Sunday, November 22, 2015

A timely parable of refugees and faith

I’m going to share a little parable about people of true faith: There was a small boat on a storm tossed sea. The boat could safely hold 6 people and currently held 12. Those aboard were cold, soaking wet and paralyzed with fear.  On seeing an additional person in the water, near death and struggling, 11 of those people suggested that one more person would surely imperil the rest. Their concerns were understandable and warranted.  The 12th person was a person of true faith.  Without hesitation, he reached into the icy water and pulled the swimmer to safety.  Despite the risk, he believed his God would either preserve him in this life or reward him in the next. Faith burns most brightly when all other hopes are spent. SC

Monday, October 26, 2015


Here's the plan: 
A small, hardbound, coffee table book of seasonal color photos 
and poems, with a testimony.  Make original at Walgreens, 
then find a printer in Springfield to print in quantity 
& then sell at local outlets and Silver Dollar City.


By Shannon Thomas Casebeer 
Copyright autumn 2015
All rights reserved


When our hopes and dreams grow faded,
And we miss the friends who cared,
And old times are consecrated
By the golden hours we’ve shared;

When the streets we tread so long ago
Come back to haunt our dreams,
And we treasure those we used to know
And conjure up old schemes;

When old associates fill our heart
And refresh our weary mind,
And we feel as one though miles apart
And old woes wax sublime;

When our flesh at best contains us
And we’re far from hearth and friend,
May fond memories then sustain us
Till we meet at last again.


The Ozark Mountains aren't so grand
As other mountains in the land.
They don’t attain a lofty height,
Like some adorn in granite white.

They cannot boast the awesome view
The Rockies or Grand Tetons do,
Nor beam with pride in caps of snow,
Like other mountains that we know.

They don’t enjoy a timberline,
That point where even stately pine
Must stop in wonder and admire
The heights to which some peaks aspire.

But still the Ozarks have a grace
Not found in any other place.
Their slopes convey a gratitude
Not found in mounts with an attitude.

The Ozark Mountains seem to be
A monument to humility.
Their stature can’t but emphasize
Their humble place beneath God’s skies.

In this the Ozarks best express
The humble heart that God can bless.
It’s only in humility
That we reflect God’s majesty.


Oh melancholy summer,
Your visit is but brief.
All it takes to mark your passing,
Is the falling of a leaf.

High in the crimson maple,
Where your breezes play their tune,
Your melodies will touch a leaf,
Some drowsy afternoon.

And it shall drift with golden sail,
To settle in the shade,
Where the pool will spread the message,
That the ripples have relayed.

For seasons come and seasons go,
And summer's time is brief.
Autumn's foliage marks her passing,
With the falling of a leaf.


Vibrant foliage,
Brilliant hues,
Sullen skies
Of china blues,
Favorite season,
Quickly past,
All too short,
And fading fast;
Here but brief,
But long recalled,
Leaves us reinforced,
Celebrating what has been,
And braced against the winter wind.


October passes quietly in a flourish of pastels. Its brightest days are as special as they are brief. Its touch is deep and long-lasting, and its passing leaves us, as it does all of nature, grey, exposed and vulnerable. When November comes the trees have dropped their leaves. The sun is sluggish with the cold, and rides atop a sullen mist, just above the oak tops to the south. The breezes, like rowdy children, toss the leaves in each others faces. The rustling and the rattling is their laughter, and the memory of their laughter is our joy.


Soft through the pines,
The summer breeze is blowing,
Sweet, solemn music to me.
Lightly through my mind,
Old memories are flowing,
Tender thoughts of what life used to be.

Souls called away,
Golden days amid the tall grass;
Laughter lingers deep in my heart.
Pleasant moments shared,
Vibrant dreams of youth are ageless.
Hope unites though time may bid us part.

Shadows of time,
When the hours passed in moments,
Tender moments priceless to recall;
Futures to share,
Happy destinies awaiting,
Summer slipping gently into fall.

