Monday, December 26, 2016

Prairie Point, Christmas 2016

Sunset, New Year's Eve, 2016
Our new retirement cottage in the Ozark Mountains

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What if it’s true? 

What if God is Love, and so awesome and unfathomable that, despite all our sins and shortcomings, He’s able to love each and every one of us, like we’re the only one?  Wouldn’t that be cool!

Monday, December 19, 2016

So that I repented, counted my blessings, and backed away from the edge

This time of year, I’m almost always struck by the parallels between my life and that of Jimmy Stewart in his role in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ve had much the same triumph, much the same joy, and much the same failure and debilitating despair. Probably most noteworthy are the many occasions when my Heavenly Father, in some form not unlike Clarence, has interceded on my behalf, so that I repented, counted my blessings, and backed away from the edge.  SC   

Warmth and resilience invariably follow winter.

There are those among us who care deeply about God’s Creation and all its creatures great and small. These people rejoice when mankind exercises responsible stewardship, and they’re inclined to succumb to discouragement when it does not. During prolonged seasons of despair and disappointment, it’s helpful to remember that, surely as darkness must invariably give way to light, and winter inevitably, to spring; goodness, justice, and enlightenment will inexorably prevail over greed, apathy and ignorance. Ice will thaw; snow will melt, and spring will once more triumph, with the warmth and resilience that invariably follow winter. SC

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas is a feeling in our chest.

Christmas is a feeling in our chest,
A sense of being sheltered and caressed,
A memory that makes our spirit soar,
An ache that leaves us somehow wanting more;
Bitter sweet recollections of a day,
Of innocence and faith and youthful play;
Scenes of family outings in the snow, 
Cherished mornings ‘round a Christmas tree aglow,
Priceless memories of innocence we’ve known,
Before we ventured out in life alone;
When each day found us carefree, safe and glad,
And evening found us home with home with Mom and Dad.
We strive today to recreate a time,
When hope was strong and zest for life sublime,
When childlike faith assured tomorrows joys,
And needs were met with simple gifts and toys.
Perhaps tomorrow’s hopes can best be met,
By casting off our feelings of regret,
And reaching out to others who still care,
And comprehend the passion that we share;
Those who recognize that we’ve been blessed,
And embrace that hopeful longing in our chest.  SC

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Placerville, Ca aka old Hangtown, at The Round Tent Store 1912

This photo was almost certainly taken from the balcony of the Carey House Hotel.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the present, and the Future.  The spirits of all three will strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach me. 
“A Christmas Carol” Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Her stripes were worn and faded,

Her fabric torn and frayed.

Tattered stars hung loosely now,

Weakened by old battles and decayed.

Still, she hung with dignity,

Despite her ragged state.

Her very fabric promised hope,

Although the hour was late.

Just then, as dawn was breaking,

A rustling in the trees,

A disturbance in the morning mist

And a cool, refreshing of breeze.

The flash of nearby lightening,

Pulses quickened by the thrill,

While meadows shook with thunder

And a deluge took the hill.

With that, Old Glory caught the wind,

Unfurled, as on the march.

Despite the hail that tore her hems,

She took the field and stretched out stiff as starch.

And those who saw this marveled,

And recalled old glory’s youth.

And hearts swelled near to bursting,

Quickened by old loyalties and truth.

And every soul saluted,

While new hope replaced old fears,

And each heart pledged allegiance,

And sealed their pledge with gratitude and tears.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

That's my hope this Christmas

This time of year, I almost always feel a sense of urgency to pen a Christmas letter that captures like never before the essence of the season.  The written word has been around a long time.  The likelihood of mixing and matching words sufficiently as to arrive at something entirely new, innovative, and never before achieved in the long, celebrated history of the medium, is about as likely as discovering the one true Santa emerging from your hearth on Christmas morning. For most of us, our most enchanting Christmas memories are from our youth.  To fully experience the magic and majesty of Christmas, it’s almost essential to approach it with a childlike faith.  The older we get, the more difficult that becomes.  In order to recapture the true essence of Christmas, one must do it with a minimum of words, from the purest and most youthful depths of our heart.  That’s my hope for each and every one of us this season, that the spirit of Christmas can purify, cleanse and relieve us of our years of apprehension, disillusionment and animosity, and allow us once more to experience the magical Christmas of our earliest memories; pure, simple and unadulterated; a Christmas awash in the warmth, joy and unconditional fellowship that comes of an innocent heart and a childlike faith. Dear God, help us once more to approach, Christ, Christmas and each other, with open arms, forgiving hearts, and the incorruptible innocence of our youth.

