Half of Your Childhood

And just like that
Someone gave up
Half of your childhood days
Oh I could never
Ever make
That kind of foolish trade

To give up half
Of all the times
You come to me to cuddle
And half the times
We grab our boots
To run and jump in puddles

I could never trade
Half the days
Watching your face as you think
Or half the ways
You find to reach
And wash in the kitchen sink

Half the underdogs
And little green frogs
All the songs we sing in the car
Half the water fights
And fun date nights
And looking for shooting stars

Half the hugs
Half the bugs
Half the tickle wars til we can’t breathe
Half the puzzles
Half the snuggles
Half of the funny faces til we can’t see

To give up half
Of every laugh
Every blonde hair I see
And every no
And every please
And every “one more time, daddy!”

How could I lose
Half of these days
Watching you grow and become
How could I trade
Even just a day?
I treasure every single one

Unfaithful

You told me once
that your faithfulness was not
Forever and always
no matter what

That was hard to hear
but then I saw it clear:
You lived that way for years

Betrayal

I watched you crash, and I would have burned with you.
But you ran away, so what am I supposed to do?
Betrayal. I never thought I’d say that word
But each of your lies pierced my skin like a sword

Never Let Them Go

In a world of leavers
find the stayers
and never let them go

A letter to Love

(The idea with this poem is to start with a bit of order and meter, and then let it fall apart by the end, structurally, as a picture of Love’s journey forgetting what it is.)

What happened to you, Love?
When did you become so cheap
When did you forget what you are
When did you lose your ability to stand

You once knew the way to hold
The way to stand with and stand in pain
To never leave no matter the feelings felt
And endure and choose to remain, still

You once had an example from which to draw
Of willingness to die rather than leave alone
And laying down rights, not fighting for them
To consider another more than yourself

The example was clear, to run to the other
To dust each other off and hold hands to go forward
To never relent and never give up
To never place a condition on holding, caring

What happened to you, Love?

Did a lie seep in and get you to see
Another form of happiness found elsewhere
A way to be more alive by focusing on self
And the hope that you could restart love with another

I don’t think you work like that, Love
You lose your nature when you stop with one
You become empty when you try to start with another
That’s not you, Love. That’s something far less.

That is guarded and protected, boundaried
Trying to promise again to another
But having no one trust you because you broke love
You can’t promise again and have it mean anything

What happened to you, Love?

While we’re here, can I just ask
When did you become so focused on you
And when did anyone telling you that
become someone to place a boundary around and push aside?

Love, do you hope you can be strong again
Do you think you’ll ever mean anything again
Do you think anyone will ever believe you again
And choose your cheap form?

What happened to you, Love?

I’ve never known you to be like this
To leave, and give up, and run at discomfort
I knew you to be a rock and anchor
To be unreasonable and stupid, by common sense

That’s who you are, Love.
That’s what we all love about You
You never give up, never step aside
You never stop hoping, caring, giving. To death

When you stop being that, you’re not you
You’re just ‘affection’ or something less
But that’s not you, Love
We’ve seen so much better from you

You’ve made people say, “that makes no sense!”
And stood by when everyone and everything inside said run
You’ve cared for your enemy
You’ve inspired us and made us shake our head

You’ve given shots every day when the cancer was winning
You held hair back when the vomit was coming
You tried to empathize when you couldn’t understand
You’ve held another and got snotty and let tears get on your shirt, when there were no words
You stuck around for 60+ years, and there was a lot of shit in those years, like everyone has
I’ve seen you continue to stand with an alcoholic
Deadbeat. Rebellious kid. Sick parent.
You remain. You stand. You move toward, even if you know it’s going to cost you. No matter what.

That‘s you, Love. That’s who you really are
That’s who you’ve always been
That’s what we trust and expect from you
That’s what books and movies are written about
That’s what we clap for when someone announces “they’ve been married for 53 years”
You’re not a number. You’re a number of decisions and choices, to go after and hold on

That’s you. Don’t sell yourself short
Don’t let the lies in, and don’t think remembering who you are is weakness
Strength isn’t running. Strength is standing with.
Not breaking your promise. Not abandoning.
Staying. Standing. Remaining.

I don’t recognize you anymore. None of us do
Now you call a hammer good and compassion bad
You focus on you first, and others somewhere after
You’re hard and cold, and hope that leads to happiness.

Over a couple years, you became a castle with huge, sturdy walls
A giant moat and drawbridge.
There’s one way in, and that’s only if you allow it
You’ve proudly built this, show it off, and tell others how to build it too
Meanwhile joy, life and relationship are screaming at you from outside and you cannot hear them.
True happiness is yelling from outside the walls
Hoping maybe one of the guards might hear and pass the note along
But a castle takes a long time to build, and you don’t tear them down in a day, especially when you think the castle is good

Every day you put more stones on your castle wall
It’s getting higher, thicker, stronger
Everyone who used to have direct access now must speak to the guard at the gate
They all cry in despair at what once was
Many won’t be stopping by anymore, because they know what real love is and they don’t recognize you anymore.

This isn’t you.

What happened to you, Love?

2018 Podcasts, Books and a YouTube channel

I’m combining all of my favorite media into one post this year. So, here we go:

Podcasts

The End of the World with Josh Clark
Terrifying and interesting. Josh does a great job breaking down complex science in ways that normal people like me can understand. I think this podcast should be a pre-requisite for being a human.

Bundyville
So cool to see a show by the local Oregon Public Broadcasting be listed as one of the top podcasts of the year by iTunes. Bundyville is also terrifying and interesting, but sheds light on some of the ways strongly held religious ideas can cause so many problems.

