Thursday, December 30, 2004

Yet taught by time, my heart has learned to glow,
For other's good, and melt at other's woe.


I was discussing the Tsunami crisis with a co-worker and at one point she made the comment “ I know that good comes out of bad things, but it is hard to think what good can come from this.”
I began to think about that the following day and along these lines I began to consider what good can come first, from our family.
My son Matt is there with a job of photographing the good work of the aid workers and I know helping in any way he can. That began the process of thinking what can we under my roof do.
I began by thinking that my Grand-daughters should be aware of the crisis and can help out by prayer and giving in addition to sharing the world’s grief. We watched the news together and it brought up questions which we discussed.
We researched which charity has low administrative costs to give our share too.

As Christians, and not just Christians, we all support the hope of unity in the world and talk of how we care about others. This is our opportunity to demonstrate that concern and support the relief effort in all the ways we are able.
I’m optimistic that even in the midst of this horrid tragedy, countless thousands will shelter themselves, nourish themselves, drink pure water, have their wounds attended to by a world that supports and sympathizes with them, regardless of their race or belief system.

The earthquake was huge and it sent water flooding over land,..... but for a day.
As I watch and listen to the world’s response I think we will see a quake far greater in a flood of giving, caring, praying, that will flood the land with a far greater swell and far longer flood.
As parents take this time to teach their children to share in giving and as people from all countries send their gifts, prayers and sympathies, the brotherhood of man may be bound tighter than ever before. In a time when rivalry and differences among countries, parties and race seem to divide, I think the earthquake of care reverberating across the world may be the greatest memory.

Monday, December 20, 2004

1890's Humor

Mark Twain, Bill Nye, and James Whitcomb Riley were contemporaries. Bill and James were close friends. All three were well known wits of their time. This story is told by Bill Nye and if you have never heard of him this will give you a good idea of his humor.

His Garden

I always enjoy a vegetable garden, and through the winter I look forward to the spring days when I will take my cob pipe and hoe and go joyously afield.
I like to toy with the moist earth and the common squash bug of the work-a-day world. It is a pleasure also to irrigate the garden, watering the sauerkraut plant and the timid tomato vine as though they were children asking for a drink. I am never happier than when I am engaged in irrigating my tropical garden or climbing my neighbor with a hoe when he shuts off my water supply by sticking an old pair of pantaloons in the canal that leads to my squash conservatory.
One day a man shut off my irrigation that way and dammed the water up to such a degree that I shut off his air supply, and I was about to say dammed him up also. We had quite a scuffle. Up to that time we had never exchanged a harsh word. That morning I noticed that my early climbing horse-radish and my dwarf army worms were looking a little peaked, and I wondered what was the matter.
I had been absent several days and was grieved to notice that my garden had a kind of blasé air, as though it needed rest and change of scene.
The Poland China egg-plant looked up sadly at me and seemed to say: ”Pardner, don’t you think it’s a long time between drinks?” The watermelon seemed to have a dark brown taste in its mouth, and there was an air of gloom all over the garden.
At that moment I discovered my next-door neighbor at the ditch on the corner. He was singing softly to himself;
O, yes, I’ll meet you;
I’ll meet you when the sun goes down.
He was also jamming an old pair of Rembrandt pants into the canal, where they would shut off my supply. He stood with his back towards me, and just as he said he would “meet me when the sun goes down,” I smote him across the back of the neck with my hoe handle, and before he could recover from the first dumb surprise and wonder, I pulled the dripping pantaloons out of the ditch and tied them in a true-lover’s knot around his neck. He began to look black in the face, and his struggles soon ceased altogether. At that moment his wife came out and shrieked two pure womanly shrieks, and hissed in my ear; “You have killed me husband!”
I said, possibly I had. If so, would she please send in the bill and I would adjust it at an early day. I said this in a bantering tone of voice, and raising my hat to her in the polished way of mine, started to go, when something fell with a thud on the greenward!
It was the author of these lines. I did not know till two days afterward that my neighbors wife wore a moiré antique rolling-pin under her apron that morning.
I did not suspect it till it was too late. The affair was kind of hushed up on account of the respectability of the parties.
By the time I had recovered. The garden seemed to melt away into thin air.
My neighbor had it all his own way, and while his proud holly hocks and Johnny-jump-ups reared their heads to drink the mountain of water at the twilight hour, my little low-necked, summer squashes curled up and died.

