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Sunday, December 3, 2023

                           Peace on Earth    

    With war waging in many parts of our world, I wanted to share this poem by Helen Steiner Rice.   She understood that the peace Jesus gives us is not peace from war or hatred but an inner peace no one can take from Christians.  We need to realize the peace Christ gives us in today's world.

                           Peace on Earth
Bless us, Lord,
This Christmas
With quietness of mind-
Teach us to be patient
And always to be kind.
Show us that in quietness
We can feel your presence near,
Filling us with joy and peace
Throughout the coming year.    

Sunday, November 12, 2023

November/ Thanksgiving

I've researched and found most country, religion, and culture has a time to express gratefulness.

We have one day to recognize in our land as a day of thanks. Some folks use this time to thank the Sovereign Lord for his blessings. They gather around a table with family and friends, pray a prayer of thanksgiving, and then feast on their favorite foods. 

Other people do not recognize any blessings or give thanks to God but do enjoy time with family and friends and favorite meals.

Last year, I blogged about the Puritans, the Native Americans, the food they ate, how it was prepared, and even the quaint way the pilgrims spoke.

Today, some people are having difficulty finding things to be thankful for. Innocent lives lost in wars, freedom and democracy put into jeopardy, refugees without homes, food, and other things we take for granted, and the homeless, the abused, cancer, other life-threatening illnesses, and grief over loved ones lost to accidents, diseases or violence, and mental illness inundate the news.


my blog will remind us of our blessings if we take the time to shut out the negative and think of the positives around us. 
Let's start with 

                Blessings of Friends 

                                          The Gift of Friendship by Helen Steiner Rice

  Friendship is a priceless Gift.

That cannot be brought or sold,
But its value is far greater
than a mountain made of gold-
For gold is cold and lifeless,
it can neither see nor hear,
And in the time of trouble
it is powerless to cheer-
It has no ears to listen,
no heart to understand,
It cannot bring you comfort
or reach out a helping hand-
So when you ask God for a Gift,
be thankful if He sends
Not diamonds, pearls or riches,
but the love of real true friends.

                                                                   Blessings of a New Day

                                      A Daily Miracle

The supply of time is a daily miracle. You wake up in the morning, and lo! Your purse is magnificently filled with twenty-four hours of the remanufactured tissue of the universe of life. It is yours! The most precious of your possessions. 
By Arnold Bennett

                                         At Dawning
I hear a lark at dawning:
The day in music starts,
While roses fair are blossoming
In the gardens of our hearts.
There's magic in its music,
A thrill in every note...
I hear a lark at dawning
And love flows from its throat.


There are so many problems in our lives and in the world that we have little control over. Sad, helpless feelings overwhelm us at times. However, there is the blessing of people who care. People who help with humanitarian relief, help refugees, look for abusive situations for people and animals and rescue them, scientists working on cures, and neighbors helping neighbors. These people are a blessing to us as well as they do what we cannot.  Maybe all we can do is give a little of the financial resources we have been blessed with to help others continue their missions of love. We have been blessed with more than we need, a blessing from our Sovereign Lord.


We can all smile, whether we can give financially or volunteer to help. It is a blessing for me to see smiles at others. In offering a smile, I feel God is using me as a blessing to others.

True story. I didn't have enough money for lunch when I was going to college, but I had just enough for bus fare. The first day I got on the bus, the driver didn't look at me or say anything. His behavior was the same with others getting on his bus. The only time he said anything was to say, "Move back. Go back in the bus." His voice sounded cross.
The next day, when I got on, I made it a point to smile and say, "Good morning." No response from him. When I left the bus, I said, "Thank you."
I kept this up, and in a couple weeks, he started to look at me, and when I smiled and said, "Good Morning." He mumbled, "Morning."
I always smiled and said, "Thank you," when I got off. There were times when I stepped off the bus,  I smiled and said, "Thank you." and added, "That was a very smooth ride."
In a few weeks, he greeted me with a smile and said, "Good morning," or some other greeting, and he didn't do it with just me. He had smiles for all who entered, and he would say, "Please step back to the rear of the bus. Please step back."
Sometimes, when a woman with a baby stroller tried to get on, he would go down the steps and help her. When she said, Thank you." He would respond politely. Smiles worked. 

I'll share some lines from a poem on smiles. The author is unknown.

Your beautiful smile makes one's life more beautiful.
Your beautiful smile is a precious ornament God has given you.
Your smile is a ray of sunshine that brightens the day for those who see it.  


Those of us who have pets, from fish, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, cats, dogs, birds. or any other creatures are blessed. We are needed to give a good life to our dependent little ones.

