Posted in My Journey


Do you believe in miracles? I never did. In fact, there was a time I thought those who experienced a healing actually fell under some kind of self-hypnosis. I dismissed it as nothing more than an ol’ fashioned parlor trick found in a fantasy like The Wizard of Oz.

It goes that way until it happens to you. You never think it will happen to you. And sometimes, the little miracles in life convicts one into believing in the very thing he or she discredited in the first place.

Little Miracle #1

Some time ago, in celebration of my birthday, Luana and the kids treated me to lunch at one of the hotspots here in town. The food was great, the company I kept was satisfying, and the service was beyond exceptional. Shortly after the main course, the server came by our table and asked me if I had decided what dessert I wanted, given Luana had mentioned why we were there in the first place. I said I had not decided and we agreed the server would surprise me. Several minutes later, I was regretting my decision, but it had nothing to do with receiving the dessert. The server had not brought it yet. I was thinking, since the treat would be free, I imagined I would be receiving a simple scoop of ice cream, or one of those sweet cookies instead. Then I thought, I should have ordered my favorite—cheesecake. I imagined it dished with no topping except for strawberries and syrup on the side. I really had it in mind of what it would look like and mentioned it to my family.

What happened next left me in awe. The server had brought me a plate of cheesecake, strawberries and syrup on the side, and a big sparkler in the center.

Obviously, I was praising God all the way home.

Little Miracle #2

Recently, I took a vacation. The first two days were nothing short of awful. I fell ill with aches, chills, a fever, and a nasty headache. Two days later, I felt much better, except for the headache. It just would not go away. That same evening, I had fallen on my knees asking God for relief. I asked him to remove whatever was causing the pain so as I may not only feel better, but serve him in the way he wanted me to serve him.

It did not help. That is when I decided to bring in the big guns.

I immediately went to Luana. She knew what to do. She laid her hands on my neck and the back of my head, where I told her the headache rested, and prayed aloud. She proclaimed God’s promise of healing asking for the removal of not only the pain but the condition that was causing the pain. I believed with my whole heart that through her intercession my faith would heal me.

At the end of the prayer, after she had called on Jesus’ name, I soon headed back to bed. I did not even make it into the bedroom. The headache was gone. No pain. No weird sensations. Gone.

Other things have happened to me that I would classify as miracles. Rather than list those events, however, I am going to do something altogether different.

Jesus’ Miracles

Below are Jesus’ miracles listed in the gospel of Mark:

Missing is Jesus’ transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13), his prediction Peter would deny him three times (Mark 14:26-31), and many others. Mind you, I have listed these miracles from the gospel of Mark only. It goes without saying there are other miracles Jesus performed that I have not mentioned, detailed in the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John, such as Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-11).

Reading about all the miracles Jesus performed while he was here on earth inspires me to appreciate how God intervenes in people’s lives, even if it is surprising me with a slice of cheesecake with a side of strawberry sauce for my birthday, or healing me suddenly of a headache. God knows the needs of his children. He goes out of his way to make his children happy. And if God chooses to bless his children with a small or large miracle, it is entirely up to him.

A miracle is a miracle. It still shows how much God loves his children.

Posted in Wednesday Warriors


In the film Oz the Great and Powerful, James Franco plays a Kansas carny performer who has overstayed his welcome. In every town he visits, he performs the same scam. He first gains the trust of those around him then he takes advantage of them until either they throw him out, or he has no choice other than to run. You see, Oz is not your ordinary circus performer, he is a very good circus performer who knows people and how they work. That is why he makes an excellent profile for today’s Wednesday Warriors.

James Franco as Oz
James Franco as Oz

In Kansas, Oz is your typical sideshow act. He’s a magician, an illusionist, a performer, an example of what is right in the world—or at least that is what he thinks of himself. Meanwhile, he has wooed multiple women with the same technique he has used countless times. A music box does wonders to a woman’s heart.

But not everyone admires the dashing actor. Husbands, in fact, hate him, and would do anything to see him hanging from a tree until dead.

When Oz attempts to sweep the wrong girl off her feet, his worst nightmare becomes a reality. In an effort to escape an enraged spouse, he hops into a balloon and casts off to places unknown.

