Long ago in the second month of summer
Your mother’s birth pains came upon her!
Out you came, “Snap, Crackle, Pop!”
The doctor lunged and you were caught!
Fireworks boomed and the Stars and Stripes waved, a nation and you were born – Hooray!
This is the birth month of Uncle Sam! So all you Yankee Doodles can party and jam!
We celebrate our country and we celebrate you, Light up the candles and a sparkler or two!
You might be a dare-devil like Tom Cruise, doing “Missions Impossible” that make the news. Or break traditions like Princess Di, Who mothered her sons to build family ties. The Nazis expected Carl Lewis to beat, But he took home the Gold, the fastest on his feet! All these July babies stood their ground, proving that freedom should still be around.
With a July birthday, you try to stay cool, play games inside or Marco Polo in the pool. If you canoe down the river with all your friends, Sunscreen and bug spray you must re-apply again. The sun will burn you and the skeeters drain you dry, But life if good in the month of July.
But drink lots of water or its a bummer, because July is in the “dog days of summer”. The fight is on to conserve our water, the grass turns to hay as the sun gets hotter. With poolside parties and home made lemonade, We’ll toast our buns or lounge in the shade.
Summer nights and lightning bugs, starry skies and family hugs. Crickets sing and bull frogs sound, A porch swing squeaks as we share another round.
The lazy days of summer are here, We love the long days and the easy warm cheer. So Happy birthday to you this month of summer haze, May you feel loved and special all your days.
By R.S. McDonald
May Day! May Day!
Your Mother ran,
“This Baby’s dropping,
Catch it if you can!”
You’re a May child born in the month of bloom!
The roses, the lilies, the bluebonnets too.
Lambs in the field, foals in the stall,
Everywhere you look new life for all.
Surrounded by mothers of every sort,
A Mother’s Day queen with you in their court!
But don’t forget that Mexico beat France!
So on Cinco de Mayo we can party and dance.
The May Pole is old so Cinco Mayo will do,
To drink an extra beer or a margarita or two.
Maybe your birthday is at the races,
With horses or cars keeping their paces.
A Derby hat and roses won, the Indy 500, or a marathon.
A May Fest is also a popular place.
With art galore and food to taste.
But watch the weather and head for home,
When the sky starts throwing giant hailstones!
Races and festivals sure have their fun,
but you share your birthday with three BIG GUNS!
John Wayne, the Duke, he was True Grit
And Calamity Jane could shoot and not miss,
Just these two could make you talk,
But number three is Wild Bill Hickok!
Taurus the Bull runs the month half in,
With the month ending in Gemini twins.
But before its done we must remember well,
The Veterans who died and their stories to tell.
So happy birthday to you born in month number five,
We love to celebrate this month of life!
Races and festivals are fun its true,
But the best party of all is to celebrate you!
By R.S. McDonald
A windfall is an unexpected blessing for those not familiar with the term. I’ve had some in my life, but last summer’s windfall takes the prize! I was reminded of this story tonight as I watched our barn swallows zooming around catching their dinner, because surprisingly they play a minor but significant role in this true tale.
It was Wednesday after the July 4th weekend of 2016, and I was leaving to pick up my daughter from work at the local beach. Casually I noticed some black ominous clouds to the north and that the wind was picking up. “Well, I can’t leave Isabelle stranded, storm or no storm.” I thought to myself. When I hit the beach, people were running for cover and boaters were frantic to get to shore. Just as I parked, it hit! Straight line winds of 60 to 70mph pummeled my little Prius while I hunkered down saying a prayer for safety. In 10 minutes it was over. Isabelle and I drove home and as we approached our property, she gasped, “Look! Our boathouse is flattened!”
And it was! It was very old and half sunk on one side and we were in fact in the process of ordering a new one built, but the process had been delayed. Now there it was with all four poles pulled out of its holdings, its roof flattened and pushed up to the shoreline! Frantically I called my husband. “David! We had a storm and our boathouse is flat!”
“Yes! Praise God!” he yelled and laughed with glee. “Its insured for $35,000!” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We truly needed a new boathouse and God just took $35,000 off the tab!
But wait, what about our jetskis and small boat? Well, normally they are in the boat house, but not this time because we didn’t have time to put them all up before the work week started after our huge July 4th party. All but one were sitting on the shoreline with no damage.
