History 2

Our daughter, Debbie (pictured above), and her husband, Rick, are currently touring Scandinavia.  Debbie emailed these photos—depicting the coast in Denmark from which many Jews were smuggled in fishing boats, to Sweden in the early 1940s.

Wikipedia documents this historic, heroic rescue of Danish Jews: “Denmark’s Jewish population had long been almost completely integrated into Danish society, and some members of the small Jewish community had risen to prominence.  Consequently, most Danes perceived the Nazis’ action against Denmark’s Jews as an affront to all Danes, and rallied to the protection of their country’s citizens.  The deportation of Jews in Denmark came one year after the deportation of Jews from Norway.  That created an outrage in all of Scandinavia, alerted the Danish Jews, and pushed the Swedish government to declare that it would receive all Jews who managed to escape the Nazis.”

If your heart stirs with compassion, just from viewing the photos which recall the catastrophic years of WWII, I conclude that you may have a “Jewish Heart”.  I have always had a Jewish Heart—beginning when I was a very young child through events, orchestrated by God, which endeared me to Jewish individuals and the Jewish race:  God’s chosen people.  Those memorable Jewish Heart events happened in the 1940s—decades before that bitter cold Wisconsin January day, when I accepted and embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, crucified in atonement for our sin and risen to give us His victorious life and His literal and inerrant Holy Bible have filled my life to abundance ever since that day, in a variety of life circumstances.  Scriptures tell me that I am “risen with Christ”, and I believe that with all my heart.

Meanwhile, the more time I spend pouring over Scriptures—Old Testament and New—the more ardent and pulsating grows my Jewish Heart!  Early in Genesis, God made a promise (never to be broken or rescinded) to Abraham concerning the countless generations to come from Abraham’s seed:  “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Genesis 12:3  (I sincerely believe that many Danes and Swedes will be blessed in retrospect!)

Sadly, some Christians have decided that God’s promise of blessing for Jews was somehow transferred to the New Testament Church.  With due consideration that each individual has a right to his or her opinion, it seems obvious to me that the “Transferred Blessing” people (subscribing to Replacement Theology) have not approached Scripture with the understanding that God’s Word is literal and God means what He says.

Although symbolic language (to enable visualization of a concept) is frequent in Scripture, those principles and undeniable givens of prophecy and the fulfillment thereof do not change.  All of Scripture points to the End Times restoration of Israel and the Jewish people—along with blessings to those of us who have come to faith in our Messiah during the Church Age.  As a brand new Christian in 1971  I wept tears of amazement and joy during a Wednesday night Bible Study—when our pastor, Stuart Briscoe, fervently preached the truths of Romans 11:

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits:  that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob’ “.  Romans 11:25-26

That is one of countless Scriptures attesting to the future of Israel and the Jews.  Here is another of many:

“For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns.  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness and all kings thy glory:  and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.  Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”  Isaiah 62:1-2

In recent years, these Scriptures have fed and nourished me.  The past history of the Jews breaks my heart; but a view of Israel’s future causes me to weep tears of joy—especially in these days of violent threats and sabre rattling in the Middle East, from godless and destructive countries which vow to wipe Israel off the map!  Every newscast I watch must be followed by a good dose of God’s prophecies and promises.  In God I trust!

Margaret L. Been — September 13, 2015

NOTES:  Further encouragement for the Jewish Heart is found in the FRIENDS OF ISRAEL publication:  Israel My Glory.  I devour nearly every word of that magazine.

It puzzles me that anyone who knows anything can possibly deny the unique quality of the Jewish people as evidenced in their survival as a race, and the incredible existence of their tiny but productive and valiantly democratic country—in the midst of godless, ravening wolves of prey! 

As a testimony to the indomitable Jewish spirit, I recommend a DVD which I love:  FOLLOW ME, THE JONI NETANYAHU STORY.  

This DVD documents not only the 1976 miraculous recovery of Jewish hostages at the Entebbe Airport by an IDF special unit, but moreover the life of that unit’s leader—a hero dedicated to freedom for his nation:  Joni Netanyahu, the older brother of current Israeli prime minister and statesman Benjamin Netanyahu.

Birches II

In recent years, I find myself giving more advice—breaking a lifetime policy of rarely inflicting personal opinions unless requested to do so, or in situations where someone’s wellbeing is threatened apart from my input.

