thoughtseeds

Welcome!

Welcome to my humble blog, flutterings.  Here you will see postings of my original poetry, along with a few of my other projects.

As an extension of the poetry category, I have added “lovisms,” which are simply memes that express my view of what genuine love is.

The posts I call Crush on Words resulted from my passion for words and meanings. I’ve chosen words I find interesting, beautiful, unusual, or simply hilarious to post, along with their definitions.

I have also posted a few quotes that I find inspirational and some short, random articles – insight into what makes me tick.

My most recent addition is in the category “My Books,” offering samplings, reviews and links for my published work.

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Thought seeds

Fasting

Fasting . . . there’s a subject you don’t hear a lot about in the church, at least not the churches I’m familiar with. Many Christians, even some in leadership positions, consider it irrelevant today. Jesus’ instruction says “when you fast”, not “if you choose to fast”. Can anything that God’s word teaches us possibly be irrelevant? If we choose to believe that this part of biblical teaching is irrelevant today, what’s to keep us from changing anything else that we don’t like or that makes us uncomfortable? Isn’t that “leaning on our own understanding”? God does not command us to fast. However, all through scripture, it seems to be implied that we will. Considering anything to be irrelevant that is taught us in scripture is troubling to me.

My personal experience has been that when I fast, I move in closer to the Lord. I’m much more in tune to the Holy Spirit. Even fasting from one meal can make a huge difference. Fasting draws us away from the flesh and into the spirit. When the natural is denied, the supernatural thrives. Prayer becomes more powerful. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told us to deny ourselves.

I spent much of my younger life thinking that fasting wasn’t an important part of my discipleship. Oh, I tried occasionally, but my heart was never in it. So I made excuses for not fasting and rationalized my way out of it. I know better now. Holy Spirit has taught me a lot over the years. Choosing not to fast is not a sin, but why miss out on all the spiritual benefits of skipping a few meals?

God wants us to seek Him with ALL our hearts. Fasting can be a crucial part of seeking God. Jesus was our ultimate standard. He fasted forty days after he was baptized, before beginning His ministry. If that doesn’t scream the importance of fasting, I don’t know what does. I’ve certainly never fasted for forty days, but I know the benefits of my more meager fasting experiences are far greater than I could have imagined in my younger days.

As disciples of Christ, our goal is to become more like Him. Fasting can help us achieve that goal. As Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 Fasting and praying, combined with studying God’s word, will never fail to draw us closer to God.

Love and blessings!

Thought seeds

Priorities

Before you begin reading this post, be assured that it is not pessimistic as it seems in the beginning. Please read to the end to get the full message.

In this world, there is no “sure thing”. However, we all too often put our confidence and hope in the things of this world. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The world will fail us. On the surface it may seem that we can count on certain things, like our family, our jobs, our lifestyle, and other circumstances we put our hope in, but those things are all temporary and imperfect.

I used to have a difficult time understanding scriptures like Matthew 8:22, “But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” And Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Those verses seemed callous and unlike Jesus who always displayed such love and compassion. I think I get it now. If our focus is riveted on the people and things we love in this world, we can’t truly focus on Christ. Everything else has to fade in comparison to our Lord. He must be first and foremost.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17) God gives us gifts to enjoy in this world. He loves us and doesn’t expect us to live isolated lives avoiding all the good things He created for us to enjoy. However, self denial and dying to self is clearly a theme in the New Testament. Self denial is a necessity in taking up our individual crosses. If there is anyone or anything we think we “can’t live without”, maybe we’re elevating that above Christ. Our lives are not to be “of this world”. Our hope is in a higher place.

God is provider. He will make sure that we have what we need, as long as we are trusting in Him. We no longer worry about circumstances or loved ones when we place them fully in His hands and trust Him. His perfect love will drive out fear. Knowing He loves us unfailingly allows us to experience that perfect peace that Jesus gives. If the enemy causes us hardship or loss, we can know that our Father God will somehow turn it for our good. These are promises, and God ALWAYS keeps His promises.

Finally, here is a verse to hang our hopes on. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Let’s put Him first, above all else and seek Him with all our hearts. That’s when we can fully trust in all His promises. Unless we seek Him first, I don’t think we can fully trust Him. We need to first know Him and how very much He loves us. Knowing He has it all under control is priceless. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) Seeking Him isn’t the only thing the Lord asks of us. The greatest commandment hasn’t changed. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:30) He also expects us to love one another, putting others above ourselves. Seeking Him, loving Him, and loving each other are such small requirements to fulfill in order to receive so much blessing in this life, not to mention our future in Heaven. Our beautiful God is more than worth the effort!

