2nd Cup of Coffee for 12/20/21: WHEN GOD’S HAD ENOUGH

It happened in Israel sometime before 561 B.C., but it could be happening here, reported on Newsmax or Epoch News at any moment.

The nation’s people had again turned their backs on God. They had all the historical reports of the early prophets and knew better. They didn’t want to do better. As always happens, their daily living habits had drifted, what personal convictions they had were conveniently left in the dresser drawer, and they declared themselves free to be and do whatever they wanted – all the while ignoring what of their conscience remained by indulging themselves in what passed socially for ‘worship’. It was hedonistic, sensual. But, hey, everybody was doing it . . .

Everyone was comfortable in their exterior religion. Except not everyone was.

Israel had a real prophet in those days. Being by himself, though, it was easy to sneer and ridicule him; to shrug off his strong preaching and teaching against their personal and national sin; and to wink at each other and settle back into their familiar, fun, feel-good worship.

“Who? Ol’ Elijah? Get real! All he does is condemn us and badmouth our prophets. Doesn’t have one good thing to say about us or them. Far as I’m concerned, that ought to be classified as hate speech! I mean, seriously, dude – does that sound like the God who loved us enough to give us our own nation? He’s the one who oughta be locked up!”

Sound familiar? The ones in political power had been busily corrupting all Israel’s personal and corporate life, ignoring the needs of the people while enriching themselves in every possible way. Right was now wrong. There were no longer boundaries of decency or moral guidance. Any worship of the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was closely monitored to the point the First Lady had put a hit on Elijah because his preaching was revealing her own depraved lifestyle.

That’s the ticket, right? Don’t stop the corruption and vile, disgusting practices you know God’s clearly said He will not tolerate. Change the narrative. Make it woke, even classy to defy God and the Bible. Accuse and make life miserable for anyone claiming Jesus as Lord. If anything, accelerate the destruction. Criminalize Good. Praise Evil and make the compromise as permanent as possible before the people rise up under good leadership and restore their nation.

All ten of God’s original directions – okay, His commands – are casually broken from the highest offices in our land down to your neighbors; it’s looking like all bets are off, and in many ways we have a free-range “Church” in modern America.

If anything, accelerate the destruction. Criminalize Good. Praise Evil and make the compromise as permanent as possible before the people rise up under good leadership and restore their nation. And when God’s had enough and steps in? Bluster on through by blaming His people for being too straight-laced, too good, too ‘holy’.

Maintain the lying, even using God’s name and Word to twist, manipulate, and distort His Truth into proof-texted messages saying the exact opposite of what God inspired the Bible’s authors to write. Make plausible, great-sounding excuses but never clean up the act. Don’t for a minute admit wrong. Instead, go after those shining Light – or, in the case of Elijah and historic Israelites, calling down purifying fire – on the whole mess.

You’ll find the account of what happened back then in 1 Kings 18-19. Many accounts entitle it, Elijah on Mt. Carmel, or Elijah and the 450 Prophets of Baal. Though popular, there were eight hundred and fifty ‘prophets’ on the mountain that day. The popular god Baal’s prophets were officially responsible for what passed for Israel’s spiritual oversight.

Yet there were another 400 ‘spirit guides’ or religious luminaries representing Asherah, whom elitist scholars say was God’s wife and became the goddess of motherhood and fertility. The chief object of her worship? huge poles carved or fashioned like giant phallic symbols and sunk in the ground. The creation and sale of smaller local and home Asherah symbols was big business. And you thought adult gift stores were a recent thing . . .

My friends, the Internet and social media long ago lost its ability to blush. It takes little imagination to understand the nature of how Israelites ‘worshiped’ her.

Most of you know the account of what happened that day on Mt. Carmel:

“Then the fire of the Lord fell…” You’re getting that, right?

“Then the fire of the Lord fell.”

The 450 official Baal prophets/preachers/holy men tried to get away but didn’t make it. The fickle crowd was stunned by what just happened: used to the elaborate ‘prayers’ that were little more than entertaining theater, they’d just seen this crusty, rough-edged prophet of Jehovah God pray a short, powerful prayer He INSTANTLY answered right before their eyes! I imagine they were looking at each other and saying things like, “Hey–isn’t that the way the rabbi used to tell us Jehovah answered in the old days? Maybe, uh—” When Elijah whirled around and yelled, “Don’t you DARE let even one of those imposters get away!”, they obeyed and grabbed them all.

The other 400 Asherah types had somehow lost their appetite for a confrontation with the Living God and had managed to melt back through the crowd and disappear. I’m sure as the day wore on and the Ba’al clergy were bloody and sweaty from hours of screaming for their play god to answer, they decided to retire “to spend more time with their families”, or whatever other convenient excuse they gave. Whatever the case, when it looked like Ol’ Lije and God were going to be publicly humiliated and the busybody prophet killed, the Asherah purveyors were right out there in their finery, lookin’ good, smellin’ good, and struttin’ their stuff.

When it was time to face the music? They weren’t even man eno– woman eno– whatever enough to at least take the stand the Baal guys did. The minute things started going south, the Asherah types began quietly heading for the exits. When the false prophet roundup started, the Asherah brand was nowhere to be found.

Again, looking at current events, doesn’t this sound familiar? Use political influence and ill-gotten wealth to insulate oneself from notice and prosecution? Disappear, keep quiet, and hunker down when the hammer drops?

The point of all this? I’ve held up writing this for several days, waiting on God for direction, and His message seems stark: His fire is going to fall again.

As God’s men and women pray, God’s fire is going to fall again. By what means, or in what amount, or even when? I don’t know. I do know these two things.

If you are a contemporary of ancient Israel’s Asherahites? God will not be mocked. I pray there’s somewhere deep inside where you know that. No matter who you are or what your position, your time of influence is limited. If you retain a spiritual component to your daily life, it is immaterial how popular or socially acceptable it is. The measure by which you will be held accountable is the same one by which we all will be: God’s Word as revealed in the Person and earthly ministry of Jesus, the risen Christ.

If you are a man or woman of prayer, be bold and persistent – and keep praying. I don’t care how desperate the American situation seems, God is God, and He rules the entire created order through the risen Christ. When He knows the time is right, His cleansing, revealing, verifying, purifying, forever-altering fire will fall. God will always honor your prayers. God will always honor His Word.

“Oh, you Bible-thumpers all come off sounding so righteous! You forget we know a lot of you! We know your backgrounds, and you’ve got skeletons in your own closets! Where do you get off trying to—”

With respect, the verse reads that ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s desires for us. Yep – including ol’ Elijah. The thing that makes Christian men and women so passionate about praying for, praying over, our children, our extended family, our cities, states, and nation is because we know what it’s like to be lost and without God in this world.

Every one of us made the choice to confess our sin to God, receive His gift of forgiveness through Jesus’s death and Resurrection, and accept Jesus as our personal Savior. When that happens, God instantly removes the guilt of past living and establishes a personal relationship with Him. As the Bible puts it, we’re a new creation!

Sure, we all have a past. ALL. Being saved doesn’t mean we no longer face tough life experiences and heartache. It doesn’t mean we no longer think, do, or say the wrong things. It means when corrected by God’s Spirit, we do our best to make those things right, clean up our mess, and keep growing.

Oh, yeah, babe. We’re not saying we’re better than anyone else. As the Scripture says, each day has its own share of trouble; we’ve the scars of all sorts to prove it. I’m convinced they’re there to remind us how far God brings us from the lives we once led. Perfection? HERE? Hardly. It took Adam and Eve no time at all to put that accusation to rest. Yet none – no person who has made Jesus Lord of his or her life – has any business trying to use our lack of Earthly perfection as an excuse to not make the daily mission to live every moment for God, to honor His Word by our thoughts, words, and actions.

Well. This is a lot to consider. I don’t know who God will use as the Elijah of Now to help create the tipping point, and that doesn’t matter. What matters is that God is faithful to honor His Word, His Son, and His people. As a mentor of mine often said, we don’t break God’s law; we only break ourselves on it. That Law is found in the Bible.

Keep that in mind. Keep your devotional life fresh, and your personal relationship with God vibrant. Something is coming, and I’ve a sense it won’t be long.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2021

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Quiet Time Musings: 2nd Cup of Coffee for 12/14/21

Christ! No more, no less.”


“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach *Christ*, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.” ~ Colossians 1:25-29, MSG


Anyone who’s ever been caught in a dust devil will understand: the swirling miasma of religious opinions *about* God, Jesus, and the Bible gets more murky and confusing with each new variant. The whirling mix only serves to confuse those honestly seeking God’s truth; and equally serves to solidify the objectives, and harden the attitudes and manipulative intent of those who are not.


As a kid growing up in McNary, Oregon, I lived right across from our townsite playground. I was over there as often as allowed; as soon as chow and chores were done, I was begging.


In addition to the tennis/basketball court and obligatory industrial-strength metal-bottom slides, swings, teeter-totters and weather-worn merry-go-round, there was plenty of vacant field area that became every historical military battlefield on Earth. I’ve no idea how often we re-won the West, but it seemed there was an endless supply of Comanches who never did prevail against our tumbleweed forts.


Well, until one of them got the bright idea of sneaking their dad’s lighter out . . . That day was, ah, invigorating . . .


There were few things that would distract us from fighting history’s battles or flying fighters and bombers. Watching Henry Shippentower sink baskets, seeing Ben Bearchum’s older sister Sophia walk past – or a dust devil heading our way. We’d drop whatever we were doing and sort of surround it, since we never knew exactly where it would go next, or how long it would last.


Dust devils – little mini-tornadoes – show up out of nowhere, skim along the ground seemingly in every direction at once, siphoning up dust and dirt, candy wrappers, and whatever else is light enough to be easily pulled into their vacuum. They spin and twist for awhile, this way and that, until they don’t. Then they just disappear, leaving those they’ve visited coated with all the junk they brought with them, and needing a bath or shower.


Paul wrote, “We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity . . . . Christ! No more, no less.” That’s as plain and basic as it can be – unless your design is to kick up SO much of this or that belief or opinion that people are nothing so much as irritated, confused, and ultimately reject it all.


Yeah. Just like those McNary dust devils.


I’m suggesting, friend, you stick with God’s common sense as outlined in your Bible. It may not be flashy and you’ll catch grief from cultural *elites*, along with too many in The Church, whose main stock in trade is to pooh-pooh how you live and ridicule what you believe.


Let me encourage you: you don’t answer to them; you never will.

Stick with the Word’s ‘profound common sense’ and spiritual maturity. It’ll get you through when all the fun, ease, and popularity of cultural dust devil “religion” will eventually recede and disappear into nothing.

