My Prayer

My prayer to God today is that the good people of this world get lifted up to his sanctuary just as Quasimodo lifted up Esmeralda. Also, I ask that God remove the Wormwoods from power.

May the sifting begin.

The good people are known by their fruits, not their labels. They are known by their hearts and not their appearance or identifying beliefs. The Wormwoods are known by their deception, throwing stones while hiding their hands.

I pray for Ukraine, a bread basket of the world. For the overflowing abundance of their crops at this time to feed the multitude, as the people on the Mount. From the few loaves this season, with God’s help, may they feed many to come. May this be God’s miracle making a feast for us at the table before our enemies.

And I pray for the harvest of people when the weeds will be separated from the wheat. For too long, the weeds have choked the crops, growing in the dark of night to overtake them through trickery, falsehood, dark deeds, and betrayal, and stifled their abundance without their consent or knowledge.

May the people of God be like sunflowers of the Ukraine, raising their faces to the blinding glory of God. May they also begin to glow with God’s glory. May they ride out in faith like Theodan and the Riders of Rohan to face enemies of cruelty and unkindness.

May the horn be sounded in the deep. May the watchmen blow their trumpet. Let freedom ring as the bells of Notre Dame or the Liberty Bell. May liberty hold her lighted torch higher aloft.

May we not fear the terror by night nor the arrow that flies by day. May we not fear the potential of danger of the red dawn. May we stand on the promises of Psalm 91. It shall not come nigh thee.

As the sun or son rises, so too will the people. May there come a time of great renewal and restoration for God’s people, no matter their appearance or creed, all over the Earth. And may those that have fallen away from destroyed hope be called to fellowship and joy again. May the shepherds step out in faith to find the lost sheep on the perimeters in danger of being devoured.

May we have courage just as Esther to reveal who we really are, not what the world and the Wormwoods painted us to be, but what we really are in our hearts. And may we have the courage and conviction to stand in our glory which is the glory of God as we choose to protect each other and bring about a better Earth for our children, a place of freedom and liberty and justice for all.




Faith turns messes into a message. Some of us have been pulled into the shadows for so long. Stretched thin. But that’s what’s needed for a slingshot to work to take out a Goliath.

A Goliath doesn’t have to be a person. It could be anything you can help to make better in this world. Goliaths can be fear, addictions, war, poverty, lack, hunger, disease, anger, rejection, greed, sloth, cruelty, etc.

The farther you go in this life, the more you get stretched by struggle, the more powerful the impact of your faith’s message.

Give your messes over to faith and watch what happens next. I bet it will surprise you in a good way. And, you’ll have one heck of a story to tell to help others and keep them motivated.

Fellowship, that’s really what it’s all about- to keep the predators within the herd and outside the herd from taking over. The lion prowls the outside of the herd to devour and destroy, so help to keep the herd together. The weakened and tired fall to the outside wounded where they can be picked off one by one, but messages of hope can bring them back. Your story can help.

Faith doesn’t have to be a particular religion or creed. You could just simply have faith in humanity, or the universe, or creation, or the spirit, or nature, etc. As long as you’re operating in positivity and honesty and kindness, does it really matter?

We are better together.

Shocking News in Ukraine

Shocking news is coming out about Ukraine and Russia. First, there are concerns the Russian Wagner Group is using their “mercenary” soldiers as cannon fodder to take Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut. These soldiers are getting recruited from all over especially Russian prisons. They essentially run at the Ukrainians in masse and the Ukrainians are forced to mow them down or be overrun. The Ukrainians say these mercenaries have no choice for they will be shot by other Russian soldiers if they retreat. 2 days ago, Putin signed a policy that anyone who speaks negatively on the Wagner Group will be jailed in Russia. There’s Russians that want to speak out but they can’t. Pray for them and the Ukrainians.

Another recent concern with Ukraine is the treatment of Ukrainian children. The ICC has issued a statement of war crimes in regards to the forced deportation to Russia of 16,000 children. These children are shown in photos with bruising and shaved heads leading to concerns they might be getting abused.

Easter is approaching. The Ukrainians have a special phrase, “As Jesus rises, so will the Ukraine.” On Easter, the day we celebrate Jesus rising, take a moment to ring church bells for all these people on both sides affected by the Ukranian war.

Until One of Them was Not

God loved Saul but God also loved David.  God chose Saul but God also chose David. They both were good guys until one of them was not.

Saul got real mad that David had God’s new favor.  He chased David all over the place. He attacked. He attacked. He attacked.  David, bewildered and confused and scared, was hiding out in caves and anywhere just trying to not get killed or beat up by Saul. 