Upon further inspection, we realized the house was fine, and our trees were fine. Just our boathouse had been completely totaled! Well David went into the wreck to see about the last jetski. He found it at the tallest place in the wreckage with the roof two inches above its handlebars with no damage!
In all this greatness, I still felt a twinge of sadness for our faithful barn swallows that nest every year in our boathouse and raise 2 broods every summer. Where were they? Where were their fledglings? Where was their nest? It didn’t look promising because their nest was attached to the roof beams. But David gamely went in to find out. He emerged from the wreckage, “Its still there! The nest is sitting unharmed about two feet above the water!” In a few days I could see them flying in and out of the wreckage. They stayed until it was time to leave for winter. God is a good Father and if nothing else, he knew I cared about our swallows.
So its almost a year later and our shiny new boathouse is complete. I would casually wonder if our traumatized birds would return or move on, but about 4 weeks ago, they returned and then just sat around in the new boathouse as if reassessing the possibilities. “Where to build?” Finally a decision was made – in the exact same spot as the old nest only its three feet higher because our roof is taller! Funny birds!
This was our prize winning “windfall” at the speed of 70mph. I hope this true tale encourages you and raises your faith in our Good Good Father.
I get asked many times how did I come up with the concept of Raneous, the Winged Horse of Heaven. He has been a long work in progress and as many artists and writers know, creative things sometimes take time.
In my mid twenties I was newly married, newly graduated, and ready to live. I was feeling restless and I said, “God, you know I want to write but I can’t write if I don’t know what to write about!” Immediately, He gave me this picture of a white winged horse rearing up and standing on a cloud! Wow! I was so excited so I started thinking about this horse. “What’s his name?” This was probably a day or two later. “Ray-nee-us” dropped into my mind. I played around with the spelling and came up with “Raneous”.
So on a legal pad and with pencil I began formulating the story of this horse from heaven and who he was. Raneous was a project I worked on in my spare time and that wasn’t much but I kept writing. And technology got easier and so eventually his story got transferred to computer, but I still wrote on paper. More time goes by and at this point I had my own retail business and I kept the story on my computer with back up floppy disks (yes floppy). My business was robbed one morning and my computer stolen! To my relief most of my important information was backed up on the disks, so Raneous was safe.
Then in 2002 we moved and in the shuffle and confusion, my disks were lost and I knew I would have to start over with Raneous. So he got shoved to the very back burner of my priorities until one day in 2011, my husband came into our bedroom holding a manila file folder. “Look, I found your story!”
To my amazement, he was holding a file containing the two legal pads of Raneous’ story. I had nearly forgotten about him at this point. Again to my amazement, I realized all of it was there including some notes I had been working on.
You see, not only was the story lost, but I had hit a wall with the ending because I know the ending. But I couldn’t get the ending to work with the story I had. About a month later, I was asking God, about priorities in my life and he heavily impressed on me, “Finish your story! I gave you this story and you need to finish it!” So more out of obedience than anything, I went back to it and my frustration with the end. “I can’t get the end, God!” I said in frustration. Then he showed me that this is not the end. This is one book and every book is a level and there are seven. “Raneous” really means “Reign-in-us” and he represents us as we learn to partner with God in our lives.
“Ooooh! Well that makes it a whole lot easier!” So I literally finished the ending of Fallen in rough draft in thirty minutes.
I tell you this story because I think Christians think that their dreams are all for “right now” or maybe its their only purpose. But timing is everything. In the meantime, don’t give up. Keep moving forward as God opens the doors. Pay attention to what you are passionate about. Patience is becoming a lost art, but stick with your dream and keep talking to God about it. He knows where you’re going and where and when you’re supposed to get there.
Meanwhile, I have finished Taken, book three, of Raneous’ story, and so I continue this journey of adventure with God, Raneous and all his friends!
Yesterday morning I was watering my butterfly garden and feeling a little glum because I had just realized a very large praying mantis had eaten a large Monarch caterpillar in my garden. (sigh) Such is nature, right? A cold, cruel world where things die so that other things can live.
In contrast to this mood, I glanced up at a large tree I was standing under and was surprised and delighted to see a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly newly emerged from its chrysalis and drying its wings. It was beautiful, perfect and alive. I knew the caterpillar had come from my garden which made it extra special.