Love and blessings!

thoughtseeds

When the Spirit Moves You

We serve a big God. He is an all knowing, all powerful, all consuming God. Sometimes we limit Him in our small expectations. We might be willing to give Him the small stuff, but when the world’s worst circumstances hit us, we only see hopelessness.

But wait a minute! Our God is creator of everything. EVERYTHING! And in such magnificent intricate detail! Nothing is impossible for Him! It’s easy to think that such a powerful God is far too busy and lofty to be mindful of unworthy humans like us. But that’s so very wrong. His overwhelming love for us is a fact that is proven in His covenant with us.

God has ONE son – Jesus. He sent His son to suffer and die so we could be reconciled to Him. In light of that, how can we doubt His unfailing, perfect love for us? Even if we choose to turn from Him and go our own way, He still loves us. I think His heart will be breaking on judgement day for those who choose not to accept His love. It’s our choice to make, He can’t make it for us.

God is always right there with us, waiting for us to seek Him so that He can prove Himself to us. However painful it is, our God knows that there is purpose and value in suffering. Suffering is where our greatest growth takes place.

Dementia has brought incredible suffering to our family for the past eight years. From the moment I began to realize something was wrong, I have believed that God would heal my husband of dementia. I didn’t think it would take this long, and sometimes I’ve had to fight hard against doubts creeping in, but I believe more now than I did in the beginning. Even though my husband’s condition has steadily worsened, my faith and trust have grown. That’s because, through the suffering, I’ve learned much more about who God is and who I am in Him. Seeking Him and hearing from Him have become crucially important to me.

Recently, a sweet friend sent me an article written by a prophet she’s followed for a while. She had hesitated at first, but God kept leading her back to it. I think she wasn’t sure what I would think about the article, or maybe she was afraid I would be offended. However, I am so very glad she submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Part of the prophecy in that article predicted a “sequence” or “code” of some kind to be discovered that would reverse Alzheimer’s and dementia. Funny thing was, I had read that same prophecy a couple of weeks earlier. Not only that, but it was the second prophecy I had read about reversal of Alzheimer’s and dementia. I always ask God to verify three separate ways for me if something is truly from Him. My friend’s message was the third verification of this prophecy. Her obedience to the Holy Spirit’s urging lifted my spirit and increased my faith and hope.

I haven’t always been quick to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit myself, but I’m learning. Sometimes it can be a little frightening. It can even be costly. However, it is always worth it. It’s part of laying up treasures in Heaven.

If the Lord is nudging you to do something for someone, or share some spiritual message He has given you, or give to some ministry or cause, please don’t hesitate or push that thought away. You can’t possibly know about the need in the way that God knows. You can’t possibly know all that He wants to bring about through your obedience. If you aren’t sure that nudge is from the Lord, ask Him to verify it for you. The more we practice, the better we are at hearing His voice. Seek Him! I promise you, He is easy to find.

Love and blessings!

Thought seeds

Despair? Don’t Give In!

I have a message for anyone out there struggling with despair: Don’t give up!! Whatever you do, don’t give in to sorrow and discouragement. Don’t deny it, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It is NOT a permanent condition.

Lately, I’ve been seriously struggling. I wasn’t feeling God’s presence. Prayer time seemed empty and unproductive. Even scripture appeared dry and arid. My own personal circumstances weren’t the only source of my despair. I’ve been keenly aware of so much sickness, fear, anxiety, suffering, pain, loss, and sorrow in the world today. So many disasters. So much death and so much loss. And it often hits close to home. It seems every day I hear of someone else I know with a serious diagnosis or a sudden loss.

Last night, I recorded this struggle in my journal, prayed, and went to bed.

This morning when I woke, I suddenly realized I had been losing ground. I don’t mean backsliding, I mean losing spiritual ground. This realization renewed my determination to gain ground, not lose it. God has brought me too far for me to lose spiritual advances.

As I was preparing breakfast, Phil Wickham’s song, “Hymn of Heaven,” began to play in my mind and my heart. I worshiped as I haven’t in a while. I experienced God’s presence as I hadn’t in a while. His joy is rising up in me even still.

We usually have our TV tuned to Sirius XM The Message in the evenings. This morning when I turned on the TV, guess what song was playing? Phil Wickham’s “Hymn of Heaven”. God acknowledged my worship and affirmed His presence. He is always good and sometimes shows up in unexpected ways when I need Him.

