Friday, January 27, 2017

Basics - Bible



Yesterday, I wrote about Belief. That's the basis of your entire life, if you think about it. Your beliefs frame who you are in this world.

Many wise people have said that it isn't what life tosses at you that counts - it's how you respond. Your response is in your control, not life.

How does this relate to the Bible?

If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible out loud.

I believe the Bible is the Word of God. Period. That's not really open for debate. Sorry. Disagree if you like, and I'll respect your disagreement. I spent half a century thinking about the Bible and how it relates to my life and that is my conclusion.

Interestingly, the Bible is more than that for me. It is full of Good Stuff, and that's the kind of book that makes me come back again and again.

Wondering how to behave in life? Romans 12. 

I have a story for that. (Sorry, kids.) Years ago an old woman was asked how she managed to be so full of grace during all the long years of her life. She replied that she memorized Romans 12 as a child and followed what it said.

People noticed.

"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment." Good advice.

"Love must be sincere." You'd think that was obvious, but many people don't follow that one.

"Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." I know many people who cling to what is bad, and I'm sure you do, too.

"Live in harmony with one another." In this time of political strife in our country, that's a good bit of advice.

I didn't even scratch the surface. The Bible has good advice in it for any situation.

More than that, it also has good news. If your heart is heavy, if you feel alone and that nobody loves you or cares about you - God does. If you feel distant from everyone and there is nobody listening - God listens.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7, NIV) Personally, I experienced that peace a few times in my life.

Not always, but the few times I felt that peace wash over me, I knew I wasn't alone.

Neither are you.

Let me tell you the greatest news of all.

"Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so." Yeah, that one is a child's song - but it comes from the Bible.

God loves you, no matter where you are in your life. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Basics - Belief




We each choose what to believe in our lives. We should choose wisely.


In the movie Secondhand Lions (2003), Hub says "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

I've always like that line, and if I had a better memory, I'd memorize it.

The online dictionary (dictionary.com) defines the verb to believe as "to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so."

We don't argue over facts.

We shouldn't argue beliefs.

In my past I was gently mocked for my Christian beliefs. The very smart people I was with equated Christianity with a lack of intelligence.

Let me be clear; I struggled for decades with Christian beliefs and Biblical truth. Sometimes, in the dark of my mind I still struggle. Ultimately it ends the sames way.

I believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit - and that the three distinct persons are one. I believe that God became man to die for my sins. I believe that He is a personal God - and I have personal experience that backs that belief.

I think there is enough circumstantial evidence to warrant my belief, but others might decide differently. That's okay.

My belief gets me through some tough times, with a knowledge that the God of the Universe loves me and watches over me.

I'm accountable, and that makes me a better person.

That's enough for me. 

In the end, that should be enough for anyone else as well.

God bless you, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Prayer, simply



We pray for all sorts of reasons. Whether we like it or not, most of us learned to pray in school, usually just before a test.

So, yeah, there will always be prayer in school.

Luke notes in Chapter 11, verse 1 that "One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'" Jesus taught the disciples what is commonly called The Lord's prayer. Luke continues:

He said to them, “When you pray, say:“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

That's the NIV version and isn't exactly as I learned it in Sunday School a half century ago, but let's note a few things.

We praise God and acknowledge His will, yet address Him as His children.

We ask for our needs, not necessarily out wants.

We remember and agree with God that we are part of a community of humanity, and we say that we will extend god-like forgiveness to all those who hurt us.

We ask for help during times of temptation.

That's not hard, and I think Jesus made it simple on purpose. We need simple in our lives, even more so when we approach the God of the Universe.

You can use the acronym PRAY to pray.

Praise God.
Repent of the sins that keep us separate from God.
Ask for our needs
Yield our will to God's will. I always forget what that "Y" stands for.

Keep it simple, my friends.

Pray.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. They kingdom come, they will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from sin. Amen

In case you're curious, this is the first version I learned:
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Yeah, I learned it in English, too, but that one dates me, doesn't it?

God bless you all. Thanks for reading.

