Tag Archives: history

Not Yet

I’ve been out of state and mostly out of touch for several weeks. I participated in a mission of mercy.

Upon my return an over-sized envelope, mailed to me by a close relative, stunned me. Two paragraphs detailed how the person does not “want to associate” with me anymore because, in that person’s opinion, me participating in that undertaking was “wrong”.

A long, long time ago I would have agreed.

Back then the person I had just paused my life to minister to had broken my heart, violated my family and then did everything possible to destroy me. For years afterward, staying close to my sons often took all I had.

 

But here’s the thing:

I didn’t mend my broken heart. I didn’t restore my demolished spirit. I didn’t drive away the demons or recover my life. Nor did my family.

Jesus saved me.

And then Jesus saved the same person who hurt my family and tried to ruin me.

What’s more, Jesus wants to save the person that now hates what I most recently did in His name.

“…And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on [Jesus]. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I understand. If I allow myself I can still feel all the pain. Again and again I prefer to feel how Love wins.

Despite being rejected by a loved one, given the chance to redo the past month, I would do it again.

Had I realized the relative was still bound in the past I would not have mentioned I was away or why.

Not yet.

 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Forty-Third Ring

Most of my elders all contributed to instilling in me a healthy respect for trees. I remember with a degree of shame now how Roan and I rolled our eyes (behind her back, of course) as Mother wailed over taking down the dead birch tree outside her bedroom window.

So much more so, I deeply appreciate this, great piece from Stuart Perkins: https://wp.me/p3EzSK-l0

Forty-Third Ring

Halfway through the tedious count my eyes began to cross. I put a finger on one of the wider rings to mark my place.

“Ninety-seven… ninety-eight… ninety-nine.“ I said to myself as I finished counting. “Wow…”

Ninety-nine clear rings. Taking in to account questionable layers near the bark and several areas made uncertain by chainsaw damage, this oak was easily a hundred years old. But for last week’s ice storm it would still be living. Fallen across the park trail, the city had cut the hefty trunk into several pieces to remove the obstruction.

One hundred years.

That would mean a tiny acorn sprouted and began to form its first ring around the time Woodrow Wilson signed the Treaty of Versailles. Perhaps it emerged just as the Grand Canyon became a national park. Or maybe it struggled towards the light as Congress guaranteed voting rights to all women.

A year passed, a ring formed. Repeat. No matter what… years and rings. Years and rings upon years and rings and Amelia Earhart was flying solo across the Atlantic, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president, and wind whipped across the growing tree just as it did the flag that flew over the Winter Olympics in 1932.

The same year my father was born.

Passage of more time, formation of more rings. Growth was never deterred. Through the horror of the Boston Marathon bombing or NASA’s breathtaking photos of Saturn, a ring was forming. Even as the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela came to an end, yet another ring formed, in 2013.

The same year my father died.

From the time it gripped earth as a sprouting acorn until the day heavy ice brought it down, the tree not only survived; it grew. Regardless. This majestic beast existed during years of peace and years of war. From its first to its last, so much happened between the rings.

As a sapling, it was already on its way to grandeur before my father was born and it continued to grow after he was gone. One ring the year of his birth, another the year of his death. All he ever did, and was, happened between those rings.

Touching the center of the cross-section of trunk, I dragged my finger towards the outer edge, moving slowly over each of those circular markers of time. I stopped for a second on the forty-third ring. If my calculations were correct, this one was the year I was born, 1962.

I’m unable to articulate what I felt at that moment. There I sat, straddling the trunk of a fallen tree, deep in the throes of profound thought due to the sight of a jagged circle inside a tree? I pressed my finger tight against that forty-third ring.

It was beautiful, I thought, as I noticed a young sapling growing nearby.

“It’s making rings.”  I said out loud. I glanced back down at the one beneath my finger.

My first.

Somewhere in the sapling will be another.

My last.

But what am I going to do between the rings?