Seasons quickly pass,
Our memories turn to treasure,
God’s gift to those who remain.
Sorrows slip away,
While our hearts preserve life’s pleasure;
Grief fades, while life’s joy we retain.


Do not lament a moment past,
A fleeting moment made to share.
Do not feel it lost in passing,
For to be past, it need be there.

And in existing, only seconds,
Its donation subtly paid,
Enriches life and heart and soul,
With vast impressions it has made.

Foolish is the heart that lives one moment,
And its passing grieves,
For in the volume of our lives,
Each page must turn to reveal new leaves.

Each second gives us priceless life;
It also gives us age.
Take care my friend, as chapters end,
Don’t stop to mourn the page.

Read on and on; each second counts;
Each chapter grows more fine,
And often as not, what we fear is lost,
Is ahead just one more line.


We did lots of camping when I was a kid.
We camped in an old canvas tent.
I remember the sound as it flapped in the wind.
I remember its feel and its scent.

I remember the sound of warm rain on its roof,
The comfort it offered each night.
I recall how I felt looking out at the stars
By the campfires flickering light;

The feel of my pillow at the end of the day,
When my shoulders were pink from the sun,
My grandmothers kiss as she tucked us in bed,
After our prayers were done.

First thing in the morning the fire was lit.
Great Grandma brought granite-ware dishes.
Golden brown hotcakes for breakfast of course,
And for supper fried tatters and fishes.

Each day we’d go swimming and play in the sand.
My granddad would take us all hiking.
Sis and I watched as he whittled a cane,
And the stick horses more to our liking.

We’d sit by the fire in the late afternoon.
I’d sit in my grandmothers’ lap.
Dad would go fishing, my momma would read,
And Granddad enjoyed a good nap.

Later on in the evening, when supper was done,
There was coffee from a granite-ware pot,
Delicious marshmallows we roasted on sticks,
And dried figs that my great grandma brought.

I remember the feel of hot sand on bare feet,
And melon seeds stuck to my chin,
The stories of camping trips long, long ago,
And the way that my granddad would grin.

How the decades fast have flown.
How quickly reached, September.
How bitter sweet the joys we’ve known.
How precious to remember.

How bright the wide and starry skies,
How fleeting, lives long spent.
How like the stars, my granddad’s eyes,
And life ephemeral, much like Granddad's tent.


If I were a tree as fall creeps in,
With summer dripping from his chin,
I think I’d see through fall’s disguise,
And linger not to eulogize.

For sure as summer days grow still
And find new ways to steal our will,
Right behind on summer’s heels,
Fall’s sniffing at persimmon peels.

Before the trees can shake the spells
Of buzzing bees and summer smells,
Fall slithers in on morning mist,
And wipes his chin with an icy fist.

While weasel eyes and sharp goat’s feet,
Search cold fall skies for things to eat,
Summer’s gone without a trace,
And fall’s mask slips from winter’s face.


Faith alone won’t keep us warm,
Or shelter us from rain.
Through faith we see beyond the storm.
We glimpse blue skies again.

Faith doesn’t keep the storms away.
The clouds aren’t really gone.
Through faith we smile anyway.
Through faith we carry on.

Faith doesn’t promise fairness,
Or excuse how others live,
But faith can bolster empathy.
Through faith we can forgive.

Like love, faith hopes, faith can preserve.
The Book says God is love.
Through faith we’re spared what we deserve.
Through faith we rise above.

Love, like God, is infinite,
Rejoicing in the Truth,
Inherent in each one of us.
We know love from our youth.

Love dispels all questions.
Compassion trumps all doubt.
Love can’t dismiss all sorrows,
But love helps ease them out.

Some question Faith and Deity,
Denying God above,
Disdaining forces they can’t see,
But no one questions love.


As I sit here at the window
And reflect on joys I’ve known,
I wonder at life’s mystery,
And marvel at the way the years have flown.

I admire the deep and drifting snow,
As March winds sweep the field.
I wonder where lost memories go,
And speculate on what this spring will yield.

I marvel at the goals I’ve reached,
And other goals abandoned through the years,
At insurmountable boundaries breached,
And simple tasks which succumb at last to tears.

