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Daily Work

Meet God in the Morning – Use this Free eBook to help.

A lot of times, people take stock of where they are spiritually at the beginning of the year. They make resolutions to do different things that will help them draw closer to God throughout the year. Have you ever stopped in the middle of the year to evaluate how well you’re doing in meeting that goal? That’s an easy goal to let go of and forget because there are so many distractions. If you made that kind of goal at the beginning of the year and you’ve fallen behind, take heart. Our God gives second and third and fiftieth and one hundredth chances. If you want to begin to work on that again, let me introduce you to my devotional book series. I’d like to offer you a free eBook where you can spend five to ten minutes a day reading and contemplating God’s presence in your life. This site won’t even collect an email address! If you don’t know how to send a book to your Kindle, I can help you do that. Gain a habit that will enrich your every day life.

Daily Work

Commencement 2020

I’ve always dreamed of being asked to give a commencement speech and share wisdom with graduates. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened. This year, though, since most colleges are doing “virtual” graduations, no one’s being asked and still many are making commencement addresses online. So I figured if no one asked them and they’re doing that, why can’t I. I thought about it because I’ve seen many of my friends, family, and students who are graduating from college or high school. I’m proud of them. Many of my friends who graduated from college have dealt with college classes and, and have still survived. No, I didn’t leave a word out. Instead of being able to focus specifically on college classes, they have gone to college and raised their families, dealt with illness, (my wife who graduated with her doctorate last year dealt with cancer) worked full time jobs. So for those students who had an “and” I applaud you greatly. I’ve seen many of my students graduating from high school and college this year. Sure, I had them in middle school, but they aren’t former students, they’re my students. Teachers will understand that sentiment. My nephew, Charles R. Wells graduated Magna Cum Laude, University Honors with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering. My son, Timothy James, graduated from University of Alabama at Huntsville with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering. Tim was an “and” student who worked a full time job, raised three children, along with his beautiful wife, and served in the military reserves. I’m proud of my family. I’m proud of my friends. I’m proud of my students. This address is for them! But, before you watch it, you may want to go to YouTube and play “Pomp and Circumstance” on repeat about 30 times…just to set the atmosphere. 😉

Daily Work

Paying Homage to Corona

As we continue various stages of stay at home/lockdown/quarantine humor/coping mechanisms abounded. Two poems came out of some of the humor, although the second one may not really be that funny. The first poem “With Apologies to Paul Simon” will have more meaning if you know the song “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.” While you might smile a bit at the story without knowing that song, this poem will make much more sense if you’ve heard the song.  The second poem “The Name Game” deals with a really bad practice of naming kids after disasters. That being said, the last line leaves me with a measure of hope, as I hope it does for you.

With Apologies to Paul Simon

I called Jules
He was bored too
We decided to go to school
Shoot some hoops
Get out of the house
We met on the way
We walked
We talked
He bragged
I rolled my eyes
“If you beat me, Julio,”
He hated it
When I used his
Real name
“It will be the first time.”
We laughed
Then we saw her
Shooting hoops
All alone
“Come join me,”
She waved.
“I’m Rosie.
Who are you?”
I hesitated
Then urged Julio
To keep walking.
“It’s against the law,”
I muttered.
“Just keep walking.”
The Name Game
And so it begins
The name game
Cute names for twins
Like Covid and Corona
Names the kids will live with
Live down
Put up with
Endure
The sick jokes
The teasing
Perhaps some day
Someone will ask
“That’s an interesting name
Does it mean anything?”
My writing

Encounter in the Shadows

I misheard someone on the radio. I thought I heard them talk about shadows, when they talked about their shattered life. I thought of Psalm 23 and the idea of walking through the shadow of death. Then, I thought about living in the shadows, not just walking through. I imagined how Adam must have felt after he sinned. This poem is the result of that thought process:

Encounter in the Shadows

I was living in the shadows

Hiding

Fearful

What if HE knew?

So much wrong

So much hurt

So much disgust

I can’t let HIM see

But HE’s pursuing me

Searching

Looking

Is HE toying with me?

Doesn’t HE really know where I am?