We all experience despair at some time or another. It’s a natural human phenomenon. We can’t escape it happening, but we must know it will pass. Every time. He is Lifter of our heads and Restorer of our souls. If we truly seek Him, God will take care of it. He is faithful, even when we aren’t.

Please, whatever you may be going through that’s pulling you down, don’t give up! Don’t give in! Confess it to God and give it to Him. Ask Him if there is something you need healing from. Seek Him out, and He’ll always show up.

I’m not going to tell you to praise Him even if you don’t feel like it. I certainly couldn’t. God wants us to worship in spirit and in truth. He understands when we just can’t. The praise will come. It did for me, and He doesn’t show favoritism. He loves you more than you can imagine. Remember that. You are so loved! Be determined to gain spiritual ground. He’ll faithfully walk you through it as you seek Him.

Love and Blessings!

Here’s a link to “Hymn of Heaven” by Phil Wickham:

https://youtu.be/CjB0mkj0XaM

Thought seeds

Even the Demons Believe

During the night, as I was praying, I kept dozing off. Frustrated, I was about to go back to bed when the Lord brought this to my attention: Even the demons believe and shudder. That woke me up and I spent the next hour writing what the Holy Spirit was saying.

The scripture is from the book of James. The point of the verse is that if we don’t act on our belief, it’s no better than the belief of demons. Wow! That’s a little scary.

Of course, it’s dangerous to expect that our works can save us, but it’s equally as dangerous to think we only need to believe. It all comes down to the condition of our hearts. God knows our hearts better than we do. God wants to draw us close to Him. It takes a true relationship with the Lord to develop a pure heart. First of all, our belief must drive us to seek Him through His word and on our knees in prayer to build that relationship. As we get to know Him and His great love for us, our belief calls us out of ourselves. Dying to ourselves changes the innermost deepest parts of us – until finally we look more like Christ than we look like ourselves.

For most of us, this is a long, drawn-out, and sometimes difficult process. Being called out of ourselves, dying to ourselves, can be painful. But it’s the kind of pain we should lean into, not cringe from. It’s a worthwhile kind of pain that cuts away the worthless and harmful parts of ourselves. It’s the kind of pain that comes alongside healing. We all know that healing usually requires rest, and God calls us to rest in that secret place of the Most High in the shelter of the shadow of His wings. It’s there that we hear His voice and receive His comfort. Remember, the end result is that we look like Christ. We can’t get more beautiful or complete than that. The pain is worth it.

As this new life unfolds, we can then truly begin to act on our belief and faith. It leads us to love others as Christ commanded us to and to help those in need. Expressions of generosity become joyful and free. Our desires become more about serving others than serving ourselves. Fear flees, and trust grows. Joy is no longer reliant on our circumstances. Seeing everything through the eyes of Christ changes our perspective. That’s when we experience the peace that “transcends all understanding”. We become holy as Christ is holy. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I haven’t yet attained all this, but as I draw closer, I can see the worth and beauty of it all. So I leave you with blessings, love, and this prayer. Pray it with me.

Father God,

Thank you for your great love that pulls me in close to you for healing from the effects of a sinful world. Speak to me in that secret place of the Most High and continue to draw me nearer to your heart. Help me to understand that you can use every painful situation I experience. Let that pain work for my good, as you have promised. Please change every part of me that doesn’t look like Christ and remove what doesn’t bring you glory. Let me come before you with clean hands and a pure heart. Help me to stand in your righteousness, in your purpose, and in your will. Help me to love others as you have loved me, so much so that my love and faith are put into action. As your work in me continues, may my life be a reflection of you, to your glory.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior,

Amen

Thought seeds

Faith. Belief. Trust.

Faith. Belief. Trust. Three nouns that hold beautiful and powerful meaning. Their meanings seem to be incredibly interwoven and are used interchangeably. The differences are subtle, but there are differences.

Most nights, I get up between 2:00 and 4:00 to pray for an hour or two. In the dark of night, when everything is quiet, there are no distractions. I can pour out my heart to Father God and listen to his heart. The Holy Spirit is teaching me a great deal during these prayer times. This morning at 3:00, he reminded me of shepherd boy David who took his stones and sling and boldly walked out to face a giant. David had faith, he had belief, and he had trust. Could he have accomplished what he was called to do if he had been lacking any one of those three?

