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ADVENT-URE

“Oh they sailed to Bethlehem
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,
Oh they sailed to Bethlehem
On Christmas Day in the morning”
I Saw Three Ships

“And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” Luke 2:3-5

Although we know ships didn’t actually sail into Bethlehem since it is landlocked, this hymn reminds us of adventure. In this case, an adventure taking Mary and Joseph into Bethlehem. Normally, we see Mary depicted as riding on a donkey, but maybe she was riding a camel (which was nicknamed the “ship of the desert”) Whatever the case may be, Mary was on an adventure that would change her life and the lives of many.

An adventure can be described as an exciting or dangerous experience. The adventure started with Mary and Joseph, then continued with the magi who came to worship Baby Jesus. Later, we have the disciples who dropped their fishing poles and left other jobs to follow Jesus. Everyone who follows Jesus sets forth on the ultimate adventure. It was an exciting one, but a dangerous one for the first followers. However, the result was worth it – eternal life.

When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we choose to travel on this adventure through this life on earth with Him. We aren’t promised a perfect, smooth or easy journey, but we know it will be exciting. There will be moments of calmness like floating on peaceful waters. There will be others that will be treacherous like the roaring seas. However, at the finish line, we too are given the ultimate prize – eternal life.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” 1 Peter 1:8

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for walking with me through all of my circumstances. Thank You for the calm waters and for being with me during life’s storms and roaring seas. May I always remain joyful in the promises You have made. Amen.

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THE CHRIST THORN

The holly bears a prickle,
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
The holly bears a bark,
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all. – The Holly and the Ivy

“And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe.” John 19:2

Holly and Ivy have been decorations for the Christmas season for decades. The Holly’s green leaves with red berries make beautiful accents. There is a powerful symbolism written in each leaf and berry. The Ivy, in its own right, displays strength in what its vine is rooted in. This Christmas carol displays the power of what we may consider as simple accents in its lyrics.

The edges of Holly are prickly and as “sharp as any thorn”. These represent the crown of thorns placed upon Christ’s head by the soldiers. In fact, in Scandinavia and Germany, Holly is known as The Christ Thorn. The red berries symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ shed for our sins upon the cross.

Ivy is a vine. Vines need something to cling to if they are going to grow. Ivy can be a reminder for us to cling to God’s Word, to His promises, to the hope which is found in Christ and Christ alone. We must “let our roots grow up in him” (Colossians 2:7).

It is my prayer for all of us to look at these decorations differently this Christmas and for every Christmas to come. They are more than just Holly and Ivy. When you look at them, stop and rejoice in celebrating His birth. Rejoice in Him who came to take away the sins of the world.

He bore the crown of thorns for us. He shed his blood for us. He came to redeem us all.

Rejoice!

“ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7

PRAYER

Great and merciful Lord, thank you for sending your only Son to us. Thank you for the undeserving redemption You have given us all through the cross. Amen.

© Raelyn Pracht 2022

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Friday’s First: First paragraph of the fourth chapter

Follow me on Facebook at Raelyn Pracht, Author and join an incredible, supportive community!

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December 2 Devotional: UNCHANGING

“O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!”
-O Christmas Tree

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Jesus was the promise of the new covenant – a promise from a true and faithful God. He came into this world to transform it. Not only did He change history forever, but He continues to change each and every person who chooses to follow Him.Yet, despite of all the changing He does in the world and in us, He remains the same. All the promises of who He is are perfect and everlasting. However, His followers are made new. They will be given a new heart and a steadfast spirit while He works His will in each of their lives.

Our transformation is a continuous journey, full of repentance and thanksgiving. He makes us new as He remains unvarying, just as it says in Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He uses transformation, but uses it on us. His promises abide and He remains faithful to each of them. The changes that take place within us serve as a reminder that no matter where we are at, we can never be too far from His reach. Jesus will find us and continue to change us from the inside out.

