Friday, July 30, 2010

Melting Moments

mounds of blueberry fluff
float in a strawberry sky
become one and
spill over
into swirling tongues
that lick the horizon
melting moments.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So What Is Real?

Are you for real? Can online relationships be real?

Today Karin Fendick and I swap posts in the spirit of "friendship and community" as part of a High Calling Blogs community writing project called You Are Real. I don't remember now how I "met" Karin, but I love to rest at bit a her place where she shares her heart and some beautiful photos.

So today I welcome Karin (His FireFly). I love what she says about what can happen when God is involved in online relationships.

Oh, and I'm posting today on Real Stuff, Real People over on her blog, Flickers of a Firefly. Check it out!

And click over to HCB and check out the links to some other stories.

And now . . . here's Karin.

Road Home

So What Is Real?

I live on twenty beautiful acres of Manitoba prairie. I can walk through the grass and feel it tickling my toes. That grass is real.

I can hear how solidly the wooden door of our house shuts us safely inside against a summer storm or bitter winter wind. The house and the shelter it provides are real. The brittle cold that wind brings is very real.

My husband’s arms wrap around me, a warm and tangible love that is real indeed.

I have family and friends and fellowship with a body of believers called “church.” Relationships are sometimes deep but can often be shallow as well. We don’t always present our true selves or reach into the core of others. Yes, they are real flesh, but perhaps not quite genuine.

Words on a screen can be another way to hide. Life on the internet might be a chance to present yourself as someone you are not; after all, no one can truly see you, only the words you leave behind. There’s lots of falsehood and deception. Games are played. Lives can be shattered.

But God! When God has His hand involved, all things are possible.

God chose to use the World Wide Web to lead me on a journey of re-creation.The woman who first began pounding the keyboard was brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus via an internet contact. Jesus is very real.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

I was introduced to the workings and gifts of the Holy Spirit while chatting online.Yes indeed, the Holy Spirit is real, alive and active.

The Lord introduced the man who He had chosen to be my husband, you guessed it, through the internet. Our love, our life and our marriage are solid, real and rooted in Him.

As writers, we can use words to describe, create, build up, connect, encourage and support. People in cyber space may not be able to give me a pat on the back with their hand in a way I can feel with my physical body, but they have touched my heart and spirit in ways often more profound.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

By participating in the High Calling Blogs Network, I am beginning to build relationships with others writing for God’s glory. What we share with our words is accomplishing much in the building of His Kingdom. While I may never meet my friend Sandra Heska King face to face (though wouldn’t it be an awesome time, Sandy?) we can connect spirit to spirit with God at the centre of our fellowship. I would call that as real as the mosquitoes buzzing around my hands as I type. As real as the sun warming the grass that needs mowing. As real as the One Who holds us all in His hand.


Karin (HisFireFly) is a sold out disciple of Jesus Christ learning more each day what it means to abide in Him. She desires to walk in radical obedience to His voice and prays that her life brings glory to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Karin and her beloved husband live in rural Manitoba with their dog Faith and various barn cats on 20 beautiful acres the Lord has provided for them.

Stop by for a visit at Flickers of a Faithful FireFly, Karin’s personal blog about Jesus, love, prayer, and life in rural Canada

Copyright © 2010 by Karin Fendick

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letting Go Of Ego

Embraced by self I dissect every failure.
Gripped by pride I focus on every flaw.
Oppressed by fear I stumble with every step.

So . . .

I am
letting go of ego
and clinging to the great

NOTE: This post is part of the One Word Blog Carnival on EGO. For other thoughts, visit One Word at a Time.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

There are Rules? A Photoplay Prompt

I wondered what those little lines were on the "P" section of the turny thing-a-ma-jig on my camera! I always freaked when I accidentally bumped into those boundaries.

But guess what? They are supposed to help in photo composition using something called the "rule of thirds." This is the kind of thing I learn by being a part of the High Calling Blogs network.

Am I the only one who had (note past tense) no clue?

I snap pictures I like to look at. That stir something inside. Sometimes (okay, often) they're off center, out of focus, blurry, imperfect, and crooked.

Like me.

There are rules?

I don't like breaking rules. But how can I break the rules when I don't even know the rules? How can I stay within boundaries when I don't know what or where they are?

Claire Burge has posted another PhotoPlay challenge over at HCB using the rule of thirds. Or breaking it.

I've seen some of the entries. They're good. Really good.

But I'm stepping out on a limb. Slipping in under the deadline wire. Taking courage to share. In order to learn. Sharing pictures (I mean photos) that seem to follow the rule--or break it. Taken before I knew there was a rule.

