We not Me

This reflective English Proverb was posted by a fellow blogger the other day:

 A wise old owl sat on an oak.

The more he saw, the less he spoke.

The less he spoke, the more he heard.

Why can’t we be like that wise old bird?

. . . and to this I would respectfully add the footnote . . .

Who much of what he heard was distressingly absurd . . .

  • How our society’s cyber-communication has depersonalized relationships
  • How our society’s fast-paced pulse of life has fragmented families
  • How our society’s chaotic-dysfunction government has enraged division
  • How our society’s narcissistic-confrontational Me attitude has derailed altruistic We collaboration

So, what’s your point Fred?  . . . you’re sounding like just another old, grouchy, complaining curmudgeon, lamenting the ‘Good Old Days’.

I’m aware I’m old. That it now takes several boxes candles and a torch to ignite my birthday cake confirms that😊. However, I refuse to acquiesce joining the ranks of grouchy, complaining curmudgeons. I remain an optimistic subscriber to Yogi Berra’s classic one-liner philosophy,

It’s not over till it’s over

My point is . . .  positive change begins one-person-at-a-time. I’ve seen and heard lots of distressing Me absurdity, but also much encouraging We camaraderie.  It’s time to become more involved advocating a “wise old bird” We-not-Me outlook before molting my final feathers.

In his book The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, Brennan Manning shares the following encouraging story that inspires me to keep-on-keeping on, believing . . .

It’s not over till it’s over” . . . together We can begin to heal society’s distressing absurdity.


During a two-hour layover in the Atlanta airport, I decided I had better get a shoeshine to look more presentable to the Episcopalians to whom I would be speaking.

An elderly man shined my shoes for the going rate of one dollar and 50 cents, I handed him two dollars and said,

Now you get up in the chair and I’ll shine your shoes.”

He said, “Huh? What?”

I won’t charge you.”

He stared at me suspiciously,

What for then?”

Because you’re my brother.”

He really looked disconcerted then. Finally, he said,

Well, when I ain’t busy the boss leaves me some shoes to shine. But thank you anyway.”

When I saw tears in his eyes I reached out and hugged him, and he said softly,

No white man ever talked to me like that before.”

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Luke 6:31

You and I may not change our society, but if our behavior matches our belief and touches but one soul, that person’s world has been changed forever.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Three Questions

In our sadly divided nation, I strive not to risk sparking gut-level political controversy. However, this picture has haunted my dreams since the horrific, unimaginable tragedy at Nashville Covenant School in Nashville, TN three days ago:

Here’s another picture from that tragic day.  I respectfully ask you consider both pictures, and ask yourself three questions:

  1. Which can/cannot be legislated?
  2. Which is an instrument of love?
  3. Which is irreplaceable?

For the record:

  • I’m a politically registered Independent
  • I served in the United States Marine Corps during Vietnam
  • I support the protect and defend objective of our nation’s 2nd Amendment
  • I respect you, whatever your stance on assault weapon legislation may be

Realistically, the senseless loss of life caused by mass shootings will never be eliminated in our society. However, my prayer remains that each of us will considerately agree to disagree, and together achieve a resolution that in some measure will mitigate, even if just one more incident, the enduring fear, anguish and trauma displayed in this little child’s face.

Thank you

Masking Secrets

Numerous, unexpected responses to the Brokenness post, followed some special one-on-one conversations blessed me. Thank you. It suggested ‘masking secrets’ is a prevalent, deeply personal issue many of us grapple with.

At the risk of being annoying redundant, I ask your forbearance in posting this partial Brokenness addendum. Hopefully, perhaps it might encourage someone, somewhere that they’re not alone in this battle.

Brokenness shared how a passage in Fil Anderson’s book Breaking the Rules wistfully reminded me of the futility of struggling to mask guilty secrets.

Fil wrote how a talented artist friend was asked by his church to exhibit a self-portrait of a special event. The artist’s completed painting portrayed his authentic conviction that there’s no room for pretending in a Christian’s life to change their appearance among other Christians to ‘fit in’ and be accepted. His portrayal, A Broken Mask, drew the startling rejection of the pastor, who deemed “…it was too honest…”. Dejected, the artist sent Fil the following dispirited e-mail:

We are told that Jesus loves us as we are, sin and all, ugly bits and worthless bits. We are quoted cliches like “Come as you are.” We are offered relief from the burden of hiding in our guilt and shame. We are offered ultimate acceptance.”

