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The thrust of this poem is…

the letters have     c
                                 o
                                  l
                                  l
                                 a
                                 p
                                 s
                                 e
                                 d
black holes threaten to swallow whole
any abstract word they attempted to create

even concrete words find themselves
endangered, drowning in the pools of
quizzes and lectures, having grown
weary from academic nonsense

the narrow views of those who think they
know more than the Omniscient:
chronic disease filling lungs with a
sickness worse than pneumonia

pretty piano music plays softly while
silver-tongued lies relentlessly reveal
their designs of attack on the Spirit

refuge is offered:
no latchstring is needed
to unlock some imagined bolt—

protection found
in the Word which never will collapse.

written for Monday Melting #19

Nature’s Work (5/7/5 haiku)

forces stronger than
i work to influence you
Faith: my one true Hope

 

This little poem can mean so many things, and I certainly had specific life situations in mind when writing this haiku.  But a “nature image” (which I believe is a requirement for a “true” haiku) that came to mind as I wrote this is a “sideways tree” that grows in my father’s pasture.  Decades ago, the tree was blown over by a hurricane.  But instead of dying, it just grew new roots and became the best “climbing tree” one could ever hope for.  The tree is also inspirational to me.  There were times as a teenager, and even now as an adult, when I’ve felt “blown over” by life and will visit that tree to remind myself that I can dig in and become stronger no matter what blows life has dealt. 

p.s. the tree above is not my father’s but looks very similar.

A Very Important “Mother’s Day Story”

Several weeks ago, I shared with you how a young man from South Sudan had deeply impacted me.

Today, I want to do a little follow up with a “Mother’s Day story” from someone who has adopted a child from South Sudan.  It’s very timely and even more touching.

I’ll be out of pocket for most of the weekend, and may not have a chance to “catch up” until after Mother’s Day…so let me take the opportunity today to tell all of you wonderful Mom’s out there:  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

“Ad”-mitting Frustration

Apparently there are ads popping up at the bottom of my posts these days.  I am so sorry if this is indeed the case when you come here to read.  

I am going to try and figure out a way to put a stop to this, but if any of you have an idea as to why it is happening or how to stop it, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for continuing to read even if you’ve had to deal with some ads!  And thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have!

Examining H2O

“Examining H2O”

Anxious for sailing,
this mast-of-Don’s rig provides
primitive pleasure

 

Notes:  Written for Shawna’s Monday Melting, and linked to the dverse “open link night.”

Pleasant (and unpleasant) Surprises

Today has been really interesting.  Felt sick and mostly stayed home.  Ok, I felt lazy too!  🙂  But, my stomach has been a “blender” today, so I didn’t feel like venturing out too far.  However, I needed to do some venturing and forced myself to do so starting around 1ish.  About that same time, my 2-year-old daughter decided to find out whether or not my cell phone can float in the bathtub.  It can’t.

Later in the day, my van would threaten to leave me stranded—I’m still trying to figure out what my 2-year-old did to the van!  Surprisingly enough though,  I drove about 100 miles in said van after the unpleasant surprise of nearly stalling out.  I spent time with my father and saw the parents of an old friend.  Enjoyable, but put me behind schedule for a Small Group I lead on Monday nights.  With no phone, I was unable to let people know I would get to the meeting a little late.   Well it wasn’t really “people” I wanted to notify; they are teenagers.  They used to be “people.”  They will one day be “people” again. But I digress…

No worries though, the students who were able to make it tonight waited patiently for me to arrive.  And when I say “waited patiently,” I mean they rearranged our meeting space!  They also created a new game using notecards, pool balls, and bolts. There I go digressing again.

But now the “real fun” begins—the pleasant surprises.  Since we were limited on time, we wound up just hanging out and having an informal discussion about what it means to “follow Jesus.”  This discussion was loosely based on the book we are studying, Not a Fan.  Mostly it was just a chance for them to talk about the challenges of living out their faith in the day-to-day reality of teenage life.  And, long story short, they are passionate about being more than fans of Christ—they passionately long to follow Him.

