I JOHN 5:4


new photo bks flag antler

Faith is the victory that has overcome the world.  What is faith?  It is believing Jesus is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.  We can do nothing if we remain dead in our sins.  Dead people don’t get much done. 

dec 5 baby photo

Rather, be born again.  That is how  we get the victory.  We overcome by putting on the armor of God,  and by taking up the offense which is the Word of God.  




I will make occasional quotes from a book I came across of my grandmother, Ruby Robinson Wise, “Loyal Responses,” hymns by Frances Ridley Havergal.

“Here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, hoy, and lively sacrifice to Thee.”

prov 20 v 27 woman bible praying

“Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be swift and ‘beautiful’ for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure-store

Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.”

free bible study







I JOHN 5:2-3

new photo bks flag antler

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

“You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Deut. 6:5

I John 5 v 2 child hands messy

Loving with heart, soul, strength, and mind spills out upon our neighbor and even ourselves.  Can we love God and His children without keeping His commandments?  No, for true love means we love Him enough to serve Him.  In fact, it does irreputable harm to the children of God when one claims to love God and then breaks His commandments.  Loving Go so much as to obey is not legalism for when one’s heart, one’s soul, one’s strength and one’s mind are involved, how can we not obey and keep His commandments?

I John 5 v 2 boy baking

Adam Clarke said, “Our love of Christ followers is proof that we love God.  Our love to God is the cause why we love His children, and our keeping the commandments of God is the proof that we love Him.”

I John 5 v 2 hands on

It is vain to pretend love to God while we live in opposition to His will.  To love Him with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves, are not grievous–are not burdensome; for no man is burdened with the duties which his own love imposes.  The old proverb explains the meaning of the apostle’s words, ‘Love feels no loads.’  Love to God brings strength from God; through His love and His strength, all His commandments are not only easy and light, but pleasant and delightful.”

I John 5 v 2 toddler christmas


“On the love of God as being the foundation of all religious worship, there is a good saying…’Rabbi Jesa said, how necessary is it that a man should love the holy blessed God!  For he can bring no other worship to God than love; and whoever loves Him, and worships Him from a principle of love, him the holy blessed God calls His beloved.'”

i john 5 v 2 hands and egg


A simple illustration could be of a parent inviting their child to help them make cookies.  Of course the child eagerly agrees.  It brings happy memories to me of our children standing on a chair desiring to do as much as possible from breaking the eggs, measuring the sugar and flour, adding the vanilla as well as the baking soda and stirring the mix before adding chocolate chips.  They may leave a few egg shells in which must be extracted out, and they may make a mess, but as long as they follow instructions, the result is a delicious treat to share. 

i john 5 v 2 father son

In the same way God works with His children.  It may not be done perfectly and may make a mess, but God knows of the eagerness to please in order to get to the desired end of eating the cookie. 

I John 5 v 2 flour on floor


Since one cannot possibly eat every cookie on the pan, it results in sharing with others in the family, and perhaps even with neighbors.  Love comes warm from the oven, and love is meant to be shared.  Love is working with the Father and delightfully following His instructions.
I John 5 v 2 adding in tsp




I JOHN 5:1

new photo bks flag antler

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves, the Father loves the child born of Him.” 

free baby

I find this fascinating.  This is written by John, the young beloved apostle to whom Jesus charged to take care of His mother.  Did she relate who the father was in her teenage unmarried pregnancy?  It was in fact God Himself.  Jesus the Christ is born of God.  In fact, “the Father loves the child born of Him.”   Indeed, whoever loves shares His love.  Mary also probably described the divine birth in the stable, the manger, the shepherds, then the star, the Wise Men.  But it is more.  The verse is a picture of God as the Father who loves all those born of Him in new birth.

baby and cord

Adam Clarke said, “‘Whosoever believeth’ Expressions of this kind are to be taken in connection with the subjects necessarily implied in them.  He that believeth that Jesus is the Messiah, and confides in Him for the remission of sins, is begotten of God; and they who are pardoned and begotten of God, love Him in return for His love, and love all those who are His children.”

Just as Mary could describe when Jesus was born, so can we born of God know when we became His child.  Even in adoption, a new birth certificate is made out to prove to whom the child now belongs.  

I John 4 v 11 roses

One last thing, I love the “WHOEVER BELIEVES,” or in the King James, “WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH.”  This is a special wording that shows it is an open invitation to all who desire to become His child.  Just believe in God’s Son.  The WHOSOEVERS of the world refutes the opinion that Christians can only be Christians because they are one of the Elect, a select society that none can enter by choice while the rest go to hell.  It is also repeated in the apostle’s John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES or WHOSOEVER BELIEVITH, shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  This is free will as opposed to being one of the Elect.  Praise God, I am a whosoever.  Are you?



I JOHN 4:19-21

new photo bks flag antler


“We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

I John 4 v 18 quote of verse

LOVE.  Love is of God, comes from God.  It is only something He alone can put in our hearts.  From His heart to our heart.  It is more than the overwhelming love when we see kittens and puppies.  It is even more than falling in love with someone.  This kind of love has to do with eternity.  It stretches our heart clear to heaven.  All other loves are just icing on the cake, the glitter that reflects God’s very character.

i john 4 v 18 love 2

Adam Clarke interprets this loving one’s brother specifically as concerning Christian Jews and their fellow Jews.  The Christian coverts looked at Saul before he became Paul, dragging men and women from their homes to be jailed or stoned to death.  This is the atmosphere and time in which John lived as he also was persecuted, and those he loved were persecuted.  He himself was not immediately put to death but was sent to an isolated island.  (He was the one who was in charge of Jesus’ mother Mary.  It was up to her uncle Joseph of Arimathea then to help her escape persecution by taking her away, my research shows, to Cornwall, England.) 

i john 4 v 19 ps 63

Thus, the love John urges his fellow believers was not a gooey-eyed or even familial love, but loving one’s enemies.  That is how Jesus loved.  He even said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”i john 4 v 18 jeremiah everlasting love

Currently, our nation is polarized.  Do we have enemies in and outside of our borders?  Yes.  It is fueled by hate which is the opposite of love.  It is a form of Christian persecution which international observers say is greater than ever.  It is not that we have to accept it and let hatred overtake us, our children, our nation.  Yet, we can love the person as we hate what they do, even have sorrow for what they feel and pray for them.





Ephesians 6:10-20 Suit up, Stand Firm and Resist with Boldnes

new photo bks flag antler

This is a little digression, but our pastor preached on these verses Sunday past.  It is a familiar passage of Scripture, but how very timely in view of current events at a pivotal point in our country’s history.  What I have to say, is not what he concluded, but this is what the Word of God spoke to me.

arnore of God

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to STAND FIRM against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to RESIST in the evil day, and having done everything, to STAND FIRM.  STAND FIRM therefore, having girded your loins with TRUTH and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the EVIL ONE.  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with BOLDNESS , the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak BOLDLY, as I ought to speak.” (My caps)

armor of God closet

Are we in a spiritual battle of good against evil?  Yes.   But as Christians do we even recognize evil or are we too conciliatory in order to be regarded as compassionate and non-judgmental?  Sadly, that is a description of perhaps most lukewarm Christians causing them to say we should not speak out, nor speak boldly against evil.  God help us!

Look at what the spiritual armor of God does.  It protects us and provides us defense against evil.  Then the Sword of the Spirit gives us the ability to take the offense in the battle against evil.   It gives us discernment by cutting us first to the marrow.  The apostle tells Christians three times in the passage to STAND FIRM.  Not only that, but it tells Christians to RESIST and to speak BOLDLY.

The current battle for a nomination is an example of this battle.  Some of the ones who are against this confirmation, call those in support of the candidate “evil.”  Yet, what is the motivation for opposition?  1.  It is pure, unadulterated hate for our duly elected president with a movement whose whole effort is to resist everything he does.  2.  It is widely espoused by those who oppose, a fear that this judge would reverse Roe vs Wade.  ABORTION.  Is abortion evil? 