David never really went on the attack against Saul.  He was a good kid.  He was constantly defending himself but he never really retaliated which made him gain more favor in God’s eyes.

This predicament continued for a long time.  The longer it went on, the more aggressive Saul became as David continued to be elusive, dodging and parrying attacks.  The more this continued the more Saul despised David.  His anger was his own undoing though, and he ended up dead.  He met a bitter demise. Just like Judge Claude Frollo in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Saul continued to attack. With Judge Claude Frollo, Quasimodo holds on to the cloak to keep the judge alive even after he attacked him and they tumbled over the edge of Notre Dame. It was only when he persisted, that the Judge was smited and falls to his end. Judge Claude Frollo and Quasimodo were men of God oddly enough, just like Saul and David.

Recently, I watched an Oprah video where she talks about reuniting with her mother at the end of her life. In her younger days, Oprah was mistreated by her parent and had set a boundary but returned at the end to release the hurt together with her mom and forgive. A lot of kids do this. There’s a lot of Davids out there that will return despite everything that happened in the past. Kids that were hit. Kids that were assaulted. Kids that were molested or left unprotected. Kids that were trafficked. The parent-child dynamic sometimes can get really toxic.

It was a tragic, sad ending for Saul and no one was happy.  Not Saul.  Not David.  Not God. 

Things haven’t really changed much.  There are Sauls and Davids all over the place in human society.  They are in practically every family, every company, every church, every everything. 

The Saul and David dynamic happens alot in romantic relationships.  The Saul is the scorned lover that maligns the new girlfriend or boyfriend.  Or Saul could be a coworker that doesn’t like the new guy or gal at the office and makes them work hard or puts crazy expectations on them.  Saul could be the foster parent that picks on and verbally abuses the kid he or she promised to take in and care for.  Saul could be a parent that designates a scapegoat child to be the whipping boy. Saul could be some gossip circle at school or church.

Saul comes in many forms in society and is the good guy or gal unknowingly turned bad by envious thoughts.  David is usually the younger, trusting one with a good enough heart to endure suffering without retaliation.  There’s a lot of Davids out there too. 

If you ever find yourself in David’s position, here’s some advice to help. 

1.  Set boundaries to protect yourself.

2.  Keep your wins and losses to yourself.  This is a hard one.  But you will find that sharing your accomplishments will be met by crickets while sharing your losses will be met by mockery, admonishments, or smiles and more gossip.  Best to keep it to yourself.  Less drama equals more peace and harmony.

3.  Don’t retaliate.  It can be used against you.  It can get twisted.  Just move on.  Lotsa new places to be and 7 million folks in the world to meet. 

4. Don’t waste your time or breath people-pleasing. People-pleasing doesn’t please you and it sets you up to be controlled by people that constantly change the goal lines.

If you find yourself turning into a Saul angry about the changing of the guard, stop and reassess and take steps to let it go. Vengeance hurts you more in the long run than the target. Look at what happened to Saul and Judge Claude Frollo. Not worth it. Not worth it at all.

Gummy and Margo, the Fool and the Queen of Swords

When Crystal was born, she was designated 2 guardian angels just like anyone else in this world. Their names were Gummy and Margo. Gummy sat on her right shoulder and Margo sat on her left shoulder. They were the epitome of good and bad supposedly, though as Crystal grew older she became fonder of Margo and realized Margo’s hard tough goth girl exterior was merely a defense mechanism to protect against old deep wounds that never healed.

When Crystal was a baby, she was often entertained by Gummy. Gummy wasn’t necessarily good either ironically. It was more like Gummy had a short attention span, memory loss, ADHD or something like that. Gummy was completely incapable of holding a grudge.

Gummy didn’t really get angry or feel morose and if Gummy did it was usually fleeting because he couldn’t focus for very long. Gummy’s personality was equivalent to the dog in Up, the Disney animated show. He was constantly telling people he loved them. He giggled incessantly. He literally was a purple gummy bear with not a bad bone in his body for in fact, he had no bones at all. He was soft and squishy and all things confectionary and sweet of character. He was colorful and smiled constantly.

Gummy loved things like birthday parties and silly jokes. He liked giving presents. Gummy liked rainbows and unicorns and watching birds or butterflies. He was like the dog that always got distracted by squirrels, except for Gummy, everything was a distraction from a little ladybug to a turtle in the yard to a seashell or a fluffy cat. Gummy was loveable to say the least but he was also a little annoying with his constant giggles and lack of focus.

