The Day Great Grampa Disappeared – Part 2

Continuing the serialization of stories from my book “The Kid Inside Bible Stories”.  Enjoy!

“So, I asked Samuel where he was now. He told me your great grampa Enoch had gone into town to arrange the details of helping another family that had been completely wiped out by a fire. He was going to meet with the village elders to put together a group of people to rebuild the house and barn for them. He was going to pay for the wood and other materials, but he wanted others to pitch in with labor and other things.”

“Wow, Pop! Was he always that generous?”

Lamech touched his son’s head. “Samuel said he was. I was beginning to learn that it was just the way he was. I never really noticed before, but later on I remembered some things he said, like the Lord had blessed him so that he could bless others. He also said that is what the Lord would have him to do. And he always wanted to obey.”

Lamech’s son thought about it for a minute and then looked at his father and said, “So what did you do next?”

Lamech smiled. “What could I do? I had questions I needed to ask your Great Grampa. So I headed back into the village to see if I could catch up with him there.

But, by the time I got there, he had already done his business and left. I managed to speak to the elder who was a friend of my family and he said to me, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. Today, he helped us deal with a very difficult situation. Two members of our village were very angry with each other. There was name calling and a lot of accusations of cheating and lying flying back and forth. It was very tense. He took each one aside separately and then talked with both of them together. By the time he was done with them, they had settled their differences and were both smiling and laughing. They even walked away together. Then your Grampa Enoch said farewell, too, and went on his way. It was amazing!’

I asked him where Grampa had gone. He told me he was going to go have lunch with his friend, Ezra, on the other side of the village. I was just about to head over to Ezra’s house when my sister, Naomi, told me Mother wanted me home to take care of some more chores and eat lunch. My hunt for your Great Grampa would have to wait.”

Lamech’s son jumped up and said, “Didn’t you tell her you had some real important questions for Great Grampa Enoch, and you needed to go see him first?”

Lamech chuckled. “I tried to, but she told me mother was not going to take no for an answer and you know your Grandmother Lois. She can be very persuasive when she wants to be, especially with her children. I didn’t dare disobey her, so I went home.”

It was his son’s turn to laugh. “You’re right; I remember a time when I tried to do something different than the way Grandmother Lois wanted it. She wouldn’t let me get away with it. She kept after me until I did it her way.”

“That’s your Grandmother! So you see, I went home for lunch.”

“You didn’t give up then, did you?” his son asked impatiently.

“Oh no, I didn’t, but it did slow me down by about an hour. After I finished my lunch, I headed over to Ezra’s house.

On my way, there was an old man named Kenan sitting on the side of the road with his face in his hands. One of the wheels had fallen off his cart and most of the load had fallen off too. He was just sitting there sobbing but, I was in a hurry…”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“I started to just run on by, but then I thought to myself, ‘What would Grampa Enoch do if he were here?’”

“So what did you do?” asked his son.

“I stopped and spent a couple hours unloading the cart, getting the wheel put pack on and reloading the cart for the old man. I would have gotten it done a lot faster but he kept asking me questions about me and my family. When I told him who my Grampa was, he lit up, smiled at me, and said, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. He helped me one time when no one else would. You see there was a man who owned a huge neighboring farm and he wanted my land. At first he offered to buy it but I wouldn’t sell.’”

“The old man went on excitedly, ‘Then one of my fields mysteriously caught fire. My hands and I worked for a whole day putting that fire out. My neighbor showed up that night and offered to buy my farm again. That took a lot of gall and, to top it off, he offered me less money than before.’

The old man continued his story. ‘I went to the village elders but they were afraid to deal with the problem. My neighbor was a very rich and powerful man and he had warned the elders to stay out of his business. I knew there was only one man in our area that would stand by me and who was strong enough to stand up to my wicked neighbor – that man was your Grampa Enoch. I went to talk to him about it the next day. After hearing my story, the first thing he said was ‘Let’s pray.’ As the Lord lives, that man could pray! He talked to God like they were best friends. I don’t remember all he said, but I do remember he asked the Lord for wisdom to help me. Then he thanked God for answering the prayer, like he expected the Lord to answer him right away! He had such reverence and confidence when he prayed. I have not forgotten it all these years.’”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“I’m getting there! Hang on to your tunic! Old man Kenan then told me what your great Grampa Enoch did next.