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 41

Chapter 41
Jed's eyes opened as they landed at the airfield, the wheels of the small plane bumping as they rolled down the rock-strewn runway. He gasped. He saw a small rabbit at the end of the runway twitch its whiskers. "Hey, Lone Wolf! I can see again." He looked into the distance, grinning. "I mean, like telescopic."
Lone Wolf raised an eyebrow. "Another mystery in a growing list," he muttered. "That's excellent, Jed," he added, "because we're in Vegas."
Sitting in the pilot's seat, Caru brought the plane to a halt near one of the large open hangars at the end of the airfield. "They need to do some maintenance on this runway," he grumbled. "Haven't been here in years." His face brightened. "I might scavenge for new tires and some fuel when we're done taking care of the Doctor."
"I'll help you," said Lone Wolf. "We won't have gone unnoticed, you know. Planes aren't that common anymore."
Caru agreed. "I'm hoping that coming in from the west will help, but I guess we'll find out."
"How you feeling, Jed?" Lone Wolf asked.
"Thirsty. A bit groggy, but pretty good. I'm sorry about passing out on you guys. I don't know what happened. Thanks for letting me sleep," said Jed.
"Not like we had much choice, Jed," said Caru. "Tried to wake you, but you were totally out of it. Shoot, you even missed my rendition of American Pie."
Lone Wolf looked at Jed and made a slight negative motion with his head. Jed smiled. Caru poked a finger into Lone Wolf's chest. "I saw that. Everyone's a critic," he grumbled.
"We have company," said Lone Wolf looking out the window.
Three men and a woman, each wearing a drab brown uniform approached the plane. They all carried thick clubs. Caru and Lone Wolf opened the plane doors and the three of them stepped out on the tarmac, facing the guards.
"Hey, glad to see you folks," said Caru cheerfully. "We brought some trade goods from up North." He looked around the airport, a puzzled look on his face. "Though it doesn't look like you do much trade via air."
The four guards looked at each other. One of the men had a pale scar running from his chin to his left ear. He looked at Caru. "We don't trade unless you get authorization. And we don't authorize unless you're asked to join the trading organization. And we don't ask if we don't know you."
Caru looked at Lone Wolf who shrugged. "Oh," said Jed, a wide smile beaming at the four guards. "I guess we misunderstood Sam when he told us about this place."
"Sam?" Scar-face swore under his breath.
The woman rolled her eyes. "The little pissant is supposed to tell us these things," she muttered.
Jed shrugged. "Yeah, I have to say he didn't seem too…concerned with protocol, let's say…"
One of the guards, a tall man with a patch over his eye, snickered. Scar-face glared at him. He pointed at the plane. "We don't see many planes. Where you from? What are you trading, and for what?"
Lone Wolf, Jed and Caru looked at each other, faces blank.
"Ah, forget it," said Caru as he moved forward, stepping on Scar-face's toes. He grabbed the man's right wrist, twisting with a quick motion. Scarface's yell of pain followed the crack of bone snapping. Caru snatched the club and hit him over the head.
Jed moved toward the tall guard, who attacked him, swinging his club. The woman moved to Jed's left and stepped in to attack Jed also, her club swinging down toward Jed's leg.
Jed stepped under the swinging club of the tall man and punched him in the chest over his heart. Ribs cracked and Jed stepped to the left of the woman, who hadn't adjusted her swing yet. His eyes sparkled as his fist caught her on the side of the head and she toppled to the ground.
The last man slumped on the ground at Lone Wolf's feet. Lone Wolf and Caru stared at Jed, mouths open.
"What?" asked Jed, grinning.
"I could barely see you move, Jed," said Lone Wolf. "You were a blur."
"Yeah, and you weren't even looking at him," said Caru. He whistled. "Kid, you're faster than anyone I ever saw."
Jed suppressed a giggle, frowning at himself. "Everyone was moving so slowly. It was crazy. And those two were Transformed." He pointed at the woman and Scar-face.
Lone Wolf leaned over the woman after checking the three men. "Well, the one with the scar is unconscious. My guy is too." He stood up, a frown on his face. "But Jed…" He pointed at the two people Jed fought. "This guy will die of internal injuries in a few minutes and you crushed her skull like an egg."
Jed looked at his hands, then at the two people on the ground, his face shocked. "That's not possible, Lone Wolf. I didn't hit them that hard."
Caru leaned over the unconscious tall guard. Grabbing his head he twisted it rapidly and they heard his neck break. The man's labored breathing stopped. "You hit them plenty hard, Jed," he said. "You have quite the punch."
Jed stared at his hands as if they belonged to someone else. "I didn't mean to…"