Stuart M. Perkins

 

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Shout Out

More than anything else I want to live so that people see God’s hand all over my life, not just that I’ve survived this long.

So when somebody recently said to me (again), “You wouldn’t know anything about suffering (hardship, pain, fill-in-the-blank…),” I simply replied, “Maybe not. You tell me about it.”

The fact is my history includes so many tragic situations and hardships some might doubt my story’s validity. So much happening to one person in one lifetime… I needn’t exaggerate for dramatic affect. Neither do my siblings. Bottom line, we actually do know about suffering.

And we know about overcoming.

More important, we not only survived, but God worked it all for good. My life doesn’t compare to Paul’s. But I learned early on in my Christian walk, by studying the apostle, to cry out with prayer and praise during the worst situations.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.”*

Somehow my situations always got better too. Sometimes they got worse first, but God always turned it all around for good.

Multiply that times infinite numbers of people crying out every day.

Horrifying events are happening in our nation and in our global community. Still, I thank God for my experience. I learned when things seem to be at their worst, when there’s no way for things to be good, God is a way maker.

“Do not be overcome by evil,

but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:21 (NIV)

Image courtesy Pixabay

*For the whole story see BibleGateway Book of Acts 16:16-40

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Catchy Phrases

While I catch some rest and relaxation – and a few flights, I’ve enjoyed reading for pleasure, parlor games with the family and working crossword puzzles. Such delight!

This all brings to mind Catching Phrases from April 5, 2016:

alphabet cubes

I’ve been reflecting upon pop language, or catch phrases.

Common catch phrases today:

  • Baby daddy/baby mommy (single parents)
  • Bae (before anyone else/anything else)
  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Troll (the updated, viral version of the essential stalker)
  • #hashtag (anyone not familiar… never mind)
  • Lit (very intoxicated – so, not that much has changed)

This led me to examine what’s changed over the years. I have certainly changed distinctly. For example, I grew up with such phrases as:

  • “Easy come, easy go” (not necessarily good),
  • “Do as I say, not as I do”
  • “Trust and obey”

no time fussing fighting

And a little later on:

white smokeSoon my favorite became:

  • Blowing smoke… (into a body orifice or loose clothing – usage requires a degree of discretion)

Wholly thanks to God, I continued to grow in body, mind and spirit.

Along with three new generations of humans I learned the world has more dimension than the perspectives of our early years.

For instance, what I once considered absolute truth was not necessarily factual. Over the years my interests in history and global current events turned to politics. Later I shouted less, listened more and then saw the world more clearly.

I began to recognize the collation between God and Natural Science. I began to experience true peace. That trend became my normal.

From my present perspective, aside from the draft lottery and cyber space, not that much has actually changed. People continue to be misled, confused and angry. Decades later the scars veterans bear from warfare are ever present – PTSD among other wounded warrior’s statistics steadily rise.

But now I have a new favorite expression (from Bob Goff):

“… how could God think of me as His beloved? But then I remember Jesus said to one of the guys with Him that he was a rock even though He knew this same guy would deny ever knowing Him. I don’t think Jesus was blowing sunshine at Peter when He did that. Instead, I think He was calling something out from inside Peter.” ~

 

Blowing sunshine. I love that!

God continues to be very alive, present and quite visible to those who seek Him. And He reminds me of His promises with each new sunrise.

However cleverly worded, I simply don’t have time anymore for egocentric banality, blowing smoke. With genuine hope for tomorrow now, I can focus upon truth and blow vibrant, altruistic sunshine.

Sure the world seems to be in a horrible mess. I can either obsess over the mess or I can walk in sunshine and trust that it’s all good indeed.

 

Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed! Joshua 23:14 (NLT)

 

Contemporary Pop Terms courtesy The Odyssey Online.com  If they don’t fit, talk to Odyssey

~ Taken from Love Does by Bob Goff: Copyright © 2012 by Bob Goff. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. http://www.thomasnelson.com.

