Goodness in every country on earth

Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnailThe way you designed the trees is so much like the growth of my soul.  We start out life as a little ball, so tiny and full of wonder.  Then as toddlers, that tiny ball develops into a bud with just a touch of color peeking through. Finally, we open up in full bloom and our faith in you is so innocent and pure. Then we reach our teens and doubts creep in. One by one the sweet-smelling blossoms lose their colorful leaves. But, in young adulthood after we come out of our dares and doubts, we form into something else. The flower has turned into a miniature green fruit, a promise of things to come. In full adulthood the fruit becomes yellow or red or whatever it is supposed to be and adorns the branch it has grown from. In middle age we are plucked and become nourishment to others. Finally, in old age, the tiny seeds that fall from the fruit are buried once again, some day to start all over again as a little green ball, tiny and full of hope. May my life blossom the way you intended and, after I am gone, may the seeds I leave behind develop into a brand-new generation to carry on your work and your glory.

Thank you that I live in a free country to do whatever kind of work I desire to do, to live where I want, and worship you freely. And, thank you, for the other countries of the world. They may not have the freedoms I have, but many of them have opportunities not available here. And they live in areas full of so much ancient history, much of it having been lived out in your Bible. How exciting for them. There is something good in every country. I thank you for helping me not become arrogant and think my country is better than anyone else’s country. Thank you for opening my eyes.


Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail365 SILVER-WINGED PRAYERS: YOUR SPIRIT TO GOD’S is the third book in the TOUCHING GOD trilogy.  Prayers of praise, repentance, and thanksgiving are provided to help get you started with a few reminders.  Prayers of request are left for you to apply to your own life.  This series is a great gift for weddings, showers, graduations, baptisms, restored Cristians, birthdays, Christmas.  Beautiful original cover art and ancient papyrus font on the inside.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this………


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Splendor from the oil of mercy

Golden Cover-KINDLELord, when I first heard your Words, they seemed rough and uncaring. Then I scraped away my resentments and bad habits. Oh, my. Your Words seemed not so bad after all.  Then I brushed away my ego. And wonder of wonders.  I saw your Words were for my benefit. Excitedly, I polished them with the oil of mercy and revealed a splendor I had not imagined. In your Words I saw the beauty of your holiness. I saw the epitome of love and majesty and glory. I am sorry for misunderstanding you for so long. Let me now share your holiness and grace with others.

Ah, my Lord, as I came out from my childhood, I began to sin ~ usually sins of attitude like jealousy, impatience, But sometimes I gossipped in order to make someone else look bad and me good, or I borrowed something and never gave it back, or I disobeyed my parents.  As I grew older, my sins were more sophisticated.  And I could not stop.  I still cannot.  Neither can anyone else.  You could have condemned me and left me in the hands of Satan. Instead, though you are my Judge, you also became my Public Defender, and I became a Christian.  You saved me from Satan’s punishment instead. I fall at your feet unworthy.  Lift me up, Lord, so I may always be yours.


Golden Cover-KINDLE-thumbnail365 GOLDEN BIBLE THOUGHTS: GOD’S HEART TO YOURS is book one in the TOUCHING GOD series.  Beautiful art work on the cover and ancient papyrus print inside.  Buy all three for a wedding gift, new parents, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas. For all ages.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….


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My tears you turn into diamonds

From the nighPearls Cover-Palms-300dpi-Mediumt, you call forth light.  From the soil you call forth a flower. My tears you turn into diamonds. My laughter you turn into mountains of love. My weariness you make be sweet peaceful rest before the dawn. My soul rises to meet yours, my heart flies to touch yours, my mind, my understanding soars to try to understand you. You are so great and I am so small.  Yet you love me so. I do not deserve it, for I am sinful. You love me still. I worship you.

The sun is shining. It is warm and beautiful. I hear the birds and see the flowers, I feel your smile and touch a little bit of your glory.  Good morning, God! Last night I slept and dreamed. I do not remember my dream because I make no effort to until it is too far faded from my memory. But I know it must have been a peaceful dream. I slept through the night in your arms of safety. I feared nothing. You gave me sweet rest. At last, the dawn has returned, I feel refreshed, and now you and I are ready for another day that will glorify you.  Glorious day. Glorious God.


Pearls Cover-Palms-300dpi-ThumbnailPEARLS OF WISDOM is book 2 in the TOUCHING GOD series.  Each day you are given a proverb of Solomon’s and God’s advice from Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, or Song of Solomon.  It is a paraphrase and slightly updating of old-fashioned terms of the old King James Version.  A wonderful gift set for any kind of celebration.  The cover is original art and the interior antique papyrus font.  To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….