ABORTION: it was begun by a follower and friend of Hitler, Margaret Sanger, with an open purpose of ridding our country of blacks and Jews.  The party who claims to be compassionate has a platform almost solely upon the soap box to cry out support for “a woman’s right to choose.”  But is abortion in any way compassionate, a procedure that causes the worst type of horror by dismembering a live baby up to and even immediately following a live partial birth?  These little ones feel the pain in the procedure.  Can you imagine that?  It has been documented now that we have the technology to prove the point.  ABORTION IS EVIL.  What makes it even worse is to find that the main provider of abortion makes a profit by selling the baby parts of dismembered infants.  EVIL.

This is not saying that all those who unknowingly choose abortion are evil.  I’ve known teens who were forced to undergo abortion by parents.  I’ve also known a woman who was forced to make the choice to either abort their baby or face divorce.   However, that does not negate the EVIL of ABORTION.  It is a stain on our national conscience by allowing millions of babies to be viciously murdered.  armor of Gd firey darts

The last president and the other candidate for president who lost were for full-term babies being aborted as well as partial birth abortion where a full term viable baby is partially delivered and then stabbed in the back of the head to kill it.  That speaks to their EVIL character.

Back to the struggle against EVIL.  Christians should suit up, put on the armor of God, STAND FIRM and RESIST and BOLDLY SPEAK OUT AGAINST SUCH EVIL.  This evil is characterized by the sexual slurs against a man’s good name without substantiation.  This activist woman has worn the “pink” gross hat flaunting a female private body part as part of the anti-Trump hatred in a move to RESIST in order to keep their choice of torturing and murdering babies in the womb.  She is no innocent speaking in a timid little girl’s voice. (I wonder if she uses that same tone of voice when teaching her classes at Stanford.)stand firm

Yes, sexual harassment and assault are real, but when the accuser is caught in lies, and has nothing to back up an accusation from thirty-five or thirty-six years ago, it is not hard to recognize the falsity.  I will state it plainly, my opinion is that her testimony rang false throughout for many reasons besides having no witnesses to back up her claims.  For instance, it is truly beyond belief that the timing of these accusations could be construed as anything other than an attempt to delay the confirmation in order to stop the president’s choice of a Supreme Court nomination, especially since Sen. Feinstein sat on it since July.  It is also beyond belief that the woman did not know that a private hearing of her claim was offered that would have allowed her to remain annonymous, even disrupting the Senate hearing timeline by offering to fly an investigative team to California to interview her?  It was all over the news.   She also lied about being fearful about flying since she often flew on vacation cross-country and even to Hawaii and Caribbean Islands.  This, and other holes in her story contradicted her testimony which was manipulated to play to people’s emotions, even raising nearly a million dollars for her Go-Fund-Me campaign.  Like Anita Hill of the Clarence Thomas hearings, she will be the liberals’ sweetheart, and also like Anita Hill she will have the ability to make millions off of books and possibly movie rights of her story, salacious as it is.  

If anyone knows me, they know that I hate consumption of alcohol of any kind.  I do not condone any drinking such as was brought out in testimony.  And as a little aside as in a morality play, just think how this would not have happened if neither party drank!  As another aside, it is one reason that I support our president: he does not drink.   Yet, if we were able to nominate only those who never drank alcohol, even as minors, then our candidates would be few to none.  

armor of God dress for success

This is not just a false accusation, it is EVIL to ruin a man’s reputation and life and cause his family’s pain.  It makes the judge the victim.  If this is allowed, anyone can accuse any man or woman, especially those running for political office, especially those conservatives running for office, and ruin their reputation and lives.  Our whole system of law is based on innocence until proven guilty.  Yes, there are even liberal senators who say it does not matter what defense a man puts up, he is a man and therefore is guilty.  This is beyond sad.  It is EVIL. 

Why are Christians not rising up, STANDING FIRM, RESISTING, and speaking out BOLDLY against this EVIL?  The only explanation I’ve heard is that they care more for what others may think of them rather than standing for the truth.  Man-fear is opposite of fearing God.   

prov 20 v 27 woman bible praying

The Scriptural prayer I have prayed over this situation is Psalm 1.  “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord know the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”







I JOHN 4:18

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

new photo bks flag antler


There is no perfect love, except for God’s.  The love He has offered as a symbol of His love began in the Garden with the creation of a man and a woman.  Marriage between a man and a woman is a symbol of the way Christ loves the Church. 

However, if there is fear in love, love is broken.  Even imperfect love should not have the effect of fear.  If love creates fear in a relationship, something has gone wrong.  

I John 4 v 11 chalk heart

In contrast, by falling in love with God, there can be no fear of Him or of His judgment.  For God is love.  It is His very character, His nature.  Because of that, He has done everything to draw us to Him, to make us in right relationship with Him.  He has wooed us, sacrificed Himself for us, all so that we may live with Him forever beginning with the marriage supper of the Lamb. 

Adam Clarke said, “‘There is no fear in love’ The man who feels that he loves God with all his heart can never dread him as his Judge.  As he is now made a partaker of His Spirit, and carries a sense of the Divine approbation n his conscience, he has nothing of that fear that produces terror or brings torment.  The perfect love–the fulness of love–that fulness of love, which he has received, casteth out fear–removes all terror relative to this day of judgment, for it is of this that the apostle particularly speaks.  And as it is inconsistent with the gracious design of God to have His followers miserable, and as he cannot be unhappy whose heart is full of the love of is God, this love must necessarily exclude this fear or terror; because that brings torment, and hence is inconsistent with that happiness which a man must have who continually enjoys the approbation of his God.”

I John 4 v 11 no one loves

“‘He that feareth’  He who is still uncertain concerning his interset in Christ; who, although he has many heavenly drawings, and often sits with Christ some moments on a throne of love, yet feels from the evils of his heart a dread of the day of judgment; is not made perfect in love–has not yet received the abiding witness of the Spirit that he is begotten of God; nor that fulness of love to God and man which excludes the enmity of the carnal mind, and which it is his privilege to receive.  Bt is the case of such a man desperate?  No: it is neither desperate nor deplorable; he is in the way of salvation, and not far from the kingdom of heaven.  Let such earnestly seek, and fervently believe on the Son of God; and He will soon give them another baptism of His Spirit, will purge out all the old leaven, and fill their whole souls with that love which is the fulfilling of the law.  He who is not yet perfect in love may speedily become so, because God in a moment, ‘I will, be thou clean; and immediately his leprosy will depart.’  Among men we find some that have neither love nor fear; others have fear without love; others that have love and fear; and others that have love without fear.


I John 4 v 10 cross and back

1.  Profligates, and worldly men in general, have neither the fear nor love of God.

2.  Deeply awakened and distressed penitents have the fear or terror of God without His love.

3.  Babes in Christ, or young converts, have often distressing fear mixed with their love.

4.  Adult Christians have love without this fear because fear hath torment, and they are ever happy, being filled with God.”

Addie going to sleep

As a child myself, I vividly remember lying in my bed sweating with the black iron fan vacillating between my sister and myself while looking out the dark window pondering the sermon an evangelist had just delivered which caused me a great deal of fear.  It is because even at a young age, I knew sin separated me from God, and I was fearful of being left at the imminent return of Christ for the faithful.   Yeah.  That’s the kind of fear that happens before casting ourselves upon the Lover of Our Soul.  I no longer lie awake at night fearful of the judgment of God.  Rather, I am called to prayer, the close fellowship with God upon whom I cast all my fear fully trusting in His perfect love.   It is because there comes a time after beginning to walk with God, even with a divided heart, when one surrenders all allowing Perfect Love to cast out all fear.



clueless cowboy standing on horse


Just for Fun Fiction by Celia Jolley

Eva stood at the sink and pumped more water.  She had washed the supper dishes, but now needed to heat more water to boiling to then pour over them for a rinse.  As she waited, she could not help but hear the menfolk talking.  She was only a little mouse in the room and trembled.

Will looked over at her smiling and stated, “Thank you, Eva, for the fish fry.  It was delicious.”  But his eyes did not reflect that smile.  He seemed nervous. Well, aren’t all grooms nervous the night before their wedding? she thought.