Lone Wolf put his arm around Jed's shoulders. "You've been changed again, Jed. You'll need to develop some control." He looked around the airfield. "We don't have time to address that right now, though. We need to find August."
"And Maddie," Jed added.
Caru looked at Lone Wolf, his hands on his hips. "Can we kill that crazy Doctor this time? Please?"
Lone Wolf agreed. "I think that's where this is heading, Caru." He pointed at the men. "Grab a uniform, guys. I think we found our way in."
Caru opened the cargo door on the rear of his plane. "I see where you're going with this, but I'll do this my own way." He strapped on his combat vest and put on his gloves. Reaching into the plane, he removed his bow and arrows. "We going to the same place as before?" Caru asked Lone Wolf.
"That's the plan," said Lone Wolf. "It's where we need to start, anyway."
"I'll cover the north and stay out of sight." Caru set the alarms on his plane and waited for the others.
Jed tied up the two remaining guards, gags in their mouths. Then he dressed in the uniform that most closely fit him.
"So why do guards wear uniforms?" he asked Lone Wolf.
Lone Wolf shrugged, slipping into one of the other uniforms. "I don't know. I've been around a while, and soldiers and guards always wear some kind of uniform."
"Then it's sort of stupid, isn't it? I mean, here we are with these nice uniforms, courtesy of these gentlemen, and now nobody will look at us twice."
Lone Wolf grinned. "That's the plan."
Jed frowned. "What if there's a password or something?"
"Then the uniforms won't work." Lone Wolf took his bow and arrows from the plane.
"And if they realize we aren't one of them?" Jed asked, following Lone Wolf. Caru followed behind the two of them. Jed realized he heard him humming to himself.
"The uniforms will make them pause." He indicated the two people and two bodies in the hangar. "A pause should be all we need." Lone Wolf, pointed. "We can cut straight through that broken area of fencing," he said. He jogged toward the damaged chain link fence.
"Where are we going?" asked Jed.
"I know where they took August last time. It's not far from here, less than four miles. I have no idea what kind of security the Doctor has now, though." Lone Wolf set off at an easy trot when they got to the roadway. Caru waved and disappeared onto the road a block away.
"How bad was it last time?" Jed easily matched Lone Wolf's pace, not thinking about the speed.
"Security was tight, but the Doctor was overconfident. And we had a good computer guy. Amazing what your Dad could do with a computer." Lone Wolf shook his head, smiling. "We had August out of his cell and on the road before they were aware we had penetrated their building. They were looking for a threat elsewhere." Lone Wolf chuckled. "As I recall, your Dad had Homeland Security and the local police in a shouting match with the small contingent of Marines that guarded the facility."
"I never heard that story," Jed said.
"Those are the highlights. No shots fired, though we were prepared. Your Dad worked hard to avoid conflict with soldiers following orders." Lone Wolf's face became grim. "We don't have any such problem this time. Any guards we encounter are enemy."
Jed nodded. "Any idea what we'll face?"
"No. I'd make a plan, but without information I can't, so simple is better. Find August. Get him out."
"Kill the Doctor," Jed interrupted. "At least, that's Caru's advice."
"We'll see what happens, but I feel that is the result we are moving toward." Lone Wolf looked around. "I suspect Caru will take care of it if he gets a chance."
"We'll get August out. Do you think he'll have Maddie?" Jed sniffed the air. "I smell so many things now. And I hear better. I can hear Caru one street over."
Lone Wolf looked at Jed from the corner of his eye. "Keep track of where he is, if you can."
"Sure, no problem. If I can't hear him, I sometimes smell him."
"Hmmm. Interesting set of new skills you have, Jed. Claire needs to take a look at you when we get back."
"Caru is a great fighter. Does he know about you and August?" Jed asked.
Lone Wolf and Jed continued trotting up the sidewalk, the heat causing sweat to glisten on their faces. "He does. The tribes don't care as much about us as civilized people seem to. They accept it and move on with their lives." He grinned. "Caru is an awesome fighter, though. I've run into naturally gifted people like him occasionally over the centuries, but they are rare. His natural speed is amplified by excellent training. He's one of the most deadly snipers I ever met." Lone Wolf thought a moment. "There were the von Crapp brothers, too, a couple brothers naturally gifted, especially the shorter one, BA. They were adventurers, but that's another story…"
Lone Wolf slowed as Jed put his hand out. They moved into the shadow of a nearby building.
"You are not going to believe this, Lone Wolf." Jed said. Lone Wolf raised an eyebrow as Jed grinned. "I hear Maddie."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't Name it or Claim it, but in a Rap, Re-frame it


