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December 2015

Suburban Understanding 2, our neighbors in Shalom

Suburban Understanding 2
our neighbors in Shalom

We who are Christian
Are children of our
Parents in Judaism

The Jews are Mother and
Father to our nascent
(Relatively speaking) faith

Life in the Garden is
Depicted there and our
Eden out-casting

The interpreting foretelling
Prophets are in the
Jewish story as are the

Judges and the monarchs
Absolute in wisdom
And in folly

(The best judge was
Deborah who did all
Things right

The king most loved
Was David whom God
Long-suffering loved in
The ruination of his family

And in the writing of
The psalms)

Our neighbor Jews
Have such time and
In bitter sweet such
Wisdom over ages

Listen in love
And we will learn

Suburban Understanding 1, our neighbors in Islam

Suburban Understanding 1
our neighbors in Islam

Islam means submission
To the will of God

Islam calls, many times a
Day, the faithful
Community to prayer

Islamic life means
Welcoming the stranger
Keeping a home that reaches
Out to friends in
Welcome and in need

And jihad

It is better
Understood as the war
Within one’s heart

The struggle with our lesser
Selves to make our
Lives a divinely cleaned
Container, open ultimately

To be filled with the
Presence and the will
Of God


How do I know this

By silencing the noise the
Distractions in my heart
To learn instead to listen

I learn by listening
And if I have it wrong

I’ll hear better
Next time


IshmaImroz, a spelling correction

The correct spelling of the blog I cited earlier is IshmaImroz.  At least I hope I have that right, now.  The work there is highly expressive and should be shared.

English teacher’s lament.  Most of the mistakes I make in writing are simply left behind.  But I’ll revise a few, when I get the chance.

And if you’re thinking “Sheesh!” and shaking your head, I understand.

the Liebster Award, my nominating process

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award.  What a cool name for an award.  Thanks,  Clarissa G at An Offbeat Blue Stocking!

Okay, following the rules, I next display the icon of the award.  Now it’s set as the featured image.  Trust that’s right.

Now I share eleven random facts about myself.  Here goes.

1. I’m left-handed.
2. I had a cat for nineteen years, a rescue who died recently. She was remarkable, conversational company.
3. I was born in Kentucky, which in Pennsylvania not so many realize. (Well, no one realizes ‘til I say.)
4. I have unreadable handwriting (even I can’t read it a while after writing it), and so I must be thankful for the computer. I have bad writer’s cramp, which is why I use initials for my working name and signature.  And because it’s gender-less.  (Interchangeable reasons.)
5. I am named Christopher because my mother really liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
6. I am ecumenical in interest(s).
7. I respond to blogs, sites, and people who are feminist, campaigning for gender equality. I think men still don’t get it. I’m sure it took me a while.
8. I have a friend who calls me a “progressive conservative.” I guess that fits.
9. “I am, after all, a hobbit.”
10. Animals and I become friends. (Not only my cat.) I’ve made friends with dogs and horses and others—and afterward been told these charges don’t make friends with anyone.
11. Racism makes me angry.

There we go.  Eleven things.

Now, what’s next.  Answer eleven questions I was asked.


1. What got you started with your blog?
My spiritual director thought I should have a blog. So I went through the motions of starting one this past summer. But I didn’t do much with it. Then I got in (I don’t remember how) a poetry-writing class through Bloging U. at WordPress. The course had daily lessons and tasks, and the interaction with writer was extraordinary. I’d taken on-line courses that were supposed to be interactive, though were not. The course here is over, and the interaction goes on. I am thankful.
2. Post a link to your favorite blog post you have written and explain why it is your favorite.
Uh-oh, I’m not sure how to do this. I’ve been writing series of psalms—contemporary, naturally enough. I’ve been enjoying that, even when the subject’s hard. I’ve been impressed and am appreciative of the response to the series so far.
3. What is your favorite color?
Blue, light blue. The light blue of an Oxford-cloth shirt.
4. Where do you get inspiration to blog?
Current events and current thoughts.
5. Where would you like to travel that you haven’t travelled to yet?
I have a bucket list, so-called, with three items on it. One item has been met, a trip to an extraordinary store in New York City. The third item is to get off North America, at least once. Puerto Rico, as a commonwealth, might not count. Bermuda would or the British Bahamas or Cuba. Since my father’s father’s family is English and my mother’s mother’s family is Irish, I’d pick the United Kingdom. If I could (or had) to pick one place, it might be Bath. My sister said she was impressed with her time there, which was brief.
6. What was your favorite book or movie as a child?
My favorite book as a child was A Journey to the Center of the Earth. I read it more than once (a first). As a terrible reader, even a frightened reader, this novel got me to relax, engage, and enjoy reading.
7. What is your favorite season and why?
Autumn. The colors and the coolness. The chill and thrill of Hallowe’en. My birthday and my sister’s. As a teacher, I found the first day of the school year exciting, too. I’m sure I don’t know why. (Technically, the school year began in late summer, but it was called “Fall Term.”) It’s a time of change, beautifully done by nature. Oh, Bilbo Baggins’s birthday as well.
8. Any goals for your blog?
I’d like to continue growing through the blog. More so through the blogging—the interaction with others and the growth from that. I’d also like to start a blog that becomes a conversation about spiritual things. I don’t know how to do that yet.
9. Do you have a bucket list? What is number 1?
Number one was visiting the Strand Bookstore in New York. Nine storeys with all categories and kinds of books. That item was realized when friends to me to New York and the store as a birthday gift. Wow, am I thankful!
10. Favorite thing to blog about?
Reaction to things happening and how they affect us all.
11. What’s your dream job?
Writing and performing, probably teaching. When I write something, the world makes sense for a while. When I perform (acting, singing, or reading), I tend to feel joy. When I went to graduate school, it was to study literature.  Then I discovered that I enjoyed creating text more than critiquing it.  I also found out about something my college advisors had never told me about: an MFA in creative writing.  It’s not only about what I love; it’s a terminal degree.  Meaning that I can get a secure job at a school and (perhaps more importantly) have professional cachet.  Having paid off my graduate degree costs and a good deal of time passing, I don’t see how I could pursue the MFA now.  But I’ll keep writing and performing, anyway.

