Fire In The Hole!

Early in his career, my husband worked as an assistant to a powder monkey on a road construction crew. He helped wire fuses to dynamite charges, clearing away rock, land masses, and other obstructions to make way for new roadways.

Wiring too many charges at once meant risking not all dynamite would explode, leaving live powder without a trigger—an extremely dangerous scenario. When it was safe, my husband walked into the designated area and set the next round of explosives. Once ready, he’d yell “Fire in the hole!” and everyone on the crew would stand back while the powder monkey set off the blast.

During one such exercise, my husband stood on the road observing the explosion for flying debris. “Incoming!” alerted the waiting crew to take cover. My husband never let his attention stray as he watched one massive rock launch in an arc above him, with a second close behind. He calculated the arrival and landing point of the airborne objects. The first soared over his head, but the second aimed right for him. My husband waited for its arrival and sidestepped as it flew on by.

In life we are bombarded by all kinds of events that threaten to make us miserable, depressed, uncertain, and fearful. Any number of crises can stop us, make us give up, and keep us from moving forward and living the life God intended we live. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus, all the morass of life can be sidestepped and we can move forward in God’s timetable.

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) says: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Psalm 16:8 (NIV) says, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

If life and its challenges are bogging you down, keep your eyes on the cross, a physical reminder God is in control. When he shouts, “Fire in the Hole!” you will be protected, for he stands watching out for you.

Honoring Memorial Day

What is Memorial Day to you? The start of summer? Three days before you have to return to work?  Time to catch up on your sleep, lawn-mowing, television watching, and social media surfing?

Or is it a day filled with memories of people who gave everything to preserve what you take for granted?

Every Memorial Day I cut flowers from my yard and lay them on gravesites of family members. My father served in WWII. His grave marker lists his regiment and branch of service. My mother worked for the Army while my father battled in Europe and her marker reflects her contribution. My husband’s father served in WWI, headstone bearing the reminder.

I know of others—friends, classmates, and children of acquaintances—who served in other conflicts. All of them believed they were battling for our freedom, protecting a country unlike any other.

Not all of them returned home.

Visiting the cemeteries is an inspiring event. A United States flag adorns each place where a soldier rests, the hillside where the graves wait covered with red, white, and blue. Like individual plantings, the flowers left by loved ones dot the landscape with a riot of color.

In light of the current world crises, with horrible battles raging around the globe, I am reminded that the freedom under which I live is never free. Somewhere, someone, is fighting to protect me, bestowing a gift to be treasured—one in need of preservation, nourishment, and appreciation.

This Memorial Day thank a soldier. Or the family of one who didn’t come home. Let them know their sacrifice means something. Just as the Father sent his son to be the savior of the world, the lifestyle you enjoy and the freedoms you value are perpetuated because of a courageous soldier’s willingness to shed his blood. Let us never forget.

 John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son. . .”

Photograph courtesy of Google public domain images.

More Sensational Reading from Cynthia Ruchti

I don’t know how she does it.

Last summer, I reviewed Cynthia Ruchti’s novel, When the Morning Glory Blooms, having loved how the author wove the stories of three generations into one tale that connected all of them at the end of the book. Since that review, I’ve read two more—All My Belongings and As Waters Gone By—and have been blessed twice more by the intensity of feeling the stories evoke.

Ruchti states on her website that she creates fictional characters who will understand how her readers feel, imaginary people who will put into words and actions what most of us find indescribable. And with every story, she prays that the reader will close the last page of the book with a satisfied sigh and say, “I’m hemmed in hope.”

I did just that—three times. The draw of these books is amazing. I closed each novel, wishing the story could go on. The depth of the tales warmed my heart and gave me insights into people who face difficulties triumphantly. Made me look at my challenges in a different light.

In All My Belongings, Becca Morrow struggles to find a new identity, hoping to leave her past and the mistakes of her father behind. But his misguided deeds follow her across the country and she finds herself in the midst of a situation identical to the one her father created, an unfathomable turn of events she would never have thought possible. With suspense at its core and romance at every corner, this book sings.

In the second story, As Waters Gone By, based on the scripture from Job 11:16, Emmalyn Ross, infertile and childless, struggles to start over as she waits for her husband, Max, to finish his incarceration, having accidentally injured a man with his car. She doesn’t know if their marriage will continue when he gets out, doesn’t even know if she cares—her baby-making years are behind her. Until the unimaginable happens and she volunteers to care for someone for whom she has held disdain in the past, making her rethink her relationship with Max.

I can unreservedly say these contemporary works of fiction are worth the read. Enjoy.

More information about Cynthia available at: www.cynthiaruchti.com

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Happy M-O-T-H-E-R’s Day

With thoughts of mothers and a special day to celebrate them this week, today I toast the real reason women are mothers—their children. Using the acronym we are all familiar with—M-O-T-H-E-R—with a nod to the original writer who gave us the song based on the same, I offer my own version.

M— is for the multitude of things you taught me—bandage a booboo, kiss a toad, clean  up puke, multi-task by cooking, cleaning, and loving all at the same time.

O—is for the odd phrases you would say—can cows really fly to the moon, can God see me in the bathtub, can you fix the kitty’s tail I caught in the door?

T—is for the thoughtful things you brought me—see my snake, want to hold my night crawler, look under the rock for the nematode.

H—is for the grateful heart you gave me—another rock, sweet. You picked my roses, how nice. No, I don’t want to pickle your crab in my hydrogen peroxide.

E—is for being ever forgiving—I lost your special seashell, I’ve never raised a son before, ask your father about girls, you don’t like Mexican food?

R—is for the rewards I’ve piled up along the way—your college diploma, a stack of handmade cards, a forgotten flute, a scrapbook full of memories.

Put them all together and you’ll find a child who has loved a mother, making this a truly memorable Mother’s Day.

I Samuel 1:27 (NIV) “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.”

Where God Waits

In a recent week my schedule rolled downhill like a log before an avalanche, the planned activities cancelled before they had a chance to see daylight. With each change came a strange sense of loss, my busy life suspended, dwindling to a list of commitments as full of holes as a slice of Swiss cheese.

Waiting for a new turn of events loomed like an eternity, this sudden change of order leaving me feeling more than a little perplexed. Negativity followed. 

God was way ahead of me.  

I opened my Bible to my next study passage—Psalm 139: 1,2: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”   Uh-oh. Busted. Feeling guilty, I asked God to rein in my thoughts.. 

God wasn’t finished. 

I next read a favorite blog. The author wrote how time can stand still while we wait for something to happen. Using Jesus’ early life as an example, he pointed out that little of the Lord’s childhood, other than the cameo appearance at the Temple, is recorded. It’s as if Jesus lived in the shadows, waiting, until at age thirty he walked into the Jordan river, was baptized, and world history was changed forever.   

God finished with me a short time later.  

A writing colleague posted a piece which emphasized making use of moments—when we’re not creating text, editing, and waiting—doing things where we shine.  No deed is without merit in God’s scheme of things. I responded by taking a birthday gift to a friend and cooking a meal for a neighbor. Satisfying tasks. 

The next time your life takes a turn down an unknown path, stop like I did and consider what God is teaching you. He has gone before you and cleared the way. If your life looks as empty as a flour sack invaded by mice, check the corners. Enough ingredients may remain to make a biscuit to share. You’ll be as blessed as I was.