The dictionary includes the words belief and trust in the definition of faith. God’s word says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬‬) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans‬ ‭10:17‬) Faith is listed as one of the gifts of the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12) And it’s our faith that is tested. (James 1)

The dictionary also uses the words faith and trust in the definition of belief. The words of Jesus include many passages about those who “believe” being saved and having eternal life. Perhaps belief is the opposite of doubt, because passages about belief often include the words, “and do not doubt”. To me, belief is accepting something as truth. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead because we accept it as truth. After all, there were witnesses who stuck to their story through some horrible persecution.

The dictionary defines trust as, “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence”. Trust is where we tend to struggle the most. I may believe that God is working everything for my good, but it’s hard to let go and give him full control. God’s word says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” (Proverbs‬ ‭3:5)‬ It is trust in the Lord that keeps us from being anxious and afraid. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah‬ ‭12:2) “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalms‬ ‭56:3)‬‬ It would seem that trust brings us peace. That’s been my experience. The more I trust in the Lord, the more I live in peace. As we become aware of how very much God loves us, as unworthy as we are, it is easier to trust him.

So I leave you with love and this blessing: May you accept your gift of faith in God and ask for more. May you draw closer to your Father God, and as you come to know him more deeply, expand your belief in his omnipotence. NOTHING is impossible for him. Finally, may you experience the unfailing, unconditional love of the Father that drives out all fear, so that you can trust him completely.

Now, let’s go slay those giants!

thoughtseeds

Faith

Faith is something that has been on my mind a lot lately – that fully trusting, no doubting, standing- up-under-pressure kind of faith. Not that my faith is any less now than it ever has been, but I wonder if years of complacency have kept it from being all it should be? My faith has been sorely tested over the past few years, bringing some difficult questions to the surface of my thoughts. Do I really believe that God will do what he says he will do? Do I fully trust in all his promises? Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in my name, it will be done.” Do I pray in full confidence, believing that promise?

Sometimes it’s hard to trust in the light when you’re sitting in the darkness. The testing can be excruciatingly painful. Throughout this trial, my heart has been stretched in so many directions and my faith muscles worked so hard that sometimes I almost feel numb. Yet I know that this spiritual workout is intended to yield incredible results. God has said so. He needs to finish what he has begun in me. Fully trusting in him means letting go (entirely) of my doubts and fears and free-falling into his plans, knowing that he is always good.

And so I endure.

And so I persevere.

And so I ask God to help me believe much farther, much wider, much higher, and much deeper than I have ever believed before.

Believing in his love.

Believing in his goodness.

Believing in his power.

Believing in all his promises.

Believing in his possible midst my impossible.

Belief that brings peace.

Belief that brings joy.

Belief that brings hope.

Belief that walks me through the deep.

Belief that lifts me to the heights.

Belief that moves mountains.

After he cursed the fig tree, Jesus told his disciples, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:21, 22) “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12, 13)

Surely these words are more powerful than any doubt we can muster. Imagine if we all fully believed in an all-powerful God and prayed together, in faithful agreement, as Christ intended, what amazing things would happen in this world.

Please, stretch your faith and BELIEVE with me, my friends.

Let’s throw some mountains into the sea!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish,will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

My Books, thoughtseeds

Old Mac – Blue Streak (first chapter)

Old Mac Waverly’s top priority is solving problems for his neighbors. This often makes life interesting for the inhabitants of his hometown of Sunflower. In Blue Streak, our brilliant inventor extraordinaire is diverted from his “blue goo” experiments and becomes involved with solving a dilemma for Sunflower’s librarian, Miss Alice Penderson. With the help of the Sprague girls, Sarah and Lucy, Old Mac begins to realize what is causing Miss Penderson’s predicament. Will he be able to find a solution before Miss Penderson has a breakdown?

Old Mac – Blue Streak is the sequel to my first book, Old Mac – Now You See Him, Now You Don’t. I hope you enjoy this complimentary first chapter. Blue Streak is available here on Kindle or in paperback. Comments appreciated.

(Oh, by the way, if you missed Now You See Him, Now You Don’t, you can read the first chapter here.)

Old Mac - Blue Streak | Toni Umbarger | YA novel

Chapter 1: Blueward and Upward

Old Mac Waverly hurried down the stairs to his workshop as soon as he arrived home. He hoped his experiment hadn’t simmered unattended for too long. He knew it would take a long time for the formula to reach the right consistency and the height of its performance, but he wasn’t sure how much time it would take.

