Springtime in Oklahoma

Spring and Fall have been my favorite seasons, but springtime in Oklahoma has a special appeal. It starts so early, compared to Connecticut. The harvesters have already arrived to harvest the massive fields of wheat. Root crops, like carrots, potatoes and beets have been in the ground since the middle of March. Other garden crops, like tomatoes, squash and watermelon are planted around April 15.

We did not plant a garden, this year, but our peach trees are doing well.

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I have spent my leisure time, when I’m not sewing or writing, working in the flower beds. I love seeing things grow. I and my siblings inherited this love from a displaced Tennessee farmer, our Dad. He left the farm for the military and ended up marrying Mom and settling in rural Connecticut. He couldn’t kick off the sod, though, and produced beautiful gardens every year of his life.

I feel at peace in a garden. I enjoy watching the soil improve year after year. When we came, five years ago, I didn’t find worms or insects in our soil. Working and mulching have now produced healthy scores of the helpful subterranean creatures.

Morning glories IMG_1510  Lillies IMG_1511

and violas  IMG_1509  have made their appearance in all their splendor. If you’ll notice on the yellow petal, even the lady bugs are out in full force.

Flowers give life. Life for the butterflies and bees who visit but also life to us. God knew we needed things like this to stimulate our eyes. To lift our spirits. Take time today to enjoy God’s nature.

Flower bike

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Hazardous Ingredients In Hygiene Products

In the early 1990s, I worked for Christian Book Distributors. They were a forward thinking company that cared a great deal for their employees. Periodically they gave out health brochures. In one of these, I read about Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and how these chemicals were in our hair products and caused hair loss. I went home and checked, finding out that my hair products did indeed have these chemicals in them.

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I did a personal test. When I used them I had a handful of hair, when I used products without them, two or three strands. Needless to say, I watched what I bought for a long time.

Unfortunately as time passed, I became less vigilant. So recently I decided to look these chemicals up to find out if what I read so long ago was true. I find that it’s worse than just a loss of hair.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are foaming agents called surfactants. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is the worse. These chemicals are found in shampoos, conditioners, soaps and TOOTHPASTE! They can damage hair follicles, skin, give permanent eye damage in children, and cause liver toxicity.

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The Journal of the American College of Toxicology in 1983 showed that 5% concentration of SLS could cause skin irritation. 10 to 30% caused skin corrosion. Some soaps have 30%.

Why would companies use these dangerous products? – They’re incredibly cheap and Americans associate suds with clean. Please google these products and read for yourself then check your health care products and make better choices.

 

My Greatest Regret

We went to Elementary School together, played hop-scotch and jump-rope. She was a beautiful platinum blond with a friendly smile and a kind heart. In junior high I moved away for a couple of years. When I moved back, we were in our third year of High School. We attended Norwich Free Academy which had a school body of about 3300 students. She, being from a well-to-do family, was in the upper crust clique. I was a natural loner and belonged to none. When we ran into each other, our childhood friendship would emerge and we would have wonderful conversations. Sometimes I felt she was dissatisfied with her life. She once shared that she rarely dated. I was shocked. She was gorgeous. She said it seemed guys were afraid to ask.

Thinking of her always made me smile. That is until a couple of years after graduation, when I found out she had died, trapped in a horrific fire in a disco in Connecticut. I realized in my immortal-minded youth, I had never shared the most important information in my life. I don’t believe in forcing God on someone but I didn’t even give her an opportunity to decide if God was who she wanted.

Poems are not my forte, but I  wrote this one to help me deal with the loss of my friend.