*I Love Lucy  Television Series 1951 – 1957, “Ricky” Desi Arnaz to “Lucy” Lucille Ball
**Originally from Mission: Impossible, Television Series circa 1966
*** Hawaii Five-0 Television Series from 1968 – Updated version in 2010 (advanced photography, but not quite as cool)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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Second Hand Rosie

Every thing in my cottage is mismatched, piece worked, and mostly vintage. Aside from a few family items, I acquired most everything I own in estate sales, antique stores, flea markets, etc. Like Second Hand Rose, “I rarely get a thing that ain’t been used.” Only I don’t feel abused.

I like the stories that my stuff generate. At this point in my journey it’s fun. This wasn’t always so.

Waiting for the microwave to announce my latte is ready, I wash the dishes in the sink. Memories flow from when I acquired a mug, a plate, a spoon. I remember buying the new sheers now covering my windows – and when my kitten chewed those pin pricks in the selvage.

Not that long ago household items, or rather the stories behind them used to send me into an emotional tailspin. A little further back household stuff could set me running, usually sceamin’ like the banshee, arms flailing as if swatting away a flock of crows – Hitchcock’s The Birds style.

*

When I arrived here at the ranch, this sort of behavior upset the livestock. It was time I put all I learned over the years into practice.

Long ago, before I learned to run from the memories (figuratively speaking – mostly) I’d pretend them away. Eventually fear and anguish bound and locked away much of my memory. Modern medicine calls it Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (CPTSD).

By mid-adulthood I realized this skill had robbed me of much of the joys of my life. Since I clearly hadn’t gotten over it, I got help.

I worked for years with professionals that specialize in helping people with my symptoms. Finding the right help nor the work were easy.

I wanted to quit often. But I missed out on too many good times simply because I didn’t want to remember. I knew if I really wanted to experience “normal” I mustn’t stop the work.

**

I haven’t arrived yet. But instead of the memories dragging me away like an undertow, I can now stop them in place, sort of freeze the frame. At my age eccentric behavior isn’t unusual, so it’s all good. Most of the time I can now reason that what happened didn’t kill me and obviously it won’t stop me – without veering off course.

***

By the time I’d replaced nearly everything I ever owned I realized I had been surviving, not actually living. That’s not the life God wants for me. Sure, our early life was rough for my siblings and me. Sometimes it feels a little sad that I seem to be alone. Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe I’m leading the pack.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 

*Header, The Birds image courtesy San Francisco Chronicle

***The Bird image courtesy Google

**Hitchcock image courtesy Jason Bovberg 

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Bright Week

Spring, even Easter can be like a two-edged sword in my family. I doubt we’re so unique that this should surprise anyone. At some point in life most every body I know tires of winter’s short daylight hours and long, dark nights.

Even so, my family seems to have had more than average trouble getting through to spring – so much so that several times some of our loved ones didn’t make it. My siblings and I for example lost a parent, a cousin, and two siblings before spring.

These, our first losses were when we were all very young and somehow nobody explained what happened. So, understandably our history set up my siblings and me for a sneaky darkness to come creeping around in  early March. Typically that gloom lurks in the shadows until early April. Remarkably, none of us recognized that particular annual happening until we were all grown and set in our individual ways.

Since that realization we learned to reach out to one another about the time our spirits began going down for the second time. Regardless of which of us start it, we team together to help one another through, one way or another. We celebrate the good aspects of our family and we rationalize the bad, the sad and the painful. Mostly by Easter we’ve all beat it.

This year Easter came early so my breakthrough exploded into Easter Monday.

I’m glad to have celebrated the Resurrection, our hope in glory* with extended family this year – people who know my family, our history and they’re as glad to see my siblings and me get through our struggles as are we.

 

 
 

Today I determined – yet again – to continue my campaign to celebrate Bright Week. Essentially borrowing from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, only I’ll continue to observe through to Holy Week next year. Embracing the pain and rising above it, I’m confident God shall carry me through the joy of Easter Sunday all year.