Old Mac had never inhabited any one idea for long. Once again, he was true to form, true blue in fact. During his week of invisibility, while the deputy sheriff of Sunflower, Steve Lewis, and his son Ben, had been searching for clues and trying to find him, this new project had taken root in Old Mac’s mind. He put away his invisibility formula in a secret place, ready to begin an all-new adventure.

Although eccentric, Old Mac was sharp as a tack. In fact, those closest to him and even those who barely knew him declared him brilliant. Everyone agreed that his intelligence was an absent-minded-professor kind of genius, but genius nonetheless.

Whenever presented with a problem, however incidentally, Old Mac would put every ounce of effort into solving it. Many citizens of Sunflower have had to confess that they intentionally brought their problems to Old Mac hoping for solutions, despite the potential for peril. Determined in his quest for answers, he never failed to come up with problem-solving inventions or formulas – regardless of practicality.

Old Mac’s creative process was exhilarating. Each time the gears of his mind began to turn, and his brain was about to give birth to a new idea, his physical transformation provided evidence that his genius was at work. Everyone who knew him was familiar with the signs and cringed with fear to witness them.

First, deep furrows would appear on his forehead as he unwittingly closed out the rest of the world in his efforts to concentrate. Then, his eyes would gradually glaze over as he sank deeper and deeper into thought. These changes in his appearance were in sharp contrast to the wide smile that remained on his face during this process. Through it all, his facial contortions seemed an odd combination of grin and grimace.

This creativity-induced change was first evident in Old Mac’s facial expressions, but it did not stop there. The effect of his genius at work was all-consuming and engaged every part of his being. Even the ring of gray hair around his balding head seemed to stand on end in anticipation. As his face drew up in reflective deliberation, his fingers, toes, hands, and feet would begin to twitch ever so slightly. That twitching would spread steadily throughout his body as it increased in intensity. Then, whether he was standing or sitting, his feet would move rapidly in an odd sort of tap dance. Often, Old Mac chattered incoherently or giggled childishly with excitement. The entire metamorphosis made him appear to be experiencing some sort of seizure.

During his routine contemplative sequence, Old Mac outwardly appeared to be in agony. On the contrary, though, he was never more ecstatic than when he was so deeply immersed in thought. Solving the insurmountable problems of the universe had become his favorite pastime, or rather his only pastime. He constantly pondered ideas and abstract thoughts that no one else would ever consider. Only one slight problem existed in conjunction with Old Mac’s favorite hobby. Such contemplation always led him to investigation . . . which led him to experiment . . . which led him to invention . . . which often led him straight into trouble.

This new idea began to grow as a tiny sprout of ingenuity. It then budded into exciting possibility. Finally, it fully bloomed into Old Mac’s unique version of reality. Reality for Sunflower, however, was about to take on a wild blue meaning.

Somewhere, o-o-o-ver the rainbo-o-ow,” Old Mac crooned as he slowly stirred the contents of the large saucepot. “Ah, this is looking exciteresting,” he whispered to himself. Old Mac often combined words (exciting + interesting = exciteresting) in order to provide more accurate descriptions.

“Think I’ll call this one Blue Goo,” he said and nodded in agreement with himself. “Yep, Blue Goo is the perfect name.” He performed a quick little tap dance, ending with a click of his heels in the air, and then resumed his stirring. “A few more hours and I think we’ll be there,” he giggled. “Then, let it ripen up for a day or two, and the Blue Goo experiments and testing can finally begin.” He paused, frowning, and then grumbled, “Oh, the dreaded waiting.”

Too excited to sleep, Old Mac busily researched, drew up plans, and hovered over his simmering pot. He looked forward with great anticipation to the wonderful experiments he would perform in a few days. He must carefully plan his experiments on paper, then purchase and gather supplies.

“So much to do, and too much time to have to wait to do it,” Old Mac muttered, shaking his head. “These next few days of ripening are going to be long and fierceanizingly torturous.”

In an effort to make the time pass more quickly, Old Mac utterly wore himself out preparing for his experiments. He spent half the night researching, figuring, running upstairs to sit in his conservatory (his favorite thinking place), and hurrying back down again whenever inspiration struck. Stumped by some glitch in his figures, he would climb the stairs to his conservatory, sit in his brown leather recliner on the revolving platform among the myriad plants and flowers, spin, and think. The fragrance of the flowers and the gentle, almost musical notes of the trickling fountain, which took up all of one corner of the room, were so soothing and peaceful that he finally fell asleep in the spinning recliner.

