These towers shove Babel

That races through the skies

Clouds bearing witness

With their misty eyes

These towers love Babel

The source of  lies

Babels spread

The young girl cries

Photos fly reaching untold eyes, messages of love, lust, loss of trust, words of hate hiding insecurities proving painful sureties that cycles roll on, all take the toll on sanity, of false



He towers above Babel

With infinite love

for us sinful rabble

Understanding but hating our reasons

Still forgiving

These electronic treasons

against His way

I struggle with a few things, one is the actual story of the Tower of Babel, in Genesis 11: 1 – 9 it reads as if God is worried that humans will become too powerful… I think it is more that God doesn’t want us to rely overmuch on our own power, and splits the language of man and condemning me to try to learn conjugations and irregular verbs and try to keep from mixing my English, Spanish, and German… (Creo que das ist nicht so gut.)

God wants us to rely on him. I don’t always do that. I know y’all are probably picking yourselves up off the floor at my admission that I’m human. I try to deal with my anxiety and insecurity by getting noticed for physical appearance. I have done it in person, electronically, and even anonymously… I’m not proud of the things that I have done, sent, posted, but I’m not beating my self up about them anymore either.

It is all from a strange mix of pride and insecurity. I write ‘is’ because I still struggle, but with my recovery group and my work the struggle gets smaller all the time. And now I share with you all because there may be someone out there, someone like me, who needs to hear that God still loves them and wants them back.  (I know I should write him or her there but it’s so awkward!)

For so long I thought God didn’t want me because of my dirt and that I had to rely on myself and my works to feel good about myself.  But now I know that He loves me so much that he sacrificed His only Son to wash away my dirt and let me draw near. That love and grace soothes my anxiety and diminishes my prideful insecurities.

And now with the I-phone X out with its selfie features and functions I will need it even more!

When I’m really thinking I can do anything to ease my trouble or guilt I remember Ecclesiates….

Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Thanks y’all and God bless


She was sent there with her two little brothers, although she was only six she’d been used to caring for them. Her mother sent her this morning, told her to go to the corner grocer and pick up bread, eggs, milk, and as a special treat an orange for herself and each of her two brothers.

On the way she herded her little ducks in each time they’d get distracted by the sounds of the city. Once she had to go back and collect them from a store front window where their frosty breath was fogging the glass between them and a shiny red train set going round and round. Once she had to pull their hungry eyes away from the bakery window where fresh muffins were fogging the inside of the glass.

At six she had already herded her little crew with bags and baggage through three changes of households, back and forth from her mother’s house in the city to her father’s house in the country. And now, because of a storm, and because her daddy was not home during the storm they were back in the city with her mother.

Daddy gone on a date and then there was thunder, the boys were scared (and so was she a little) so she went to the neighbor’s house. About a quarter mile through the thunderstorm. The neighbor looked down at the three little soggy scardies, “Heavens what are you kids doing out this late in this storm?”

The reply came, then some hot cocoa, then men with badges and more questions, then the move back to Mommie’s.

Mommy didn’t leave the apartment much. So shopping trips meant three little tykes would go out into the world to get sustenance. The oldest six, but experience had made her wise.

The milk and eggs made her basket heavy but she could manage, she put the oranges in the bottom so that they wouldn’t crush the bread. Not that mommy would notice but her brothers wouldn’t eat sandwiches made from crushed bread, then mommie would notice and yell.

The grocer looked down with some pity, he’d seen these three before. He’d seen their kind a lot lately. Even honest folks were having trouble finding work, and he was extending credit to proud fathers and families who were trying to get by. He gave the corners of his mouth just a slight rise as she looked up at him over the counter. Those corners dropped when he lifted the bread out of the basked to reveal the oranges. “Oranges?” his voice was rough on her little ears, to her it sounded like a question but felt like she was in trouble. “You want oranges on credit? No, no I can’t. You get the bread and eggs, but oranges? I’m going broke so that you’re lazy mom can have oranges?”

Suddenly she felt hot on her ears, she felt the heat go down the back of her neck. “Mommie told me to get oranges for me and my brothers, not for her though.”

The man’s face got red, “No, no oranges. I won’t have you go hungry but oranges are for paying customers. You go put them back now.”

