Tag Archives: Poetry

Other poetry not necessarily Christian but still inspiring

A Love For Words

I have long realized that I have always had a love for words.  I really don’t remember much about this when I was younger, but I do know that in my high school years, I started writing poetry.  These poems were just scribbles at that time, and I really did not write a lot of poetry until after high school. I fondly remember my twelfth grade English teacher, Mr. Edmonds.  He was a little bit unorthodoxed and taught his class with a certain flair that dared us to be creative in our writing and take chances for a good grade.  The room was set up in a horseshoe shape, so we all had to face each other, and his desk was in front of the chalkboard at the open end of the horseshoe. He stood and taught more than he sat, and walked around the room when he was not using the chalkboard.  Often, when he did sit at his desk, he would put his feet up on the desk. 

We had to do speeches in his class, and most people hated giving speeches, but I never minded that part.  The lectern was always set on a desk to the right of his desk, facing the room.  The visibility was obvious, and you could see the reaction of every person in the room when we gave speeches.  The subject matter ranged from book report, to politics to comical.  I was never very good at the comical stuff.  One speech I gave stands out in my mind more than any other.  He assigned us to give a five-minute speech on any topic we wanted to, but we could not use any notes.  This was the last speech of the year, and he felt we should be able to pull this off.  I didn’t have to think too long on what topic I would choose.  When it was my turn, I approached the lectern with great confidence.  I started my speech, then sputtered several times, repeated myself often, got things out of place, and had a terrible ending. Not too much to my surprise, but maybe to your, I got an A!  He loved the speech and so did the entire class.  I knew it was by far the best speech I had given all year, and it met the criteria of not using notes at all.  By now you may be wondering what the title of that speech was.  The title was “How Dumb It Is to Give a Speech Using No Notes.”  Mission accomplished – I gave a horrible speech!

Another assignment was written poetry.  I had been dabbling a little by this time, but had never had an assignment to write one.  My poem turned out to be a long, winding poem that went through the seasons of the year in one-line statements.  In fact, it was three pages long!  Since that was over 50 years ago, I do not still have the poem, but I do remember the wording was very good and it was a free verse poem.  There was no rhyming at all.  I received an A on that one also.

In the latter part of my senior year, I started keeping notebooks of poetry.  All kinds of poems.  Some rhymed, some were free verse.  Some were very short, others quite long.  Some were more like reflections on life, others more like riddles, and others made no sense at all.  I later typed these all out and made a few copies, but I did not retain them.  I really wish I had.  A few I do remember, which are just silly, go like this:

                     Whatever is, isn’ t whenever whatever isn’t is.


                     What is the difference between a duck? One of its legs are the same!

 I warned you they were silly, and strange.  I started doing my fair share of drugs after my senior year so you can see why I had some strange poetry.  There was another poem that was written sharing my experience at a dance hall we frequented in Leicester, Mass.  This one was long and rhyming, and was written more like a song than a poem.  It was called “The Dilapidated Dance of the Drunken Drummer.”  I continued to write poetry for several years after high school.

I also did some journaling at this time.  I would carry little 3×5 pocket notebooks that opened on the ide with me all the time.  As I went through my days and weeks, I would write thoughts down that came to, whether sober or stoned, and save those notebooks.  I would also have my friends write in them, or people I just met along the way.  I was a traveler, and loved to just go on long drives around New England with no real destination in mind.  Often in those days, people would be hitchhiking and you were not worried about picking them up.  When I picked one up, I would have them write in my book.  I think I ended up with a dozen or so of these little 100-page books when I was through with them.  But, again, I did not keep them and really wish I had.  As it turned out, these were really the only journals I kept in my entire life.

In 1978, I met Janeen. When I made the decision to move to Iowa and follow God more closely, I started writing more poems.  There was a flurry of activity during those two months before I moved to Iowa, and also many letters written back and forth to her.  Letteer writing was something that I became pretty adept at because my good childhood friend, Jason, and I had been sharing letters back and forth from Iowa for the past two years.  I still have a large majority of the letters written during those two years with Jason and two months with Janeen.

After moving to Iowa, my writing stopped for a long time.  I was busy with family and kids and building a career.  It was during these years that speaking became more of an outlet for my loves of words.  The one way I did write was sermon notes and note in my Bible.  Prolific notes.  Underlines, highlights, different colors, all over the page and in the margins.  I began to do a little preaching in the early years, sharing at fellowship meetings and at my own church on occasion.  I also started to do more singing and became a worship leader.  I loved the songs of faith and studied the words carefully.

When we I started to work for PSI, I joined a group called Toastmasters.  I had been invited several times, but could never attend because my previous job had a semi come in every Friday morning when the meetings were held.  If you are not familiar with Toastmaster, I will take a moment to fill you in.  Toastmasters is an organization that helps individuals build leadership and communication skills.  There are speeches given designed around a specific goal you want to achieve, whether that be sales, motivational, leadership, or public speaking in general.  There is also a session called Table Topics are little questions or ideas that are given to you at the meeting, and you have to give a 1–2-minute mini speech on that subject. While these things are going on, there’s someone timing the meeting, another is leading the meeting, and people are listening for good and bad grammar.  Needless to say, the meeting are full, and the rolls are rotated from meeting to meeting.

I became hooked on Toastmasters.  My favorite portion was the Table Topics because I was pretty quick witted and could have a lot of fun with the topics. Over the next 20 years, I would be involved in 10 different clubs around North central Iowa, two of which I was a founding member.  I competed in many competitions, held many leadership roles and made many very good friends.  I was in sales and I attribute my success in sales on my Toastmaster experience.  I became very adept with the spoken word during the years when I was not writing.