Most every year yet I made a garden. I pay a man $3 to plow it. Then I pay $7 for garden seeds and in July I hire the same man at $3 to summer-fallow the whole thing while I go and buy my vegetables of a Chinaman named Wun Lung.
I’ve done this now for eight years, and I owe my robust health and rich olive complexion to the fact that I’ve got a garden and do just as little in it as possible.
Parties desiring a dozen or more of my Shanghai egg-plants to set under an ordinary domestic hen can procure the same by writing to me and enclosing lock of hair and $10.

Friday, December 17, 2004

"Pity is a state of kindness excited by the sight of suffering." H.W. Beecher

Beecher has a way of defining things like few others I know. I have always felt the emotions one feels when sympathizing with a sufferer a very difficult thing to describe. The situations can be so grim but in the midst of it is a longing to be where the suffering abide. When I read this quote
"a state of kindness" it seemed so clear to me. Suffering humanity draws out, compels us, to do something kind to that suffering person. Even the most hardened person is drawn into that 'state of kindness' when viewing suffering or sorrow. The 'state of kindness' not only brings consolation to the injured but it is a medicine to us. We are lifted even though we are in the most distressing circumstances. A bitter, sweet frame of mind.
I can enter that state when I see dramatic needs, but I suspect the goal is to recognize quiet suffering with more and more sensitivity.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

This Mornings Muse

I had an interesting morning which started out considering the following piece.
In an effort to make the most out of life, and pass along any tidbits that I think will enhance the lives of those I love, I delved into the feelings that this piece triggered in me. It comes from a book called “The Simple Life” by Charles Wagner.
It was written around the turn of the century, surprise, surprise, and it is antiquated in many ways but this paragraph spoke to me as he recounted the joy in the simple festivals that country folk enjoy. He contrasts that with the commercial.

“Compare one of those out-door festivals of the good old style with one of the village festivals, so-called modernized. On the one hand, in the respected frame of secular customs solid countrymen sang their songs of the country, danced the country dances, in their peasant’s attire, drank their native drinks, and seemed to completely enjoy themselves. They amused themselves like the blacksmith at his forge, as the cascade falls, as the colts bound in the meadow. It is contagious and wins your heart. In spite of oneself one says; “Bravo! Children; that is just right.” We would ask to be of the party.
On the other hand, I see villagers disguised in “citizens” ; peasants rendered ugly by the dressmakers, and as a principle ornament of the festival a gathering of degenerates, who bawl concert-hall songs; and, sometimes, holding the place of honor, a few strolling actors of the tenth class come for the occasions, to smooth off the rougher points of these rurals, and to permit them to taste of refined pleasures. For drinks, liquors based on alcohol made from potatoes or absinthe. There is no originality or picturesqueness in all of it.
Of gay abandon, perhaps, and vulgarity, but not the abandonment which brings innocent pleasure.”

