Second favorite hoodie, at best.


I came across these guys ages ago – The Hackensaw Boys.  I own 4 of their 5 albums, but only ever listen to this album titled “Keep it Simple” and they do.  And it’s good.  It’s bluegrass – not amazing bluegrass, it’s not going to change your life. It’s like your second favorite hoodie, not your favorite hoodie – but one that you do enjoy very much.

It could be faded, maybe it’s a little stained.  It smells like you, like pipe smoke and grilled steak. Sometimes you leave it in the car so that if you’re out and about, you’ll have something to wear if the weather turns.  It comes with you on many adventures, never the star – but rather more of a silent partner, keeping you warm – it does not keep you dry in the rain, but in the end you find that you really don’t mind.


That’s how I would describe this album – not a “OOOhhh! You’ve got to try this now!!!”, but – more of a “hmmmm – you might like these guys”


Maybe it’s the cover art, maybe it’s the banjo, maybe it’s the harmonica – I don’t know . . .


It’s a song, it’s an album that I’ve taken on many a pleasant walk, walks in the rain, walks thru remote and rolling wheat fields.  On ferry rides, and thru steaming cups of coffee.  Long drives, and early mornings.  Maybe that’s why I like it, because it reminds me of all those things – it’s a song that I don’t have to listen to, to enjoy – does that make any sense? 


What I mean is, I guess is that is as much a memory for me as it is a song.  When I hear it, I hear the words, and the notes, and the banjo, and the vocal harmonies – and I enjoy them, for what they are – but it’s more than that.  In the same way a that a residence becomes home, not for where it is or how long you’ve lived there – but for what has happened under that roof, and between those four walls.  Home could be any roof – between any four walls.

There is so much in life that is this way – things that we enjoy, not for themselves – but rather for what they remind us of, what they allow us experience.  How often do we share in a friends hobby, or in their delight – because it is they, our friend, that we enjoy.    Why are bad - faded, blurry, and overexposed pictures some of our most precious and most dear . . .


And looking back at this – I fear I’ve given this little song such a big build up, that you may find it a little underwhelming – so please remember – it’s just a song.



A second favorite hoodie, at best.




The Sufficiently of Christ

Remember, sinner, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee–it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee–it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that is the instrument–it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author and finisher of thy faith; and if thou doest that, ten thousand devils cannot throw thee down…
There is one thing which we all of us too much becloud in our preaching, though I believe we do it very unintentionally–namely, the great truth that it is not prayer, it is not faith, it is not our doings, it is not our feelings upon which we must rest, but upon Christ, and on Christ alone. 
We are apt to think that we are not in a right state, that we do not feel enough, instead of remembering that our business is not with self, but Christ.
Let me beseech thee, look only to Christ; never expect delieverance from self, from ministers, or from any means of any kind apart from Christ; keep thine eye simply on Him; let his death, His agonies, His groans, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look for Him; when thou liest down at night look for Him.  
(The Forgotten Spugeon, Iain Murray, 42.)




The problem with this blog is – is that it gets read . . .


No – no, that’s not it – it’s not the readers – it’s the fact that I know some of the readers . . . I know them, I’ve eaten meals with them, laughed with them, camped, swam, biked, worked, washed dishes, folded laundry, danced with and spun some of them.  I’ve taught some of them how to drive, pulled weeds with some.  I’ve house sat for a few.  I’ve plotted and pranked, I’ve floated rivers, and counted rail cars.  I’ve driven thru the night, and straight on till morning to be with these friends.


I’ve listened to their stories – and helped them write a few of their own.



Is your past ever behind you?  Or do your previously experiences stand in front of you, like lenses and filters thru which you look at your life and make your choices?

There are times when I want nothing more that to sever myself from my past – to stand apart and to see what the picture would look like without all the filters, without all the lenses.


And look - look what happens – take the lens off my camera, and see what you will.  Can you see my dirty dishes? Can you see the bananas on the counter, or my new stock pot? Or my (sadly) over cooked beets? 


Loose the lenses – loose the filters – and as a photographer you’ve lost it all.


And as I sit here soaking a stupid foot in very very cold water – as I sit here listening to the Postal Service – as I sit here processing so much, gears working quickly and quietly – processing, and praying, and thinking, and listening.



Sitting with my foot in a bucket.



As I sit here I’m reminded that while a photographer looks thru their lenses, they (if they are a good photographer) do a lot of looking apart from, and outside of those lenses. 

They see the light, they see the shadow, they see the eyes, and the smile, and they see – and then, having seen – then they look.

It is then that they use the lens, and the filter, to capture what they’ve seen, and sometimes, sometimes something more.


And the more pictures you take – the more you learn your lens, the more you know it’s limits, it’s strengths, the more you’ll find that you won’t have to take as many shots to get the image you were striving for.


And as I hobble, away from my bucket, and over towards my fridge to snag a mint grasshopper ice cream sandwich, which, in all truth, will not as good as the nestle toll house double chocolate mint ice cream cookie sandwich I had a few days ago – as I hobble over, I realize that I’m being a little bit melodramatic, and that my past is about as nice as the cool and tasty treat that I’m about to enjoy.


That I’ve been crazy blessed, and I need to sit, soak my foot, and think on that.









Stupid foot . . . . . . .








It’s finally starting to happen - in a city of over 85,000 souls I’ve started encountering people.  People I know – I see them around town.  I bump into them at coffee shops and grocery stores.  We honk as we pass in traffic – hurried waves and bright smiles.  The baristas know my name, I have new drinks tried on me.  I’m a regular in parts of town.  Bumping into guys I know from the gym in bookstores.  Yakima is becoming home.  I’m putting high school football games on my calendar – all these encounters add up into community.  And faster than I realize a network of friends is taking root.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I find myself in Northtown again, listening to Nina Simone.  Thinking the night away.  I’m upstairs tonight – on the main floor.  A young girl sits just outside my window.  She is the spitting image of Boo from Monsters Inc. Her older sister is doing homework – Boo chews her gum with all the drama of a 5 year old, open mouthed and fast.  Her sister rolls her eyes and tries to work.  The lights have gone up and the store is a blaze with a yellow light that shines on a beautiful tin ceiling.  Couples stand in line – and wait for Joey to take their orders.  I can hear the steam, and the beans grinding.  Murmured voices, chairs slide and scrape over hardwood floors.  The sounds of a coffee shop in the evening hours.  People mingle together – people focus on their laptops – Boo chews her gum and swings her legs . . . old friends bump into each other – and start to cry . . . . footsteps on the landing, and laughter rolling, flowing up from stairwell.

All I need is the rain – the night is cool – and the tea is warm. 



I’ve got a pile of studying to work my way thru.

And as much as I love Billy, and Ella, and Nina – they are more conducive to reflection than to work.



So I change gears – CCR and black coffee are called for!!!





Under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers

I’ve found that I’ve a knack for repeating myself at times.
I tend to reread books, I listen to songs over and over again.  
I’m in such a mood tonight.
And tonight’s reading is Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.  
A very interesting read to be sure. 

. . . I speak here only of an emotion,
and of an emotion at once stubborn and subtle. But the repetition
in Nature seemed sometimes to be an excited repetition, like that of
an angry schoolmaster saying the same thing over and over again.
The grass seemed signaling to me with all its fingers at once;
the crowded stars seemed bent upon being understood. The sun would
make me see him if he rose a thousand times. The recurrences of the
universe rose to the maddening rhythm of an incantation, and I began
to see an idea . . .


A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit
fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.
They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it
again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong
enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough
to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning,
"Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon.
It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike;
it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired
of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy;
for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.


Poetry is sane because it floats
easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea,
and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion,
like the physical exhaustion of Mr. Holbein. To accept everything
is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only
desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in.
The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician
who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.


I admit that your explanation explains a great deal; but what a great deal it
leaves out! Are there no other stories in the world except yours;
and are all men busy with your business? Suppose we grant the details;
perhaps when the man in the street did not seem to see you it was
only his cunning; perhaps when the policeman asked you your name it
was only because he knew it already. But how much happier you would
be if you only knew that these people cared nothing about you!
How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller
in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity
and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their
sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin
to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you.
You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your
own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself
under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers."


Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.  It means a strong desire
to live taking the form of a readiness to die. "He that will lose
his life, the same shall save it," is not a piece of mysticism
for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for
sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide
or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage;
even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by
the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within
an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut
his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a
strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life,
for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely
wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape.
He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it;
he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.
No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle
with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so.
But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it
in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance
between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the
sake of dying.


Chesterton and NorthTown, an iced peppermint tea, processing life as life passes

by outside.  So much changes, and so much stays the same.


And tomorrow is coming – soon the rosy fingers of dawn will pierce the night sky.

And another tomorrow will be upon me. My days numbered. My time valuable – 

my time squandered or invested? Heavy thoughts, somber smiles.  All good things.





Ingrid Michelson keeps me company tonight, my ice cubes melt and clink in their 

glass. This is life – this is it, these still moments of reflection . . . I tell 

you dear reader because in telling you I am actually reminding myself. 







This is not for you – No, I am selfish – this is for me.

The Rain has come . . . the rain is here

Tired, and weary the rain has found me tonight. Rain that cleans, rain that falls freely upon the street, and upon my head.  Falling on, and running down my neck, trickling past my ears.  Rain heralding a new season’s approach.  Soon the leaves with turn and fall, sodden by autumnal rains.  The rain will return.  The rain will always come.  Healthy and clean.  Running in torrents thru grates, and gutters.


The rain has come.





The rain is here.



We, the rain and I.  We talk, we listen, we breath.  We sigh, and we smile.  Seasons change, we part and we reunite. Steadfast above all seasons – the rain always greets me.


Wet hair, damp clothes, fresh air.




I walk and wander and wonder in it’s presence.  The solitude one enjoys with the rain, like all forms of solitude is best and most fully enjoyed when it is shared. 


Shared solitude is a deeper magic, and that which grows out of it is oft stronger than the gardeners themselves realize. 



And so I grow in the rain.  I walk, I talk, I pray, I listen.




I think, and I feel.








I ponder and I pray.



The rain is here.


The rain has come.