Alaskan Silver Daydream

The conference had just ended, Edwin, the Mayor, and Pin were walking out along with the President of the United States and others. Suddenly two shots rang out, one hit the policeman, and the other wounded the Mayor. Edwin pulled Lafayette heroically down as the first bullet went off.

It would appear that his quick thinking saved his boss, even though it would all be carried out according to plan. It was Carl Lafayette that stirred Edwin from his daydream. They were in the dining car of the train that would take them to port, where they’d begin the boat trip to Washington.

“Edwin, you looked a million miles away. Thinking of a young lady like Pin is these days?” “No, just the future.” He smiled at both men, knowing he wouldn’t need them much longer.

Also on the train, was a recovering Edward Mallory, Estelle Reynolds, and Artemis Strand. This trip was to be a reunion of sorts. Edward would meet his Uncle, Estelle would see her Father and Sister, and the Strands would meet at the Hotel Adams for a celebration.

St Louis and his bride had already went on the ship, concealed for her safety. Artemis had brought Edwin’s special luggage along. In it were the private documents of Edwin Strand, including the gifts from his Grandfather, which would allow him to secure every wish he had.

Aunt Minerva waited in her suite. This new servant wasn’t as good as Ralph. She allowed herself a smile every time she thought of him. He had alluded her, it took very nearly sleeping with lions to do it, but he had.

Maybe she was getting soft, but she decided to allow him to live. Oh she could have had the circus burned down while he slept, but no. As long as he never left the circus he was no threat to her. Of course, if he did, then he’d be dead.

How was Ralph to know his friend the High Flying Lewzinstra was actually Mike Palchak, escaped racketeer. Palchak was instructed to allow Ralph to live unless he became dissatisfied with his new career. It was good to have friends in strange corners.

One of Aunt Minerva’s other friends had brought her triumph to the edge of reality. Now, she had to use patience, which was least among her weapons. All of the players would arrive soon enough, and there would be time to act. She was worried about one little thing, what if her man in the White House proved unreliable?

“Oh well, it would make things a little more complicated, but manageable. After all, they get replaced all the time. It would only mean one more bullet the day of the conference.”

A few days later, Pin and Estelle made their way to the lowest deck of the ship. “Funny, criminals think they’re the only ones who plan. Cops do too, we just don’t gloat over them. When I knew this trip was happening, I sent a telegram to an old friend, knowing his schedule.”

Francois greeted his friend, and his companion. Once inside, they said hello to some more of their friends. Estelle laughed happily. “You brought the wolves along?” “They’re family, they had to be here.” “What for?”

Pin looked at Francois, and he handed him the box. “Estelle, a policeman doesn’t make much money, fortunately for me, a friend of mine is the nephew of a jeweler. Because of him, I can pay this off over time.”

He dropped to his knee, and asked her to marry him. A kiss, and a few shared tears later, she said yes. Pin leaned over and whispered in her ear something he never thought he’d say, his real name. They would be married aboard ship, here with their friends, in a secret ceremony.

After the moment had passed, Estelle asked Francois what he would do in Washington. “Alas, my menagerie has succumbed to economic reality. We have joined, as much as I disdain to say it, a larger circus out of Florida. They will meet us in Washington for a special performance.”

Patched Tires

This morning, for the second time in three months, the same tire had a screw in it.  Thankfully, it was patch-able, so the cost was twenty dollars versus eighty or more.  When I text my wife Ashley, her response was “Good Grief”.  I realized how accurate her response actually was.

This was a small situation that could have ended on the interstate with the tire giving out.  At seventy miles an hour, it could have been  tragic.  Today, I don’t want to lessen the impact of small problems, just to be thankful for them.

I’m not a fan of trouble, but I prefer the ninety pound weakling version, to the 250 pound one that could bench press me.  So, like Charlie Brown when Lucy moves the football, I say thank you for Good Grief today!

God Timing

In January my career took an unexpected turn. I was suddenly looking for a new position, which God has recently blessed me with. Through it all, He has blessed us to pay our bills, and to keep everything going. 

That, in and of itself, is incredible, but there’s an added aspect that I love. I received an email today concerning another job I was considering the day I was first offered my new position. My Pastor, Denny Livingston, had advised me to pray for clear direction when it appeared that both doors were open to me.

I asked The Lord to help me know which door was the right one. He not only answered the next day, but closed the door I wasn’t supposed to take. I start my new position next week, today they plan to finalize the preliminary paperwork.

The email I received from the other company today was a thank you for applying letter. The same day we hope to finish the paperwork for the right door, God reminded me of Him closing the wrong one, just as I asked.

My timing would have been to start a new job two weeks after the old one, but God had another plan. I have an idea of why, but I’m not sure I know, and that’s okay. I don’t have to know, He knows, and for me, that’s all I need to know.  

My prayer for myself, and for everyone reading this, is to be on His schedule, and not our own. On our schedule, the wrong doors open, not the right ones. On His schedule, we walk in at the best time possible. Really, should we be surprised when The Creator of time, has better timing than we do?

Watercolor Surrey


I’ve been studying physical watercolors, and this is one of my best yet. I have a lot to learn, but I’m happy about my progress. I hope you enjoy “Surrey” as much as we do.  

Alaskan Silver Pleasantry

“It is secured. Soon, all complete..” Artemis just shook his head, the old girl had pulled it off. Why had he ever doubted Aunt Minerva? Now, he would use the family code to decipher his instructions, and see what else the message said.

The code had been passed down for generations in the family. Secured was the family code word for assassination. Soon meant two days after message sent. Complete was the code meaning authority. The number of periods told them how far away from the primary leader of the group to assassinate.