Old Mac had some wonderful dreams during his exhaustion-induced sleep. He dreamed of creating a blue raspberry bubble gum that would not only turn a child’s tongue blue but also her hair and her nails as well. No hair dye or nail polish would be necessary. What fun that would be!

Then he had the paint dream. He dreamed of dipping his paintbrush into a beautiful blue paint, painting one swipe down the wall, and watching in wonder as it spread to cover the entire room. Old Mac was excitedly giggling and moving his feet in a little jig in his sleep as he dreamed.

His reverie continued with a small bead of his Blue Goo added to a washer full of laundry. At the end of the wash cycle, every item of clothing in the washer came out the same gorgeous color of blue, and all dirty spots and stains had vanished. Besides that, everything dried completely wrinkle-and-static-free.

Old Mac blissfully and innocently slept and dreamed. His slumber was peaceful because he was unaware of one crucial event which had occurred during his absence and involved this latest experiment.

When he first set the pot of Blue Goo to slowly simmer, Old Mac had opened the window above the hot plate, barely a crack, for ventilation. Then, while he was performing his reappearing act at the children’s church program, the pot’s contents had reached the peak of its potential. Moments before he returned to check on his project, two tiny bubbles had escaped the surface, floated majestically upward, and slipped through the small opening in the window.

While Old Mac was busily poring over his books and wearing down numerous pencils with his figures, the two seemingly innocent blue bubbles were floating up, up, and away from Old Mac’s house.

As the bubbles were minuscule, this great escape was unobserved by Old Mac or by any other human eye. Nevertheless, even had someone spied them, the most observant among us would not have suspected that two tiny blue bubbles held any consequence whatsoever. Who would have believed that such insignificance held the power to eventually wreak havoc for one Sunflower citizen in particular?

The weather had been unseasonably hot and dry for spring. It had not rained enough to fill a teacup for several weeks. Unhindered by the weight of humidity, the pair of carefree glistening blue bubbles rose higher and higher. They continued their airborne journey floating leisurely down the street, as though casually searching for a perfect new home.

For several minutes it was “up in the air” as to whether they would even settle in the same place. Onward the happy-go-lucky bubbles glided, side by side in silence. Then a sudden warm gust of wind swirled them around and separated them, dropping the first not too far from Old Mac’s house. The second continued to sail away, resisting the downward pull that had caught its brother.

While the blue bubble twins were swirling through the air above their house, Cleve Sprague’s two daughters were whispering in their darkened bedroom.

“Lucy, you asleep yet?” Sarah whispered.

“A’most,” muttered Lucy.

Sarah, a grown-up, no-nonsense, nearly-eleven-year-old, sat up in her bed and leaned over toward Lucy. “Don’t you think that Old Mac has to be the smartest person in the whole world?” she asked.

“I dunno, I guess so,” replied a groggy Lucy, in the midst of a yawn. “All I know is he’s my most favoritist grownup besides Mommy and Daddy . . . and Grandmas and Grandpas.”

Sarah lay back on her bed and sighed. “How could he have made himself invisible? No one could do that. I guess no one but Old Mac, anyway. I think he must be able to do anything! We should spend more time with him. Who knows how smart we might get just being around him. I wonder if he would turn us invisible for one day? That would be amazing!”

The possibility of being invisible caught five-year-old Lucy’s attention. She was wide-awake now. “Do you think he would for real, Sarah?” She was sitting up in bed at that point. “We could run away from home and not really run away. We could get up in the middle of the night and eat whatever snacks we wanted and play games. We could go to the woods every day to see the birds and aminals, and no one would see us.”

Lucy’s excitement about becoming invisible didn’t last long. Being more like her highly-strung, worry-prone, guilt-complexed father, she suddenly became troubled.

“But then, Mommy and Daddy would be so-o-o worried!” she said, shaking her head. “Maybe it’s not such a good idea. I don’t want to make Mommy cry. I don’t think we should get imbisible. You know how Daddy worries,” she said. “Wait! Let’s make our dolls imbisible! That would be fun! We could take them anywhere and no one would know.”

Just then, their bedroom door opened a crack, and both girls dived under their covers and feigned sleep. Their father stood at the doorway smiling in at them.

“I could have sworn that I heard voices in here,” he said, “It must have been ghosts. Invisible ghosts!”

At that, the girls couldn’t help giggling. It did not get any quieter when Cleve swooped in like a ghost and began tickling them.