Margo, on the other hand, didn’t really care for Gummy but she tolerated him. She scoffed at him a lot and frowned at his stupid butterfly net catching butterflies. Margo looked down her nose at Gummy and perceived him with utter contempt and disdain.

As Crystal grew up, Margo and Gummy were often there to help her through life. Margo, for her part, always encouraged Crystal’s wild side. She encouraged Crystal to be bold and strong and take leaps of faith. Margo was a fighter, through and through. Margo had a little work table on Crystal’s shoulder and an easel and an endless supply of canvases and paints. She scribbled constantly in poetry books and was passionate about everything she did, from crafting a story to splashing paint splatters all over a canvas. She painted all sorts of things for Crystal from dragons to landscapes to moons to anything and everything. She wanted to inspire and motivate Crystal. Gummy, on the other hand, he just kept Crystal happy, whether intentionally or not.

Margo had dyed her hair jet black with bright colors on the tips. All her clothes were black too from her black skirt and black clunky boots to her leather black jacket and leather black wristbands. The only other color she really showed other than black was in the earrings she made for herself or maybe a tattoo or a piercing. Margo also carried a pocket knife at all times. She was a ride or die for Crystal and would literal threaten to cut a b**** for her if Crystal got hurt by an unkind friend or bully. Margo was all toughness and motorcycles and chrome but really underneath, over time, Crystal learned she was so much more.

When Crystal became a teenager, both Gummy and Margo were with her at the parties, Gummy giggling and dancing while Margo was keeping a protective eye over Crystal and telling her to let loose a little and have fun. When Crystal went to college, Gummy was riding sidekick on her shoulder elated and happy for her and pointing out every amazing and cool thing about campus every day while Margo was kinda ignoring Gummy, working on her artwork and stories, while Crystal went to classes, but still helping Crystal with her homework at night.

Sometimes, Crystal would stay up so late studying that she would literally pass out on top of her notebooks and books. Gummy would cover Crystal with a blanket and brush her hair back with a kiss smack. Margo would stay up all night just to make sure that Crystal wouldn’t sleep through her alarm. Margo would yell in her ear, until Crystal woke up abruptly and off to the next class exam they would go.

Over the years, Gummy and Margo didn’t really still talk much. Margo just thought Gummy was a foolish squishy hot mess with the attention span of a slab of baloney. And well, Gummy, he was just truly flighty and bubble-headed and was too distracted by everything else to pay Margo much mind. Margo did her own thing and Gummy did his and they were okay with that as long as they both had Crystal.

Crystal fell in love eventually and got married. On her wedding day, both Gummy and Margo were so proud. Gummy clapped excitedly and giggled a bunch with his gummy jelly purple belly jiggling. Margo watched with wide eyes and her hands together in front of her mouth. She was so still and quiet during the vows and afterwards she presented happy Crystal the most beautiful of all her paintings. It was a beach scene with lots of sunshine. It certainly was not to Margo’s taste but she knew it was exactly what Crystal would love.

Years went by. They were better together and stuck together through thick and then, good times and bad, Gummy doing his own giggly flighty jiggly thing to keep spirits up and good-natured, Margo with her fire and passion and tenacity and will to keep going no matter what.

Then, one day, something bad happened. It wasn’t a normal kind of bad. It was a major, major, major kind of bad. The kind of bad that a person doesn’t easily recover from. I can’t really talk about what it was, but it was bad with a capital B A D…. bad.

Within hours of it happening Crystal was crying. Not just normal crying but hiding in the shower and balling her eyes out kind of crying. Margo stopped her painting and came over and touched Crystal on the neck and asked what was wrong and what she could do to help. She got out her switchblade pocket knife and asked Crystal who she needed to talk to, just point the way, but Crystal ignored her and just kept crying. The crying was so intense and emotional and gut-wrenching that it even made Gummy pause from his distractions.

He had been playing with soap bubbles and sniffing shampoo bottles and pretending to lather up his non-exist gummy bear hair while belting out lyrics to South Pacific. He paused in the middle of I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta my Hair to look at Crystal with just a momentary pause of concern. Then he noticed a soap bubble nearby and got totally distracted by it and started giggling again.

Margo rolled her eyes at Gummy. “You, idiot,” she said. Gummy had always played the fool in the tarot deck. Margo had always played the Queen of Swords. No nonsense, practical, pragmatic. Margo cut people off and burned bridges without qualm if she felt it was necessary.

Margo began coaching Crystal right away on all the things she needed to do. “Confront her!” She shouted in Crystal’s ear. “Get mad!” “Get angry!” She said. “Do something! You can’t just let her get away with this. Hold her accountable. Get tough, girl. Fight back!”