“Will, you can’t go through with this!  You need to stop this wedding and just walk away.” Jed spoke urgently shocking Eva completely.

The soon to be bridegroom groaned.  “But it’s tomorrow at high noon!  It’s too late!”

“Which is worse, to break it off now or be miserable for the rest of your life in a bad marriage?”  Her brother Jed was strident.

He was being  so blunt that Eva could not believe it.  It was true that Sybil was not liked by most people.  She was clingy to Will but stand-offish to everyone else.  But should Will indeed break it off the night before the wedding?

It’s not as if you will be leaving her at the altar.  She won’t even have to go to the church at all.  Her family can do damage control,” their friend Gus encouraged.  They all thought about the bride that Gus had indeed left at the altar when he learned about her shenanigans.

Someone else chimed in asking, “Do you truly love her, Will?  Didn’t you try to break up with her recently?  Why?  Is it because you realized she wasn’t the one?”

“I care about her enough that I don’t want to hurt her.  I will admit though that her behavior sometimes borders on bizarre.  There’s the time a while back when I tried to break up with her.  Well, she somehow let herself into my house and would not leave until I said we were still together.  It kind of grew from there as she would only talk about a wedding, marriage, kids and all until I felt I should propose.”

“That’s no reason to propose or go through with this sham, Will,” Eva’s brother urged.  “You’ll be miserable before you come back from your wedding trip.”

“It’s the manly thing to do,” Will,” Pete pled.  “Doing the right thing will take courage, but at this point if you stop the wedding, it’s just flowers and cake anyway.   People can keep their ol’ weddin’ gifts.  Sure, I know it will be embarrassing, but you can do it.”

“We’re all here for you, Will.  You have all of us behind you, supporting you, and we’ll stand up for you if you take this stance,” Jed said.   Then he went on, “What do you think, Eva?  Do you think Will should marry Sybil?”

free brunette lking down

My stars and garters, what a thing to ask her!  Just then the kettle started its shrill whistle, so Eva used that opportunity to turn her back as all eyes looked her way.  She spoke over her shoulder as she carefully poured boiling water over the dishes.  “I’m not close enough to Sybil to judge.  But if Will has any doubt about this marriage, it is better that he stop it now than to be miserable later.  However, it should be Will’s decision.”

The room became silent.  That could only mean Will was pondering it.

Eva bit her bottom lip as she began drying still turned away from where the men gathered round the kitchen table.   One glance back, she caught Will looking thoughtfully at her.  If only she could truly say what she thought!  Eva had had a crush on Will since 8th grade when he left school to go help run the family ranch.  How could she suggest in good conscience that he should stop his wedding when it was her deepest desire.  She knew that even if he did not marry Sybil, it would not mean Will would marry her.  Though that was in her thoughts, she hoped what she said was for Will’s good, rather than hers.  She looked away from the table and kept drying dishes.

“I don’t know if I can do it,” Will said almost in despair.

“What can’t you do, marry her or break off the wedding?” his brother Jed asked.

“Grr,” the poor man growled and sank his head into his hands grabbing fistfuls of hair.  

Look, here’s some paper and ink.  I promise, if you write it,  I will deliver it tonight,”  Jed declared.

“But you will have to be strong when tornado Sybil comes your way, and she will.  I guarantee that she will be more destructive than ever.  Remember that time she got mad at you over something stupid or other, and she threw dishes at you?  Better hide what you have left.”  Pete was only half kidding.

“Maybe I should hide out somewhere,” Will said hesitantly.

“Like a storm shelter?”  his brother joked, and the men all broke out in guffaws, more because they were relieved that their friend seemed to be taking their council. 

“More like a hide-away, you know, a cabin she doesn’t know about up in the hills.”  Will looked up hopefully.

“What about the line shack? Jed offered.   “I don’t think she would know to look for you there.  Eva can bring you food, and there are cots and blankets already available.” Her brother continued,  “But you better take off right away before she finds you here or mud will surely hit the windmill!”

Eva groaned inside.  Take him food?  Would that be torturous or enjoyable?  She didn’t have an answer, just chewed her lip a little more.  But when she stole a glance over at the table, Will took her breath away: he was writing his letter.  It was over!  It was enough to make her knees weak.  She couldn’t believe it.  Eva had even helped to decorate the church tossing rose petals down the aisle, the aisle Sybil would not now be walking down. 

“Got an envelope, Eva?” her brother asked before barking an order, “Go get your horses, men.  We are going to ride!  But Will’s going to go to the backside of nowhere to the line shack.   We only use it in winter, Will, for when it is hard feeding cattle in deep snow, so don’t expect nothing fancy.  If you don’t remember how to get there, Eva can tell you.  Eva?  Did you get that envelope?”

She had stood frozen by the sink, but now hurried to the desk where she stored her special stationary that her aunt had sent her upon Eva’s graduation.  Evidently neither Will nor Jed had realized that he was using pink paper with her initials embossed in a flowery design on top.  Not only that, but the scent of lavender clung to it from the sachet she had stashed in the drawer just for that purpose.  Hopefully, Sybil would not figure it out and think that she stole Will away from her.  Jealousy could be an ugly thing.

The fish they had eaten left its odor to saturate the kitchen, but the atmosphere was even heavier.  It was serious business.  These men were bound and determined to keep Will from getting hitched.  As his best friends, they indeed felt it was their combined duty.  They presented a unified front.

After they were gone, Will at first sat at the table with his head bent as if praying, so it was quiet.  Since she did not want to interrupt him, Eva began gathering some food stuff that would fit in his saddle bags, jerky, leftover  corn cakes, some bacon, a few eggs, and coffee.  All the while sneaking peeks at the man.  When Will looked up, he looked so relieved.  

If you bring your saddle bags in, I can put this in for you.  I’ll cushion the eggs with a clean dish towel.”  She was determined to help him get away.    “But you better get a hurry on if you don’t want to meet up with a jilted bride.  She’ll be madder than a hornet,” Eva declared.

Will jumped up and the door banged as he left.  Was he leaving without his food?  No, she heard his boots returning on the porch.  He was coming back with his saddle bags.  “Can you tell me where exactly where this place is?  I haven’t been there in years since we boys were youngsters having a campout.”

Eva did her best to explain it.  All he had to do was follow the fence line heading north.   Then quicker than she could load and shoot her pa’s rifle, he was gone.  Bang!  The door slammed shut.  With the moon hidden behind clouds, she could not see his departure, but listened to his horse’s rapid hoofbeats until they could be heard no more. 

A few days later, she vacillated about when and whether she should take Will more food, but Jed had no compulsion to hold back.  Her brother was forthright as always.  “Eva, it’s time for you to take Will some food before the man starves.  I cooked extra steaks last night.  Your rolls would go well with it too.  What’s that I smell though? Did you make sweet rolls for us or for Will?”

“Both,”she grinned and snapped her dish towel at him.  But she knew better than to hit him or else he would steal it right out of her hands and give as got and more.

“Now don’t be stinging me like a bee with that there rag,” her brother warned with a dangerous sparkle in his eye.

“I didn’t touch your precious behind, but why don’t you ride up to check on him yourself.  I’ll do it next time, I promise.”  She got busy wrapping up the food, sweet rolls included. 

Jed shrugged and said, “I guess I can check on my cattle in the far pasture today, though I wasn’t planning on it.  But you’re right, maybe Will needs somebody to talk to man to man.”

It was very quiet on the ranch.  All the cowpokes were busy doing something elsewhere.  Eva sat at the kitchen table and read their old Bible.  Some pages were torn half off, but she couldn’t imagine using any else.  It had been her mother’s.  She opened the Bible to I John 4,  He sure wrote a lot about love.  Eva read a couple of verses out loud, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.”

Eva looked around.  She had been born in this house.  It was the only home she had ever known, and was thankful for her parents who had filled this home with love.  God did indeed abide with them.  She hoped someday that she could likewise fill her own home with love by abiding in God. 

