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In memory of a Mississippi soldier on Memorial Day

american flag may 5

The small Mississippi farm has been the source of survival for the family for a long time. It has been 10 years since the father of the family committed suicide. As the oldest son it has long been his responsibility to take care of the family business. Things have now changed as his mother has remarried and now it is his time to explore the outside world.

The young man is excited as he rushes home to the small farm in Mississippi. He is almost out of breath as he reaches the house with the news. The army recruiter at the small country school has informed him that the college scholarship has arrived. There is now hope for a new life. His smile radiates as he tells the family.

The Mississippi university has been a wonderful time in the young man’s life. The army program has given him structure and confidence. The days are filled with classes and study. There are football games and parties on the weekends. The years pass quickly and soon it is time to move to the next phase of life.

Graduation is here and the air is filled with anticipation and excitement. The engineering degree being awarded today has given him a job with the highway department and entrance into the army reserve as an officer. There is great hope for the future.

There is a war going on across the world in a small country. The army has requested his presence in this foreign land. The young man is frightened as he boards the plane. Life will be hard again and survival is not certain. He is deeply moved by the suffering surrounding him. His view of life will never be the same.

The young man has a wife and children. They anxiously await his return and read the letters he sends with great joy. The war will end soon and he will return. That day will be glorious indeed. The years he spends in a foreign land are difficult but there is a home in Mississippi waiting for him.

The young man is now home and returns to his career in engineering at the highway department. The army reserves are now his secondary job. This is an exciting time in life as his family and career grows. There are birthday parties and family vacations that make his life complete.

The years pass and the young man is now middle-aged with a career, house, and family. The army is still part of his life because of the army reserve. He serves his country in a dual career as an engineer and an army reserve lieutenant. The income from each of these provides him a comfortable living.

The middle-aged man now has time for recreation. His favorite past times include fishing at the local reservoir and playing guitar at his home. This day the sun is out and he is strumming the guitar by the pool while cooking food on the outdoor grill. Life is wonderful and he reflects on his blessings.

grill guitar chair may 5

The world is at war again and the older man reads with great interest the newspaper. His rank as a major with a career as an engineer make him an important part of the war effort at home. He wonders if the world will ever be at peace again. The army reserve has sent him to war college to learn how other countries in the world operate. The older man views these and hopes that diplomacy instead of war will bring the world to peace.

The older man has been promoted to the rank of colonel and is now at the time of retirement from both the army reserve and engineering career. He is looking forward to more time to be spent with his family. Both places of employment give him fond farewells and congratulations for a job well done.

The older man’s family is now larger and spread out. There are now grandchildren to sit and listen to the stories of his life. He again pulls out his guitar and plays around the pool. The grill is sizzling with his signature barbecue sausage.  He smiles with gratitude at the life he has been given.

The man has reached old age and his health is failing. Time grows short as he reaches out to his family and others in a time of reflection. The old man tells of how peace is how the world should be. He reflects that war should be a last resort. There is no glory in seeing the suffering of others. In the end war only brings misery to mankind.

As an engineer the old man has built things throughout his career. Wonderful bridges that he has pointed out to his family every time they drive through the state. He reminds them that bridges connect people to one another.

The family mourns as their father has passed away.  Through the comfort of hospice care he has been granted a peaceful passing. They reflect upon the blessings of having known and lived with this man. His life lessons will remain with them for life.

strawberry patch park memorial april 24

The spirit of the man looks down upon his loved ones and smiles. God has granted him this one final glimpse before moving on to Heaven and eternity. He reflects upon the love given and then turns and walks into eternity.

**In loving memory of my father and uncle who heeded the military call and truly believed that peace between all nations would bring us together. They are gone but never forgotten.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Alaska: A Tour of the Yukon

Alaska

Alaska is a wonderful place to explore and visit. The cruise ship had pulled into port and we prepared for our tour of the Yukon in Canada. The air was crisp and cold as we left the ship and got on the bus. The sun was bright as it beamed down on the snow surrounding us.

Our tour guide was a friendly fellow who lived in this small town. The small town had the appearance of an old west type of architecture. There were several buildings that were painted white with red trim that radiated in the sun as we passed by.

We passed through town and listened to the stories of how the people lived and survived the cold climate. Our guide was older and preferred to live in town during the tourist season and fly down to warmer climates during the harsh winter. He was proud of this town and his face shined with the telling of each story.