The problem begins when we step through the doors of many churches. Suddenly we’re confronted with an endless stream of things that are wrong in our lives, things to repent of, things that need changing. Meanwhile, the Bible instructs us,

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you can live together whole and healed.”James 5:16

Yet nobody does it because that would mean taking off our mask of holiness. Therefore, we live our lives jumping through imaginary hoops to be accepted by the very people who invited us to “Come as you are.”

Fil’s artist friend concluded his email with this bold pledge:

I refuse to wear a mask any longer! I will not pretend, not even for Christians. Wearing a mask will destroy you, even if it’s a socially acceptable Christian mask.”

As one who has been there, I pray reiterating this artist’s story may reveal to someone who may be ‘masking secrets’ that, in doing so, they are placing themself under the defeating bondage of seeking the approval of others.  May they find the liberating freedom God, Who knows our every ‘secret’, graciously offers to everyone who genuinely’ fesses up’ with“…a broken and contrite heart…” – Psalm 34:18

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Never Alone

A 2018 UK survey of loneliness during Christmas revealed that 17% of people felt lonely during this festive time. I suspect it may be even more in our tragically divided nation.

This morning at a men’s breakfast the issue of Christmas loneliness came up. It brought to mind a story I once read regarding the dismal oppression of feeling alone.

American Indians had a unique practice in training their young braves. After they had demonstrated their skills and proficiency through various hunting, fishing and scouting trials, the young brave’s final rite of passage from youth to adulthood arrived.

On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, he was taken deep into the forest. There, he was left to spend the night alone.

Sleep did not come as the young brave imagined each rustle of leaves, twig snap, and muffled sound in the dense darkness could be a stalking, lethal predator. Throughout the night he huddled frightened, anxiously waiting for the dawn to finally appear.

After what seemed like the longest night of his entire life, the first faint rays of morning began to dispel the darkness. Slowly, the young brave began to distinguish bushes, rocks, and the faint path along which he had been led into the forest.

Then, in an instant, his fear vanished!  His heart leaped with joy! Just a few feet away, armed with a bow and an arrow, stood his father behind a tree. He had been there throughout the night watching over his son.

Our Abba Father stands besides us day and night . . . 24/7/365 . . . armed not with a bow and arrow, but with the love and power of His Spirit to protect us from all the lurking dangers of life’s dark forests.

I pray you’re rejoicing surrounded by family and friends this Christmas season. However, if this finds you troubled by loneliness, may you find comfort in knowing your Creator is standing right there besides you. Reach out and take His hand as He whispers . . .

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” –  Hebrews 13:5

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!


Creation Miracle Moment

Yesterday I stood mesmerized in the forest, immersed in a golden rain. Like a child jubilantly blowing bubbles, a puff of Divine breath launched a thousand gold flakes into the air on their memorial journey to earth . . . a Creation miracle moment.

Embraced in total peace, my soul rejoiced in freedom knowing . . . I am completely known, and I am completely loved . . . just as I am, not as I should be. Thank you Abba.

“I am not what I ought to be.  I am not what I want to be.  I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be.  And by the grace of God, I am what I am.”

John Newton

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Golden Rain

Creation’s Whispers

Of all the places I’ve been blessed to meander throughout this untamed, rugged, awesome Last Frontier corner of creation, Hatcher Pass remains among my most special.

You can’t see the forest for the trees.” . . . in today’s chaotic word, life’s ‘forest’ beauty is woefully shrouded by it’s tumultuous ‘trees’ of power, greed, bigotry, hatred, and lust.

Paradoxically, whenever my wanders find me above treeline, the calamity of life’s forests below fade, and I catch a glimpse of heaven’s serenity that awaits. Gratefully gazing in mystical wonder, such were where my thoughts drifted yesterday.

As high clouds accentuated the silence of creation’s calming whispers, here’s the ethereal Hatcher Pass scene I wish your eyes could have beheld it with me.

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2!

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.

1 Chronicles 29:11

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Hatcher Pass, Alaska

Peace on the Edge

The sign belies the peaceful stability of silent solitude that was mine watching eagles soar high above the Matanuska River Valley . . . a treasured “Be still and know I am God” moment.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

I M Blessed… May U B 2

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Rusted and Restored

My rusted old watering can has sprung a leak. Over the years we’ve nurtured and raised many summers of vibrant flowerbeds together.