God is true and faithful, Our trust in Him should be firm and unchanging. He has richly decorated our lives through Him.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

PRAYER

Lord, You are faithful and unchanging. Your promises are ones we can hold to as You transform us, giving us new hearts and changing us into who You want and need us to be. Amen.

Raelyn Pracht 2022

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A THRILL OF HOPE – December 1

“O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn”

– O Holy Night

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:19-21

Webster’s Dictionary defines thrill as the experience of a sudden sharp feeling of excitement. 

The French poet Placide Cappeau chose this perfect word to describe the hope felt by the people on the night of Jesus’s birth in his poem, “Minuit, Christeins,” or translated in English,  “Midnight, Christians”. The poet captures the essence of the people who were heavily burdened by their sins and weary from the darkness of the world. The hymn and music later composed from this poem grab us even today as we wait for our “souls to feel their worth.”

We wait with eager longing – waiting in hope of being set free from the bondage of the world and the burdens weighing us down daily. It’s incredible, living on the other side of that night. Can you even imagine the exhilaration of the people when they heard the Messiah was born? Freedom was born. Hope was born.

The villagers went to bed on a night that probably felt the same as every night before. But this particular night was transformed into a Holy night.  It was a night that transformed the world and continually transforms us. 

Lean into it daily this Christmas season. We can always experience A THRILL OF HOPE.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

PRAYER

Lord, thank you for giving us hope – for transforming who we are. Thank you for the hope You have given us and the freedom we can find in You. Amen.
Raelyn Pracht 2022

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ADVENT: Waiting With Anticipation

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:18-19

The Christmas season for me as a child was an incredible lesson in learning to wait.  First, I had to wait for the Sears catalog to come to the house so I could circle everything I wanted.  Then, I had to wait for Christmas break to begin while I simultaneously waited and hoped for that first snow to fall.  Next, I had to wait for Christmas morning to come.  I would be so excited that I could hardly sleep!

However, the worst thing – the absolute hardest thing I had to wait for – was for my parents to get their cups of coffee before we could start opening the presents.  That was excruciating for a child!  We would sit trying to guess what was in each gift while the coffee pot brewed the coffee slower than molasses.  Finally, the moment would come.  With their cups of fresh coffee in their hands, Christmas would begin.

Now I am an adult and I still get just as excited for Christmas to come only for different reasons.  I look forward to the church services, the waiting and anticipating of Christmas music to come on the radio, and for Christmas morning so I can celebrate the greatest gift of all – the one not wrapped in wrapping paper, but wrapped in swaddling cloths. 

Photo by TheWonderOfLife on Pexels.com

This celebration is always worth the wait.

REFLECTION QUESTION

How has the Christmas season changed for you since Christ has been in your life?

REFLECTION VERSES

Psalm 27:14; Psalm 30:6; Lamentations 3:24-26; Luke 3:15

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The Christmas Cardinal

I watched with the eyes and heart of the young child I was as my father picked up a box. It was time to decorate the Christmas tree. It was something we always did the day after Thanksgiving.  My father had strung the lights on the tree and wrapped it in shiny silver garland. My brothers and sisters had strewn about the strands of matching tinsel upon the branches as well. Of course, mine were all put in clumps at my eye level. No one seemed to care, though. This was a family event, one enjoyed by all of us, despite our age differences.

When the children had finished their part, it was time for my father to place the first ornament on the tree. He carefully opened the box and took out the only ornament inside. It was a white dove with glimmers of light blue on its wings with the faintest shades of grey on its underbelly. Its tail, which bore more blues and greys along its feathers, stretched out and over my father’s large, rough hands. My father, who always seemed stoic and strong, held the dove in one hand while gently caressing it with the other, offering a sense of gentleness he held deep inside.

He reached near the top of the tree and clipped the solitary dove to a high branch. It was beautiful. It sat strong, yet peaceful, its colors even more striking against the forest green pines. 

It looked angelic perched atop strands of silver tinsel and garland.  