We passed over the Canadian border and there were beautiful snow-covered mountains and valleys to greet us as we made our way to the Yukon. The land was untouched by humans and the beauty of the land began to beckon me.

Our first stop was at a small park where people frequently camped and fished. It was an extremely primitive campground surrounded by trees with deep green leaves and a lake that had small animals surrounding it. The ecosystem was alive and drawing me into the stories of this land. The life cycle of nature was in harmony and it was beautiful

Along the way to the Yukon there are many animals in the mountains that are close enough to get a picture. Often the tour guide would suddenly stop and we would move forward in our seats with a jolt. There would be no napping on this tour. There were bears and wild goats that would pose for pictures in the distance.

The Yukon became famous in the 1800s for the promise of gold. People came from many places seeking their fortunes. The Canadian government would not allow people to enter the Yukon without a year’s supply of food and other life essentials. The ecosystem is harsh and the people allowed to enter were prepared. I loved this life lesson in planning and perseverance.

In the Yukon there is the world’s smallest desert. It is a beautiful piece of land that appears to blend in well with the ecosystem. The day of our tour it was covered in snow patches.

Alaska 2

It was time for lunch and we stopped at a small restaurant that was included in our tour. The food was wonderful and consisted of barbecue ribs, cooked potatoes, peas, and bread. Home cooking is wonderful in all parts of the world.

After lunch we walked across the street to view a beautiful mountain with a lake in the front. The lake had an interesting variety of colors that changed with the seasons. In the spring this lake is dark blue in the deeper parts changing to light green in the shallow parts of the lake. The mountains surrounding the lake have dark green trees below the higher mountain rocks. Truly God is an awesome artist to have created such beauty.

After taking photographs we left this wonderful place and proceeded to our next stop. It was a ghost town that featured a small gift shop and post office. The town was well-preserved with old abandoned buildings and railroad tracks. There was an old train car on the tracks outside the post office.

It was a wonderful experience for the soul to imagine how life had been in the times when this town thrived. The people lived off the land and brought their gold to be measured and converted to currency. An interesting time in the history of the Yukon.

We returned to the tour bus and began our trip back to the cruise ship. There were more stops along the way to take pictures and observe the wildlife. I enjoyed the peacefulness and harmony of the land. The wildlife has adapted to the seasons and thrive in the ecosystem.

Returning to the United States clouds and rain have descended on the landscape. A deep fog has developed and the roads are hazardous. Our guide is familiar with the road and we arrive back at our ship without any issues.

It has been a wonderful day to experience the beauty of the world God created. Alaska is a wonderful place to visit and full of adventure. My soul is nourished and at peace.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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An Adventure in Skipper’s Tall Tales

IMG_4191

Piper and I were in the yard playing ball. It is such fun for Piper to throw the ball and for me to chase it. Sometimes she can be good leader of this pack.  After returning the ball to Piper several times I notice a squirrel in the yard. They are more fun to chase than a silly green ball.

I laid down in the grass in a strategic position so the squirrel would not see me. Slowly I inched closer to the squirrel. The squirrel was munching on some bird seed in the feeder and did not notice me. At just the appropriate moment I sprang into action and began to chase the squirrel.

squirrel eating grass in park march

We ran across the yard until we reached the six-foot fence. The squirrel leaped to the top of the fence and onto the roof of the house. The squirrel turned around and laughed at me. I quickly spread out my large golden ears and began to fly onto the roof. The sudden realization that I could fly startled the squirrel and the chase continued all over the roof.

I almost had him until my ears hit a lull in the wind and I slid to the ground. Fortunately I was given a reprieve from the fall on the ground and was uninjured. Piper was upset with me flying onto the roof but calmed down once she realized that I was not hurt.

It was time to return to the park for the family’s Memorial Day picnic. I decided to let Piper drive this time since there was so much traffic. We arrived at the park and headed toward the picnic area. The table was filled with all sorts of great smelling foods.

There was the aroma of the barbecue sausage cooking on the grill. A piece of this wonderful meat fell on the ground and I quickly grabbed it. It had a slight spicy taste as I was eating it. These people have a talent for cooking.

The table had baked beans, potato salad, and several other great smelling dishes scattered in a pattern. Then I saw the most wonderful dish of all. It was an apple pie with a brown crust. Apples are my favorite snack in the entire world. That apple pie would be mine.