So these may not follow the rule. They may not even break the rule. Because I didn't know there was a rule. But I like them. Imperfect as they are.

As God loves me, imperfect as I am.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Towla Worm and Chill Bumps

I've said it before.

The Bible often leaves me breathless.

Gasping for air.

With major chill bumps.

Like now.

I'm more than halfway through Stone Crossings by L.L. Barkat, but I often go back to re-read what came before. And I'm hung up on the crimson (scarlet) worm, the towla worm, that she describes.

"How then can a man be righteous before God? 
How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
how much less man, who is but a maggot--
a son of man, who is only a worm!"
Job 25:4-6 (NIV)

Maggot--rimmah. A sign of decay. Of death.

Worm--towla. A sign of sacrifice. Of life.

The crimson "worm" is really an insect, a grub. About the size of a little berry. When the time is ripe, the wingless female climbs up a tree and attaches herself to it. There she lays her eggs, births a family. She excretes a crimson juice that covers her "children" and leaves a red stain on the wood. She dies so they can live.

"But I am a worm and not a man,
Scorned by men and despised by the people."
Psalm 22:6 (NIV)


Back in the day, folks harvested the bodies and crushed them to make a scarlet dye. L.L. puts it this way:

"Such colorful artistry was not lost on the ancients. They gathered this scarlet creature and crushed her to produce a crimson dye. And crimson, right up there with blue and purple, was used to dye wildly expensive clothing and tapestries. So it seems that Jesus, crushed in shame, offers to cover my nakedness--not only with the linen of his life, but also with an exotic color reserved for the rich and royal.

Just picturing this wine-crimson grace, I feel my soul tingle, as if it's growing wings. And the shame of my past, though real, cannot keep me earthbound." 

This reminds me again of the Hebrew word tiqvah, translated "hope" in Ruth 1:12 when Naomi says, "If I had hope . . . "

Tiqvah is first used in Joshua 2:18 and translated "cord." David's other great-great grandmother, Rahab, the Gentile harlot, tied a cord in her window, and her family was saved when the walls of Jericho fell.

A scarlet cord. Likely stained with the crushed body of a towla worm.

Sacrifice. Hope.

The Bible gives me chill bumps.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Endless Energy-Boundless Strength

I’m not saying my husband is cheap

Even though he wears a special "uniform" for summer yard work. He cuts off the sleeves of his white dress shirts and completes the ensemble with faded, tattered, and holey jean cutoffs, with strings hanging to his knees--and has no problem wearing the outfit to town. Sometimes I can grab him by the back of the collar on his way out the door. I wish I'd thought to take a picture. (Putting that on my to-do list.)

I’m not saying my husband is cheap.

Even though we’d been married for 25 years before the green mohair sweater that his high school girlfriend gave him finally unraveled--with a little help from someone whose identity shall remain unnamed.

I’m not saying my husband is cheap.

Even though he has the reputation of digging “perfectly good” food out of the trash at work--and if something in our refrigerator looks okay and smells okay, it must be okay to eat. Never mind if it’s been in there for a month. And forget about expiration dates.

I’m not saying my husband is cheap.

Even though he will clean up any leftover food on another's plate. Not just family. Our children’s friends learned that they could just push their half-empty plates toward him.

I’m not saying my husband is cheap.

Even though our kids still convulse with laughter when they recall my chasing him out of the house and through the yard to grab his white T-shirt enough times to finally shred it into an unwearable rag.

It should come as no surprise then that his favorite season is summer.

And that one of his favorite parts of summer is Alpenfest.

And one of his favorite parts (if not the favorite part) of Alpenfest is to stand in line for an hour to gobble up any free (or reduced-with-a-button) food that’s offered--doughnuts, chicken, soup, pancakes, banana splits, etc. And sneak back for seconds if he can.

He also enjoys the opportunity to take me out to a free concert. I can't remember the last time he took me to one where he actually had to purchase a ticket. Come to think of it, our first date was to see the Philadelphia Orchestra in Ann Arbor, and I had to go purchase the tickets. I don’t remember his giving me money or paying me back. Hmm.

Luckily, there are many good family-friendly fun options during Alpenfest, like the Young Americans who perform outside at high noon. I'm always amazed by their endless energy and their boundless strength--no matter how hot the summer sun. They bring their enthusiasm off the stage and right into the crowd.

A free concert. But not cheap. 

I want their enthusiasm. To live out a life of faith that isn't cheap. A life that's free. But costly.

And I want to live it out with extravagance. With endless energy and boundless strength.

And summertime excitement.

“That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:15-19 (Message)

NOTE: This post is part of the One Word Blog Carnival on SUMMER. For other thoughts, visit One Word at a Time.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blog Birthday Reflections

I've blogged now for a whole year.