The other pleasant surprise happened when I left the meeting to go home.  About a mile from my office I realized I had left some things behind. I needed to return and grab them, so I started driving back.  I decided to make my return trip through a neighborhood I don’t frequently drive through—a student lives there who has just lost his father to cancer.  My intention was to merely do a “drive by” (shooting up prayers for him as I drove by the house), but he was actually out in his driveway playing basketball.  Alone.  It was a great opportunity to visit and pray with him rather than just for him.  And I absolutely believe God orchestrated the opportunity to meet with him on “his turf.”  It was a moment that perhaps surprised me, but not God.  🙂

I hope you’ve also had a few pleasant surprises today!

The Week in Quotes!

I’ve done precious little blogging this week.  Haven’t written much and haven’t read much.  But I have found some really great “nuggets” of wisdom in much of the little I have read.  I wanted to share with you some quotes from a few of the writings I was impacted by this week.  This is also a great way for you to perhaps discover a new blog you’ll love.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll pick up some “finder fees” for sending you their way?  I doubt it, but a boy can dream, right?!?  🙂

This pretty much punched me in the gut.  Lots of wisdom in this quote:

No one is ever satisfied when they’re not doing their best.  When you do your best and fail it’s more acceptable than failing when you aren’t really trying.”

The quote below touches on some conversations my wife and I have had this week.  I’m “thankful” to know others are in our shoes and can speak to it in such a powerful way!

The last few times I was faced with this blatant ungratefulness I didn’t handle it very well.  I got irritable and frustrated and snappy.  How dare my children be so ungrateful?  Don’t they appreciate all I do for them, all I give them?  It was at about that point I felt God whispering in my ear about my own gratitude towards Him.  Do I even notice all the things He does for me on a daily basis?  How many blessings in my life do I treat as burdens? …I realized then and there that if I expect my kids to be grateful, I need to show them exactly what it looks like.”

Charles is such an encouraging blogger/author/poet.  I look forward to reading his homespun wisdom and Godly insight every week.

God puts us on this earth to do His will, and He blesses us with everything we need to do it. It might be assets, talent, a strong body, intelligence, health, or just a good and loving personality. Whatever attributes you need, to do what the Lord needs done, are available to you, and I believe when you begin to focus on God and His will for your life, He will provide them to you, and you will know how to use them to His glory.”

Linnea’s site has become one of my favorites to read each week.  Especially this week!  Things were hopping over there, and as usual, she brought much insight “to the table.”

My hope in readily confessing my dark side is to get people to stop and think about their own….Truthful self-awareness must exact humility and humility is required in order to love others as we love ourselves.”

RabidMongoose always is a straight-shooter with well informed posts about issues of spirituality—especially for men.  But this post was a great read for all of us since it deals with an issue we all face at times.

We look at resentments. We’ve found out they are a distortion of the truth – a way to take a situation, cast the blame on somebody else, and totally escape, so we have nothing to do with it whatsoever!” – Joe McQ, The Steps We Took …This quote from Joe McQ’s book The Steps We Took sums up perfectly what I do with my resentments: I absolve myself completely of all responsibility for a problematic situation, making the issue everyone’s’ fault but mine. Resentment is a tool I use to live in denial: It allows me to create a shield around my fragile persona that ‘protects’ me from the truth about myself…I cannot keep holding all these resentments in. I need to accept responsibility for my own actions…

Feel free to share some quotes you have found (or wisdom you have written) in the comments below!  You’ll help me do a better job of catching up before the week is *officially* over!

Now I have the privilege of getting ready for a “date night” with my Beautiful Bride.  Hope to catch up with all of you wonderful bloggers soon!

Why He Had to Hitchhike Home

“Why He Had to Hitchhike Home”

She found it rather quixotic indeed
Her date’s idea of a good time would lead
Straight to this seat, this concert hall, this town
Hearing cadre of violists get down
Play tunes of bohemian rhapsody
Bit much for this girl of simplicity
 
So during a lovely intermezzo
She decided to really impresso
Unsutured herself from theater chair
In spindle-like fashion, let down her hair
Roving hands grabbing his pockets surprised
And excitedly, he looked in her eyes
 
Hope sprang infernal; in fact, atrophied—
She only reached in to bilk him of keys

 

Notes:  I wrote this for Shawnas Monday Melting prompt & today’s d’verse prompt.  I was able to incorporate nearly all of Shawna’s words while writing this “Clarian” Sonnet.  Had much fun with the prompts.  Hope you enjoy!