Sitting in the middle of the table it was going to be a challenge to get the pie. The wind was calm now so flying was not an option. But then I saw the trampoline sitting close to the table. I formulated a plan and sprang into motion. Jumping on the trampoline I began my routine. There were several children around so I decided to add some acrobatics to this adventure.

Skipper

First came the normal up and down motions and then I decided to spice things up a bit. It was fun to do somersaults high in the air. Jumping this way also made it easier to get to that apple pie. After a few extremely high twists and turns I aimed my next jump toward the apple pie.

Flying into the air I flew across the table and grabbed the pie. Landing on the ground with my prize intact I scurried to a spot behind a tree and began to enjoy my feast. Every bite was a joy to the senses. The aroma was of a freshly baked pie and the taste was super sweet.

Soon after finishing the apple pie I did not feel very well. All of a sudden my super powers seemed to have vanished as I fell into a deep sleep. The shade under the tree provided a cool space for my nap.

About this time Piper noticed that the apple pie was missing and came in search of me. She panicked as my breathing began to labour from eating all of that sugar. For a few minutes it appeared as if I might die. But God gave me a reprieve. My breathing quickly returned to normal.

I slept for eighteen hours and then awoke to find Piper gathering our things for the return trip home. The sun was shining brightly as we prepared for our trip home. I took one last trip down the path by the lake.

This time I decided to stand in the water and take a cool swim before returning to the car. Piper was ready to leave so I left the water with only a small fishing bobbin as a prize.

We made it home safely without any issues. It was a fun trip and I anxiously await our next adventure.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Skipper’s Tall Tale: An Adventure in Persistence

Skipper

The early morning clouds were scattering a sprinkle of rain from the sky. Things are being prepared for a Memorial Day visit with family in another state. I am Piper’s dog Skipper and things are getting hectic. Everything is packed and in the car waiting to begin our trip.

I am determined to drive on this trip. The back seat is boring with just my blanket and toy. Now if there had been a nice steak bone in the back we would not be having this conversation. Piper has put me in the back seat with the air conditioner running and gone to make sure the front door to the apartment is locked. That woman is obsessive sometimes.

I am determined to drive at least for the first part of the trip. While her back is turned I jumped into the front seat and have locked the doors. When she noticed the doors were locked she went into panic mode. It was so funny watching her face turn red and start running toward the locked front door. She even dropped her purse on the wet sidewalk.

I decided to honk the horn as she ran to the manager’s office to get an extra key to the apartment. The neighbors came to their doors and there was much laughter as she came back with the manager. The rain is coming down harder now and I turn on the windshield wipers. Back and forth they go spreading the rain from the windshield on Piper as the manager gives her the extra key to use for the apartment.

Normally there is a fee for this service of an extra key.  I honk the horn again and the manager is laughing so hard that she waives the fee and thanks Piper for the entertainment for the day.

Piper gave in to my desire to drive. She exclaimed that taking a nap while riding in the rain would be a great idea. I bark and we begin our trip for the holiday weekend. It is now pouring down rain and the roads are slippery as we drive down the interstate. People are staring at us as if they had never seen a dog drive a car before.

I see a highway patrol car and remember how fun it is to play a game of chase. Quickly I step on the accelerator and am now going one hundred miles an hour. The patrol car quickly enters into a chase which goes on for about ten miles. This is so much fun.

Piper wakes up from her nap and tells me to pull over. The officer is dripping wet as he approaches the car. His expression was priceless as he sees a dog driving the car. I tell him that he is dreaming and that dogs do not drive cars. Angry at first but then laughing he tells me to either slow down or let Piper drive. I agree to slow down and not cause anymore issues. It would be a shame for Piper to spend the weekend in jail.

We arrive at our destination and everyone is excited to see us. I am thrilled to see everyone and explore all the exciting new scents in the yard. We relax for the rest of the day and I am excited for the picnic tomorrow at the local park.

The next morning the sun is out and the rain has left a fresh scent in the air. The clouds in the sky are beautiful as they move slowly in the wind. Piper has decided that we will  walk in the park this morning. I see a bank on the river where some ducks have decided to rest. This is going to be fun.

red headed duck strawberry patch park april 24

I jerk the leash and make Piper fall on the ground and let go. The ducks are so close that I almost catch one before he dives into the water. Missing the duck does not phase me as I plunge into the cold water and begin to swim. There is a turtle on a drifting log in the way but I attempt to jump over the log and splash into the water on the other side.

turtle sunning strawberry patch park april 24

The duck escapes and I return to the shore to check on Piper. She is fine but a little annoyed at me. I wonder why because my adventure was fun.