Illian was born in Korea and was headed to a dog meat slaughterhouse when he was rescued by the International Humane Society and sent to the U.S. He was adopted and later broke his leg, which did not heal correctly. His family moved and could not take him with them, so they sent him back to the Golden Valley, Mn. Humane Society, where they had to amputate his right front leg. I asked God to help me find a dog to adopt, and Illian was the one. He is a wonderful friend and a great companion, and I am blessed to have him. And I think I am God's blessing to him.

Dogs, Cats, and other Animals want loving homes. They are a blessing to us, and we are a blessing to them. 

There are many more things we can be thankful for; we just need to stop, shut out the negatives, and concentrate on the blessings.  

Whether you believe in God or not, you can be thankful. I believe in God, and all I have and experienced is from God, and I thank Him big time for His blessings.

                      God Bless You All on Thanksgiving and Every Day.


Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween Poems


                                                            Halloween Poems

Poems are often scary for Halloween, but some folks enjoy a chuckle or two. Here are a couple.

(Remember, all poems are best read out loud. These two are no exception.)

                                     Colonel Fazackerley

                                                        by Charles Causley

Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast

Bought an old castle complete with a ghost,

But someone or other forgot to declare

To Colonel Fazack that the specter was there.

On the very first evening, while waiting to dine,

The Colonel was taking a fine sherry wine,

When the ghost, with a furious flash and a flare,

Shot out of the chimney and shivered, "Beware!"

Colonel Fazackerley put down his glass

And said, "My dear fellow, that's really first class!

I just can't conceive how you do it at all.

I imagine you're going to a Fancy Dress Ball?"

At this, the dread ghost gave a withering cry.

Said the Colonel (his monocle firm in his eye),

"Now, just how you do it, I wish I could think.

Do sit down and tell me, and please have a drink."

The ghost in his phosphorous cloak gave a roar

And floated about between ceiling and floor.

He walked through a wall and returned through a pane

And backed up the chimney and came down again.

Said the Colonel, "With laughter, I'm feeling quite weak!"

(As trickles of merriment ran down his cheek).

"My housewarming party. I hope you won't spurn.

You must say you'll come and give us a turn!"

At this, the poor specter- quite out of his wits-

Proceeded to shake himself almost to bits.

He rattled his chains, and he clattered his bones

And he filled the whole castle with mumbles and moans.

but Colonel Fazackerley, just as before,

He was simply delighted and called out, "Encore!"

At which the ghost vanished, his efforts in vain,

And never was seen at the castle again.

"Oh dear, what a pity!" said Colonel Fazack.

"I don't know his name, so I can't call him back."

And then, with a smile that was hard to define,

Colonel Fazackerley went in to dine.

I included the following poem, which has an elf, part of Halloween lore.


                             The Elf and the Dormouse

                                                  by Oliver Herford

Under a toadstool

Crept a wee Elf,

Out of the rain

To shelter himself.

Under the toadstool,

Sound asleep,

Sat a big Dormouse

All in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf,

Frightened, and yet

Fearing to fly away

Lest he get wet.

To the next shelter-

Maybe a mile!

Sudden the wee Elf

Smiled a wee smile,

Tugged till the toadstool

Toppled in two.

Holding it over him

Gaily he flew.

Soon, he was safe home

Dry as could be.

Soon woke the Dormouse-

"Good gracious me!"

Where is my toadstool?"

Loud he lamented.

__And that's how umbrellas

First were invented.

In a National Geographic article, William Shakespeare wrote about witches in Macbeth as  King James I of England believed in witches and witchcraft. The King wrote Daemonologie in 1597 and presided over the persecution of witches in Scotland.

I hope you enjoyed my blogs on Halloween. I will close by posting my favorite poem by Harry Behn.


Tonight is the night

When dead leaves fly

Like witches on switches

Across the sky,

When Elf and sprite

Flit through the night

On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night.

When leaves make a sound

Like a gnome in his home

Under the ground,

When spooks and trolls

Creep out of holes

Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night

When pumpkins stare

Through sheaves and leaves


Where ghouls and ghost

And goblin host

Dance round their queen.

It's Hallowe'en.

I'm glad it is dead leaves that fly like witches and make a sound like a gnome, and it is the pumpkins who stare.

In my mind, it's great that "real" witches, ghouls, and ghosts don't exist. Still, I wish you all a Happy Halloween! 


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ghost Story

                                                  True Ghost Story

First, a little history of this cemetery in Minneapolis to put the story in context. 

