Breathe In

And Take Share in Adam’s Atoms Yet Again.

Friday, September 8, 2023

We Walk Short Distances,

But the Atoms from Our Breath Circle the Globe,

in a year.

Isaiah 26:19

Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise. O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead.

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,

Words of Grace For Today

When we breathe in we breathe in atoms that have been breathed in by all creatures who breathe up to about a year before we breathe. When we breathe out, in little more than a year, our expelled atoms will be breathed in by every living creature that breathes in air.

That’s a connection.

That’s a significant reliance.

That’s a dependency.

That’s … scary, considering what we are doing to the air around planet earth!

When we realize that the atoms we breathe in integrate into the bodies we are, which when we die decay back into the earth (one way or another), it is not difficult to acknowledge that when any new life is born or hatched or otherwise begun, it contains part of all who have gone before. So out of the dead rises new life, just not quite like themselves, usually.

This happens almost no matter what we do. Cremation or burial both lead to the same thing, just in different ways on different timelines. If we shipped our body off in a spaceship towards some distant galaxy, only then would our atoms not reenter the life stream on earth.

Laying aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, as the writer of Hebrews admonishes us to do, is on the opposite end of possible for us; it’s impossible on our own.

This we can only appear to do as the Holy Spirit accomplishes it for us. So we ‘run with perseverance the race’ before us, knowing that even putting one foot in front of the other is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Our place in the race is a rather humble one; God runs us for us.

For that we can be thankful this day, again.

Of course, we always have the choice to stop running. God does leave us freewill. Stopping God’s walking us is something to avoid each day.

But we don’t avoid it, not at all, not at all. So God needs to rescue us many times each day.

Thank God, God does rescue us; also this day, again, and again, and again.

Gimme, Gimme!

Gimme Bread?

Give You More Bread,

Haven’t you had enough?!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

It was and will be cold again. And God will continue to bless us. Simple!

Psalm 105:40-42

They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.

Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread.

Words of Grace For Today

One knows, even after one has one’s fill, even at a feast, that one will get hungry again.

That’s how it is.


how come we cannot be satisfied, knowing that there will always be enough?!

Well …

Because, there often has been, in history and in our own lifetimes, not enough!

The thing is when we work so there is enough, and take only what we need, not more, then we end up able to share more with others,

and others are more likely to share with us, when the day comes when we do not have enough

and through it all we have not wasted time and energy and opportunities to try to secure enough for ourselves.

Wasted that time is because there is no such security.

Might as well trust God and get on with as good a life as one can live,

which is (as God created us to live) a life of sharing with others, even to the point of suffering ourselves.

So Jesus messes with our lives (messed from how we want always to hoard for ourselves) and that saves us from messing up our lives so bad life is lost.

Today: trust God’s bountiful blessings.

Why not?


No Hope?

Do Not Lose Heart?

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

As In Every Photo,

In All Views Of The World,

Black Plays Freely.

First Chronicles 29:15

For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.

2 Corinthians 4:16

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Words of Grace For Today


Black absorbs all light.

Black blocks out all light so none passes through.

Black is the colour of








There is life like a shadow that is so fleeting one cannot but watch it pass, or like a shadow that grows and grows, coming toward one until all everything is no more as if consumed by a black hole.

And there goes hope, out the door to the far end of the universe beyond imagination.



Black holds all light.

Black shades the burning heat of all light so none passes through.

Black is the colour of



hope amid the burning storm

relief to the eyes


waiting for rebirth

promise of life.

While we live our bodies deteriorate. Some say after the age of 24 our bodies start to die. Some say the warranty is up at age 30. Some say …

… well all the someones say everything that is said.

And if our minds

do not succumb to the wear and tear of life, dropping our awareness to minimum levels and below, so that we do not even know our own families, which is a horrible thing to anticipate,

then we may experience the full impact of our lives continuing on despite the deterioration of our bodies and physical abilities,

and find delight.


Black is the colour of all that was before creation, of God in the universe alone, together three in one, lonely … it would appear … for company even with us imperfect, sinful humans.