But a cyclone came out of the blue sky and burst in.  Someone stormed in uninvited slamming the door back so hard that it hit the wall with a resounding bang.  Eva jerked around and saw trouble.  It was Sybil.  She was one angry woman.  The spurned woman waved a crumpled piece of pink paper in front of Eva’s nose.  Eva backed up, but was stopped by the kitchen sink with nowhere to escape.  Still Sybil stalked her, creeping closer and closer until she was right in her face, nose to nose.  

“How dare you steal my soon-to-be husband!” She hissed.

Then before Eva could blink, the furious woman back-handed Eva.  She was in shock and put her hand to her cheek feeling like she had been deeply scratched.  When she put it down, there was blood on her hand.

“Why did you do that!” Eva exclaimed.  “I didn’t steal your fiancé.  My brother unfortunately grabbed my stationary, but it wasn’t because Will had anything to do with me.”

“I’m supposed to believe that when a man sends me a letter smelling of lavender with another woman’s initials on it?  I am not stupid!” 

She was spitting mad.  But Eva saw it coming, and stopped another slap by grabbing Sybil’s wrist.  The attacker shook Eva’s grip off and with a growl came at her full-bore.  It was enough to nearly catch her by surprise, but no.  Eva had enough years rough housing with her brother that she knew some moves and took the jilted bride down and pinned her on the floor.  The innocent jerked the screaming woman’s arms back while holding her down with her knee.  The question was, how did she let her go without allowing another  attack?

“What is going on in here?” Pete bellowed.  “Sounds like a wildcat snarling!”  Then he looked down at the woman on the floor where Eva was holding her down before he looked up to see the blood dripping down Eva’s cheek. 

“Well, if it isn’t Sybil.  I just hope this wildcat isn’t rabid ’cause she is foaming at the mouth.  Here, sugar, let me take over for you.”  Then in one fell swoop, Pete jerked the still screaming woman up and half dragged her out to her buggy.  “If you know what’s good for you, Miss Sybil, you will not set foot on this property again, or you will face the wrath of her brother and every cowboy on this ranch, me especially.”

Sybil shook him off, climbed into her buggy and whipped her poor horse.  Then she was gone still hollering at the top of her lungs.  Eva stood watching holding her had to her cheek.  Their best cow dog was barking, and trying to bite her buggy wheels making her horse nervous.  Pete whistled ’em off before it spooked the poor thing.

When he came in to check on her, he gently pulled her hand away.  “I’m afraid that’s going to leave a scar, honey,”  Pete had known her most her born days since he had been first a cow hand, then foreman.  He pumped water and handed her a sopping wet kitchen towel.  I am so glad we saved Will from marrying that piece of work.  If I ever had a doubt, no more.  ‘There’s no fury like a woman scorned.'” He shook his head.  “Still can’t believe she had the nerve to attack you in your own home.  You are innocent!”

“She figured out that the initials on the letter Will wrote were mine, so she assumed, he had developed a tendre for me, I guess.”

“Did she hurt you anywhere else?” Pete asked.  “Uh oh.  Your brother’s here.”

Jed threw open the door and marched in.  “Why did Miss Sybil take off caterwauling like the devil was on her tail?  I heard her screaming clear from afar.”  Then he saw the bloody rag in Eva’s hand and bellowed “Did she do that to you, sis?  How dare she!”  Pete blocked him from leaving quite yet. 

He tried to shake his foreman off, but if there was someone stronger than her brother, it was Pete.  “Can’t go off half-cocked, now Pete.  You can’t afford to run afoul of her father.  He’s your banker, and someday you might need to ask for a loan or something

Jed shrugged him off.  “Nobody is going to attack my sister without consequences.  Tell you what, we’ll both go and you can drag me away if I lose my temper.  I’ll go more quietly than that she-devil anyway.  Are you okay, Eva.  If you need me, I’ll bide a while first.”

I don’t want you to  make this worse than it already is, Jed.  So please, please don’t make her problem yours by losing your temper.”

“I can’t let her get away with clawing my sister enough to make her bleed.  But I’m beginning to think she is crazy.  What was Will thinking proposing to her?  I’m sure glad he broke it off just in time.”

Thanks to you and Pete and the others,” she added trying to smile to show she was alright, but it hurt.  “I think she must have had a ring on that sliced me across the cheek when she backhanded me.  Maybe she didn’t giver her engagement ring back to Will.”

“You should have seen our Eva, Jed.  She had that squalling thing down on the ground, pinned to the floor.”

Just like you taught me, Jed.  It was nice to have the upper hand for once.”  Then she tried to smile again, but winced. 

Let’s go, Pete.  We can catch up with her and escort her into town to make sure her story jives with the truth.”

Clueless Cowboy

Eva had planned to take Will some food today, but figured it wasn’t a good day for it after all.  She went to her room and looked into her hand mirror.  “My stars and garter, but she got me good!  No doubt but it will leave a scar.”

Eva began supper preparations sure that the men would eat lunch in town.  If there was anything one could count on, it was the regularity of a man’s stomach growling.  But while dicing an onion, someone knocked on the door jam and walked in.  She had left it open since the house still smelled like cabbage from the night before.  

Oh no!  It was Will.  It was too soon.  She didn’t want him to see her like this.

What happened to you, sweet stuff?  Looks like you tangled with a wild cat.”

“In a manner of speaking,” she said turning her back so he couldn’t see how bad it was.

No, really, what happened?” Will strode over, turned her around and tipped her chin up so he could look more closely at her injury.  Is this why you are crying?

She kept her eyes down, but whispered “No, they are onion tears.”  She tried to change the subject and asked, “How’s the line shack?  Do you have everything you need?  I was hoping to come and bring you some more food, so it’s a good thing you’re here instead.”

Still he looked at her.  “You’re avoiding my question, Eva.  Who did this to you?”

She figured he’d find out sooner or later, so after a big sigh, she confessed.

“What!” He threw his hat on the floor, something cowboys never did.  It was almost like their hats were sacred property.   He spun around biting back the words he wanted to say.  “Here I play the coward by running away, while you have to face the fiend, something I wasn’t willing to do.  I am so very sorry, Eva.”

He pulled her in a hug, and she might have shed a tear or two that weren’t onion tears.  He rubbed her back, then kissed her on the forehead before letting her go.

Jed and Pete left a little while ago to confront her.  I pray Jed can hold back and not make it worse.”

This is all my fault.  If I hadn’t been such a coward, I wouldn’t need others to fight my fight.”  He picked up his hat, slammed it on his head, then said, “I’m going to town and face the consequences of making such a mess of things, that is if you are sure you are alright, Eva.”

He stopped in his tracks, turned and looked back at her.  “It was the stationary, wasn’t it.  Why didn’t I think how that would rile her up?  Of course she figured whose initials those were.  That was so stupid!”  He stomped out.

Somehow that hug made it worse.  Now she craved his arms around her.  Eva shook the nonsense right out of her head, for at least two seconds.

Will spied Jed and Pete’s horses outside Sybil’s father’s house.  He drop reigned his horse and strode into the house without knocking.  Mr. Huffington sat there with his napkin still tucked in his collar at the table with Sybil ranting and raving.  Finally the man rose out of his chair and threw his napkin down yelling, “Enough!” 

Will knew Sybil had not seen him yet.  But her father pointed straight at him with a shaky finger saying sternly, “I tried to warn you about her, didn’t I.  You are a lucky man to have escaped her noose.”

“I just thought you didn’t think I was good enough for her,” he countered.  

Daddy!” Sybil whined.  “How could you take their side?”

“Go to your room until we figure out what to do with you.  I’m not a Catholic, but maybe I can find a nunnery anyway.  For a little donation, sometimes they take…”

Sybil squealed and stomped out of the room glaring at Will.  “It’s all your fault!”  They heard a door slam upstairs rattling the whole house.

His friends tipped their hats to him and said, “So you stopped by the ranch and saw Eva?”

His face contorted.  “I did indeed.  It’s all my fault that she got hurt.”   

Mr. Huffington put up his hand to stop him.  “No, don’t go blaming yourself for what my gal did.  So, Eva truly had her pinned down on the floor, did you say, Pete?  She may be my daughter, but I wished I could have seen that.”