This is the day…

Today has been a long one.  For me.  For the girls.  Especially for my Beautiful Bride!  I’m tired just remembering it all!  🙂

“Day in the life” posts aren’t the norm around here.  But I think there’s some spiritual insight worth sharing along with, so here goes:  Ran over a bike first thing this morn.  Oldest left it right behind my van!  (Yeah, I’m cool enough to drive a van!)  Not a happy Dad, but no time to dole out the proper punishment cause I was running late for church.  Same daughter decided to go to “Neighbor Boy’s” house for breakfast (yes, that Neighbor Boy!).  Only she didn’t ask for permission.  Her mother assumed she had gone to church with me; I had told her to go back in the house to Mom.  Brief moment of panic when I returned home and we realized we had “lost” a child.

Find her, scold her, load her in Mom’s van so we can drive the 45 mins. to a different worship service where I’m scheduled to speak.  Really encouraging service, and then off to lunch at Grandmother’s.  What a special thing that my little family can spend time with my grandparents who are both in their 80’s!  But it did mean almost an hour of driving home mid-afternoon only to load right back up and head to the talent show.  (with a quick meeting somehow squeezed in between)

Middle child and I were asked to sing a song; one I had written and she loves to help me sing.  So we did.  Which means my wife went “above and beyond” to support me when I spoke this morn, and J when she sang tonight.  But I could tell she was really worn out and I encouraged her to go home after J’s performance and get some rest.  Leaving me at the mercy of someone else for a ride home.  Someone who couldn’t leave talent show/church for another couple hours.  Oh man, it was a long day!

But on the way home, my “taxi driver” really needed to talk about some things going on in his life.  And I realized that a verse I had read in worship earlier today was being lived out nearly 12 hours later…even if I’m being poured out as an offering for the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice*…Poured out.”  I felt that when parenting today.  I saw that in my wife today.  I lived that in “church life” today.  And at the end of the day, hopefully I will join Paul in being glad and rejoicing for the chance to pour my life out if it helps others grow closer to Christ.

This is the day…the day the Lord has made!  I will rejoice.  I will be glad.

* Philippians 2:17


How to create a 93% chance of success in your marriage!

I originally started this blog with the intention to mostly write about marriage & men stepping up as “servant leaders” in their homes, churches, and communities.  I’ve branched out quite a bit since then, which has been enjoyable.  But I still have a passion for the issues mentioned above.  Here is a great post I came across yesterday and wanted to share with others on wordpress.  This article can be found on Trey Morgan’s site.

I want to be a 5 to 1 husband!

Statistics on marriage scare me, but the Studer Group has released a new study on “Compliment to Criticism” ratio. They’ve told us from their studies, that people in general need 3 compliments given for every 1 criticism that is said to them. While that didn’t surprise me, the following statistic FLOORED me …

“Reports now show that when it comes to marriage, if you have a 5 to 1 compliment to criticism ratio, the divorce rate in that marriage drops from 50% to 7%.”

DID YOU CATCH THAT, husbands and wives? We are now learning how to beat the old statistic that says that 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. How? Give 5 compliments to your spouse for every 1 negative thing you say. When you take on the 5 to 1 plan, the divorce rate in your marriage drops to 7%. I like those odds!

My goal (and hopefully yours) today is to become a 5 to 1 kind of spouse. Today is a great day to start.

5 to 1 … that’s it! And the divorce rate goes from 50% to 7% … It’s time to pass the word.

You up for the 5-1 challenge with your spouse?

