what to write meaningfully

which others will like to read and see.

I started my blog over a year ago now

Not knowing, not evening guessing how

It might grow through many posts and photos

And reach others who might gladly follow.

For I do not write near enough

As I find daily writing a bit too much

For me to endure and keep up.

However, I have learned with some consistency

I can write and post with some regularity

And so build up my blog continually.

I try to alter and vary my topics

Not knowing what others prefer to discuss

When through my blog they scroll down and up.

I explore the faith inside my heart,

 About my life journey so far.

And new ideas that cause me to wonder.

I write some prose but mostly poems

As I sit and think here at home

Pondering my days and where I have roamed.

Perhaps it is time to write something else;

Maybe more fiction and less of myself?

I do enjoy sci-fi and history as well.

Or perhaps a guest biography

Or something in the news, I see.

Writing such new posts would be a challenge

Making my mind turn and bend

To still write for others to still comprehend.

I try to write concise and with clarity

Making sure each line makes sense to me

And hoping it conveys a message meaningfully.

One thing I hope my blog to be encouraging

To anyone who comes scrolling and reading

And that they find something worthy with meaning.

Therefore as you stop and look at my blog today,

Please know that I am thankful you wandered my way

Taking a quiet moment to read what I have to say.

Writing 101 Day 5: Where is My Home?

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I am a quiet wanderer walking alone;

Each new day I seem to follow the same lonely road.

I arise from bed and journey through the day

Working and resting along the way.

Some days are predictable and I know just what to do

While others present obstacles and I barely pass through.

Some mornings are full of warm temps and a bright shining sun

While others are filled with storms and never just one.

For through life I meet tempests of many kinds;

Some are outside while others linger and rage in my mind.

One of the battles that wrestles inside of me

Is finding my home; where in life I am meant to be.

For I have moved and wandered from one place to another

And I stop for a while hoping I’ve found what I was searching for.

But in every place I stay, it is the same wherever I go;

I live this quiet life whether it be sunshine, rain, or snow.

For I fall into the same rut and habits of life

Hoping that somehow things will be different this time.

And there are wondrous moments where wider I open my eyes

To see that my loving God has in store a delightful surprise.

Such as following a new path beneath the warm sun

Or a sudden encounter with an old friend.

Climbing to the top of a mountain peak

And viewing a new, breathtaking scene.

Also hearing a new message from my Lord

While pausing to read and reflect on his word.

Although there are some hardships but that’s nothing new

For everyone who loves the Lord faces hard trials too.

And that is the time to believe and trust in God some more

Knowing that our faith in him will become even stronger.

And now through quiet prayer and thinking, God has revealed to me

My true home is whenever I am with him and can quietly be.

Blogging and Writing 101 Day 4: Adventures in Geocaching

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Learning Something New

The love of picturesque walks in nature is shared by my friend Cindy who lives in Wyoming. I went to visit Cindy and her daughter Briana and they introduced me to a new sport: geocaching. Geocaching is a high-tech sport requiring the use of the Internet, and a handheld global positioning system (GPS) device. It often involves long walks, detective work, and a sense of adventure to find a hidden container known as the cache. I enjoy adventures; they add spice to everyday life. So, with this sense of adventure, my friends take me on several geocaching hunts. In doing so we embark on several hikes in the Wyoming wilderness finding that the true reward in geocaching is enjoying the walk and discovering scenic places while finding a secret container.

The Appeal of Geocaching

The desire to track and find the hidden cache is appealing challenge; like a treasure hunt and I am hooked. Since then I have found hidden caches in Wyoming, Minnesota and Wisconsin. I have now added the states of Washington and South Dakota to my list of geocache finds. These Cache containers can be hidden in easy to access locations requiring short walks and little effort while others are hidden in remote places requiring long hikes and an adventurous spirit. These latter are my favorites as I take time to enjoy the journey and the hunt.

A Light-Hearted Adventure

In Wisconsin I go geocaching with my niece, Amber, sharing adventures in tracking down the hidden containers. Amber has sharp eyes that will pierce through the darkest, shadowy places finding the elusive containers.  We discover our first cache on geocaching.com entitled “Trout Haven”. I record the location coordinates in my GPS and we follow its direction to a little-known wilderness area containing a small creek flowing beneath an old, dilapidated bridge, long grass, and trees. When we arrive, we spot two other people there and assume they are fisherman.