Minneapolis's first cemetery was established in 1857. The Maple Hill Cemetery had five thousand graves by the end of thirty years. It was located at Broadway and Fillmore. The graveyard was not cared for, the paperwork was shoddy, and some graves were only two feet deep. After a storm, some caskets could be seen. The people in the area complained of the health hazard, and efforts began to move the graves. But lack of funds halted the removal, so graves and markers were left.

In 1908, Minneapolis Park Board decided to acquire the property and make it into a children's park.

By 1916, the children's park was opened at one end of the land. But the cemetery section was still a mess.

Thirty men from the neighborhood went under cover of darkness and hitched up three teams of horses to clear the land of all the debris. They dumped the headstones and markers in a ravine.

Eight of the thirty men were implicated in the "vandalism." Two of the eight were charged but acquitted at the trial.

The Park Board decided they needed to do something, so they had the land cleaned up, and a skating rink, a warming house, and horseshoe pits were added. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts used the park and also a hockey team. In 1948, the park was renamed Beltrami Park.

Two small gravestones and a monument to forty-six Civil War veterans who were once buried there are still on the northwest side. 

                                              Now, On To The Ghost of Maple Hill Cemetery.

                                                             (Before it became Beltrami Park.)

Ida Olson slipped her arm through Ole Johnson's arm as they walked on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. Despite the blackness of night surrounding them, they could see the smile on each other's faces.

Ole asked, "Will you go to the movies with me next Saturday night?"

Ida opened her lips to speak as she looked at Ole when she caught a movement in the cemetery they were walking past from the corner of her eyes. "What is that?" She pointed to a white shape that rose up from the ground.

"Run!" yelled Ole. "A ghost." His long legs went at full speed up the street.

Ida froze for a moment before she began running and screaming. She saw a man walking further up the street past the cemetery and ran toward him, shrieking, "Help! Help!"

"Calm down. What's the matter?"

Ida gasped and shook and could not speak coherently.

"My name is John Adams. I work at the Columbia Heights mills. Let's go into this drugstore, and you can tell me what has happened." He led her into the nearby lighted warm store with other customers.

"Please, everyone, listen to me," said Ia frantically. "There is a ghost in the cemetery. I saw it. It chased me. A ghost!"

One customer said, "I think she is a bit looney."

"I think she has had too much to drink, " said another. The customer stepped over to her and smelled her breath. "Nope. Don't smell any booze."

"Believe me. I saw a white figure rise from the graves. It had horns and a long white beard." After describing the ghost, Ida became hysterical. 

Ole Johnson came into the drugstore. "Ida, are you all right? I've been looking for you."

"You ran off and left me. I'm never going to the movies with you."

"After I saw the ghost, I ran toward it to see what it was, but it disappeared. I thought you were right behind me. Believe me. I would never leave you alone."

"I don't believe you."

John Adams spoke up, "Mister, what's your name, and did you see this ghost she is raving about?"

"My name is Ole Johnson, and yes, I did see the ghost with my own eyes."

"I'm going to the cemetery to look for this ghost. Anyone want to come with me?" asked John Adams.

Several men from the drugstore, John, Ida, and Ole, walked to the cemetery. In the pitch darkness, they entered the graveyard carefully so they would not trip on gravestones. 

Ida stopped. "This is where the ghost rose up."

The men could see the crushed dead leaves and the dried grass, indicating that a body had indeed lain there. 

They whispered to each other and stayed together in small groups. After an extended search where nothing was found, they headed back to Central Avenue.

A gasp of horror from Ole Johnson as he sank to the ground caught everyone's attention.

A few yards away and hardly visible in the blackness, a white figure with horns and a long white beard loomed up from the ground. It made no sound.

Silence gripped everyone as they stared.

A group member drew his gun from his pants belt and said, "Speak, or I'll shoot."

The figure remained silent and did not move.

"Speak up, or I'll shoot."

The horned white shape moved a trifle and then broke the fearful black silence with "Ba-a-a-h!" It moved toward the men. "Ba-a-a-h," issued forth from a huge white goat with beautiful horns and long gray whiskers as it approached the men and began nosing around for food.

Tension broke like a dam, and laughter split the air until everyone had tears streaming down their faces. 

Ole Johnson was nowhere to be seen after the 'ghost' had been spotted, and Ida was walked home by the brave-hearted men.

It was learned later that the goat's owner had pastured it in the graveyard for the summer and had not yet come to claim it.

This true story is taken from the book Minnesota Mysteries by Ben Welter. The story was published in the Minneapolis Tribune on November 6, 1899

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

What about that black cat?

                                         What About That Black Cat?

A witch can have familiars, and cats are one of them. All the familiars have magic powers.