A Prayer Rap

Don't Name it
to Claim it
That surely will Profane it

Just Say it
and Pray it
Ask God to let you Portray it

We know this
He shows this
that He is the King of all Justice

God Raised Him
We praise Him
In our Actions display Him

So lift Voices
Make Holy Choices
'cuz by His wounds we are all His

Adore God
Implore God
Throughout the World Restore God

With Holy Hands
In Holy Lands
Listen and Obey God's commands

With Broken Hearts
Unspoken Hearts
We thank You and Love You and put no others Above you

Your Will be Done
Through your Worthy Son
Amen

Monday, January 23, 2017

His Will, His Way



We want God's will, in God's way
In every step, in every day
Yet to know we do not stray
We must engage ourselves to pray



Sometimes we must stand aside and let God work.

"He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'" (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

In our urgency to act, to assist God, we can muddy the waters and interrupt God's work - in ourselves or others.

Other times we must clear the way for God's work.

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12 NIV)

Most people prefer this call to action, yet we mustn't simply charge in and do what we think God's will is. He has a plan, and we must be in the center of it.

To know when to be still, when to act or how to act, we must pray.  "Rejoice always, pray continually" (1 Thess 5:16-17 NIV)

Getting to know God intimately helps us recognize His voice. "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--" (John 10:14 NIV)

Let us pray.

Dear Lord, we praise you in all things, remembering that you are the infinite God of the Universe, the King of all creation, the Author of all good things. You are the Messiah and you love us enough that you died to pay the price for our sins. Thank you. We know we fail. We know we fall. Thank you for picking us up. Thank you for loving us. We're sorry for our sin, and with the help of your Grace will endeavor to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin. We lift our prayers to you and ask You to watch over us and all those we love. We ask for healing, for wisdom, for peace that passes all understanding and we know that You are faithful and never leave us or forsake us. Show us Your Will, and place us in Your Way. Amen

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hardwired to Sin



We're hardwired to sin.

I don't think anyone will argue with that, except that some will say they aren't really sinning. I don't engage in those discussions any more.

There are two outcomes to sin. 

Your heart hardens, and you rationalize your behavior. As that occurs again and again, you no longer recognize your sin. I know; I've been there and God had to break my heart to soften it.

You grieve over your behavior. Perhaps you vow to change. Perhaps the grief slips into depression that you can't seem to ever change your behavior.

The bad news is that you cannot change your sinful actions. The good news is that God can. I've been there, too.

Don't give up on God's forgiveness or His capacity to understand you and love you. Satan has one trick - the infinitely adjustable subtle change from "God says" to "God meant" and Satan will convince you that God can't love a sinner like you.

He does. He loves you so much that He died for you, to pay the price for the sins He already knew you would commit, the failures He knew you'd succumb to.

There are still days at the age of sixty that I curl into a small ball (figuratively) and crawl into God's lap, begging Him to simply hold me and keep me safe for just a while. He never fails me.

He will never fail you, either. 

Run to Him, not from Him. 

Let your heart be broken and not hardened.

God loves you, all the time - even when you fail.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 40