Next day we return when no one is around. My GPS indicates the cache is near a certain large tree. I circle the tree plunging unknowingly into a deep, soggy, marsh where thick, tall grass blades surround me like a small forest of young saplings and I am soaked to my ankles. Caches are often hidden so they are protected from nature’s elements. Knowing this, I climb back to dry ground focusing on a different side of the tree.  I and Amber search in crevices and hollowed out areas. I look closer at the base of the tree noticing something hidden under a loose slab of tree bark. Peering closer, I spy a camouflaged peanut butter jar; we find the cache. We discover later that the “fishermen’ had been geocache seekers also and we still laugh about this.

A Wintry Hunt

Amber and I reference the geocaching.com site again embarking on another hunt in a park for a cache known as “Broken and Twisted”. A wintry chill fills the clear, blue sky and the snow is deep. I park my car where it will not get stuck resulting in a longer walk to the cache. We follow the direction my GPS indicates forging a new path through the heavy blanket of gleaming white snow and into the quiet woods where dark trees, motionless as statues, stand stripped of their leafy crowns. The snow makes the trek difficult but we will not give up. We trudge further into the woods finding ourselves underneath a large, arching, twisted branch.

My GPS reads, “00.00” feet meaning we are near the elusive cache Amber’s piercing eyes are at work as she searches upward into the dangling, broken tree limb, “I see it” and promptly reaches for a small object lodged high in the tree branch (this time a black 35 mm film container). Then I realize I had forgotten a pen as this cylinder container is too small to have one but it does have a small log for recording our visit. My niece is not happy with me. Oops.

Nature’s Unseen Choir

I engage in plenty of geocache hunts where I am unsuccessful in finding the hidden container; I revisit the same places to try again and I know the extra walking is good exercise for me. One place I return to find hidden caches is a wilderness area near my home in Minnesota; eventually, I find the caches. For each visit I endure at least 30 to 40 minutes of fast-paced walking beneath a long canopy of green foliage circumventing a quiet lake. I see red-winged blackbirds fluttering and swooping between the trees while ducks float in the lapping water. Sounds of singing birds fill the air. In the evening frogs and crickets announce their presence with their chorus of croaks and chirps escalating to an incredible ear-splitting crescendo; I marvel at the melody of this unseen choir.

Geocaching has Interesting History

Geocaching is a new sport gaining popularity and is now in its 15th year.  According to a “History of Geocaching” website, geocaching began in the year 2000 with a single hidden container near Portland, Oregon and one posting on the web; then new containers have been hidden in California, Kansas, and Illinois. The next secret container resides hidden in faraway Australia and from there it branches worldwide. This new game is based on using the global navigational system developed by the US Dept. of Defense using orbiting satellites.

Getting Started in Geocaching

Geocache sites are registered at geocaching.com and other websites. A geocache seeker must register and log on the website to access the most current information about hidden cache sites. This is important because geocache sites are sometimes temporarily disabled or permanently removed. For each hidden cache, the seeker obtains the longitude and latitude coordinates inputting them into his GPS device.  Handheld GPS devices can be purchased at department stores, sporting goods store, and online. I had purchased mine from Amazon.com.

Geocaching Mishaps

As a geocache seeker, I recommend double checking the coordinates to ascertain they have been entered correctly into the GPS. The geocache seeker will have an inaccurate reading if off by one digit resulting in failure to locate the hidden cache. I realize this mistake once when I find myself standing on the banks of the Minnesota River with my GPS indicating for me to continue trekking deep into the flowing current. Later I check my GPS entry against the website confirming an error.

Being Prepared for the Adventure

The hidden cache is a container usually full of trinkets, log book, and a writing utensil; some caches are too small to contain trinkets or a pen. The cache containers range in different shapes and sizes.  A good idea is maintaining a small geocaching backpack or bag (I use a slightly oversized camera bag) with supplies including pen or pencil, tablet to write down extra clues from the website entry, trinkets, camera, and extra batteries for the GPS.  Wearing hiking shoes and other appropriate apparel is wise along with having a cell phone. As in any sport, being safe and prepared enhances the geocaching adventure.

Finding the Cache

When a cache is found the geocache seeker records his registered geocache name and date in the log book as proof he has found the cache. He also has an option to make a trade with the selection of trinkets in the cache.  The basic rule is to trade fairly or trade up.  If a geocache seeker selects a trinket then he also adds a trinket of equal or higher value. In this manner, there is always a small “treasure” to be found by the next geocache seeker.  Back at home, the geocache seeker logs back onto the geocaching website recording his progress and adding notes about his geocaching adventure. His entry becomes available for others to read.