Translation: I've kept up with one thing for a whole year.

Yep. July 12. This blog's birthday.

I planned to repost some earlier writings this week to celebrate.

But nah.

Maybe I'll tweet some links to some of my favorites or top hits.


Maybe not.

I wrote some good stuff during this year--but also some bad stuff. Some fun stuff, some serious stuff. Some prose, some poetry. Tried to dig a little. Make myself bleed. Looked for my voice. Fought for my voice. Tried to not try so hard.

Tried to discipline myself to write. And found I need to discipline myself not to write.

Learned not to be so hard on myself for being a woman of many interests. Because really, maybe, hopefully that makes me more interesting as a writer.

For I am she who seeks and shares.

And writing is my passion. I know this now.

Over speaking. Over harping. Over singing. The music that begs to come out is not notes, but words. And words that sing better on the page than through the air.

At least I think so.

I started a writing blog about six months ago.

So now I have two blogs.

Some folks even follow them. And some folks take time to comment.

I developed cyber friendships as close, I believe, as any face-to-face. And all over the world. Heart-to-heart friendships. Other writers. Other seekers.

And quite possibly some of those are people I might not have given more than a head nod to had I not gotten to know them through their blogs.

I've participated in blog carnivals (such as One Word at a Time and Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays) and group writing projects through High Calling Blogs. I've even been asked to guest blog.

I've found joy in poetry, dabbled with my camera, and maybe found even a call to fiction--all of which surprised me.

I've hooked up with ChristianWriters and joined ACFW.

And acted like I have a clue.

A comment Kathy Richards (katdish) made on Amy Sorrell's blog encouraged and inspired me. She said:

"@noveldoctor (Stephen Parolini) tweeted, 'If you want to write what you believe, write nonfiction. If you want to tell the truth, write fiction.'"

"There's so much truth to that statement," she said. "A work of fiction sometimes gives us a level of protection and allows us to tell a greater truth we may not be ready to write as nonfiction. The best writers are brave souls indeed."

I want to be a brave soul.

Thanks for celebrating with me. 

Party on!

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Mike was a police officer. Joanne was a nurse.

They birthed children, fostered children, adopted children.

Special needs.

Mike and Joanne played soccer in college. Their kids played practically from the time they could walk.

Mike and Joanne coached.

They lived life on the run. Church activity to church activity. Doctor to doctor. Game to game. Goal to goal.

Then Ben began to run. Away from the family. Into trouble. Back home to steal money or a car.

To run some more. Away from the law.

A black blanket billowed over Mike. He burrowed under. Grateful for the insulation.

One day Mike and Joanne argued. Over some small something.

Joanne ran to the store.

And Mike ran.

Joanne found him an hour later. Behind the house. With his gun next to him.

And the weight of his pain fell on her.

And she ran, pounded pavement. And the pounds melted. And the weight fell away, leaving a bony frame that enclosed an empty shell of life once known.

She clawed her way from under the darkness.

But still she runs.

Without a goal.

A young man once ran. To chase the ways of the world. To find his fortune.

And his father waited. Watched. Until he saw him in the distance. Coming home.

And he ran to him.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." Philippians 3:13-14 (Message)

Where are you running today?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Have These Scars

I have this scar.

It's fully four inches long and runs from the center of my palm up the inside of my wrist, skimming the vein. Pooh, a part Siamese from years past, sat on the kitchen counter, focused on something invisible in the sink. So focused that when I picked him up, he went beserk. And I dripped blood everywhere.

I remember.

I have this scar.

An inch long below my left knee and a couple of puncture wounds. From surgery due to a severed ACL--from a Cocoa Beach wave that knocked me off balance while I splashed in the shallows. We had just returned from a cruise and still had a couple days of vacation in Florida before we drove back to Michigan. Our car broke down on the way home and left us stranded in Kentucky for two extra days.

I remember.

I have these scars.

On my belly. From an ovarian cyst. From reconstructive tubal surgery in our quest for a baby. From a tubal pregnancy. From which I came close to not surviving. Two of the scars run perpendicular to each other and remind me of a cross. I used to be able to see it better when I looked down. I also have scars from a gallbladder removal that remind me of the Grand Hotel and hiking around Mackinac Island and concern about every twinge of discomfort and my daughter's phone call telling me I had an appointment with a surgeon.

I remember.

I have these scars.

Still. All over. Especially on my legs. From liquid nitrogen spray. Memories of several trips to the dermatologist last year that left me looking like I had chicken pox. Skin lesions zapped, leaving--well, skin lesions. And the hole in my hairline from the excision of a blue nevus, and then a deeper excision.

