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Mothers are the lifeblood of our best days on earth. It’s a role not chosen but gifted. And those willing to rise to the occasion shape the planet one laboring gesture at a time. From the act of childbirth to Sunday school to wiping a bloody lip, they exhibit selflessness. And in an age where we can command gadgets to relay anything at a moment’s notice (our every whim really), this is a fresh example.

It still takes nine months for this gift to arrive. The virgin Mary to our own parental DNA, they are all embedded with the will to survive, to nurture. We cry and are comforted. The diaper is changed before a nasty rash settles in. Food and sustenance are supplied by our caretakers. We bask and rest in summer months filled with sunshine and endless amounts of Vitamin D.

My own is someone I cannot even begin to describe. She deserves more than tangible gifts on a single Sunday in May. I laugh when websites suggest gifts for me to send her way on Mother’s Day. What could I ever share with her that equates to the gift of life? Can a person come remotely close to delivering something so substantial as their own date of birth?

My own wife, and best friend, is developing our own gift right this very moment. A date stated as her own date of birth in late summer. She glows with the radiance of new life beneath her. The stomach nests baby much like a mother hen caring for her own. Inside great things are at work, and I marvel at what is hidden, what kicks and jolts the epidermis after some watermelon is munched down.

The skin of life stretches and new cells form. But unlike a yawning biology class, this is visible and mystifying. God’s own world growing before the naked eye. I watch and am comforted by the unknowable development. Something man cannot alter or create in a million lifetimes if he tried. The embryo that makes us all and hatches new wonders minute-by-minute. Time is paused and clocks are rendered useless while mothers do what only they can.

Birth without a death in sight is peace-filled, and worry is thankfully forgotten. Thanks being given to the Divine and for the mothers who created us into a world made better for it.

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2017 Writerly Happenings

Hi, folks!

Here are 3 more exciting “writerly” events happening this summer:


“If everybody read Wendell Berry, I believe we’d have a shot at being more decent.”



Hope to see you at one, or all of these times!


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It’s Friday! Let’s read Wendell Berry!

The Sycamore

In the place that is my own place, whose earth

I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing,

a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself.


Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it,

Hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it.

There is no year it has flourished in

that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it

that is its death, though its living brims whitely

at the lip of the darkness and flows outward.

Over all its scars has come the seamless white

of the bark. It bears the gnarls of its history

healed over. It has risen to a strange perfection

in the warp and bending of its long growth.

It has gathered all accidents into its purpose.

It has become the intention and radiance of its dark fate.

It is a fact, sublime, mystical and unassailable.

In all the country there is no other like it.

I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling

the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by.

I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it,

and is fed upon, and is native, and maker.

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5 Things To-Do Before Vacation Starts


Prior to hitting the road –

  1. Setting aside swimming trunks (getting to use them in warmer climes after they’ve clogged your drawer space ALL YEAR LONG)
  2. Packing that 1 book you’ve been meaning to read FOR EONS
  3. Buying some favorite “road warrior” snacks – examples include: Beef jerky (Mingua, if you can find it), Clif bars (Carrot Cake), Twizzlers (Cherry Pull ‘n’ Peel), enough Coke Zero to get to Destination: Wherever
  4. Printing paper directions [Just in Case – power on the Eastern seaboard abates, cell phones die, tech fails mid-trip]
  5. Adding those top 10 favorite albums to your car playlist (yes, Bob Marley should be in there…somewhere)


Let’s go!


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8 Things that Baffle Me.


(LOOK AT THAT GIANT EGG! It’s so hot out there you could fry an egg on the sand!)

Call it a heightened sense of awareness brought on by less structured Summer months – with more time to think and whatnot – but these things have registered (and brought on conundrums) this year. See if your list and mine share any similarities. If you’d like to comment, please do so on this page. I believe, we can have a civil discussion about this list (except #2. My mind is made up on that one!).

Here they are. My 8 Things that Baffle Me (in no particular order):


1.) Why GoGo exists at all (Do we really need high-speed Internet a mile into the sky on some flights that only last 45mins? Can I go without sending that text, watching that movie at least that long? I pray so.)