She did?” Will’s voice broke in his astonishment.  “I wish I could have seen that myself.”  He rubbed the back of his neck.  “No offense, sir.”

“None taken.   But Jed, if your sister needs to be seen by the doctor, I’ll be happy to pay the bill.”

“I’m more concerned, if you don’t mind me saying, that your daughter might be running around loose.  No telling what she’ll do next.”  They could all hear her mother weeping in the kitchen where she had run after the first confrontation.

“You can be sure I will deal with it.  I give you my word as a gentleman.  In fact, in the morning I’ll be buying her a ticket back to my sister’s in Boston.  Now there’s a woman tougher than I ever thought of being,” he said chuckling.

“Maybe you should keep Sybil locked up until then,” Pete added.  

“Of course,” the man said.  “A man doesn’t like to admit his failure in parenting, but I confess, I do.”

“Nah, sir, I knew your son, and he is a good man.  She’s an adult now and is responsible for her own behavior.”  Pete said.  “You can’t take all the blame.”

Will shook the man’s hand.  “Thank you, sir, for being understanding.  I’m sorry I allowed the whole courtship to drag on for too long.”

“It’s worth it if you decide to grow a backbone now.   Nothing like a bad experience to teach a man that,” Pete commented.

As the men rode away, Pete asked Will, “So, does this mean you won’t be going back to the line shack?”

“I shouldn’t have gone there to begin with.  It was another bad idea.  I have to start making smarter decisions from here on out.  The first and foremost will be staying far, far away from all females from here on out!”

Pete and Jed laughed.  “We’ll see how long that lasts.” 

“I swear!  I don’t see either of you married,” he grumbled.  

“I had a sweetheart once.  I was goin’ to marry her too, but she got consumption before we made it to the altar,” Pete confessed surprising both of them.

“I’m sorry, Pete.  I never knew,” Jed commiserated.  

“Me too,” Will added.  “That’s a whole lot worse than what I’ve been through, that’s for sure.  It helps to put it in perspective.  Nevertheless, I’m done with women.”

“Come over for supper, you two.  I’m sure Eva has cooked another fine meal.”

“Don’t mind if I do.  It’s better than the slop the cook makes for the hands, unless its steak and cornbread.”

Will felt a little niggling warning him not to go, but he shrugged it off and said, “You can count me in.  I don’t turn down an offer like that.   I know from previous experience that she is one fine cook.”

“I’m beginning to have to fight the unsuitable suitors off.  She’s drawing them like flies to honey,” Pete admitted.

“Really?  Who?” Will sputtered realizing he was feeling a bit too protective.”

“Well, there’s Ralph, Joe, Walt, Caleb, Peter, Richard, John, Simon…”

“Is that all?  Sheesh, I hope you swatted those pesky fellas away.  None of them are worthy enough to touch a hair on her head,” Will exclaimed, but began thinking how pretty the hair on her hair was, beckoning a man to want to run his fingers through it.”  He shook himself.  “She can do better than the whole bunch.”


The only one I considered is Robert.  I figure he has some manners, says he is a Christian, and is a hard worker,” Jed said.

“But he doesn’t have a sterling reputation with the ladies, you know,” Will warned.  

Jed sighed, “I know.  That’s why I asked Eva her opinion.  Of course she has no desire to encourage any of them.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think her heart is attached elsewhere.”

“Really?  Who?”  Will asked surprised while Pete snorted back a laugh.

“What?” Will asked turning in his saddle to look at the foreman. 


“Some things just can’t be explained.  If a fella can’t figure it out, then he is stupider than a stump.”  Pete laughed some more and was joined by Jed.  “But she’s pretty enough to catch any man’s eye, that’s for sure and certain, even if she wants nothing to do with those fellas.”

Will was more confused than ever, but thoughts of the meal to come caused him to  salivate already.  Picturing Eva in her kitchen was a comfortable thought, that is until he was reminded of the vicious scratch on her cheek.  He tensed and almost turned to go down his own road to his ranch in shame for what he caused, but continued to ride silently with his friends.  They seemed to be holding back a secret he wasn’t privy too, but oh well.  He had enough on his mind as it was.

As they neared the ranch house, the smell of a roast cooking wafted through the air as each man sniffed satisfactorily.  Once inside, they could smell yeast rolls as well.

I’m thinking of not letting my sister ever marry because I would miss her cooking too much,” Jed declared.

“You bet,” Pete added.

“Whoever marries her will have to become my best friend so I can always get an invite to their table,” Will said while the other two chuckled again.  He tried to ignore them as Eva opened the door.

“Just in time!  I’m ready to put the food on the table, y’all.  Come on in and wash up.”

Will cringed when he saw her face.  It wouldn’t diminish her good looks, but the remaining scar would always remind him of his bad decisions that allowed it to happen.  He washed his face as well as his hands wishing once again that he was a better man.

They sat down in the dining room.  Will ate his food hardly daring to glance at Eva.  It pained him to see what Sybil had done.  Eva was too sweet, too innocent, to lovely to be attacked like that.  Then he smiled to himself with satisfaction knowing she had wrestled Sybil and pinned her on the ground.

“What’s so funny?  You’re grinning like a toad who gulped a dragonfly?” Jed asked.

Will looked around.  Eva had gone back into the kitchen to fetch a pie.  “I was just thinking how she got Sybil down.”

Eva walked into the room only to see all the men grinning at her.  She didn’t think it was just that she was bringing in a pie either.  She couldn’t miss the admiring look Will gave her, which surprised her as well as making her stomach swirl.   She bit her lip to keep from asking what they had been talking about.  She was sure they’d been talking about her.

“Remind me never to mess with you, Miss Eva.  I’m afraid you might wrestle me to the ground too,” Will grinned while the others groaned and shook their heads.  He said, “What?”

Eva felt like throwing the pie in his face, but left in a snit going back to the kitchen.  “Men!  Stupid, stupid men!” she huffed under her breath.

What did I say?” Will asked his friends.  

“If you don’t know, you are too dense for me to explain it to you,” Pete stated then hummed his pleasure at the first bite of the peach pie with cream on it.

“You sure aren’t a smooth ladies’ man, Will.  Your tongue gets you in more trouble than a mud-stuck cow.  But did you really think that Eva wants you to remember her as the one who was in a cat fight with your spurned woman even if she won the match?”

“I don’t know, I guess.  But if either of you was able to pin a man to the floor as the victor of a fight, you’d be proud as punch.  So I just thought…” Will tried to explain but saw his friends weren’t buying into it.

“Will, Will, Will.  You are a helpless case,” Jed said shaking his head while Pete guffawed some more.  “Women aren’t proud as punch like a man to be reminded of a fight they did not invite, whether they won or lost.”

Eva did not appear again, so Will left saying, “Tell Eva how much I enjoyed her meal.”  Then he rode towards home glumly.  The last thing he wanted was to insult his friend’s sister and face Jed’s wrath. 

Before he got too far, a buggy was churning up dust coming from town.  Like a reoccurring nightmare, it was Sybil and her father.  

“Will, stop right there!”

His horse was jittery, dancing around, much like his own heart.  “Can I help you, sir?”

“Everything has changed now that Sybil has told me what you did.  So face it like a man, and marry the girl.”

Will gulped and the whites of his eyes showed his fear.  He just noticed the preacher in the back seat and the shotgun laid across Sybil’s father’s lap.  “We need to go to the Double J Ranch.  I won’t talk with you without witnesses.”

He turned his horse back the way he had come.  He spurred him to a run leaving the banker’s buggy behind.  

“Jed!” he hollered while bursting into the house.

Jed and Pete stepped out of his office frowning.  Jed said, “What on earth?  You look like you’ve been snake bit.”

“It’s worse than that.”  He looked over his shoulder and heard the clatter of the approaching buggy.  “It’s Sybil.  She’s after me.”

“I thought we already had that out, and her father was sending her away in the morning.”

 “I’m not sure what it’s about, but I have an idea that it is not good.  He’s got a shotgun and a preacher with him.”