I’ll let you know exactly how this goes after I finish sorting through last weeks’ photos.

“To them [the Lord’s people who are the church] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Colossians 1:27 (NIV, [addendum mine])

 

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Again; That Guy: Part II

Again I saw that guy. It’s like everywhere I go either he is nearby or I couldn’t help overhear someone that was obviously talking about him or something else he’d done.

jerusalem crowd

I couldn’t forget the priests in the temple among the debris, the image stuck in my mind. It’s like an earworm, but irrepressible. I hate the way the image makes me feel fearful, and I’m annoyed with myself that it bothers me. I’m exasperated that I haven’t found my friend – we agreed to meet at the Temple Gate. All I want is to be ready for the Passover.

I couldn’t go a block without hearing someone talking about the incident at the temple. People seemed obsessed; both excited and upset. I actually heard someone say that guy touched some blind, crippled and terminally sick people who afterward could suddenly see, walk and are no longer sick at all. How could that be? I must get to my business.

Shortly after eating, I was walking off my meal when I saw the guy again – coming toward me. I wanted to turn and walk the other way – where that guy went there was trouble. But as if the air between us was charged with some peculiar energy that drained me of my will, I couldn’t move.

The guy was not exceptionally tall, but as he moved closer he looked straight through the crowd surrounding him, right into my eyes. All motion seemed to stop – I was captivated, as if his face drew me closer. I suddenly felt as if the guy saw my entire history, knew my unspoken thoughts. I again wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. Distinctively unnerved, I wanted protection from him. For an instant a notion to call for a guard briefly flitted across my mind – I am such a hypocrite.

The moments seemed like hours and then before I knew it he continued moving on with his group. Like an idiot I stood there until I realized people were bumping into me as they passed in every direction. I checked for my bag and feeling it there I started walking again, aimlessly drifting with the crowd.

Later, making my way back to the temple, I heard people saying, “Heaven… wind… light… and Jesus.” I honestly don’t know why, but I am entirely unnerved. I feel drained, exposed, and remarkably uneasy. I long to find my friend and secure a place to stay the night.

“…A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.”
John 3:27 (NLT)

Featured Image courtesy ABSFreePic

Originally posted on What’s Next on 2016 March 22

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The Road Again; Still

My life long friends, Erin and her baby sister Ellie and I hadn’t seen or spent actual live, local face time in about 15 years. With technology one can keep in touch on the phone and internet, etc. But it’s not the same as getting together in the same place, at the same time.

vega rig

My thirty-something-eth relocation brought about our reunion. These heroines drove a trailer south and east, through wind and amazing hail to collect my belongings and me, and then we three set out on our first road trip in decades. Crossing Texas and New Mexico en route to western Colorado I particularly noticed :

first Rockies

  • Hugs. Especially random hugs for no apparent reason. When they’re few and far between one really misses them. I’m glad to report they’re very easy to get used to again.
  • Body language and reading faces is kind of a big deal.
  • Coffee. I’m jealous of my girls who can drink coffee late in the day and still sleep like a baby. It’s so not fair while I must cut off all forms of caffeine before noon!
  • Aches and Pains. I’m astounded at how our bodies have aged over the years. The packing, lugging and loading took its toll on our bodies – before we hit the road on the 4 day journey. After the first 8 hours in the car, I re-discovered places that can ache from sitting.
  • Dings in our armor – we’ve discovered torn cuticles, broken fingernails and colorful shin bones. No bloodshed, no harm, no foul.
  • Junk food rules. Our healthy diets went out the window.
  • Exercise/physical therapy regime; in such tight quarters as a car, it’s hard to do the stuff we do to keep bodies moving freely
  • Older bodies adjusting to altitude changes can be entertaining.