“Prodigal Avenue”

Prodigal Avenue (part 2)

shaken up, he staggers away from the scene
barely coherent, he mutters something obscene
then spits out blood so that he can savor
the flavor
of one
last
smoke

the low humming noise sung by streetlights
fades in and out as he stumbles, block by block,

only stopping to grind out his cigarette,
kick an empty orange juice bottle,
and stare blankly into the night sky—

thinking again
of Father

he remembers an abnormally kind daddy
who is fluent in the language of love
for all of mankind—even
those who aren’t quite lovely, and

maybe even for a wayward son walking
down a dead-end-street

but it’s said that all roads lead to home,
so he suddenly turns around

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

written for the Thursday Melting poetry prompt at rosemary mint

“Prodigal Avenue”

Prodigal Avenue (part 1)

shiny new sports car lurching
violently
into the wall of a faded building:

copper metallic paint smudged and smeared
all over slaughtered bricks and skewered siding
“I miss Father”—
his last thought before blacking out

hours later, trembling hands swiftly sift debris
hoping to find some semblance of a life left behind

prickly membranes hold together memories
of the Dad who grilled steaks and
served them with a side of asparagus …

meals he enjoyed

before the slimy stories of a scaly serpent put him
in the seat of a too-fast-car on a pot-holed-street
crashing head-on into the “Pig-Out BBQ”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Notes:
Written for the Monday Melting and today’s dverse prompt, which is to write an “allegory.” One of the suggestions is to use a Biblical story as the inspiration for our poem today. I think it’s quite obvious which story I have chosen. 🙂  Check back for part 2 in the next couple of days.

Finally Sharing the Love!


I posted my response to this award over a week ago.  I’m honored that I was nominated for this award, and now it is time to share the honor with others.  It’s really hard to choose only 15 fellow bloggers, but I’m choosing based upon people who I really enjoy reading, who I don’t *think* have received this (or other) award yet, and those who haven’t stated they host an “award free blog.”  🙂  If you’re nominated, please don’t feel obligated to participate.  And if you aren’t nominated, please don’t be upset!  I’ll be happy to share the love with you next time…just let me know you’re interested.

So, here’s the deal.  Once I nominate you, tell us 7 things about yourself that most of us don’t know.  Then you nominate more people! (15 is the suggestion)  By the way, here is my list of 7 odd facts.  And below is the list of bloggers I’ve nominated for “The Versatile Blogger” Award.  Enjoy.

http://linneann.wordpress.com/ <—— amazing writer, “supermom”, & all-around wonderful person!

http://xoevelynortizhasspoken.wordpress.com/  <——-  this young lady has tons of drive & determination, plus she’s an awesome commenter!

http://hangingoutandin.wordpress.com/  <——- another “supermom” who shares incredibly heart-touching stories!

http://chris9911.wordpress.com/  <—– hilarious blogger, great dad, crazy in love with his wife, & he can help you buy the right p.c.!

http://simplystriving.wordpress.com/ <——–  one of the most inpirational bloggers you will ever read!

http://rabidmongoose.wordpress.com/ <—— tackles some really heavy subjects, & offers incredible insight…plus you can learn about gardening!

http://dailymomprayers.wordpress.com/ <—– yet another “supermom” with a “superblog”!

http://sberris0.wordpress.com/  <——- a young woman who is wise beyond her years!..very artsy & creative too!

http://theactsproject.wordpress.com/  <—– you will find amazing writing from an amazing mom/wife here & you will love it!

http://tasmith1122.wordpress.com/  <—– this is one of my wife’s fave poets/bloggers & I’ve grown very fond of her as well 🙂

http://ladywithabirthmark.wordpress.com/  <—- adding some international flavor with this delightful blogger!

http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com/  <—– wonderful woman of wisdom & integrity!

http://illumylife.com/  <———- pretty pictures, creative crafts, wise words, lovely lady!

http://newkarensue.wordpress.com/ <———- new pic everyday, and always something worth reading!

http://causeisaidso.me/  <———– terrific, heart-felt writing from a terrific mom…super enjoyable blog.

Tides of Crimson

This is the first poem I wrote for Shawna’s Monday Melting.  Today I’m posting it on my blog as well and  linking it to dverse.  Hope you enjoy.