‘He gathered up some of his farm hands and, along with my farm hands, set a watch over my land for several nights. They would work the farms during the day and then watch over them by night. This went on for almost a week. One night they saw some men sneaking onto my land and watched as they tried to steal my sheep.

Your Grampa and his friends caught the thieves red handed’, old man Kenan said. ‘They tied the trouble makers up and put them in this very ox cart for safe keeping while they settled the sheep back down for the night.’

Old man Kenan continued his story, ‘Your Grampa Enoch got the thieves to confess what they had done and who had hired them to steal my sheep. We then took the thieves to the elders of the neighboring village. My evil neighbor was already there, boasting about how he was going to buy some additional land soon. When we showed up, his face went pale. Your Grampa Enoch was well known to the elders of the other village, so they were eager to listen to him. When your Grampa laid out the case against the evil man he became so enraged that they had to physically restrain him. The elders heard all the witnesses, found my neighbor guilty, put him in prison and seized all of his property.

Your Grampa Enoch was a steadfast friend if ever there was one. Whenever I started to get nervous about the situation he would say to me ‘The Lord is faithful, just you wait and see!’

The Day Great Grampa Disappeared – Part 1

I am going to be posting a few of my stories from my book “The Kid Inside Bible Stories”. I have chosen a few that center around the story of Noah. My stories are fiction. They are based on stories in the Bible but they are not a strict re-telling of Bible stories. This first one is my take on Enoch. A man who walked with God and was not for God took him. I tell it from the point of view of his great grandson hearing a story about him from his grandson. I hope you enjoy it.

The Day Great Grampa Disappeared

Genesis 5:23-24 Enoch lived 365 years in all. He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him.

“Oh, yes, I remember trying to find your great Grampa Enoch that day.” Lamech laughed and leaned back on the bench against the shade tree in his yard. “I remember it just like it was yesterday. Wow! It was one of the worst days of my life, and one of the best.”

“It was such a beautiful crisp, cool morning. I could smell fall in the air with fog still hanging in the trees. It made me feel so good I decided to run all the way to his house. I ran as hard as I could. I ran so fast the wind was blowing my hair back, and then…”

“Then what?” asked Lamech’s son.

“I broke a strap on my sandal, went flying head over heels, and landed flat on my face in an ant hill. I got up so fast those ants couldn’t get on me, but then I had to hop on one foot to get away from them. I sat down on a log and tied the strap back on. While I was doing that, I realized my knee was bleeding. I wiped it off with some grass and dry leaves, and then headed off to great Grampa Enoch’s house.”

“When I got there I knocked on the door until Hannah (she was Great Grampa’s housekeeper) answered the door. She took one look at me and said, ‘What happened to you?’”

“Oh, I was running and fell down. Is Grampa Enoch here?”

“No, he went out early this morning.”

“What? No! I wanted to talk to him about something very important and…well…he’s always here when I need to talk to him.”

Lamech chuckled, remembering his childish response.

“Well, Hannah just laughed at me and said, ‘Lamech, you’ve never been here quite so early. Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. He always takes a walk down to the fields first thing in the morning. He tells me that he is walking and talking with the Lord. I know he does that, but I also think he likes to be by himself for a while before the day gets started. He is always so thoughtful and joyful when he comes home after that. But today, he said he won’t be coming home after his walk and not to make dinner for him tonight.’

That made me concerned because he never missed dinner. Something really special must be going on.”

Lamech’s son looked at his father and said, “What did you say next?”

“What did I say? I said…oh, right I asked. ‘Where is he going after his walk today?’”

“Then Hannah told me he was headed to the barns to talk over the day’s business with his foreman.”

“Well, I had my own chores to do, so I had to run back home, being very careful about my broken sandal strap. When I got there, your Grandmother Lois saw my knee and insisted on washing and bandaging it. She fussed and told me to be more careful and took a long time doing so.”