My father turned to us and said, “this dove is for your Aunt Connie … my sister.”  He told us the story of how when she passed, at just the age of 16, he took this dove off one of the funeral arrangements. He wanted something to remember her by. So, a new Christmas tradition in our family was born. Every Christmas from then on our family would place a dove on the tree to remember someone who has passed on. It would be the first ornament to be placed on the tree and the last ornament to be removed.  Although I was a small child at the time, not more than five years old, I inherently understood the meaning behind this memorable moment.

Many Christmases passed and life moved on, just as other relatives did too. There would be more doves resting upon the branches of the tree. Each one held memories and love, bringing a piece of those who went before us, to our Christmas. The doves watched over us in their unique way.  It was more than just enjoying the memories of them. It was as if they were there celebrating Christmas with us in only the way the magic of Christmas can bring.

I knew. We all knew, this tradition started by my father, would be one each of us would continue in our own families. After I got married, I was blessed to spend the first twenty Christmases without any doves upon our tree.  Every year, I would decorate the tree with my husband and daughter the day after Thanksgiving. Every year I would be grateful for a tree without doves

 It was 2015 before the first bird would adorn our tree.  

Who could have known that the first person to be represented on our Christmas tree would be the person who actually started the tradition? My father.

However, I didn’t represent him with a dove. Instead, I chose a cardinal.

It was the last winter my dad would experience. It snowed heavily that January. When the snow finally stopped, my mom and dad stepped outside to look at it. Their driveway was lined with evergreens covered in snow and the yard was nothing but freshly snow-covered hills. They stood there in awe, soaking in the bright, painted scenery when they looked up out at the branches of one of the trees. On the branch sat eight cardinals in striking red against the backdrop of white

When my father died unexpectedly the following July, I stood in the very yard which had been covered with snow months earlier, I stopped in front of the tree. I imagined the scene of that day and how beautiful it must have been. At that moment, I knew a cardinal would adorn my Christmas tree just like it had that brisk winter day. 

I chose a cardinal with contrasting shades of deep reds on its wings and the faintest shades of black on its underbelly. Its tail, which bore the same colors along its feathers, stretched out and over my hand. Holding the cardinal for the first time, I was brought right back to 1978, standing beside the family Christmas tree, watching my dad running his fingers along the dove.

I placed it on the highest branch making sure it looked back out on my family. I gently whispered to my daughter, “this is for your grandfather . . . my father.”

It’s the first ornament I put on the tree and the last one I take off the tree.

Follow me on Facebook – Raelyn Pracht, Author

© Raelyn Pracht 2022

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FRIDAY FIRSTS: First Paragraph of the Third Chapter

Pastor John Edmundson walked the path lined with small pebbles and obstinate grass refusing to stay hidden under the stone edging. He paused in mid stride as the original bell tower, unharmed by a church fire decades before, came into view. Built in 1890, the tower, made of large stones, served as the entrance to the indistinguishable church sitting just beyond it.

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A Little Bit About Me

I thought it might be a good idea to introduce myself to you. There is a lot I could tell you, but I thought I would keep it short. It’s best if you take me in small doses anyway. (That’s a joke. It’s okay to laugh.)

  • My name is Raelyn Pracht (like Procter and Gamble) and I am about to turn 50 in March. You would think I would be sad, but I am not. My 40’s have been the most difficult decade, so I am ready for a new chapter!
  • I love Jesus! and my husband, daughter and my dog and your dog, if you have one.
    • I currently live in Texas, but I want to win the lottery and move to Germany or Italy.
    • It took me 28 years to get my Bachelor’s Degree, but I finally finished in 2018. My journey took me to two community colleges, a year at George Mason University, a year at Wright State University, a semester at Virginia Commonwealth University, and finally, finishing my degree in Marketing Management at Western Governor’s University (WGU). Side note: my favorite team is the Ohio State Buckeyes because Ohio is where I really consider myself from.
    • I have the blessing of working for a Christian organization as a Marketing Specialist. In January, I will have been there 11 years!
    • I started my writing career with writing Advent and Lent Devotionals for my church. For a long time, God had me on the path of writing devotions, but has since brought me into different genres that have challenged me and helped me grow as a writer.
    • My published titles include:

    -Restoration (Haiku) https://whispersandechoesmag.home.blog/tag/raelyn-pracht/

    -Falling Leaves, Warm Memories (Short Story Contest Winner)

    -Restoration of the Baker Hotel (Non-Fiction) https://roadtrippers.com/magazine/baker-hotel-mineral-wells-texas/

    -Be Still and Notice (Tales from the Next Step Community) https://www.amazon.com/Be-Still-Notice-Tales-Community/dp/B09K281YWN

    -Take My Moments and My Days (Tales from the Next Step Community)https://www.amazon.com/Take-My-Moments-Days-Community/dp/B0BKS5QHBB

    • I am currently working on my first ever Christian fiction book. This story was prompted by God and He more than nudged me to write it. In fact, He pretty much shoved me ( in the most loving way possible )
    • When I am not working or writing I love to watch all types of movies, laugh way too hard at Mystery Science Theater episodes, read, do jigsaw puzzles and pretend I actually know what I am doing on my Cricut.
    • I am a Dunkin Donuts fanatic, am obsessed with “The Greatest Showman”, adore Snoopy, love music from the 20’s – 40’s with Nat King Cole being my favorite.
    • I love anything to do with Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper.
    • My favorite classic authors are Sir Author Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, Shakespeare and Lord Byron.
    • I love sports!
    • I have survived Melanoma four times and other skin cancers too many times to count. In fact, 2022 is the first year I haven’t had to have any surgery, praise the Lord!
    • My new dream in life is to become a minimalist.
    • Finally, I am a nerd. I love to make lists of practically everything.

    Tell me some things about you!

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    THE VOICE OF DOUBT

    I created a Facebook page for me as an author. I can tell you that as soon as I did those voices of doubt and negativity spoke louder than they ever have. They screamed questions like “Who are you to be doing this?” and “You are way out of your league.” The latter one’s voice was especially consuming as I scrolled through other author pages and saw another book of theirs being published, thousands of followers, you get the idea . . .

    You have probably fallen into this comparison trap as well. Why is it that the voices of doubt and negativity can speak so clearly above all the other noise?

    I will tell you that this is when I come back to the WHY. WHY am I writing? WHY am I trying?

    It’s simple.

    God has led me to write. Everything I write is brought to the page by the Holy Spirit graciously leading the words.

    The truth is that I don’t know if this novel I am writing is meant to be published or if it was meant for me to write as a healing process for some difficult events in my life.

    All I do know is that I am supposed to write it.

    It’s following His plan. It’s trying desperately to block out all other voices, and only listen to His as I do it.

    It’s not easy.

    Maybe God never intended it to be?

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    FRIDAY FIRST: The first paragraph of the second chapter

    Mabel Stanton stood alone in front of the yellow, bungalow-style house she grew up in. It sat just around the corner from Main Street. She loved this house, so she was not about to let the town take it when they rezoned. Despite the very generous amount of money they had offered her, she would fight it. There was no amount of money in Mabel’s mind to convince her to sell her “life.”

    Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook at Raelyn Pracht, Author

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    AUTUMNAL GLORY: An American Haiku

    Allen Ginsberg created the American Haiku. The traditional Haiku involves seventeen syllables down the page. The American Haiku is seventeen syllables across the page.

    A crimson world dances on the path of golden autumnal glory.

    Copyright 2022 Raelyn Pracht

    I created a new Author page on Facebook. Please visit and follow me at: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087576815887

    or search for Raelyn Pracht, Author

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    FRIDAY FIRSTS: First Paragraph of the First Chapter

    Charlotte Embers placed her right ear down on the cold edge of the railroad tracks. She heard nothing. She looked both ways then quickly crossed over the quiet wooden tracks. As a kid, she would only have stopped to listen. She never thought to actually look both ways. If she heard nothing, she would happily rise and try to take long strides in her summer dress, stepping on every plank down the path of the railroad. 

