End of the Spear – An End to Strife

End of the Spear

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Gen. 50:20 ESV


End of the Spear is truly an incredible book. Published in 2005, with the movie released the same year, this book continues, in a way, Elisabeth Elliot’s story Through Gates of Splendor. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Through Gates of Splendor, it’s about five missionaries, one of whom was Elisabeth Elliot’s husband, who made contact with a completely unreached people group in Ecuador. During this contact, trying to bring the gospel to the Waodani (Aucas), they were killed by the people they wanted to share the gospel with.

Elisabeth’s story is absolutely incredible, but Steve Saint’s story, End of the Spear, brings a closing—or opening—to Elisabeth’s.

Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, one of the five missionaries killed. His incredible compassion towards the Waodani exudes from the pages of this book as he recounts the stories of living with the Waodani, serving them, teaching them, and learning from them—both as a child and as an adult—for, after the five missionaries died, their wives and children went to live among the tribe to bring the gospel to them and continue the mission the men began.

The story is long. It’s deep. It’s heartfelt, and it will touch every string entwining the human heart. You will laugh till you cry, cry, sit in stunned silence, lift your eyes to God in awe as you read the story of how the Waodani came to know Christ and how He changed their lives forever through these missionaries.

For me, finishing this book is incredibly timely as I just found out that one of our heroes in the book, Grandfather Mincaye, died just a few days ago.

God’s story is incredible, and this is only a piece of it.

Top o’ the Spring to Ya!

crabapple blossoms

Here we are, once again, mid-dive into another Missouri spring. Sure, this year is a little different, yet nature will have her way, and all we have to do is watch and enjoy, knowing that spring always will come again.

For me, this “craziness” looks like a lot of outdoor time, which I’m so grateful for. The animals at the farm need taken care of whether there’s a pandemic or not, so a lot of my time is being spent there.

I can’t help but take photos of the emerging spring, the critters, and the life going on around me.

I hope you enjoy a more photo-centered blog today!

With more time than usual at hand, I’ve started to exercise my green thumb again. I love gardening!

So far, in the garden, are the hardier cooler-weather starters. I have onions, peas, potatoes, beans, carrots, and garlic all in. I also added marigold seeds around them to hopefully ward off dangerous bugs and bunnies.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, and pumpkins are all starting in the house. This year, I’m also trying out some “new” plants: butternut squash, Brussels sprouts (I’m super excited about this one), and a few other things. Hopefully they all grow, and I’ll be able to share pictures later this summer.

Another project I will be starting this week is halter training some calves. We have a young bull and a heifer we’ll be keeping this year out of our weanlings, and we like to have them halter broke. I used to show calves as a teenager, and I truly enjoy working with them and making friends with them and halter training them.

The bull calf is to the left; the heifer, the right.

Last week, one of my sweet old show calves was limping. I had to catch her, and ended up pulling a stick out of her foot. It had lodged between her toes!

This grand old lady had a healthy set of twins last year, and I might be just a little proud of her! In fact, I’ve started taking pictures of her every chance I get. I want this gal to be remembered long after she is no more. But hopefully that won’t be for several years!


One of the greatest blessings of this time off (other than family time and rest) is that I’ve been able to spend time with my horses. Time that I haven’t been able to spend with them in about five years. So, this year, they are getting reminded what it is to be “work” horses again. My Chari has been ponying a friend’s mare who can be a little nasty, and she’s been doing great! We’ve also been working on flat arena-type work and will be jumping shortly.


As the summer days get longer, we’re looking toward summer. Maybe horse shows, maybe not. Maybe social distancing, maybe not. Maybe travel . . . shall I say it? Maybe not. And what to do with my MA degree!?

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Bethany Swoboda is a freelance editor for Wordbender Books. She has always loved reading, reading, reading, and enjoys helping authors polish and develop their manuscripts. Some of her many hobbies are horseback riding, bouldering, helping work her family’s farm, playing piano, crocheting, and volunteering at her church. She has a BA in creative writing and a minor in professional writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.


Prey photo

They didn’t understand what they were doing.”

Classic Michael Crichton, right?

If you’ve read a lot of his books, you know that Michael Crichton is known for fast-paced environments, high stress, and phenomenal scientific possibilities—or probabilities.

Prey is about nanotechnology—I mean, of course, what could go very, very wrong with nanotechnology. Similar to what goes very wrong with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, except for this novel takes place focused at the molecular level.

Why—how—could nanoparticles be terrifying? Let me tell you: they can and are.

Our narrator, Jack (yep, totally strange to have a Crichton book written in first person, but it works!) is, at the time, a stay-at-home dad who was semi-recently fired from this crazy tech job—and, well, it all spirals from there. Don’t want to give out any spoilers!

Crichton begins this novel with a couple epigraphs, the second being, “There are many people, including myself, who are quite queasy about the consequences of this technology for the future,” by K. Eric Drexler.

What a great way to set the stage.

In some of his later books, as this one does, Crichton also adds an introduction, kind of a way to tie in emerging technology with consequences in the future. So as the curtain rises, just as the story begins, we’re left with these phrases echoing in our minds,

We may hope that by the time they emerge, we will have settled upon international controls for self-reproducing technologies…..We’ve learned to put hackers in jail. Errant biotechnologists will soon join them….But of course, it is always possible that we will not establish controls. Or that someone will manage to create artificial, self-reproducing organisms far sooner than anyone expected. If so, it is difficult to anticipate what the consequences might be.