Her two little brothers watched her as she walked back and put them on the shelf. When she came back to the counter she saw the lip quiver and watery eyes that meant the little one was going to cry. If he threw a fit it meant he would sit down and she wasn’t strong enough to lift him to keep going home and he would cry and probably wet right in the store.

“Please mister, can I just get one for my brothers to share? They don’t ever get anything sweet. I don’t need one, but for them to share?”

Something was going on in the man’s face, it was going red and white, and his lip was doing just like her brothers. “Sweetie I can’t give them away… but… but I need someone to sweep my stoop. If you sweep it I’ll give you an orange in payment.”

Her face exploded with a smile at the thought of being able to earn an orange for the boys, “Yessir! I will, can you watch my brothers?”

She didn’t give him a chance to answer, her shoes clacked the floorboards of the store as she raced to get the broom from the doorway. It towered over her as she struggled to get the bristles to work against the grain of the wooden stoop.

The boys were wrestling on the ground arguing over the orange the man gave them. She scrunched her face and looked up at him, “Mister that stoop wasn’t even dirty… What’d you need it swept for?”

“Oh young lady, sometimes stoops need to be swept for different reasons, you run home now before your milk spoils. Come back next week and I’ll have more work for you to do, you can start working of your mother’s credit.”

Next week came around but she wasn’t there. A morning when mommie wouldn’t get out of bed lead to more men with badges, more questions and a move back to the country. That little girl had always remembered the embarrassment of having to return those oranges, but even better the opportunity of being able to earn one. She never forgot that store owner either.

My grandmother told me that story of her life during the depression when I was about 10 and asked her why she always put an orange in the toe of our stockings each year at Christmas. I hate oranges… but after that story I realized what an amazing gift she was giving us, and I’m so happy to have that part of her life, so saddened by what she had to go through and so inspired by the way she overcame the challenges she faced.

And now, every time I see an orange I think of that story, and of her courage as I reach past the orange to grab some bananas.

On that day my grandmother learned a lesson about humility and grace, about work and pride.

Psalm 32:8 tells how God will teach us and guide us toward a path of grace and light.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

via Daily Prompt: Orange

Some people swore…

Some people swore that the house was haunted. It wasn’t just because of the way the ancient dark oaks stood guard looming in the moonlight. It was a little because of the way the graying paint pealed off like strips of flesh rotting from a corpse. Also it was a little because the house was built on the site of a great Civil War massacre, although nobody was sure which side massacred what. All these things implied, “Haunted House,” but didn’t prove. Some folks swore it was haunted, knew it was haunted cause some folks had seen me.

A pale apparition in the window late at night, the one the boys would dare each other to sneak out to see, the one teenagers would use to try to scare their dates into a kiss or…maybe more. Sometimes I favor them with a short pass by the window or even a pause. I do love to hear the screams when they see what they can’t explain. It sound like sort of a muffled moan or whimper, the young ones sprint away usually leaving the slower friends to fend for themselves and the teens get pulled into the car by their girls and act tough like they aren’t scared, but I see them looking back over their shoulder trying to convince themselves.

I suppose at this point I could continue the cliché and tell you about the sorrow that ties me to this house. Should I drag the tears out of you with a tale of loss? My boy, my beautiful son, the image of me was taken. It happened when I realized how tightly I was clinging to the memory of the fishing trips, of the walks with a tiny hand in mine, of the way that he would look up to me with such devotion usually reserved for God. The memory mixes with the responsibility of having a little copy of yourself watching your every move trying to become more and more like you that crashes home when you see the pain in his eyes when you become human. And the disappointment that he’d achieved his goal, he’d become you. I lost my son true, but I lost him to life, he is a lawyer now with a beautiful wife and a precious little girl. He’s the God now and has little need of me, I just hope he enjoys the time he has before he’s human.

I guess the reason I haunt this place really is to keep a little mystery in this town, and with it some wonder. I do it so that dads can stay gods just a little longer or maybe so that my son will see that maybe I am something more then human. I’ve been doing it for years, showing just enough to keep people coming out, but not enough to convince everyone. I hide when the cameras come out because lasting proof would be the end of me. My wife, of course worries, “Get away from that window ya old fool,” she says, “fore someone gets too scared and tires to shoot ya.” I guess that could kill me, then I’d be dead and no one would haunt this old house. I won’t live for ever of course. But then my son could tell my tale with a half smile and a tear, he’d tell of how his dad hung on to something as long as he could but in the end he died trying to keep us young and then he’d say how….
Nothing was ever the same again after that.