Eva hung back in the shadows from the kitchen where she was doing supper dishes. Her heart sank and her stomach churned as she knotted the dish towel in her hands.

Sybil and her father entered followed by the preacher.  “Will, we only need to speak with you.  I don’t think you want an audience for what I have to say.”

“These are my friends.  Anything you want to say to me, you can say it in front of them.”

“Well, Sybil here has told me how you, umm, you forced yourself upon her.  In fact she thinks she might be with child.”

“Well, I can state here and now with certainty that nothing like that ever happened, and if she is with child, the baby isn’t mine.  I’ll swear to it on the preacher’s Bible.” Jed and Pete each stepped up to stand on either side of their friend. 

Jed said, “Now,…has Sybil ever told you untruths in order to manipulate you into doing something?  Seems like I remember the time when she accused the teacher of switching her while she claimed her innocence of pouring ink all over Eva’s hair.  Didn’t you come marching to the school and confronting the poor lady while my sister had to go around with black streaks in her hair for months until it grew out.  It was hard to believe Sybil was innocent when Eva knew good and well that your daughter had done it to her.”

“Well, this is more serious than a little ink on a girl’s hair.”

“It was a whole bottle.  Neither Sybil nor you ever apologized.  It was humiliating for my sister to go around like that for months.”


Pete spoke up, “Seems to me like Sybil likewise accused one of my cowboys of forcing unwanted kisses on her at a barn dance.  However, I myself had just arrived when I saw her leading the man out of the light of the barn into the shadows behind it.  I followed just to make sure nothing happened.  And it didn’t because I ended it.  Yet, you got all hot under the collar believing her accusations.  If I had not been there, my cowboy would have been run out-of-town.”

“Yes, but…”

“When do you say this happened, Sybil?” Will narrowed his eyes in fury challenging her.

“You know,” she replied smugly.

“No I don’t.  You need to tell us.”

She seemed surprised that she had to back up her accusations with facts.  “Well, I think it was…I remember exactly when it was.  It was when you took me for a buggy ride.”  She crossed her arms in defiance smiling like a clam.

“I don’t have a buggy, Sybil, as you well know.  You always whined about it in fact, but it wasn’t something I felt I needed.  And I have never borrowed your father’s or anyone else’s buggy.”  He glared at her.  

Her father began looking a little nervous.  “When exactly did this happen, Sybil and where do you say he took you?”

She looked surprised that her father would question her.  “Daddy, I already told you.  He took me down by the river.”  She looked nervously around.  “It was after the Fourth of July’s town dance.”

Jed stepped up and bent over until he was nose to nose with the girl.  “Will was with me that night, Miss Sybil.  We had sick cows who had gotten into loco weed.  Maybe you were eating the same, because all you have said is bogus.”

Sybil tried pouting.  “Daddy, they are lying.”

Eva walked into the room.  “I was in town that night.  I saw you leave the dance and get into a buggy with Tom Fischer.  I remember how I thought it strange since you were Will’s girlfriend.”

Will stepped over protectively in front of  Eva in case that crazy woman decided to attack her again.  He crossed his arms and looked like an impenetrable wall.  “Whatever you say happened, Sybil, it wasn’t with me.”

Since everything else failed, Sybil screeched and burst into tears.  “Daddy, you have to believe me!  I’m pregnant with his child, and he needs to marry me and do right by me!  They are all lying.”

The minister looked nervously around, but then gave a disgusted look towards the woman who was still loudly weeping.  “Miss Sybil, you need to confess the darkness of your soul and get right with God.”  But she only swatted him away knocking the Bible from his hands.  It fell with a bang.

Instead, her father walked over to Will and put out his hand.  “I find I owe you another apology for these terrible accusations, Will.   As for you, Miss Eva, I’m sorry that my daughter has caused you trouble more than once.  Indeed, Sybil will go live my sister back in Boston.  Time will tell if she is truly with child.  Sadly, right now I don’t believe anything my daughter tells me.”

The minister had picked up his Bible and was checking it over for crumpled pages when the banker asked, “Ready to go, preacher?” Sybil’s father grabbed his daughter’s arm while she wailed all the way out to the buggy.  Undetoured,  the father shoved her into the back seat while she was kicking and screaming.  Shaking his head, he sadly waved and left.

Will sank into a chair with a whoosh.  “My stars.  That woman is crazy!”

“Insane,” Jed added.

“Deeply disturbed,” Pete said emphatically.

“Evil,” Eva stated.  “She is a manipulative liar and has been for a long time.”

“I’m ashamed I ever believed her.  I was snookered.”

“You let the wool be pulled over your eyes,” Pete nodded.

“She was crafty and malicious,” Jed stated.

“Deceptive,” Eva agreed.  The Bible says we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  You are a softy, Will, and she used you.  I should have told you that she was always bragging how she would marry the man with the largest spread in the county.  Sybil was sure that once married, she could convince you to build her a big house in town.”

“I’m such a fool,” Will said with his head in his hands.

“Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me,” Pete quoted.  “Live and learn, Will, and ask God to give you discernment and wisdom.”

Jed glanced at his sister.  “Don’t give up on all women just because you bit into a rotten one out of the whole barrel.  You might miss a perfectly sweet one.”

“I can’t trust myself to know the difference.  Nah, I’m through with women.  I’ll never marry.”  He never noticed that Eva left the room, but her brother and Pete shared a look.

“Don’t be an idiot,” Jed snarled.  “You’re probably right.  It’s obvious you can’t see what’s right in front of your face.”


“You have the brains of a gnat, Will,” Pete said disgustedly.

“I don’t know what you mean?” Will looked between his two best friends.

“I refuse to spell it out for you.  You’re a good neighbor, a good cowboy, but have the sense of a goat.” 

To a cowboy, being referred to as a goat was a low blow.  The only thing lower was to be called as dumb as a sheep.  “Hey, go easy on me, fellas.”  He held his hat over his heart.  “I almost got railroaded into a shotgun wedding with that, that unbroken killer bronco.  I was sweating bullets for a while there.  But if it hadn’t been for you guys, I would be lassoed and branded by now.”

“Actually, if it wasn’t for Eva, you might have been hog-tied and dragged off tonight.”

“Where is she?” Will said standing up and looking around.

“I don’t think she could stand to hear you moaning about your stupidity any more.  I think I’ll have to let someone smarter court her, someone on the long list of those who have asked to come calling,” Jed sighed.

“Wait.  Who are you talking about?”

“Sorry, but your name’s off the list.  So, it doesn’t concern you.” Pete said with scorn.

“Wait, was my name on the list?” Will asked confusedly.

Pete snorted while Jed firmly answered, “On the top of the list, but no more.”

Will sank back down to his chair, arms on his knees and head bent, he ran his hands through his hair leaving it as wild as a wind-blown coyote.  “You’re right, Jed.  I’m not good enough for her.  She needs someone better than me.”

Jed walked to the door and opened it for him.  “Get out now before I throw your worthless hide out.”

“What?” Will sat up.  “What did I do?”

His friend answered, “I don’t want to listen to any more “woe is me,” talk.  Buck up or leave.”

Will stiffened his back and shoved his hat on his head.  “I know when I’m not wanted.  You don’t have to ask me twice.”

But it was Pete’s parting words that smarted the worst when he said, “You’re not good company until you grow a backbone and quit being spineless.  You better open your eyes,cowboy, before it’s too late.”  It confused him too.  He had no idea what he meant about being too late.

Will rode home with the mully-grumps.  He’d rather have the company of his cows than sit around and be insulted by his best friends, that was for sure and certain.

The next day when he rode the line of fence between his ranch and the Double J’s,  he saw Eva out riding.  She made a fine figure on a horse and would be quite a catch for whoever married her.  That man would have to pass Jed’s gauntlet first, no doubt.  He’d sure as shooting better hit the bullseye, to suit him as well, Jed pondered with gritted teeth.  She deserved the best, he thought, but somehow that left him unsettled.   