Black is a colour given by God, to us, and in all times, black or not, God revitalizes our spirits, calling us to live out God’s grace (exercised for us) for others.

So even when it appears there is no hope, God

God recreates hope for us.


To Speak … Truth

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

When Our Vision Is Narrowed By Worry and Self-Concerns,

Like Not Seeing a Crossing Tracks’ Origin and Destination,

We Miss Other’s Needs, Paths, and Opportunities.

Proverbs 31:8

Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.

Hebrews 13:3

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

Words of Grace For Today

When we know ourselves to be defined by God, our identity not dependent on us ourselves or those around us …

Well then the world seeks us out for the peace we offer,

and we







Remember those in prisons, concrete or imaginary, with bully guards or made of rumours, of body or of spirit, by wars exiled out of home or by poverty kept from surviving healthily if at all,

and to speak

for those who are not given voice to speak and be heard,

for whom the world has no time or compassion

or imagination

of their precious worth

to us all.

So today

we remember and speak

in prayer first

and then

in our actions.

For God remembers us and speaks for us,

with grace

and steadfast love.


Gloriously Plenty

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Gloriously Plenty …


Jeremiah 31:14

I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, Says the Lord.

1 Peter 4:10

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

Words of Grace For Today

On the walk to the lake the path is covered with pine cones fallen from the trees, and husks of pine cones eaten by squirrels. One steps on the path, after so many days of pine cones coalescing into a soft carpet, with comfort even for arthritic feet and hips. This just as the view of the lake’s waters opens between the branches of the trees.

This is repeated in a few places where more pines grow than the weed-like trees, the poplars.

And the population of squirrels need not forage for food at all. So they multiply, and multiply. And steal more and more insulation from my camp.

God also provides plenty for us. If you have ever seen a combine off-load it’s grain into a waiting trailer, filling and sometime overflowing, the cavernous grain haulers, which in turn off-load their fill into even larger trains of semi trailers, which in turn off-load their fill into grain bins, wider and taller and more in number every good harvest year, which in turn are loaded into mile long trains of grain cars …

If you have ever seen this process of grain hauling, grain flowing, grain filling larger and larger containers then

well then you have seen an example of how God provides gifts to each one of us, and multiplies them as we gather to share what we have.

God does not give gifts for us to hoard them. God’s gifts of wisdom, intelligence, physical strength, determination, communication, charisma, leadership, handiwork, trades skills, compassion, inspiration, faith, and (most of all) love really only shine and provide us the goodness of life when we share them with others,

as the pines share their pine cones to form a cushioning carpet, and to feed those darn squirrels.

So, yes, sometimes what we share with others does not produce blessings.

God knew this, and prepared for it,

and walks with us to bring us through the evil that others ‘share’ with us,

(and to help others through the evil we ‘share’ with them),

and renews life with forgiveness, redemption, healing, and a bounty of more gifts,

and always overflowing, steadfast love

like a cool, refreshing breeze

that cannot be held,

only enjoyed.


Or Who

Have We Lost?

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Is This The Path To Laughing, Loving, and Living?

How Can We Know?

Isaiah 25:8

… he will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.

John 16:20

Jesus said: Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

Words of Grace For Today

In the movie Collateral Beauty, the father cannot face the pain of having lost his daughter, so he goes into withdrawal from life, a living death.

He cannot say anything about his daughter, not even her name, the disease that killed her or her age at her death. Nothing. For anything is already too much to bear.

Death is that thing that robs us of …

of everything,

everything that holds life together.

It is, therefore, quite the promise that God will swallow up death forever, that our tears of grief will be wiped away, and our pain will be turned into joy.

When death has taken life and breathing itself right out of us, these are promises we cannot trust, not at all, not at all.

And then God does something, not centre stage,

but off in the wings,

off some place we have to look to see

or we will miss it.