And so, we get to experience the consequences of reproducing nanoparticles.

One of my favorite things about Crichton is how seamlessly and believably he interweaves modern technology and biology to project a terrifying future.

I simply love it.

Make sure you check out his references in the back of the book.

Warnings: Language and some very small non-graphic adult features in a thematically high-stress environment.

Genre: Science Fiction

Next up on the Crichton line: Micro. I’ve heard fantastic things about it, and I can’t wait to read it.

However, my next book review will be about The End of the Spear, which I am reading now.


Author bio: Bethany Swoboda is a freelance editor for Wordbender Books. She has always loved reading, reading, reading, and enjoys helping authors polish and develop their manuscripts. Some of her many hobbies are horseback riding, bouldering, helping work her family’s farm, playing piano, crocheting, and volunteering at her church. She has a BA in creative writing and a minor in professional writing from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Lilies of the Field


“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Matt. 6:28-29


Let me tell you a story about my lilies.

This afternoon I noticed how my lilies were growing: choked.

Last week, I’d noticed the number of weeds in their little corner of the flower bed in front of the house, and I’d reached out to pluck some of the weeds when my mother stopped me.

“Wait,” she said, “I like the little purple flowers. Can’t you wait a little while and let them grow?”

I rolled my eyes and insisted they were weeds, but, “okay,” I consented. “What can a few days hurt?”

My mother is great at loving the little things in life, and, without her staying my hand at this inopportune time, I wouldn’t have the following illustration to share with you.

This week, when I arrived at the farm to help with weeding and planting, I saw what “got hurt” by letting those weeds (henbit) grow.

As I carefully unwound the weeds from tender lily leaves trying to make their way through the tangled mess, I noticed how bruised and damaged the leaves were. How crooked they were—how broken they were.

How could it be that they were broken? Weren’t the plants growing simultaneously? I mean, it’s barely April! Hardly anything has gotten a real chance to grow yet. No one had stepped on them, pinched them, nor had the weeds done anything other than grow among them—because they were allowed to.

And those lilies were surprisingly damaged.

Can that be what happens in our own lives? Maybe we don’t even see the weed starting—or maybe it’s pretty and harmless and we allow it to . . . yes, to grow. What could it hurt to let them grow for a little while as long as our intention is to pull them out?

This might be a habit—something to just “try out.” Or, it could be something we’re too lazy to deal with right now when we should. Weeds can have many different forms and mutations.

But let me bring this to our present crisis.

Is there a weed of worry in your life? A weed of stress? Frustration? Are weeds holding you captive?

Are the weeds choking you because you let in a wee-little-bit of worry into your mind because the world (in some respects) seems to be ending, and now the worry won’t leave? In fact, as the days roll by, the worries are justified?

That, my friends, is where the damage comes in. When you let worry take over your life and justify it, your own tender lily leaves become crushed.

So let me leave you with this: the Lord has already taken your worry captive. All you have to do is surrender it to Him. Let Him pull the weeds and heal your leaves.

He says, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:25-27, 33).

And, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

COVID-19, you ain’t got nothin’ on us.


Viridity 2020


It’s only the end of March and 2020 has offered some pretty crazy hairpin turns, mountainous terrain, and rivers to ford already. But what’s the green, growing, luscious side in your life?

When the world (pandemics, politics, people, or even inner emotion) tries to knock you down, it’s important to keep your eye focused on the goal.

For me, this winter and spring has been all about growth. I was finishing my masters degree and student teaching until the pandemic shut down schools. Thankfully, I had completed enough hours and am currently waiting for my last few credits to pass, all coursework finished.

In fact, I’m basically finished with grad school and am looking to the future, eyes bright and . . . yeah, that’s where it stops. Not only do I not know where I want to go from here, the world right now is a surprisingly uncertain place.

Which brings me back to viridity (which will be on the Word Wall soon). I have to thank Merriam-Webster’s word of the day for viridity. It means, in a word, green. How perfect for spring! And I’ve always loved the word verdure. Aaah. The lush green of trees draping over a river, the dewy paddocks grazed by stark white sheep, the smell—yes, the smell—of a fresh-cut lawn or hayfield all resonate in these green-imbued words.

Green means growth. Growth can, well, hurt. And the green usually has to grow before the fruit is seen.

While we have to learn to grow during a time when our jobs have forsaken us, the economy nose-dives, and proper schools and gyms look like a thing of the past, we do have the time to reflect, spend time in the moment, and do some gardening in our own lives.

They (you know, the ambiguous they) say those who practice presence are the happiest people. I think Americans tend to be pretty bad at practicing presence. We like to have our checklists and go-go-go. Let’s use this time to learn presence. Enjoy the little moments with family or by yourself. Enjoy the breeze tickling the blades of grass, the sun coaxing the flowers to spread their vibrant pedals, and even the rain as it pounds grass seed into the mud so it can die and live again.

And let this time be a time of growth—a time characterized by viridity.