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I am nothing and you have loved me

Road to Heaven-COVER-KINDLE-MEDIUMRighteous God in heaven, so far and yet so near. You made the rules so I wouldn’t hurt myself. No matter how hard I wanted you to change them, you refused to change. You are forever the same. My rock. My foundation, My wall of salvation. My sword of truth. My rainbow of love.  You have clothed me with your perfection because I can never attain it. You have clothed me with your purity; this I can never accomplish either. You have clothed me with your majesty to rule with you somewhere in your realm some day; I could never have the wisdom or patience you do.  You have given the earth to me and all that is in it to rule with you. You have granted me a canopy of stars over my head and a rainbow of delight to encircle my heart. I love you, my God.

I lift up my thanks to you for offering yourself on the altar of the world. I could not give enough sacrifices for my sins in a lifetime. I was completely incapable of setting myself free from Satan. So, you, the Law Giver and Enforcer set up a loop-hole for me. You offered yourself as a sacrifice to appease Sin, Satan, and death to free my soul from their hold. How can I thank you? I fall at your feet in deep gratitude . For I am nothing and you have loved me.


Road to Heaven-COVER-KINDLE-THUMBNAILTHE ROAD TO HEAVEN takes a second look at the blythe way we end our prayers, “Oh, and forgive us ours sin.”  Forgiveness isn’t that sample.  It never was.  What was going on with the “principalities and powers in heavenly places” as well as on earth where we didn’t know the way?  The book ends with a glimpse into heaven.  Hundreds of scriptures. To BUY NOW, click a book cover or paste this……….


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1918 Spanish Flu Jokes, Songs, & Poems

How the 1918 Pandemic Got Meme-ified in Jokes, Songs and Poems

In newspapers across the country, the public dealt with the heartache of the moment by turning to humor


A typist wearing her influenza mask in 1918 New York. (Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives)

By Katherine A. Foss, Zocalo Public Square

JULY 31, 2020

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, as society shut down and social distancing became the new norm, user-created media content about life during the pandemic exploded. Today’s technology makes it easy to produce and share such messages with the world. However, expressing what life is like in a pandemic through available media is nothing new. Writings about disease—poems, prose, songs, and quips—have long flourished during epidemics, as people have struggled to emotionally and physically adjust to isolation, sickness, and death. Sometimes such writings have been serious; just as often they reflect a darkly hopeful sense of humor. In the past this content was more difficult to distribute than uploading to Instagram or TikTok, but it too made its way into the media of its day—and the feelings it conveyed seem remarkably familiar.

In 1918, like today, a lot of people thought the threat was overblown. A writer for the Vancouver Daily World, for example, published a poem that satirized widespread perceptions that influenza had been overhyped, interspersing lines such as “I think it is nothing but grippe—” and “But just a big scare” with onomatopoeic bouts of sneezing and coughing. During that pandemic, as today, health authorities asked people to combat the spread of the virus by wearing masks and avoiding crowds. And then, as now, people didn’t much like it.

As public health authorities encouraged, and sometimes required, people to cover their faces, mask humor emerged in print. Many of the jokes were highly gendered: The Bismarck Tribune printed, “Every woman secretly believes she would be fascinating in a harem veil. Wearing a flu mask is a good, safe way to try the effect.” Similarly, a writer for the Jasper Weekly Courier quipped, “‘Flu’ masks improve the appearance of many men, but when worn by women, they take much of the joy and beauty out of life.” While our collective memory of 1918’s Spanish Flu suggests that people universally cooperated with quarantines and mask-wearing, this poetry tells a different story.

“Social distancing” did not exist as a phrase, but manifested in concept as communities shut down public spaces. Many people writing about the flu took a personal approach, lamenting all the things they were missing. In “Flu Bound,” children’s author Edna Groff Diehl griped about this new reality:

“The street crowd surged—but where to go?
The bar? The concert? Movies? No!
Old Influenza’s locked the door to Pleasure Land.
Oh what a bore!”