That’s the collateral beauty that God sends our way, not to rob us of our grief and the healing that can come, and the strength from healing,

but rather to start us on our healing path,

a path that takes


And then


we are home








breathe in


In the end the father comes to see his daughter’s face dancing with him and say his daughter’s name, Olivia, GBM (a rare form of cancer) and that she was six.

Those things are not life, but facing death’s reality, …

well that allows us to begin to live ever so slightly



love can reach our hearts again,

and we can laugh

once more.

If ever so little

and softly.


Or Arthritis, Or …

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Like Nighttime Snow

Freezing The Pine’s ‘Green’,

Arthritis Grips One’s Thumbs

(and other parts)

Without Warning

Psalm 34:3

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Philippians 4:4-5

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

Words of Grace For Today

A low pressure area (weather) approaches and the barometer drops like lead balloons or truth entering a courtroom.

Lifting a 22’ post to vertical to be packed tight in a hole yesterday leaves me cautious with my back.

But why are my thumbs complaining so loudly. Ah, yes. The lifts, only a few inches at a time, were many over hours … and I used a small but still heavy and very sturdy tree top with many side branches to lift the post and then to support the post between lifts. The best grip (well the only workable grip) put my left thumb in a vise below one of those side branches. So today, screaming out with pain, it wants heat and it’s cool in here since I’ve cooled it down to 13⁰ with the night air to prepare for the coming heat of the day (over 30⁰).

Lots of things, aggressive things, could be done, like turbo pain relievers. But how is one gentle with pain.

Well, one is gentle with arthritis if one has any good experiences with it. Aggressive hardly ever works and is more likely to make it worse. So the coffee press is filled from the hot water pan with a cup. That task done the cup automatically gets held just a few minutes longer in that hand and then is run around the outside of the thumb to warm it. Still the pain.

So after breakfast, the coffee press always has about 3/4 cup of coffee in the bottom with the grounds that does not pour out without extreme measures and then always with grounds in it anyway, so it’s hot after the last cup is poured and it gently, carefully (it’s almost too hot to touch) serves as a heat pad, and finally the the pain subsides enough so that I can write (well type.)

And the day is good.

When it’s not one’s own body that’s screaming in pain, but another person cursing in anger, the same kind of approach works best, if one knows what is good for oneself and others. Find what soothes the pain that is behind the anger, since all anger at it’s beginning and core is pain, is being hurt.

And that hurt allowed to grow into anger. And that anger left to fester by someone who does not know what hurts them grows to nearly fill or actually overfill, the person’s every hour. And that overfill of past pain become anger gets set off with a small spark of pain way too often. And the frequent fire of anger (without any obvious cause) grows until the person is in full out rage … every hour of every day, until ….

So when you encounter an angry person it’s almost impossible to deal to any good effect with the anger that grows out of the present situation, … because, well, that isn’t the pain the person is ‘venting’ with anger or rage.

And the only way to calm the current situation is …

you got it,

with gentleness

that soothes not only the current pain but all that pain built up under the surface.

Gentleness goes a long way, everyday,

with everyone.

Even me.

Even you.

How could God not advise us to let everyone know our gentleness?

How can we exercise gentleness even today?

Or is everything a nail since we are always hammers!? (Hurts my thumb just to think that!)


Of Giving Refuge

Thursday, June 8, 2023

What Appears To Be Peaceful, May Turn Against Us, Without Warning, Leaving Us at the Mercy of Others. As Others Are Now Needing Refuge With Us.

Ruth 2:12

May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!’

Ephesians 2:17

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near …

Words of Grace For Today

Julius sat with three others from the community to brainstorm what they should do next. It was not a simple decision. The hunting camp was overrun and people were irritable after weeks in such limited quarters, many with very little to do, but wait.

The news came back from the crews working to create sluice gates at 4 dams. Three were completed, beginning with the nearest one. A flood of water had been released from each in turn. The waters had flooded part of their community, mostly land used to grow food on. A few homes were flooded, but they still stood and could be cleaned up and rebuilt as needed. The peak flood waters were still to come, but the lower two dams were nearly empty, so the flood that reached their community should be small. They would be done with the last sluice gate in another week or two. It was the most difficult to build. That was the good news.