With all of the above challenges, reconnecting with old, family roots makes the entire trip worth any stress leading up to the drive. What feels like home to me:

  • Remembering we were “green,” conserving resources and doing our parts to preserve the earth long before there was a Greenpeace.
  • We know every line and lyric to most of the classic rock hits, as well as the renown parodies and personalities of our generation (we all fondly remember Doctor Demento, Wolfman Jack and Wierd Al Yankovich).
  • We can drop a quote from a classic movie without explaining what it means.
  • We totally get each others’ fashion genre. Not too old to appreciate well fitted mid-rise jeans, we vowed to just shoot each other the day we eye stretch denim or elastic waistbands. This does not include jeggings. 😀
  • None of us minded coasting through Vega on HWY 385 (Route 66, people) to fill a stick of photos – without stopping the engine.
  • We like nice hotels. We agree we need a housekeeper and a spa at home.

Entertainment: Road Trip Games:

  • License Plate Bingo (no one keeps score)
  • Truth or dare is still a classic.

truck gamestruckingPlaying road tag with truckers (waving, coaxing them to blow the horn). Bonus points for getting one to use a Jake break 😉

 

 

  • Naming our favorite concerts ever and confessing our most embarrassing (or happiest) memories there.
    • Note: arriving at The Dead Show without tickets won, hands down.

At the end of day two on the road I look forward to more adventure and settling in – soon.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

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Chickie

As I prepare for another relocation, yet uncertain where this length of my journey will take me, I think about people and events that brought me to the present.

A few years ago, while discussing a similar situation, my darling Aunt Chickie once told me, “I don’t have many words of wisdom for you, Dear, but I can tell you about mistakes, I’ve made them all!” Over the following hours, and the years afterward we laughed through her memories and with each visit the world felt far less severe.

Patty n Chickie

As a youngster I couldn’t comprehend Chickie ever making a mistake. Now I can appreciate how in hindsight some of her choices may have seemed so to her, but not to me. Raising three teen-aged children in the petulant 1960’s, I can only now imagine she may have felt fallible at times. As a single mother I certainly made some hard choices. She mastered putting any blunder behind her.

Most notable, Chickie never complained. Though a devout Christian, divorced, her inheritance was a devoted mother who often lived with her. She happily married again and became an exceptional step-mother as well. Despite any hardships, Chickie’s lively demeanor was a beacon to us youngsters.

Regardless of the desert heat causing my occasional sweaty, rank arrivals to her home, she always greeted me with genuine smiles, warm hugs and refreshed me. With each visit she told the best stories with helpful, happy, and usually funny anecdotes.

Chickie was a hero. She was and will always be a shining example of gentle, kind love that she consistently poured out on my siblings and me.

Today, while preparing a picnic lunch for my long drive ahead, I remembered helping Chickie make the same recipe I was employing. Long ago, gathering for a particular Memorial Day family outing, she welcomed me into her kitchen to help her prepare the potato salad. In her company I didn’t feel like a fumbling, awkward, insecure pre-teen. She made me feel like a welcome companion.

Blending the dressing into the chopped vegetables and minced pickles, up to her wrists with her bare hands, she suddenly stopped.

Looking intently in my direction, she wondered aloud, “Hmm… Did I wash my hands after I used the bathroom?” Then she overacted a relieved sigh, and answered, “Certainly I did.” Then as she eyed a piece of pickle sticking to her hand she added, “Oh, but then I fingered in my nose…”

For an instant I almost wretched, but, noticing the twinkle in her eye (and remembering how fastidious, the icon of a lady was about washing up upon entering the house and especially the kitchen), we both laughed heartily, drawing the rest of the family into the room with us. And so it always went at Chickie’s house.

Our only paternal aunt, she grew up best friends with Mother and our maternal aunts. Their combined talents for dramatically telling their stories from parochial school, like sabotaging the fearsome “Sister Rosetta Stone’s” yard stick/cane so it would break on the first strike, for instance. These first-person tales vividly etched in my mind, they provided me bright, happy memories. Such recollections often dispelled some of the menacing gloom and confusion that paved my coming years.