“Tides of Crimson”

The glint of your luminous devotion
remains perfectly visible
from just the right angle

Corseted against your ivory skin
that crimson velvet
punctured, yet worn

Extracting passionate ripples
from a past
recent, not irretrievable

I yield not
Refusing any ochone

 

Notes: ochone is a Scot/Irish word and was part of the “word prompt” that day.  It is defined thusly: “an expression of sorrow or regret”

“Bummed” Out

I briefly thought about a different kind of bum picture, since this post is about a different kind of bum.  Any kind of “bum” pic I posted was going to be a funny one, but the one above really made me laugh.  “Monkey butt” would have also made me laugh, but I found this pic first!  🙂

And since I’m *loosely* writing a post about thankfulness, the pic I chose gives me a great opportunity to state that I AM THANKFUL!  Thankful I can speak and walk.  Thankful I have (most of) my teeth.  Thankful for a job.  Thankful I’m not yet wearing diapers again.  Thankful that God does indeed bless!

This post is also about something I’m fearful of: my oldest daughter growing older!  She’s always been a challenge, but so far we’ve only had to deal with “little girl challenges.”   Yesterday & today, however, I’ve gotten a real big “wake-up call” about what the future may hold.  We have a newish neighbor who is the same age (9) as our oldest.  She has already proclaimed her undying love for new neighbor boy.  Anytime she has permission—and many times she doesn’t—she makes a beeline for his house.  Last night was an example of a “no permission” trip to the house next door.

We had just returned home from church, and before I even had a chance to realize she wasn’t in our house, she comes running through the door shouting: “You won’t believe what I just saw!”  Turns out, she was right!  I didn’t believe what she had just seen.  As I was getting her younger sister out of the van and in our house,  Big Sister snuck over to “neighbor boy’s” house—at bath time.  As her visit was unexpected, neighbor boy was apparently standing in his living room in the buff.  He took off down his hall as soon as my daughter began knocking on their door.  Thankfully, she only saw his backside.  (See, I told you this post is about thankfulness!)

I tried to downplay the event last night.  But today she made it pretty clear: I definitely have reason to be worried.  She said (in a rather dreamy manner): “Dad, last night was the best night of my life!”  Having “sometimers disease,” I just had to ask:  “Why?”   She grinned and said, “You know Dad…cause of what I sawww!  I can’t believe I actually saw his bum!”   (Insert mental image of Dad pulling hair out here)

But thankfully I have a pretty level-headed wife.  She reminded me that these emotions in our daughter were bound to happen some day.  (Though she did admit it’s earlier than she had expected as well!)  But she also said something that is crucially important.  While we continue to teach our daughter the benefits of living with moral integrity, the most important lesson we can teach her is to live a life of love for God!  Whether I like it or not, there will be a day in the future (like when she’s 25) when she won’t be constrained by any of my rules or expectations.  It will be her love for God alone which will compel her to make wise, godly choices as she grows, spreads wings, and becomes completely independent.

So today this “bummed out Dad” is most thankful for a God who has made this promise: “(be) confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)

What Has Your Journey Been Like?

written for Kellie’s Free-Write Friday prompt

The “blogosphere” is a somewhat new experience for me. I’m still learning much; in fact, I’m barely able to post my own writings. No joke, this is the second time I’m writing this post because I just lost the original writing!

What I’ve come to enjoy most about the blogosphere is the genuine sense of “community” that can be found when one is actively engaged with other bloggers. It’s really quite a wonderful community to be a part of! Plus, there aren’t any speeding tickets given out in this community! (Can you tell I’ve been the victim of a couple of “small town speed traps”?) 🙂

It has been a real joy to read your blogs and get to know you through your posts. Fellow bloggers have inspired and encouraged, made me laugh and cry. Thankfully, I’ve laughed more than cried! And you’ve also made me think. An example of this was earlier in the week, when I read a post by a blogger who is new to me. In his post, he shared the story of how he came to a faith-relationship with Christ. I commented (a brilliantly insightful comment I’m sure…lol) and moved on to read another blog. However, this new friend invited me back to his blog by asking a really important question: “What is the story of your journey with God?”

That question has stayed with me all week. It’s stayed with me because I think it is not only a great question to ask of others but is also a crucial question to ask of ourselves from time to time. Today, I discovered the perfect photo prompt to motivate me to write about this question. My personal journey has been a drama and a comedy (you’ll understand if you ever see me *try* to dance). My journey has been poetic, but it’s also been some very poorly written prose (of course, that was mostly due to college assignments!). I was fortunate enough to become a Christ-follower at a young age. However, I’ve been stubborn enough to choose several “wrong paths” in the years that have followed. In spite of my obstinacy, God’s love has been constant and His Grace sufficient. The longer I live, the more I realize I am completely dependent upon God’s faithfulness!