I wrote that story about seven years ago for an NPR short story contest. I know, NPR, I’ll wait while you silently judge me as a free thinking hippie.
O.k. now that we have that over with you can judge my writing. The contest was to write 600 words or less with the phrases “Some people swore the house was haunted” and “Nothing was ever the same again after that.”

It was a story I had in my head for a while and then the contest prompted me to write it. It was originally going to be more about how the actions of the father can let down the son. How a father acting perfect all the time can set up a son for failure. Because of the 600 word constraint though I cut it short. As I re-read it again for the first time in 7 years I can feel where the story is disjointed, halts, and then goes off in a different direction.

Maybe that still tells a story though, I tried to make this story fit someone else’s idea, I tried to make it match an ideal rather than to life as it was meant to. Because I tried to jam it into a mold it ended up not living up. I really wanted to edit it and make it better and scary and then have the big twist… but, I’m letting the story stay like it is to illustrate something.

I often try to jam myself into the mold of best student, hardest worker, funnest dad, most attentive partner. I just don’t fit that mold, as much as I try, I fall short and I end up disjointed and in the wrong direction.


What I realize is that I don’t have to be anyone’s ideal, I am imperfect in my life and my decisions. When I try to be in control and try to be something that glorifies myself I fall, a few times I have fallen very far and brought others down with me.

Now I read my bible every day, I meet once a week with some brothers and sisters who are going through recovery, and I pray for guidance because I know that I am NOT God.

As far as direction I think of Psalm 32-8 and live one day at a time.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Thanks y’all and God bless. And for you cloud poem folks don’t worry I have a real beaut coming up!

We don’t need no Education…


Home, solitude, safety. From what? A real son of a gun of a day, when everyone wanted something from me and I could deliver on none of it. And not just the, “Hey you’re an adult, go ahead and solve your problem.” type of me not delivering, but the actual, “Hey I know you really need me on this but I’m not sure how or even when I’ll get to it, “ type of not delivering.
My job is expanding, new role, new responsibility, new opportunity for humility. And that was this day. People wanting out of class or refusing to go (and that’s just the teachers) people wanting in class and it has to be right now, people wanting reports, and on those reports the data needs to look better.
Emails, drop-ins, phone calls have increased exponentially to the point I want to put an out of office message on computer and phone and a “beware of the rabid gorilla” sign on my office door. Of course that’s not my management style, I’m much too far on the other side in fact so I slugged through the emails, answered the phone when I could, and stopped everything for each office visitor so I could give undivided attention to the latest catastrophe that required a day off from school.

On top of all this cruddy yet crucial little tasks the strap to my leather messenger bag (totally not a man purse) for my laptop broke and I had to lug the thing all over (ok just like 25 steps to my car and then about 17 more from the car to my apartment) Texas with no strap. Ugh… So I really felt like as I stepped into my place I needed to lean back against the door to keep the wolves (or people wanting something from me) at bay.
I took a couple of calming breaths and tried to muster the patience to clean out my men’s carry all (NOT a purse!) and figure out how to fix it. I grabbed the glob of papers (my organization hasn’t progressed past “sixth grade boy”) and set them on the table, pulled out the computer and began to look at the broken strap. Yup… it was broken.

My analytical mind told me that it was because it was sewn straight to the bag with no pivot, thereby putting too much stress on the seam. My frugal mind was thinking maybe I should have spent more than $50 on the bag. My fashion mind was still trying to convince itself that this was NOT a purse, but simply a leather bag to carry my items on a strap to throw over my shoulder that may or may not match my belt and shoes.

Of course none of those thoughts would fix the broken strap and I was realizing I’d probably have to go and buy a new computer messenger bag (not a… ok is that joke dead yet? purse.)

I’m cheap, not like re-use tea bags and save toe nail clippings for plant fertilizer (it actually works) cheap but, still pretty cheap. So after a day of defeat the thought of having to put out probably more than $50 for a Personal Utilitarian Retention System Enveloper put my face in my hands. Between my fingers I noticed something on my table.