© d. dean boone, December 2021

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A Short 2nd Cup: MAKE IT LAST, LORD. 12/9/2021

The phrase from Psalm 90:17 put a hand on my arm and stopped me: “Establish the work of our hands . . .”

There’s always a reason for that, so I laid everything else aside, refilled my cup, and settled down to learn whatever God wanted me to grab onto.

“Establish the work of our hands…” What’s that in Dan-ese? I tried a few different ways of saying it until this shook out.

“Help us (me) be doing what’s going to go on doing good for others long after we’re (I’m) gone.” Okay. A-ight. I’ll say it to you like I said it to myself. In other words, separate “wheat” from “chaff” in your personal life; things that between you and God, you know work for you need to be nurtured. Things that only irritate and hold you back need to be left alone–no matter how pleasant they may seem at the moment nor how wonderful they may seem to others.

You’re not here primarily to please others; you’re here to please and honor God. You’re responsible for YOU and nobody else. What they want of you, what works for them doesn’t ultimately matter.

With God’s help and direction, pursue what works with and for YOU.

Run away from what doesn’t.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2021

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2nd Cup Lives Again! 11/21/2021

Good Sunday morning to you, my friends. This site, along with virtually everything else on the planet, has been violated, turned upside-down, and otherwise bothered and bewildered until my hosting entity, SiteGround, was forced to sideline it until we could ferret out the issues.

The great news is that this blogsite is back, and unless WordPress keeps acting up, I’ll plan to be back with you each Monday morning. I have MISSED being with you.

There is nothing more unstable nor frightful than a writer whose ability to connect with readers has been compromised.

Now, I need to focus on this morning’s worship set and participate in the experience with my great extended family in Christ at Wichita’s Woodland Lakes Community Church. Until then? I’ll be working on yet more articles, and more stories of Granger and friends that, perhaps, you’ll be able to wrap yourself up in. Getting lost in a story that speaks to you, even for a few minutes, is a good thing.

I may not always give you exactly what you’re looking for. I will always give you my best.

(c) D. Dean Boone, 11/21/21

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A 2020 Christmas 2nd Cup of Coffee: THERE’S THAT STAR AGAIN!

“Hey, check this out. Now they’re calling us Magi.” Balthazar looked amused.

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“Get outta town.” The others exaggerated a visual sweep of their tented camp situated among seemingly endless dunes of desert sand, then glanced over at Melchior. Artemis, their chief of security, chuckled politely. Unabashed, Mel said, “Well, yeah, point taken. But you know what I mean.”

Nodding, Bal sighed. “I know. That last bazaar where we replenished? They were spreading around we’re kings from, I don’t know, somewhere they’ve never heard of.” Shaking his head, he sipped some thick, rich chocolate-infused coffee one of Mel’s companies marketed he’d taken a liking to, then leaned back on the cushions.

He went on. “You’d think everyone with any intelligence would want to be learning, seeking, researching, applying, and adding to what they know. I mean, the gods have blessed me with the understanding of numbers and the ability to acquire gold and precious gems, to trade in oils and other goods, and guide others in doing the same. That gives me the time and freedom to do what we’re doing right now: to search known texts and seek to verify what they contain.”

Gaspar sat quietly listening. Each of the wise men joining this mission from the gods through ancient writings, studying the stars, and guidance of dreams were sensitive to spiritual leadings. Each, through different means, had done much the same. Yet of them all, they acknowledged Gaspar as the true old soul, the mystic among them, a man of solitude and thought. He was a writer of poems and mysteries, the philosopher-counselor of the team whose ear and spirit seemed most attuned to the frequencies of the heavens.

My Experience Glamping at a Morocco Desert Camp

Melchior was the most practical Type A business head of the group, building up his pharmacy into several adjoining city states. He got along best with Chun because of the former’s understanding of herbs and healing arts, a mutual business arrangement turning out to be a lucrative collaboration for them both.

Balthazar spaced out for a few seconds, watching the lamp flames and the fire guttering softly in the night breezes that always moved like desert wraiths among them as they gathered around a firepit following each day’s travel. “By the way, where’s Doc? He usually has his ear to the ground.”

Artemis perked up. “Oh, he turned in already. You know how it is with codgers; they—” From a nearby tent came a reedy, strangely-accented voice: “Have you not heard that one’s honorable ears are last thing to fall asleep? And this codger capable of pulling your nostrils inside-out and making macrame knot.”

Snickering, Bal glanced quickly up at Artemis, then around the circle. It seemed everyone’s eyes were studiously averted, except for Gaspar. He sat as quietly as ever, yet with a sardonic humor in his gaze. No one gathered around the central fire doubted Chun could do it. Easily the oldest of the wise men and the one having traveled the farthest in pursuit of the strange star, even Artemis knew the seemingly ageless, mostly kind, soft-spoken Oriental physician was a good man to leave alone.

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After a few seconds of that kind of silence, Bal cleared his throat after another sip of the private-reserve mocha. “So, how much farther d’you suppose is the place where this child-king was born? This is turning out to be quite the trip. I’m guesstimating at least another full moon or more.”

Gaspar: “I, too, estimate another month. According to the ancient scrolls of the Habiru, we are close.” Melchior nodded. “I’m figuring the same, though we might need to do a little sleuthing to find out exactly where he and his parents are right now.”

Gaspar’s eyes lifted and he gazed directly into the three other mens’ eyes in turn. “Herod?” Melchior silently agreed, and Artemis got a bleak look in his eyes. “Yeah, there was something hinky about that dude. While you guys were dining with ‘im at the front table, I slipped out to visit with some of Kingy’s troops . . .”

Mel raised his chin toward the veteran security man. “And?”

Herod and the Wise Men

“And they can’t stand ‘im. They say they can’t trust–here he made air quotes–“HAY-rod”, that he’s a pathological liar and we shouldn’t believe he’ll do anything other than what he thinks is best for him. He’s power-mad and has anyone killed who he thinks threatens his reign. Including his troops”

Melchior bobbed his head once. “I got the same vibes. You guys?” All in the circle agreed. “Okay, then – that star will have left the bazaar after we’ve delivered our gifts to the little King’s family.”

The men reclined quietly for a few seconds. The rusking of the desert wind across ageless sand, the tinkling of tiny bells on camel halters, the singing, weird whine of the wind across taut rope tie-downs, and the myriad small mutterings and groans of all the beasts as they slept, combined to produce a comforting background of dune music to which the travelers had all become accustomed.

Balchior roused himself. “Hey, Mel, you got any more of that whatchacallit chocolate coffee mixed up?”

“It’s Arabian Mocha Hanani. You bet. How about the rest of you?” As he poured out the savory drink into four of the hammered copper cups he’d brought along from one of his suppliers, Gaspar quietly rose and began serving his fellow travelers, holding the filigreed tray carefully so no one spilled. Sensing eyes on him, he scanned around him and found Artemis observing his actions.

As he bent and offered the hard-bitten veteran security chief his cup of the fragrant, hot coffee, he hesitated, his raised eyebrows asking the silent question. Embarrassed, Artemis gruffly said, “I oughta be serving you, Sir.”

Squatting and adjusting his beautiful robes, Gaspar addressed Artemis as his equal: “The gods have said that he who would be first among you must be your servant.” His statement seemed to ring in the night air. All the others in the circle stared at him.

Melchior quietly remarked, “I’m not real good at that. Where’d you hear that?” Bal agreed: “Yeah. That’s like, deep stuff. C’mon, give.”

Gaspar raised his eyes to look at the starry ceiling, then turned his head to focus on The Star that had led each of these men, first separately, then together, to embark on this journey that was already changing their lives.

He dropped his gaze back to look Artemis in the eye, then rose and returned to where his pillows were stacked. Once again reclining and carefully picking up his cup of Mel’s great brew, he scanned the others, then looked again up at the Star. “Funny you should ask. It was one evening as we were resting from the day’s travel. I was . . . exhausted and, I’m afraid, a bit surly with the camel drivers. I spoke loudly and harshly to them for what I perceived as them being lazy and inattentive.”

Was the Star of Bethlehem Actually Venus? | Live Science

Gaspar hesitated, and his voice thickened. “It seemed to me a voice of the gods resonated within me and caused me to look up at the Star. It looked to me as if that Star flickered in even greater brightness as I heard those words — ‘He who would be first among you must be your servant.”

Once again, this proud, wise, knowledgeable man on whose words and counsel so many others depended was quiet, and tears rolled silently as he again spoke. “I got up, walked back to where the camel drivers and tenders were watering their herd and starting to prepare their evening meal. Expecting to be chastened again, they stared as I removed my fine outer robes, laid them aside, and picked up a watering bucket to begin giving both them and their animals a drink.”

The guttering of the fire was all anyone nearby could have heard, for the rest of the stunned circle was silent. Finally, Bal couldn’t stand it any longer.
“What’d they say?”

“Nothing. Neither did I, for I was deeply embarrassed, yet purposed I would be the servant which the Star had directed me to become.” Here, Gaspar’s gaze took on the strange, penetrating gleam the others had by now learned to respect. “And, the gods helping me, I shall never again treat any fellow man as one beneath me, nor ever again take advantage of another’s kindness. That Star, my friends, has forever changed me.”

The group sat in empowered silence then, each considering the potent wisdom they’d just shared. They each were thinking of the hundreds of pounds of gifts they’d been carrying with them to offer to the little King and his parents . . .

Balthazar, the Arabian money guy, brought to them gold and precious gems, understanding this young displaced family would need funds to live on until Joseph could return to Nazareth Furniture, Inc. and begin working full time again . . .

Gaspar, the Indian mystic and spiritual guru, brought to them many pounds of his own collected private blend of powdered spices he labeled ‘incense’, which he burned daily in the morning stillness as he sought the wisdom and truth of the gods . . .

Melchior, the Persian businessman, a rich pharmacist brought to them a precious mix of topical ingredients marketed as ‘Myrrh’. Also fragrant, its primary use was to treat wounds, delay sepsis, and as an ointment to prepare the deceased for burial. Considered by some as the merthiolate of its day, it was perhaps the most needful of all the gifts for a young boy growing up around his father’s tools. Oh, yeah, Mary was going to need Mel’s first-aid kit. And Joe, who’d hired on at Bethlehem Furniture? Yep.

And Chun, the mysterious Oriental doctor who knew how to mix all the others’ gifts in the correct proportions and patiently teach young Mary how to do likewise.

The Star of Bethlehem can be seen in the sky after 800 years

It was as if they all knew the Star was guiding them toward a future none of them would ever see, but which would be forever altered because each of them dared to step out of their familiar lives and embark on a journey for all Time and Eternity.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2020

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Q(uiet) T(ime) M(usings)s for 9/21/2020: I THINK YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT I SAID…

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of My mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. (Isaiah 55:8-11, MSG)

I sat here, brow furrowed, right eyebrow cocked slightly above the left, hesitating. At 67, I’m learning still to pause when God speaks, making sure I’m listening with the right ears. It’s possible to be hearing spirit words with fleshly ears, assigning human meaning to divine intent.