Having attained an advanced state of maturity???😊, and a tad rusted out myself, I’m not a big throw-away fan. I can remember my grandfather having me straighten out used nails . . . frugality on steroids! Sooooo, replacing my old watering with a new, rust-proof, sleek plastic model isn’t an option  . . . Flex-seal to the rescue! Successfully patched, we’re back watering flowerbeds again.

My restoration project reminded me of a story I reflect on for encouragement during times when past regrets threaten to crowd out present joys, pondering if my life’s purpose is to merely serve as a good bad example😊

During those less than a ‘10’, discouraging detours along life’s journey, here it is for encouragement, believing that He who brings “…beauty for ashes…” created you on purpose for a purpose.

  The Cracked Pot

A water-bearer had two pots, each hung on opposite ends of a pole he carried across his neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it. The other was perfect, always delivering a full portion of water at the end of a long walk from the stream to the Master’s house. The cracked pot always arrived half-full. Each day for two years, at the end of the long journey from the stream to the master’s house, the water-bearer delivered only one and a half pots of water.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment to fulfill the purpose for which it had been made. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, miserable that it had only been able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what was perceived as a bitter failure, the unhappy, broken pot spoke to the water-bearer at the stream.

I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”, the pot said.

Why?”, asked the water-bearer. “What are you ashamed of?

For the past two years I have been able to deliver only half my load because the crack in my side causes the water to leak out all the way back to your Master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work and don’t get full value from your efforts,” the broken pot said.

The water-bearer felt sorry for the old, cracked pot, and in his compassion said, “As we return to the Master’s house today, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.

As they went back up the path, the broken pot cheered up a bit observing the lovely flowers blooming in the sunlight along the path’s side. However, upon reaching the Master’s house, realizing it had leaked out half its load once again, the broken pot’s despondency returned, and so it apologized again to the water-bearer for its failure.

The water-bearer said to pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I have taken advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day, as we have walked back from the stream to the Master’s house, you have watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my Master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, He would not have this beauty to grace His house with.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

My Kinda’ Politician

Politics are not my thing. However, the combative tenure of the elections occurring in Alaska and Wyoming today is discouraging. Radical contention has replaced reasonable compromise. The “One Nation Under God” our founding fathers envisioned is sadly becoming two nations under political division.

As an octogenarian I’ve been privileged to witness times when “reaching across the aisle” was often the political norm, not the exception, and I grieve for the political tenure our children are inheriting. I continue to pray for our Nation’s leaders in both parties to contemplate their agendas with a “We” not “Me” focused perspective.

That said, I came across the story below about a former politician whose “We” political perspective was refreshingly encouraging, and pass it along optimistic that our Nation can come together and heal  . . .

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia

During the worst days of Great Depression and all of World War II, five-foot 4-inch Fiorello LaGuardia was the mayor of New York City. A colorful character, dubbed the “Little Flower” by his adoring constituents for the carnation he always wore in his lapel, he was known to ride New York City fire engines; accompany the police on speakeasy raids; take entire orphanages to baseball games; and read the Sunday funnies to children on the radio whenever the New the New newspapers were on strike.

One bitterly cold, January night in 1935 mayor LaGuardia showed up at a night court in the city’s poorest ward. Dismissing the judge for the evening he took over the bench. A raggedy old woman, charged with stealing a loaf of bread was brought before him. Pleading her case, she told the mayor her sick daughter and two children had been abandoned by her husband, and her grandchildren were starving.

The shopkeeper from whom she had stolen the bread refused to drop the charges. “It’s a bad neighborhood your Honor. She needs to be punished to teach people around here a lesson!

LaGuardia sighed and addressed the woman. “I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail.” As he pronounced the sentence he reached into his pocket and tossed a 10 dollar bill into his famous sombrero.

Here’s the ten dollar fine, which I now remit; furthermore, I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”

The next day New York City newspapers reported $47.50 was collected and given to the gratefully bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, 50 cents of which was contributed to the embarrassed, red-faced shopkeeper. The seventy some petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen present in the courtroom that evening, each who had paid 50 cents the mayor ordered, gave him a standing ovation.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Soul Therapy

Gentle rain wanderings offer ethereal “Be still and know that I am God” soul therapy. Here’s a couple “Just walking in the rain” therapy scenes that soothed my soul today. I M Blessed . . . May U B 2 

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come! 

Chugach Range – Chickaloon, AK

Fish Lake – Chickaloon, AK