The Pool Party

The Pool Party
Jim, Megan, Eli, Esther, Eden and Olive

28 March 2012


I lost my Dad before I was born.
He was just twelve when he snuck his first drink.
He told me the story one day as we talked.  Through liquor-slurred speech,
"That first sip made me want to do a handstand.
It felt better than anything ever had."

I never knew his fully grown self.

Like a green apple fallen to ground,
My Dad was never ready.
Yet hope finds lodging in seeds.
Even a half-rotted apple left for worms,
Carries the seed,
Plants the hope.
Even the wind that whips to blow that seed,
Can gently land it in it's place
Of rebirth.

14 October 2011


My Dad's goin' to Ogallala
I can feel it
He's going
He'll travel over the rolling hills and dusty plains
His eyes seeing the land he's dreamed of since youth
He'll see that farmland
He'll trace those roots
He'll find that church that his father's family from Scotland settled into
He'll drink in the grasslands
He'll milk those cows
He'll feed their young
He's goin' to Ogallala
Oh River of plenty
He'll be who he was meant to be
Jumping in that water as if a boy
Floating in the sun's rays glistening wet
Just bobbing in the quiet
Joy resting in his head
The face of a man now smiling
As one who's found his home

18 April 2011

Ponderings of the Heart

Twin moons of blue look up at me
Waiting has ceased with sweet closure
A new abandon of joy has been born
I ponder with Mary at what a savior you are

In wonder, recalling the dove you sent down
Cascading over the son, love soaked with pleasure
Sleep announces its end with a smile and a noise
I awaken each day and send my own dove

Sacrifice arrives like a much anticipated book
Comprehension of this gift escapes me
I hide away each moment in the vault of my heart
Sweetness reaches out to caress my face

Sending out, releasing, letting go
New seasons bring new meanings to familiar words
Creation embarked with the three intertwined
Was he easier to send having that time of delight?
A kernal of wheat is grasped in the hand
Many seeds hoped for
Certain deaths to die

30 March 2011

Granny and PaPa

I drove up their driveway this week
In a closet of memory that's been kept shut
Grief opened the door to risk a peek
I saw sun bouncing off fresh blacktop
Showing up in our old Pontiac station wagon
My mom and us three kids
That driveway meant salvation
We would run out, estatic for a place
A refuge and hole to burrow and be
The sunporch, jujubee's, cookie jar and old cast iron sewing table
Granny's antique doll, jewelry and nail polish, the shed and PaPa's creek and garden
All signposts of relief
A brief layover in a village void of
I never knew until now that they saved my life
Taking naps with PaPa
The smell of his sweater as I lay my cheek on his chest
The touch and feel of a Father
A number not dialed in over twenty years
It's retrieval so instinctual
Like milk in it's place on the fridge door
Oh, to brush now finger over numbers and press down...
I'd tell you thank you
PaPa, for the quarters and dollars and trips to the park
For Yankee Doodle Dandy
For your guardian eyes, watching and perpetually pacing and tracing our footsteps through play
I'd hear your stories and ask and listen more
Granny, you birthed a stillborn son and buried a daughter
Cathy was her name
Your childhood had you webbed in it's own alcohol
Did you know you could name your son and grieve his death?
Or was that sorrow shoved down too in a pit named forgotten and no more?
I see why the yarn of control had you wound up in such a tight ball
I'd want to gently snip through those stitches of a heart so bound and sewn in pain
And allow the space for the beat to begin it's pulse again
You called me your angel
I think you were mine
And, I would give anything to drive up again down that winding road
That led to your house
On Brainard Street

10 March 2011

Can Churches Learn From Microbreweries?

I think it goes without saying that microbreweries, and the craft beers they produce, are huge right now.  Michigan boasts a rapidly growing micro-brew industry and it seems like any medium size town will have a microbrewery.  Even the big beer execs have seen the trend and they are marketing their own versions of "craft beers." 

What makes them special?

Microbreweries are almost universally seen to be good for the local community.  They encourage a neighborhood sensibility and hometown pride.  They are thought to encourage economic vitality and stimulate local artistry and creativity.  Then there's the craft brews themselves.  Typically local sourced and always locally made.  Each batch crafted with attention to the distinctive details of its particular flavors.  

Is there anything churches could learn from here?

Can churches be widely regarded as good for the local community?  What if churches encouraged a sense of hometown camaraderie and pride?  What if churches contributed to the local economic health and nurtured creativity and artistry? 

And what if churches made disciples, followers of Jesus - our "product" - the same way microbreweries crafted beer?  What if churches developed more homegrown disciples - locally sourced and produced - instead of relying so heavily on imports from other churches?  What if pastors and church leaders crafted followers of Jesus with careful attention to the qualities of each person (or each small group batch?) so that its distinctive flavors could be developed and savored? 

Might God be pleased?  And the world too?  And might we enjoy the process along the way, as a master craft brewer must surely enjoy his or her work?

What would it take to do this?  And are we interested?

23 January 2011

Jan. 2nd (part two)

I haven't felt this alive in years
Driving through the Ethiopian countryside
I am transported
This is the Tuscany of Africa
I ride as a guest
Watching flashes of glory pass by

Jan. 2nd

Birthday wishes for me
A children's choir honoring our visit with their voices in Amharic worship
Buna entata (coffee with milk) at our breakfast
Coffee so good- my mouth sang a new song
Our son gently stroking the hair and face of the most striking Ethiopian girl sitting next to us
The church at Mugar serving back to us the bread we had brought
to share with them
And not allowing us to leave without first serving us more coffee
I drank it without cream or milk and could have had five more
Our friend Tsegaye praying over Jim and me
Kneeling down and grasping our feet and weeping his heart for us to God
My son praying with us over two women for Jesus to break through
the chains in their lives
A constant thoughtfulness toward us that was as natural to these African men as nursing infants
with their mothers
I am wordless to tell the story of this grace
My senses and knitted frame have been blanketed in the warm embrace of a people so lovely
So beautiful
I stand changed as a new year dawns
I rise with the pink and orange and yellow hues of the sun
I lay out arms stretched and palms supine
To bake in its light