Archive for the ‘tree’ Category


I’ve let myself slip over the last six months.  I fell down the stairs at work the first weekend of September, and as soon as I was just feeling like I could get back to my exercise, I had a car accident (mid-October, not my fault) and the subsequent back issues didn’t begin to clear up till Christmas break.  I got a new job (finally!) teaching fourth grade at an inner-city Catholic school — this started two weeks before Christmas break, so with everything, I’m just getting to where I’m feeling caught up with everything there and able to spend some extra time catching up at home.  This includes (unfortunately) diet, exercise, house cleaning, and personal devotions.  Yes, I’ve gained weight since October 6, when I had actually dipped below the 140 mark. 😦

Grades were due for midterms yesterday, so I’m not only caught up on classroom organization, but my grading is not a large pile glaring at me. Just this last week’s worth and a couple tests I had to wait for students to finish.  Plenty, yes, but I should be able to spend time tomorrow doing something else other than either grading or stalling getting started. 🙂

I decided, since the grading is done and Ash Wednesday is this week, I’d start my Lent discipline early — today.  My church doesn’t celebrate Lent, but for the past few years I have used it as a time to discipline myself either with my diet or in my spiritual life.  I’m feeling flabby, both physically and spiritually, so I’m going to try to do both this time.

Starting today, I will:

  • Track my food
  • Exercise at least to 10K steps daily — try to do more on the days I can get to the gym
  • Have personal devotions
  • Keep up with my grading!

I’d like to blog a few times a week too, but I know how that goes, and exercising and planning meals takes a lot of time!  So I will try, but no promises.

In looking for images for Lent, I came across one that pretty well sums up what I think it’s for:

lentmmcIt reminds me of the verse in Psalm 1 about the righteous person — “a tree planted by streams of water…whatever [he] does prospers.”

Prayerfully, I hope what I am trying to do in these next weeks prospers as well.



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Slightly out of focus because I didn’t use flash, but I like the colors of the picture better than the super-bright flash…as below:


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makes you feel merry


“makes you feel merry”

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This is how I feel today. Empty, dreary, weeping.  Somewhere there is a promise of spring.

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Photo A Day: Dec. 5

looking up


“looking up”

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In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.

“Passage” by John Brehm, from Help is on the Way. © The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. Reprinted with permission.


I had a place in the woods behind my parents’ house I called the Cathedral.  Tall pines and slanting sunlight, just like in the beginning of the poem, and a sky that seemed to be miles above my head.  I used to go and walk around there whenever I was upset and needed my troubles to feel small.  There was a stream there, too, with a little bridge across it.  I was drawn to this poem first because of the memory of my Cathedral.

But I love the image of the water going through and around all obstacles, not in a pushing or angry way, but simply joyfully determined not to be stopped.  A lot of the time when I am doing something hard, I feel a frown and stubborn, almost angry determination. It would be better for my soul, I think, if I could be determined in the way of the water.  Not “this must happen and I will make it happen or die”, but “this is going to happen and it is inevitable, so I will be happy”.  Maybe I need to lose my fear of failure.  Maybe the word I need isn’t determination, but confidence.

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the years swirl silver-smooth

time slipping


in arched branch and

wave-silkened spirals

so long on land

so long at sea

gray stone blue waves

root of earth




half-strange ghost

whispering silently of two worlds

and citizen of none

shrouded white misted in fog

child of forest

gift of sea


for wonder’s sake

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