It may have started in Egypt, where they were first tamed to keep the grain storehouses free of mice. They soon worshiped a cat-head goddess named Pasht. They carved cat statues and made furniture and jewelry shaped like cats.

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the goddess Hecate ruled over witches, wizards, and ghosts. The priestess was a cat they thought was once a woman.

Freya was a Norse goddess of beauty, love, marriage, and of the dead. After warriors were killed in battle, she was allowed to claim the souls of half of the slain by gathering them in a chariot drawn by cats. 

The familiar cats in days of yore could be any color, but as time passed, it was decided the cats were black because, in the shadowy night, all cats were black. The cats were feared because they crept; their yellow eyes looked sinister, and they could see at night while humans couldn't.

Some people believed a witch could become a cat. 

Some sayings developed, such as the following. Being honest as a cat when the cream is out of reach. Never let a cat into the same room with a corpse. It might be a demon and turn the dead soul into a vampire. A cat that sits with its back to the fire is raising a storm.  

Cats could be a good omen, and these sayings developed: If a cat rubs against you, expect good luck. If it yawns, an opportunity awaits. A ship with a cat on board is never wrecked, for the cat acts as a countercharm.


Owls can be a familiar to the witches.

In ancient Rome, owls were thought to bring evil, while in Greece, the owl was a familiar of the Creek goddess of wisdom and, therefore, was sacred.

The Screech owls nest in hollow trees during the day and only come out at night and make a weird, trembling call and hollow whistle, frightening travelers.

I have never read this tale by the Brothers Grimm, and you may not have read it either, so I will post part of it here.

                                                                Jorinda and Joringel

Jorinda is the sister of Joringel, who is a boy. They walked too close to a witch's castle. An owl circles overhead, screeching. The boy, Joringel, is struck motionless and speechless. His sister Jorinda turns into a nightingale. The owl disappears into a thicket, and a bent old woman emerges. When she takes the nightingale away in a basket, the boy, Joringel, realizes that the old woman is a witch. To read the whole story, go to Grimm's Fairy Tales online. 

Still, some people believe the owl's screech means death or disaster.


Bats are creatures of the night, which in itself makes them scary. Their heads are oddly shaped. Some bats's heads are shaped like tiny bulldogs. Other bats's heads are like miniature bears with long, pointed teeth. Their bodies can be two inches long, but their wingspan can be over one foot. They live in scary places such as caves, abandoned homes, empty barns, and deep in a forest. By day, they hang upside down with their wings wrapped around them like a witch's cloak. They fly quickly in the deepest dark of night. To the ancients, that meant they were evil.


During the witch hunts in Europe, most people lived on farms. There were toads in their gardens, under their porches, in the fields, and along the road.

Rocks were thrown at the toads as they were thought to be poisonous. If a dog or a human caught a toad, the catcher soon regretted it. Their eyes, nose, and mouth would burn or itch.

And a toad can change its size from minor to larger by absorbing water through its skin.

William Shakespeare wrote:

"Round about the cauldron go;

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad that under the cold stone,

Days and nights hast thirty-one

Swelter's venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!"

Much of the above information is from Edna Barth's book Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts.

My next blog will be about sighting a "ghost" in the Maple Hill Cemetery in northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Halloween History.


 Halloween History

Way back in time, people lived in dread of devils, cackling witches, goblins, and demons. 

More than two thousand years ago, the Celtic people in France and the British Isles feared October 31 more than any other day. It was the eve of the Festival of Samhain, Lord of the Dead, and evil spirits were everywhere. The Celtic priests known as Druids cast spells and made charms and predictions. October 31 was the Day of the Dead, but also a joyous time because of the harvest festival, and it was the death of the old year and the beginning of the new year. It was a day to pay honor to the sun god Baal.

A century before Christ, the Romans conquered Britain and Gaul ( the original name of France.). They had a festival in late October for the dead, and in November, they honored Pomona, the goddess of orchards. After a while, the festivals merged with the Druid Samhain. Soon, there were Druid converts in Rome. This frightened the emperors of Rome, and they banned the Druid religion in all areas they had control. Many Druids were killed, but some went into hiding. The Celtics continued in the Druid belief. The Celtic Druids built bonfires to welcome the spirits.

In the fourth century after Christ, Emperor Constantine said the Christian religion was lawful. The Christian priests tried to stamp out anything pagan. The Druids would not give up their faith, so the Christian Church gave the celebrations new meanings and names.

The fires built on October 31 for the Lord of the Dead now would protect the people from the Devil.