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In the ’70s, almost everyone had CB radios, and it was fun to listen to all the interesting citizen band invites to talk: “How ’bout that one Boogie Fever Man – are ya by? ‘Aye-mmm-Bravo-Foxtrot-Mike, come on back to the Retread King.”

God’s had His own call for millenia: “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”

So, yeah. I paused. I sipped some piping-hot, fresh-ground organic Guatemala joe. I munched on a sugary, gooey bite of BC’s monkey bread. I wanted to have the right ears on. I sipped and munched a little more, then went back and reread that Isaiah bit. “Okay, God. Where are you going with this first thing this Monday morning?” It didn’t take long.

It’s possible to be hearing spirit words with fleshly ears, assigning human meaning to divine intent.

I got directed to Paul’s counsel about our flesh interacting with God’s Otherness . . .

“Although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, CST)

I sat pondering again. Part of my daily morning ritual is to use waking- and cleaning-up time along with light exercise and workouts to pray my way around my family. My remaining elder siblings are not close to Kansas, so the easiest way to love them is to assign them and their loved ones to God’s care and protection.

Then I add my own family – BC, our kids, grandkids, and great-grands, along with their loved ones. And next come close friends whom God often puts on my heart. The result is a sizeable group of folks into whose lives and experiences it’s my privilege and mission to direct God’s grace, supply, and oversight.

2020 The Year is proving to be the weirdest of most of our lifetimes. Much of what’s been happening physically, spiritually, psychologically, even illegally, is unlike anything in so many of our experiences thus far.

We’ve all paced, ground teeth, shaken heads, and thrown hands up in disgust and unbelief at what’s been happening. More than one of us – maybe all – have said something like, “God, WHAT is going ON? Why aren’t You DOING something about this mess? Surely YOU can see what’s going on, and what to do about it!”

Of course He does. Isaiah the wizened old Hebrew prophet said it. Scroll up and read it again. “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.”

Yeah, okay, but—-

~ Sovereign and Providential God knows exactly what He’s ...

When the Holy Spirit gives you that LOOK, you feel it. So God’s not only saying, “Listen up.” He’s also penetrating your whirling thoughts, opinions, and righteous pronouncements, bringing it all to a burnt-rubber-stinky halt by saying, “You FEEL Me?”

Friend, the real battles aren’t being waged on physical war grounds. They’re spiritual battles. If you once were allowed to set eyes on the true spiritual wars being waged above and surrounding all the lying, deceitful, crazed, sick, killing, destructive stuff being done in our nation and world, you’d be bleach-white and terrified!

It’s why Paul reminds us: we’re not to be pulled into the mindless grinder of souls Hell wants us to believe is too strong for us to resist. Go check in Ephesians 6 what each of us as Christians have as our load-out of weaponry that doesn’t just repel the forces of wrong and Evil arrayed against God, His church, and His people: they’re designed specifically to DEMOLISH any weapon Hell raises against you – including every one of their high-sounding arguments, along with every proud thing and person who tirelessly raises them.

Nope. It won’t happen as you and I think it should. Won’t happen anywhere near as soon, either. We’re all going to have to remember God doesn’t operate according to Time; He always acts according to what I call His perfect Now. We all are just going to have to accept that part.

In the meantime, you keep those daily prayers for YOUR loved ones and others close to you going out to where God is. Yes, He’s paying attention; He’s keeping perfect records of all of it, and as He knows it’s the right time to act, you can trust Him to make it all happen exactly as it should.

Remember: with God, there’s NO such thing as impossible.

God’s got this.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 7/27/2020: HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND…

I saw it in passing, like road signs that are already past before it registers what you just read. Uncharacteristically nimble, my mind yanked up on the emergency brake. I stopped and reread the phrase.

“Ephesians 6 streaking”.

Nope. I had not misread it. I sat quietly for ten or fifteen seconds, the burnt-rubber odor of the sudden mental stop wafting through the intersection of my thoughts.

I know Ephesians 6 is about practical Christian living. I also know it’s about living in a world not just alien to Biblical Christianity, but actively opposed to it.

I’m a veteran. I’ve trained with weapons, became skilled in their use, and was in qualification at one time to earn an expert rating. The concept of streaking in connection with warfare was as dissonant as trying to teach love to a colony of fire ants.

This called for coffee. As I sat and sipped, the Bible’s ultimate Author began drawing me pictures.

“It reads, ‘Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (I’ve never gotten in too much trouble by being quiet; I did that.)

God: “You got the streaking part, right? And I know you’ve been wondering at the sanity of all the ‘peaceful demonstrators’ in Portland, half naked, handling things that either slash, crush, explode, stab, or incinerate.” (I nodded. If the quiet thing worked before, why mess with success?)

Right about here is where the little bell went ‘ding’. Ephesians 6 is not a Christian boutique where you pick and choose which items you think will complement your style or color scheme of the day. “Oh, naw, that whole trauma plate thing just doesn’t do it for me, but get a load of those sandals!

‘Full armor’ means business. It means you’re outfitted for all-out war, and leaving ANY piece of that equipment behind, no matter the reason, could mean your death, as well as someone else’s whose life and witness you could have saved.

Along about verse 17, The Message adds: “God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

By now you’re with me. Sometimes the battle calls for aggressive, in-your-face attacks. Other times, the command comes down to hold your position at all costs. Right. As in, “having done ALL, to stand.”

This image caught my eye earlier this morning. Last Thursday I underwent an invasive procedure to remove a few inches of my colon, which was home to a thus-far benign lesion. Considering my medical history and God’s miraculous intervention in my life, it was no big deal; I’m up and around again, with little adverse effects beyond the normal fatigue from general anesthetic.

I’m not whiny, puny, nor lazy. If the weather cooperates, after I’ve rested some today, I’ll do a light workout with weights later today or tomorrow. I believe in keeping myself in the best shape I can, being a good steward of the health and life remaining to me.

This image resembles my mental, spiritual, and physical philosophy as no other I’ve seen. I’ll leave it to you to discern how and why.

I’m wrapping up this post with a few strong words of encouragement.

  • Matthew 16:27 and Hebrews 11:6 say our rewards come later, because of our firm faith in God and His ability to work in and through us.
  • What makes you unique is what puts you ahead of the game.
  • When you upgrade your mindset, people closest to you will either elevate along with you, or disappear. Let them choose which. Your mission is to follow where God is leading you.
  • Hard days and nights don’t just count — they count double! It’s the struggle that makes you stronger and tougher and better. Make it count — for His Kingdom.

© D. Dean Boone, July 2020

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment
 
 

Granger: 2nd Cup Saturday, 4/11/2020: THE VETERAN OF 1,003 MELODIES

The man’s steps slowed, and he hesitated at the unknown road leading off to the right.

Silver-haired and of normal build, he wore casual, comfortable, neutral-colored clothes, for  he usually walked as weather and schedule permitted.  He stood for a moment, eyeing the safe, regular, normal route leading straight ahead.

That was his usual route.

Musing, he sipped steaming coffee from the travel mug he always filled before leaving his house.  Thoughtfully interested in this lane he’d never before noticed, he chose adventure and discovery over normalcy.

Wonder where this goes?  I never noti–I mean, how many times have I walked this road?  Might as well check it out.  Might be interesting.

Unbidden and subvocally the whisper of Grace said deep within him, “You have no idea . . .”  He heard nothing.  His subconscious did.  His eyebrows briefly met as he hesitated just for a few seconds, slanting  his eyes leftward at the road he regularly walked.  Shrugging off the strange feeling that washed over him, his left hand lightly brushed the Benchmade folding knife he never went anywhere without as he turned to his right and started along the unknown road.

On the breeze, he thought he heard, faintly, ‘Blessed Assurance’ being played on a piano. “M-kay, that’s weird.” Shrugging, he stepped off to the right.

As he walked, jumbled thought-fragments and memory-Post-Its piled haphazardly in Granger’s mind like a miscellaneous load of laundry waiting to come out of the dryer.

The whisking of weeds and the occasional small tree branch against his faded, broken-in cargo pants reminded him of boyhood explorations. 

Flickriver: Photoset 'Western grasshoppers outtakes (good ...

His muscles tensed as a wheat-colored grasshopper approximately big enough for a collar broke cover from the grass and weeds growing between the twin dirt tracks.  The bright yellow of its wings reminded him of the big, black, red-winged ones he remembered from childhood – the ones that sounded too much like an irate rattlesnake for comfort.

As he strolled along the dusty road, his mind paralleled its gentle winding contours.  His thoughts alternately ambled and gamboled like a curious pup, some–There’s that piano music again . . . “Lookin’ for fun, and feelin’ groo-vy”– specifically pointed and others softly shaded, just as the budding trees dappled his form with sunlight and shadows while he casually watched and walked.

The sight of a half-fallen, rusted barbed-wire fence reminded him of the weathered, broken sections of fence he and his father had taken down, saving the staples in an old Folgers coffee can, and cutting up the greyed, splintered posts for firewood . . .  “When It’s Spri—ngtime In— The Rockies”

Old Train Tracks by landajc on DeviantArt

He glimpsed the remnants of an old railroad track, weed-overgrown and rust-dulled, which brought memories of the girl for whom he’d registered his heart in Heaven as they one day walked together along the tracks on the way to school . . .  “You ask me if there’ll come a time I won’t require you–“

An ancient, cracked bit of pavement staggered off to a diagonal left, generating fond memories of him and his boyhood pals riding their bikes to new adventures wherever unexplored roads led them . . .

The William Tell Overture? Someone is playing a piano out here somewhere.  Shaking his head, he walked on.

A huge old weeping willow tree caused a wide grin of recollection as he remembered him and his chums playing for hours in just such a tree (or B-17 bomber or USS Nautilus or Fort Apache or–) in one of their yards . . . There it is again.  Seriously? That’s . . . that’s the theme from “12-O’Clock High”!

He saw off in the distance through the trees what looked to be a rambling old barn, weathered and warped, board-bare and leaning to the left.  A long-seeing stare settled in his face as he recalled the equally-weathered, massive old wooden church camp tabernacle where he’d driven down some spiritual surveyor’s stakes as he and God came to terms – and where he’d met his lifelong companion.  

Speaking of campmeeting, there’s that piano again. That’s–that’s “TOTAL PRAISE!” That hadn’t even been written back then! I’m sure I heard it, but there’s nothing, no one out here. Granger remembered as a teenager, sitting and plunking on that old, rough upright grand piano that seemed to have grown into the wooden platform . . .

