Braving Simplicity

SAYING NO to the hustle of complexity takes courage,

given the pressure to measure progress by solid means

(the source of endless conversation/comparison);

no one wants to feel left out, and yet…

the urge to escape, find freedom, persists

among those willing to brave simplicity,

live plain

THIS POEM is a call to live simply, to grow brave, to say no to whatever it is that might be confusing the issues of life for us, just now. We can say no, and it’s often an act of self-knowledge, faith, and courage to do so. Because there are consequences, reverberations. We can take the hit, when we refuse to clutter our schedules with what fails to bring true life, which is born from a kind of inner clarity, a knowing what we are about and where we are going. This clarity and the confidence it lends to our decisions (i.e. what we say yes to and when we say no) is like AIR to our spirit. Because trying to deal with the complexities of life without the freedom (the true freedom) to say NO when needful can be suffocating. We can feel smothered. And it’s often the ability (confidence!) to say no that restores us to life; puts us back on track, moving us forward toward the goals God has put on our heart to pursue.

This is part of the living the spiritual life. I talk more about this in my book, “Seven Spiritual Disciplines, strength for the journey.” It’s on Amazon.

Thanks for reading.

Panting like the Deer after Water

you found freedom, rejected the siren call to be all things at once, settled to listen  

you found and rose to revel in the current in skies you trusted, like an eagle  

you found joy enough to inspire those who need experience heavenly kinship  

you found brothers and sisters, family members, those who love and need you  

you found pain has a name and often more than one, testing patience  

you found a home in God at very centre: a door that opened for you to hear, perhaps…  


this poem celebrates spiritual progress in this gift we call life; the disciplines that help take us forward along these lines are what my new book explores and engages: it’s called “Seven Spiritual Disciplines, strength for the journey” and is on Amazon if you’re interested

Setting Boundaries

Limiting access to the person I am,

as one person, is tough in the face of so many requests,

reasons to give from the heart more love,

because isn’t that what we’re talking about:              

limiting love?              

less access to me, by you?              

minimizing rather than growing, together?

and I’m only one person, so if I can help,

so be it.

This is my heart: to give from the heart,

more love, to live and grow, together.  

And if someone wants to know why I’m tired,

or feeling burned out, then they can ask                           

someone else because I’m busy,                           

unavailable. And I wish everyone would                                         

stop talking about my need                                         

for better boundaries.   This isn’t about me:

it’s about you, and I want to help                                         

you, not me.  

How simple can that be?

Boundary setting is not easy. But it’s soooo necessary if we’d avoid burn out and the kind of too-tired-to-care failure that is hard to come back from. Ideally, we have a weekly DAY OFF to help set the pace; establish what’s important in the first place, and then allow our smaller “no’s” to fit in to that larger spiritually-sound and life-giving rhythm. I talk more about this in my new book, “Seven Spiritual Disciplines, strength for the journey” if you’d like to check it out on Amazon. Otherwise, hope this finds you well, and feeling good.

Not as Alone as I Think

low section of man standing in forest

is a moose getting up late, I wonder

on my walk along a river’s edge, without another

human soul in sight, acutely aware

my shoes are not made

for running—relieved to find a bird, perhaps

as large as a grouse, rustling

in an abundance of leaves can make

a lot of fuss

this poem about the many ways we need peace to appear, appears in my book called QUIET WATERS

Back Alley Stroll

the alley is lined with pallet composters,

filled with this fall’s dumping

of flowers and trailing vines; a series of uniform

black plastic bins,

and ubiquitous overhead wires—

this is where we live

collectively, and individually

monotone garage doors framed with suspect cameras

suggest a wealth of items under wraps,

despite a hazard of things

left out

a blue chair—decked with dust—leans

against slabs of unused shingles,

a borrowed traffic sign, plus

gently used items marked “free” for anyone wanting

to fix a bike, clean a stroller,

polish off the paint

everywhere, fragments of stories appear at odds

with the frontage, prove irresistible,

become the reason why some of us walk here,


wondering at the declaration of trust in a side of life

that tends to thrive out back, content

with the unfinished

this poem appears in my book Quiet Waters