Now my dilemma is that I am an equal mix of the two styles he comments on.
I enjoy those that bawl out concert-hall songs, and the strolling actors intrigue me. That being said, the old style festival brought to mind certain images to me that satisfy something deep in my soul. I would liken his ‘old style’ festivals to the local Farmers Market. There is an effort to make them in keeping with those of old. Music is folk or country with all acoustical instruments or the like. No knick-knacks, or merchandise not in keeping with the spirit of the season and theme.
I very much like the environment, it has a true simplicity with ruddy faced farm children helping their parents sell their produce, lots of denim and flannel, strong weather worn hands abound.
That thought led me to other like experiences and I drifted off to the ‘October Fest’ in Mt Angel. This is a German affair with authentic dances, attire and food.
Again it is a simple production with the crescendo being the dance around the May Pole. Having German blood in me, I thought I felt a twinge of kinship rise in me from time to time as I watched little blonde haired, blue-eyed girls with braided hair skip and smile.
While visiting Mt. Angel we ventured up to a Catholic Church that had all day long entertainment inside. We walked in the breath taking sanctuary, past the Holy Water and into the warm rich light that the towering stained glass windows provided. There was a lone woman singing with a rich clarion voice. She put a spell on me as the beauty of her simple voice rang out songs like Danny Boy and other Irish songs of culture and faith.
From there my memory took me to the ‘Garlic Festival’ another harvest time gathering. This was more of a mix of old and new but still had the flavor of the previous mentioned gatherings.
How could I forget the pumpkin patch, with hot cocoa brewing, hayrides and petting zoos of rabbits, roosters and goats. Which reminds me of the State fair and the blue ribbon quilting, giant vegetables and horse competitions. Not to mention the barn smells that at once offend and draw me.
Then I began to remember the experience of Thailand. These feelings were completely fleshed out in the genuine old culture that dominates where I visited.
It was like walking into the past and I felt right at home. The most basic needs met, to me, were filled with charm and character. From the faces, village homes to the markets, I was enraptured with each site.

So with all these thoughts filling my head I decided to look for some pithy statements that might best describe my feelings. I looked up a chapter on ' The simple life' and began to read.
I found most of the thoughts brought out the dilemma of finding purpose in life and I turned a corner as I read this first quote—

“ We must not look for a golden life in an iron age.” John ray.
That kind of popped my bubble but it fits my reality and so on I went in search of more.
“ We live merely on the crust or rind of things.” J.A. Froude
That fits as well; obviously I can’t live at the Farmers market but better to enjoy the crust than nothing at all.

“ Ones real life is so often the life one does not lead.” O. Wilde.
That resonates as well; my day-to-day life is spent in an office or warehouse far from the farm or country. But my heart is at least in part, in the country.

A thought like it – “Real life is, to most men, a long second best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.” B. Russell.
I couldn’t put my thoughts more succinctly. I’m not proud or thrilled to admit it but my dreams have little to do with my work and my home is not nestled where I would choose. But, we do what we can. Maybe that thought is spoken somewhere?
How about – “ We live, not as we wish, but as we can.” Menander
Yep, that about says it. We go where the money is to raise a family and make compromises for the whole, not just ourselves. Don’t we?
After all—“ There is one reason we cannot complain of life; it keeps no one against his will.” Seneca
True, dreams or not I’m not checking out.

Now I read a quote with some purpose to it, which I need about now.
“ Life is a mission. Every other definition of life is false, and leads all who accept it astray. Religion, science, philosophy, though still at variance upon many points,
all agree in this, that every existence is an aim.” Mazzini

So what was my aim again? I get kind of lost in all this but there are a few things I can say with certainty, or someone else can say it for me….
“ The poorest way to face life is with a sneer.” T. Roosevelt.
Sometimes I find myself doing this, with all I have to be thankful for? Still, it happens.

“ Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” O. Henry
I got a chuckle out of that and there are seasons of my life where it was so true.

Then I read this quote and it really spoke to me;
“ Life consists in what man is thinking of all day.” Emerson
I like that. Most of what we experience in life is in our mind, or in my case my mouth, and it sparked a thought that there are many things I could do with my mind while at work. I could learn a new language. I wanted to learn Thai so I could talk with Nic, or I could learn Spanish with our Hispanic population growing.
I could memorize scripture. Anyway, I spend most of my mental energy during the day on trifles. What a waste.

