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May 2015

by their cost

DSC07210“I know my blessings by their cost.” —Wendell Berry

This is the first Memorial Day Weekend in eight years that I have been “home".  I have been living abroad, in a different culture, with different holidays, but all the while blessed with a US Passport bearing my name and photograph.

With that US Passport I have encountered much of the world’s beauty in its people and places.  I have seen the good that the USA has been a part of in the nations.  I have enjoyed the privilege of being a foreigner that always has a place of promise to call home.

This Memorial Day Weekend I give pause and remember, with thanksgiving, this country and its people that have been used for good in the world and in my life.  I don’t take their sacrifice lightly.

I know and remember my blessings by their cost. 


a wonder


A Warning to My Readers

by Wendell Berry

Do not think me gentle

because I speak in praise

of gentleness, or elegant

because I honor the grace

that keeps this world.  I am

a man crude as any,

gross of speech, intolerant,

stubborn, angry, full

of fits and furies.  That I

may have spoken well

at times is not natural.

A wonder is what it is.

(from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry)


I like this poem.  It speaks of something that I find true in my own life. 

Gentle, elegant, well spoken words . . . from me? That is a wonder of wonders!  But, I am learning that it is so much more than that—it is God's grace. 

I know me and I know, along with Berry, that any good that resonates out of my words, work, art or effort is not the norm and definitely not natural.  Left to myself, I am a mess.  We all are.    

The only time wonder, goodness and grace are realized in my life is when God is in control.  And God, the one who is love, doesn’t take control of my life—I give God control.  The choice is mine.

God is ever loving, wooing and calling me to live a life that is a wonder and it is up to me to respond—to acknowledge, welcome, and obey God’s ways and presence in my life.  How can and does that happen in you and me?  

I think that Ephesians 4:30 (MSG) is a good start:

"Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself."

I was made by God and in Him alone do I find my stride.  Any other path will leave me searching and out of sync.  God is not a condiment to be added to my bland, or at times, foul tasting life. Rather, God wants to be my all in all—as important and life giving as each and every breath I take.

As we, the created ones, allow the creator to move, live and have His being in our lives, we are used for good in the most unexpected ways.  When God is involved—our words, work, art and effort are transformed by grace, and then they make a difference in the lives of those around us.  

A life changed for good by me?  That is a wonder.

today i saw a tree come down


Today I saw a tree come down;

Actually, more than one.

Like gentle giants they lined, adorned and guarded the campus . . . some for more than eighty years.

As they grew, so did the community.

Their magnificent shade, strength, and beauty will be missed.

Oh the stories they could tell—one for every leaf borne from their branches

Some of those stories are of life, hope and love; 

Some are of pain, misunderstanding and death.

Even mighty trees don’t last, but the stories do.

Their magnificent shade, strength, and beauty will be missed.

Today I saw a tree come down;

Actually, more than one.



(photo courtesy of Amanda Marble)


IMG_0509Waiting . . . not our first choice and not something that many of us like to do.  In a world of instant coffee, microwave popcorn and Netflix movies now, waiting is not our strong suit.

Waiting is hard; especially when things aren't going our way and we don't know what is next.

"Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

In waiting we feel like all is stopped and life has been put on pause. But in the Lord, this is not the case.  When it seems like nothing is happening, something is happening.  The fish are in the river, the seed is germinating and the stone is being rolled away.  It is left to the fisherman, the farmer and the disciple . . . to wait.

Waiting is hard, but in Jesus Christ waiting is not futile.  It is filled with life and hope.  

"[T]hey that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Waiting upon the Lord is hard, but in the end, worth it.  

I recently came across this song and video by Colony House.  I like this group, their music and the message of this song.  Enjoy.