Chapter 40
"I don't know about this." Annie held the five-foot piece of pipe like an attacking snake.
"Those are the best weapons I could manufacture on short notice. A length of pipe makes a good staff." Maddie wrapped tape around the handle of a shorter piece of pipe as she talked.
Annie's face showed horror. "I've never trained with a staff. Tomás didn't allow us weapons, you know."
"Well, he's an idiot. You can do amazing things with a staff, but the simple technique is hit them hard with the end you aren't holding." Maddie smiled. "If they get too close, push them back with it."
"Some of the guards will have guns. They'll have some ammo, but they won't waste it. The Doc always has at least four people guarding the blood wine shipment. It's the Doc's best way of keeping people in line, since he's the one who knows how to create it." Rosa sighed. "It's amazing what addicts will do to get this stuff."
"We'll try to identify the ones with guns first. Anyone here ever use a sling?" asked Maddie. The other women shook their heads. "Okay, I'm pretty good with a sling, but not great. Jed is much better." Maddie looked determined. "We'll have to charge the guards and get their weapons if we can. We have surprise on our side."
Rosa pointed a finger at Maddie. "Surprise might be hard, mija. This shipment is routine for them, but sometimes local addicts try to steal the wine."
Maddie pursed her lips. "So they'll be a little vigilant. Well, we can plan all we want, but at some time you have to roll the dice. We'll have to be fast."
"Kill them?" Annie asked.
"Would they kill you?" Maddie replied. The women hesitated. "Then, yes, if you have to. I don't care." Maddie paused. "I'd rather they didn't report the theft for a long while, too. If you don't kill them, we have to tie them up."
"You're a little bloodthirsty," Annie said.
"No, just focused," Maddie retorted. "Well, maybe. But it's in a good cause." Maddie looked at the women. "You must have something to fight for - someone to fight for. Fight for your children. Fight for the chance to get to know them and watch them grow up."
Annie shivered, looking at the staff. "I still don't think I can do it."
Maddie crossed her arms, looking at Annie. "Then throw rocks at them after we start fighting."
"I can do that." Annie was close to tears.
Rosa spoke up. "I think I have a better idea."
"Let's hear it," said Maddie.
Maddie smiled as Rosa outlined her plan.
Annie laughed. "Now that I can do."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 39

Chapter 39
August rode his cycle to the front of the Bellagio. Sam stepped forward to meet him outside the front doors. "You made good time, August." He looked up and down the street. "You by yourself?"
"You see anyone else, Sam?" asked August. He stood relaxed, facing Sam, his hands at his sides. "I see you have company, though." He nodded at the three guards who stood near Sam.
Sam shrugged. "Expecting you. Been tracking your progress since you entered the city. Nice cycle by the way. What happened to the one we found?" Sam laughed shortly. "Oh, never mind. I forgot. It developed a mechanical problem a few hours from Fort Collins."
August's face clouded. "And you know that how?"
"Because I'm an excellent mechanic and know how to fix things - or break them." Sam grinned widely. "I needed you out of the way to set my plan in motion."
August's mouth set tightly. "Where is Maddie?"
"She's safe, August," Sam answered.
"I want to see her." August made a move forward and the three vampires next to Sam moved forward as well, fierce looks on their faces and clubs held loosely in their hands. August cast them a sharp look.
Sam sighed. "She is safe, August. I never wanted her. I wanted you, and now you're here." He looked at one of the men next to him. "Bill, please go tell Terry he can quit watching Maddie. She's free to go."
Bill nodded and moved down the sidewalk.
"There. You satisfied?" Sam asked. He moved forward and motioned for August to hold out his hands for the handcuffs.
"No, Sam, but I guess I don't have a lot of choice, do I?" The cuffs tightened around his wrists.
"No, you don't," Sam answered, his face darkening. "I have to take you to the Doctor. He wants you bad, August. He's been hunting you for years now."
The four of them headed through the lobby of the Bellagio, August looking out the glass doors as they moved inside. Even he didn't see the figure in the shadows. August smiled to himself.
~
"Maybe you shouldn't have left your two goons upstairs, Sam," August said as the elevator descended.
"I've always liked you, August. This isn't personal." Sam waved the barrel of his pistol. "Besides," he sighed, "that's why I have a gun." The elevator doors opened and August stepped into the barren hallway.
August looked at the doors along the hallway, an involuntary shudder shaking his wide shoulders. "I spent a lot of time in these rooms, Sam," he said. "This isn't a good place."
Sam shrugged, his pistol aimed at August's heart as they continued down the hallway. "Not my problem, August. I'm supposed to deliver you." He motioned toward the far door.
"You don't have to deliver me, Sam. He's a madman, you know."
"Yeah, yeah, everyone knows that." Sam shook his head. "I thought about not turning you in, but he must have guessed I'd betray him, so he took my girl. We talked about leaving." Sam's eyes watched August. "He must have our room bugged, and I should have guessed that. So I turn you in, she goes free." A low growl escaped Sam. "And we're out of Vegas forever."
"I understand, Sam. Good luck on that." August turned the doorknob at the end of the hall. "Yeah, I've been here before," he said. "I never got to open the door myself, though."
August walked in, towering over Gary, who wiped orange powder from his fingers. "This is the guy?" He stood up from the desk. "He's not as big as Lawrence, so I don't know what the fuss is all about." He opened the inside door to the laboratory. "You might as well go in, Sam. He knows you two are here and he's waiting."
"Good day or bad, Gary?" Sam paused before he stepped forward.
"It's a bad day, Sam." Gary lowered his voice. "They've been getting worse, honestly. I don't know how much longer..." Gary coughed. "Never mind." He smiled awkwardly at Sam. "Good luck."
Sam nodded as he pushed August through the doorway, but looked back at Gary before entering. "Too bad about your ice cream warehouse, Gary."
Gary's face grew pale. "What?"
Sam reached to close the door behind him. "Yeah, a couple of the guys mentioned it. They were planning some sort of party."
Sam chuckled as he closed the door on Gary's worried face.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Haggai verse