The resourceful Oz has no one to rely on than himself. Yet, how different is that from the other times he had to make a quick getaway from other folks who have wanted to make him part of a funeral procession?

The Great and Powerful
The Great and Powerful

What Oz doesn’t count on is the twister that suddenly makes an appearance during the most inopportune time. With the winds wailing, the balloon lifting to heights beyond comprehension, Oz can only dream of a time when his feet will once again walk on solid earth. He will never again take to flight in order to thwart the evil musings of a jilted lover.

After having landed in a place unknown, he discovers the land is not what he expects. He notices the large flowers, the waters alive with creatures he has never imagined and the air running amok with birds that have the ability to swallow him whole. Indeed, Oz is not in Kansas anymore.

As the story progresses, Oz comes upon two sisters (Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz) and a kingdom filled with riches. His eyes fall on the treasure promised to the heir of the fortune—a great wizard who will save the land from the Wicked Witch and her minions. Without knowing what the prophecy means, Oz becomes the unwitting center of the story. But he has more on his mind than saving a people from a woman he could dismiss with a wave of a hand. Oz has the treasure in mind that he wants to inherit all to himself.

The film could run a predictable course where Oz steps on everyone’s dreams as a means to exact his greed-filled desires. But in true Disney fashion, Oz becomes a bigger man than he would have otherwise predicted for himself.

Revealing more of the story would also mean to ruin an experience for the viewer that would highlight a man’s willingness to put aside his own desires for the love of a people.

And seeing Oz in that position of growth is not only inspiring but also a miracle.


Have you seen Oz the Great and Powerful? What do you think about Oz’s growth in the film?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

The Wicked Witch of the West

No one can deny after seeing The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is a frightening gal. The first time I saw her on TV was when I was four. If you want to cite childhood memories that may have traumatized a growing young lad, this was it.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

What would the end of Women Who Wow Wednesday‘s Horror month be without The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West? I dare you to count the number of w’s in that sentence.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

There’s a whole history behind the green-skinned lady, but this post won’t contain any of that. In fact, I’m not even going to include how her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, died. Well, we know a house fell on her. That’s about it. Has anyone else ever asked what that woman was doing there in the first place? Was she just standing around waiting for it or was she flying on her broomstick when the house slammed into her? Okay, so maybe I have included a little history with this post.

The other thing I remember about the Wicked Witch was her cackle. Oh, such a dastardly laugh it was. That line where she says, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” It still sends chills up my spine. Is it me or does she get meaner as the years go on? Maybe it’s just me. She certainly knows how to scare the pants off a grownup.

Since I’m quoting lines from the movie, here are a few more that make me want to run away and lock myself in my room with the covers over my head:

“Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents, too!”

“How about a little fire, Scarecrow?”

“Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Come back! I’ll give you Auntie Em, my pretty! Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!”

“Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.”

“What a nice little dog. And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to want to visit me in my loneliness.”

“The last to go will see the first three go before her. And her mangy little dog too.”

“You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I’m going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!”

Tell me you don’t hear her voice when you’re reading those lines to yourself. I still can hear it and I’m not even trying.

Yes, the Wicked Witch belongs in an asylum, but you can’t tell me she doesn’t wow. As bad as she is, she is a character everyone recognizes. For this reason, her image has remained with me since a child. Maybe one day, I can watch The Wizard of Oz without that scary feeling I get in the pit of my stomach reminding me of the first time.

Until then, I’ll watch her again and again covering my eyes as if I were on a roller coaster. It’s the only way to survive a scary ride.


What do you remember of the first time you saw The Wizard of Oz? Were you as frightened to see her the first time I was?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Autumn Photography

Every autumn I go on safari. Not really. I treat it as a safari, though. I pack my camera in my satchel, slip on a warm jacket, and head for the woods. What am I hunting, you may ask? Trees, leaves, nature—anything really to depict this glorious season we call fall. And that’s my Freedom Friday introduction to fall photo gathering.

