I am lucky to be me

Sometimes life is hard.

Possibilities are impossible.

Understanding is


Hope is hopeless.

But every belief I have and

Everything I’ve learned in life

Leads to this:

There are others in the world

With bigger mountains to


With bigger oceans to swim

With bigger divides to cross.

My mountains are speed

bumps in the road

My oceans are narrow


My divides are cracks in the


I am blessed beyond measure

I am abounding in love

I am lucky to be me.

Joanne Hirase-Stacey


Drop Thy still dews of quietness

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Let us kneel

before the stream

of our lives

mining for those

golden moments when

we see right through

to the real: kindness,

laughter, innocence,

the light of all things

Then, slowly

release all the rest

allow it to flow

the way life will when

we learn what to hold,

what to let go.

Arlene Gay Levine

It was so simple. So average . . .

how could he find perfection

in such an

ordinary day . . . I realized

this was the

whole point.

Mitch Albom

For a Change of Seasons


Creator, artist, author of the world,

what joy to sense the seasons turn,

the colors change

the flowers bloom,

the trees hum,

the music of birds,

the caress of the winds,

the stories of clouds.

The beauty of Your world

makes my own spirit dance,

as I watch time passing,

I know that You are eternal,

the Centre of Life,

the Creator of all things,

and I know

that there is beauty far beyond my imaginings,

and that all of us,

Your children,

Your creatures,

Your plantings —

live to honor You,

and sing your praise with

every breath.

God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good.

(Genesis 1:31)


When Things go Wrong

The following excerpt and poem is from Disguises of Love by Eddie Askew (former General Secretary of The Leprosy Mission).

My mind was drawn recently to the book of Daniel. Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their refusal to deny their God? The King threatens them with fire, but they affirm their faith in a God who is able to rescue them. And then comes a mind-catching phrase: “but even if he does not . . . still we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:18)

To begin with it’s an honest acknowledgement of the fact that things don’t always go right for God’s people. That’s pretty self-evident to anyone who looks at the world realistically, although I do meet blinkered Christians who seem to imply that if only we’d get right with the Lord – as individuals and as nations – everything in life would be fine! It just doesn’t happen that way. And it’s not always out fault – don’t get hung up searching for personal guilt when things go wrong, that’s just inhibiting. Faith isn’t an all-risks insurance policy. (On second thoughts: maybe it is. Insurance doesn’t prevent accidents but it gives you a secure base from which to face the consequences.) It isn’t a cure-all. If it were, if faith prevented the pain and the problems, the queues outside the church buildings would be enormous. Sometimes faith and pain go together, and it’s the unrighteous who have it good.

“But even if he doesn’t . . .” It’s also a courageous statement of faith in God’s purposes. Not necessarily accepting that whatever hits us comes straight from God – I’m wary of these over-simplifications of why calamities happen – but faith in the way he can and does use events to shape and refine us. A faith which springs from the experience of God-with-us through many crises. Ed Ingebretsen, an American Jesuit poet writes: . . . your violence, Lord, opens more worlds than closes; . . . we are stones, sons of black rock; crush the veins, grind, hew, hone. Free the waiting diamond . . . we are steel, straighten, stretch, fine – melt us, shape, thin us like strong wires. we are seed, dry, desiccated – rain us, green us as once we were: The harvest remembers not the cut.

He proclaims faith in his continuing love and concern, however hot the fire. Rescue may come or not; faith shows its strength in accepting at times, God’s non-intervention. It’s not a glib, easy acceptance. It takes courage simply to pray ‘but not my will’ and mean it!

Lord, that’s the way I’d like to live.

Fearless, honest.

Looking life straight in the eye whatever comes.

Facing the reality of the world with your courage.

Not flinching at the furnace.

Staying faithful to you.

Hoping for rescue but standing up anyway. Upright, dependable.

Even when the consequences are clear to see. And frightening.

Finding the strength to stand firm.

Knowing that you are here, through good and bad.

The trouble is,

looking at me, you’d never believe it.

Because try as I may

the picture never looks like that.

However much I struggle with the outline

the details don’t fill in the way they should.

I look at the furnace, feel the heat,

and the sweat breaks out.

Not the hot sweat of commitment.

The cold sweat of fear.

And when I think about it


when I recognise the denial,

I can’t look myself in the eye.

I’m ashamed.

Lift my head up, Lord,

so that as I look into your eyes

my shame evaporates

in the warmth of your love.

Give me the courage to start again.

And help me to see

that your love comes in many disguises.

Help me to grasp that truth,

more real than reality.

Teach me, teach all your children,

to feel your love,

not only in the gentle whispers of life,

but in the black boiling storm clouds

which threaten us with crisis.

Show us its presence

not only in birth-joy

but in the death of the seed.

Resurrection at the door of the tomb.