I move farther away

HE moves closer

There’s no more room

I can’t run any more

I swallow

Gulp

And step into the open

“I’m here.” I call

Head down

Afraid to look

HE arrives

And puts HIS finger under my chin

HE lifts my head

To look into my eyes

And then I see HIM for who HE is

Instead of feeling wrong

I feel forgiveness

Instead of feeling hurt

I feel healed

Instead of disgust and shame

I feel loved and valued.

“Come into the Light”

HE said

YOU are loved.

My writing

Three Poems And A Point

For those of you who remember the traditional description of sermons, I hope you enjoy the title of this blog. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can ask in the comments. I actually wrote a couple of these poems last week during the time of Easter Weekend. The first relates to the emotions on the Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection. While we’red dealing with issues of isolation now due to COVID-19, I tried to imagine the isolation, fear, and sadness of the disciples as they were hidden away, locked out from the world in the upper room.

Saturday

Finished

Death

Dark

Isolated

Alone

Hiding

Fearful

Sad

Depressed

Angry

Tears

Wary

Finished

 

The next poem celebrates the resurrection as experienced on that first Easter Sunday

Mourning Turned to Laughter

An early morning walk

Filled with questions and tears

Who will do it?

An uncovered tomb

Empty

Angels question

Why seek the living among the dead

Worry turns to wonder and then to joy

Running with the news

Others still skeptical

Even after looking

Still fearful and more confused

All but Thomas

Saw Him

Felt His scars

Mourning turned to laughter

Lives transformed, empowered.

He lives

 

After I wrote it originally, I took out a couple of lines relating to Thomas. I’m one of the people who thinks Thomas gets a bad rap. I thought most of that took away from the poem. Still, I wanted to allude to the situation by noting that all the other disciples saw what Thomas asked to see later.

 

I wrote this next poem today. As we deal with the battle of some in the church to continue meeting in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak as they proclaim that the church is essential, I thought a lot about the problem. While I had some decent thoughts about this, the Breakpoint commentary  “The Non-Essential Church” helped me solidify my thoughts. What have we become as a church, that we need to fight about whether or not we’re essential. The last three lines of this poem are the point in the title.

 

Relevant

The church is dying

Or so we heard

It’s not relevant

In these modern times

When life moves

So fast

And we responded

So fast

And we became

Hip

With it

Relevant

And the church

Was full again

We rejoiced

We were relevant

In tune with the world

Then trouble came

And we were so relevant

We were no longer

Essential

 

My writing

April Camp – From Songs to Poems

I know I’ve been silent here for a long time. It’s been hard getting out to do bird pictures. I’ve been doing more editing than writing, although I just finished a short story for an anthology. I was going to do something completely different for NaNoWriMo April Camp and work on writing some songs. That hasn’t happened yet. But I’ve written a couple of poems. One relates to Isolation, specifically from our experiences with COVID-19, and the other relates to Good Friday. So, I thought I’d share them….

Isolation

No man is an island
Or so they say
That was then
But in this day
The crown spreads throughout the land
A tyrant, demanding tribute and sacrifice
And so
To foil the evil monarch
We separate ourselves
And build walls
Longing to tear them down
We burn bridges to keep him away
Looking to the day
We can build them once again
Necessity may be the of invention
But it’s the wicked step-mother of isolation
And so we sit
Alone
Behind walls
Bridges burnt
Waiting for our glass slipper
That will destroy the crown
And free us from our slavery

and the Good Friday theme…

Who Did This?

The day grew dark
The Son of God hung
Dying
On the cross
I fell to my knees
And cried out
“Who did this?”
He looked at me and gasped
“Father forgive them.”
I heard them mocking
“If…If…if…”
They called out for miracles
Expecting nothing
He looked at them
“Father forgive them.”
Even those hanging beside
Laughed at Him
No matter that
They shared the same fate
Until one changed
And He forgave
I remember the day
That God the Son
Died
For me
I though of all I’d done
And then all He did
And He forgave.

I think sharing poems is the hardest kind of writing to share because they’re written without the barriers we can use with more words. Sometimes I look at them and think about how dumb they are – then someone tells me how much they meant to them. I hope these touch you. They mean something to me and I hope that you relate to the emotions.