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    TBT: WAITING BY THE PHONE My First Ever Blog Post

    How many of us, both women and men, remember sitting by the phone waiting for that person we liked to call us? I admit that I even picked up the receiver to check for a dial tone just to make sure the phone was actually working.  Looking back, it’s funny, albeit, even a little pathetic, to picture ourselves doing such a thing.  The reality is, however, that we still do it.  We still wait by our phones for that phone call … the phone call with the test results we are anxiously awaiting, the phone call that hopefully has a job offer attached, etc.

    What about when we are on the other end?  When we receive a  call or text from someone and they wait anxiously for us to pick up or respond?  There is a level of disappointment when the voicemail picks up or the text, or even email, isn’t responded to.

    Now, imagine what it must be like for God.  He calls us and waits for us to pick up, to respond, – to answer His call.  I can only imagine how many times we don’t hear “the ring.”  Or worse, we hear the ring, but still don’t answer.  Sometimes, like me, we may even answer the call waiting, putting God and His call on hold.  I did that with this blog.  I knew He wanted me to write it, but I let the other calls of life (mostly distractions) be answered before His.

    Many of us are waiting for God’s call.  Be ready to respond and to answer when He does.

    Isaiah 6:8 says,  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    ©Raelyn Pracht 2016

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    Setting Up a Facebook Author Page: Advice Requested

    Good morning, everyone (depending on where you are in the world),

    I am starting to develop my Facebook author page and would love some advice on it.

    1. Did you invite all of your regular Facebook friends as well as others?
    2. How often do you post?

    And the most important question: How do you get more followers?

    I will take your advice in the comments or feel free to email me at Raelyn.pracht@gmail.com. Also, if you have an author page on Facebook, please put the link in the comments or in the email.

    Thanks! Have a lovely weekend!

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    FRIDAY FICTION: Socks (8 Word Story)

    For today’s Friday Fiction Challenge, you must write an 8 word story on the subject of SOCKS. Use any photo you want. Leave your story in the comments or place the link to your story in there. Don’t forget to link back to this one on your post!

    SOCKS

    Her socks displayed to passing cars her freedom.

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    THROWBACK THURSDAY: Bats in the Belfry

    Bats in the Belfry,

    Hanging and waiting for the bells to chime the midnight hour.

    On their peal, they will fly out into the darkness,

    disrupting the October night sky.

    Silhouettes against the full moon,

    Embracing their calling, they loom.

    They own the time until the bells call them home.

    The above was written in 2020 for a 50 Word Halloween Prompt starting with the letter B.

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    31 Days of Spookiness: WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

    This photo was taken by me at a cemetery near us. If you think it’s spooky to see in a photo, you should see it in person.

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    31 Days of Spookiness: A Welsh Legend

    According to Welsh legends, children born on Halloween will have special powers to ward off evil spirits and the ‘gift of second sight.’

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    31 Days of Spookiness: Superstitious

    In the U.S, people are superstitious about the #13. Here’s a few from other countries

    4: In China, the pronunciation of the word for the number four is similar to that of the Chinese word for death. Many buildings in China skip a fourth floor, just as U.S. builders sometimes omit floor 13.

    9: Just as the number four has a bad-luck soundalike in Chinese, 9 is feared in Japan because it sounds similar to the Japanese word for torture or suffering.

    17: Some Italians are superstitious about Friday the 17th because rearranging the Roman numeral XVII can create the word “VIXI”—translated from Latin to mean “my life is over.”

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    31 Days of Spookiness: Friday the 13th on a Battlefield 1995

    Today I am celebrating my 27th wedding anniversary. It was only fitting that two people who love scary movies chose Friday the 13th – in the spookiest of all months – to get married.

    We were married on part of Richmond National Battlefield. As you know, Richmond, Virginia played a huge part in the Civil War.