Well, that was then end of my morning search on the subject but I wanted to read a little in the Bible so I turned to John and my eyes fell on this verse—
“I am the light of the world, Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“The light of life” that just beamed out at me. That’s what I want, that light. Festivals are fun, travel is fine, smiles or sniffles are a part of life, but let me have the Light of Life.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The power of habit

Sir James Paget tells us that a practiced musician can play on the piano at the rate of twenty-four notes a second. For each note a nerve current must be transmitted from the brain to the fingers, and from the fingers to the brain. Each note requires three movements of a finger, the bending down and raising up, and at least one lateral, making no less than seventy-two motions in a second, each requiring a distinct effort of the will, and directed unerringly with a certain speed, and a certain force, to a certain place.
Some can do this easily, and be at the same time busily employed in intelligent conversation.
Thus, by obeying the law of habit until repetition has formed a second nature, we are able to pass the technique of life almost wholly over to nerve centers, leaving our minds free to act or enjoy.

Man's life-work is a masterpiece or a botch, according as each little habit has been perfectly or carelessly formed.
Orison S. Marden
By experience we find out a shorter way
by a long wandering.
Learning teacheth more in one year
than experience in twenty. Roger Ascham.
Pride goeth forth on horseback grand and gay,
But cometh back on foot, and begs its way.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Here is a letter written by Abraham Lincoln to Mrs. Bixby, of Boston, Massachusetts, which is declared to be the most perfect piece of composition ever penned.
It is dated from the Executive Mansion, November twenty first, Eighteen Hundred Sixty-four;

Dear Madam; I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the
Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died
gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any attempt to beguile you
from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.
But I can not refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of
the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of
your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the
solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I did not think that because I had done wrong
I ought not to do right. -- H.W. Beecher

The heart dwindles in contact with small things and
narrow interests; but when brought into harmony with
great ideas, striving for great ends, with strong feeling
excited and pouring upon the alter of success the most
costly and precious sacrifices, then the human heart,
developing the germ of immortal nature, rises to the
height of the loftiest ideas, and enlarges to the compass
of the broadest principles. -- Geo. M. Robeson

Just Hush

Let your words be few, especially when your
superiors or strangers are present, lest you
betray your own weakness, and rob yourself
of the opportunity which you might otherwise
have had to gain knowledge, wisdom and
experience by hearing those whom you silenced
by your impertinent talking. -- Sir Matthew Hale
The strongest plume in wisdom's wing
Is memory of past folly. -- Coleridge

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Room warmer

The song says, “The best things in life are free.” Well, I spent two days with Destiny, who came down with the ladies of the family to visit Grandma Jenny.
Destiny spent the night at our house and I’m still in the after-glow of this little Doe with dark fawn eyes. Permit me to boast and relish in her visit. Ten years old, may they never leave that age, full of life, smiles in her eyes and her speech.
She has such a soft and gentle heart with silent traces of womanhood at the door.
She warmed each room she was in and left me determined to have her here for more time this coming summer.
When the visit was over we took her to the Retirement home where Grandma Jenny and the family were preparing to sing some songs to the residents. What a show! About 45 minutes of singing the way that must be heard to believe. The harmony, the blend of LeeElla and Angela as only trained family members can offer. I was on the brink of tears through the entire performance as the heartfelt music filled the room. Watching the residents sing along quietly as they were bathed in gospel. The passing staff would stop and stand as the music spilled out into the halls.
Each family member sang and each seemed better than the last. Then nearing the end, Destiny got up to sing two solos. I had such anticipation to hear her sing. Her voice has the quality that comes only with tutoring by experienced teachers.
I posted on my blog the story of Diogenes who was demanded by Alexander to ask for a favor, my request would simply be to ask him to please step aside that I may see my Grand-daughter sing.

Balance in Beauty

This piece comes from Beaten Paths printed in 1890. Not a bad piece of advise for us today.