It was strewn carelessly down when I emptied my bag and there were some other forgotten papers partially covering it. I recognized it immediately and it brought a smile to my face. It was from a student wanting out of school, like about 20 I had talked to that very day. The letter read as follows:

To GED Principal,
This School is not for me and is a waste of my time. GED is not going to help because whenever I return to society I’m going to do what I was doing, why would I sit here and lie to you or myself. I’m wasting time and space being here in class, you have others who really care about their education but I’m not one of them. I feel like the system is forcing an education on me like others try force religion beliefs on others, everyday I’m just sitting here circling answers just to not get wrote up or just to say I was in class. But I told the teacher I don’t want to take anymore test but if she want I will sit here and keep wasting time and space turning in incorrect work. I know y’all doing y’all job but an education is not something I want to receive in life. I’m just being honest!! I rather go to work while I’m here like I did at the other units instead of wasting paper!!

Some names were left off to protect the well, not exactly innocent, but still, people who deserve not to be mentioned. This guy hated school, I’ll call him Jay (not the same Jay as in some of my earlier stories, maybe I need to find a new anonymous name?) but anyway, Jay hated school, even went so far as to have to be separated from the general population because he let an issue escalate until he became threatening. He finally wrote me this letter asking to be let out of school.

I don’t remember giving him a big pep talk, I don’t remember any great wisdom from me. I did tell him that he wasn’t getting out of school and that I thought he was smart enough that he could get the GED. In fact, I do remember telling him that if he really wanted out he should just study, get his GED, and graduate out.

4 weeks after Jay got out of administrative segregation I handed him his GED certificate. I could see the pride building in his eyes, as well as the tears. I invited him into my office mostly so his peers wouldn’t see him cry, but also a little so that they wouldn’t see me cry either.

Well I still have fights with students (well they still try to argue with me), I still have to convince them to at least come to class, that’s step one, then once they show up, I have to convince them to pay attention, then to work… they don’t all get their GED certificates, but they all have a chance. And now I have something to remember on the days when I feel like giving in, when I feel beat down by those that don’t see the value of what I’m trying to help them do. I think of Jay, and how a big, mean, bad muther… well how this man was brought to tears by the first positive thing he had ever done for himself.

It also makes me really think the obvious, “How many times have I rebelled against what God knows to be good for me?” Dang near every time at first at least. How many times has he called me in his office and said, “You’re not getting out of this and I know you can do it.”

Proverbs 1-7 is one that we could all remember when we think we know it all, when we think there’s nothing left to learn.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Thanks for reading y’all and God bless.

Drag on into the shadows


Dragon slithering
Across morning sky
Many singed serpent
With cloud shrouded eye

A dusky dark specter
Of future unkind?
Or a hazy mark reflection of
projections of
Darkness in the mind

Brightening sun will rise
Enlightening dark filled eyes

Darkness fading
Shadows shorten shadings
into recesses
of the brain



Shadows Remain

I know, I know, but I love cloud poems and plus that one totally looks like a dragon so… obviously.  In all seriousness this reminded me of a bible study I’m doing on leadership that stated that leaders need to be examples of the truth. Yes! Absolutely! The devotional went on to state that leaders need to show that the truth to be an example of is basically perfection…

Ooops what? If a leader has to be perfect then I’m gonna go ahead and give up my spot, because brothers and sisters I’m a sinner. I’v talked about my journey toward God and away from sin but it’s a journey we don’t finish on Earth. When a leader has the expectation to be perfect or tries to act perfect we are in trouble (and so is he or she.)

The truth I want to be an example of is that I am a sinner and I need God’s grace every day, the truth I want to be an example of is that grace has amazing healing powers, the truth I want to be an example of is that my heart is healing with grace but I’m still a sinner.

I used to get Wilde and say, “I can resist anything but temptation,” Then, through grace I was able to start rising above temptation, but it was still there. Now, through grace, temptations themselves are fading. Fading, not disappearing, and honestly I still have moments of weakness. The truth I want to be an example of is that in those moments, when I’m weakest, I feel my greatest need for God.

In those moments I trust that God loves me, I know that His Son will shine his infinite grace into my brain and help heal me. The imagery of the shadows and feeling like my heart has shadows and that brought to mind the psalm that I first learned in the *Army.

Psalm 23:4

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil; for Thou art with me, and Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.