2.) Banana hangers (Bed Bath & Beyond sells them by the truckload. Guilty: I own one. Does my banana need to be tricked into thinking it’s still hanging on a tree in Ecuador? Is it good to ripen all of the bananas at once? Won’t we just have to eat them even quicker? Hey! What are all of these gnats doing around my bananas. It’s that darn HANGER I bought. Well played, BBB. Well played.)

3.) Disney World (and its presence towards the consumer, the crowds, the Orlando-Kissimmee St. Cloud-I-75 mess, the mice. See you at Harry Potter world this fall?)

4.) Nicki Minaj (a la the majority of music created in the past 5 years. Is Taylor Swift country or isn’t she?)

5.) Why sunscreen burns the skin (Isn’t it supposed to protect us from burns?)

6.) Roundabouts (saw someone going the wrong direction in one earlier this week and…well.)

7.) Primaries (Closed, Open, Semi-Open, Semi-Closed, Blanket, Nonpartisan Blanket, Unified…blah bleh bluh)

8.) Why flavored chips make me sick if eaten on an empty stomach (especially Pringles Sour Cream & Onion. Total nausea.)


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Great Vacations 101.


That same year, 2003, provided another surprise. In addition to graduating Monticello High School, embarrassing myself in NYC, witnessing miracles in Brazil, and transferring colleges, there was another pit-stop along the way.

We have to back up between Brazil and going away to college. It was a family cruise. My family wanted to visit the Caribbean. I know. You are probably starting to wonder how one year could provide so much excitement. I was too. But, as those in baseball say, “the hits kept coming” again and again.

This one is unfortunate and less humorous than the NYC bus blunder.

It begins with a robbery.

I thought copying it down verbatim would work best. A robbery is never a fun exchange and believe it or not, I’ve been robbed 4 times already in my life. (only 2 forcefully)

(Don’t worry. It’s not contagious…I don’t think.)

But, we were on this Caribbean getaway. Mom said, “You boys be careful.” And my brother and I took off for what was known as the “flea markets” of Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Now, this wasn’t smart. I admit it. The cruise director specifically told travelers to not venture off the main route and alerted everyone of the risks of crime. But, we were hard-headed, I guess.

Here’s my rant from Summer 2003–

“Ode to the Belligerent Jamaican man who robbed me! —

I think your country is exceptionally beautiful. Your tourism attractions are many! And the weather is always delightful. Yet, there is more than one thing I find disdainful about you. For starters, why must you rob those who visit you on holiday? I was always under the impression that tourists are welcome especially when they account for 90% of a country’s gross domestic income. Your Jamaica IS beautiful. Robbery is not. Rise above these nasty convictions and choose pleasure over greed please. Also, what is with all of the “It’s about respect, mon! Respect!” comments? Seriously, who needs confirmation that much about where respect comes from? Frankly, I’m a bit repulsed by your conduct. Jamaica was my vacation spot. Your were a native who I happened to encounter. Will you always be so outlandishly awful? If so, I do not think I will be able to visit you ever again. The conduct is so utterly despicable that I must admit my dislike for your entire island now. It is a classic case of one bad apple ruining the batch. My friend, I implore you to come to your senses. You have failed me in the past. Now, is your chance to represent your country in a NEW light. Lastly, I want to say that marijuana is not cool. You make it appear as if it is God’s gift to the world. Bob Marley was some dude who smoked it who happened to live next door to you and play music that had good grooves. Come off of your high horse, please. Drop the weed and drop my money. Embrace kindness and I might visit you in the coming years. But, you MUST realize the need for peace. And taking a poor kid’s money is just plain wrong!”


This piece followed our robbery. My brother and I were 2 regular Huck Finns unable to control our circumstances. Trouble knocked and we folded. I remember six guys circling around us and asking us what we wanted. My brother yelled “RUN!” (after our money was pried away), and we sprinted the whole way back to the ship.

Live and learn.