Always having found advice-givers to be highly annoying, I’ve militated against joining their ranks.  But now I’m holding forth because I believe that most anyone’s wellbeing is jeopardized without the following, standard bit of wisdom:

Find a passion!  Don’t grow old without it.  And especially if you live with chronic illness or pain.  Don’t neglect those creative aspects of life that make aging and chronic health issues not only do-able, but downright enjoyable—even exciting!

I’ve been blessed with many passions:  family, friends, my precious corgi Dylan, books, writing, knitting, wool spinning, music, gardens indoors and out, and now painting.  Art making is new for me; even ten years ago I did not have the foggiest idea that I’d be able to enjoy a lifelong dream.  God saved that one for me to launch when—along with all the other passions—I needed it most.

Most essential to ortho and other health issues, is to keep this body moving! Sitting for any length of time is a huge challenge.  I’ve even learned to stay home from church and other chair-confined events on the most dicey “no sit” days.  Lying in bed (supine or even with pillows) is the second greatest challenge, and for those sleepless nights painting is my great friend.  I paint standing up, and incorporate whole-body motion into the piece of work.

Art making would be wonderful enough if it ended right here, in my cozy bedroom corner studio beside a husband who is contented to sleep through soft lighting and my nocturnal whims—along with George Winston providing a mellow piano background.

But also, painting has led to a spate of new friendships, activities, and opportunities for sharing my art in our community.  Meanwhile, the history of art movements and artists has become a fascinating, inexhaustible area of study.

Thus I feel not only justified in giving advice, but actually responsible for sharing.  Don’t forget your passion.  Don’t grow old without at least one, and every day will be a fantastic adventure!

We are created in the image of a Creative God.  He desires that we somehow reflect His creativity.  Yes, He will answer prayers concerning ways we can honor him with the gifts He has given us.  When God moves, He brings a whole new quality of refreshment to an already abundant life!

Margaret L. Been — September 9, 2015

Note:  If art rings your chimes, you can check out my MESSY PALETTE blog:   https://northernview.wordpress.com/

The sun is setting on America

This gorgeous photo is one our grandson Tyler brought home from his year of study in New Zealand.  In the picture, the sun is setting over New Zealand, and it’s a beautiful sight.  But when the sun sets on a nation . . .

It has happened again and again, throughout human history.  Nations rise and fall.  From Ancient Greece and Rome, throughout centuries of empire building, right up to the horrific Nazi regime of my lifetime, the sun has set on nations.

Seemingly forever, it was said that the sun would never set on the British Empire.  In my mind Britain has been among the finest of empires, although my Revolutionary War and Irish ancestors would disagree.  Britain is still Britain—a very positive presence in the world.  But, Britain no longer rules the ocean.

I’ve never considered America to be an “empire”—although we have sometimes operated empirically.  Our past is shadowed with infamy regarding our treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans.  We have been a work in progress.

America’s strength and integrity have stemmed from:  1) our Constitution which in essence promotes justice by curbing the powers of any one branch of government; and 2) an ingrained morality due to our Judeo-Christian world view, and the initially declared-to-be “One nation under God.”

Whether or not our Constitution has been compromised in recent years is a matter of political debate; I believe that it has!  Meanwhile, recent legislation and Supreme Court rulings prove that our ingrained morality—wherever it may remain and continue—is no longer a matter of national policy.  In 2015, America is no longer one nation under God.

God has been incredibly patient with America.  Millions of unborn children (and we discover, some newly born children) have been murdered—sacrificed on the Baal altar of “convenience” masqueraded as “choice”.  In the America of my heritage, murder was high crime—and never a legislated option.

Marriage has been desecrated to legally include unions which are an absolute abomination to God—the Judeo-Christian God whom we are supposedly “under”.  Our legacy rightfully mandates equal civil rights for the myriads of religions and cultures in our midst; but never were our “under God” cultural standards, based on Biblical morality, to be desecrated.

Yet tragically, there is one more vastly crucial issue that places America in line for the deserved judgment which God has lovingly, patiently withheld till now:  the area of America’s dealings with Israel and God’s people, the Jews.  In His Word God says of the Jewish nation (the seed of Abraham):  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you . . . .”  Genesis12:3a.