*Of course it was a little different in the Army though because it finished with something like, “because I’m the baddest blankety blank in the valley…”

Thanks for putting up with yet another cloud poem y’all and God bless

write all


I Took


I took
A moment
A breath
A break
A rest
From scheduling, solving, collaborating, resolving
From rescuing, encouraging, demanding
From being outstanding

In stead
of Being, seeing, leading, proceeding
A moment
To Be

My thoughts wander
Quiet as I ponder
The sound
Feathers brush the wind
Rising from the ground

bird moment

My heart beats
I check in
Anger retreats
Anger why?

A breath
A sigh

a moment

I took…



Somedays everything is cool, I keep busy, I have lots of important work, work that can help others, work that distracts me from the deep work I need to do.

So today I took my little jeep and found a cornfield at lunch and meditated. I’m sure the farmers were wondering what the hippie was up to as they drove by (although maybe not, we are close to Austin so…)

So today I took some time, not really for myself but to look into myself. To be still and check in. I find some anger and resentment there, angry at myself and and angry at the source of all my crap. I’m so far from where I started, but not there yet. Obviously because today I also took a selfie… Still.

Still have the need to put myself out there for approval to entertain and save.

The interesting thing is that I thought I was smiling when I took it… I thought I was looking whistfully (wistfully?) out at the stubble of the fallow field, bemused at my progress. I see anger on my face though. Is that a problem? Only if I deny it.

If I can just be still and be  for a while and stop moving. So hard for a hard charging go getter with good intentions. But I need these times for myself to check in so that I don’t check out on others in my life. I’m not sure if there’s a better piece of scripture than Psalm 46:10 here.

Be still and know that I Am God.

Amen, I am so glad God that You are God and that I am not, I can barely be me some days.

Thanks y’all, and God bless.

The Future Holds


I Struggle to understand
Violence inside of man
Searching for reason
In a senseless season
It escapes me
The search castrates me
Explanation intention, safety, prevention, questions, reports, accusations, retorts…
Useless anger flails to find fault
Emotion stretched, strung taut
Evades us
Please God
Let peace invade us
Let us rest and remember
Peaceful pastures lie in wait
Places free from hate
Directions so simple yet so clouded
A point shrouded

Blurring the start
A point within

A human heart

I am not in control

I can’t understand

Serenity still


The surrendering hand


On Monday morning I found myself just praying one word, “Help,” I don’t even honestly know if I needed help or wanted help for victims and families, for our country, or a little of everything. When I’m praying and a word stands out in my head I pray it.

I’m sure some were praying, “Why?” Would a God of mercy allow such violence such senseless, severe, and random violence? No Answer.

Is that a dangerous prayer? To question God? Maybe, but it’s a human prayer. I grew up thinking that God would be mad if I questioned him, that I had to work to make God love me, but now I understand that God wants all of us. Our doubts, our accusations, even our anger. Give it up to God even when we don’t know what it is or don’t understand His way, offer it to Him and talk to Him about it.  Is it a sin to question God? We don’t even have to answer that question because if it is we’re forgiven, I think it’s worse to think you can fool God and hide your anger for Him from Him…

And the prayer for help can change with the prayer I say every week with a group of broken and helpless guys , and it’s written on the inside of my bracelet. “*God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

When I talk to my sister (the smart one*2) about trusting God and letting him work she reminds me that He gave me a brain and abilities to work also, that I can’t just sit back and wait. She’s right and it’s right in there.

The question remains, can we do anything about the violence that has occurred and can occur again? Yes, plenty, but it may not look exactly like what we might expect, and nothing I ever do can keep me completely safe. Which is something I struggle with, I am at the mercy of bullets, bombs, cancers, crashes, even the slip of a hand of a professional who thought he was in control of a needle… all these can affect me no matter how strong tough smart careful I am.

The most important I think that I can do then is love; myself, my family, my neighbors. Especially my neighbors… I am going to continue to reach out, to find my friends in isolation and talk with them and try to let some light into their lives.

Reach out and call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, check in with your neighbors and family try to give them a smile. That Aunt (not you Auntie Mi) that you haven’t chatted with in a while, you’re ex brother, father, or mother-in-law, the people who get forgotten, call them. Conversations with those estranged folks can be painful and awkward but it very well could be a conversation  that saves a life.

Paul wrote so much about fellowship and I’m reminded of Ephesians when I think of trying to pull people together in the most difficult of times.