He was so pleasantly rapt in the richness, the reliving color and vibrancy of his memories that he didn’t at first notice the dual symmetry and wide opening of the overgrown gate.  Eyebrows arched, he gave his head a quick shake and stood for a minute, looking at the brickwork.  Someone who was very good at it laid these bricks. 

“They sure did.”  It took a split second for him to realize he’d answered himself and spoken out loud, which made him chuff softly through his nose.  Those who spend long hours in solitude often find themselves speaking inner thoughts aloud.  He grinned at the idea of him vocally agreeing with his usual quiet self. 

His eyes swept the inlaid metal embellishments, hinges, and imposing gates, equally overgrown with weeds and vines, yawning open.  Their weathered gray-green patina and vacant openness was an eloquent shrug.  “Come in if you wish.”

He grinned again at his immediate response when he looked up beyond the gate and saw the old house.  “Oh, I wish!”   —And a little clearer now, he heard “Come On In, There’s Still Room In The Family” by Gold City.  He thought again, Okay, somebody can really play the piano! Where in the world there’d be one out here, though . . .

He walked slowly along a winding lane. His steps automatically faltered as he took in what was once a lovely two-plus-storied home with an imposing tower on its right side, emerging from the shrubs and decorative trees that had shielded it from view. 

OldHouses.com - 1893 Victorian - James W. Coleman House in ...

Granger’s imagination began to unconsciously list scenarios, poignant vignettes of who once lived there, what they were like, what they did.  In his high school days, he’d taken architectural drafting, so he admired the lines, the enriching detail that spoke of a loving, exacting hand.

The colors of sidings, shingles, and beautifully-mitered and trimmed window frames had faded across time into a gentle soft-edged camouflage that shifted as he walked closer. This was one gorgeous house in its day. Once again, the subvocal words of Grace quietly purred: “I was more than a beautiful house; I was home to some truly amazing people.”

Granger stood still, listening with spirit ears. There were no further words, no sound at all — except for what sounded like a little child playing Chopsticks on a piano. Yet how can that be?  Then there was nothing more, yet the silence was comfortable, companionable – as if the stillness was a lovingly-woven welcome mat.

Stepping carefully up the four risers to an expansive veranda, he probed cautiously for loose or rotten boards, dodging around a hole and ducking the magnificent web of a beautifully-made-up garden spider.  Admiring her, he said, “Enjoy your breakfast, old girl.  You’ve worked hard and earned the meal.”

Granger stood at the threshold, looking through the door into the dust-carpeted entryway.  Other than the slender legs of a broken chair over in a corner, and wind-swept leaves and assorted plant life, the rooms he could see from the doorway were bare.  Glancing to his left, he admired the beautifully-faceted glass panes of the sagging door. He stepped inside, once again sensing a thrill, an unsettled yet warm feeling.  Old buildings have stories . . .

Standing quietly just inside the wide, carved front door, Granger let his mind and spirit do a scan, sweeping slowly through what was once such a  lovely home. By habit, he silently thought, “Lord, what joys and laughter lived here? What enriching relationships happened in these rooms? Who were the amazing men and women who made this stunning building their home?”

Curious, he walked quietly on into what must have been a welcoming room, for an even larger room opened off to the left, beneath one side of a sweeping staircase. To the right, a doorway led to what must have been for it’s day a gourmet kitchen. He started to step inside when he heard Claire de Lune being softly played on a piano.

I knew I heard a piano!  But how— Where?  I’ve never seen this place before, never knew it existed, and it’s obvious nobody’s lived here for—well, ever.

Backing out of the kitchen, he stepped across into what he figured was once the formal living room. His eyes swept the room, seeing large multi-paned casement windows, mostly unbroken, that flooded the huge room with light. Again, Granger mused at the social events that once made this place ring with laughter and excited talk and—

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2nd-Cup-Veteran-of-1003-Melodies-e1553952515221.jpg

There it was.  Toward the back of the immense room, standing alone, was a exquisitely carved old grand piano. It was hard to tell what its original color was under all the accumulated dust and debris, but it seemed to have been a rich chocolate color. Dust, dirt, and assorted wind-borne stuff covered the keys. There was no bench.

Granger stood reverently.  He remembered every time in his life when God seamlessly wove Time and Timelessness into an unforgettable encounter, either by himself, or through him to someone else. Every time one of those strange melds happened, he felt his faith surge. He felt his will to live on as God’s man more empowered.

There hasn’t been any water or electricity to this place for at least, I don’t know, forty years? Fifty? A hundred? And there’s nothing else out here that could explain the piano music I heard on my way here. As unlikely – okay, impossible – as it seems, the music I heard, both sacred and secular, came from . . . 

Granger looked around to his left, refocusing his eyes on the dirty, scuffed, dinged old piano.

. . . That.

Turning to check the rest of the old house, he glanced at his watch. He’d spent almost four hours immersing himself in what he was sure was a piece of history; it was past time for him to be getting back to his office.

Outside again, he turned once he was out in the lane far enough, took his phone out, and got a couple of pictures of the house. He figured he could get pics of the interior – and especially the piano – when he came back. And, oh yes, he was definitely coming back.

Once seated in his chair, Granger decided to ask Sparks, his cop friend, about the property where the old house stood. Firing up his laptop, he pulled up his phone’s picture gallery to transfer the two pictures of the house onto his compu—

Okay, that’s odd. Where are those two pictures? Weird. 

He called Sparks and asked him about the property. The deputy was silent for a few seconds, then asked, “Property? That’s county land as far as I know. And I’ve never heard of the road you’re talking about. Tell ya what, I’m just getting off shift, so why don’t I swing by and pick you up, and you can show me where you were.”

Sparks drove them out to where Granger usually walked, and they stopped and got out.  Granger said, “See, right over there is that road I—”  Baffled, he cast his eyes all around, seeing nothing but weeds and rotten fenceposts. 

Sparks stood watching. He’d been with Granger a time or two when things nobody could rationally explain had happened; he knew better than to rib his older friend. The deputy understood: Granger had some very close, unusual ties with God – and when things like this happened, there was always a reason, even when the explanation was delayed.

On the way back to Granger’s office, Sparks respected his mentor’s silence as he processed the day’s events. Pulling his patrol Charger up in front of Granger’s building, he sat and waited. Granger soon looked up.

“People of every era believe theirs to be both the best and worst. In both ways, they’re right. What distinguishes them during their own lifetimes is which outlook occupies most of their thoughts.  Those who see nothing but life’s worst only build temporary things, hold temporary jobs, leave nothing of value in their wake, and generally die unhappy.”

He waited to see if Sparks was following, then continued.

“It’s the others who build houses like the one I saw, who live and love and laugh in those amazing rooms I was admiring – and who make majestic instruments like that stunning grand piano. They always leave things that outlive them, and their lives while here are full of music, of creativity, and packed with blessings – because they choose to look for those values.”

Sparks sat there, absorbing Granger’s analysis.  “Okay. That’s some heavy stuff, there, pardner. But how do you explain all the piano music you heard?”

Granger looked into his friend’s eyes, then his expanded into Middle Space as he half smiled, slowly shook his head, and answered,” I haven’t a clue. Some things God holds close to His chest.”

Long after Granger went inside and closed the door, the young deputy sheriff sat there thinking. After ten minutes had passed, he was no closer to figuring it out than before. Still quiet, he shifted his ride into “D” and headed into what was turning out to be one of the most lovely sunsets he’d ever noticed.

© D. Dean Boone, April 2020

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Leave a comment
 
 

A 2nd Cup for Valentines Day ’20: THE FIRST TIME I HELD HER HEART

My Valentine and I have been holding hearts for over 45 years, and we’ve managed it in the same way any of us walk with Jesus: by grace and through faith.

It has been neither simple nor easy. We’ve literally known each other all our lives, so we sort of knew what we were getting.

She’s the one whose sentences I can usually finish . . .

She often as not mirrors my thoughts . . .

We could likely keep a doctor’s appointment for each other . . .

AND—

We’re able to enjoy our separate pastimes, either in the same room or in the same house, without bugging the other.

Exactly alike? Nope. In some ways, we’re complete opposites.

She’s numbers — rational, logical, blunt, undemonstrative, and explosive.

I’m words — creative, thoughtful, intuitive, diplomatic, passionate, and smoldering.

Babycakes is an instinctive, terrific cook; I survive. She’s Math and facts; I’m creativity and ideas. She’s into love stories; I prefer history, war, crime drama, or action movies. She stays inside, despising housework; I do all the outside work, loving the fresh air, greenery, and plants.

We have two different offices for a reason. Mine is zen shades of green, including mood lighting, with aircraft pictures on the wall and coffeemaker and several roasts of whole bean coffee bagged up on a shelf.

Hers is in shades of lavender and light grape, with accounting books and office stuff. We respect the other’s privacy, always waiting and knocking, even if the door is open. Well, except for Ray. If our doors are even the slightest crack open, he lowers his head, does the linebacker’s deal, and invites himself in.

We’ve managed to keep holding hearts for all these years because we hold a mutual respect toward each other; we are true friends beyond all else. Sharing a fierce love that bears the scars of long decades of assaults that would have lacerated most marriages, we choose to recognize our differences, and celebrate them.

Perfect couple? Not hardly. I’m an Intuitive introvert, and she’s NOT. We have spirited discussions about our opinions, yet we’ve both learned – again, by grace and through faith – to make time to understand the other’s point of view. It enables us to realize and even come to appreciate our separate likes and dislikes.

So, yeah–I’ve been holding hearts with Babycakes for a whole lot of years. During that time, we’ve both kept learning to ask that time-honored 4th grade question: “Will you still be my Valentine?”

And every time I think of where we’ve been, the lyric plays again in my mind . . .