Cindy

 By Carolyn Torbett Johnson

 Why did she have to go so fast

Her very life slipped from my grasp

 

I did not realize that she

Was part of mere humanity

That’s gone before us through that door

Marked death to live forevermore

 

But I was blind, I would not see

Her fate it seems had rest on me

 

I always meant to tell the plan

That God gave down to fallen man

I never seemed to find the time

The blood-stained hands I see are mine

 

Why did she have to go so fast

I would have told her at the last

 

I would have told of Jesus’ birth

Of why He came to us on earth

Of heavenly scenes, of beauty rare

Of hope, of joy beyond compare

 

But life is gone, she can not hear

And I am left here with my fear

 

Why did she have to go so fast

Her life is gone, my chance is past

The Promise – Chapter One

IMG_5662For all who have shown an interest in my books but have not yet purchased. I have uploaded a sample for you to view. I hope you will enjoy this true to life story of the orphan train riders.

THE PROMISE chap 1

Books may be purchased at Amazon.com or you may send a check for $14.95 ($11.95 plus $3.00 shipping) to Carolyn Johnson, PO Box 311, Arapaho, OK 73620. If you would like it autographed, please include name.

An Appeal To Heaven

Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free. Gen Joseph Warren 1775.

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In 1775, this flag was used during revolutionary times. The flag was ordered by George Washington and designed by his secretary Colonel Joseph Reed. It was first used by a squadron of six schooners commissioned by George Washington, who reportedly paid for the schooners out of pocket. These ships were skilled at capturing British schooners.

In 1776, the fleet of twenty-five naval vessels sailing out of Massachusetts adopted the flag.

1885_History_of_US_flags_medThe pine tree was a symbol in New England, dating back as far as 1686. During Revolutionary times it became a symbol of  colonial outrage and resistance.

The white pine in New England grew to heights topping 150 feet. They were sought after for sailing masts. The English king, knowing the value of the trees, placed a mark on the larger trees claiming them for the crown. Colonist could not harvest these trees. They also had to get a surveyor and a license to cut the trees not marked. Not surprising, the colonists did not like being told what they could and could not do with their own trees. In 1775, this anger led to the Pine Tree Riot in New Hampshire.

This was not the only flag, at the time, with a pine tree. The flag that flew over Bunker Hill was red with a green pine tree in the top, left corner.

an appeal to heaven

The words, “An Appeal To Heaven”, was a common phrase in those days. It was used several times in historical documents, including Second Treatise on Civil Government by John Locke in 1690 and by Patrick Henry in his famous, Give me liberty or give me death speech.

In 1968, a United States stamp was issued commemorating Washington’s flag.

 

Will Jesus Have A Tattoo?

 

Jesus-Christ-Pics-2301Tattoos have never been a big deal to me. You can have them if you like, but I think I would be bored with it after a couple of years. Kind of like wearing the same piece of jewelry.

I had never heard of churches preaching against tattoos till I moved to the Midwest. I do understand the passage in the Old Testament concerning marking your body. But I believe, this  refers to the practice of cutting and heathen markings.

I ran across a scripture the other day, it caused me to really think about the subject. I’d like to get your opinion.

Rev. 19:16 “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

So is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ actually written on His thigh or just on His garment? Let me know what you think.

Did Noah Really Save Two Of Every Animal?

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Did Noah really gather the animals two by two? We learned this in Sunday School. But sometimes things in Sunday School have been simplified for children. Noah didn’t board two of every animal. The clean (acceptable for eating) Noah brought seven, the unclean (not acceptable for eating) he brought two. But was it seven, male and female mixed or seven pairs, which would make it fourteen. Also was it two, male and female or two pairs. This is the way my Bible reads in Genesis 7:2,3. This is New American Standard version.

“2You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; 3also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.”

I’m starting to lean to the 7 pairs and 2 pairs. What do you think? Grab your favorite version of the Bible, and read Genesis 7:2,3, then let me know.

noah_and_the_ark_with_animals

 

Laminin – A Message From God?

Laminin. Some people think it shows the way to God, others think it looks like a wilted flower.

What is laminin. It is a heterotrimeric (has three units) glycoprotein (proteins that have chains attached to chains). In other words it is a protein made up of three units sticking together. It has an a chain, B chain and y chain. These chains intersect to form a cross shape. The following picture is from Wikipedia:

Schematic_Diagram_of_Laminin_111 from Wikipedia

Laminin can only be seen through an electron microscope. It’s part of the basal lamina which is part of the cell lining. The next picture, from cc.edu. might give you a better understanding.

