…stories and poetry to touch, teach, & turn the heart toward truth.


The Monster and His Nemisis

I have come to the knowledge

that something much like a monster

lurks behind the niceties of my civil facade.

It is hungry.

It feeds on my fears and false desires.

It longs to twist my hopes

like tattered shards of ragged cotton.

Its nourishment are the secrets I hold deep inside

–too deep to expose.

I am tormented day and night

by this dark churning inside my head.

This voracious animal hungers for my heart.

It wants to swallow me whole,

until it devours my very soul.

It nips away at my thoughts

until it convinces me that it holds the true reality.

It lies to me.

It tells me that I am in control.

It hums sick lullabies of disillusionment

into the gullible ears of my selfish ego.

It lies to me.

It says lust is the most important desire I have.

It is lust itself.

Its bottomless stomach churns with the bile of regret,

waiting to spew its most bitter, anguishing consequences

all over the beauty I hold most sacred.

All it wants of me is that slight, imperceivable nod of permission

somewhere deeper inside me than the eye of my mind can see.

It hardly waits for approval before it jumps in and takes over the ride.

For too long

–far, far too long–

I have given it its way.

I have let it take over deep inside.

I have surrendered,

almost to the point of letting myself believe it was God!

I have forgotten where it started from,

where it wants to take me,

and I have nibbled on the lie of self-gratification,

until I nearly believed it was good for me.

I play the fool much too easily,

when I auditioned for the part of the wise man.

I was cast to play the righteous man,

but spend so much time shadowing the wicked man

that I come close enough to being him,

even I don’t recognize myself.

Father, forgive me again.

Help me to win.

Send the monster back home.

Don’t let my spirit roam.

I am Christ’s workmanship.


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“Calderwood” Part I

I live in a land called Calderwood. We are known for our massive forests, strong warriors, high mountains, and plentiful harvests. We are a proud people, though not pretentious. We are a people who, up to this point in our two hundred year history have been without enemy infiltration. Though we are young, we have fought hard for what we own and are at peace with all of our neighboring tribes. We trade willingly with them for food, livestock, and spouses. We’ve been blessed with generations of wise leaders and responsible laborers. What we have never known is defeat.

There have been many small battles throughout our history, more when we first began than in recent years, and two wars. The first war was with the land of Hermebia. It was the most deadly, and we learned much from our losses. The second, with the land of Cornick, took place nearly thirty years ago. Cornick is a land inhabited by the descendants of Namere, the natives of the southern part of Calderwood who refused to join with my people to become one. Though they dwelt within the land before my ancestors traveled here, they were not strong enough to sustain their claim to the land. They were forced by my ancestors to move beyond the southern reaches of the Great Calder Mountains. This land is called Cornick because of the great Lake Cornica around which their people now dwell. While this conflict was a sad time in the history of my people, for many of the people of Namere were kindreds of my people, the Calderians, it has been to our benefit. Now that Calderians are a unified and united people, unpolluted by the eccentric culture of the descendants of Namere, our own culture has been able to flourish and become more and more refined over the years we have spent in recovery and perseverance in our attempt to remain at peace and prosperity.

The reason I am writing these words, though, is a result of the fact that I fear our land is dangerously close to an attack from within. If what I fear were to come to pass, we would find ourselves in more ruin than if the Great Calder Mountains shifted and buried us beneath them. It would be better for us to be completely wiped out than for us to self-combust, but unless the inconceivable happens, we are quickly on our way.

Gnamel, a young warrior who is the nephew of our leader, King Garman, is half Namerian. Gnamel’s father, Leen, died in the war against the descendants of Namere when Gnamel was still in his mother’s womb. Gnamel never knew his father, closest brother to King Garman both in birth and in spirit. Gnamel’s mother was the daughter of the great-great-grandson of Namere himself, the treasured patriarch of the Namerian people. Gnamel was raised in a home of conflict, within a land of peace. Because he was the king’s nephew, he was invited into the royal family as one of their own. His father, Leen, never knew he was to be a father before his death, and the news of Gnamel’s birth was as sweetly rejoiced as the death of his father was bitterly grieved. Gnamel’s mother, Kuin, had loved her husband more than anything, and had known great joy in bearing his child. She was also a very true-hearted Namerian, as the blood of her ancestor ran strongly in her veins. The knowledge that her own people had killed her heart’s love, and her child’s father, had filled her with a turmoil too great for anyone to bear. She raised Gnamel as a Namerian of the purest degree, yet allowed him also to grow in his love and understanding of my people as well. Her  world was one of contrasted loyalties, and thereby her son began to feel like a stranger in both of the cultures he loved.

Most Calderians who once held great esteem for their Namerian neighbors, had come to despise them when they rose in opposition to the ways and laws of Calderwood and sought to drive us out through violence and deceit. There were few Calderians who hadn’t lost at least one member of their extended family to the knife of a Namerian they had once considered their close friend. For this reason, few Calderians held anything but strong animosity for anyone of Namerian blood. Gnamel and his mother, Kuin, were of no exception if they ventured more than a few blocks from the safety of King Garman’s protection. In the same way, Kuin and Gnamel are not welcome in Cornick, the new land of her people south of the Great Calders. Kuin once convinced King Garman to allow her and Gnamel safe passageway to Cornick,  to visit deeply-missed family. Their small traveling party became the near victims of a lynching almost as soon as they had crossed into the land of Cornick. The Namerians hadn’t forgotten that they were no longer welcome in their native lands, and on that day had firmly established the understanding that no one of Namerian blood would be welcomed in their new land of Cornick.