And now it’s your turn to share. I’ve been so blessed, and even honored, by the honest comments so many of you have left in the past. So I end today’s post with the same question for you: What is the story of your journey?

“Wildflower”

written for dverse poets’ “Framed Couplets” prompt using word lists from this week’s Sunday Whirl and Monday Melting

 

Wildflower

a forceful push opens doors that kept you inside
a remorseful aspect of life had once made you hide
exchange fear for courage like that of a Marine
range over terrain you have not yet seen

spray over here once the seed is planted
play in the field that is sunshine enchanted
glance at the beauty of this harvest-to-be
romance Mother Nature—basic chemistry

stand in the rain that blows up from the south
hand-fan the flames you breathe out of your mouth
sprinkle moisturized blends of fertilized tricks
crinkle the stems and splinter the sticks

taste the sweet berry, gain rich energy
waste not this permission to run carefree

Finally Recognized

 

“Finally Recognized”

Climbing the rusted caracol, I
found myself happy to let you go first,
yielding center stage, while you basked
in a potpourri of much deserved applause.

Goofy, silly, awkward, somewhat clumsy;
perfect in every way.

Senescence was of no concern as
we walked the quad and you proudly
displayed that emblazoned medallion
trophy-cased around your neck.

Mine savagely stuffed in some pocket;
I forget which one.

Young lovers lay on a bed of
kiwi-colored grass; laughing,
tickling their bodies and their fancies.
Their moment though, eclipsed by yours.

Miraculously cured from faux insignificance
and homesick heartache.

 

notes:  This is one of the first poems I wrote.  It was originally written for Moday Melting before I had a blog of my own.  Hope you enjoy (even if this is your second time reading this poem.)  🙂

The “Bloggies”: Answering Questions

So here are some responses to the blog awards I mentioned in an earlier post.  I’m calling them “the bloggies.”  🙂

 

The Sunshine Award

1. What are the priorities in my life?

God, Wife, Children, Ministry/work, Bama football 🙂

2. what do i do for a living?

Mentor students & minister to them and their families.
3. What are your hobbies?

Blogging, of course!  Time with family is huge.  Fond of a few t.v. shows.
4. how many kids do you have?

Three—all girls!  Range in ages 2–9

 

The Versatile Blogger

Tell 7 things about myself that you don’t know:

1.  Once spent a night in jail—a result of too much studying!  🙂  (my study partner was working graveyard shift at the jail and they had an empty cell when I got tired)

2.  I’ve been to every continental U.S. state except 3: Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

3.  I flew to very few of those states!  I enjoy maintaining a close proximity to terra firma.

4.  Continuing with the “state theme,” I’ve lived in 4: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, & Mississippi.

5.  Love being on the water (boat, canoe, raft) but don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

6.  Speaking of water: the biggest fish I ever caught was a 38 pound red-fish, and I caught that off of a pier!

7.  Used hair-spray this morning as my deodorant!  (Confused the spray cans…lol)

An Award Winning Week

It has been a pretty exciting week around here.  Personal life and “blog life” both have seen some awesome developments.  Firstly, I’m blessed to celebrate an anniversary with the most amazing woman I’ve ever known!  Thank you Sweetie for the best days, weeks, months & years ever!  This week has been especially wonderful.  🙂  An anniversary celebration with my Beautiful Bride has already made this week “award-winning,” but then…

Secondly, a couple of my favorite bloggers have honored me with blog awards.  Terry (an amazing woman in her own right!) has nominated me for the “Sunshine Award.”  And over at “allthingsboys” (not written by boys by the way—published, in fact, by another amazing female) I was nominated for the “Versatile Blogger Award.”  You both have lots of readers and followers so I feel really honored by the selections.  Just need to get busy and answer some questions!

And just today I found out a poem I’ve written has been selected as the winner in Kellie’s poetry contest.  To say I’m shocked would be a huge understatement!  Thank you Kellie for the recognition; I’m looking forward to receiving a copy of your new book soon!