“Then, I did my chores as fast as I could and ran off to your great Grampa Enoch’s barns to look for him. I was going along pretty good when I saw a honey tree. I decided to stop for a minute and get a taste of the honey, but as soon as I stuck my hand in the hole…”

“What?” asked Lamech’s son.

“About a hundred bees came roaring out of the tree and chased me as I ran down the road. I ran even faster than I did earlier in the day. I had to jump into a pond and wait for them to go away!”

“Ha! That’s funny Pop, did you get any honey after all of that?”

“Well, I did get a small handful of honey, but I also got stung about eight times. That honey cost me a lot of pain, but it sure tasted good.”

“I’ll bet it did. Did you go home then?” asked his son.

“No, I kept going, but when I got to your great Grampa Enoch’s barns, I couldn’t find him anywhere, so I looked for his foreman, Samuel. He was busy ordering the farm hands to send some grain and seed to a neighbor.

When he saw me, he started laughing. I said, ‘What are you laughing at?’

“He said, ‘Between the drowned rat look, the bandage hanging around your ankle, and those bee stings on your face, you look awful funny.’”

‘Ha, ha, ha, do you know where my great Grampa is?’

“Still chuckling he said, ‘There is a family nearby who are suffering because they were too sick to harvest on time. They have also been hit hard by some sort of blight. In addition to the grain and seed, your Grampa Enoch is taking over a few farm hands to help harvest what they can and to teach the neighbor how to avoid the blight next year.’”

“I thought that was unusual, but the foreman said, ‘Let me tell you something about your Grampa Enoch you may not know. He does that sort of thing all the time. He is always very generous with his neighbors. He says that is why the Lord has given him so much. He believes God wants him to care for others and, well, he always wants to obey the Lord.’”

“Well that made me stop and think for just a moment. But, it still frustrated me because I really wanted to find him.”

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library

Here’s a fun one I wrote for a magazine that didn’t get accepted. I hope you like it. 🙂

Elwood’s Hazardous, Dangerous, Exciting Trip to the Library

By: Steve Mathisen

 “Elwood!”

The boy rolled over and tried to use his pillow to block the sound of his name being called.

“Elwood Phineas Dunkle! Get yourself out of bed and down here for breakfast this very minute,” his mother shouted

He knew the tone and that she would no longer tolerate being ignored.

He groaned, rolled over, slid out of bed, pulled on jeans and T-shirt and headed for the kitchen with a slight detour to the bathroom to wash up.

When he got to the table there was a book instead of his cereal bowl. Elwood looked at his mom.

“That book is due today. You need to make a trip to the library.”

“But Mom, I was going to−”

She set his bowl in place.

“You can do that after your trip to the library.”

“Okay Mom.”

After breakfast, Elwood put the book in his backpack and rode his bike toward the library.

He was taking a shortcut through the park when his shoelace came untied and got tangled up in the chain of his bicycle. He glanced down at his foot and hit a hidden tree root. The bike stopped suddenly. Elwood did a complete flip over the handlebars and landed staring up at the sky through the branches of a huge oak tree.

“Well, that was a dumb move.” Elwood said to himself. As he began tying his loose shoelace, he looked around for his bike only to see its rear wheel disappear around the trunk of the tree.

Forgetting his laces he jumped up and yelled, “Hey, that’s my bike!” and then ran to where he had last seen his bike and . . . nothing. There was no bike to be seen anywhere. He ran back around the other way and again. . . nothing.

“What is going on here?” He said.

Clunk!

“What was that?” Elwood ran around the tree again looking for the source of the sound and once again . . . nothing.

Clang!

He looked up and saw his bike, hanging twenty feet up, bouncing against the tree and going higher, with a rope around the handlebars!

Elwood quickly found the lowest branch and scrambled up the tree after his bike. He just barely got his hand on the rear wheel of the bike before it disappeared into the darkness of the upper branches of the tree. He climbed higher. He wanted to know what was going on.

He felt cold…and blind. It was so dark toward the top of the tree that he couldn’t see anything but, he heard voices.

His eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see three guys on a platform that was built right into the top of the tree. They had at least a half-dozen bikes. The guys were taking them apart, putting the little parts in boxes and hanging the bigger parts on racks hung on branches.

“Bike thieves”, he whispered, “right here in the middle of the park, hidden up in a tree!”

No one seemed to notice him, so he climbed back down to a lower branch and started thinking about what he had to do to get his bike back.

His brain was working rapid fire coming up with ideas and tossing them out as impractical. Finally, he thought of three possible ideas.

First, he could climb back up and steal his bike back. That wouldn’t work though because the guys up in the tree were all bigger than he was.

Second, he could round up all his friends but, even with all of his friends they probably couldn’t overpower those guys and force them to give him his bike back.

“I’ll go to Uncle Jim; he’s a police officer.”

“But wait, he’s going to want proof!”

He reached into his pocket for his “Emergency Only” phone.

“It has a camera and this is an emergency.”

He climbed back up very slowly, took out his phone and took several shots of the tree house workshop and the thieves. One of the thieves must have heard the little shutter sound the camera made, because one of them turned and started toward him.

Elwood flew down so fast he almost fell, then he ran toward the police station as fast as he could. But, he tripped on his still untied shoe lace and did the most splendid face plant ever seen in all of history and nearly knocked himself silly.

“Ok, another dumb move!” His head was spinning round and he saw all sorts of blinking lights.

“I really need to tie that shoe.”

“There he is!” came a voice from the bike thieves tree.

Elwood looked and saw two huge boys running toward him and they did not look like they wanted to help him.

Without getting his shoe tied, he jumped up and headed for the police station again. When he got to the street, the light at the crosswalk was red and a lot of traffic was whizzing by.

“There he is just waiting for us!”

Elwood turned and saw the two boys running hard after him.

“Uh oh! I better get going somewhere!”

Elwood ran to the left. The police station was down that direction anyway and he could cross the street when it was clear.

After running two blocks without tripping, he saw the police station across the street. He looked both ways, saw that the traffic was clear enough for him to cross the street.

He crossed without tripping and was almost in front of the police station when the two bigger boys caught up to him. Each grabbed an arm and jerked him to a stop.

The one on his right said, “No you don’t twerp! You’re not gonna squeal on us!”

The one on his left pulled him around so he was facing away from the station, put his face right in front of Elwood’s. “Yeah, because if you do, we’ll pound you to a bloody pulp.”

Just then a voice came from behind him. “Is there some sort of trouble here boys?”

It was Uncle Jim’s voice!

The first boy stiffened. “Oh no…officer…sir, we were just…”

Elwood wrenched himself out of the boys grasp and turned around, “Oh yes, there is Uncle Jim!”

The two boys took off running back across the street towards the park.

Uncle Jim put his hand on his shoulder. “What’s going on here, Elwood?”

Elwood then explained the whole story and showed him the pictures from his phone. Uncle Jim took him inside the station, sat him down in the waiting area, talked to the sergeant and showed him the pictures on Elwood’s phone. The sergeant nodded, picked up the phone and spoke briefly. Then two officers walked in, talked to the Uncle Jim for a minute and then headed back down a long hallway.

Uncle Jim sat next to him, “We have been trying to catch this ring of bike thieves for over a month. You’ve given us just the break we needed. Come show me where this tree is.”

They stood up and started to walk toward the door but, Elwood tripped on his shoelace again.

“Can I please tie my shoelace first?”

Uncle Jim chuckled, “You bet!”

“Oh, and one more thing,” Elwood reached into his backpack and pulled out a book. “Can we stop by the library? My mom will kill me if I don’t get this book returned today.”

A short story – The Garden Gate

Just a fun little story. I hope you enjoy it.

The Garden Gate

Remember to plant a few big bushy lavenders in front of the new gate posts - the rose can clamber up right by the LHS post.... do it ASAP...

As Amanda walked deep into the woods, she saw the most unusual thing. In a place where no such thing should be, there was a garden gate. It was just a low, simple white wooden garden gate, two posts with the knobs on top. The gate was slightly open with no fence on either side attached to it. “Curious,” she said to herself as she walked over to it and just looked at it for a minute. Though not freshly painted, it did not look neglected.