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

‘Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say,
It’s true
God gave me you, gave me you
He gave me you

~~~from album Red River Blue, written by Dave Barnes, sung by Blake Shelton

lyrics separate copyright

© D. Dean Boone, 14 February 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/29/2020: WHAT’S THE STORY ON LOVE?

Coffee - Valentines2

I originally came across this great little story in August of 2007.  Approaching Valentines Day, it seems to me with the national psyche and popular culture at its current state, it’s time to revisit the subject. I want to share it and some time-modified comments with you as Valentine’s Day 2020 approaches.  Please–read on. . .

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived:  Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others–including Love.  One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in History Supreme, the most expensive yacht on Earth.  Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?”  Richness answered, “Oh, no, I’m sorry, but I can’t. I’ve got a bunch of silver and gold and goodies aboard, and… well, I know you understand. I just don’t have any room for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in Earth’s biggest yacht, Azzam “Vanity, may I ride with you?”

“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet, and this IS a Leoni interior.”  Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help: Sadness, I know you’ll let me go with you, right?”

“Oh, dear…. Love, I—You’ve been there so often for me; but right now, I’m so sad that I just really need to be by myself!”

boat miami

Happiness passed by too on a party yacht, but she was so giddy and preoccupied with the party, and the music was so loud that she didn’t even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a calm voice:  “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.  Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he forgot to ask the elder his name. The craft in which they rode together was plain and nondescript among the opulence of all whom Love had always thought were his friends, yet it was strongly built and had seen much good use. When they arrived at dry land, the elder quietly went his own way.

Love realized how much he owed the elder and asked another elder, Knowledge, who was unloading belongings and supplies:  “Who was that who helped me?”

Slavery GIF - Find on GIFER

“That was Time,” Knowledge answered. Time? asked Love“But why did Time help me when no one else would?” Knowledge stopped working, straightened, smiled, and with deep wisdom answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

___________

You’ve read it before: Unless they know you real well, people will forget a lot of what you say; and people will forget most of what you do—but people won’t forget how you made them feel. And therein lies the magic of this 2nd Cup I originally shared in February of 2007.

Thirteen years have passed since then . . . Thirteen.

Love takes time to mature.  Think of Knowledge’s potent words:  “. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”  If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from Gotta-Be-Around-Em-24/7 to Hide-Me-It’s-Him/Her-Again, that might not be Love, love.  It’s entirely possible that’s just gas. 

Around 7 minutes is the average time between TV commercials, even the ones about love and marriage. We know 7 minutes does not a marriage make; and 7 years is just getting started. 

You may have grown up believing it normal to dissolve any non-thriving relationship.  Guess what?  All relationships occasionally hit a patch of maintenance and coasting.  It’s normal to the ebb and flow of any human interaction.  Nevertheless, quitting isn’t the norm.  Perseverance is. 

Love takes time to mature.  If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from mild appreciation to a dawning awareness that to lose personal contact with that person would carve a huge hole in your heart–well, now that there’s LUV, love.  It’s the real deal,  on-purpose, Time-proven; the stuff of great friendships and terrific marriages.

“. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

put love in your work [gif] by henrique barone | Dribbble ...

I wonder how long it took Love, standing there with eyes unfocused, to understand what a huge compliment the brilliantly-influential Time had paid him?  Do you understand?  Given the choice to be Love or Time, most would choose Love.  What’s not to love about Love?  Everybody loves to be loved.  “How sweet it is to be loved by you…  “I need your love— I need your love— God speed your love to me.”  Less by far are those who choose over time to create Lovers in their wake. . . 

That’s what Time was doing.

Time isn’t an elder by virtue of age.  Time’s an elder because he has established his own niche:  Time is a creator of champion lovers.  Wherever Time goes and whatever else may be his task, he is forever and always alert, watching for those into whose lives he can pour some of himself and his own ever-widening dimensions of love for others.

And Time’s focus is precise.  His intent is to create an extension of himself within the hearts of any who will pay attention to who and what he is .

How often do you need to hear someone tell you they believe in you before you begin believing in yourself again?  There is no easy answer, for some never do believe in themselves to the point they climb above where they’ve been and begin moving toward personal and spiritual excellence.

And how often do you need to hear “I love you” before you start loving yourself again?  Once more, not an easy thing.  Some never do escape their own loveless gravity and allow the love of someone else in until they can shock their own into beating again.

No guarantees accrue.  You are the sum of your own choices.  It can be disarmingly easy to bury landmines, calibrate laser tripwires, install infrared sensors and keep everyone at attitude’s-length.  It is possible to live an entire lifetime convinced that your perpetual loneliness and surface-deep friendships comprise the way you always intended to live.  It also will eventually push away the very ones that Time will reveal were your best allies.

Time is a creator of champion lovers.  Time softens locked jaws and impacted notions.  Time reveals that things are rarely what they seem.  Like a laser, it will soon sear straight through nonsense and popular opinion.  Time is a creator of champion lovers, because “only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.” 

If you’re like me, this will take awhile to soak down into the richness of the kind of Love for ourselves and for others that far too many have given up ever experiencing again. 

Seek Wisdom as you let that happen.  Loving people who are not always lovely is no simple task.  It can be overdone or underdone, and often both.  Sometimes your best won’t work and your worst will,  and only Time and prayer will ever make a difference. 

The DAWSON’S CREEK Rewatch Project: A Beautiful Goodbye ...

And sometimes people choose to walk away from God, and your best isn’t enough, and “Good-bye” is forever.  That doesn’t mean loving others doesn’t work.  Sometimes the most loving thing you’ll ever do is to watch them go and never call them back.

I encourage you to love anyway.  Become a creator of champion lovers–men and women who dare to run counter to the vapid, lip-deep, politically-advantageous and cynical “love” tossed around by the world and way too much of the Church.

How?  Ask God to help you love others more like He does. 

I did that. I asked Him to help me with that.  Oh, boy. . . 

To do that, He began revealing things about others to me, little by little, which made me at times back away–and every time He gently said, “Remember?  You want to love others more like I do.  I remind you:  I know EVERYTHING about you and I love you with everything there is in Me.”  Well, there is that.  God brought to mind this verse:

  Oh, how can I give you up …?  How can I let you go?  How can I destroy you … My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows… for I am God and not a mere mortal.

(Hosea 11:8-9 NLT)

Valentine’s Day, huh?  I’d rather love those who love me back.  I, like most people, heartily dislike rejection.  It is way too easy to mentally write off those who cut-and-slash.  But if I am serious about loving like God does, I can’t do that.  Neither can you.

Valentines Day Messages For Friends

So, I challenge you–work to become a creator of champion lovers by being one yourself, patterned after the greatest Lover of all eternity.  And while there’s Time?  Well. . .

“Only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

© D. Dean Boone, 1/29/2020

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point, Wisdom | Leave a comment
 
 

A Sunday 2nd Cup for 1/26/2020: THE WONDERFUL LAND OF WILLBE

What you’re experiencing right now is the residual effect of your past thinking. Memories, past events, old relationships, and especially your own thoughts regarding them all? They’re influencing where you are right here, right now, today.

It’s not the things. It’s your thoughts about them that are driving you.

Or holding you back.

What determines who and what you become is the difference between your hopes and your fears. Everything in your life revolves around whether you focus on what you want and like, or what you don’t want and don’t like.

You’ve encountered hardships and rotten treatment in life. You’ve been used and taken advantage of. Had your heart broken and figured you needed your head examined.

Big deal. So has everyone else. You can focus on all that, wanting to be exonerated and setting everything right.

Or you can shrug it off and let it all go, and focus instead on what you really want throughout the remainder of this life.

It’s your choice. Yet you must choose; you cannot do both. As I once read, retribution and self-fulfillment are rarely served on the same plate.

© from my 2nd Cup files ~ D. Dean Boone, January 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/24/2020: THE ME I NEED TO BE TODAY

Recurring things get my attention.

I often have Pandora’s ‘Relaxation Radio’ playing softly in the background while working here at my desk. One piece I always enjoy is a smooth, thoughtful accoustic guitar styling of ‘Let It Be Me’. At some point I must’ve hit the ‘thumbs-up’ icon, because it’s a rare week I don’t hear it at least once.

Half-listening to it yesterday, some new thoughts began emerging. “I bless the day I found You, I want to stay around You . . .” The other half of my brain kicked in about then, remembering “I Miss My Time With You” . . . “I need to be with you each day, and it hurts Me when you say you’re too busy–busy tryin’ to serve Me! But how can you serve Me, when your spirit’s empty? There’s a longing in My heart, wanting just to be a part of you, it’s true—– I miss My time with you.”

Needless to say, I got a little quiet for a minute or two.

“Lord, if there’s someone You can use to lift and encourage another today?

Let it be me.

Let me be that one . . .

—who cares when others don’t or won’t.

—who prays, then in a few days follows up on it.

—who remains a loyal friend, no matter what.

—who cheers and encourages.

—who looks for the praiseworthy in others.

—who dares to love fiercely.

—who is passionate even while being patient.

—who always wants God’s best for you.

I could keep adding to the list, but you get the point. In a culture fractured by self-interest and ambivalent toward anyone else, God still issues the challenge, “Who will go for our side? Whom do I send?”

I don’t – won’t – speak for you. I do believe our crazed American social scene will most effectively be healed in one way: you and I being God’s best kids, impacting others one by one in ways that lift them and please Him.

Saying that, I make no case for laying yourself open to hurt, abuse, and being used by those who’ve made a lifestyle – even built careers – out of squeezing the hearts of good people. Part of the passionate patience to which I refer above is learning to wait on God’s timing; and listening to His prompting.

Oh, yeah. And maybe the next time you hear “Let It Be Me”, it’ll make the message a little more special.

© D. Dean Boone, January 2020

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational | Leave a comment
 
 

2nd Cup Hash: LITTLE O’ THIS, LITTLE O’ THAT, & STIR – 1/21/2020

“Time to create,” said his heart.

“It’s about time,” replied his soul.

Why I write: because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.

I wander through fiction to find the truth.

Sometimes you can’t calm the storm, so it’s best to stop trying. What you can do is to calm yourself. The storm, no matter how violent, will pass.

Your life will get better when you realize it’s better to be alone than to chase people who don’t really care about you.

Real strength, empowerment, and inner peace begin with the ability to let go. Then focus on living in the moment according to what genuinely pleases you, instead of trying to look good to others in order to earn their favor.

Lazy is such an unpleasant word. I like to call it ‘selective participation’.

underneath my outside face / there’s a face that none can see / a little less smiley, a little less sure / but a whole lot more like me

