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note to self: go outside

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." —  Henry David Thoreau credit My phone died recently. Not like died because of its charge — permanently died. I'm not the only one whom this has happened to, I'm sure, and this isn't a complaint. Rather, it's an observation on how different the landscape of my life has been without it. I've been reading more, watching more TV, doing less doomscrolling. I found that I've missed my phone a lot less and simultaneously a lot more than I expected. And I've been noticing a difference in my mental state. My mental health is, apparently, linked in part to the device I hold in my hand 99% of the time. Who knew? However, it's still been challenging lately, for more reasons than just my phone, and my sister invited me to go outside with her. Th

A story and Smilies

My mom said I should post this story I wrote for school. It is based on Acts 16 and it takes place when Paul and Silas are in jail. It's called Marcus the Rat in Jail.


Hey, how are ya. I'm a rat. Whoa, don't get too excited! I'm a good rat, at least, I think so. My name's Marcus. I guess you could say I'm a bachelor. I'm a bachelor who lives in a jail. You know, that's pretty good accommodations for an old rat like me, since most of the inns and homes are taken. So, I live in a jail, and nothing really exciting really happens here... well, except for one thing, a long time ago...ah, let's see...

Well, I remember wakin' up one mornin' to the clankin' of the jailers keys and the bangin' of cell doors. Y'see, I'm in the deepest part of the jail, the part reserved for the worst criminals. I'm thinkin', "whoa, what's goin' on here?" Then the jailer Joe, and a big burly guard named Bart came around the corner with two puny men, not the sort at all who usually come back here. After the jailer left, I stayed awake to see why these guys were in there.

"Paul?" says one man.

"Hmmm," says the other.

"Do you think there are rats in here?"

Hmph, I laugh, you should see the other cells. In my opinion, you're lucky.

Paul didn't answer that question, but instead said, "Silas, let's pray."

I heard chains clink and someone scooting across the rough clay floor. A moment later, Paul's voice broke through the darkness.

"Father God, you know that we're here and that we didn't do anything wrong by driving the demon out of that girl who told fortunes. Please help us and if possible, help us to escape, in your name, Amen."

I knew who that girl was. She was Elza, and she was a doozy. She had an unusual power to tell peoples fortunes, and her owners made big money because of it. No one knew what it was; no one suspected it to be a demon. I was glad she was taken care of, 'cuz she was a big problem to our town, and I figured that her owner must be pretty angry.

I also figured that was why they were in here, but I didn't know who that "Father God" was; no one had ever talked about him before at this jail. But I guessed they were just normal guys who had been judged unjustly. Shrugging, I curled up and fell asleep.

At about midnight, I woke to the sound of singing. Oh great, I thought, I hope they aren't in here long! Who knows when I'll get a good night's sleep again!

My head was just beginning to ache from the echoes in the long corridors when the ground began to shake beneath me. I tried to run, but I couldn't keep myself steady. Suddenly, the walls collapsed with a great crash, and the prisoners' chains did too. My last thought was, Why don't they escape? But before that question was answered, a rock fell on my head, and I blacked out.

When I came to, I was pinned down by a bunch of rubble. I scrambled to get free, but I couldn't move. Suddenly, I heard Joe (the jailer) say, "What must I do to be saved?"

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your family will be saved." Paul answered.

As they talked, I realized all the bad things I'd done in my life (really, I'm a good rat... most of the time.)

And well, I said a prayer, right there, trapped beneath the rubble. I told God I believed in him, and I was sorry for all the things I'd done. Eventually some rat friends rescued me, and I told them about Jesus too. After that I felt like a changed man--uh, rat. I saw changes in Joe and his family too. Even Bart was different. To me, it felt like we were a whole new town.
While they rebuilt the jail, I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. Maybe I'll tell you about that sometime, but not now. Now, I'm taking a nap. Goodnight.


What do you think?? Not my best, but I think it's pretty good.

Please vote. The deadline is on Oct. 15th, and that's 2 days away!!! I need you, don't fail me….(just kidding!!!)
This is my contest hamster. His name is Bob. He will appear whenever contests are going on. So here he is….



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