" I believe that God desires us all to become as beautiful as possible. He who at morn and eventide makes the skies a blaze of color; He who stars the meadows in spring with flowers of a hundred hues; He who arrays the autumn woods in glories of crimson and gold, and in winter makes every gaunt branch glitter with incrustation of diamonds, is surly not averse to beauty.
Make yourself as beautiful as possible, and have no fears that either your character or your influence, will suffer loss. Dress develops taste, observation, judgment, modesty. A becoming dress gives evidence of refined culture; it is an open letter of credit, read and honored by all.
Let your dress be as beautiful and becoming as you can make it. You owe this to others as well as to yourself. But at the same time, beware of carrying ornamentation to far. For the highest beauty is not that which glares and dazzles, not that whose aggressiveness compels attention, but rather that whose quiet, unobtrusive grace waits discovery at the eye of the connoisseur.
It is not the leonine sunflower of Oscar Wilde, but the shrinking violet, that moves the sweetest chords in the poet's lyre. "Virtue," says Lord Bacon, "is like rich stone, best plain set."
Talents and graces of mind and heart need no meretricious setting to make the world cognizant of their existence. The true principle was disclosed by Dr. Johnson when he declared that a certain lady must have been well dressed, because he could not remember what she had on.
The lady uses dress as an auxiliary, and would feel humiliated to have the world take notice of her wardrobe rather than of herself. Over ornamentation is worse than no ornamentation at all."

As I think about the Red Carpet filled with Hollywood's starlets 'glaring and blazing' in their dress; I suspect they are not humiliated that the world takes no note of their character.
Just a guess.

Powers of Darkness

This warning is strong medicine but in our world so pertinent.

" From the depths of his own bitter and terrible experience, Charles Lamb, witty, gifted, ruined, lifts up his voice in warning:
" The waters have gone over me. But out of the black depths, could I be heard, I would cry out to all those who have but set one foot in the perilous flood. Could the youth, to whom the flavor of his first wine is delicious as the opening scene of life or the entering upon some newly discovered paradise, look into my desolation, and be made to understand what a dreary thing it is when a man shall feel himself going down a precipice with open eyes and a passive will -- to see his destruction and have no power to stop it, yet feel it all the way emanating from himself; to see all goodness emptied out of him, and yet not be able to forget a time when it was otherwise; to bear about the piteous spectacle of his own ruin;
could he see my fevered eye, feverish with last night's drinking, and feverishly looking for tonight's repetition of the folly; could he but feel the body of the death out of which I cry hourly, with feebler outcry, to be delivered, it were enough to make him dash the sparkling beverage to the earth, in all its mantling temptation."

The true way to feel rich is not so much by amassing a tremendous fortune as by putting a curb upon our own desires. It is of self-restraint that the feeling of prosperity is begotten. When Diogenes went to a country fair, and observed the ribbons, and the mirrors, and the fiddles, and the hobby-horses, and the various other nick-nacks that are always to be found at such places, he exclaimed, "Lord, how many things there are in the world, of which Diogenes hath no need!"
He felt rich, though his personal possessions were but few.
It was the same individual who, when requested by Alexander the Great to demand a favor,
asked the conqueror of the world to stand from between him and the sun, whose light and warmth he was at the time enjoying. -- Beaten Paths

Thursday, November 25, 2004

" They say the best men are moulded out of fault." Shakspeare.

Nature calls for room and for freedom – room for her ocean and freedom for its waves; room for her rivers and freedom for their flowing; room for her forests and freedom for every tree to respond to the influences of earth and sky according to its law. Exceedingly proper things are not at all in the line of nature.
Nature never trims a hedge, or cuts off the tail of a horse. Nature never compels a brook to flow in a right line, but permits it to make just as many turns in a meadow as it pleases. Nature is very careless about the form of her clouds, and masses and colors them with great disregard of the opinions of the painters.
Nature never thinks of smoothing off her rocks, and cleaning away her mud, and keeping herself trim and neat. She does very improper things in a very impulsive manner. Instead of contriving some safe, silent, and secret way to dispose of her electricity, she comes out with a blinding flash and a stunning crash, and a rush of rain that likely fills the mountain streams to overflowing, and destroys bridges and booms, and cabins and cornfields. On the whole, though nature keeps up a respectable appearance, I suppose that, in the opinion of my particular friend Miss Nancy, she would be improved by taking a few lessons of a French gardener.......

