Devotional~Icky Spiders and Satan's Traps

Like many people, I often take rabbit trails on the internet. Recently, while I wandered down one of those paths, I discovered a creature that is too disturbing not to share. A very icky spider.

To be truthful, I don't like spiders. A lot of people don't like them, including my mother, who battles yearly wolf spider invasions with sticky traps. Killing spiders is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. A creature with that many legs and eyes, that spins webs and set traps to capture hapless victims and suck their blood--well, it’s creepy.

Spiders remind me of Satan and the traps he sets for us in order to thwart our Father's plans for our lives and rob us of everything good. Psalm 141:9 says, Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers! 

Some spiders are ickier than others. Not like the little roundish ones that sometimes crawl into my bedroom and sit on the ceiling over my bed, no doubt staring at me with their multiple eyes, trying to ascertain if I'm too large to tangle with. They aren't a big deal, except when I go to kill them. Then I have to make sure I don't miss, otherwise they drop on my bed, which, needless to say, can lead to a lack of sleep.

Chinese Hourglass Spider. ©Jason Bond. (See footnote 1 for more information.)

Chinese Hourglass Spider. ©Jason Bond. (See footnote 1 for more information.)

Anyway, the disturbing spider I discovered online is called a Chinese Hourglass Spider.  For those who want an official name, it's Cyclocosmia, or "trapdoor spider," and it's a genus of spiders in the Halonoproctidae family.  (I copied all that from the internet, so don't be too impressed. I can't even pronounce those words.)

Trapdoor spiders hide in holes, waiting for prey to wander by. Then they jump out and grab the victim. This is not cool behavior as far as I’m concerned.

Unlike that awful picture, in real life this creature isn't very big. The spiders are only twenty-eight millimeters, which is a little over an inch long. That’s a good thing. Still, there's something disturbing about it, especially it's butt, which is a hardened disk made tougher by a series of ribs and grooves. If you look it up online, it looks like a monkey face. Besides grossing me out, the spider’s ugly butt does have a purpose. The Chinese Hourglass Spider uses it to clog the entrance to its burrow when threatened (see graphic lower right).

Study of Hourglass Spider--public domain. See footnote 2.

Study of Hourglass Spider--public domain. See footnote 2.

Supposedly these spiders are worth some money if sold as pets. Yes, I said pets. I’m sure some of you just shuddered like I did when I read that little factoid. I think the word "pet" applied to spiders is a misnomer. A pet is something you can hug, like a dog or a cat. You can have have a relationship with a pet because you look into its eyes and see life there. I've never looked into a spider's multiple eyes and thought, I want you in my life, Mr. Spider! We’ve got a real connection going on here. I know you feel it, too. I want you to live in my house. Crawl into my lap and let me hug you.

To be honest, I don't think spiders even have souls. I can't prove it, but I don't have to because it's only my opinion.

So, my friends, if this spider grosses you out as much as it grosses me out, and you happen to think about it as you go about your day, just let it be a reminder of how Satan lays traps. He’s evilly sly and tricky, and fools people, like this spider fools its victims. To prevent yourself from being fooled, read the Word and pray, and learn how to overcome all the wiles of the enemy. And if you aren't in a relationship with Jesus Christ, ask Him to come into your heart right now. You don’t need a special church service or a minister to do that. You just need Him. 



1.  Picture of Chinese Hourglass Spider. ©Jason Bond. This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. According to this license, I can use this picture, but in using it, I do not imply in any way that the holder of the copyright of this picture agrees with me and or anything I've written in this article.  

2. This media file is in the public domain in the United States because the date of the picture is between 1890 and 1891.

Recipe - Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup Meme.png

Evelyn Kliff, my heroine in the story Chili Con Carne Murder (one of the stories in the Barbour novella collection, The Coffee Club Mysteries) raises herbs and chickens. She makes products from her herbs and sells them at the farmers market. One of her favorites is Elderberry Syrup.

(You can find the the novella collection on Amazon here: The Coffee Club Mysteries.)

Elderberry syrup has been used for years as a wintertime tonic, as well as an herbal medicinal for colds and flu . Taking the syrup is a bit like taking vitamins. The berries are rich in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which are responsible for their deep purple (almost black) coloring. These are powerful antioxidants that help keep the immune system strong and resilient.

A number of smaller studies have been done about the effectiveness of elderberry syrup. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find the studies online.

A caution, though. People with autoimmune diseases could potentially exacerbate their symptoms by taking elderberry syrup. Antioxidants stimulate the immune system, which is already on overdrive in autoimmune diseases, thus possibly causing symptoms to get worse.

The standard daily dose is ½ tsp - 1 tsp for kids and ½ - 1 tablespoon for adults. If the cold or the flu do strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

(DO NOT GIVE TO CHILDREN UNDER ONE YEAR OF AGE. They should not have honey.)

Elderberry Syrup


• 1 cup dried elderberries (Find on Amazon)
• 4 cups water
• 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root (can use dried)
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
• ½ teaspoon cloves (can use powder)
• 1 ¼ cup raw honey


1. Put water in a saucepan
2. Add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves
3. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer
4. Simmer for 1 hour until liquid has reduced by half
5. Remove from heat and let cool
6. Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl
7. Discard the elderberries, or compost them
8. Let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
9. When it is no longer hot, add the honey
10. After mixing well, pour syrup into clean jars of your choice

Elderberry syrup doesn’t contain any preservatives, so store it in the refrigerator up to three months. Like any other fruit juice, elderberry syrup will start to ferment if it’s left out in room temperature for too long.

The elderberry syrup graphic was made by Candice Prentice through and is copyright protected.

This article is copyrighted. Please do not copy or or use without permission of the author.

One Reason Why I Love Cozy Mysteries

(This article also appeared on the Cozy Mystery Magazine blog.)

I love cozy mysteries. . .okay, I just love mysteries, period. I have since I was a kid. Now I'm privileged to write cozy mysteries. I also watch as many as I can on television, as long as they hold true to what I believe is important to cozy mysteries--no graphic violence. I don't want to go to bed at night with gruesome images of bloody crime scenes in my mind.

The other night, hubby and I watched a 1945 black and white 

Sherlock Holmes--C.rime S.cene I.nvestigation

Before the Acronym Became a Television Show . . .

Sir Author Conan Doyle gave his sleuth a brilliant scientific mind, and his crime scene technique was years ahead of real crime science. Take fingerprints, for example. Scotland Yard didn’t start using fingerprints until 1901. Sir Author Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes using fingerprint evidence in the Sign of Four, published in 1890.