She slowly reached out her hand and touched it, just to make sure it was real. Then she swung it all the way open, then back and forth. There was just a slight squeak when it swung open but not when it closed. After doing this a few times, she walked through the gate and, instinctively, closed it. The woods seemed different on this side of the gate and there was a path that she hadn’t seen just a minute before. She was even more curious now; she decided to follow it.

Following the path farther into the forest, she heard an owl hoot and a cool breeze rustled the branches of the trees that surrounded her on the path. A little further along, there was the sound of a creek. She wondered if it was the same one that bordered her farm. It provided them with water and many fish suppers.

Amanda could not recall ever having seen this part of the forest before. That struck her as a little odd, having grown up playing in these woods. This little patch of forest felt surprisingly restful.

Approaching the bank of the creek, she sat at the base of a very large tree to rest. Leaning up against the tree that her eyelids became very heavy and she drifted off to sleep, a very deep sleep. As she was passing into unconsciousness, she heard the hooting of an owl again and thought it odd to hear an owl in the daytime.

Horace the owl looked down at the reclining figure at the base of the tree in which he made his home and moaned to himself. “Not only do I have the worst case of insomnia ever, now there’s a young girl blocking the door to my tree! How are the beavers going to get in to fix the plumbing? Oh, drat and bother…Maury! Maury, where are you?”

“I’m over here on the other side of the house looking out for the beavers like you asked me to do. What is it now?” Maury, an impetuous and mischievous, dragonfly flew back to where Horace was sitting and looking down toward the ground.

“Look down there,” he said pointing down with one wing. “There’s a, a, a GIRL down there on the ground, leaning right up against the elevator entrance to my tree and blocking it! Why, if that’s blocked, the beavers won’t be able to fix the plumbing. Oh bother and drat! Bother, drat and bother, BOTHER! Maury, can you go down and do something to make her go away so the beavers can get in….please?”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea, Horace? She might swat me and kill me. I don’t think I like the idea very much. It sounds too dangerous to me”, he said with a slight grin.

“Oh come on Maury, I know for a fact that you done that nose tickle thing a hundred times for fun. And, and, and that was on a napping bear! I’ve seen you move quicker than anyone thought you could. Come on, you know you can do it! Please?”

“That’s right I did annoy a few bears for fun didn’t I? I am pretty fast aren’t I? Oh alright, I’ll do it. You just watch me and see how fast I am! Wait! I’ve got a new technique I’ve been wanting to try. Watch this!” Maury flew out the window, down to the sleeping girl and landed right on her nose.

Just as Maury was landing, Amanda began to wake from her nap. She sat up, stretched out both arms as long as she could and then yawned.  When she tried to focus her eyes, she discovered a dragonfly sitting on her nose, staring right at her. Her eyes opened up very wide and she stared back. Then she tried to back up, away from the dragonfly, but because she was still leaning up against the tree, she could not.  Amazingly, the dragonfly didn’t fly away. It just stayed right there on the end of her nose staring at her. Amanda was so surprised she just sat there, staring back.

“Maury, what are you doing down there? You’re supposed to be getting her to move so the plumbers can get to the door.” came Horace’s voice from up in the tree.

Amanda suddenly realized the owl was talking. She looked up at Horace and then back at Maury again and then tried to sort of stand up and jump backward at the same time, but only succeeded in hitting her head hard against the tree, knocking herself out. She then slumped down against the tree, back into her original position. Then the Maury lifted off from her nose and hovered above her.

“Oh hold on to your pin feathers, Horace. I was trying not to scare her to death, but, you seem to have accomplished that with your impatient shouting.” Maury shot back. “Now get down here and check to see if she’s dead or if you can wake her up again.”

Just then, a small group of beavers waddled into the clearing. Each of them was wearing tool belt, a hard hat and a bag of tools that clanged and clanked with each step they took. They walked up close to the tree where Amanda lay unconscious and stopped. Each one of them stared at the girl. “Hey! What is this?” said the one in front. “How are we supposed to get up to Horace’s with that…that…human in the way?”