Namerians are a people of stubborn bitterness and will not likely forget their resentment. Nonetheless, none of them have ever attempted to invade Calderwood again. Their numbers are much smaller than ours and their people are fisherman and farmers, not warriors. Interestingly, we trade regularly with them on the borders of our lands–freshwater fish for wheat and barley, herbs and spices for timber. Both sides are very careful not to step onto the opposite shore of the shallow stream that has come to serve as the physical border between Calderwood and Cornick.

Now that Gnamel has grown into a strong warrior of a man, and his mother has completely retreated from society as a malignant reservoir of anti-Calderian sentiment, his desire to weaken the societal unity of Calderwood has grown into a slow-burning passion. Many wouldn’t know this from simply observing or interacting with him, though. In fact, even the royal family is largely unaware of his hatred for the people and land of Calderwood. This is where I come into the story. My only hope is that my involvement will bring about the necessary climate for change in Gnamel’s heart before he ruins himself, his people, and the family that has given him everything he knows.


An Excellent Wife

I need to ask you to forgive me…

…for letting myself go and not even trying

…for making up so many lies in my head about not being beautiful enough for you

…for  just knowing and telling myself that I was not good enough for you

…and telling myself that our marriage would fail and you would not be faithful to me.


Will you PLEASE forgive me?

I want to vow again before God and you that I will stay faithful to you and never give up on our marriage.

If I say I want it, then I must put all I have into it, and try all the time–not just when it is easy.

As God is my witness (Who is always there), I will make our love my first priority, after my walk with the Lord.

I am trusting Him to teach me how to love you.

Please help me to stay on track as I work on making myself  healthier for the Lord to use…mind, body, & soul.

I love you.

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Worst Day

I may be too pessimistic,

But I seem to always fear my worst day.

What will I do?

What will I lose?

My faith, my family, my life?

So it’s easy for me

To caution you:

Be ready for your worst day.

Be ready for everything to fall apart.

Be ready to watch it disappear.

All the good you ever held dear

Destructing before your eyes.


Now I realize I’ve got you down,

But you have to admit I’ve got a point.

We expect ease.

We expect fortune.

But why do we think we deserve it?

I’m warning you,

It’s coming soon,

Be ready for your worst day.

Be ready for everything to fall apart.

Be ready to watch it disappear.

All the good you ever held dear

Destructing before your eyes.


Maybe your worst day is today.

Maybe it’s tomorrow.

Maybe it was yesterday.

You’re seeping in your shame and sorrow.

But I have found

In all my days

That haven’t gone so well

There’s always been

Waiting for me

A bucket at the bottom of the well.


Be ready for your worst day.

Be ready for everything to fall apart.

Be ready to watch it disappear.

All the good you ever held dear

Destructing before your eyes.


But be prepared

I wouldn’t be surprised

If one day in the future

You look back and see

It was your best day.

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Why is it so unamerican to be generous? Why do so many people throw their money away on useless things, when the people on the other side of town, or even next door, can’t afford the gas to pick their kid from their dad’s?

Yesterday, my wife and I were enjoying lunch with a pleasant couple from our church. During our discussion, they shared that they are needing to move. They expressed that they have no shortage of funds to be able to go out and buy 10 acres of prime farm land and build themselves a dream home, but they aren’t sure where to build. The clincher? They are both in their twenties. Granted, there is nothing inherently wrong with what they are planning to do. If I had the cash, I would probably be very motivated to do the same. Not many get to live out their “american dream” like that, and I’m fairly certain we all would love to have the opportunity to build our dream home, someday.

Today, however, I received a call from a lady in her thirties who literally needed someone to give her enough money to drive two towns over to pick up her son from his dad’s and then drive to the food pantry so that she could feed her family. Cost? $45.

This is a problem.

First of all, why has no one been helping this lady already so that she didn’t get herself to this point? For example, she has a monthly income of $697 and spends $630 of it on rent, not including utilities. She has a friend who helps her pay for extra expenses, but the longer I think about her need, the more I wonder why she doesn’t seek out a less expensive place to live? I spend $450 a month on rent, and live in a three bedroom house!* Has anyone who knows how to be thrifty with finances even met with her and helped her differentiate between needs and wants? Has anyone helped her map out a way that she can actually afford to live on less than $1000 a month? Where are all those people who could do this without a second thought?

Why is it that I am the one who ended up helping this lady, and not my friend who could buy my house five times and be fine? Why does the idea of going out of the way to help those who legitimately need it not eat away at wealthy people who go to church and call themselves Christians, but spend their money on expensive things they don’t even come close to needing? Why couldn’t my friend have said to me yesterday over lunch, “Hey, if you know of anyone in need, please let me be the first to know so that I can share with them what the Lord has seen fit to bless me with?” Why did I not even think of any of this before I received this call today?

Going back to the whole “unamerican” thing, why is it that most people don’t consider their community to be as much their own responsibility as their own home? Why do we think other people’s poverty is not of our concern? Why do I go out and spend $30 on a meal of junk food, but cringe at someone’s legitimate need for $45 in gas?

Though I could continue, for now, these are all my questions. I hope you will comment and get some interesting discussions going. My purpose with this post is not to bad-mouth anyone or stereotype the rich, the poor, the Christian, the unbelieving. I just want to reassess why we do what we do as Americans from my own small-town perspective. Your thoughts?

*NOTE: I realize my example of rent expense is not a normal circumstance. Most people aren’t as blessed as my wife and I to have such low living expenses, but it is possible where we live. We don’t make much, so we know the Lord has provided according to our needs, but we lack for nothing; therefore, it was my privilege to help out someone in need, and will continue to be.