A man who has been clipped in all his puttingsforth, and modelled by outside influences, until it is apparent that he is governed from without rather than from within, is just as unnatural an object as a tree that has been clipped and tied and bent until its top has grown into the form of a cube." --- Timothy Titcomb

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Judge not

Judge not; the workings of his brain
and of his heart thou canst not see;
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
a scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.
Adelaide A. Procter.
Harsh counsels have no effect;
They are like hammers which are always repulsed by the anvil.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Fit For Angels

I cannot fail, however unwilling, to see much that is dry and unlovely in the style of Christianity around me. It has no attraction for me. I do not like the people who illustrate it; and the reason is, not that they have got too much of Christianity, but that they have not got enough of any thing else. Flour is good, but flour is not bread. If I am to eat flour, I must eat it as bread; either milk or water must be used to make it bread. If a little milk is used, the bread will be dry and heavy and hard. If a good deal is used, the flour will be transformed into a soft and plastic mass, which will rise in the heat, and come to my lips a sweet fragrant morsel.
Christianity is good, but it wants mixing with humanity before it will have a practical value. If only a little humanity be mixed with it, the product will be dry and tasteless; but if it be combined with the real milk of humanity, and enough of it, the result will be a loaf fit for the tongues of angels.

Friday, November 19, 2004


" My heart and mind and self, never in tune;
Sad for the most part, then in such a flow
Of spirits, I seem now hero, now buffoon."
--Leigh Hunt.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Get your grapes to market and keep the bloom

Oh, the eagerness and freshness of youth!
How the boy enjoys his food, his sleep, his sports, his companions, his truant days!
His life is an adventure, he is widening his outlook, he is extending his dominion, he is
conquering his kingdom. How cheap are his pleasures, how ready his enthusiasms!
In boyhood I have had more delight on a haymow with two companions and a big dog-
delight that came near intoxication-
than I have ever had in all the subsequent holidays of my life. When youth goes, much goes with it. When manhood comes, much comes with it. We exchange a world of delightful sensations and impressions for a world of duties and studies and meditations. The youth enjoys what the man tries to understand.
Lucky is he who can get his grapes to market and keep the bloom upon them, who can carry some of the freshness and eagerness and simplicity of youth into his later years, who can have a
boy's heart below a man's head.
--John Burroughs from Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook

True Pleasures

All real and wholesome enjoyments possible to man have been just as possible to him since first he was made of the earth as they are now; and they are possible to him chiefly in peace.
To watch corn grow, and the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over plowshare or spade; to read, to think, to love, to hope, to pray-- these are the things that make men happy...
Now and then a wearied king, or a tormented slave, found out where the true kingdoms of the world were, and possessed himself, in a furrow or two of garden ground, of a truly infinite dominion.
John Ruskin

The presence of God

This exerpt is from a piece by Wilhelm Lamszus describing the thoughts of a Civil War soldier leaving for battle the following day. The soldier resists this encounter with God. I have never read a better description of the calling of God.

I am leaning back and straining my ears for the sounds in the dim twilight of the building.
Childhood's days rise before my eyes again. I am watching a little solemn-faced boy sitting crouched in a corner and listening to the divine service. The priest is standing in front of the altar, and is intoning the Exhortation devoutly. The choir in the gallery is chanting out the responses. The organ thunders out floods through the building majestically.
I am rapt in an ecstasy of sweet terror, for the Lord God is coming down upon us. He is standing before me and touching my body, so that I have to close my eyes in a terror of shuddering ecstacy....
That is long, long ago, and is all past and done with, as youth itself is past and done with...
Strange! After all these years of doubt and unbelief, at this moment of lucid consciousness, the atmosphere of devoutness, long since dead, possesses me, and thrills me so passionatly that I can hardly resist it. This is the same heavy twilight- these are the same yearning angel voices-
the same fearful sense of rapture--
I pull myself together, and sit bolt upright on the hard wooden pew.
Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook
A murdered man, ten miles away,
Will hardly shake your peace,
Like one red stain upon your hand;
And a tortured child in a distant land
Will never check one smile today,
Or bid one fiddle cease.
Alfred Noyes, from Elbert Hubbard's Scrapbook

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Put potatoes in a cart over a rough road
and the small ones go to the bottom.
President Porter.