In the seventh century, the church started All Saints Day as a celebration in May, but by 900, the date was changed to November 1. The festival for the Lord of the Dead became a festival of Christian dead.

The Scotch, Irish, and English Celtics continued to expect ghosts on October 31. The name of All Saints' Day soon became All Hallows Day, and October 31 was All Hallows' Even, which was shortened to Halloween.

November 2 was All Souls' Day to honor all the dead in the tenth century.

But as the days were close, they merged.

All Souls' Day is a religious day for some people in France, southern Europe, and Latin America.

Some Christians in the United States observe All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, or both. They are religious days.

Halloween came to America in the nineteenth century by the Scotch and Irish. So, the witches, cats, devils, demons, goblins, and ghouls arrived.

                     The Halloween Witch

Witch is a Saxon word wica, meaning wise one. Witchcraft began with magic. It was to understand the forces of nature and control it.

To control, a spell would be cast. If the witch painted a picture of something happening, it would happen. So, if the witch or sorcerer painted rain, it would rain.

If the witch wanted to kill an enemy, she or he would steal a hank of hair or a bit of fingernail. When the person found out, he would be sick with fear and could die, therefore scared to death.  When I served in New Guinea, this was a real possibility. Many people believed in evil spirits inhabiting everything around them, such as trees, rocks, etc. Sometimes, the witch would burn or stick pins into a tiny model of the person. One man would not eat because he believed an evil spirit had been cast on him. He died. King Saul of the Bible consulted the Witch of Endor. The witch said he would die in the coming battle, and he did. The power of the mind and one's belief. 

To keep the magic hidden from others, it became occult.

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII said witches were the Devil's agents.

In the nineteenth century, most people no longer believed in witches. But there were still some believers. The Scottish farmers carried blazing torches from west to east across their fields. Farmers of the Pennsylvania Dutch painted hex signs on their barns to ward off witches.  (I'm noticing very lovely designs on buildings today in small towns and fields.)When cracking a boiled egg, believers would crack it at the bottom, or a witch could use the shell as a boat. ( I guess the witches were tiny.).

Next blog, I will carry on with the Halloween theme. What about the cat, bat, and owls as witch familiars? 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Garlic and Grapes

                       Garlic and Grapes 

Aha! That wonderful (and powerful) garlic.

 In Numbers 11:5, the people Moses led into the wilderness said, "We remember the fish we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic."
In the days of Moses, garlic was used as an anticoagulant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor agent. The ancient Talmud says that certain foods are to be seasoned with garlic.

Some folks think garlic gave strength to the pyramid builders and courage to the Roman legions. In the Old Testament times, it was used as a remedy for colds, sore throats, and coughs. It was eaten raw or made into syrup.  The garlic cloves were boiled in water for half a day to make the syrup.

When the colonists came to America, they found the Native Americans used garlic to cure many illnesses.

It was used in both World Wars as an antiseptic.

It is believed that half a raw clove of garlic will help protect against blood clots, and two raw garlic cloves a day will lower cholesterol.

When garlic is chewed, chopped, or crushed, it helps as an antibiotic. Some scientists believe it is better than vitamin E to slow aging.

It can be used to fight the mucus from common colds and help flush it out of the body.

Tip: After eating fresh garlic, munch on a sprig or two of parsley. Its chlorophyll reduces the garlic aroma. 
Tip: To get the odor off your hands, rub with salt and lemon juice, then rinse.


In the days of the Old Testament, grapes were eaten fresh, dried, or as raisins. Grapes were made into juice, wine, and vinegar and pressed into cakes. 

Grapes contain boron, which helps ward off osteoporosis. Boron is sold as a dietary supplement in health food stores.

A cup of raw grapes contains 58 calories, 0.3 grams of fat, zero cholesterol, vitamins A, B, and C, and the minerals boron, calcium, potassium, and zinc.
These vitamins and minerals fight tooth decay and stop viruses, which some researchers believe can prevent cancer.

When grape wine is mixed with myrrh, it forms an anesthetic.

It seems it is not the alcohol in grape wine that is beneficial, but the fermentation process releases polyphenols in the grapes that attack bacteria, just as penicillin does. Researchers found that wine diluted with water in a 1-4 ratio has the same potency after 15 minutes as five units of penicillin per milliliter.

A glass of red wine a day helps stimulate the appetite.

Some doctors think it helps people with heart disease. My grandmother's doctor said she should drink one glass of red wine a day for her heart. 

Information on garlic and grapes is from Healing Foods from the Bible by Bernard Ward, published by Glove Digests in 1998.

                           Peace on Earth         With war waging in many parts of our world, I wanted to share this poem by Helen Steiner R...