The United States of America has traditionally and consistently welcomed and nurtured the Jewish people.  They, in turn, have contributed immeasurably to every area of American life from intellectual pursuits, science and industry, to the arts and American culture.

God has prophesied the Jews’ return to their land.  “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left . . . . and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”  Isaiah 11:11a, and 11:12b. 

Obviously, the above prophecy could not have dealt with the Jews’ Old Testament captivity—as in that era they were “dispersed” to Babylon, and not to the “four corners of the earth”.  The return from captivity in Babylon was the “first time”.  The 1948 establishment of Israel as a nation is the “second time”.  In my lifetime I’ve been privileged to realize the Jews’ return to their homeland—as precariously challenged and valiantly defended it has been.

Per the website of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum:  “At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State of Israel. On that same date the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the new Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31). The U.S. delegates to the U.N. and top ranking State Department officials were angered that Truman released his recognition statement to the press without notifying them first. On May 15, 1948, the Arab states issued their response statement and Arab armies invaded Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war began.”

For Harry Truman’s recognition of Israel, he is immortalized as a hero by me and countless lovers of Israel.  Meanwhile, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have (to use common vernacular) “thrown Israel under the bus” via Kerry’s “peace” agreement with Iran.*

Even many Christians have thrown Israel under the bus, by failing to take literally the Old Testament prophecies and countless New Testament verification thereof (including Romans chapters 9 and 11, and the books of Jude and Revelation).

I’m fully aware that some of you readers will disagree violently with all of the above.  That is your right.  But I have one request:  wait, wait, wait to see what will predictably happen next, unless a radical reformation occurs in America!

Daily, constantly I pray for revival in our land—and a widespread return to Biblical righteousness.  America is so far gone, so corrupt at the national and many other levels, that only a drastic movement of God’s Spirit could turn us around and bring us back to being “One Nation under God”.

If America fails to return to God’s standard—if babies continue to be brutally murdered, if immorality continues to be legalized, and if Israel continues to be compromised by our nation’s leaders—the sun will not only set:  it will go down with a bang!

Margaret L. Been—September 5th, 2015

*I cannot see the face of John Kerry on the news, or hear his name spoken, without picturing in my mind September of 1938 when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London from a conference with Hitler.

Chamberlin waved a piece of paper in his hand and declared:  “A British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour.”


Long time, no blog!  From April till way into Autumn, my heart is outdoors.  But that has never kept me from writing before.  This summer has been different—perhaps one of the loveliest summers ever.  With the exception of an occasional entry on my art blog, journaling, letter writing, and jotting Bible study notes, I decided to take a vacation from writing.

Now our white hydrangeas/turning pink are at full tilt and awash with beautiful bees. So much to love about summer!  Six years ago to this very day (Saturday August 29th, 2009) our son Eric and grandsons Joshua, Adam, Jason, and Jeff (grandson-in-law, but a true grandson indeed!) loaded a large U-Haul, our family business truck, and a some vans with our belongings.  We were moving from our up-north “permanent” home of eight years to Southeastern Wisconsin where we’d originally lived for decades and where much of our family has lived and still does.

The banter between our family moving helpers was hilarious.  They did a perfect job with no damage to our furniture or the walls of the home we were leaving—and most importantly, with no damage to my precious piano.  The day was pleasant and memorable.  But please forgive me for using a cliché:  My heart was in my throat.  We were abandoning the place we’d thought we’d live “forever”.

Two months earlier Joe had suffered serious health complications which immediately mandated the change of locale in order to be close to family and easily-accessed excellent medical care.  In late June we’d walked into our present condo home for the first time.  We placed a down payment on the condo after twenty minutes of inspection.  So July and August of 2009 were filled with packing.  Anyone who knows our lifestyle understands that the packing was a piece of work!

Over those weeks I consistently walked Dylan (corgi) on a leash so that he’d make the transition from running freely around fourteen plus acres to being a proper condo dog who wouldn’t be a nuisance to neighbors.  As I walked our wild woodsy trails, I wondered:  How will I be able to get along without all this? 

Yes, we’d be surrounded by beloved family.  I had missed the family between visits.  Down in Southeastern Wisconsin the great-grandchildren were coming pop/pop/pop like popcorn.  Joe and I love and enjoy the little people.  I certainly understood that children are more special than bears and wolves.  But . . . . ?