Margo kept up the tough pep-talks for a while but to no avail. Then she cranked up the music later that night hoping to get Crystal to feel something other than a victim. She played angsty song after angsty girl power song, lots of emo stuff all night long. She was energized and angry for Crystal and her creativity poured out of her with lightning force. She was splashing cans of red paint onto canvas after canvas and scribbling furiously after furiously into notepad after writing notepad. She stayed up all night with the music blasting and the intense writing.

Meanwhile, Gummy tucked himself into bed a little early but not before setting up his sailboat nightlight so it would glow nicely over the room. He yawned and placed his hand happily on Crystal’s neck, kinda oblivious to her crying but comforting her in his own way anyway.

The next morning, Crystal didn’t rise outta bed. In fact, she stayed in bed all day and just faced the wall. It didn’t matter what Margo said or did or how loud her music got or how much she trashed her room, Crystal wouldn’t move. She barely moved at all, not even her eyes as she just stared blankly at the wall.

Gummy went about his usual eggs and jelly toast breakfast. “Yum, jelly toast!” the purple Gummy bear said. But by lunchtime, Gummy was starting to catch on that something might be off. He made himself a PBJ sandwich anyway without the crust and offered one to Margo who scoffed at him and Crystal who just stared blankly at the wall. Gummy the purple squishy bear, blinked twice but otherwise showed no other reaction. Margo spent the day working on art here and there but occasionally looked Crystal’s way. She figured she’d eventually snap out of it sooner or later.

Gummy kept giggling but his giggles were getting slightly less and less.
The first day passed pretty un-eventual, but by day 3, both Gummy and Margo were starting to get a bit alarmed. Gummy wasn’t giggling anymore. Crystal was a mess. She hadn’t eaten in a long, long while. Her hair was a disheveled appearance and she needed a shower and smelled bad. Gummy put a clothespin on his nose and went about his usual lego building. Margo stood by Crystal’s neck and just kinda put her hand on her skin and looked up at Crystal into her soulless sad eyes.

By the night of the third day, Crystal finally sat up in bed. She flipped on the light. Her face looked almost deadish to Margo. Margo had never seen anything like it but she kept one eye on Crystal and pretended to be working on a writing project.

Crystal said with a raspy voice, “I trusted her, I really trusted her.”

Gummy paused choosing whether to build the Star Wars tie fighter or the Barbie Dream house lego kit. He looked up sadly for the first time at Crystal. He put down his lego kits and bounced his purple body over to Crystal’s neck and looked sadly up at her. Margo just stopped writing and looked down at her books.

“I thought she was my friend. This hurts.”

Gummy’s usual happy purply squishy smile slowly turned upside down into a frown and his Gummy gooey eyes widened slowly and drooped with big gathering tears for the first time ever in his existence. Margo clenched her hands and sighed a little bit and kept looking down at the table where she sat without saying a word.

The moment got really silent.

Crystal turned out the light from the lamp and went to bed. Gummy moved morosely back to the right shoulder and Margo just sat in the dark at her desk on the left. Crystal closed her eyes and eventually fell asleep. Margo sat there for a long, long time in the dark but eventually fell asleep too.

They were awoken in the middle of the night, by the alarms first of the angel ambulance. Sometime in the night, Gummy had decided to jump off the cliff of Crystal’s shoulder and had splatted onto the wooden floor near the bed. He was, as the angelic EMT’s said, irrepairable as a guardian angel. He had broken, completely broken, though how a gooey gooshy jelly purple Gummy bear with no bones could break, no one really knows… but he did.

He broke.

Gummy was transported with medical care to the hospital asap and the Bureau for Angelic Protection ordered that for his own safety, and at severe risk of harm, Crystal had lost her rights to Gummy as her good guardian angel anymore. They said they were mandated to report this behavior for his safety and that it might take a very long time for Gummy to recover….if he ever recovered again.

Margo watched the ambulance go. She looked at Crystal and even slightly glared at her.

“You went too far with this,” she said. “I know it hurt. I know you were sad. But Gummy…he’s not like us, he can’t handle this. He doesn’t know. He can’t ever know.”

She looked in the direction of the ambulance fading off in the distance and the flashing lights.

“It was too much.” Margo said again. “I know it was too much for you, I know you were really hurt and sad but…..” and then she just kicked the ground with her military boot and shaking her head back and forth with her hands in her pockets of her black leather jacket.

A few more days went by. Crystal went about her usual work and chores and daily life activities although she was sad still. Life must go on and so did Crystal reluctantly. She felt guilt and remorse for Gummy and she hoped he would come back.