There is no peace for the wicked the Bible says.
This excerpt from a poem is a good illustration of that.

To the pure mind alone hath solitude
Its charms. To that base nature which
Runs to daily riot in the carnival of
Sin, there is no sweetness in the calm
Seclusion of the forest shade.
For the deep quiet that doth reign
Around is but a torturing contrast
To the sad turmoil within the breast,
And there would conscience sting him to the quick....

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Loss of Childhood

I remember with entire distinctness the moment when the consciousness possessed me that my childhood was transcended by dawning manhood, and I can never forget the pang that moment brought me. It was on a bright, moonlight night, in midwinter, when my mates, boisterous with life, were engaged in there usual games in the snow, and I had gone out expecting to share in their enjoyment. I had not played, or rather tried to play, five minutes before I found that there was nothing in the play for me -- that I had absolutely exhausted play as the grand pursuit of my life. Never since has the wild laugh of boyhood sounded so vacant and hollow, as it did to me on that night. In an instant, the invisible line was crossed which separated a life of purely animal enjoyment from a life of moral motive and responsibility, and intellectual action and enterprise.
The old had passed away, and I had entered that which was new; and I turned my steps homeward, leaving behind me all my companions, to spend a quiet evening in the chimney-corner, and dream of the realm that was opening before me.
Such a moment as this comes really, though not always consciously, to every man and woman. Today we are children; tomorrow we are not. Today we stand in life's vestibule; tomorrow we are in the temple, awed by the sweep of the arches over us, humbled by the cross that fronts us, and smitten with the mysteries that breathe upon us from the choir, or gaze at us from the flaming windows. --- Timothy Titcomb "Lessons in Life"

I had considered adding some thoughts to this but his thoughts are complete, so I'll not.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Bedroom Cathedral

I'll begin this poem with a disclaimer written in one of my first poems--
"I'spose I'll write a few lines so's you'll know
A little bit about me as a lad although-
It may not reveal the best of me,
'cause my claim to fame aint been poetry."

So with that said maybe you'll be forgiving with the following and
find a line or two that speaks to you.

Bedroom Cathedral

Kneeling passionless, entrenched in apathy
hoping, but doubting you'll meet with me,
yet a glimmer of reserved expectancy
is the timmorous invitation that brings remedy.
The room transforms to a passageway,
to the heart of God, and I begin to lay
all clamor aside, and I reach with a call
for the full presence of God to fall.
Enraptured with kisses as you bring
me under the shadow of your wing.

A lifting up to glory -- and yet,
hot tears, and my eyes are wringing wet,
from the sense of sin deep in me
and the failings of spiritual truancy.
Then the Spirit's saber begins to lance
this evil heart, and again the chance
to rise in penance cleansed within,
to carry the blood stained banner again.

Jesus, I'm amazed you would take the time
to linger and touch a life such as mine.
With angelic hosts your glory to adorn
yet you stoop and touch this soul forlorn.

Now I leave, resolved to run the race,
strengthened within by saving grace.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Humble Duty

Very beautiful is the legend preserved by some old author, of the monk, to whom there appeared while at prayer in his cell, a glorious vision of his Savior. In silent and adoring rapture he gazed upon the glorious presence. While he gazed, the hour arrived at which it was his duty to feed the poor who came to the convent gate for their bread. The bell rang calling the monk to his humble duty. How he longed to stay! But lingering not to enjoy the vision, he went his way to the lowly work of dividing bread among the poor beggars at the gate. When he returned he found the blessed vision still waiting for him. As he looked again he heard these words; " Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled"!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


I am sick of opinions. I weary to hear them. My soul
loathes this frothy food. Give me solid and substantial
religion. Give me an humble, gentle, lover of God and
man; a man full of mercy and good fruits, "without part-
iality and without hypocrisy;" a man laying himself out in
the work of faith, the patience of hope, and the labor of
Let my soul be with these Christians, wheresoever they
are and whatsoever opinions they are of.
John Wesley