Nonetheless—after two months of packing, walking, and wondering—that moment of departure six years ago was amazingly pain-free.  Weary as Joe and I were from the process of moving on short notice, we experienced a mutual, growing sense of excitement; it occurred to both of us that we were coming home!

And we came home to boundless blessings.  Family!  Long time friends!  A carefree four room, ground floor condo—just right for our time of life.  Several gardens to tend and love—ours and those of neighbors who don’t want to bother with gardening.  And trains frequently roaring back and forth on the busiest track in the area—from Milwaukee west to the Rockies and north to Canada.  My passion for the sight and sound of trains is no secret to anyone who knows us.

What have I learned in the last six years?  More than I can squeeze into a blog.  But for starters:

  1. People in their “mature” years, do not need a large home.  Compact and cozy are delightful adjectives.  I enjoy cramming lots of stuff into small spaces, and I love the task of efficient organizing.
  2. It is very nice to have garbage collection at our garage door.  Up north we took our garbage to the  dump—a fun experience but not when it was twenty below zero!
  3. It is wonderful to have snow removal.  Joe did that himself up north, with a snow blower.  It took two hours or more, to clear the driveways at the two houses there—the one we lived in and the guest house we had built up the hill.  Now on a blizzardy winter morning we awaken and savor our coffee to the scrape/scrape of plows on our lane and shovels on the walkways.
  4. Here is a vital lesson:  One does not need to own land, to enjoy it.  We have a lovely community park over the berm outside our courtyard, and a woods and prairie preserve with foot trails beyond the park.  These fulfill my hunger for natural beauty.
  5. In the last six years, health challenges have become the norm for Joe and me.  These challenges are Holy Ground.  Always, I experience God’s “peace that passes understanding” .  With the Lord Jesus in my heart and life, every day is Holy Ground.  But health issues—Joe’s emergencies and my chronic concerns—are a showcase of God’s Grace.  Some friends understand this, but others simply do not.  The “others” are those who say things like “Oh you poor thing!”  When I hear that I want to scream, but I try to stay calm.  My answer is, “In Christ we are never a ‘poor thing’. We are “more than conquerors.”  Holy Ground!
  6. No home on earth is “forever”.  Although I love where we are, and I am totally contented and grateful, I anticipate with profound excitement that final “move”—right into the presence of my Lord Jesus!*

Six years in retrospect.  Understandably, I sometimes think of “up north”—especially when strolling outdoors after dark.  Here, twenty-five miles west of Milwaukee, we have a moon and sometimes part of the Big Dipper in the night sky, and rarely much more than that.  I recall many evenings of sitting on our lake-facing porch up north, enthralled by millions of stars:  so many that there was more starlight than black space between.  The stars reflected on the lake so that the entire expanse—Heaven and the water below—was one huge lit-up sky.

But happily now, six years later, we sit in the front row at church, surrounded by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  They are my stars!  :)

Margaret L. Been—August 29, 2015

*Nearly every day I reflect on a family story I first heard when I was a very little girl.  My great-grandfather had been bed-ridden and unresponsive for days—surrounded by family members during his slow process of dying.  Then suddenly one day he sat bolt upright in bed.  His face was glowing as he loudly exclaimed, “Oh Glory, Glory!”

Immediately after that, Great-Grandfather Longenecker moved to his final, glorious HOME!


My Great-Great Grandfather on my Mother’s side was named after one of ancient history’s wealthiest men, but Solomon Soper left a humble legacy:  $50.00 to each of his four minor heirs.  Actually that may have been a substantial inheritance back in 1843 when Mr. Soper died—but obviously not a fortune.

I have difficulty reading the photocopy of Solomon’s personal goods listed in his will which I received from the Illinois Regional Archives Depository in Springfield, Illinois.  Here are the items I can read:  1 two-horse wagon, 1 chopping ax, 1 iron wedge (or widge), 1 pot, 1 tea kettle, 1 pan, 1 pail, 1 pitcher, 1 plate, 2 mugs, 1 saddle/’bridle/reins, 1 tin box, 1 bed and bedding, 1 bag, 1 smoothing iron, 37 bushels corn, 1 curry comb—and that is all I can decipher.