Margo, for her part, had stopped writing and painting and just walked towards the spot where Gummy usually sat. Margo sat down on the ground, hugged her knees to her chest and looked in the direction where the ambulance had gone. She looked for a while and dug a vape from her jacket pocket and just vaped while she starred glumly towards the distance. Margo had stopped talking altogether.

2 days later, Margo was gone.

Of course, she left over night, as was her way in the darkness. Slipped out in the night as Crystal slept. She didn’t even leave a Dear John letter at the table. She took her canvas and paints and all her journals and had packed them up in her bags and walked out quietly.

After that, with the loss of both her better angels, both good and misunderstood, Crystal was pretty dead inside. Gummy, the happy fool, and Margo, the ride or die staunch defender and loyal as hell friend, were now gone without much of trace.

Crystal sorted through her personal and professional concerns slowly through the months with no word on Gummy at all and not a trace of Margo. She had been sad but now she was just lifeless and devoid of energy for a while.

But then eventually, as with anything else in time, things began to turn for Crystal and the Wheel of Fortune turned her way again slowly with her own help as she tried to self-motivate and get goals and work hard daily at her career and advance herself ….and all of this in an effort to get Gummy back.

All she wanted now was for Gummy, with his squishy soft purpley sweetness and his loving smile and his silly unicorns, and sunflower drawings with crayon, and rainbows, and bug fascinations. She wanted Gummy to just come back. And the more she thought of Gummy, the harder she tried to get better.

She petitioned the Bureau of Angelic Protection. She said she was reformed and she just wanted Gummy back and she would try harder. A few months went by to no avail with nothing, not a word from the Bureau. No Gummy. No Margo.

Until one day, when a government suit guy with dark sunglasses holding Gummy’s purple squishy hand as he bounced happily along, showed up on Crystal’s doorstep. He led happy little Gummy inside Crystal’s home.

He said, “You get one more chance, this is it. You screw this up, you won’t get another opportunity.” He took his 2 fingers pointed them at his eyes and pointed them at her.

“We’ll be watching you. Keep him safe. He’s special.” And he looked down at happy bouncing and giggling Gummy and picked him up and placed him back on Crystal’s shoulder. Crystal smiled with tears streaming down her face.
She nodded, and said, “Ok, will do.”

Crystal’s life instantly felt better with Gummy. He was a whole inexplicable vibe of simple goodness and he oohed and ahhhed as he looked at the window and pointed at a pretty bird in the sky that flew past. “That’s a Cardinal! Oh, and that’s a BlueJay! I love purple! It’s red and blue mixed, the best of both colors!” He exclaimed.

That day was joyous for Crystal and they cooked a yummy meal that night, her and Gummy, the purple bear, reunited.

Things were getting better. Life was getting better. Life was good again. Things would be ok.

A week went by with giggly Gummy back in his usual spot. And then one day, unannounced and unanticipated, Margo showed up again. She didn’t say a word. Her bags were slung over her back. She looked up at Crystal and then she looked at bouncey purple Gummy and she even for just a slight second, her eyes seemed to glisten with slight tears just briefly.

“Ok, ” she said. She nodded and went back to the writing table on the left shoulder. She didn’t speak much. Gummy, meanwhile, bounced excitedly up and down and clapped his hands happily but then he was distracted by something else again.

Crystal was finally so happy again to have both her guardian angels, both good and misunderstood, back.

Margo unpacked her easel and canvases and journals and paints. She didn’t say much, but she got to work right away on a beautiful new picture of the 3 of them, Gummy, Margo, and Crystal. In the painting, they were holding hands upraised to the sky and playing in the surf of beach waves together happily in the sunshine.

The Pitt

We lived in the swamps of sadness.

Sometimes, we were Artax, the pure horse.

Other times, we were Atreyu, the hero.

More often than not, we were Artax and Atreyu in one person, fighting to keep going and slowly accepting a sinking fate.

You see, pure horses don’t survive the swamps of sadness.

Purity dies, and the hero continues on.

Wisdom can be found in the swamps of sadness, but she is hard to find, and has retreated into her shell. She talks in plurals like purity and the hero.

She is sure to disappoint, for she talks in gibberish or riddles.

She is allergic to hope now and no longer cares that she doesn’t care.

You ask why would the wisest remain in the swamps of sadness?

Perhaps she wrote Ecclesiastes a long time ago, and discovered like a Kansas song we are merely a neverending story of meaningless Dust in the Wind.

Atreyu frustrated, leaves her and she whispers to herself these dusty words on the wind,

“Carry on, Atreyu. Carry on my wayward son.”