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

Well, my friends, that’s enough for now. It is my hope something herein, either the words themselves, or some thoughts and impressions of your own that snuck quietly from between the lines, will generate an idea of your own.

We are together a formidable force when we forego letting others speak for us, instead being our own advocates and building our speech and conversations on the product of our own reasoning, guided by God’s wisdom and grace.

Life is a sequence of moments all called NOW.

© D. Dean Boone, 1/21/2020

Categories: Common Sense, Encouragement, Inspirational | Leave a comment
 
 

The 2nd Cup You’ve Been Waitin’ For – 12/16/19

It read, “Make sure everyone in your boat is rowing and not drilling holes in the bottom.”

Since almost this blog site’s birthing, I’ve had to wrestle with the hosting entity. I thought once I’d paid my dues, I could settle down and focus only on writing. The hosting folks would have my back.

As it turns out, they mostly had their own back. It seemed every time I got my writing groove on and encountered a site issue, their response was, “Sure, we can help with that–for only $_____.”

I’m slow on the uptake sometimes because I don’t like confrontation, nor have I ever liked those who use me. I did, however, finally tumble to the fact they were busily drilling holes in the bottom of the boat when I wasn’t looking. I confess to real disappointment, often bordering on discouragement, for it felt as if everything was aligned against my working on the manuscript for Time Trials – my healing story. Anyway, it got expensive, and I began searching for a new 3 Hour Tour.

I found one. The transferring of my domain to the new hosting site will take a few more days. It’s already paying for itself, saving me irritation and heart burn – and laying my groove down, man. The creative juices will soon be flowing from my fingertips, through my trusty laptop keyboard, onto the screens of devices everywhere.

IF, that is, you dial up my blog address, www.2ndcupofcoffee.com. Hint: my new hosting site has some smooth electronic whozits that alert me when peeps are clicking and reading. It also keeps track of how many, on which days, even preferred posts.

So. My blog since 2013, 2nd Cup of Coffee, has a new host. It’s still sponsored by WordPress, so nothing will look different to you. It’s all going to be different, though; definitely upscale and better than ever.

I’m looking forward to li—- What? Oh. Sure.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Coffee-GIF-Grinch.gif

Granger says he’s got something special in the works as a Christmas gift.

Ah-ah-ah? No Peking.

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, December 2019

Categories: Encouragement, Information | Leave a comment
 
 

QTMs for 9/28/19: From Humility To Excellence

Humility is one of those things we may find confusing to define, but I believe we all agree what humility’s absence looks like.

Definitely. Espresso grind.

I recently read that almost everyone you meet claims to be humble. Yet even while making that claim, they have their eye on the Trinity just in case there’s a vacancy.

QTMs is my own shorthand for Quiet Time Musings. At one time I sent at least one such post each morning, and its practice became more habitual than enjoyable. That’s one of the reasons I stopped writing them. Two others are that I’m continuing work on the manuscript for my first book, which takes time. The second is that I’ve been forced by my web hosting site to switch to new servers. There’s more to that than meets the checkbook, so suffice it to say I’ve been slowed down and distracted. Frustrated, evUN. (Some of you read that in Snagglepuss’s voice. I heard you.)

No matter where I’m reading during each morning’s quiet time, I always find good, worthy counsel in Psalms and Proverbs. This year I’ve been reading out of the English Standard Version, and the subtle differences are always instructive. I love to learn new ways of understanding and applying what the Bible has to say.

This morning some things Psalm 25 has to say about humility’s link with learning grabbed my attention. My habit is to point out what I’m learning, rather than to bore you quoting Scripture. The section of my focus, however, is verses 8 through 14. Get yourself a refill of java and let’s think together.

God “instructs sinners in the way”. Okay, we sort of expect that. It’s what follows that interests me. He “leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way”.

Yeah? So? Repetitive, right?

Nope. Only one who is teachable can be led. Only one who wants to learn can be taught. Note the difference between “God instructs sinners” and “He leads and teaches the humble”. There’s a stark difference between, “Okay, goofoffs, listen up!” and “Come on over here and take a load off; I’ve something to share with you.”

I just read this morning of a Port St. Lucie, FL 8th grade teacher who was fired because she refused to give lazy, impudent students at least 50% for not handing in their required work. They weren’t interested in being either led or taught, so she was restricted to only instructing them.

This passage reminds that in times when these Scriptures were written, teachers often walked along, speaking as they walked. Those wanting to learn from them walked along with them, both to hear and to bounce questions off them.

It reads that “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness” toward those wanting to follow after Him. That implies a close, growing relationship between teacher and learners.

Think back. Who were your favorite teachers in school? Your favorite profs in college or grad school? What made them so?

This Psalm says those same things apply, albeit perfectly, to God’s desired relationship with you. Weren’t some of your most memorable times with friends those times when you walked along together, sharing thoughts and ideas? The promises here indicate that kind of closeness between God and anyone humble enough to want to read (hear) what He has to teach.

Your humility – remaining curious and teachable – is your pathway to excellence.

Check out verse 14. Really? Friendship with God?

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, September 2019

Categories: Inspirational, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

GRANGER at Halloween for 10/26/16: THE TEAR IN THE WRAPPER

Truth in advertising“, it read.

Granger was fed up with the glut of political flyers in his mailbox and inboxes.  Tossing on his desk the garishly colored hit piece in yoga pants by a former state senator, he swung around and gazed unfocused out the window at a grayish, cotton-streaked sky with bruise-blue accents.  Chuffing through his nose, he thought, “Even the sky’s puzzled by it all.”

Bemused, he reached for his “Coffee Made Me Do It” mug.  Just before he got it to his mouth, he noticed the “fun-size” Butterfinger laying on his desk; it had been hidden by the big black mug.  Glancing over at the glass bowl full of assorted Halloween-sized candy, he saw many other bars identical to the one huddled behind his coffee.  You won’t get away from me-e-e . . .

Image result for fun-size Butterfinger

Amused at the desire-borne moisture in his mouth, he glommed onto the familiar yellow-orange-gold wrapper.  Granger actually licked his lips as he tore the wrapper lengthwise.

Opening the wrapper, he grimaced in disgust.  Really?  Instead of the neat, compact one-by-two-inch chocolate-covered nougat he expected to find, a sharded mess of odd-shaped pieces had fallen onto his black crew-neck tee and khaki pants.

Irritated, he started to grouse about something more to clean up when he suddenly got quiet.

I know people like that, he reasoned.  Brightly packaged, looking like others in The Bowl, like they’ve got it all together–until the wrapper comes off.  Unwrapped, they’re a ragged, jagged collection of misshapen pieces just waiting to fall all over the place.

Yeah, I know people like that.  I’ve been like that.

Image result for people wearing I'm fine masks

As these thoughts jostled each other in his mind, he glanced again at the phrase off the discarded voting flyer:  “Truth In Advertising”.

 

Granger’s eyes blurred and his voice thickened as he spoke aloud, a habit of those who spend most of their time alone.  “Oh, yeah.  Many’s the time that, had my wrapper torn, all my hidden insecurities, my personal misgivings, self-doubt, all those questions about myself would be laying all over in a huge, untidy mess just like–here he made a rueful face as he surveyed the slightly-sticky, sweet mess he’d dumped on his clothes– “my ill-fated little candy bar buddy, may it rest in pieces.”

 

Later, wearing a comfortable black-and-red shirt with the sleeves rolled half up and a soft pair of old jeans, he stood with mug in left hand and coffee carafe in right, thinking about the recent experience.  Shaking his head as if to wake up, Granger poured a fresh, fragrant cup of Community Golden Caramel, returned to his desk chair and sat pondering.

Is it wrong to present a public appearance that’s attractive, appropriate to one’s task?  Does that not reflect good self-image and -respect?

Is it deceptive to present an outward persona that’s positive and uplifting, even when one’s interior landscape more resembles a barren wasteland?  As a Christ-follower, isn’t being winsome and attractive kind of necessary?

Sipping thoughtfully at the semi-sweet, smooth coffee, he answered his own question.

Deception is willful.  Wearing a mask is intended to hide, to frustrate and conceal.  If those are the reasons for the wrapper, then the advertising is dishonest and disingenuous.

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

If one’s desire is to be a consistent positive, encouraging and Christlike witness to one’s own world, then God can be trusted to know how to tenderly deal with the internal brokenness.  To fit the nonfitting.  To create beauty and symmetry just as perfectly as He did at The Original Event.

Rising to refill his mug, Granger thoughtfully nabbed another of the sweet, chocolaty morsels from the Halloween bowl.  Grinning as he softly checked that this one was whole, he admitted to himself, I don’t have this here “for the kids” since none ever come up here.  I have this here for me.  And I’m lovin’ it!

Butterfinger?

© D. Dean Boone, October 2016

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Surprise After-Christmas Visit with Granger – 1/8/22

Good morning, 2nd Cup friend. It’s been awhile since Dan spent his early Saturday mornings writing into your life. He’s been making some worthwhile adjustments in his routine since he moved last June, and I had a little discretionary time this morning. I thought I’d spend it with you.

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Please–come on in.  I’m reasonably sure you like coffee, so I’ve a pot of fresh-ground and -brewed Winter Blend.  Grab one of those cups and I’ll pour.  There’s sugar and cream there if you’d prefer some this morning.  I even have some hot chocolate mix if you happen to like mocha java once in awhile.  It’s what I’m enjoying right now.

Go ahead and fix your coffee; we’re in no hurry.

Pardon?  Oh.  That’s Pandora, and I have Smooth Jazz Christmas Radio playing until after the holiday season is past.  It was one of you who years ago said I should try Pandora, and I’ve had it softly playing in the background almost daily for years, every time I’m here in Granger’s office.  You know who you are, and I’m grateful.  In fact, if I recall, you first steered me to it during holiday season a few years ago.  It’s a true friend’s kind of gift, for it endures over time.  From my heart, I’m appreciative.

I’m blessed to have you stop by.  The chance to visit with, to get to better know Dan’s readers, is a rare treat, for he keeps me and my friends busy.

I’m his principal character.  My goings-on appear in many – actually, most of – his stories.  Because my personality lives in so many of Dan’s writings, I literally have no time to myself.

Why, right now I’m in the middle of a multi-chaptered short story introducing yet another of Dan’s peripheral characters – this time an independent news reporter.  The reason I’ve a bit of breathing room, and time to chat with you, is that Dan’s hesitating in how to progress with my allowing this reporter to interview me.

Oh, you didn’t know about that?  Yes, it’s definitely a first, and likely an only.  You’ll have to go back and read the first two chapters.  I’ve already set the rules by which we’ll proceed, me and Glennis Witherspoon.  Unh-hunh.  Definitely a reporter’s name. I’ve no idea if that’s the name her mom gave her, and it isn’t germane to the story – unless, that is, Dan decides to make it so.

Anyway, I made it clear that I’m a very private guy, and the only way I’d agree to her interviewing me is if the entire thing’s off the record.

My calling, my ministry, if you will, is to be a professional encourager of those God sends across my path.  It sounds mundane until you begin going back through the various stories Dan’s written about my intervention, directly or indirectly, in those individuals’ lives. 

 