The ancestor splurge has been triggered because I’m in the process of joining the Daughters of the American Revolution.  I’ve been asked why in the world would I want to do that—and the question has been posed with an underlying inference that maybe I’m some kind of a snob.  Well, my Revolutionary ancestor was a Private in the Continental Army, so I’m not exactly descended from General George Washington.

Since my Mother and Maternal Grandmother were members of the D.A.R., joining that organization has often come to mind.  So when our Granddaughter, Nancy in L. A., decided to join, both her Mom (our Daughter, Laura in Washington State) and I agreed it would be fun.

Along with the family connection the D.A.R. has appealed to me for it’s traditional stand on patriotism and the importance of our U. S. Constitution—both of which have been egregiously undermined by President Obama and his minions.  Rather than grousing while watching the news (or maybe along with grousing!) I want to be involved in some tangible activity that reflects my values.  Currently the D.A.R. sponsors projects and fund raisers to benefit our veterans—and that suits me just fine.

You may be wondering why, with a Mom and Grandma who were D.A.R. members (and I have the provenance of their membership cards) wouldn’t that suffice to let Nancy, Laura, and me into the group?  Well apparently there is a current rash of applicants due to the ease of online ancestry searches—and some of the claims are invalid.  Our Registrars–West Coast and Wisconsin—are leaving no stone unturned in order to connect the dots in our lineage.  (Please forgive those two clichés.  Yikes!)

So I have journeyed back four generations to get Solomon Soper’s will.  Solomon married Phoebe Wood—the granddaughter of Private Ebenezer Wood.  Solomon and Phoebe’s daughter, Electa Lusetta Soper, married Reverend Daniel Alexander Campbell—a Scottish descendent Yankee who pastored the First Congregational Church (really the first!) at Pine River, Wisconsin.  These were the parents of my Grandma Kate—a woman whom I’ll always revere for her Scottish backbone, and especially for her love for the Lord.

Meanwhile, I’m touched by the list of Solomon’s goods—truly a litany of basic things. I have far more than 1 plate, 2 mugs, etc.  But I have no reason whatsoever to be a snob!  Solomon’s will reminds me of that!

Margaret L. Been, April 2015

 Where sheep may safely graze 2

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . . . But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53: 4a, 5-6

“But unto you that fear My name, shall the Sun of righteousness rise with healing in His wings . . . .”  Malachi  2:3a 

“But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved):  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”  Colossians 3:3-4


Have a beautiful Resurrection Day!

Winter Breakup.jpg 2  “To think to know the country and not know

    The hillside on the day the sun lets go 

    Ten thousand lizards out of snow!”  Robert Frost, A Hillside Thaw

Although I admit to sometimes dreaming about warm, sunny places during our long Northern winters, I would not chose to trade my home locale with anyone—anywhere, anytime (except for an occasional week or two in New Mexico).

I truly wonder if friends who live in warm places ever experience springtime euphoria—that crazy, headlong, potentially mindless and blithery joy known as SPRING FEVER, when poetry floods one’s soul!  Perhaps that euphoria is common in four season climates around the world.  Certainly in the USA, where April has been designated as NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

Anticipating April, while loving every remaining moment of tumultuous Wisconsin March, here are some snatches of poems from kindred souls—in addition to the above lines from one of my most beloved kindred spirit poets, Robert Frost.  Also I’ll plug in some of my watercolor renderings.  The marriage of a poem and a painting is called Ekphrasis.


“The Skies can’t keep their secret!

They tell it to the Hills –

The hills just tell the Orchards –

And they – the Daffodils!”  Emily Dickinson, #191

Traces 2

“I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore . . . .” 

William Butler Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innesfree

Homeward Bound--1

“Now as I was young and easy under the apple bough

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green . . . .”

Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill

. . . the dawn's early light

“O April, full of breath, have pity on us!

Pale where the winter like a stone has been lifted away, we

        emerge like yellow grass.

Be for a moment quiet, buffet us not, have pity on us,

Till the green come back into the vein, till the giddiness pass.” 

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Northern April

From Seed

These are only a whisper of the many poems and poets whom I read again and again—immersed in the introspections, nuances, innuendoes, and life metaphors gleaned from a sensitivity to the turning of the year.  I believe that sensitivity is shared by most poetic four-season souls!

Margaret L. Been, Spring 2015


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