July 21, 2017

What’s All This Praying and Politicking for the Mountains About, Anyway?

I often use social media to encourage my friends to pray for the mountains, or to contact their legislators to protect the mountains. Those posts don't always get a lot of comments, but sometimes someone will ask me in person,  "WHAT are you talking about?" So here's a bit of background information, and a great music video that helps explain. Living on a very flat piece of middle Tennessee, I'd never heard of a mining process called mountaintop removal (MTR) until I started attending writing … [Read more...]

A Child’s Poem Inspires My Prayer for the Mountains

Recently in a used book store, I came across a small volume entitled Chrysalis by Harry Behn. Although the book had a worn and yellowed jacket, its subject matter – children and poetry – and a quick thumb-through convinced me to purchase it to read for myself and share with a friend. It has a number of delightful stories and insights, but one particularly stuck with me. Behn tells of working with a group of children in which one little boy shares this poem: Did you think about the … [Read more...]

Nothing Trickier, Nothing More Eloquent: Dani Shapiro Questions Personal Faith in Devotion

“Aren't we all just waiting for bad news?” advice columnist Carolyn Hax wrote in 2009. She was responding to a reader who had asked for advice about waiting for a loved one’s medical test results. Her question – right there in the morning paper beside the daily TV schedule and across from Arlo and Janis and the Peanuts gang– struck me as profound. I clipped the column and have a poem in the works using that quote. I know a few folks - like my dear Mama - who are most definitely not waiting on … [Read more...]

The Lesson January Taught Me

The month of January is finally, blissfully gone, although, like an inconsiderate house guest, she has left messy reminders here in middle Tennessee. Snow still covers our yard; a little slush clings here and there on the more shaded roads; we are still not quite in normal routine (with schools finally going back 2 hours late today); and we are dreading the utility bill when it arrives in another week or so. … [Read more...]

Celebrating "Mankind's Great Chance" on Risk a Day

One of my favorite quotes is from Martin Buber in The Way of Man, in which he says, “Mankind’s great chance lies precisely in the unlikeness of men, in the unlikeness of their qualities and inclinations.” A few weeks ago as I was leading a poetry class, I forgot Buber's words when I unexpectedly found myself feeling very unlike the small group of students who faced me. I wondered if I was sharing poems - both my own and others' - that they could connect with at all. Since I was the teacher, I … [Read more...]