    So, in honor of this day, here is your spooky piece:

    Most cemeteries are at least a little creepy, but Richmond residents believe Hollywood Cemetery to be especially haunted. The landmark’s deceased residents include over 18,000 Confederate soldiers, two United States Presidents, the President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, and 25 Civil War generals. In addition to these important burial memorials, you’ll come across a large, cast-iron Newfoundland dog marking one small grave in the cemetery. The statue stands guard over the grave, holding the remains of a young girl who tragically died in 1862. Another strange site within the cemetery is the tomb marked W.W. Poole. The site seems similar to the other mausoleum style graves, but according to gossip and lore, the Richmond Vampire dwells inside the tomb. These local legends have Richmond residents believing that those buried in Hollywood Cemetery may not be resting in peace, but instead roaming the grounds at night, looking to prey on unsuspecting visitors.http://(https://blog.virginia.org/2016/10/virginias-haunted-sites/

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    31 Days of Spookiness: Ghostly Interactions

    31 Days of Spookiness: People have tried to (or claimed to) communicate with spirits for ages; in Victorian England, for example, it was fashionable for upper-crust ladies to hold séances in their parlors after tea and crumpets with friends. Ghost clubs dedicated to searching for ghostly evidence formed at prestigious universities, including Cambridge and Oxford, and in 1882 the most prominent organization, the Society for Psychical Research, was established. A woman named Eleanor Sidgwick was an investigator (and later president) of that group, and could be considered the original female ghostbuster (livescience.com)

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    31 Days of Spookiness: A few facts about The Exorcist

    Friedkin William, the director of The Exorcist, went to great lengths to keep his cast off balance and on edge so that the intensity would translate onto the screen. He was known to have crew members sneak up behind actors and fire air guns to scare them. When Linda Blair and Ellyn Burstyn had to film scenes involving harnesses, he demanded that they both be shaken more violently and longer than necessary; they were both injured in the process. Father Dyer, who was played by a real priest rather than an actor, was smacked in the face by the director right before a scene.

    Father O’Malley, the priest who played Father Dyer, was involved in the case that inspired the movie. He claims that the plot of the movie is based on an exorcism of a young boy in Maryland and that the movie is 80 percent factual.

    Bonus Fact: Watching this movie was my husband and I’s official first date

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    31 Days of Spookiness: The Mysterious Mary Celeste

    In 1872, a ship called the Mary Celeste was discovered floating in the ocean with no signs of its crew or passengers.

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    31 Days of Spookiness: Abigail Adams

    31 Days of Spookiness: The ghost of Abigail Adams has reportedly been seen hurrying toward the East Room of the White House, which is where she used to hang her laundry.

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    FRIDAY FICTION CHALLENGE: The Stoppage of Time

    Today’s Friday Fiction Challenge is to write a 35 word story with the theme of “Time”. Leave your story in the comments or put a link to your page. I find it helpful to have a photo to inspire the story.

    His last step forward was into a time zone like no other. Time stopped as quickly as it had passed. He now existed in a plane of mystery – vanished into a land to be discovered.

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    Friday Fiction: WHISPER (120 Words)

    Her arms held her quivering knees tightly against her chest in the dark corner. Her stringy, tangled long hair continued to drip from the sudden rain shower. She ran fast, searching for anywhere to hideout, at least until the rain stopped. Refuge appeared in a small dilapidated cabin. She ducked underneath the bright yellow “Caution: Do Not Enter” tape, caring less about the warning and more about hiding.

    Drops of rain pelted the muddy floor in front of her. Thunder rolled one last time before she heard the whisper. Her blue eyes widened. The whisper seemed to draw closer. She peeked through a crack in the wall. She saw nothing.

    She only heard someone, or something, whisper in her ear.

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    SERENDIPITY (24 Words)

    He brushed her sleeve as he passed by her on the crowded sidewalk. She watched him turn into the corner coffee shop. She followed.

    Today’s Friday Fiction is a challenge to write something fictitious using only 24 Words. Link back to this in your piece. Don’t forget to put yours in the comments!