Last Seen
I listen to a bit of unsolved mysteries, but they’re usually pretty heavy as they’re dealing with homicides. Last Seen is fun because it’s about an art heist instead. The largest unsolved art heist in history which ends with digging up a hole behind a house in Florida.

The RFK Tapes
Another mystery podcast. This one gets into all of the potential conspiracy theories in the Robert Kennedy assignation case. You’ll definitely see it in a new light.

Couples Therapy
I’ve been watching Casey Niestat’s YouTube channel for the past 3 years since he started daily vlogs. He and his wife Candice started a podcast this last year and it is super easy to listen to. I love that they don’t give answers and advice, but just talk about the beauty and difficulties of life.

StarTalk Radio
Just found this one at the end of the year, and I’ve only listened to a couple episodes. I’m starting to get into Neil deGrasse Tyson. I listened to his episode called Exploring Earth’s Oceans with Slyvia Earle and Famine Cousteau and was amazed. I want to try more.

Someone Knows Something
I love David Ridgen’s work, and this season of SKS was produced really well, and I think helped the family in the case heal and process the events. That’s my favorite part of David’s work; he doesn’t come off as trying to use the family for a story, but to help the family by telling their story.

Books

The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr

Salvation by Allegiance Alone by Matthew W. Bates

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (My interview with him.)

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans (My interview with her.)

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

Lies We Believe About God by Wm. Paul Young

YouTube

Casey Niestat
I’ve been watching Casey for a while. Love how he edits.

 

2017 Reading List

Each year I compile all of the books I read the previous year. It’s largely great for me to reference back, but I also hope it may help you if you’re needing some book ideas! You can see my reading list for 2016, if you’re interested.

I’m really excited about reading in 2018. I recently joined Buffer, and one of our goals at Buffer is to encourage growth and learning. In keeping with this goal, we provide unlimited books for teammates!

Quick note here: I only try to read books that I think I’m going to love of course, but I’ve added a thumbs up to the books below that I would highly recommend.  The books I read it 2017:

  • Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans
  • Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue
  • The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns
  • Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans
  • A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
  • The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns
  • A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell
  • What is the Bible by Rob Bell
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Blue Horses by Mary Oliver
  • Cross Vision Greg Boyd
  • Sinner’s in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd
  • Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

Favorite Blogs

I’ve grown a lot these past 5 years as I’ve continued to journey. Here are a number of blogs that I read on a semi-regular basis. The past 5 years have seen me try to bring in many more voices than just white males. I’ll keep this updated over time as I discover more great writers:

 

2016 Reading List

At the end of 2014, I made a goal of reading at least 10 pages of a book every day. This seemingly small goal revolutionized my life. In 2015, I read more books than I had read in the rest of my life combined. It sparked a passion for slowing down and consuming written works. There are many lessons to be learned in books — about yourself, others and the world. Just the act of slowing down to read a book is a kind of sabbath that nurtues the soul.

As an object, a book represents slowness and sabbath. It forces you to contemplate and consider. Books are antithetical to other fast-paced objects we touch and look at each day. Phones, computers, televisions, cars, humans. They are all fast. They change quickly. They inundate us with multiple streams of information to think about at the same time. No object is inherently bad. We make them bad when they begin to move our innermost beings away from peace, rest, joy, and steadfastness.

With this landscape of fast-paced objects, reading is more important now than it has ever been. I desire to consume less words in a day. To consume better words. This means shutting off screens. It means creating sacred, unprofaned spaces where silence is allowed to have its full effect. In 2016, I was able to create those small pockets to read the following books, to think and ponder, and to write. I hope to create even more of those spaces in 2017.

1. Mans Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl
A 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome.

2. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

3. Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament by Richard B. Hays

4. How to Be Here by Rob Bell
Rob is one of my favorite communicators. He is a craftsmen of words. I read this in about 3 hours.

5. The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley Hart
Helped me in understanding the Eastern Orthodox tradition and continuing to come out of neo-reformed Calvinsim which was all I had ever heard up until a few years ago.

6. The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

7. River Flow by David Whyte

8. The Day the Revolution Began by Tom Wright

9. Undiluted by Benjamin Corey

10. Children of God Storybook Bible by Desmond Tutu

We Walk

The best day came unexpectedly
I would have thought it more
Than simply walking by the road
Holding your tiny body in my arms

Feet dangling, head rested
My chest the happy pillow
Arms wrapped round my arms
Delighted just to be together

We walk. My feet work for us both
I describe everything I see to you
You see things for the first time
Eyes as wide as the sky as you look

You’re captivated by things that
me and my grownups have forgotten
are even there. And we walk.
We talk about everything we see

Cows are fascinated by you as you
are of them. The oranges blow in
the breeze and your eyes dance as
you watch their movement there

You watch the trees sway back
and forth. Your mouth drops in awe
at the simplest of creation. Heaven
must be like this. In awe at the basic

things most have forgotten to look at
Things we take for granted. Things
we don’t have eyes to appreciate now,
but we did before our eyes were polluted

Teach me to have eyes like you, little friend
Close my eyes enough to see what you see
Let my jaw drop by the simple words of
my Father, explaining the basic creations

Listen ears. Hear your Father. He speaks
to you. Wrap your arms around him
like your daughter does to you. Listen
as He explains how the cow moo’s

We walk together. You teach me how to
wonder again. Eyes wide as the sky.
Mouth dropped like a cave. Wonder.
Teach me to wonder like you, little girl.

The best day came unexpected. And we,
we walk. The sky looks on us. Grace.
The best day caught me by surprise.
We walk. Teach me to wonder again.


I’m learning to love poetry, though I do not know what I am doing. This is one of my first attempts in many years.