The beauty of a sunset along the Appalachian gaps

reminds me that I wish no one ill

Yet then its shining point annoys

I squint

and the glare strains my soul

I shout

“go hide in the valley and die out”

no patience

no presence

and in that breath

I have struck an edge

from life to death



Bags in hand

carried out 

up front with doors shut 

seated for the daily performance

Invariable anxiety 

among the hosted caravan

some more polite than others.

Mirrors shoulder high 

from the corners reflecting 

the auburn and pink rising

behind and brightly announcing 

the commuting of the day. 

Photo courtesy of Somber by Sunrise



The mountains hug forgotten ones

Souls known in gestures centuries old.

Wonderfully wild and high enough

where clouds can wet their tears and soften edges

All in breathless upward climb in rhythm find

a peaceful soul

and a memory, union sweet.

Then falling down in gasps of fear darker turns and twists

My footing gone

the mountain moves

in outward reach

– embrace.

1st position

20160607_slt4529-197nikCicadas fading hum meets the cool morning breeze

with a call and response litany among the usual flight of birds

except geese in formation against the wind directly pointed

while the lutheran’s sanctioned bell begs their ordered migration.

It is Sunday.  

It is the day the trees dance in 1st position to know Sabbath’s touch. 


photography via Stephenltyler.




What gesture best describes your greeting? Is it a simple head nod, a hearty “hello” with brief eye contact or a phrase expressing your view of the day and the encounter “good day to you” or “don’t you love the weather?”

I’m a head nod type of person– reflecting my focus to get on with chance moments and attack the day’s true calling. This stingy gesture says something important about my reluctance to be whole.

I miss the spiritual potential of gesture.

I miss the moment of life ordained for that encounter.  I am instead attached to an agenda – one that splits me from reality and the wonder of chance and change.

I don’t really believe church people do this better– though many practice it at least once a week. I am learning that the uninvested spirit of God in the ritual of a handshake and a caring hello harbors more grace than a sermon or ritualized amen.

My soul has wondered from stoned faced worship to see God in gestures meant to connect us on a journey –without an agenda but with a liturgy of embrace. My soul sees God in the moments I break free from form and risk greeting with the breath of a holy now.




Bent- out of shape.


Luke 13: 10-20

The 18 years of suffering carried in the form and substance of a “temple woman” reimagines the practice of Sabbath in this Christ encounter.  The woman embodies a broken structure, the “18 year” descriptive a known ancient code phrase for “suffering and bondage.”

The story though begs a more feminine interpretation. The imagery of being turned in on oneself yet asked by Christ to move forward intones a message not often recognized as Christian. Jesus’ humiliating argument in favor of Sabbath grace and healing referencing the need to water a thirsty ass shames the “keepers” of sabbath places.  And despite the insulting reference the crowd of broken spirits- I suspect many of whom were women -respond with delight and seem energized!

Jesus further encourages with parables of yeast and mustard seeds, moving then to kitchens and gardens– home places for women. The mustard seed would stir up thoughts of healing as it was used medicinally in a paste with “new wine” and the transforming power of yeast worked into flour would be obvious to the feminine ear.  The message that Sabbath is as close as your kitchen and near as your home seems obvious.  These are “shaping” places for sure.

The miracle, the healing call and response, rises from a feminine space of both release and synthesis–freedom and enmeshment, sacrament and incarnation.

We reshape our brokenness mid Sabbath moments of everyday life.

Artwork by Anastasia Arteyeva