I remember.

I have these scars.

On my heart. From hurts endured. From hurts inflicted. That I allowed to be inflicted. Through decisions I made. Out of love and desperation. Yet out of stupidity. That caused life-changing scars for someone I love. Toughened scars. But tender still. Very tender. Memories I want to forget. Wipe away. But I can't. And I weep sometimes in the night. And in the day.

I remember.

But I don't want to.

He has these scars.

On His back and on His head and in His wrists and in His feet and in His side. Inflicted from stupidity. And from greed. And from jealousy. And from hate. Yet self-inflicted. Out of love. Because He was desperate. For me.

He remembers.


"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." Isaiah 49:15a

Where are your scars?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Monday, July 5, 2010

15 Lessons From My Garden

 First harvest

1. Weeds multiply. Fast.

2. A pruned plant is a healthy plant.

3. Overgrowth hides new fruit and drags it down.

4. It's hard to support an overgrown plant without breaking it.

5. Mosquitoes thrive in overgrowth.

6. There's a snake in my garden.

7. Don't plant seeds called "flower mix."

8. Only a handful of seeds may sprout from a bazillion sowed.

9.  I'm not a very good seed person.

10. I do better with established plants.

11. It's easier to pull a few weeds (even relaxing) than to wield a hoe.

12. You may need to uproot something good to make room for something better.

13. One needs to periodically step back and survey the whole scene.

14. Hard work yields great satisfaction.

15. Your weeding may disturb and confuse others.

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Paper Bag, a Window, and a Tongue Blade

Note: This somewhat silly post is in response to a group writing project on "Bosses" over at the High Calling Blogs.

I worked in a small OB/GYN practice early in my nursing career.  I "managed" a satellite office, where I "bossed" only myself for four days, and worked at the main office on Fridays.

I met my husband, who was a drug salesman at the time, there--but that's another story already told in another post. I remember Dr. J muttering about the cost of a single place setting of the dishes I'd registered for, but he bought us two sets.

I also remember how the doctors provided free care for the wives of interns and residents--until their husbands went on strike. Come to think of it, I don't remember any female interns or residents coming in for care.

We had an hour and a half for lunch, and sometimes the doctors would give us nurses the key card to their "club," and we'd go out and splurge on a big meal. They were generous, although I do remember Dr. J often talked (worried) about funding his retirement, and he must have been in his 30s at the time.

Anyway, I worked there for 2-1/2 years, and a lot of memories are hazy now. But I remember three clearly.

One day I heard frantic pounding on the private entrance to the satellite office. When I opened the door, I met the eyes of the frightened secretary down the hall. I ran with her to discover one of her coworkers twitching on the floor. I freaked and raced back to our office.

"Dr. B! Dr. B! Come quick! Hurry!"

He was in an exam room with a patient at the time, so he told her he'd be right back, left her up in the stirrups, and sauntered--yes, sauntered--down the hall. He seldom got excited about anything. As in nonchalant.

I listened for the ambulance, but he returned in a matter of minutes.

"What was wrong with her? What'd you do?"

"Oh, she just hyperventilated. I gave her a paper bag."

And he strolled back into the exam room leaving me to calm myself down.

Lessons: Don't worry. Stay calm. Breathe. But carry a paper bag.

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." 
Philippians 4:6-7 (Message)

A disheveled lady burst into the waiting room just as we prepared to lock up for lunch. She jabbered about stuff that didn't make much sense to me. I was new, but the others had seen her before. I don't remember much about that "conversation" or what was wrong or even the final outcome. What I do remember is Dr. B hovering outside her range of vision, not wanting to get involved, with his eye on the exit. He had to walk right past her to get out. So he did the next best thing. He climbed out the workroom window, directly into the parking lot, and left us to deal with her.

Lessons: Avoid futile arguments. Have an escape plan. Look for a window of opportunity.

"But refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strive and breed quarrels."
2 Timothy 2:23 (Amplified)

Dr. J loved cheesecake. I mean loved it! So one morning I brought one in. Lovingly baked in a store-bought graham cracker crust. Topped with cherries. I set it on the counter in the workroom. The same place where we processed fingerstick blood and urine samples. He grabbed for it. The top fell off. And the whole thing landed upside down on the floor. He stared at it for a moment and then reached for a tongue blade, squatted down, and ate.

Lessons: Don't waste anything. Keep your floors clean. Carry a big spoon.

"Jesus answered, "You've come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs--and for free. Don't waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what He does are guaranteed by the Father to last."
John 6:26-27 (Message)

And here's some extra reading for your Friday Enjoyment. The origin of graham crackers.

Do you have any memorable boss or work experiences?

Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King
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