Sunday, he sat behind Pete and Jed and Eva.  Usually he sat with them, but refused to do so, at least not while things were strained.  He just plain did not feel comfortable. Will glanced over to see Sybil’s parents sitting together, but without their daughter.  Good, he sighed.  He hoped it meant Sybil was on her way to Boston.

But as the hymns were sung, he was captured by Eva’s pure voice.  Then as the preacher expounded, his eyes kept straying to gaze at her shiny brown locks twisted into braids and rolled into a bun on her lovely neck.  He’d seen her hair down once and it was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen with its sheen like a waterfall.clueless girl from back


Once, she glanced back and caught him staring but quickly turned around frowning.   Will looked around him, especially towards the back where most of the single men huddled.   He furrowed his eyebrows just thinking about any of them trying to court Miss Eva.  Preposterous!  You might as well try to hook up a thoroughbred with a mule.  It would never work.  

Will slumped down in his seat with his arms crossed.  He was in no mood to listen.  His head was filled with thoughts of punching all those galloots in the back pews right in the nose, every last one of them.  They no more had thoughts of Scriptures in their heads, but were staring with cow eyes at Eva.  He felt like a downright brawl right here in church would serve them right. 

Will still held a grudge against the preacher anyway who had believed Sybil’s accusation against him right along with her father.  He had been falsely accused, after all.  Shouldn’t the preacher have known his character better than that?   Instead he had been judged and found guilty until proven innocent.  But that’s not how justice was suppose to work.  Even he knew that.  He should have been found innocent until proven guilty, for crying out loud!

It did not even register at first that people were standing up because church was over.  When Will finally looked up, he saw a smirk on Jed’s face and perplexion on Eva’s.  Somehow she looked paler than usual though in contrast her cheeks were stained bright pink.  But he didn’t know who she was blushing about.  Hopefully, it wasn’t because of one of those yahoos back there.  He jumped up to walk behind her for her own protection.  Will even put his hand on the small of her back territorily just to make sure they backed off.  Several glared at him as he strutted past.

Once outside, he hung back until she angrily accused him of hovering like a horsefly.

“What?” he asked.  “I just don’t like the herd of flea bitten cowboys vying for your attention.”

“I thought I already told you it was none of your concern, Will.  You need to back off,” Jed drawled.  “I can look after my own sister.” 

Then he turned and shook Jimmy Johnson’s hand tp shake.  Will couldn’t hear what the intruder said, but heard Jed loud and clear.  “Sure come on over this afternoon.  I’m sure Eva would like to go on a buggy ride.”  Eva had turned bright pink all over her face.

Now that stuck in Will’s craw like crazy.  Jimmy Johnson was a limp handed, buttoned up fop, good for nothing but standing behind his shop counter. His Eva would never be happy living here in town, would she? 

He stomped off, leaped on his horse and galloped away.  Jed better smarten up before he marries Eva off to the wrong man!  Will wouldn’t stand for that.  

Back at the ranch, Will stewed all through lunch.  Suddenly he had a bright idea.  Riding into town as fast as he could, he went to the livery and asked to rent a buggy. 

“Well, Will, I only gots one buggy to rent and it’s already promised to Jimmy Johnson.  I’m suspecting him to git here right ta bout now.”

“How about if I pay you double what you are asking?  Do we have a deal?”

The old hostler grinned toothlessly, “You got a deal, partner!”

“But I didn’t say I would pay double for the horse, you understand.”

“Nope, same goes for the buggy horse as the buggy.  If yours can’t be hitched, then you have to pay up double.  No matter.  Jimmy Johnson will be here soon enough.”

Since his mount had never pulled anything but a roped calf, Will also hired a buggy-trained nag, even if he did feel like he had been robbed.  But Will could not hide a grin thinking it was worth it when he pulled out and saw Jimmy Johnson approaching out of the corner of his eye.  He left the poor fellow mouth dropped open eating his dust.

The old nag perked up once out of town like it was remembering its freer days.  She trotted right along. 

When he pulled up, Eva came out with a timid smile which turned into a frown.  “What are you doing here?  Whose buggy is that anyway?”

“It doesn’t appear like Jimmy Johnson will make it today, so I thought you might still want to go for a ride.”

Jed came out on the porch and looked the buggy and nag over.  “I do believe old man Crenshaw only has one buggy to rent.  Looks like you beat Jimmy to it, am I right?”

Will scowled at him.  “Maybe, but that doesn’t mean Miss Eva has to sit at home on such a fine day.  Will you come with me, Eva?  Please?”  Will was nervously waiting hoping she would not spurn him outright.  He climbed down, walked around the nag and offered her his hand to help her up into the buggy.  She swatted it away and got up by herself and sat with her arms crossed staring straight ahead with a glare.  He tipped his hat to Jed who was grinning like a guilty dog.  

“Bring her back before dark, Will, or else.”  Jed called.

Once they left her house, she asked without looking at him, “Why are you doing this, Will?”

Now that was a question he wasn’t sure he could answer since he didn’t quite know himself.  He wiped a drip of sweat off his brow and told her truthfully, “I don’t rightly know, Eva.  I just, well, I didn’t take it kindly that you’d accept that dandy’s suit.  He’s below you, Eva.”

“What about you, Will?  Are you trying to court me?”

“There again, I don’t rightly know.  It just seemed prudent to nip that fellow’s attention in the bud.”

“Well, turn this buggy around, Will.  You might as well take it back to Crenshaw’s stable, because I intend to be courted today.  If not you, then let Jimmy Johnson come.”

“Now, Eva.  Don’t be like that.  You know we’ve always had a good time together.” 

“If you mean when I was ten and you were twelve, then that’s a long time ago, Will.  You said you’d never taken Sybil on a buggy ride, so why are you taking me?  Be careful how you answer, otherwise, I must insist you take me home…” But before she could finish, Will kissed her, a spine tingling kind of kiss that tasted like more.  The nag was happy to eat the grass on the side of the rode while they finished their kissing business.


Eva sat back and sighed.  Her first kiss was from the man she most wanted it from and was more than she’d dreamed, but still she had to say, “You better not be playing with my affection, Will Comstock.  Just remember, Jed’s looking out for me and won’t take kindly to it if you are.”

“I think my heart has always been yours, but I was too dumb a cowboy to know it.  Why didn’t you tell me earlier and, I wouldn’t have had to be so jealous.”

“You were quite taken up with Sybil, if you remember.”

“That was the even dumber me.  Right now I feel like this is the smartest thing I have ever done,” then he kissed her again.

“It was dusk when he brought her home.  They hadn’t even driven the buggy past the line where his property butted up with the Double J’s.  But they had sat there while the old nag pulled and chewed the tuffs of grass, as they talked about times past, times present, and even about a time in the future.

When he jumped out to help Eva down, he saw the smirk on Jed’s face.  

Will threw back his shoulders and puffed out his chest and proudly declared, “Just so you know, I am officially courting your sister, Jed, and there’s nothing you can do about it since she’s of age.”

“I’m just glad you came to your senses finally.  I was beginning to wonder about you, but I can tell you are totally twitterpated,”

Pete sauntered out smiling like a frog at mosquito fest leaning up against a post.  He added, “He’s smitten alright.”

“Who wouldn’t be,” Will stated while winking at Eva.  “She’s the most beautiful and the sweetest gal in the county.”  He liked to bring on her blush and was rewarded with one. 

“You do know where a suit is heading towards, right ,Will?” Jed asked.

“It won’t be a shotgun wedding, that’s for sure,” he grinned.  “I’ll go willingly whenever Eva says it’s time to walk the aisle and will stand proudly before the mourner’s bench and say my vows!”

clueless cowboy sunset

Even Jed gaped, not to mention Pete as did the one whom he meant the proclamation for.  

“Whoa, there buddy.  There’s no hurry here.” Jed barked.

“There’s no need to wait either.  I once was blind, but now I see, and I like what I see, the one who had been standing there all the time.  Besides, it’s not as if Eva and I don’t know each other.”

“Jed looked at his shy sister.  “Eva, do you want me to stop his fool lips from professing more…”

But she interrupted him and smiled sweetly at Will.  “No thank you, Jed.  I think I finally got him pinned and will hold him down until he cries “Marry me!  All he has to say are those three little words.”

