Archive for October, 2012


” . . . the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

Now and then something happens to shock us out of our quiet, comfortable routine—providing a visual aid or experience, a graphic illustration of eternal truth.  Things we understand become freshly engraved in our hearts, so that we can never be quite the same again.

Recently a woman I know was brutally murdered, shot down by a deranged killer whose demonic anger killed this woman and two others—one of whom was his wife—and injured four other women in the process.

Jesus died and rose to make us more compassionately human, not less.  We appropriate His undergirding peace and contentment in the midst of all circumstances; that peace and contentment is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit who indwells us from the moment of salvation. 

But along with a spirit, we mortals also have souls.  A soul governed by God’s Holy Spirit will experience grief and sorrow over those things that grieve our Lord.  We must never become hardened and immune to the evil around us. 

Much as I love and trust our Lord, much as I luxuriate in His care, I pray I will always be shocked, horrified, and jarred from my comfort zone when I hear or read about violence.  And to know someone who has been the victim of violence—that must always stop me in my tracks!

Shock and horror result in a renewed intense passion for our Lord—and a moment-by-moment realization that our every step, every breath, every heart beat is governed by Him.  Only God knows where we will be tomorrow, or tonight, or an hour from now.  But wherever we are, we are enveloped in His grace.

The woman whom I knew died while shielding another person.  The murdered woman took the bullet which was intended for a young girl—the step-daughter of the killer.  This young girl lives today, because her mature friend sacrificed “a life for a life”.

The tragedy has caused me some nights of sleepless wondering—grieving over the loss of someone I knew, anguishing over the sin and evil in the world, yet wondering (being filled with wonder!) for one who gave His life for many lives.

Only the briefest of lines are germane to record a tragedy.  There is no room for sentimental jargon or corny verbosity.  But a diminutive Haiku has come to mind:

Sunday in Autumn

A moment immortalized

by a sacrifice.

One life for one life

engraved in Eternity . . .

small glimpse of Calvary.

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  So here we are, indoors again.  ↑ ↓

Still, we anticipate plenty of outdoor days.  My foxgloves, black-eyed Susans, and snapdragons are prevailing—and will until the frost.  The mums will hang on longer, maybe for weeks.  Yesterday I harvested more lavender, to dry and use in the soap. 

In just a little over two months, that faithful sunlight will be heading back our way—and then the days of dreaming.  Another garden, another spring!

Margaret L. Been ©2012

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A single maple golden stood

Long after frost had laid

A deadly hand upon the woods

Disrobed by icy rain.

Her loneliness was bright and bold

In skeletons of trees

That recently flashed red and gold

And chattered in the breeze.

Her joy was not in being a tree

Of abundant tone,

But in the fact of being free

And standing all alone. 

Had the other trees around

Been leafed, she’d doubtlessly

Have cast her garments to the ground

For all the woods to see!

©Margaret Longenecker Been

Note:  “The Maple” was published in North American Mentor magazine, and in a collection of poems—WILDERNESS AND GARDENS, An American Lady’s Prospect, by Margaret Longenecker Been—published by Westburg & Associates, Fennimore, Wisconsin,

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“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.  He leadeth me beside the still waters.”  Psalm 23:1-2

During the 1950s and 1960s, my father had a cattle ranch in Nevada.  When they were to be sent to the fattening yards in Missouri and Iowa, the cattle were driven into huge trailers.  With my penchant for Western movies, I pictured an old time cattle drive from Texas to St. Louis—or wherever to wherever else—with a John Wayne type at the rear and cowboys riding alongside to prevent a stampede.

For eighteen years, not so long ago, I raised a small spinner’s flock of sheep.  When it was time for shearing, the trick was to lure them into their enclosure, quickly shut the gate so they could not escape, and then pray they wouldn’t bust out of their shed before the shearer arrived.

Sheep are reputedly stupid.  Bah!  Or I should say, “Ba-a-a-a-a-a!”  Time and again they proved to be smarter than my husband and I were.  If the sheep got wind of the fact that we really wanted them in their shed, they would be impossible to catch.  There was no way we could chase them into their shed.  There was no way we could drive them, the way cattle are driven.  Although they may be herded by a smart border collie, sheep just don’t drive!

The only possible way we could incarcerate our sheep on their beauty salon day was to LEAD them—and then only with the best of grain, with plenty of molasses in it.  Only horse “sweet feed” would do, on shearing day.  Even then, the perceptive creatures seemed to have eyes in the back of their heads, and would nervously skitter back out to the pasture if they sensed that we planned to close a gate behind them.  Stupid?  I don’t think so.  Silly, yes, but very intuitive when intuition is needed.

When we belong to the Lord, we are His sheep.

Life may seem full, but He never drives us.  He makes us lie down in green pastures—and gives us rest. 

Life may seem stressful, but He never drives us.  He leads us with the finest food—the Bread of Life. 

Life may seem hectic, but He never drives us.  He leads us beside the still waters—the Living Water.

Life may seem terrifying and threatening, but He never drives us; He protects us with His rod and His staff.

Life may seem confusing, but He never drives us; He leads us home through the fog with goodness and mercy, and we will dwell in His house forever.

Cattle are driven; sheep are LED!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

Note:  The above photo was taken by our grandson, Tyler, during his nine months at Capernwray Bible School, New Zealand.

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These are the darkling days

when maples shed their burdens,

torn and sodden, to the earth . . .

and tawny columned corn

breaks beneath the reaper’s blade. 

Demise of daylight

drives us inward to our dens,

burrows we’ve designed,

hollows carved in ancient oak,

cabins hewn from fallen pine. 

These are the darkling days.

A fading west wind yields

to sabre rattling from the north,

yet while the keenings sound . . .

a new life pulsates underground. 

© 2009 Margaret Longenecker Been

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We don’t have to travel far to experience the glory of autumn in Wisconsin—just a few feet from our front door.  ↑  This gorgeous tree creates a stained glass effect when the morning sun beams through the high window over our front door.

I’ll never tire of watching clouds.  ↑  How blessed we are to have (also just outside our front door) a panorama of sky over a grassy field bordered by wild woods.


My gardens are still thriving, and it’s October!  ↑   Amazing after our brutally hot, dry summer.  Perhaps this is the fruit of diligently lugging “grey water” (leftover from dish washing and hand washing of clothes) to the gardens so that I wouldn’t over-use our building’s water supply and risk depleting the well which we share with seven other condos.

Moving indoors, you can see that the “cottage industry” of soap making continues around the year.  ↑

And art making, as well.  ↑


Recently, Great-Grandson James came for an art day.  ↑  James is just six years old, and he’s a little prince.  After creating four paintings, he said, “My arm is tired”. 

That was my signal to take him to the park (just outside our front door).  I pushed him on the tire swing.  James paused in the middle of a swing, looked very concerned, and asked me:  “Are you too old to be doing this?”

I assured him that I could handle swinging him.  Then we passed and caught his little Packer football.  James showed me how to place my hand under the stitching when passing the ball.  I never knew that.  But it’s not surprising, since I carried a violin throughout my youth—not a football!

Later James told his Dad, “Grandma caught nearly every pass I threw!”  Was I ever puffed up after that!

So you can see why I’m a bit behind on blogging!  There is so much life, beyond a computer screen!  🙂 

The snapdragons are still blooming gloriously!  ↓  They have won my “Most Faithful Flower” award!  They bloom from April until the first deep frost!

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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