 Ephesians 4:2-3

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


*Quoted above and on my bracelet is The Good Parts Version of the Serenity prayer. The part everyone knows and has on posters. There’s lots more…

*2 Each of my sisters thinks I just wrote about her now

Chances Taken and Branches Shaken


The wind buffets back and forth

Like taking chances

Each direction like the oak





Not quite

Asymmetrical in sight


Bark scored from a swing chain

Of children’s laughter only echoes remain


It stood through storm and heat

Stayed the rain and sleet

Winds bending not breaking

Limbs creaking



The whole remains intact

Even as limbs give up and snap

Leaving holes


In the soul off center gashes

To beauty’s eye

Empty slashes


But the heart sees a different story of these tests

These winds

The heart sees these spaces

As glorious places for the light of grace

to fill in.


I have some ugly scars… from winning the jumping from the top step contest, working in a church, and from an accident in the Army along with several others. Each scar though, came with a lesson and left a tough patch of skin. We boys (and maybe girls but I can’t speak for y’all) bear our scars as medals of achievement, of surviving stupidity on the way to wisdom.

I have uglier, emotional scars, some because of what was done to me and some because of what I had done. Men (and maybe women… see above) are taught to hide these and not let anyone see a flaw. Well that’s pure crap. Show off your scars, be proud of surviving, because to do so will help others survive and help others stop their cycle of shame and pain.

Each scar, physical or emotional can be a medal and a space for light to shine through. Each scar can be an example of how our trials shape us and we can decide whether to let them be dark blemishes on our soul or a space for our light to shine through. Thanks and God bless


Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.



A Damaged Donor…

life cradle

It started with bad timing. My hands griped the wheel with white knuckles as I zoomed in and around traffic. Engine roaring as a lane would open up so that I could get one more car length closer to my destination, then brakes straining as traffic would grow sluggish, not to a stop but still too slow.

I checked the rearview, not for cars behind me but to see if my precious cargo was traveling well. Two humble boxes, the contents of which could save lives… if I got them delivered in time.

It started with a mistimed harvest and a broken cooling system. If my delivery got to hot it would be useless and it could potentially mean tragedy. So, I mashed the gas and mashed the brakes alternatively as I tried to get south on I 35, a task that is stressful no matter the occasion. From the middle lane I saw a Minivan to my left, if I could just edge up the little Hybrid ahead of me I could pop into the left lane and zoom away. I drew closer to the Hybrid (I hate tailgaters I really do but this was an emergency) and saw the Minivan’s front bumper come even with my back wheel… just a little father… brake lights… the Hybrid was upset at and decided to tap his brakes. As I stomp the brake pedal my hand reaches back to catch the cargo that was sliding forward with inertia. I stopped the car and the cargo just before they ended in a devastating crash.

By the time the Hybrid accelerated (well accelerated for a Hybrid) the van had passed me so I jumped in the fast lane in hopes of a clear path and higher speeds. My hopes were dashed as I saw the sticker family on the back window of the Minivan getting closer as it was keeping a constant 2 mph under than the posted speed limit which is truly more like 12 under for the left lane. The Hybrid was now pulling away and I could feel the smug attitude of the driver from the posture of the care (sometimes you can just tell.) I knew I shouldn’t be mad at the Minivan driver, she was probably just a stick figure mom, driving a stick figure kid to the Dr. or maybe a stick figure dog to the Vet… but still, left lane for passing not getting passed…

Just as I was shaking my head at how sometimes my lack of patience leads to folly I saw an opening in the far right lane. I zoomed over (obviously pausing in the middle land and using my turn indicator in case any law enforcers are reading) and saw a clear path all the way to my exit. From there I knew there were four lights before my left turn onto a side street that had to cross to busy streets after a stop sign…

Nervous beads of sweat dripped from my forehead as if I could feel the heat that was ruining my precious delivery. I was blessed to catch 75% of the lights green and have no traffic to contend on my cross streets. I was only blocks away.

I knew I was only two blocks and a right turn away now… my tension grew inversely to the proximity of my destination. I was imagining an overheated and useless delivery, I could see the disappointment on the faces of my recipients. I’d never let them down before and this would be a new experience. Visions of me leaving the building with my head hanging down clouded my view of the roads.

Almost in tears with worry I finally pulled in to the parking lot, I rushed to the door loaded with my two containers. The smile that Kelly the receptionist usually greeted me with quickly faded. Her eyes widened and then narrowed with question as she took in my sweaty face.