As I stood admiring the new butterfly several things presented themselves to me and reminded me of our journey with God.
First: The chrysalis was attached to the side of this large gray tree trunk and so perfectly camouflaged that I kept losing sight of it. (He who lives in the secret place of the Most High shall live in the shadow of the Almighty Psm 91: 1)
Second: There was at least 30 feet of open grass that the used-to-be-caterpillar had crawled to get to the tree. Against all odds it had not been eaten by the many ravenous crows and birds we have. (Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil Ps 23:4)
Third: The trunk of the tree was gray and these caterpillars are bright green. Again, it had not been sighted by predators in spite of the fact that it stuck out like a sore thumb. (He will command His angels concerning you and guard you in all your ways. Ps 91)
Fourth: No more than an inch away from the now empty chrysalis was a virtual freeway of fire ants running up and down the tree. How they missed the caterpillar or chrysalis is beyond me. They will happily chew through and devour the pupa on the inside. (You will not fear the terror of night, nor the deadly pestilence that stalks in the darkness. Ps 91:5-6)
Now, against all odds, the butterfly had run the gauntlet, so to speak, its destiny and purpose completed. It was now ready and equipped to fly on the wings of the wind! Many don’t make it, but the Lord preserves the destiny of those who make Him their dwelling place. Don’t concentrate on the fearful things around you: focus on Him and He will lead you through!
The month of February is almost over but I do like this month of Love. For me, its a birthday month so of course it makes me remember how old I am getting or how young I still am whichever way I want to look at it. For most though, its the month that we celebrate those whom we love in our lives.
I have to be honest and say that Valentines was more of a day of fun and parties in grade school, and a day of stress in middle and high school. This was especially true if I didn’t have a certified boyfriend, and most of the time I didn’t. I think every girl can identify with watching their friend get the cute stuffed animal from their boyfriend and you don’t get anything because you happen to not be in a relationship right then. This brings a whole new level to the teen feelings of loneliness and feeling passed by. But of course, I had crushes. Back then we usually bought a box of small valentines to give to classmates and passed them out. In sixth grade, I remember agonizing over which valentine to give to my semi-secret crush. You know, I didn’t want to come on too strong because then he might figure out how I REALLY felt about him! Like those pre-packaged valentines with Mickey and Minnie could actually convey my deepest feelings, and that would be awkward in the true sixth grade sense of the word!
On the other hand, if you did have a boyfriend, you were stressing out on what to get him on a babysitter’s budget! I remember in high school spending over 45 minutes reading every card in Hallmark trying to find the “perfect” card for the said boyfriend. I probably should have gone back to the boxed Valentines! I think I finally ended up making the guy one. I also ended up getting grounded because I was so late getting home (I used the family car to go to the card shop) that my parents were late for an appointment. All this for a guy and his card!
In the last several years, I have stalked the aisles of Walmart and malls with my girls looking for the elusive “perfect”, age appropriate, in-the-budget gift for a boyfriend. I feel their pain, so of course I try to help. Call it female bonding time. Maybe teen boys experience this but I’m guessing not to the level as the girls.
Luckily, my family has always made me feel loved on Valentine’s Day with cards and small gifts. And now I love to give and get cards from family members in the mail and from my immediate family. There is that warm feeling of reassurance that I matter to a few people in the world; that they hold me in a special place in their hearts whether as a sister, a mom, a wife or a daughter. Feeling loved ranks very high in the human experience and we all look for it in different ways.
What’s great is that much of the time showing love is very cost effective. Homemade cards with a little art work or even a handwritten note left on the table in the morning go a long way. Texts or Facebook posts work too. We all feel so “busy” these days so when a person gives you time it means a lot. This does NOT mean I don’t appreciate the big spend! There is that huge message that goes with it that says, “You are worth it!”
To take that to the next level though, is figuring out how a person best receives love. It would be very easy to spend a lot of money on something a person doesn’t want. There are whole books and seminars on finding your love language. A person who goes to the trouble to find out what a person truly sees as important and then gives it to them is a special kind of person!
It could be quality time, or it could be doing a project for them, or it could be small gifts or words of affirmation. It could even be toilet papering their house (this would probably be limited to the tweens and teens)! I noticed that a chocolate rose scored big with a certain teen I know as well.