In today’s confusing and uncertain world I often draw upon the wealth my family ingrained in me. Chickie helped me recognize how princesses made paupers, we shine as we rise to heights which even darker, sadder souls would not otherwise aspire. Following her example, my sincerest hope is to shine God’s spirit bright enough to inspire others to rise also.

Mary Chickie Green Prince

“Chickie”
1927 – 2014

With fondest affection and deepest admiration.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 12:9,10 (NLT)

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Catching Phrases

alphabet cubes

I’ve been reflecting upon pop language, or catch phrases.

Common catch phrases today:

  • Baby daddy/baby mommy (single parents)
  • Bae (before anyone else/anything else)
  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Troll (the updated, viral version of the essential stalker)
  • #hashtag (anyone not familiar… never mind)
  • Lit (very intoxicated – so, not that much has changed)

This led me to examine what’s changed over the years. I have changed distinctly since I was that young. For example, I grew up with such phrases as:

  • “Easy come, easy go” (not necessarily good),
  • “Do as I say, not as I do”
  • “Trust and obey”

no time fussing fighting

And a little later on:

  • Make love not war
  • Flower Power
  • God is dead
  • Busted (You got some ‘splaining to do*)
  • Up in Smoke (original plan diverted)
  • “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds”** (something to be kept secret)
  • “Book’em, Dan-O” *** (coolest phrase ever – to be interjected whenever possible)

white smokeLater still, I adopted a new favorite that translates the point clearly today:

  • Blowing smoke… (into a body orifice or loose clothing – implies a degree of deception)

Fortunately, I survived my youth, so thanks to God, I continued to grow in body, mind and spirit.

Along with three new generations of humans I learned that the world has more dimension than our perspectives of our early years.

As a more seasoned adult, I discovered what I had once considered absolute truth was not necessarily fact. New interests in history, global current events and especially politics expanded and gradually overshadowed my passion for Natural Science – and later shifted back again.

By my early 30’s I began to recognize the collation between God and Natural Science. I began to find peace, at least in the world of my mind. That trend became my normal.

From my present perspective, aside from the draft and cyber space, not that much has actually changed. People continue to be misled, confused and angry. Decades later the scars veterans bear from warfare are ever present; PTSD among other wounded warrior’s statistics steadily rise.

But now, having come around to seeing the beginning of my life’s circle, my newest favorite expression (from Bob Goff) struck a chord in me:

“…And how could God think of me as His beloved? But then I remember Jesus said to one of the guys with Him that he was a rock even though He knew this same guy would deny ever knowing Him. I don’t think Jesus was blowing sunshine at Peter when He did that. Instead, I think He was calling something out from inside Peter.” ~

cropped-img_20150925_07363192811.jpg

    • Blowing sunshine. I love that!

One truth I now hold dear is that God has proven to be very alive, present and quite visible to those who still seek Him. And at the moments I need Him most, He reminds me of His promises with each new sunrise.

However eloquently worded, I simply don’t have time anymore for anyone blowing smoke anywhere. Especially during the current presidential campaign, with politicians and other contenders blowing the same egocentric banalities as always.

I’m glad there’s genuine hope for tomorrow. I want to focus upon truth and blow vibrant, altruistic sunshine.

Sure the world seems to be in a horrible mess. I can look at the mess or I can walk in sunshine and trust that actually, it’s all good.

 

Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!” Joshua 23:14 (NLT)

 

Terms courtesy The Odyssey Online.com  If they don’t fit, talk to Odyssey

~ Taken from Love Does by Bob Goff, Wow, What A Hit!: Copyright © 2012 by Bob Goff. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.

*I Love Lucy  Television Series 1951 – 1957, “Ricky” Desi Arnaz to “Lucy” Lucille Ball
**Originally from Mission: Impossible, Television Series circa 1966
*** Hawaii Five-0 Television Series from 1968 – Updated version in 2010 (advanced photography, but not quite as cool)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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