My writing

Why Celebrate Juneteenth?

When President Trump scheduled his first rally for it’s original date of June 19, people were astonished and confused. They considered it a veiled attack on the African-American community because it was on a date that has come to be known as Juneteenth. A few days later, he changed to date so as to avoid the appearance of being sensitive to the concerns of African-Americans. I have no doubt that a large part of the country were stunned at the outcry and the date change having no idea what Juneteenth represents. I know what it represents since I moved to Texas, and I hope the president will acknowledge that in his rally on June 20th.
That being said, it took me a while to understand the meaning behind the date after I moved to Texas. I came here to go to school and I spent most summers back home in Illinois, so I never experienced any of the celebrations taking place in the black community. The first summer after I married, I may have seen some news articles about picnics on June 19th, but no one explained why the date was important, nor did I ask. Eventually, I asked my wife what the big deal about Juneteenth was. In case you haven’t heard or discovered the meaning, it was on this day in 1865 that Union soldiers landed in Galveston and let those still kept in slavery know that they were free.
It’s taken me a while to understand the full impact of that event, because I grew up with an understanding of the Emancipation Proclamation as the document that freed the slaves. Later I came to realize that the proclamation only applied to slaves in rebellious areas, but my understanding of the situation was that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves were free. The problem that took me a long time to realize is that since the slave states didn’t recognize pronouncements from Washington, the people living in them may not have gotten the message. And, if word got around to the slaves about the proclamation, their masters didn’t greet that with joy and exultation, but with violence and threats of violence. As other states were occupied by Union soldiers, the news got out. Texas was the last state to get that message and the result is that Juneteenth is a reminder of the fall of the last outpost for legalized slavery in the United States.
Juneteenth has since been celebrated by the African-American community as a reminder of freedom. Both Presidents Bush and Obama made proclamations in support of Juneteenth celebrations. President Bush knew of them because of his Texas connection, and President Obama understood the meaning because of his heritage. President Trump probably had no knowledge of the meaning of the day until his ill-advised rally date became public knowledge. There are those who would confine the holiday to a celebration for African-Americans, and yet, that short-sighted view fails to take into account the deeper meaning of what happened on that day for the Anglo community. Juneteenth not only recognizes the freedom that former slaves finally obtained, but those of us in the Anglo community should recognize that when this last stronghold of slavery was destroyed, it freed us from the stain of upholding slavery in any way, shape, or form.
In the discussion about this day, some have proposed that Juneteenth become a national holiday. Texas first recognized Juneteenth as a holiday in 1979. It’s celebrated in some states either as an official or an unofficial holiday as well. While we can recognize why African-Americans celebrate this day, the question then becomes why should other Americans celebrate this day and why should it be a national holiday? Perhaps people of all ethnic persuasions should celebrate this day because it was on this day that we all became free. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is often quoted as saying, “No one is free until we all are free.” While we still deal with problems of racism and even modern day slavery, this day is a reminder that we can all be free, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Those who were enslaved saw the release from physical bondage. May that be an example for all to be freed from the metaphorical chains of hatred and racism that keep us from the greatness we could achieve as a nation. We should celebrate the freedom of others and seek it for ourselves. Juneteenth should be a day when we’re reminded not only of man’s inhumanity to man that was shown in slavery, but the hope that we can become an even greater nation because we seek freedom for all people.

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



What if HE knew?

So much wrong

So much hurt

So much disgust

I can’t let HIM see

But HE’s pursuing me



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


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.
















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


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.



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


With it


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



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….


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
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
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
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
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.

My writing

Free eBook Offer…and Maybe More!

I will be attending Word Fest 2019 at Teas A&M Corpus Christi today from 9-3. I will be giving those who attend a chance to sign up for a free eBook copy of my January-February Devotional series. I will also have a drawing from those who sign up today for a full set of the devotionals in Paperback. If you would like to be a part of that list that gets a free eBook and be in the drawing for the full set of devotionals, sign up today!