Will swallowed.  He was in for a pinch and in for a pound now. There was no turning back, except for returning a rented buggy.  “I’ll tell you right now, in front of your brother and Pete anybody else hanging around the barn so they can hear, “I love you, Eva.  Always have and always will.  God is love. and He’s just spilling it out all over me!”

Eva ran back down the steps and put her arms around her cowboy’s neck and kissed him good right there in front of God and all the cowboys who were whooping and hollering out by the barn.   

Jed and Pete shook hands.  “I won that bet,” Pete said.  

“Fair and square,” Jed winked.  “We knew he’d come around, but the bet was about how long it would take him.  I must admit, I was beginning to doubt him there for awhile.  But now we’re going to have to find us a cook as good as Eva when Will steals her away.  We’re pretty spoiled, you know.”

“I hear you.  As much as I will miss her, that was the crowning achievement of my life waking up that cowboy from the dead.”

“Yep, he wasn’t just blind, but acted like he was dead all, right.  But I’m glad he came alive even if he took long enough.”
















































I JOHN 4:13

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”


new photo bks flag antler

As I’ve said before, “abide” is one of my favorite words, just like the promise of “dwell” or “rest.”  It has to do with when the Comforter has come.  If I have company, I must clean the house, which is often not one of my shining moments.  When it comes to cleaning the house, I am not a perfectionist.  For example, since we have not yet had our dog’s fall hair-do cut and trim, our house swims in dog hair that when swept up is enough to make a wig.  Then, we have to make sure our son’s smelly socks are dealt with without overwhelming the house and causing our guests to faint.  Then we try to dust and disinfect.  

However, the Holy Spirit has a better offer.  He wants to cleanse our heart’s house for us, then offers to move in, abide, and keep it clean.  It’s God’s gift to us.  If you were given a coupon for free house keeping, wouldn’t you accept it gladly?  Well, we can have a clean heart if we open the heart’s door and let Him in, and we get to kick back and rest.

 I John 4 v 12 abide in me

Adam Clarke said, refers back to I John 3:24, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.  We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 

“We know by the Spirit which He has given us hat we dwell in God, and God in us.  It was not by conjecture or inference that Christians of old knew they were in the favour of God, it was by the testimony of God’s own Spirit in their hearts.  and this testimony was not given in a transient manner, but was constant and abiding while they continued under the influence of that faith that worketh by love.  Every good man is a temple of the Holy Ghost, and wherever he is, he is both light and power.  By His power He works; by His light He makes both himself and His work known.  Peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost must proceed from the indwelling of that Holy Spirit; and those who have these blessings must know that they have them, for we cannot have heavenly peace and heavenly joy without knowing that we have them.  But this Spirit in the soul of a believer is not only manifest by its effects, but it bears its own witness to its own indwelling.  So that a man not only knows that he has this Spirit from the fruits of the Spirit, but he knows that he has it from its own direct witness.  It may be said, ‘How can these be?’  And it may be answered, By the power, light, and mercy of God.”

free silouette sky

“As the wind bloweth where it listeth, and we cannot tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit: the thing is certain, and fully known by its effects; but how this testimony is given and confirmed is inexplicable.  Every good man feels it, and knows he is of God by the Spirit God has given him.”




A Few Observations…

Stanford’s Children’s Lucille Packard Hospital is the best, perhaps in the world.  Children are flown in from everywhere to be treated regardless of the ability to pay.  There is a Ronald MacDonald House which is kept full all the time.  Every floor of the hospital has whimsical artwork and sculptures of animals with an outside playground and several gardens.  


Before he went in for his heart procedure, our pastor and another good friend called and prayed for him.  It made a big difference helping Hank to be calm instead of as nervous he was before.  Abiding in Him happens wherever we be.

Several years ago, we took our other young son to their E.R.  He was admitted for four days.  He had screaming pain no one could explain which was causing him to lose body control triggering his past post trauma.  Before going there, since other doctors could not diagnose him, he was dismissed.  We were told not to come back:  everyone thought him just crazy.  However, Stanford sent him to their pain clinic.  Once they did a nerve block, the one that caused his extreme pain and the loss of bodily functions, his pain and the symptoms all resolved.  Cyclists who have had this enflamed nerve have been known to commit suicide because it was so traumatic.

Hank at Stanford

As before, the surgeons, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, receptionists, and everyone else was exceptionally personable and just plain nice.  They kept us up to date even during the surgery.  They work in tandem as a team for the best care.

However as the day lingered, weary parents like me looked more like homeless people laying down on lobby couches to rest or sleep while waiting for news of their children’s surgery results.   We held the bags filled with our child’s clothing and other things like a stash of water bottles.  When you are exhausted, you don’t care what other strangers may think.  

Another observation is that now the bathrooms are gender neutral.  That just means that now women have to put the toilet seats down because some man used it before them.  Yuck.  Hmm.  I have trained the males in my house to practice a good habit, but now we have to train the world?  Impossible!  


hank's last supper

The cafeteria was wonderful, though I doubt that all could afford to eat there if their stays were extended.  Recently my husband’s doctor has put him on a gluten free diet, just like me!  However, I was surprised that the woman in charge of one of the food stations had no idea what gluten free meant.  Stanford?  So, I mostly ate salad while he chose soup hoping for the best.   The night before his procedure, we took the boy to his “last supper” for the meal of his choice: chicken fettuccine.  As for us, we shared lemon butter chicken with capers, delicious gluten free fare.  Yum.  I am inspired to try to make it at home.   

Stanford is in Palo Alto which is not the most inexpensive place to stay, but is a nice community.  Unlike most people, we really don’t like San Francisco area, mostly because we don’t like driving in heavy traffic.  Fortunately, we were able to return home in the hours of light traffic.  Once in Sacramento, we stopped to eat and ran into old friends.  The world shrinks at times like that, whether as commonality with parents of patients, regardless of race or nationality, or when those from the past step forward.

Now these observations are more than you wanted to know.  Hopefully, none of your children will need to be sent there.   As for us, we are extremely grateful.  The heart ablasion which took 4 hours was a success.   Thank you, God!









I JOHN 4:12

“No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 

I John 4 v 12 children quote v

Adam Clarke says, “We may feel Him, though we cannot see Him; and if we love one another, He dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us–it has then its full accomplishment, having moulded us according to His nature.”  After all, His nature is love.

It is a little fascinating that the disciples wore out their sandals following Jesus around and for the most part did not realize He was God’s Son.  They looked at Him, they listened to Him, they ate with Him, walked with Him, talked with Him, and dwelt with Him, often camping out sitting with Him around the campfire.   Somewhere along the line, some of them began to have that little niggling inside that maybe He was who He proclaimed to be.

I John 4 v 12 not understand

God has always presented Himself to us.  We may pray to Him, even listen to His Word and attend church where He supposedly lives.  Once a child was visiting our church sanctuary, looked around and asked me, the pastor’s wife, “Do you live here?  Where do you take a bath?”  We don’t have to move in and live in the church building, but the writer of this Gospel is talking about abiding, dwelling with God.  We know He abides in us through His Spirit because He frees us to love.  It is just a hint at what He has prepared for us when we dwell with Him forever. 

I John 4 v 12 abide in me

Today a dear friend, Doug Boone (yes, related to the man from Kentucky) crossed over into a new land.  As he lay dying he said, “It’s so beautiful here!”  Thomas Edison said the same in his dying breath, “It’s so beautiful over there.”  Sometimes we will leave the husks behind and find the land of the golden road and the mansion “just over the hilltop, that bright land to which I go.”

I John 4 v 12 lantern quote

God is all about abiding.  He’s all about sharing the love.  In fact, His love is perfected in us.   Really?  How can the Supreme God say His love is perfected in us?  What He does is perfect, but won’t we mess it up?  It is because perfect love is not only given, but received, and that’s divine!  In this sense, when we receive him in to abide with us in His Spirit, voila!  It is like the classic picture of God reaching his hand out to Adam hand and making the connection.  Creator to created.  It is perfect.