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What good does it do? Laminin binds to other cell membrane and extracellular matrix molecules. The three short arms bind to other laminin molecules to form sheets. The long arm binds to cells, anchoring tissue cells to membrance. Without laminin our tissues would not survive. Dysfunctional laminin is linked to congenital muscular dystrophy.

This last picture is of actual laminin molecules. Snopes thinks the cross shape is merely a coincidence. After all, lots of things in nature are cross shaped.

Personally, I believe in a Creator, a Master Designer and I believe He has left clues throughout nature to point us to Him. So you decide for yourself. Is laminin a wilted flower, a simple coincidence, or a Master stamp.

laminin3 by snopeslaminin2

Pic from Snopes                              Pic from Louie Giglio

 

The Eye Of God

eyeofgodNasa photo from Netiore Archive

Have you ever seen the Helix Nebula before? This is a composite of pictures from Nasa’s Hubble telescope and Kitt Peak National Observatory. Yes, it is real, but the color was added by Nasa. I suspect for more impact, for a cover layout they were doing. Nasa, also, never gave it the name Eye of God. I wonder if the first man to visually see it had to be picked up off the floor. I know I would have passed out.

A nebula is a dying star. The Helix nebula is 650 light years away in the constellation of Aquarius. It’s a trillion mile long tunnel of glowing gases. If our sun died it would look pretty much like this.

Stars like our sun and Helix burn by turning hydrogen into helium by nuclear fusion. When the hydrogen is exhausted, the star starts burning the remaining helium at a greater temperature. When the helium is used up the star dies sending off gas layers around the hot core. The core is called a white dwarf and so dense that a teaspoon of white dwarf would weight more than a couple elephants.

The following is also a picture of the Helix nebula. You will notice a small dot in the center. This is the white dwarf. I’m not sure, but I think this one also has color added. It helps to see it better.

Comets_Kick_up_Dust_in_Helix_Nebula_(PIA09178)

Nasa photo from Spitzer space telescope

I can’t help but be amazed that God would put this in the heavens just so we would be reminded that He is watching over us.

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”    Psalm 19:1

Over 200,000 children displaced in U.S.

Can you even fathom that many children needing homes? I first heard about the orphan train riders when I was taking a creative writing course. I started researching and found over 30,000 children lived on the streets of New York in 1850. This was due to the explosion of population in the 1800s . In 1790 the census of New York was 33,131, in 1890 close to one and a half million people crowded into the city. Other cities were also overcrowded.

In 1848, a young minister, Charles Loring Brace, came to study theology and was horrified by the number of children abandoned and starving on the streets. He started classes to teach them trades, opened a home for the newspaper boys and tried to provide meals. This picture from the Children’s Aid Society (which he founded) gives a glimpse of the magnitude of the job.  IMG_0754

Rev. Brace had spent time in Europe and witnessed the placing out of children to farms. In 1854, his first train with orphans headed out of the city. Notices were sent to cities and towns, telling of the children coming on the train. Committees were set up to screen applicants. Children were to be treated like members of the family and had the right to refuse an offer. Over the 70 years, Children’s Aid Society, Catholic Charity and others sent over 200,000 children on trains to receive a chance for a better life.

from CBS news

This is one of the trains with the children  standing in front and on top. Picture is from Children’s Aid Society.

I was so moved by these children, I used their background for my first two books. The Promise and Oklahoma Bound. These books are Christian historical fiction for ages 9 to 12. You can purchase them at Amazon.com or if you would like an autographed copy send a check or money order in the amount of $14.95 ($11.95 + $3.00 shipping) to Carolyn Johnson, PO Box 311, Arapaho, OK 73620. If you want it personalized please include name.

Other reading on this subject:

We Rode The Orphan Trains by Andrea Warren

Orphan Trains: The Story Of Charles Loring Brace And the Children He Saved And Failed by Stephen O’Connor