The entire universe and beyond, forever

The Bible indicates that, prior to His resurrection, Christ was a quiet, unassuming young man, who promised to intercede on our behalf, at our request, with the awesome, incomprehensible force that conceived of and holds sway over the entire universe and beyond, forever.  And all we need do in return is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.  I’m going to risk it. SC

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

If we’ll each just lower our fists and raise our candle.

It’s been a rugged year.  Don’t take my word for it.  Ask anyone.  Like Old Glory herself, our bonds and our brotherhood have become a bit frayed around the edges.  Despite our differences, we’ll all wrap up 2016 together.  That’s a good way to begin 2017.  There’s not one single issue facing our country or the world today, that can’t find peaceful resolution through reason, cooperation, and compromise. We’re not going to agree on everything, but if we truly seek God’s will, and address each issue with a spirit of mercy and a willingness to promote peace, liberty, and justice for all, {as in everybody} there’s nothing that we can’t achieve together. There’s a brighter day ahead, if we’ll each just lower our fists and raise our candle.  SC

Monday, December 5, 2016

Regardless of our circumstances, hope is a wise investment.  Hopes dividends invariably exceed its cost. 

During all the years since I first began working my acreage, back in the early ‘80s, I’d hear Dad pull cautiously from his yard on his four-wheeler, and putter down the dirt road toward my home.   As he approached the little wood frame house that he and I had built, he’d spot me in the yard and break out in his customary grin. That always made me smile and count my blessings. This afternoon, as I sat on our porch contemplating the approach of another Christmas, I heard a four-wheeler puttering down the lane.  My heart immediately leaped and quickly sank.  I knew it wasn’t Dad.  Dad passed away back in 2010. Still, I listened intently as the four-wheeler passed our gate. I couldn’t help but wish it was my dad. My head knew better, but my heart still hoped. According to the Bible, three things abide forever: hope, faith and love.  Regardless of our circumstances, hope is a wise investment.  Hopes dividends invariably exceed its cost.  SC

Saturday, December 3, 2016

If that makes me a liberal, so be it.

Back in the mid fifties, even I was a youngster.  Following a horrendous spinal tap and the heart stopping diagnosis of Poliomyelitis, I spent several weeks convalescing at Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo California. During a two week confinement in a hospital with dozens of other crippled children, a five year old has worlds of time to pray. One night, all alone in my hospital room, scared half to death and miles and miles from home, I called out to Jesus from the depths of my little soul.  Days later the hospital ran some tests and told my folks to collect me and take me home. When I finally tugged my cowboy boots back on and Dad and Mom headed for home with me in tow, I began a walk with Jesus that has lasted to this day. When my family and I arrived in Missouri in 1978, I became a member of Dry Creek General Baptist Church, where I was baptized under the bridge at Indian Creek in 1979.  Twenty years later, in 1998, I became a member of Pomona Christian Church, where I maintain my membership today. I live in the Ozarks now.  Suffice it to say, the majority of my church family are lifelong, staunch conservatives. I love those folks dearly, and for the most part they tolerate me.  As someone who has considered Jesus Christ my personal Savior for almost sixty years, I believe in doing justly, loving mercy, walking humbly with my God, and enthusiastically supporting the rights of others to walk with theirs. I believe freedom is all about personal choices. I cherish my own freedom. I make my own choices, and I passionately support the freedom and choices of others.  If that makes me a liberal, so be it.  I prefer to consider myself an American.  SC