    Happy Writing!

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    A SWEET AROMA

    The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”  Song of Songs 2:13

    The sun gives the light 

    The water quenches the thirst

    The flowers bloom from both

    Giving off a beautiful fragrance


    For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” Rev 7:17

    Photo by Khanh Le on Pexels.com

    My Son gives you light

    The Living Water quenches your soul

    You bloom from this experience

    A pleasing, sweet aroma rises to Me

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    INSANITY (A Haiku)

    Chaos flows freely

    Teeming over the edges

    Reality ends

    Note: Yes, it is customary to write haiku’s based on nature, but I wanted to try something different. When I saw this photo, this is what came to mind.

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    TSM 225: Aftermath

    Stillness.

    An eerie calm settles in as blades cease to spin.

    Murky water sits -vacant, placid.

    There is nowhere to go.

    The morning light brings forth contradiction.

    She looks down at the mud between her toes –

    the dry earth now swallowed into the mouth of yesterday’s storm.

    Only now is there stillness.

    Only now is there nothing but quiet.

    She sees her reflection,

    and shatters it with her finger,

    sending ripples through its silence.

    Check out http://thesundaymuse.blogspot.com/2022/08/sunday-muse-225.html to see the challenge for Wind and Water

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    THROWBACK THURSDAY: Mr. Cooper Takes a Walk (Start of a children’s story 2017)

    Mr. Cooper saw that the back gate was slightly open.  He peeked out to see if his owner was out in the front yard, but she wasn’t.  He was going to go back inside, but then he spotted a fire hydrant near the sidewalk that he just had to visit.

    After, visiting the fire hydrant, he lifted his head, perked his ears as he looked down the sidewalk,and made a decision to take a walk.

    Mr. Cooper walked down the sidewalk to the end of the street.  The smells were familiar to him.  He stopped at all the usual places he liked to stop when he walked on a leash with his owner.  

    Except this time he wasn’t on a leash…

    He could go where ever he wanted.

    So, Mr. Cooper continued his walk.

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    FRIDAY FICTION: The Last Day of the Dress (99 Words)

    August 8, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the one who left the dress.” A 1940s-era dress still hangs in an abandoned house. Who left it and why? You can take any perspective and write in any genre. It can be a ghost story. Or not. Go where the prompt leads! Click here for more details!

    THE LAST DAY OF THE DRESS

    The mustard frock with its dulled glass buttons hung askew on a wire hanger in the upstairs closet of an abandoned house. She rubbed the sheer nylon between her two fingers – transporting herself back to the last day she had worn it.

    That morning was beautiful with the sun beaming through the eastern windows of the large house. She smiled brightly at it as she drew back the heavy drapes of the bedroom.

    “It’s the perfect day to die.”

    She laid down on the bed, smoothing out the yellow dress so she would look pristine when he found her. 

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    FRIDAY FICTION: Memories (344 Words)

    He continued to explore the choked courtyard. Peeling away some thicket, he discovered a cast stone statue in one of the garden beds. It was an angel, chipped in various areas and struggling to make its presence known from behind overgrown wildflowers still trying to cling to life. The angel’s carved eyes peered back at him, bringing forth a memory which sits in a closet in his mind – behind a door he rarely opens.

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    Friday Fiction: ADRIFT (11 Word Story)

    This Friday’s Fiction involves writing an 11 word story using any photo you would like. Place a link to yours in the comments and don’t forget to put a link to this fun challenge in your post.

    ADRIFT

    Anchored, but still drifting.

    Lost upon life’s seas –

    Tossed among waves.

