Tag Archives: book

New Poetry Book Available

1 Dec

In 2009 I self-published a collection of poems I wrote while traveling through China and Central America the previous year. My hope was to raise money in order to move to Asia. Plans changed, as they do, but I was happy just for the accomplishment of getting my words out into the world. Years went by and I toyed with the idea of doing another book. Procrastination got the best of me, as always. After all, it is so much easier just to press “publish” on wordpress. Finally, after many life changes, moves, marriage, a baby and another on the way, I published “What the Water Does for My Words.”

It’s interesting to see how my style and voice have developed over the years. Also, how I really still have no idea what I am doing. I am not a poetry expert. Sometimes when I read other poems I think, “my stuff sounds nothing like this.” I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s just me. I’ve found over the years, it’s the one medium I can be completely free. Despite what experts may say, there are no rules. I like that I can feel the freedom to play with words and not worry about being relevant or cheesy. Either it speaks to you or it doesn’t.

I think poetry is one of the most overrated and underrated forms of writing. I say this because it has a bad reputation in modern society of being sappy or cheesy. Like greeting cards or Christian rap. But throughout history it was the language or lovers and warriors alike, an artistic form that surpassed logic and science and went straight for the heart.

I think that’s why I can find my home there.

I have a hard time categorizing poems, I guess that’s the whole organizational thing that doesn’t really come naturally for me. But I attempted in this book to group them into three overlying themes that came out as I read through them:

Earth.

Wind.

Water.Ā 

Many of these poems are about finding peace and contentment in nature. Others explore my frustrations with modern society and myself. Others are more about my struggles with Christianity and my journey from religion into grace.

If you’ve followed my writing at all over the years, I think you will like it. šŸ™‚

Thanks for reading, friends.

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Click here to order the paperback on Amazon.

Finding Jesus In the Chaos of Religion

6 Aug

Have you ever felt fed up with “The Church?”

I have.

I have walked out of services and cried in the parking lot.

I have sat through sermons feeling sick to my stomach.

I have been betrayed and lied to,

used and abused.

I have seen Jesus in some of the dirtiest and sin-filled places, but I’ve had a hard time finding him in “organized” Christianity.

I have ranted and raved about hypocrisy.

I have pointed fingers and condemned.

I have thrown my bible across the room, cussed out God, and almost walked away from the whole thing.

But Jesus never found offense in my frustration.

He loved me through all of it.

Even when I mocked his brideĀ and hated her at times.

(And realized I was just raging against myself.)

I have gone to the opposite sideĀ and come back around.

I have found grace.

I have accepted that (all) people are infinitely broken and unconditionally loved.

(Including myself)

I have learned that I already have everything I’ve been working so hard to obtain.

I have found freedom amidst the chaos of man-made religion, in the simplicity of Jesus.

And I wrote a book about it, with a friend of mine.

It’s a bit of his story, and a bit of mine.

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It’s a (strange) journey through religion into the heart of Jesus.

You might find yourself in this story too.

If you’ve ever felt “burnt out” by Christianity.

If you’ve ever been hurt by people who love God.

If you’ve ever wanted to say “screw it all” and run away,

But Jesus keeps bringing you back.

This book is for you.

Because sometimes we have to fall into pieces before we can fall into peace.

And sometimes we have to tear down in order to rebuild.

And there is always hope in the rubble.

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A Handful of Crumbs- Thoughts on Grace & Identity

18 Nov

I picked up this memoir by Kim Sunee, “Trail of Crumbs” partially because the cover was pretty, partially because it was on clearance for $5, but mostly because of the subtitle,

“Hunger, Love and the Search for Home.”

That subtitle could just as well describe the book I am currently working on, “The Wizard of God.”

Anyways, it’s a beautiful and intriguing life story. Kim was abandoned on a bench in South Korea when she was three, left with nothing but a fistful of crumbs to survive on. She sat there for three days until a policeman finally brought her to an orphanage where she was adopted by an American couple.

Fast forward many years. Kim meets a wealthy French businessman man who is charming and wonderful and gives her everything she has ever wanted. I was swept into the beauty of their life together, living in the countryside of France in a huge house surrounded by orchards and gardens. Kim cooks these fabulous dinner parties for traveling guests, exquisite combinations that made me long for new food and new places. Her lover bought her a building in Paris to open her own book store that specializes in poetry. There she meets fascinating artists and writers from all over the world. Her life seemed ideal. A fairy tale. She came from nothing, and was given everything.

And it wasn’t just money. He loved her too. Passionately,Ā  in a way that made all their friends jealous.

That would seem like the end of the perfect story, right?

No. she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t stay. She left him and threw everything she had away.

Why? Two reasons stuck out in my mind.

After being abandoned as a child, and growing up in an American family that was emotionally distant, she traveled to try to “find herself,” find a place where she belonged.

She thought she could find herself in a man, in this group of friends who were built around her in France, but it wasn’t enough.

She needed the one she came from to give her an identity.

The other reason was, in her lack of knowing who she was, in her struggling with abandonment and rejection, when offered the wonderful gifts of not only a beautiful life, but the heart of a loving man, she felt like she didn’t deserve it.

It’s impossible to accept grace when we don’t know who we are.

She was left in this world with nothing but a handful of crumbs, and so that’s what she built her identity around. She tried to get professional help, but it never subsided the ache. The more her lover lavished expensive and beautiful gifts on her, the more empty she felt.

I am not trying to psychoanalyze this woman specifically. The reason I write about her story in particular because as I was reading it I was struck with the idea that is perhaps the human condition.

We were born into this world with nothing, naked and screaming. We are often left with nothing more than a handful of crumbs, a few grains of rice, pieces we try to put together to make a life for ourselves, to create a home and a family, to find a sense of belonging.

A little boy in a slum in Chennai India, getting his one meal of the day.

Some of us find grace, find God.

We see He is not angry, we see He has given us good things. But often the more He gives, the harder it is to accept. That sense of debt that was established sometime in the losing of our innocence surfaces.

“Who am I to deserve this?”

The question can really be edited, cut in half, leaving the first three words for us to contend with,

“Who am I?”

It’s easy to see the brokeness, the tragic mistakes we’ve made, the reasons we were left with nothing.

It’s a lot harder to see who we really are:

Sacred, beautiful, works of art.

“It is our light Ā not our darkness that most frightens us.”

C.S Lewis said it this way in The Weight of Glory,Ā 

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly temptedĀ to worship…There are no ordinary people. You haveĀ never talked to a mere mortal.”

So, what then?

Is there some simple formula? Do we do like this awesome girl and repeat in the mirror every morning convincing ourselves that we are really wonderful people?

I love this video. Yet, there areĀ  not enough magic words to overcome a lifetime of feeling we are unworthy.

There can never be enough people telling you how brilliant or fabulous you are, when your Ā inner voice that tells says you will never be enough.

It is only in the opening of our ears to hear the whispers of The One who created, the only one with the right to tell us who we are. It is only in believingĀ that we are free

To quote Lewis again,

ā€œAnd that is enough to raise your thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. There will be no room for vanity then.Ā She will be free from the miserable illusion that it is her doing. With no taint of what we should now call self-approval she will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made her to be, and the moment which heals her old inferiority complex forever will also drown her prideā€¦ Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.ā€
ā€•Ā C.S. Lewis,Ā The Weight of Glory

We may see ourselves as having only a handful of crumbs, but there is a veil that has been ripped and beyond that, there is a feast we can sit down and partake in anytime we like.

Once we see this feast, once we understand we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters, we can invite the whole world to come, sit, and dine.

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