And, somehow, Lord,

give me the courage

to welcome your love

in all its disguises.

My Beautiful Day

My Beautiful Day by Marion Schoeberlein

I borrowed a poem from the sky,

and music from a bird,

I stole a chime out of the wind,

and from the rose a word.

I borrowed a song from the hills,

a psalm from the silver rain,

I took the footsteps of angels

out of a cobbled lane.

From each little thing I fashioned

something in my own way.

With God’s help, I put in my heart

a beautiful, wonderful day!

The Avowal

The Avowal by Denise Levertov (1923 – 1997)

As swimmers dare

to lie face to the sky

and water bears them,

as hawks rest upon air

and air sustains them,

so would I learn to attain

freefall, and float

into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,

knowing no effort earns

that all-surrounding grace.


Shades of Gold

So many shades of gold
Another miracle we take for granted
Another expression of the artist’s vision
The blending of the autumn hues
with the setting sun
Thank you for autumn, Lord.

– Author Unknown

Golden Leaves

We see signs of summer’s passing in golden leaves,
shortening days, misty mornings, autumn glow.
We sense its passing in rain that dampens,
winds that chill, Harvest’s bounty placed on show.
Creator God, who brings forth
both green shoot and hoar frost,
sunrise and sunset,
we bring our thanks
for seeds that have grown,
harvests gathered,
storehouses filled,
mouths fed.
And, as your good earth rests
through winter’s cold embrace,
we look forward to its re-awakening
when kissed by Spring’s first touch.

– Author Unknown

For Those Whose Harvest is Poor

Creator God, for daily bread
and all who work
to bring your harvest home
we bring our thanks today.

Forgive our ingratitude
we who have so much
yet waste what you have given.

For those whose harvest is poor,
whose crops have withered,
water tainted, children starve,
help those who bring relief
and bestow on us
an unaccustomed generosity,
that all might share from your garden
and all might sing your praise.

Creator God, provider of all
we bring our thanks today.

– Author Unknown


Every Day is a Fresh Beginning

New Every Morning, Susan Coolidge

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, in spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

A Time to Believe, B.J. Morbitzer

To believe is to know that
every day is a new beginning.
Is to trust that miracles happen,
and dreams really do come true.
To believe is to see angels
dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky
and the wisdom of the man in the moon.
To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child’s eyes
and the beauty of an aging hand,
for it is through their teachings we learn to love.
To believe is to find the strength
and courage that lies within us
When it’s time to pick up
the pieces and begin again.
To believe is to know
we are not alone,
That life is a gift
and this is our time to cherish it.
To believe is to know
that wonderful surprises are just
waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.
If only we believe.


To trust in what I do not

understand –

the way flowers follow

with imperceptible grace

the sequence of the day,

to bend at nightfall

like wheat in the wind

or to let go,

like seeds anticipating Spring

to be still with the stillness

of my body breathing

is to be, perhaps,

like prayer


and vital in the air.

by Michael S. GlaserPoet Laureate of Maryland, 2004-2009

Little Black Cormorant


No, this isn’t the Cormorant. I started writing the following post earlier in the year. Since then, my beautiful Tilly died from cancer at the age of 9 on the 30th April, 2022. Above is one of her puppy photos. I wanted to complete the post as a tribute to her and as a reminder of all the wonderful walks we shared together, along with her ‘sister’, Bella.


The Cormorant

Swash buckling pirate
Sitting low on log pondering.
Viper long neck still,
Staring, motionless.

Standing idly around lazing
Wings outstretched drying
Corpse sliding down its neck,
Once living, once swimming.

The Jubilee River swims by
With life. Death machine sitting,
Looking at the water like a prehistoric
Pterodactyl perched motionlessly.

There is no point fishing here today
The Cormorant has beaten me to it.
Wide eyes gazing at me laughing
Mocking the amateur.

-David Wood

This week I saw a Cormorant. Heading for home with the dogs by the banks of the river, I caught sight of movement and was thrilled to see the bird swim slowly past. It eyed me cautiously as I stood there gawking. This was my second sighting, having come across it a few weeks before. Assured that I was no threat, it paused to hunt for a while, raising it’s slender neck and head high above the water before plunging into the depths. I lost sight of it for a while but spotted it further downstream, it having manoeuvred the rapids of the mill race.

The earlier sighting from a few weeks before took place on a gorgeous sunny day, unusual for February. The dogs were sniffing and exploring while I was in a reverie, listening to the birds singing in the treetops. Lost in my daydream, I didn’t expect to see the Cormorant on the cemetery wall by the river, its wings outstretched as it sunned itself dry.

This was as far as I got with the original post before it was put aside due to a house move. We no longer live by the river. Bella and I are exploring new territory but, when emotions are more stable, we will return for visits.