Similarly, Jesse Daniel Boone published his poem “The Spanish Flu May Get You, Too” in his own newspaper, the Carolina Mountaineer. He described the quarantine, “This old world is in the lurch; For we cannot go to church; And the children cannot roam, For they now are kept at home, And they’ve put a good, strong ban on the moving pictures, man,” In the Greenville News, the first stanza of the very relatable poem “Spanish Flu” read:

“Oh, we are quarantined, I guess
For ‘bout a million years
But if we don’t get out of here
We’ll burst right out in tears”

One thing that the pandemic could alter, but not stop, was the First World War. As an October 23 “Wavelet” in the Evening Telegram stated, “The Kaiser and the Flu are running neck and neck in the world’s popularity contest.” The pandemic did not spare the military and many enlisted men became ill before ever leaving U.S. soil. A “local boy under quarantine at Naval Station” (John Culberson) began his poem, which also ran on October 25, in the Chattanooga News,

“There’s a war going on in Europe,
So I’ve heard from newspaper talk;
But the only one I’m having
Is with influenza at the park”

Culberson went on to contrast his expectation of combat with his reality of isolation at a naval training station in San Diego, concluding,

“So, mother, take down the service flag—
I’m quarantined at Balboa Park”

In October 1918, the war and pandemic together had halted professional baseball and football. With nothing to report on for his “Looking ‘Em Over” column, Washington Times sportswriter Louis A. Dougher created a mock line-up, featuring disease-stopping tools as players: “Fresh Air” as “tackle” and “Quinine” as “quarterback,” with the team rounded out by Antiseptic, Ice Pack, Gargle, Alcohol Rub, Castor Oil, Mask, and Sleep. Dougher concluded, “It is not believed that any team would have stopped so many others as has Spanish ‘Flu’ within the past month … Its record will stand for years.”


As protection against the influenza virus, men are seen gargling with salt and water after a day spent working in the War Garden at Camp Dix, New Jersey, September 1918 (PhotoQuest / Getty Images)

Influenza impacted other social activities as well, including courtship and dating. Edgar Leslie, Bert Kalmar, and Pete Wendling’s song “Take Your Girlie to the Movies If You Can’t Make Love at Home” recommended the theater for courtship, that a couple should “Pick a cozy corner where it’s nice and dark. Don’t catch influenza kissing in the park.” In “A Spanish Flu-Lay,” a writer mourned for his lost romance when his desired woman became ill: “But soon perhaps the flu will go, And masks be put away, And all the bills Dan Cupid owes, On ruby lips he’ll pay.”

Like those of us who wonder if every throat tickle is COVID-19, individuals in 1918 always felt on the look-out for the first sign of disease. In “The Last Wheeze,” Edmund Vance Cooke laid out this paranoia in the Washington Herald: “When you have appendicitis, parenchymatous nephritis, laryngitis or gastritis, It’s the Flu.” Likewise, the Winnipeg Tribune printed this anonymous poem:

“The toothpaste didn’t taste right—
Spanish Flu!”

The bath soap burned my eyes—
Spanish Flu!

My beard seemed to have grown pretty fast and tough overnight—
Spanish Flu!”

“Everything’s Flu Now!” similarly concluded, “Have you stumped one of your toes? Have you just a bleeding nose? Or no matter what your woes—Spanish Flu.”

For those who did contract the virus, poetic prose conveyed the experience of having the disease, sometimes comically. Newspapers widely reprinted J. P. McEvoy’s “The Flu” from the Chicago Tribune, which began, “When your back is broke and your eyes are blurred, And your shin bones knock and your tongue is furred” and then wrapped up with “Some call it Flu—I call it hell.” Through couplets and various other rhyme schemes, people emphasized the painful persistent cough that “seems cutting like a knife,” as a September 11 Houston Post article “The Worst of It” detailed; a headache equal to “clamped screws on my cranium,” as C. Roy Miller wrote in the Miami Herald on October 24; as well as exhaustion, a lack of appetite, and the impact of fever—alternating between “burning” and “freezing,” according to one Walt Mason, writing in the Coffeyville Weekly Journal on November 21.

In December, when quarantines and mask requirements had been lifted, some people were still getting sick. “Lumberjack poet” Jack W. Yoes sorrowfully wrote in “Marooned,” which ran two days after Christmas in the Vancouver Sun, about missing out on the holiday festivities because he was hospitalized:

“But our hearts are right,
And on Christmas night
We’ll jolly along with you,
Despite the pains and aches that come
In the trail of the gol-dinged ‘flu”

People were clever and creative in how they wrote about the pandemic. Plays on words were common: “What goes up the chimney? Flu!!!,” was published in the Evening Telegram on the October 23, while the Walnut Valley Times poem “Chop Suey,” which ran on November 26, read, “I flew from flu As you said to.” On October 23, the Evening Telegram also printed, “We are not wearing a flu mask, but now and then we meet a gent who makes us wish for a gas mask.”

Such jokes about the pandemic lightened the mood, much like today’s memes and tweets. Through the words influenza survivors left behind, we can relate our own conflicting feelings to theirs—demonstrating the transcending need for creative expression and taking permission to find the light during a dark time.

Smithsonian Newsletter

July 31, 2020

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