He smiled again, Strand’s brains think alike. His plan had been to get rid of the policeman, the one voice that Lafayette listened to more than Edwin. She was telling him to do exactly that.

The note to Edwin addressed Lafayette’s course. “My dear nephew, Florida is beautiful. Every pleasantry is available, and I’ve met such wonderful people. It’s time for you to enjoy a vacation, and stop working so hard.”

Florida was the last piece of Edwin’s puzzle. Pleasantry meant all was in place, and vacation plus people meant, it was Edwin’s time. Now he could begin to rid himself of Lafayette and secure the power that he had always dreamed of.

Like everything else, it would be risky, yet he had already survived a bullet. Edwin pulled out the other letter that arrived with Aunt Minerva’s note. It wasn’t addressed to him, but was to Mayor Carl Lafayette. It bore a Presidential seal on it.

Edwin headed to Carl’s office. Artemis, who was now staying in a small room in the hotel a few minutes away, called for his lieutenant. “Tell the musician, I want a clean kill. Eliminate the policeman, wound the Mayor, but no one else regardless. Then follow him, and tidy up.”

“Mayor, this is the opportunity to put our town on the map. It is a long shot, I grant you, but it might be worth trying. The President’s staff wants input from all of Alaska’s officials before floating another try at statehood.”

Edwin had to be careful, he was struggling to sound balanced. If he pushed to hard, Lafayette would question, too little and he would reject. Now he brought up the Sergeant.

“Pin, you could go too. It would give you access to the Secret Service, maybe talk to them about the growing trouble from the Pick Axe organization. Of course, it’s an expensive trip, and it may be more trouble than it’s worth.” He didn’t blink, he hadn’t sounded one sided, and at the end, made it sound like he wasn’t completely onboard himself.

“What do you think Pin? Could we leave right now, with everything going on?” Carl needed reassurance from his friend, and Pin was torn. “I’ll be honest. As much as I want to stay, it’s a chance to get some real help. I say try it.”

Edwin went home happy, his plan was working. Or Aunt Minerva’s and Grandfather’s that is. Either way, he would reap the benefits, and Artemis would eliminate the one man that could stop him.

Only when he was alone did he allow himself to laugh. The policeman had signed his own death warrant. He would die assisting Edwin to do what he had fought against all his life, corruption and greed.

After that, Lafayette would follow, and every other patsy Edwin needed, until he no longer needed them. They would have a fortune, a criminal empire to command, and the ear of a President. Every word he spoke would be carried out, and yet someone else would be blamed.

Now it was time for St Louis to pack. He chose a small pistol, a long range rifle, and his clarinet. Next he placed a small ring box in his pocket. There would be a bigger wedding later, but for now, a small private ceremony on the outskirts of town. Just the couple, the Minister, his partner, and the Minister’s wife. The last two served as witnesses.

After that, St Louis and Harriet would catch a train. They had to be in place to get everything ready for Carl and Pin’s arrival. As happy as he was, something was worrying him.

When a hit is this big, they usually have two assassins. One to carry out the hit, and the other had two jobs. First, to make sure the victims were dead, and second, to kill the first guy so he couldn’t talk. Then, they pay the second man enough to keep his mouth shut, knowing that otherwise they’ll hire a third man.

Typing Out A Legacy

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This week, Bishop Dean Livingston, met the One who’s sacrifice brought a young man to tears in typing class. I remember him telling me the story. He said that he had just read a book on the sufferings of Christ, and began to think about it during the class.

Bishop became so overwhelmed with emotion, that he couldn’t finish the assignment that day. The teacher knew him, and his calling, so she excused him. When he told me, it wasn’t to boast, but to illustrate how the love of God should overwhelm our lives.

Bishop spent his life pursuing this passion. He loved Jesus, people, and music. In connecting with people, He reflected his love for Christ. Bishop used all of his talents, including his music, to point the people he met back to Jesus.

He also loved Gary Cooper, his favorite western was High Noon. I mention it because it’s another one of those stories that illustrates him. It’s a story about a man who stood for what was right, in spite of every obstacle.

Bishop Livingston, like Gary Cooper, wasn’t just about standing against something evil, he was standing for what was good and right. There is a drastic difference between being for something, as opposed to only being against something else. It was that Bishop loved Jesus more than anything, and that is what empowered him.

He always would repeat the lines to Tex Ritter’s song from that film. “Do not forsake me oh my darling…” Bishop was committed to his faith, nothing would cause him to forsake that which was birthed in him during a cottage prayer meeting. His life was about being true to God, standing against all odds, and reaching others.

There’s not enough time to mention every lesson he taught me on how to love God, but maybe just one more. Bro Joe David Sizemore, a legendary minister, due to something which couldn’t be helped, was unable to get to the Conference service that night in time. There had to be a special speaker, and he needed to be able to match the expectations of the people, who were planning on hearing Bro Sizemore.

As far as I know, even with all the famous men of my childhood that were there, no one debated. They turned to the one man who, everyone believed, could be awakened at three in the morning, a Bible placed in his hand, and preach a life changing sermon. Bishop was asked to take the speaker’s place.

I believe, that night, it was “The Elder Shall Serve The Younger”. How I remember that message, as well as “The Great I Am”, “God’s ICU Ward, and “The Armed Angel”. Oh, those precious words from a man who believed and loved them with everything in him.

He taught me why to believe, how to hold on in trials, and what to answer those with questions. He loved God, and people knew it. Bishop completed his assignment, typing out through the keys of his life, the message that Jesus loves us, and we should love Him completely.

Thank you Bishop, for all you’ve taught us. I pray we can truly follow your example, in pursuing Jesus, I Love You!