One final thought: It is my private opinion that God likes Valentines Day because it is a celebration of love and of course God IS Love! The pastor of my church likes to say, “God SOOOOOOO loved the world that He gave his only begotten son!” I have also heard it said that we are living out the greatest love story ever told as God continues to demonstrate to us His love in ways that are meaningful to us individually as well as to the rest of the world. The lengths that God has gone to in order to prove His love for us is staggering. Song of Solomon says we have ravished his heart! Those are strong words even for a romance; yet he is referring to us, the Bride of Christ, the Apple of His eye! If that doesn’t make you feel all glowey and loved inside then you probably haven’t had time to process that concept.
So with that thought percolating in your mind and spirit, enjoy the rest of this month of love and those whom you love knowing that the Source of all Love is at the center of it all.
The beautiful holiday season is over, though the tree is still up, and a big “blue norther” is shaking my windows as I attempt to type with gloves on. Resolutions are made but not really acted upon yet. This time of year is always a little blue – back to work, back to school, back to schedules without all the pretty lights. I know most people can relate at some level, so I decided to blog about it.
How do I battle the post Christmas blues?
1. I drink lots of hot fluid! Teas are great because many of them are actually good for you and can help you stay well. They are low in calories and since I ate too many of those in December I’m trying to cut back!
2. I get in touch with what God is saying about 2015. I can really get excited about new beginnings. Those people who have a prophetic gift are usually who I check in with. My pastor, Keith Craft, is saying its a year of Empowerment. National prophet, Kim Clement, is saying its a year of Freedom for God’s people-particularly in the area of dept. Chuck Pierce is also speaking of Freedom from old ways. All of this helps me focus on the hope of my future and it motivates me to seek the presence of God for myself to attempt to apply these big ideas to my little life. These big concepts actually motivate me and urge me forward into this new year in spite of the dropping thermometer and the primal urge to store up fat for the winter and sleep til Spring.
3. Yes, I am getting my behind back to the gym because though I want to hibernate, it’s exercise that fights the doldrums and keeps me in my clothes size! I feel better both mentally and physically.
4. I actually can look out my window and see all the gray clouds and brown dead grass and feel as grey as they look, but if I am smart, I will look for the beauty, and I always find it. For instance, I was driving home this morning and saw about 15 starling black birds bathing in a puddle. I looked at the temperature in my car, 34 degrees. Its barely above freezing and they are happily splashing away in the water like its no big deal! I think, “Wow God! How do they do that?” And it makes me smile; I can always find God in nature because even with just a little observation you see His Glory. Find a positive to battle the negative. In fact, the whole “Be Grateful” thing is actually very true because its very hard to be grateful and depressed at the same time. I have tested it and it works.
5. If you can, go play in the snow! Its hard to find in August and it brings back cool memories when you feel your brain may be bordering heat stroke later this year.
So, that’s my two cents worth on beating the Winter Blues. May you stay warm and cozy during this next cold snap!
This last weekend, my husband and I were able to go see the The Gala of Royal Horses at the American Airlines Center. Talk about some beautiful horses! These were the horses rode and used by the royalty of the world. In the days before cars, these breeds were the Cadillacs and Mercedes of their day.
The Fresians of the Netherlands, the Andalusians from Spain, the Lusitano from Portugal and of course the spirited Arabian were all in the show. I have always envisioned Raneous, my flying horse, as an Andalusian so its always so fun to see them in real life! Of course, they had them doing tricks like bowing to the crowd and lying down with their rider, but the best part was the military segment where they demonstrated some of the moves these giant horse were trained to perform during a battle. These horses could inflict some serious damage with their hooves! Unfortunately, modern weapons have rendered them outdated… or maybe they are truly fortunate since now they don’t have to be brutally killed in battle!
Hello! I’m a writer of Christian Fantasy and I’m currently working on a series called The Raneous Chronicles. Book Two, “Winged Horse of Heaven – Quest” has just been published on Amazon.com. I am one of those brave souls who is launching into self-publishing. I have had a problem trying to describe my series but this will help: Mix “Black Beauty”, Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” together and it gives you an idea of what “The Raneous Chronicles” are like! Just type in Winged Horse of Heaven and both books will come up!