Nineteen Years

It is September 11. For nineteen years, this has been a day that, no matter what the world outside actually looks like, always seems clouded and tinged with darkness to me, and no doubt to countless other Americans too.

It was the events of September 11 and their aftermath that inspired me, compelled me almost, to write in a current events/political vein. It was that compulsion that not only helped me work through the horrific attacks—they affected me very deeply—but indeed affected the course of my entire life, ultimately introducing me to dear friends and compatriots through my writing—in fact, I met my husband as a result of the writing I began just weeks into 2002 because it was the only way I could comprehend and work out what happened that hideous, awful day and the things I saw happening afterwards. Strange, strange life indeed.

Our world flipped upside down, and truthfully, time split for those old enough to know what happened that Tuesday morning: before 9/11, and after. Continue reading


Tile-Roofed Filling Station

While these are a fairly common sight in some parts of the nation, in Ohio they’re quite unusual. To make matters more intriguing, this one is the northern part of the state on US30, also known as the Lincoln Highway.

Last Look at the Tile-Roofed Station Towers

Obviously the old station has’t been in any sort of real service for some time. I’m also not sure what oil they sold to the locals—it doesn’t look like most Midwestern filling stations, and may have been an independent place (a successful one, at that).

Tile-Roof Filling Station

I actually stood on US30 to get this shot (hurrah for lenses with oomph and the occasional steady hand). Oh, the dangers in which I put myself!

Tile Roof, Rusty (looking)

As usual, I see a place like this and dream of small business possibilities—a coffee or tea shop, a small used bookstore, a bakery, a florist, a tailor’s or electrician’s headquarters. This one might make a good little cafe or burger spot, too—folks could sit beneath the canopy where cars once avoided the rain while topping off the tank.

Tile Roof, Rusty (looking)

Look at that—a bonus Fiero! One is almost disappointed it didn’t burst into flames at the moment the shutter snapped. (That’s an old Fiero joke sure to elicit a wry smile from car folks.)

He is risen!

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.     Luke 24:1-9, ESV

He is risen!

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.     Romans 5:6-11, ESV


Posted in God

The Old Barn in the Rain

Somewhere between here and North Carolina…
Big Barn At The End of the Road

Actually, the barn is in or just outside of Simmonsville, Virginia. Dark, yes, but rain seems to dog us whenever we visit the Carolinas, from the moment we leave home ’til not long after we return. Still, the region is so beautiful, even bucketfuls cannot truly dampen the spirits of visitors.

Virginia, it must be noted (again), is one of my favourite states in the Union—brimming over with history and beauty, both natural and of the manmade sort. Other than the frustrating dullness of big-box insults blooming there, it’s difficult to find a place in the state I can’t find something to rapture over.

Indecision Time, B&W

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Hating Billy Graham

What is truly sad about the response of this young woman to the death of Billy Graham is that he probably would have cared more for the state of her eternal soul and her temporal life here on earth far more than those who told her to indulge in her every whim so long as it made her happy or felt ‘authentic’. (Let me tell you, poison ivy is ‘authentic’, too, and it’s no picnic.)

In all honesty, I’m not fully familiar with Graham’s theology, especially as it seemed to change in his later years from its early laser focus on God’s perfect holiness and our desperate need for redemption (which He graciously provides in Christ), but I don’t doubt he’d have been terribly concerned with this unhappy woman’s eternal fate, despite the vitriol she might hurl at him. I encourage you to, as Christ told us to, pray for the lost, that workers be sent to the harvest. It’s very difficult to be angry with or dismissive of such folks when we know the danger they are in, since we were once there ourselves.

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

Romans 3:23-26, ESV

Titles Ben Would Win At Westminster

Ben and the Snowy Sunset

As you may know, Sunday marked the start of the famed Westminster Kennel Club dog show in the Big Apple. Westminster comes just before things begin swinging into action again after a bit of winter’s rest—there will be seeds to be sown and outbuildings to plan—and as a gal hailing from a very long line of dog lovers, it’s a fun two evenings during these cold, mixed-precipitation-y February evenings.

From my mom’s side of the family comes a love for herding dogs—specifically, rough collies. At least three generations of us have had them now, and since we are in fact part Irish and part Scottish, I’d be willing to bet a batch of cookies many, many generations of my ancestors have had a collie or The Ben of Autumnthree in the house or on the farm.

Collies are amazing dogs—a little weird, sometimes, but wonderful creatures, especially and famously around children. Of course our very own Benedict is truly the most faithful and wonderful of collies. Years ago, I thought about training him for agility—good, fun exercise for both of us, and herding dogs excel in agility—but my own health kept me from doing this. It’s okay. Ben is still a fine dog. In fact, we are about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of bringing him into our family within a couple of weeks. Talk about timing—Westminster and ten years of Benedict the Brave at the same time? This, my friends, is too much temptation to resist. Let’s talk about Westminster Kennel Club titles Ben would absolutely win!


Most Handsome

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first, all right? Ben wins this one in a waltz. Further proof in other categories, too. Contemplative Ben

From the archives: Summer Ben


The Look of Ben

The Sadness

Despite his striking good looks and life of being undeniably pampered—even when in the throes of serious, lost-ten-pounds-in-two-days illness, I’ve taken him out for his walks during heavy rainstorms—Ben can lay on the Sad. Big time.

Sadness, Personified

(no comment from Ben)

He can’t help that collies are naturally grave and serious most of the time. Besides, with those good looks, he probably worries no one takes him seriously. The unbearable heaviness of being handsome: Ben knows it.

The Daily Life of Ben

Friend To Kitties

Brotherly Love

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