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    MERRY MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

    INGREDIENTS

    Dry:

    1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour

    ½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa

    ¼ tsp Baking Soda

    2 tsp Cinnamon

    ¼ tsp salt

    ½ cup White Sugar

    ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar

    ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper (adjust to your spice level)

    Sprinkle of Chili Powder (adjust to your spice level)

    1 tsp Espresso Grounds

    Wet:

    2 Eggs

    1 tbsp Molasses

    ½ cup Salted Butter, cooled melted butter

    1 tsp Vanilla Extract

    Other:

    ½ cup Semisweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Mix all DRY ingredients with a fork in a bowl until well blended
    2. Using a mixer, blend the eggs and butter. Add the molasses and vanilla and blend again.
    3. Add DRY ingredients to the egg/butter mixture and mix until well blended
    4. Stir in the mini morsels
    5. Cover and chill until they are easy to roll into balls. (I chilled them over night just because of my schedule)
    6. Preheat oven to 350
    7. Roll the cool mixture into small balls and place on parchment covered baking sheets
    8. Bake for 15-17 minutes
    9. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes
    10. Cool on wire racks

    Notes:

    • I could not figure out how to make a marshmallow frosting drizzle for them that would not harden, but maybe you can
    • Another option is to roll the balls into a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking
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    A Dollhouse Halloween (350 Words)

    The uncarved pumpkin sits innocently on the front steps. The orange gourd welcomes autumn to the home. You do not notice the skeletal figure draped in black standing in the corner until you approach the steps. Its pedestal forces the welcome mat to lay askew at its presence. You notice and try to adjust the mat, but it doesn’t move.

    The wooden red door stays closed until the first guest arrives offering mystery as to what lies behind it. Who, or what, will open the door from inside?  You wonder nervously as you await. The door opens, welcoming you inside.

    Standing at the foot of the stairs is a rosy-cheeked, cherub face child. She is in a nightgown, presumably up past her bedtime. Her excitement for the night keeps her witch’s hat on as her nightcap. A plastic jack o’lantern is held  tightly in one hand. The black cat she holds in her other hand guards her treats in the plastic bucket closely. You smile at the sweet ‘treater. She doesn’t return the gesture. She merely cocks her head at you as if trying to view you at a different angle. 

    Passing through the door which separates the two rooms, you enter the formal dining room. To your surprise you find sitting on the floor a little girl dressed like a mummy. You know it’s a girl based on the yellow ribbon she most likely insisted on wearing atop her wrapped head. She sits with two jack o’ lanterns of differing sizes, but both with broad smiles, in her lap. The crinkles beside her large eyes peeking beneath the straps of white fabric show she’s smiling though her mouth is well-hidden.

    A small pumpkin sits on the dining room table behind her. It’s placed perfectly between two candelabras which seem to be obnoxiously large for the size of the mahogany table. You find it curious that only two chairs are placed at the table. You want to ask, but hold your tongue behind your own mask.

    The doorbell rings. You turn and see it open by itself, welcoming something in. 

    Our Thanksgiving (& Everyday) Hearts

    Last Thanksgiving Day, my husband and daughter experienced first hand the beauty and power of prayer. 

    Both were working, prepping breakfast for the hotel guests. My daughter, Abigail, went to take out the trash and noticed a woman fall suddenly on the floor in the lobby. Immediately, a guest surrounded the woman and the front desk clerk called an ambulance. Abigail ran back into the kitchen and told my husband, Michael, what happened. She took over the kitchen duties while Michael ran out to help.

    Michael kneeled beside the woman who lay unconscious on the floor. The hotel guest grabbed the woman’s hand and began to pray out loud.  Michael, bowing his head in agreement, held the woman’s other hand between his two palms. 

    Before the word “Amen” was uttered, the woman came to and told them her name was Sandy. 

    With both her hands being held by these total strangers, the prayer continued until EMS arrived.

    About 15 minutes after EMS departed, a man came into the kitchen and asked Michael if he was okay, then he prayed over him.

    Michael asked the man if he was a pastor.  The man replied with a smile, “I am not, but I have a pastor’s heart.” 

    We should all have a pastor’s heart. 

    When Michael told me what happened, he could barely keep the tears from falling. Seeing first hand the power of prayer affected him deeply and for someone who struggles with faith, this experience was eye opening for him. 

    And for that, I am truly grateful.

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