Maury buzzed over toward the lead beaver and said “Melvin, you hang on to those big teeth of yours. Horace will be right down and figure this out.” Melvin looked at his watch, started tapping his right foot, and then said, “Well, we’re on the clock. Time started when we left the shop. It makes no difference to me whether we spend the time working or not.” Melvin then turned around and spoke to the rest of the beavers, “Okay boys, break time. I saw a small stand of birches on the way in. Let’s go back that a way and get a little snack!” Then they all turned around and walked back the way that they came.

Now Horace saw the beavers headed away from his tree and began to squawk loudly. “Hey there, you beavers, come back here! Come back here this instant! I have been waiting for you to get here for three days and I won’t have you leaving before you even get started!! Come back!!”

Maury flew up to Horace and shouted at him, “Settle down Horace, they are just going to lunch while we…YOU figure out what to do with that little girl down there.” “How am I supposed to know what to do with her?” replied Horace. She’s just another lost human. We only see one every, every….I can’t remember the last time. Oh, I don’t know what to do with her.”

“Well, we’ll have to think of something and soon or those beavers will leave and you will have to schedule them again for another day”, said Maury.

“I can’t do that,” moaned Horace, “it’ll be another week before they can get out here again. I can’t stand being without running water. I already have dishes piled up all over in the kitchen, dirty laundry and I haven’t been able to make iced tea for almost a week! I can’t stand it, I tell you!” Horace was nearly shouting by this time and the noise caused Amanda to begin to stir. Horace and Maury both flew down to see if they could get her to wake up and leave.

Amanda woke up feeling very groggy and with a terrific headache from banging her head against the tree. Her vision was a bit blurred, but it began to clear quickly. She tried to sit up and get her bearings. She put her hands flat on the ground and began pushing herself up and to try to stand, but she got very dizzy again and plopped right back down and said, “Whew! What happened? I think that I took a little nap and when I woke up I must have still been dreaming because I thought I saw the ugliest dragon fly I have ever seen and it was sitting right on my nose. Wow! What a dream that must have been!”

Now Maury is a very proud dragonfly and believes himself to be quite handsome. So, he took great offense to what Amanda said and said so loudly. “Just what do you mean by that? I am not ugly! In fact, I am said to be quite attractive to the damselflies in the area. Humph, ugly indeed!”

Amanda looked in the direction of Maury’s voice to see the little dragon fly sitting on a leaf of a low hanging branch. He was looking quite stern for a dragon fly and she could not believe her eyes or her ears.

“Did you just talk to me?” Amanda said in a very surprised voice.

“Yes I did!” Maury exclaimed, “You insulted me. I was just trying to wake you up so that the plumbers could get into Horace’s tree. His water pipes are not working and you were blocking the entrance to the elevator.”

Now, Amanda could not believe her eyes or her ears. “You’re a talking dragon-fly?” She said to herself and she blinked real hard and then shook her head to try to clear her thoughts. “This is NOT happening to me!” But, when she looked again, Maury was still there and he was still talking. “You just have to move! Horace really needs the plumbers to fix his water pipes and …”

By this time, Horace had had enough and decided to put his own two cents in. He cleared his throat and said in his most official voice, “Young lady, please remove yourself from the entrance to my home or I shall be forced to take steps to have you removed!”

“Who ARE you?” Amanda asked. Horace then flew down to a lower branch so that she could more easily see him. “Oh, yes, please forgive my poor manners. My name is Horace Alexander Bumpworth III. This tree is my home, the plumbing has gone out of whack, and the plumbers have just arrived only to find you sitting directly in front of the entrance to my elevator and, since they, the beavers, cannot climb a tree that is their only way in. So…can you please move yourself so that they can get in?”

Now it took Amanda just a moment to realize what she was being told and then jumped up to clear the way saying, “Oh yes, I am very sorry, I didn’t know.”

Horace replied, “That’s quite alright, no harm done. Maury, would you please go and get the beavers back here so that they can go on with their work?” Maury said, “Sure Horace, right away.