The bad news was three workers were badly injured when a tree in the water had smashed into them as they worked on the third sluice gate. They needed transport back to the hunting camp. Their injuries were not life threatening, mostly broken bones in their legs and arms. One had lost a hand when it was completely smashed. Their healer, one of Julius’ students, had taken care of them. So six strong people volunteered to go and bring them back on stretchers made from branches and strong blankets of deer hides.

The really bad news was that Amos had been killed when a tree top broke off as they were cutting down the tree. Everyone ran for cover while Amos stayed in place making the last cut so the tree itself would fall away from everyone else.

The fire situation looked a bit better as rain had fallen in most of the area, but only for a few hours. They still needed days of rain to bring the forests from their winter and spring dry state to the growing green of summer.

With the the threat of terrible flooding removed, though, their community was likely as safe as anywhere. The flood waters that had come would have brought moisture to the area, also lessening the threat of a fire burning the community down. The real threat was still smoke. So far in the hunting camp the smoke had not been terrible except for a few days. Runners to the community each day reported that the smoke had been terrible there for most of the time they’d been away, though now it was tolerable.

Should they return home? Or was it safer to stay in the hunting camp? That was the decision to be made. The three people with Julius, usually some of the most level headed in the community, were anxious. They spoke on top of each other, hardly listening to each other as they expressed their fears. Together they excited each other closer and closer to a panic.

One of the New Iblers had stood waiting to talk to Julius, but as the fear mounted among the three, she stepped forward and asked Julius if she might speak. He nodded.

Troyen began, “Today we read a short passage from the story of Ruth. She was a widow, who followed her mother-in-law, Naomi (also a widow), from Ruth’s homeland, Moab, back to Judah, Naomi’s homeland. Being a widow left women in that day in great difficulty, at the whim and mercy of a male relative. But Naomi had lost her husband and her two sons. Naomi had no male relatives in Moab, she was getting on in years, and she had been away from Judah for more than a decade. On her own she certainly would have died, but Ruth had chosen to stay by her side through the difficult journey and when they arrived. Ruth was out scavenging grain behind those harvesting it, when Boaz, the owner of the field, asked who she was. The owner was a relative of Elimelech’s, Naomi’s deceased husband. Being told that the young woman gleaning behind his people was Elimelech and Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who had returned with and cared for Naomi, he ordered his people to allow her to glean with them, even to leave sheaves for her, and to protect her.

“By chance, and by God’s blessings, Ruth and Naomi, were provided for and provided protection by a wealthy male relative. So it will be with us. God will provide for us and protect us. We need not fear anything, as long as we are wise, careful, and generous with each other.

“We also read that God brings peace to those near and far. So it is for us, for those here and those working on the dams, as well as all those in this area. We are blessed that the threat of floods is diminished. We are blessed that the rains have started. It helps when we remember God’s blessings, especially when we have difficult decisions to make.

“Perhaps it would help if I offered, what I came to say to Julius. A young man, who had sought refuge with us after his family was killed in a fire, arrived yesterday. He has made it his work to learn everything about fire and fire protection. He described a plan for protecting your community from wildfire. It could also include a channel to divert some water from the river around the community, as a moat as part of a fire break. That might be helpful in redirecting flood waters in the future.

“We would be willing to help build this and the other measures he described to us, if we could seek refuge in your community. As we build our own homes, we would help protect your whole community from both fire and flood.”

One of the three found a calm voice, “This is most welcome. The only reason not to return now is the smoke. It is too dangerous for the children and the elderly people.”

Troyen responded, “Two people in our community have devised a mask made of reeds and grasses that helps filter out the smoke. They have made more than enough for our elderly and they could make enough for everyone. The masks do not filter out all the smoke but they have helped our elderly breath easy even when the smoke was terrible here.”

