For Your Grazing Pleasure


The mere brute pleasure of reading–the sort of pleasure a cow has in grazing.
~G.K. Chesterton

Setting me loose in a room of books is like cows let out on green grass — so much to consume, so little time.  I’ll nibble away, blade by blade, page by page, word by word, but the greatest pleasure of all is settling down into a good long cud chewing session, redigesting and mulling over what I’ve already taken in.
It is brute pleasure to take in words that grow roots so deep they never go away, words that sustain and make me grow and keep me alive.   Words illuminate from without and within.

Something to chew on.

photo by Kate Steensma
photo by Kate Steensma



Late September Sun


I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.
~Peter Pereira from “A Pot of Red Lentils”



The Color of Grace

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

My story from last fall has been published in the October/November issue of Country Magazine, now available for sale at your local magazine sellers, or subscribe by going to this link to read the story.  This is the fifteenth story I’ve had published in this really beautiful magazine, now in its 26th year of publication.

The Color of Grace.

Time Flies


Time’s fun when you’re having flies.
~Kermit the Frog

Time flies like the wind; fruit flies like a banana.
~attributed to Groucho Marx


It’s not easy being green unless you also have a dorsal brown stripe and live in a box of ripe Asian pears on the front porch that has become a metropolis of Drosophila (fruit flies).  Then you are in frog heaven with breakfast, lunch and dinner within reach of your tongue any time.

And the Drosophila happily move in to the kitchen any time some pears are brought in.  The apple cider vinegar killing fields I’ve set up on the kitchen counter are capturing dozens daily, but their reproducing outstrips the effectiveness of my coffee filter funnel death trap lures.

This too shall pass.  Time flies and time’s fun –for frogs and flies.



Thirty Two Years Ago Today



Before God and this gathering, I vow from my heart and spirit that I will be your wife/husband for as long as we both shall live.

I will love you with faithfulness, knowing its importance in sustaining us through good times and bad.

I will love you with respect, serving your greatest good and supporting your continued growth.

I will love you with compassion, knowing the strength and power of forgiveness.

I will love you with hope, remembering our shared belief in the grace of God and His guidance of our marriage.

“And at home, by the fire, whenever you look up, there I shall be–and whenever I look up, there will be you.”

(vows written during a lunch break on the roof of Group Health on Capitol Hill, Seattle Washington in July 1981 before our September 19, 1981 wedding at First Seattle Christian Reformed Church)

*the last line is adapted from Thomas Hardy’s  “Far From the Madding Crowd”


 ”How joyful to be together, alone as when we first were joined in our little house by the river long ago, except that now we know each other, as we did not then; and now instead of two stories fumbling to meet, we belong to one story that the two, joining, made. And now we touch each other with the tenderness of mortals, who know themselves…”
Wendell Berry

Thirty two years ago today we became one story, a story still being told.   What joy it is to know you and be known by you!
May our story have many more chapters celebrating the poetry of life together, with a minimum of plot twists and cliffhangers.

We’ll trust the Author who touches us with Words as tenderly as we touch each other.  It is bliss to love and be loved from the first page to the last.


Heart of a Pansy


pansy1(pansies pictured are above Bellingham Bay on the Performing Arts Center Plaza at Western Washington University)

Nobody can keep on being angry if she looks into the heart of a pansy for a little while.
~L.M. Montgomery

The world is in sore need of a cure for the grumbles.

Fortunately, it exists right outside in our back yards, along sidewalks and in vacant lots.

A cheerful face is irresistible to all but the crabbiest among us, guaranteed to bring a smile every time.

Beyond the obvious charm exists a depth of heart — roots able to thrive in the thinnest of soil, at home among rocks and weeds,  resilient even when tromped on.

We carry its seeds on the tread of our boots in spite of our grumbling and help spread the good news: anger left unfed will dry up and blow away.

Yet the constant heart of the pansy will last.  It smiles back.




A Most Beautiful Regret


September: it was the most beautiful of words
he’d always felt,
evoking orange-flowers,
and regret.
~Alexander Theroux



September’s Baccalaureate
A combination is Of Crickets — Crows — and Retrospects
And a dissembling Breeze
That hints without assuming —
An Innuendo sear
That makes the Heart put up its Fun
And turn Philosopher.
~Emily Dickinson