Magpies and Mercy

Some creatures mentor their offspring to be wild and malevolent. Their family is ruthless. Opportunistic. But then, that’s just the way magpies are. A sudden flash of ebony and white warns any living thing smaller than a fox that the deadly pica hudsonia (scientific name for magpies) is on the hunt. About 180,000 magpies call…

Campfire Communion

After Jesus’ resurrection, he gathered his disciples around a campfire on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. They likely ate Tilapia Galilea (also known as Saint Peter’s fish), but an ugly specter haunted the disciples. Only days before, their friend had been nailed to a cross of timbers by Roman soldiers. In the glow…

Rest in the Roar

God had something to say to me as my newborn grandboy, Rapha, cuddled against my chest. “This is YOU, Son,” Jesus said. My soul nodded–a little grudgingly, and Rapha wrapped his tiny pink fingers around one of mine. “I know, Lord: I’m helpless without you.” I sighed. Younger Rick never would have admitted it. Sixty-three-year-old…

Why Wait?

Because you are preparing for the PUSH. The revelation. The answer. The deliverance. You are preparing for what God decides is best for you–his son or daughter. Don’t get itchy feet, but while you wait, speak to yourself and God.   This was David’s inner conversation as he waited: “Hear my voice when I call,…

In the Arena

The Roman senate turned thumbs down on Nero’s egotistical request to demolish one-third of the city of Rome—but the great-grandson of Caesar Augustus wouldn’t take no for an answer. Nero wanted to build a series of palaces on sites of revered Roman monuments. Not long after the political fracas, shops lining the chariot-racing venue, Circus…

Cache of Reverence

 Wales juts into the Bering Sea like the tip of an arrowhead, pointing at Russia 55 miles to the west. Before 1918, five hundred Kingikmiut Inupiat Natives lived in Wales. It was a thriving trade center until the influenza epidemic killed over half the village.  The Kingikmiut Inupiat Eskimos (people of the bluffs) had hunted…

Breaking Through

In HIM [Jesus]……was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 In…

You Can Trust Her

Empathy, Sympathy, and Intercession are sisters who find fulfillment in helping others. Empathy will defend you when others bail. Empathy “feels” your pain, and knows your struggles because she has been there. Sympathy also shares your feelings. She strokes your emotions and comforts you—but if your situation gets too hot to handle, she may have…

Eternity Inside

Denali (Mount McKinley) amazes us with its visible landscape: Snow. Ice. Moraine. Rock. Wildlife. But an array of invisible life and elements are just as real. On Denali, thousands of creatures emit clouds of microscopic pheromones to communicate with their own species. Molten lava seethes beneath the mountain’s earthen crust. Wind rips through icy chasms…

Mom and Monet

Claude Monet was the driving force for Impressionist painting in the 1800s, and a master at capturing emotions in water and shadow. His rapid brush strokes apprehended color and light, with little emphasis on exactness. Monet painted the same scenes of flora as many as 200 times, his brush serving as a “time-lapse camera.” Monet’s…

Root Bear

Eustice dropped his bulldozer’s blade and squinted through drizzle where I pointed. “See it?” “Nah… Oh, wait… A-yuh!” A good-sized black bear hunkered on its haunches staring at us, motionless. Eustice flipped the bulldozer’s kill switch and twisted in his seat to get a better look. He shook his head. “Not movin’ a dite…” I…

Cut It Loose

When we are at the end of our rope, sometimes we hear the old saw: “Tie a knot at the end of the rope and hold on!” while at the same time Wisdom hollers: “Let go of the rope, Dummy!” About 50 years ago, Fashion’s Shadow pranced like a parade horse, with me walking at…

Crane Babies

We heard them before we saw them–two majestic sandhill cranes. Mom and Pop Crane dodged a car that braked wildly. Then Mom Crane launched upward, and Pop followed her, all the while frantically trilling loudly to… whom? Crane Baby One! Crane Baby One could have passed for a lively plucked chicken. In the middle of…

Old Hands, Young Hands

Grandson is 41. Grandma is 92. Her bed is her parlor these days. Grandson sits on Grandma’s rumpled blankets and their hands speak a language only they know. He is her firstborn grand-boy. In bygone days he curled up in a sleeping bag on her bedroom floor, laughing and talking into the night. French toast…

Smell It?

Right now you are breathing an array of “smell-cells” that travel through your nostrils to rendezvous and be analyzed at a brain terminal inside your head. The brain reads and routes these smell cells through what is called the limbic system from which an aroma of pancakes or perfume affects mood, emotions, behavior and especially,…

No Escape for Dads

Isn’t it amazing that a drop of saliva can identify the culture “soil” from which we sprout–European, African, Asian, Middle Eastern…? Our family fathers were stone masons, preachers, lawyers, engineers, and outlaws! Like old journals, their values gather dust until we face life-altering choices. Then it matters what kinds of fathers we have as a heritage.…

Leave It to Beavers

  Beavers have turned a swath of forest into a meadow.   Dried salmon leftovers from bear’s catch last year.     It’s been 15 years since we hiked this area. It’s only 10 minutes from our house. We didn’t see a single beaver in any ponds. Fish and Game may have trapped them out…

Whisper for the Prosecution

The trial was in its final days. Ms. Gentry had been questioned by the defense, and Prosecutor Hand had cross-examined her, but he wasn’t finished. Hand stood before the witness stand, and Ms. Gentry blanched at the question. “Did you hear me?” Hand delighted in pummeling defense witnesses. “I’ll ask you again: Does God talk…