Amanda watched Maury fly off to retrieve the beavers and then looked at Horace who asked, “And who might you be, young lady?”

With a slight hesitation because she had never spoken to an owl before, Amanda replied, “My name is Amanda Applewhite. I live with my father on a farm in, in…” Amanda looked all around trying to get her bearings and realized that she was not quite sure which way was home. “It’s in that direction, I thnk…” she said pointing west.

Horace ruffled his feathers, gave a little hoot, and said, “Well, it seems that you have gotten yourself lost. Perhaps you should turn right around and head home right away. You wouldn’t want anyone to worry about you, so off you go! Goodbye! On your way!” Then he flew back up to his front porch.

Amanda just stood there staring at Horace as he perched about halfway up the tree. She realized that unless she looked really hard she couldn’t see that there was a little structure sticking out of the tree. Horace opened what looked like a little door and went inside. She then thought that she could hear a door close. She shook her head, looked around the clearing for the beavers and didn’t see a thing. She looked up again and tried to see Horace’s front porch again and it wasn’t there! Amanda closed her eyes, shook her head again, looked all around, and could see no trace of the owl or the beavers.

She closed her eyes and began to rub them. She was just starting to think that she had imagined it all when she opened her eyes again and found that herself yawning and stretching her arms. She realized that she was sitting down and still leaning up against the tree. She could hear the buzz as a dragonfly went close by her ear towards the stream and then up into a shaft of sunlight before disappearing.

Amanda wondered if she had just dreamed the whole thing, shook her head again and then, because she felt that it was getting real close to supper time, headed home. She had a real story to tell her dad, but she was not sure exactly what that story was or how to tell him. When she got to the place where the garden gate was, she opened it, walked through and closed it. She walked a little ways toward where she had entered into the forest and turned around. The path was gone. She took couple of steps back toward the gate and now it was gone too. She stood and stared for just a minute, reached back to scratch her head, felt a lump on the back of her head and a sharp pain. “Ouch!” she said out loud and was surprised by the sound of her own voice. Her head hurt and throb slightly, so she turned and headed home quickly.

When she reached the edge of the forest, she could see that the sun was getting low in the sky. It was then that she realized that she still had a bunch of wildflowers in her hand. She turned toward home and ran, wondering how much, if any, of what she remembered was real.

More Adventures in Unemployment and Medicine – an update….

I realized that I haven’t posted anything about these topics in awhile. So, here goes.

I am still unemployed. It seems that my industry has passed me by. Skills (coding and SQL) are required now that were not previously required. I used to have the required skillset, but I had a series of jobs that did not allow me to keep up with newer trends. So, the skills I used to have no longer fit. The only way to get the experience is to get it “on the job” and you can’t get a job doing it unless you have the skills. That age old catch-22 has now caught me.

As a result, I have been applying for Para-Educator positions with the local school districts. I have had some interviews, but have not been hired. Yet…my lack of mobility may be an issue there.

I applied for Social Security and will begin receiving that this month. That will help with the finances. That will not be enough, however, to allow us to keep our house. We can no longer maintain the mortgage payments. So, I will be contacting the bank that owns it to tell this to them later this morning. We will be joining the ranks of literally millions of others who are unable to keep up with house payments in these rough economic times.

On the health front, I finally got a diagnosis that there is a mechanical problem with my lower back that has been at the root of most of the symptoms I have been experiencing. I had an MRI on the last day of my old insurance that confirmed it. Now the problem is getting the treatment I need from a new doctor that accepts my new insurance.

The new insurance is one of the Obamacare plans and few doctors accept it because it is viewed as a DSHS/Medicaid/Medicare plan in the way it pays. I do have an appointment with a back specialist in a couple of weeks. I am hoping that he will have an effective treatment plan so I can stop hobbling around like an old man.

I will post a story tomorrow. Still haven’t decided which one yet.

In all of these struggles, I do acknowledge that God is in command of my situation and look to Him for guidance and comfort. No matter what happens, I will praise Him for He is able to make all things work together for good.