And those are the questions and responses.  Now I nominate other bloggers, too (in no particular order–again, random):

  1. An Offbeat Blue Stocking (who’s been nominated, so I guess you don’t have to do all that again, unless you’d like)
  2. angieinspired
  3. I Would Rather Read
  5. What the Woman Wrote
  6. A Reading Writer
  7. Ishmalmroz
  8. Gradmama2011
  9. Stray Coffee Breaks
  10. mandibelle16
  11. Invisible World

Now I may apologize for two things.  I’m supposed to stop at eleven.  And I’m supposed to set down names of blogs that have less than two hundred followers.  I don’t know who has how many followers.  I don’t know how many I have.  So if you’re hugely numerous in followings, then I’m sorry to have stepped on that.  Mainly, I went with the criterion of my own sense of quality and meaning.  And only eleven blogs.

I don’t know if typing blog names turns those names into links.  But I’ll be contacting the bloggers, anyway; and if you’re reading this generally, I’m sure you could use the names above for tag-word (tag-name) searching.

So I’ll be in touch with nominating, and I’ll send the rules for the award.

Thanks again, Clarissa G!

Below are the rules for the Liebster Award:

1. Thank the person who nominated and link back to their blog.
2. Display the Liebster Award on your blog.
3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
5. Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers for the award by asking them 11 new questions (or having them answer the questions you were asked).
6. Make sure to let the bloggers know you’ve nominated them!
7. And don’t forget to copy the rules into your post!
and the questions to ask–
1. What got you started with your blog?
2. Post a link to your favorite blog post you have written and explain why it is your favorite.
3. What is your favorite color?
4. Where do you get inspiration to blog?
5. Where would you like to travel that you haven’t travelled to yet?
6. What was your favorite book or movie as a child?
7. What is your favorite season and why?
8. Any goals for your blog?
9. Do you have a bucket list? What is number 1?
10. Favorite thing to blog about?
11. What’s your dream job?


Psalm 18, about the divine participle

Psalm 18
about the divine participle

(Note Advent and Lent have
Participle meanings)

Lord, you are action, you
Are acting

The active spirit in the
Cosmos and inside ourselves

As a participle or a gerund
(Noun disguised as verb), you
Are meaning in all moving
Within beauty, space, and time

All is sounding, finding
Depth; all

Is soaring, reaching
Height, as you are passing
Over earth and sky and star

And under earth and in
The core

Our mortal lives
In waiting

You are saving
Saving grace
Within our lives

Helping us
In our divining

Two Hundred Fifty Dead

Two Hundred Fifty Dead

two hundred fifty dead in Chennai
a rounded number while the
counting of the dead goes on

rains and flood that’s what did
it now hopefully not so much
because of human design in
placing buildings and the populace

Chennai so you know is a city
of the world not that that should
matter for the death of one
native inhabitant anywhere is

a loss that makes a difference I
know you know this

but international technology
companies have invested in
Chennai with their presence their
companies are closed there now

worst killing flood in a century it’s
said and the rain keeps falling there

the part of all that’s drowned and
so given up which might be of natural
design has me wonder about a

fallen world did everything fall
that was created first would even
storms and floods that for now
cut off life would they run true and

right if renewed into the first and
given state makes me wonder if
free will then was worth the cost

sometimes I wonder this at other
times I don’t question for I know

that a fallen world is not worth the
cost of discretion and of choice

Fourteen Dead (it happened yesterday evening, my time)

Fourteen Dead

(it happened yesterday evening, my time)

“Fourteen dead in San Bernardino.
What is this inhuman trend?”
From my journal last night,
wondering what is going on.

Serial killers (I say serial means
mass murder, whether happening
once or over time)—they enter a
community center “with long
guns.” (This from the news.)

They shoot and kill.
Maybe they are killed or
captured afterward. The
investigation goes on.

We once feared a hand upon
an efficient surface, fingers ready
to press a button, sending atomic
missiles into space to fall back
to earth again in a foe’s land.
We still fear this.

We fear that killing from
afar lacks the moral intimacy
in killings of the past. We
worry about drones this
way. And we still have
more personal ways to kill.

Does a gun make the murder
seem distant, too? Pull a
shiny trigger, bullet travels
through a silvery barrel, the
target is hit. No personal contact
yet. Like the launch, is this
too easy, too?

If never done before, maybe
so. Or maybe when one
kills, there is no person there.
Only an objective.

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