I decide to give Piper a break until meal time. There is an apple pie on the table and it has my name on it. Someday soon there will be another installment in this adventure. You will have to wait to see if I survive???????????

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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camping culture daily prompt grand canyon hiking inspiration intentional living life lifestyles nature preservation story telling

Soul Searching in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Survive

The Grand Canyon National Park is filled with beautiful open spaces between the canyons. It is one of God’s great blessings to be able to observe the natural beauty of this place. The blue, orange, pink, and brown hues grow deeper as the sun moves throughout the canyon during the day. It provides a canvas to explore and discover new things within our souls.

It is difficult to imagine that the Colorado River carved this canyon. The river appears so small in the vastness of the crevices of the canyon. There are many places in the Grand Canyon to park or hike that are quiet and serene. It is easy to listen to God and search within your soul for answers to some of life’s questions.

It was a curious time in my life. I had a job that provided a comfortable income but no real challenges. Each day it was a chore to get out of bed and go to work with a positive attitude. I felt like a trapped animal unable to move on.

The relationships in my life were also a drama. Everything was always in turmoil as the people around me were content to argue and perpetuate bitterness and hatred. It was taxing just to get out of bed and deal with life.

The people surrounding me were miserable. They had substance abuse issues and were unwilling to seek help. Manipulation ruled their lives and had a profound effect on mine. It was not a joyous time in my life.

Change is a difficult thing. When we are familiar with everything in our lives there is a strange sense of contentment. We believe that everyone in our lives is essential to survival no matter what the cost.

One morning while visiting the canyon we parked the truck and walked out onto one of the canyons to observe the surrounding area. After a few minutes I decided to sit and absorb all of the beauty surrounding me. It had been a difficult year filled with decisions and this seemed the appropriate place to sort out my feelings about life.

I slowly relaxed as the sun and the morning coolness surrounded me. Taking deep breaths it felt like I was becoming a part of the canyon. The sounds of nature were clear and in harmony. There were a few birds rustling the bushes in searching for food. A whistling sound in the wind was harmonic as it cascaded across the canyon.

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The issues that had been bothering me melted away and seemed small in comparison to the world now surrounding me. For a brief moment it was just me sitting on this canyon. Living in that moment was a freeing experience.

I meditated on this canyon for a while praying to God for answers on how to go forward in life. In the silence I had a revelation and now the answer was clear. It was time to move on.

Standing up I took one last look at the vastness of the canyon. The blue, orange, red, and purple hues appeared to be sparkling in the reflection of the afternoon sun. Walking back to the truck I felt more alive than I had in a long time.

It was now time to return home and put into action the revelations that I had on the overlook of that canyon. Change was still frightening but now there was a renewed sense of purpose in my life.

I had decided that the best course of action was to leave the world which had been my home for many years. It took some research but I found a new city filled with nature and all the things that I enjoyed. It was time to move on and create some new dreams.

Finding a job in a new city was not as difficult as I had imagined. There is an abundance of opportunity if you are willing to search for it. The new job promised to be challenging and provided opportunities for advancement.

I moved to a new apartment and began the process of searching for a new group of friends. Talking to all the people I came into contact with provided a network of people with similar interests. It was not long before this network became like a family to me.

Many years have passed since that day on top of the canyon. Leaving all the friends that I had ever known was difficult but worth the journey. There have been many adventures and life is joyful. My soul is nourished daily with the love and companionship of my husband and friends. I have no regrets and each day thank God for his guidance and blessings. I survived that season of my life.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Notorious: A Fisherman’s Tall Tale

alligator on golf course 2 may 5

Our actions in life can make us notorious. Some people are famous for the jokes they tell and others are known for their kindness. In my family there was a great-uncle known for his tall tales. Jim was an average size fellow and a little overweight. He was an older man when I knew him and loved to sit and talk. Jim could spin a tale from thin air.

The community church would have a potluck dinner one Sunday a month. It was a wonderful gathering with a variety of food on the tables. Jim and his wife would join this group and often there would be stories exchanged in the afternoon. The storytelling would last for hours as each person told a tale. Finally it was Jim’s turn to take the stage.