I wonder at convictions lost,
And passions cooled through time.
I mourn the boldness wisdom cost,
The naive faith that once made joy sublime.

Though the sun is vanquished nightly,
Still the sun does not relent,
And I know faith burns most brightly
When all other hopes are spent.

I don’t know where tomorrow leads,
And I can’t imagine how,
But I’m thankful grace met this days needs,
And I’m grateful for the peace I feel right now.

And so I sit and watch the snow,
Cheered by a snowbird’s song,
And though I can’t pretend to know,
I suspect for now I’m right where I belong.


I remember sitting on Reservoir Hill,
While watching storm clouds grow,
And listening to the windswept pines
As their branches filled with snow;

The sense of silence building
Till it muffled every sound,
But the gentle rush of snowflakes
As they blanketed the ground;

The American River canyon
In the fog bank down below,
And off in the distance, Placerville
With street lights all aglow.

Just down the hill was granddad’s home
And the warmth inherent in it.
If only time were malleable
I’d be there in a minute.

I see my grandma at the stove,
With all the family there,
My granddad’s sweet mischievous grin,
His white and wispy hair;

The glimmer of the window panes,
And the old dog at the gate,
Shaking the snow from his wiry coat
And wondering why I’m late.

Dear God, preserve our memories
Of glad days long ago,
Of happy lamp lit gathering
And Hangtown in the snow;

Of all the precious loved ones
Who lived and loved but brief.
May blessings grace our days, dear Lord,
And hope dispel old grief.

May faith assure tomorrows joys
Despite the winds that chill,
And each night bring us dreams of youth,
Old friends and Placerville.


Stark and leafless branches,
Festooned with buds of spring,
While robins dot the greening fields
And unseen crickets sing;

Evergreen branches dripping ice,
Bright droplets melting snow,
While rivers crest their muddy banks
And tributaries flow.

Up above the timberline,
Granite boulders shed fresh sand,
That's carried by the snow-melt
To create new spits of land.

Spring's elixir swells the branches
Of sapling sprigs and shrubs,
While Momma bear slips her winters den
To emerge with wrestling cubs.

Crocus struggling toward the light
Through dwindling drifts of snow,
While delighted children send up kites
As balmy breezes blow;

The sigh of old-growth evergreens
As evening breezes shift,
Trout feeding at the sparkling edge
Of an ice-flows lazy drift; 

The roaring of a waterfall

As rainbow mists drift by,
The primordial cry of eagles
And their circles in the sky;

All God's creatures great and small

Shaking winter's chills,
While meadows lifeless days ago
Erupt in daffodils;

Each one emblematic

Of a fresh, inviting spring,
Alive with opportunities
And all the hope they bring;

And at last the call of northbound geese,

Impervious and free,
Arousing primal passions,
Stirring souls and calling me.


Happiness is transient,
Fleeting pleasure many find.
It passes like lost youth,
Or morning mists.
Joy is everlasting,
An inner peace sublime.
Joy discreetly fills our heart,
Then joy persists.


Seeing no one, I reached out anyway, velvet black silence consuming me; motionless, oppressive and uninterrupted. The only sound, the last labored beating of my own feeble heart. And then, from beyond the desolate void which enveloped me, a firm hand joined unexpectedly with mine. My pulse no longer relevant, my last breath expelled, a rush of reassurance filled my soul, a warm embrace, and eternity took me in.


Up on the hill where the pines grow dense;
Where the fields are green and the sky immense,
Scatter one day my last remains,
To be drawn in the earth by the gentle rains.

Gladly did I tread this place,
With the gentle breeze upon my face,
A faithful dog for company,
And benevolent sun beaming down on me.

Thank the Lord for the time we had,
When rest was blessed and toil was glad,
When joyous hearts rejoiced in truth,
And we shared our hopes and dreams and youth.

Look to the heavens bright and blessed.
See me satisfied, caressed.
Know at last I’m free from care.
My dust is here, but my spirit there.