“They took it out too soon and our cooler broke,” was all I could say.

Like a spring Kelly was out of her chair, “Quick let’s get it to the back and see what the damage is.”

She lead me bursting through the double doors and I saw the team waiting for me, I was shaking, so mad at myself even though circumstances were beyond my control.

My eyes locked onto those of the team leader Jackie, “Is it bad?”

Looking down with shame I could barely say, “I haven’t looked.”

“O.k. Bob don’t get down, let’s look at what we’re dealing with.” Jackie carefully opened one of the boxes and looked inside, her brow scrunched and her shoulders dropped.

“Oh no,” I thought, “It’s ruined.”

Jackie reached into the container and pulled out a sample. With horror I watched as she popped it into her mouth and began to chew….

“Not bad,” she smiled, “A little wilted and bitey, but arugula is supposed to have a peppery taste. Besides, any produce you bring us that we can’t hand out goes to a pig farmer who gives us ham every year so nothing you bring goes to waste.”

I was so relieved that my leafy vegetables hadn’t been ruined by getting picked early and sitting in the sun and then a hot room with no ac. I had delivered late but not too late and my humble and meager 50lbs of arugula would go on to feed some hungry families from the food bank.

Oh gosh, I’m sorry did I make you feel like I was delivering an organ for donation? Well, maybe I meant too, maybe food deliveries don’t come with the urgency of say, a new heart, but food saves lives just the same. The urgency of this delivery sort of did bring that fact to the front of my consciousness on this particular trip.

The USDA indicates that as many as 1 in 6 people in the US are “food insecure” which means they don’t have access at all times to enough food for the household. Because I’ve gone hungry before (o.k. it was because I spent my food money on beer, but still) and because I’m trying to change my selfishness through giving and because I work at a place with lots of land and labor I decided that I would try to start a farm to grow vegetables for food banks.

The food bank I frequent was used to me bringing a truckload (ok Grand Cherokee load) of vegetables and melons. Our biggest delivery was 500 lbs of onions, and 497 lbs of watermelon came in second. So, the other issue I was having over the arugula was size of donation. It was only 50 lbs and I was almost too ashamed to deliver it, like, what good would 50lbs of wilted peppery lettuce do?

When I saw the faces of the volunteers and employees and even some of the recipients I knew that 50lbs though small, meant another day between a family and hunger for a few folks at least. And each pound adds up. So far we’ve provided over 3700 lbs of food to our local food bank. The men who are doing the work are so happy to be able to give, and most of them are on a journey of recovery just like I am. It’s amazing to see the growth of the garden and how it’s like a physical manifestation of their spiritual and moral growth. (OUR spiritual and moral growth; I’m on the same path)

When I worry about how small a contribution I can make I remember a story of a boy and some starfish, and most of all I remember Mark 12 and I quit worrying about how much I can give as long as it’s all I can.

43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”


And I do try to remember that no act and no amount of giving can make me worthy of Grace, but rather I do these things as a celebration of God’s love.

Thanks and just a warning, I have like… at least 6 cloud poems in my head so watch out! God bless.

Dark Places

dark places

They went alone to the dark places

Pain tempered hope

Adding strength to their faces

Looking up through

The midnight Shadows

Empty alone

No site of fellows



Even as they took

First steps toward the light

No one to share Grace

To share Hope’s delight


Then something new appears

From a tangled web

A change

A goodbye to tears

Each face

Turns towards the other

Finding a new space


Where footsteps




Hands to hold

A partner a friend

Lovers to tend

To a new story told



Ok so it’s been a while! Lots shaking up in my life, job expanding to about 4 times what it was and the buds of a new career starting to blossom also so… super busy! I’m glad that my first trip back to poetry had sort of something to do with clouds though right? I have so much in my head and so much in my heart that just rattles around waiting to find a page. It is amazing to have friends who understand the dark places and know the way back to the light… sometimes it’s hard to find my way and a hand to lead me is always nice.

When I feel myself starting back towards my isolation (which for me is a dark path) I remember Eccleisastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 
10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
I’ve got some funny/borderline blasphemous stuff upcoming… it all started because I did an outlaw christian bible study and I’m feeling like a gunslinger 🙂 Thanks y’all and God bless