Julius looked at each of the three. Each nodded. So he spoke for them all, “We welcome you into our community as full members, then, all of you. You are no longer refugees here. We accept your offers of fire protection, flood risk reduction, and masks for smoke. You are God’s blessings for us all. I would like to speak with this young man who knows much about fire protection. We can make a plan that the whole community can help with, and we might have ideas that we can share with other communities to use to help keep their communities safe as well. All that we have, we have so that we can share with others.”

When It All Hits

The Proverbial Fan …

Friday, June 2, 2023

Red Beauty?

Or Fire Burning Us Out?

Or Smoke

Taking Our Breath Away?

Haggai 2:9

The latter splendour of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts.

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Words of Grace For Today

When, though one knows one has done everything possible to make things right, it all hits the fan and gets blown to bits, one has to ask, why?

Happens to all of us, some more than others, always too often.

So how do we proceed through our days, having this happen to us, and knowing it will surely happen again?

Shall we resign, capitulate, and end our days in despair?

Shall we rise up to fight more viciously than ever imagined – hard for pacifists to fight, yet alone viciously – but shall we abandon being pacifists all together and fight like everyone else, and be more vicious now so that we can win, finally!?

Shall we plod on, actually or pretending not to notice how others run us over like bugs on the road of life?

Thankfully God knew it would be like this for us.

God sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit (all God, Three in One, anyway) to demonstrate life on earth for us, and to guide us with God’s power of self-sacrificial love through all that comes our way.

This provides an unwavering peace, the peace of Christ, that we can claim for ourselves at all times, in any circumstance, no matter who stands against us.

Further, though we may fear the result of all the things we have lost as we move forward in our days breathing, God promises that what is taken will be not only replaced (better than insurance of any kind) but that what we receive will be of far greater value. God’s gifts are always greater and more precious than any thing could be.

Today, ask for peace. It is ours. Trust God’s promises, they are sure. Never are we bereft of life’s best and most precious. God sees to that.


Crying To God

Or Languishing Away …

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Even The Animals There Were Barely Alive,

Starving Like the People.

Isaiah 50:2

God spoke:Why was no one there when I came? Why did no one answer when I called? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? By my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water, and die of thirst.

Matthew 8:2

… and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’

Words of Grace For Today

When Julius travelled to the south, climbing the steep cliffs and crossing the miles of barren rock, he found (as he had heard he would) a community of people so poor and poorly prepared for anything that would come their way that it astounded everyone who saw their community that they had survived this long.

Julius stopped at house after house offering to help heal anyone who was sick, to share words of encouragement, to offer advice on how to prepare better for the winter yet to come, and more desperately to increase their food stores if just a bit. Yet at every house he stopped at, he was told that he could not help them, that they would have to make do such as life was for them. He could move on if we knew what was good for him.

So he moved on to the next house, and the next, and the next, and …. After finding almost every house in the community he turned back north for the journey home that would take him through two nights.

He reached the barren rocks and stopped for that first night. As he setup camp and started to prepare for his light meal, such as it was, for he was nearly out of food himself, unwilling to take anything from such a poor community, a voice called out.

He stopped, surprised and then astounded as one of the community he’d just visited cried out to him to help them. He went, met the person, and heard that a house outside the community, a house he had not found was over-filled with people all sick, cast out of the community. The wanted to be healed, if he could take the time to help them.

So he went.

He saw even in the dark of night with the few lights from burning torches.

He diagnosed them with a simple malady of fungus.

He showed them how to grind up the root of a plant that grew nearly everywhere around them, to boil it in a tea. Within a day they would notice a difference as they started to heal. They scoffed at him and told him he must leave to that he did not become sick, too. They insisted.

So he left, camping not far away.

The next day as he was a short ways across the barren rock plateau, he heard a cry again.

He turned to see a young boy of about 11 running towards him. He stopped. The boy who he’d noticed among the sick, already had started to heal. Then the boy danced towards him, knelt in front of him, and begged him to allow him to come with him.

After a long conversation Julius sent the boy back home, instructing him to help the others. He also promised that he would return before the harvest, and then each year at least once, and begin teaching the boy to be a wise healer for his own people, and anyone who was in need.