I'm reading our family Bible - a Catholic Bible of intimidating thickness. I am currently in The Prophecy of Aggeus - better known as Haggai.

Haggai 1:9 struck me this morning.

“You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

The New Testament is more clear in Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

It is a matter of priorities.

Doesn't God's statement in Haggai reflect the common perspective today? We ignore God - we ignore our fellow men and we run off to take care of our own business. The Hebrews did the same, and God acted in response to their selfishness.

As a Christian, I look to God for my guidance, and He is my standard - and my forgiveness for not meeting that standard.

As a human being, my focus should be on others. If our purpose in this world was simply to scramble to the top of the scrap heap and claim the largest pile of garbage, then life is futile. Helping others gives our lives meaning.

The Christmas season is over for now and it is a New Year. Find ways to help others in the weeks and months to come and enrich your own life in the process.

God bless you all in this New Year, and thanks for reading.



PS
I do have one suggestion. If there is a retirement home near you, go and visit the people who live there, maybe during lunch in the cafeteria. Lift their hearts with an unexpected visit. Your heart will feel the difference also.



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hunting August Moon - Chapter 38

Chapter 38
Maddie cinched her wide leather belt a notch tighter as she walked with Rosa and Annie to the front entrance of the hotel. She smiled at the sequins that stretched down the leg of her jeans and shook her blond hair. A good meal, a hot shower and a soft bed for the night made a world of difference. She tugged at the leather straps of her new jacket. "This sure is a lot of leather…," she muttered. "You sure we can't find any other working vehicles?" she asked Rosa.
"The Doc and his goons have the functional vehicles under lock and key, as well as the fuel," Rosa said. "He had years to gather them up and set up his little feudal kingdom."
Annie grinned. "It works, though. I mean, as long as we scavenge enough food to pay his 'tax' he lets us live in the building and leaves us alone."
Rosa's eyes narrowed. "Though people disappear often as well," she said. "The Doctor uses many for his experiments, we think."
"So you're the serfs and he's the master," commented Maddie.
"Not much different than it was before the virus, mija," said Rosa. "We all worked for someone, and got precious little in return."
Maddie agreed. "You're right, of course. The hardest lesson I ever learned was that security is an illusion and my government served itself instead of me."
Annie laughed. "I knew that as a little girl, gringa." She smiled to take the sting away from the words.
"Here goes nothing." Maddie stepped outside the front door and waited for the speaker to issue a challenge. Nothing happened.
Rosa stepped beside Maddie and pressed the small button under the speaker. "Hey, jefe! You there?"
There was no response.
Rosa's eyebrows knit together. "That's a little odd. Usually the doctor is watching someone, unless he needs the manpower."
"Won't they be suspicious of us leaving?" asked Maddie.
Annie reached into her purse, pulled out the lighter and lit a cigarette. "Nope. It takes a lot of work to scavenge the taxes. They let us come and go as we please." She blew the smoke into the air.
"Those will kill you, you know?" Maddie pointed at the cigarette.
Annie drew a lungful of smoke and blew it out. "Not any more, chica. We don't get sick and we don't get diseases." She grinned. "That includes cancer."
Maddie nodded, her mouth forming a small circle. "Oh. I never thought of that."
Annie shook the cigarette package, holding it out to Maddie. "Want one?"
Maddie laughed. "Not a chance, but thanks for the offer."
"So, you are free to go with us, and none will care." Rosa turned to Maddie. "It's your best chance to get a running vehicle, and frankly our best chance to get something that will easily pass through the gates of New Pueblo."
"Okay, then." Maddie looked at Rosa. "The truck is supposed to be ready at three?" Rosa nodded. "Then I guess we leave about two." She smiled at the two women. "We need to prepare."