Life after Forty

Posted on Mar 25, 2016 in In My Words

  Ahead of  me on the journey by a decade, friend, mentor and often guide Marchiene Rienstra told me the other day about an insight that came to her on one of her morning walks in Sedona.  May this poem honor her insight, a way of passing it forward.     Life after Forty That year I turned forty you turned sixteen, beginning to show the curves of a womanly body, turning heads whenever you walked by. You still do – even after this blur of years has raced past both of us. Now you are stepping into forty. When I turned forty they told me I’d...

read more

Do You Do Well to Be Angry?

Posted on Mar 24, 2016 in In My Words

In this political season so fraught with angry people – it’s worth asking “Do You Do Well to Be Angry?” A question God once asked the Hebrew prophet Jonah, and the title of a message I gave a number of years ago. Sadly – what makes the biblical stories still relevant is that too many human weaknesses never change. We humans need to be reminded over and over, generation after generation, that foundational to our Judeo-Christian faith a call love one another and our neighbors as ourselves.  I read that morning long...

read more

Put Down Your Pack

Posted on Nov 12, 2015 in In My Words

Margaret Atwood once said – “I write prose to know what I’m thinking. And poetry to know what I’m feeling.” For me too – poetry was the right vessel to convey the emotions that swept over me after my brother called with words I had been longing for – for four long years. Closure on a tragedy – time for healing to begin.

read more


Posted on Feb 14, 2015 in In My Words

Well – it has been awhile since my last musing post. Life raced by. Full of good things like: Hosting retreats and workshops for Jack Ridl. Delighting in the birth of (now 5) grandchildren. A bit of traveling. And their were also the unexpected bends in the road that send us scrambling – for words that help us make meaning, sense of the senseless. During this time I never stopped “fooling around with words.” I’ve been working a participant in Jack Ridl’s Landscapes of Poetry workshop as well as regularly taking his One-on-One mentoring sessions. All this to explain why new posts will more often be poetry than prose.

read more

God’s Desire?

Posted on Feb 7, 2011 in In My Words

As I page turn the glossy pages of the art book, one photograph stops me. I look again. The image is of bolts of coarse, white cloth clean as a blank page “seated” on a molded bench in an ultra modern airport. I think – installation art. Cloth, dipped in plaster of Paris perhaps, shaped to suggest the slope of human shoulders, the diminutive round of a head. And jutting towards us, the prominent thrust of knees spread wide, offering a broad, almost welcoming lap. If this were art, I could admire composition and balance. The angled...

read more


Posted on Jun 10, 2010 in In My Words

“He didn’t mean it,” my father said. And he blushed. The red rising from his neck, a tide of shame rolling upward to those high, prominent cheekbones. It was something I had never seen before – my father, embarrassed, looking away uneasily. We were out for lunch, something I’d been trying to do weekly since the diagnosis. Alzheimer’s they had told us. The reason he could no longer remember the right numbers for the keypad that opened his garage door. The reason why lately, he had gotten lost in his subdivision, not remembering where to turn...

read more

Eyes To See

Posted on Feb 1, 2010 in In My Words

Meditation delivered on January 31, 2010 at First Presbyterian Church, in Holland, MI.

read more


Posted on Jun 17, 2008 in In My Words

Flyboy In grainy black and white, you pose on the wing of a plane. A flyboy, they promised free lessons. You saw an easy sling shot ride out of that four corner town, thought high in the sky it would all fall away, the father who played but never won, the mother who grieved the other son. “Free.” they said. Unless the world warred – then, of course, there would be hell to pay. But you don’t know that, standing there on the wing of a plane. Don’t know about hell’s pay. You don’t know about the Water Beast, the carrier deck long as a city...

read more

Last Mother’s Day

Posted on Jun 17, 2008 in In My Words

The slap of the door is what she heard. Though there was no door. There was no house. There was only that sound. The slap, slam, shutting of a door on years that began with a cry in the night, a Child to be fed, the Mother’s breasts pounding with milk and the Child sucking, sucking until the Mother was dry. Years when Bumble Bees swelled to the size of small whales and hid under the Child’s bed. And when the Child called for help, in the darkest hour, the wise Mother knew the way to throw wide the window so the Bee could fly out. She was Hero...

read more


Posted on May 8, 2006 in In My Words

Between her kitchen and the front room she leans against the doorframe wearily, watching her son build a tower of blocks. He sits on the varnished wood floor, legs bent at the knees like folded wings. Before him, a small triumph — two blocks, alphabet letters long faded, stacked one atop the other. He hovers a chipped E above the tiny stack, then releases it too soon, scattering all three. Hottest day of the summer and she’s been cooking and canning since dawn. Her bib apron is dusty with flour, stained berry, peach and plum. The faded blue,...

read more