There was a morning Jim went fishing at a lake near his home. The morning air was cool and the sun was beginning to shine on the lake. The glimmer from the sun made it a little difficult to see the swells from the fish rising to the top of the lake.

There was a small island not far from the fishing spot. It had tall trees with thick green leaves and some brush on the edge of the water. There was a large gray alligator sunning itself on the banks. The alligator had huge eyes and briefly opened his large mouth. He appeared to announce to the world that this was his territory.

Jim took note of the alligator’s presence but continued to bait his pole with a minnow and then threw the line into the pond. The red and white bobbin moved around in the water as the minnow swam around looking for safety. In a few minutes it settled down and all was quiet.

Relaxing on the banks of the lake is calming and nourishing to the soul. The sun was warm this morning and acted as a warm blanket. The sounds of the birds and crickets around you sound like a lullaby. It is easy to fall into deep thought or fall asleep listening to the sounds of nature.

Jim was almost asleep when suddenly the line jerked and the bobbin went down into the water. He stumbled out of the chair and quickly pulled on the line. The fish fought and was splashing in the water as Jim attempted to pull him in. In all of the commotion the alligator who had been watching this action decided to join the struggle.

The alligator moved toward the fighting fish and opened his wide mouth in an attempt to steal the fish. Jim was unwavered and pulled the fish back from the alligator before he could eat it. The alligator was also unswayed and moved in closer to the pole in another attempt to get the fish. This back and forth struggle went on for about ten minutes before Jim let the alligator have the fish.

It seemed that the battle was over until Jim decided to throw rocks at the alligator. This agitated the alligator and he swam to the bank to come after Jim. The fishing pole was the only obstacle between them. The alligator grabbed the pole and Jim began to fight for the pole. After much back and forth pulling action of the pole Jim decided to let go.

The alligator took his prize and returned to the calm bank of the small island. Jim was exhausted but not deterred as he grabbed a new pole and baited the line. Tossing the line back into the water Jim sat down and resumed his calm stance in the chair.

All was calm after this encounter and it was soon time to return home. The alligator was content with his prize and Jim returned home with a stringer filled with fish. His wife was waiting for his return with the food for the evening meal.

Jim waited patiently for his wife to inquire about the events of the day. She finally asked how the day had gone and he began to weave the tale. His wife laughed and stated how glad she was the alligator had been content with the fish and fishing pole. It would have been sad to lose Jim.

The group of people at the church lunch laughed as they heard the end of the story. Many wondered if Jim’s ability to tell a story was inherited or learned. They all agreed that being notorious for telling a tall tale is a wonderful blessing.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Reflections for Earth Day

Immortality is an idea that most people contemplate in a lifetime. This idea is expressed in religion, culture, and nature. This is an exploration of immortality in nature.

The forest is an interesting ecosystem in the life it supports. There are birds and insects that have abundant lives on the food and water provided by nature. The trees and various plants thrive on the soil which provides nutrients. There is a continuance of the life cycle throughout this symbiotic relationship.

petrified forest water path 2 april 14

The trees have found an interesting way to immortality. Petrified wood is trees which have been transformed into stone through a process called permineralization. Using the ingredients essential for life the ecosystem is the way to immortality. Once transformed the tree is preserved for eternity.

In the mist of the living is the immortality of the preserved. Throughout the continuance of life these petrified trees witness the renewal of the forest. Every season brings rains, snow, scorching heat, and other changes in the earth that change the ecosystem. Yet the petrified trees remain the same.

The process of permineralization is a slow one which takes millions of years. During this time the journey of life continues and the forest changes. Through the years if the forest is allowed to progress naturally then the petrified tree will observe the changes from its original home. If the forest is destroyed by fire or other means, then the petrified tree is alone or moved from the ecosystem.

petrified wood april 14

What does this say about immortality in nature? Is life in stone renewal or is it just another journey into death? The answers to these questions lie in every person’s definition of life. I believe that life and death are a journey that must continue. Nature continues to change in life and every death contributes to renewal.

When the tree becomes stone it stagnates and does not participate in the renewal of life. Watching from a stone does not lead it to continue the journey that nature encourages. Therefore, true immortality cannot be achieved through permineralization. There is a loss of meaning and true death. There is no life for the tree beyond this stone state.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce