My grandfather was a man with a knife. That may bring to mind an image of a fearful man slashing the world around him to protect himself, but that was the opposite of my grandfather. The knife did not define him. His life defined the appropriate use of the knife.
Some people carry weapons because they’re insecure. They feel safer knowing they can wield something dangerous in the world. Whenever my grandfather pulled his knife from his pocket—which was nearly everyday—it was an extension of the man he was, not a cover for a sense of insecurity.
He was a man of great character, and at least when I was growing up, he had nothing to prove. As a veteran he was extremely proud of his country and his family. For me, he was one of those older men who could feed a boy’s soul just by spending time in his presence. …
I’m teaching two middle school aged children how to write. We’re gathering on Saturdays to discuss lessons and progress. I want to document my approach and share what’s working and what’s not to provide some accountability for myself, to join them in the discipline of writing, and to potentially provide inspiration or help for others attempting to do the same.
I remember the hidden way down to the water —
through tall yellowing grass that concealed rock,
back and forth I zig-zagged toward the old wooden post.
Jutting skyward like an abandoned axle propped up
by a wagon that had long since disappeared,
that post became my guide.
In the loneliness of an hour, in that hidden place
I longed to meet you. I wanted to know if you
loved me. So, I went where I was forbidden to go —
through the rusted barbed wire to the river —
to beg you to rescue me. Behind the unplowed hill,
the house and family forgotten,
You walked ahead of me, somewhere in the wind.
For that hour I was free, and the darkness fled
from memory. You turned toward me and smiled.
Your white robe shifting calmly in my storm,
you knelt down to make yourself my height.
O Lord, O Lord, our God,
you hammered death
and shattered the stronghold
of our captors. You bore us
to victory at your side.
Breath was yours to give,
to breathe in our beginning,
and breathe out your endless praise.
When we walked together
in the shade of our Eden,
for endless days
we hung on every word
— save one.
Breaking with you, our days end
wandering as refugees
in moldering places. We grieved
but soon forgot. But you,
O faithful friend, have loved us
for endless days.
Now our one way crossing,
too dearly bought, is paid in full.
You purchased our return
and our exile is ended.
Your light dawns in us —
a thousand suns ablaze
captivated by the one Son
who rose to save us all.
We who were dead, shout praise
to the resurrected one
whose breath bestows new life
for endless days.
We all face problems and challenges. Some of us seek them out. Some of us passionately want to change the way things are and to invest ourselves in making the world a better place and helping people flourish.
We can respond to a challenge or problem from many different approaches. …
We produce an HTML email newsletter once a month that has a readership of over 8,000 people. Outlook users account for only 2.5% of our readership, but that’s still nearly 200 readers. And we value people, so every one of them matters to us.
We don’t know for certain how many Outlook users experienced image explosion problems with our emails, but after researching how various versions of Outlook reinterpret HTML and CSS standards in some unexpected ways, we wrote a fix.
Here’s what the template should look like across all email clients:
Sing a song of sixpence
preparing for pilgrim guests,
frantic to greet with well-oiled smiles
travelers descending in waves
with moonlight. But there’s no light
tonight as we wait — like holding
our breath before a storm — and watch
shadows spread over us.
We know we’re due for a big one.
Set everyday things aside,
like the baby quiet in the corner,
growing slowly in shadow,
and look to the necessary distractions
of hosts. …
The first step into darkness
ahead of the light, the first star
kindling hope at night. We turn
to one another, almost smiling —
chilled air freezes our words
to silence. A child’s breath
becomes a quiet gasp of wonder
at the sparkling sky.
In such silence is a whisper of peace
too fragile, too quick to break.
Horses pound dust, unsettling
hearts. Soldiers hunt down
hints of hope in a new king,
any flash of light in the dark.
Streets hang quiet at each breath,
straining to hear the clatter
of hooves and armor.
A darkened lamp clatters
as it’s kicked, useless without oil,
upon stones that pave
the Roman way — cold, silent.
Justice bound and buried
for an idea of peace.
The stones we laid cry out. …
A new year—or a new day whenever it comes—inspires me to take a stand for something. I know I’m not alone in that. It’s a milestone or marker that separates the past from the future. I look back on what was before and then choose to step forward into what will be. It’s a moment that calls for action—but not just any movement—a decisive, strategic movement. It’s the perfect moment for a manifesto.
Some enjoy making resolutions. I resolve this year to be a better person. I resolve to stop doing this, or start doing that. I resolve to not resolve. For me, the exercise of resolutions is at once too small and too unattainable. Can we resolve ourselves to perfection? I’m quite sure I can’t. Yet, there’s something right about recognizing in that milestone moment, the impulse to change something—to turn away from darkness and create light. …