A path to the foot of the woods
A path to the foot of the woods

The adventure typically begins at the foot of the woods a couple of minutes from my home. You see, I live in farm country, near where all the folks from Toronto get their corn, strawberries, and other assorted goods. How close do I live to the woods? I’ve seen foxes chase rabbits from the brush across the street into the neighbor’s backyard at 5:30 in the morning. This happened ten feet from my walk. I’ve seen multiple raccoons frenzying on garbage cans as if bitten by zombies. And I’ve smelled. Yes, smelled—skunks near where I trod. I’ve seen them, too. Tail sticking up. Those are the animals I fear most spilling from the woods. Oh, did I mention the coyotes? We have them, and they’re the dreadful parasites of our town’s existence.

As I was saying, the adventure begins at the foot of the woods. During this time of year when the forests give up their leaves, I’m there capturing it all. I suppose it has to do with the color the season exhibits. Boy, can anyone deny autumn is colorful? I think not. And here I am, in the middle of the woods, the threat of coyotes at every turn, snapping photos of anything that may inspire me to share with others.

Beautiful morning majesty
Beautiful morning majesty
The woods
The woods
Leaves that have yet to change color
Leaves that have yet to change color

The time I get the absolute best photos is either early in the morning, as the sun makes its appearance in the horizon or in the evening just when the light turns all sorts of golden hues along the edge of the tree line. I’ve taken shots in the middle of the woods just as dusk approached. Reminiscent of Dorothy’s travels through The Wizard of Oz’s Dark Forest, the day fades, the wind howls, and it does get creepy. But it doesn’t stop teenagers hitting the woods at night to have their secret rendezvous. On occasion, I’ve come across the remnant of empty bottles near a felled tree, a spot I suppose popular with the young crowd.

The log where teens hang out
The log where teens hang out
I think I know where I'm going
I think I know where I’m going
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Inside the woods
Inside the woods

The woods have paths I can walk yet there are times the leaves cover the paths making it difficult to find my way back. I’ve gotten lost several times only to find my way back after having remembered what the trees looked like from mental notes of my journey. Believe me when I say it’s not fun not knowing where you are in the grand scheme of things.

I have to say this: whenever I’m out there with my camera taking those eye-popping photos of the foliage, sometimes my breath catches. It’s as if I’m seeing things for the very first time, enjoying every moment. The colors are vivid and beautiful, the air crisp, and the area is so much at peace without human interference. I’m glad I have the woods as my fortress of solitude. Everyone needs a place of refuge. The woods are mine.


Do you take photos of the foliage every year? Do you have a fortress of solitude?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

I Hated Zombies

There once was a boy name Jack, and he hated zombies without lack. Crazy, isn’t it? That boy was me. I disliked zombies because I thought they were the stupid, malignant, dregs of Horror that amounted to nothing better than cheap laughs and gruesome kills.

Dead Rising 3
Dead Rising 3

Now that I have your attention, I’m dedicating this Monday Mayhem post to the skeptics. To all those folks who hate zombies and don’t know why. Ahem, because they think zombies are of the devil—or something so insanely ridiculous as such. This post goes out to you dislikers of the undead. Prove your hatred.

It wasn’t long ago when I, too, freely admit to have been one of the zombie naysayers. I’d thought vampires were cool and werewolves were powerful. But zombies? What did they have? I couldn’t get past their weak countenance. They wore torn clothes, for crying out loud. Even I could have punched one of them in the face to have it topple over like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

Ah, but you see, that’s where I went wrong. I thought of a zombie as a single unit. That’s not where a zombie’s strength lies. Zombies don’t work that way. Separate a zombie from the crowd and yes, it’s time to say good-bye to another of the undead. However, as part of the horde, it’s as good as dug itself in like an Alabama tick. As a whole, they’re impenetrable; functioning as a single-minded mass with only one thing on their mind—eat.

Someone's in Trouble
Someone’s in Trouble

When did I change my view on zombies? I saw 28 Days Later late one night while my family slept, and I needed some solid entertainment. I didn’t know what the movie was at the time, having caught it a few minutes after the credits, but I watched it anyway. Hard not to watch someone waking up in hospital garb to what looks like a world gone crazy. Then have the movie tease me to a slow reveal. That’s what started it all for me. I saw the zombies. They weren’t weak but strong brutes able to turn other humans into zombies. And the humans were afraid of them. I thought, what is this? Shivers trailed my arms to my spine leading up my neck. The movie captivated me. I wanted more.