You probably feel a bit awkward interacting with a writer’s fictional character. I understand that. Think how I feel . . . I’m almost always connected to one of Dan’s stories. Since my dialog with other characters is always directed by him, I don’t get the chance to sit with you, his readers, getting to observe and know you better.

Dan first started his 2nd Cup stories back in 2012-13, and the early ones didn’t identify me by name.  Once you read the story, though, you could catch the scent of my favorite cologne back then, Burberry Weekend, wafting through the sentences and phrasing–well, that and the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee.  Dan doesn’t add the Divine mystique in all my adventures; yet the inexplicable, the “No Way!” stuff, shows up just often enough to remind all of you who follow me:  I’m God’s.  It’s Him working in and through me, Who makes things work out as they do. 

Mystical or not, they are all meant to help you grow, to draw you closer to those you love, and ultimately to God.

Hmm? What’s it like being the principal character in a lot of Dan’s writing? Well, if you’ve spent any time at all reading his stories, you know a lot about me. I won’t bore you with details, since you have access to Dan’s archived 2nd Cup of Coffee posts that started back in early 2013. They’re in the drop-down box on the right side of his blog site. I guess you could say that’s where I, Arlough, Sparks, Raven Wing, and all sorts of intriguing guest characters live . . .

Mmm. That’s the New York Jazz Trio doing The Christmas Song. 

I never shut down any particular season’s music immediately after that holiday’s past. And where Christmas is concerned, those twelve days begin on December 25th, so I’m relaxing in the aural flow of Beegie Adair’s styling of Rudolph – with the sound level at 8. I’ve long loved smooth, easy jazz playing in the background just loud enough to hear but not intrude. And though I don’t often frequent live jazz venues in Dan’s stories, I’m a bit of a musical rebel in that I’ve always felt creative freedom and been at ease around smoky, warm jazz renditions of all sorts of music genres. 

 As Granger, I’m not a young man; and though my past, early life is only hinted at, there are clues scattered here and there – enough so if you’re a fan and read back through previous posts, you catch on I’ve been and done a lot of things that enable me to be the man, the friend, the confidante I am. To reach out and touch lives as Dan always has me doing. Thus, though time does pass in my stories and adventures, it, like the music, moves easily, smoothly, and slowly, giving you and I plenty of time to spend together.

Okay, one more question . . .  Yeah – way over there.

Could I slip back into character and start a story for old times’ sake? Well, I’ll need Dan’s help here. He’s my Jim Henson. Hey, Dan? Put the coffee down; you’re gonna need both hands, because a fan wants a Saturday-morning style story like you used to do, back when. So, whaddya got, there?

Oh-h-h… Hey, this will be good.

 

Amanda stood there in her USAF hoodie and jeans, scanning the warm interior of High Plains Diner in Bennett, Colorado, hoping to find a vacant table where she could sit with her 6-year-old son, Preston, until the winter storm abated. She’d pulled off I-70 into the sprawling Love’s Travel Stop to gas up her car and give her eyes a rest from squinting through the blowing snow. Wanting a hot breakfast somewhere a bit safer and more inviting than a truck stop, she’d been directed a couple of miles up the road to the diner by a helpful attendant.

She wasn’t the only traveler with that idea. Though cheery, the diner was busy and every table was taken. Amanda had zero desire to go back out into the swirling, icy storm, so she sat down in the only vacant chair left just inside the door. She wadded up both their winter coats and stuffed them down beside the chair, patting her lap for her tired son to sit with her. They weren’t going anywhere in a hurry, and it wasn’t like she had anywhere pressing to be or anything.

As she sat absorbing the warmth, her mind traveled back to the Utah town that had been their first cool little home until her husband, Rick, decided single life surrounding his being stationed at Creech AFB in Nevada would be more fun than driving back to boring little St. George, UT and his sensible, small home, wife, and son.

They’d started out with both the promise of Rick’s income and a sizeable wedding gift from her dad’s estate, earmarked for her before his passing. They’d scaled down honeymoon plans, choosing to spend those days and nights in Kayenta, Arizona at a Hampton Inn operated on an Indian reservation a friend had told them about. She’d done her best to make the little house a home, and had worked hard to be responsible with their money. She’d always kept herself attractive, walking several times each week and keeping her auburn hair clean and presentable. Preston liked his school and had a lot of friends, and she thought life was good – until it wasn’t. And she didn’t even know he’d—-

Amanda dropped her head, shaking it. “Oh, please, God–I do NOT want to sink back down into that swamp of depression and self-pity. I made my decision to start over, I’ve got a beautiful, smart, funny son to think about, and that’s that. I’m claiming Proverbs 3:1-10 again. You know I’ve made that passage totally mine, I’m gonna live by it, and I know You’re going to see me and Preston through this! And, Lord? We’re both tired and hungry, and it’d sure be great if—-“

“Excuse me, ma’am. I don’t mean to intrude, but I noticed you and the boy come in. You look like you’ve been on the road awhile and need to warm up and get some good food in you.”

Startled, Amanda looked up to see a man standing several feet away, looking at her, with a gentle look on his face. He was older with beautiful silver hair, dressed in casual khaki slacks, a red plaid flannel shirt, and a British tan leather jacket. He wore a wedding ring, and his face had laugh-lines framing the crow’s feet beside each eye.

Making a rueful face, she nodded. “You’re right, we do. But every table is full.” 

“As it turns out, mine is not. It would be my pleasure for you and–” He raised his eyebrows and looked at Preston, whose eyes were hopeful as he answered, “Preston. I’m Preston.” 

“–and Preston to join me at my table.” At this, he gestured toward a table set for four she hadn’t noticed. Cautious, Amanda hesitated, although there was something reassuring about the man. Preston sealed the deal by locking eyes with the man and saying, “My mom’s name is Amanda Brockings. Can we, Mom? I’m starving!”

The mom in her hesitated. Considering what she’d been through the past several months, men weren’t real high on her list. She scanned the roomful of bustling travelers once more, then eyed the man again. He stepped back and said, “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to bother you. Please forgive m—“

“No–I’m the one who’s sorry. You’re being kind; of course, we’ll join you.”

Sighing through her nose and upset at herself, she told the boy to grab their coats and gathered her purse and the green fabric shopping bag she’d intended to carry some drinks and snacks back to the car with them. The man stood back, again gesturing toward his table. He followed them to it, and grinned as Preston put both coats on chair backs and slid up onto a seat.

He held a chair out to seat Amanda. A young bearded guy hunched over the next table wolfing down his breakfast paused to sneer until he felt the eyes of the silver-haired man on him. As he looked up, his face went slack, then reddened as he focused again on his meal. Amanda noticed none of this, but the six-year-old was seated where he had an uninterrupted view and missed none of it.

Seated once again, the man gestured to a server bussing the next table over, pointing to Amanda and her son. Receiving a nod, he turned back to them. 

“My name is Granger. I’m glad this worked out, for I can tell you’re road-weary and, like all of us, can use the warmth and the rest as well as the good food.”

Amanda was quiet for a few seconds. She’d grown up watching her father always treat her mom like a queen, opening and holding doors, and seating her at tables, including their own at home. It was something Rick never seemed to see as important, so seeing his mom treated nice was new to her son.

“Thank you again, Mr. Granger. I—” 

“Just Granger. And you’re very welcome. I appreciate your caution, too. I’d been watching folks coming in, wanting to let someone share this table if they wanted, but felt restrained. Now I understand why.”

Just then a server whose name tag read BRADLEY stopped by with menus, took her and Preston’s drink orders, and dashed off again. Amanda looked at food and prices, checking on the kids’ menu, mentally thinking what they could spend and still get to Springfield, Missouri where her sister and husband lived. As if reading her mind, Granger said, “Your meals have been paid for; order anything in whatever sizes you want – and that includes whatever you need to take with you.”

Stunned, she stared at him. “What? How– I mean, when—“

“When I first sat down and ordered, I told Bradley whoever joined me at this table would need a good meal, could have all they wanted, and to put it all on my check. Please . . . order whatever you both want.”

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“Woah! Even cheese curds?” Preston’s eyes were round with excitement. Chuckling, Granger nodded.

“Especially cheese curds. They’re my favorite, too!”

Their food came, and they were quiet as they both ate as only hungry people do. Motioning at her mouth with her own napkin, she got Preston’s attention: “Ketchup.” He wiped his mouth and just as they were putting their disposable dishes together, the extra food they’d ordered came in take-out bags. Amanda hesitated, looking at the table.

“I’ll clean up. It looks like the weather’s calmed down and the plows are out again. You should be able to make pretty good time.” Standing, he stepped around the table and held her coat as she stood up and slid out her chair. Preston was on his feet, too, and was watching. Granger picked up his coat, too, and held it for the boy to put on.

It was Amanda’s turn to watch. Preston looked up and said, “Mr. Granger, sir? Thank you for taking care of me and my mom. I know you’re old and stuff, but whenever I get another dad, I sure hope he’s like you.” Embarrassed, the boy whirled, grabbed the shopping bag full of snacks, and headed for the exit. Taking a deep breath, Amanda hugged Granger as she tearfully said, “Thank you. You don’t know how much this means.”

Granger held her embrace for an extra beat or two, saying, “I’m sorry life with Rick didn’t work out; but you’ll like Springfield. I know things are going to be better. Now, you’d better catch up with that boy.” 

Amanda hustled outside and caught Preston halfway to their car. She’d unlocked it and was finishing putting his coat and the bag in the back seat when she suddenly stopped. “How’d he know Rick’s name? And I never told him we were going to Spr—” Telling Preston to stay in the car and keep it locked, she ran back inside the High Plains Diner and looked at his table. Only it wasn’t his; there was another family there, seemingly halfway through their meal. 

Catching the eye of the server who’d brought their food, she asked about Granger. 

Bradley: “I’d never seen him before, ma’am.”

“Well, did you see where he went when he left?”

Bradley said he never saw Granger leave. He was there, and the next time Bradley looked up, Granger was gone. “The only thing I know for sure about that man is that he tips real good!” With that, the young server disappeared back into the swirl of hungry travelers.

They were back on I-70, nearing the Colorado-Kansas border, when Amanda recalled a Bible verse she’d read as part of her devotions just that morning before she and Preston left St. George for the last time. She couldn’t recall the chapter and verse, but it was something about entertaining angels without knowing it.

With her brow furrowed in thought, she said, “Lord? Is that who Granger is? Was? I mean—“

 

Well, 2nd Cup friend, I’ve got to really get back in character. It’s been great relaxing a bit with you. I hope to see more of you. The more you read after Dan, the more you’ll get to know me and this amazing band of unforgettable people who live in his mind and imagination. Take care, now. 

G’night.

© D Dean Boone, January 2022

 

 

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2022 SUGGESTIONS: 2nd Cup of Coffee for 1/2/22

GIVE UNCONDITIONAL VALUE.

What does that look like?

To give unconditional value means:

  • Have no expectation of a return.
  • Give your best as of that moment.
  • Leave the results in God’s hands.
  • Keep at it.

Stop letting ‘cost’ creep into your thinking. Every time it tries, envision yourself striding purposefully into your mind and spirit, grabbing Cost by the neck, dragging it to the door, and kicking it out – while inviting Value in.

If your habit is to constantly be thinking in terms of “What’s this going to cost me?” or “What can I get out of this?”, you’ll keep right on being miserable and unsatisfied. Replacing that mindset with “What will make the most positive, helpful impact” and “How can we encourage the most people, promote great repeat business practices, and keep building our brand for the future?” will bring almost instant wonderful changes in everyone’s outlook, sense of teamwork, and levels of productivity.