A Breath-Taking View and Nourishment for the Soul

Several summers ago, I had returned to Wyoming to revisit my friends and we embark on several geocache hunts. One memorable experience involves climbing a small mountain to its peak and finding an old fire lookout station. This climb is a workout in maneuvering uphill over rocky and treacherous terrain and I realize that my Wyoming friends are in better physical shape than I. Even so, I am elated to be with them and eager to reach the top.

With joy and a sense of accomplishment, I made it to the peak with my friends. After viewing the old lookout station we search for the cache by checking for crevices in nearby rocks, looking under loose stones, and around trees. Cindy finds the cache and we all enjoy the scenery; a breathtaking, high-altitude, panoramic view of the hunter-green, forested valleys below and the distant, tree-topped mountains surrounding us. With longing, I gaze around letting the scene nourish my soul. This is the joy and the adventure of geocaching. I enjoy more scenic walks and discover new places in nature which I would never have known if I did not participate in the fun and the adventure of geocaching.

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Writing 101 Day 3: Hunting for a Hidden Treasure

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One day, I and a friend went on a

Wild journey; a new adventure.

We hoped to find a geocache

Container, a well hidden treasure.

The dirt road we traveled on was

So rugged and so very rough

That like sizzling popcorn, we

Were jostled and tossed.

For we had traversed far into the

Thick woods; a deep mountain forest

Where the tall, green needled

Pines sturdily towered over us.

And along the windy and increasingly

Treacherous dirt road,

My friend and I continued on as

We determinedly drove.

With each bump and turn, I tumbled

And jumbled in my truck seat;

Never, ever had I journeyed on

A rougher, obstacle-strewn street.

Gravel, rocks, boulders, and

Gouges in the road galore all

Took their toll making my body sore.

I bounced so high that on the

Ceiling, I hit my head.

Now, how I wish I

Could just go back to bed.

Thankfully, our tree branch and

Bush battered vehicle did not break

But oh wow, what a way to

Get a throbbing headache.

And as we still jarringly tumbled along,

I felt compelled to finally ask,

“Are we really doing all

This just for a geocache?”

The dirt road before us continued

To sharply narrow and bend

As we wondered if we’d

Really find the end.

But we did come to a halt

And to quietly rest

Upon a grassy hillside;

A gentle crest.

Then by foot we continued

To journey along the way

Hoping that our gps will

Not lead us astray.

So we then arrived deeper

In the mountain forest green

And found ourselves surrounded

By an unusual rock formation.

The boulders loomed above us

And with perfect swirls etched in deep

While encircled by the forest trees.

It seemed as if God had reached

Down to carve a perfect design

In this cluster of white rocks mostly

Hidden from man and time.

It was a hidden place of beauty

Which most people will never see

Unless they are as adventurous

As my dear friend and me.

And wouldn’t you know as we hunted

And searched among the rocks and boulders,

We completed our adventurous task: we

Found the geocache, the hidden container.

But honestly as I and my dear friend have

Embarked on many of these geocaching adventures,

We’ve learned to cherish the forest, the wildlife, and

All of nature for that is the true hidden treasure.

Writing 101 Day 2: Oh the Things I do Enjoy

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Waking up in the morning

To find a sun-filled day

And wondering what beauty

God will show me along the way.

Strolling in the quiet forest

Or along a flowing stream;

Hearing twittering birdsong

And feeling the gentle breeze.

Walking along a quiet path

and seeing new flowers blooming;

my favorite daisies to find

are the slender black-eyed Susans.

Traveling in the autumn and

Also in the late spring;

To see the altering landscape

During the changing seasons.

Stopping to rest and to think

At a tranquil and quiet place;

Spending some moments in prayer

And staying near to God in enduring faith.

Journeying through the day

From early morning to late night

And knowing that Jesus stays with me;

Always in my heart and at my side.

Hearing the phone ring and

And talking to family or a friend.

Although I am a quiet person,

I often don’t want the call to end.

Visiting family or close friends

When I have that chance to go

Sometimes I cannot travel far

Because of weather and especially snow.

Resting in bed, writing, or

Reading a new novel;

Sometimes science fiction

And then a good mystery to follow.

Laying quietly in bed at the

End of a long working day

Remembering Jesus stays near

And promises to forever stay.