From there I went on a zombie binge. Within a week, I had seen 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and Zombieland.

The old Scooby-Doo paradigm I had carried for so long had all but disappeared, replaced by today’s zombie—a predator of vast proportions, able to seek and destroy those who’d dare get in the way. Their single-minded focus to rid the world of humans fascinates me. They act as Star Trek’s Borg, a collective bent on satiating eternal hunger pangs. How can I argue these zombies are weaklings?

To exacerbate the issue, I’d fallen in love with the notion zombies can reproduce. One bite is all it takes and a human is no longer with the living. In some respect, it might actually be an improvement since some folk are dead already.

Yae, naysayers, come and give pittance to your trite cause for slamming zombies wherefore you know nothing of. You hate the undead in ignorance. Let the beasts of the field show you the empty graves to those who will dismember the world.


What do you like about zombies the most? Did you have an epic flip from hater to lover of the genre?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

We’re Off to See the Wizard

She doesn’t curse. She doesn’t swear. She doesn’t even own a gun. She’s the cutest redhead anyone’s ever seen. She’s also the epitome of American moral values. Who is she? She’s The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale, of course. And I’m proud to feature her as part of this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday.

The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale
The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve dedicated a number of posts to some pretty violent female characters in movies. Other than Wonder Woman, most, if not all, have thrown a knife or fired a gun, beaten the crap out of their enemy, or jettisoned them into space. In a zombie apocalypse, those are the women who I’d love to have fight alongside me.

But Dorothy Gale? Sweet little Dorothy? How could she ever take on the undead?

Let’s take a look at what we got. She grew up on a farm. Not a small feat for a young girl, you know. She’s probably seen things done to animals that’d make a billy goat puke. Like rabbits skinned, chickens defeathered, turkeys beheaded, and the family pig, which I don’t think its name was Wilbur, fattened up for months until it reached implosion weight. Then with tears flooding her face, seen it slaughtered in the cool of the day.

So yeah, Dorothy grew up on a farm. She’s seen things.

The Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion

Okay, so she’s got a tough stomach, but is she strong? I would say so. How else could one explain the absolute fear that gripped the Tin Man and Scarecrow when The Lion showed up? Dorothy stood her ground, though. She didn’t run away. She didn’t cry. Nooo, no. She walked right up to the snarling beast and smacked it across the mouth. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” She snapped, and she stared him down, she did.

Yes, but I can still hear the doubters. She couldn’t hurt an ant, I hear. She’s as gentle as a rose. She’d help a butterfly caught in a web.

Oh, yeah?

She dropped a house. On a witch. Not any ordinary witch, mind you. On THE Wicked Witch of the East. The most fearsome witch of the eastern hemisphere. And then she lied about it. When confronted by The Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy looked her straight in the eye and lied.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

“Who killed my sister?” the Wicked Witch of the West asked. “Who killed the Witch of the East? Was it you?”

“No, no.” Dorothy said. “It was an accident. I didn’t mean to kill anybody.”

“Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents, too!”

Oh, really. Was that a threat?

Dorothy didn’t take too kindly to those words. No one threatens Dorothy Gale and gets away with it. Especially some cheap floozy who picks her clothes from the leftover Halloween bins at Wal-Mart. No way. From that moment on, the Wicked Witch of the West was on Dorothy’s hit list.

The Wicked Witch Melting
The Wicked Witch Melting

Once the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion and her sidekick Toto had the castle surrounded, Dorothy moved in for the kill. She executed her vindictive plan against the witch by drawing in the winged monkeys to the center of the tower. This would ensure she had witnesses, causing no one to doubt her supremacy. Then, in front of all the captains of the monkey army, she melted the witch. And like the coldhearted killer she was, she stood by watching the witch writhe in agony.

She even went so far as to get rid of the Wizard, cutting him loose in a balloon heading for Kansas.

Oh, yeah. I want Dorothy on my team. If anyone can vanquish the undead in a zombie apocalypse it would be Dorothy.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Have you seen The Wizard of Oz? If not, have you ever wondered what the movie or the books are about?