For 2022, GIVE UNCONDITIONAL VALUE.

I believe you’ll like the results.

© D. Dean Boone, January 2022

Categories: Inspirational | Leave a comment

A Year’s End 2nd Cup: INCAPABLE OF RESTRAINT ~ 12/29/21

“. . . incapable of restraint.” That’s what was said of General George S. Patton.

Could he have been chosen as Supreme Allied Commander during World War 2 if he’d been able to control his mouth and work on his abrasive personality? We’ll never know.

Tact is for people who aren’t witty enough to be sarcastic.

Ever heard that? Ever said things like that? It probably sounded slick the first time you heard it. You may have even laughed, thinking, “I need to remember that.”

More to the point, have you ever found yourself being like General Patton?

Some think it’s okay to be mouthy and caustic, expecting everyone else to understand, using the teenager’s mantra, “It’s just the way I am.”

That may have worked once or twice when you were a teen. As an adult? Especially if you claim Jesus as your Savior and the Lord of your life?

Everyone around you has the right to expect to see the fruit of God’s Spirit active and growing in you: affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity, a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, a conviction that holiness permeates things and people, being loyal in commitments, not needing to force our way in life, and being able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. That list is in Galatians chapter 5.

More? You bet. “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . .” Paul wrote that in Colossians chapter 3.

The truth is that tact is for people who care about others and understand that rash words and actions both can and do hurt. They hurt both the one being mistreated, and damage the character and Christian witness of the one being mouthy and letting their temper fly.

The sign of a Christian and friend is the ability to control the tongue, pen, keyboard, and smartphone. Note, too, that this has nothing whatsoever to do with your station in life, your education, or any position you hold.

No matter who you are, or who you think you are, there IS no excuse for bad behavior. If you wouldn’t want it said or done to or about you? Leave it alone.

So what do you think about General Patton? I don’t know, either – but I do know this. If you won’t control your acid tongue and toxic, unpredictable personality, 2022 will be a worse year than this one. And 2023 worse yet . . .

I don’t give advice. I do offer suggestions, however – and this is a strong, urgent one. Get out of the public eye, get alone with God, and let Him help you sort out why you’re such a rotten advertisement for Him and His people.

You can trust God to lovingly, firmly tell you the truth about yourself. Once that’s done, begin some serious Bible study about who, what, and how you’re supposed to be living and acting. God will never mislead you, nor lead you to do or be anything contrary to His Word.

What you do and who you become from that point is up to you.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2021

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An End-Of-Year Thought: WHADDYA GOT FOR ’22? A 2nd Cup of Coffee for 12/27/21.

We’re all regrouping from the Christmas gathering. If social media are any indicator, wherever we all spent Christmas was crowded. Fun. Catching up.

Now? The little kids are the only ones not worn out. As for the rest of us – if we’re not on the road and heading back home, we’re sleeping in.

Yes – even me. Normally up and around by 4:30 or 5, I slept in this morning until 7:15. If you know me at all, you know that’s rare. Almost unheard-of.

Facebook’s got plenty of memes about not having a clue what to think or do about these remaining days of ’21 between now and New Year’s day of ’22. The truth? All of us are using the occasional serious moments to think about what the new year will hold for us.

I sat for a few minutes, wondering the same thing. I sipped fresh joe. I pondered. As the mental cobwebs cleared a bit, I began my normal early-morning ritual and began some quiet time.

As I sipped, I listened to soft music, and began reading the next passage in Colossians. I’d only read a sentence or two when the words began to step out from behind the curtain like performers at the play’s end. When that happens, it’s time to go back and begin reading again. Obviously, God’s got some stuff He wants me to take to heart.

I’m going to share the passage with you. I can’t think of better suggestions for planning 2022 than this paragraph from this letter of Paul. See what you think.

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ–the Message–have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail of your lives–words, actions, whatever–be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” [Colossians 3:15-17, The Message]

Wow. Considering everything that’s been swirling around us during 2021, this is some good, sound counsel – don’t you think? Go ahead; read back over it again. Grow gratitude. Spend quality time reading the Bible and let it penetrate. Work together using common sense.

Okay, the singing part may or may not work for you. Depends on your voice, right? But you get what ol’ Paul’s getting at.

So it took me a couple of reads before the best lesson of all popped out at me. No-no; it wasn’t obscured or buried a couple of layers deep. It was right there in plain sight.

First word. “Let”. See it? I’m guessing you hopped right over it, too, like I did.

Anyone can sit and read through Colossians 3:15-17, slap the Bible closed, think “Nice. Great passage. I can share that with ___________.” Whoa, hoss. Not so fast.

“Let” means you and I have something to do. “Let” means it ain’t happenin’ unless I open myself up and intentionally invite it in. That’s what it means for you, too.

In case you’re wondering, there are more “lets” scattered through your Bible. One of the best things you can be doing during 2022 is to be searching ’em out, and including whatever they’re suggesting you do in your daily life: fun, work, rest, whatever.

What do you mean, “How do I find ’em”? You already know . . . Know what else? I’d love for you to toss me a comment or Facebook message when you find those “lets” and tell me how they’re speaking to you and encouraging you to add yet more good stuff in your own life.

I know this will be good for both of us.

I know your 2022 will be the better for it.

I know my coffee’s cold.

That’s my cue. So long for now, 2nd Cuppers. You all rock!

Yep. You can hit the recliner and close those eyes some more.

© d. dean boone, december 2021

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2nd Cup Christmas: NOT-SO-GREAT GIFT IDEAS for KIDS, 12/15/21

THE GIFTS NOT WANTED

~ The Duncan Yo — Goes down, never comes back. Teaches children about warranties.

~ 5,200 Pick Up — a jumbo deck of cards that lets kids play a larger version of their favorite game.

~ Super Soaker 9000: For use on those hard to reach targets; NFL referees, low flying planes, and many more. At close range it can strip paint, clean rusty grills, and dig utility trenches.

~ Doggie Dentist — Kids learn about dentistry on the family pooch.

~ Fris-Was — Flies straight, and they must chase it. Informs kids about relationships.

~ Cuisin-Art — Turns mommy’s food processor into a spinning paint tool.

~ Chocolate Covered Lead Soldiers.

Christmas blessings to you all! ~ Dan

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 11/29/21: MAKING IT ALL BETTER

It takes no real talent to tear something or someone down, nor does it take very much time. Anyone can do it. Yet to create something – someone – new takes planning, thought, desire, an eye for detail, and a willing heart. Few do that.

I’ve a classmate friend who does that. She sees design, beauty, and possibilities in old, unwanted, soiled, worn-down and worn-out things, and creates beautiful, unique, often stunning things from them. She takes things others for whatever reason have discarded and gives them new life. She does this with such a loving touch that, even if you knew what they were before and recognize the basic things, the new creations my friend and classmate crafts reflect the hand, eye, mind, and spirit of a master.

At one time I had saved a few pictures of her more amazing artistry. Across the intervening years they’ve been lost to time, but I recall their uniqueness. It seemed to me each new design she came up with had all her focus; it was as if that piece, that object was her sole effort, and all her energy and her creative joy and flow was spent on that one creation.

The application isn’t hard to make, is it? That’s exactly what God does with us. He takes old, unwanted, soiled, worn-down and worn-out lives like ours and creates things in and through us totally new, completely unique, and beautiful.

In my opinion, there’s a little touch of the Divine in anyone like my friend who takes the time and makes the effort to infuse great value in things and people others decide have none.

(c) D. Dean Boone, November 2021

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A THANKSLIVING 2nd CUP – 11/25/21

Being thankful is a choice, and the degree to which you experience gratitude depends on that which most occupies your mind and spirit.

I know you’ve been around whiney types whose attitude seems stuck on NEGATIVE and BACKWARD. It matters little how blessed they’ve been because they don’t see it; you can but they’re blind. They’re not looking for anything positive in their life and all the wonderful things God’s brought into their journey do not register. They could have privilege after privilege, blessing after blessing, to the point anyone looking on would be amazed at how much they have for which to be grateful. It makes no difference. They are focused only on what’s wrong in the moment, and what else may be wrong in the future.

I know you’ve been around the opposite types as well. No matter what life throws at them – regardless of what hard and unpleasant things happen in or to them – they always wear a smile and have something worthwhile and positive to say when asked, “How ya doin’?” When you grin back and search for something encouraging to say to make them feel better, you always walk away feeling better, too, just for having been in their positive gravity.

I know which of the two you would rather hang with.

Right?

The former are embittered to the point nothing satisfies, there’s always something wrong, and every response begins with, “But—“ They don’t like themselves; and if they ever get real, they’ve a hard time accepting why anyone else would. Need proof? Look at with whom they surround themselves. It’s a self-defeating downward spiral. You may pity them, may even want to try encouraging them to make some positive changes, yet you know they’ll not only disregard the attempt; they often deride you and ridicule your sunny attitude.

The latter? You just like being around them. The more you know their stories and what life’s been like for them, bouncing off life’s jagged edges just like everybody else, the more you smile and shake your head at what a strong, positive, grateful influence they have and are.

What a cool coincidence that this morning’s quiet time passage includes just such an attitude.

“I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess….

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am….

“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity.”

~ Philippians 4:10-14, 20, MSG

Thanksliving is an intentional, custom-built habit, just like its opposite. George Washington Carver had a favorite poem written by Edgar A. Guest. Carver often read it to his students to inspire them, and by the time they left his tutelage and went out to make something of themselves, they’d memorized it. I’d like to leave it with you on this Thanksliving weekend.

EQUIPMENT

Figure it out for yourself, my lad, You’ve all the the greatest of men have had; Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes; And a brain to use if you would be wise. With this equipment they all began.

So start for the top and say, “I can”. Look them over, the wise and the great; They take their food from a common plate, And similar knives and forks they use, With similar laces they tie their shoes. The world considers them brave and smart, But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill; You can be great if only you will. You’re well equipped for what fight you choose; You have legs and arms and a brain to use, And the man who has risen, great deeds to do, Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face, You are the one who must choose your place. You must say where you want to go, How much you will study the truth to know. God has equipped you for life, But He lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within. The man must furnish the will to win. So figure it out for yourself, my lad; You were born with all that the great have had. With your equipment they all began, So get ahold of yourself and say, “I can”.

~ Edgar A. Guest

From me and those I love to you and those you love, may this Thanksgiving weekend nudge you into a greater, more invigorating and satisfactory habit of Thanksliving.

(c) D. Dean Boone, November 26, 2021

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