Janeen and I also got involved in a theater group called the Iowa River Players. Wed played roles in several plays together when the group first got started.. This was very time consuming, not only being at practice by learning the lines. It had been a long time since I had done any memorization, and I got some pretty big parts in those plays. We had so much fun doing these plays, and some day I may decide to become a part of the group again.

In 2010 the writing started again.  There will be a whole chapter devoted to that journey back, but let me just say that once I started writing poetry again, the flood gates opened up wide.  I wrote many, many worship choruses and Christian song, and am still writing today.  Sometimes tow or three a ay would come through my pen, or computer, or cell phone.  When I felt inspiration, I wrote.  I really never did much editing of anything after I wrote them and often recorded the songs on my phone as I wrote them.  This still goes on today, 13 years later.  To date, I have over 500 songs and worship choruses, and over 2,000 poems.  Many are on my web site and many more are still to be published.

In 2016, when I had cancer (again, another whole chapter), I began to build a blog based on Bible studies I was doing.  I started with Philippians, then to Galatians, the Psalms, Sermon on the Mount, the two letters to Timothy, Titus and Hebrews, which is sitting unfinished at this time.  Theses short blogs were written from the heart.  Each day I would take a portion of scripture and just share what I was seeing in those passages.  This is a phenomenal exercise for anyone to take.  It helped me to understand my faith a lot more, and gain knowledge into the heart of God. 

Also during this time of recovery from cancer, I ran across some old notes while tidying up our basement.  The notes were from a Sunday School lesson I had but together almost 30 years earlier.  I did a deep study on prayer and called it A.S.K – Ask, Seek, Knock.  At the time, I really thought it would make a good book, but I never had the time to put that together.  Now, while stuck at home recovering, I decided to research the basic principle of the book and put it out in pieces on my blog.  When it was finished, I had 45,000 words, and realized the book was right in front of me.  I got together with a publisher and ‘The ASK Principle” was published in 2017.

Our words are powerful.  We all have varying vocabulary and different ways of expressing ourselves. In my teen years and early twenties, I would use some type of swear word every sentence, it seemed. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, that type of language immediately left me.  Before I made that change, I was a pessimist who used words like darts to dig into peoples’ hearts.  But I had a Pastor who took me under his wing and had me read a book called “The Power of Positive Thinking.”  My perspective was permanently changed to one of optimism and pleasant words.  Ou could ask anyone and they would say that I am always happy. This is because I am always blessed by words – the words of scripture, the words of songs and the words of people I meet.

In the Bible, God created everything when He spoke.  He had people down through the ages record what He said and what He did.  He anointed people to write powerful words of praise.  There is nothing on this earth more powerful than words.  They can bring down government or build up a pauper.  They can uplift the downcast and bring down the proud.  They can restore order and bring chaos.  All of us use words to go through life.  I pray that your words will be those that minister grace to the hearer every time, because this is the heart of God.

He Show Up

Though I’ve fallen once again on this journey
I’ve forgotten how to pick myself up
So I cry out to the Lord in my trouble
He shows up.  He shows up

It’s amazing that in spite of my failure
He still loves me just the way I am
Every time I need a boost from my Savior
He shows up.  He show up


He shows up when I am weary
He shows up when I am down
He shows up when I am reeling
In my fog of sin and doubt
He shows up and leans down to me
He shows up and lifts me out
When I cry out to the Lord
He shows up

I will do my best to follow in His ways
He has shown me what the best path is
I know that if I slip and fall again
He’ll show up.  He’ll show up



All I have to do is cry out to Him
All I have to do is say His name
He will come and lift me out of trouble
He will come to save the day

In Hard Times

When Storm Clouds Gather

                      I love a good storm. I love watching the clouds roll in from a distance and seeing the lightning flashing, and waiting for the thunder to roll.  I love seeing them build as they move closer, higher and higher.  I love the pre-rain smell that fills the air when a thunderstorm gets near.  And then they are here, and the air is filled with rain and lightning and thunder – a magnificent display of God’s power.  It is one of the most awesome things in all of nature. 

When I look at clouds, I think about the storms that can come into our lives.  They come in all shapes and sizes and can affect us in so many different ways.  Sometimes, we can see the storm directly ahead of us, heading our way, but we cannot see a different road to take:

As we listen to the voice of God in these situations, He may tell us to stay on the straight road, and not turn to the right or to the left.  The Israelites were told this as they went through the desert (Num 20:7), or by Jesus in the New Testament (Matt 7:14).  There are times that God knows the battle is before you and He wants you to have faith in Him to see you through.  These times are precious because they really test our faith.  Our inclination is to avoid the storm at all costs.  It looks dangerous.  But if we listen to God’s voice and trust in His strength to get us through, the blessing that is one the other side is well worth it.

Then there are times that storm looms over us.  It is big, and ominous, and scary.  The clouds surrounding the storm hide its intensity, but you can see danger in their formation.  You do not know exactly what is going to happen, you just know this storm, this trial, is going to hit at any time:

You face it with courage and an unmoving faith in God, like a tree planted by the water (Psalm 1:3).  A tree relies on the water for its sustenance and strength.  It sends those roots down deep to gather the water and feed the rest of the tree.  When it is close to the water. It does not worry where that supply will come from, and it will not be moved from that spot.  We need to be like that tree, relying on God to give us the strength to go through the storm, not to avoid it.  The storm is right there, ready to burst, and we praise Him regardless, because we know by faith He will see is through.  He knows what the storm will bring, and He is more than able to help us get to the other side, where the blessings flow.

There are storms that make a lot of noise way off in the distance.  They look like a danger, and we start to worry long before they get near us.  And we hear the thunder rumble, and people tell us we are in for a battle when the storm gets here.  The storm, or trial, looks frightening, and could be devastating when it arrives:

We are told not to fear, or worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34).  God holds all our tomorrows.  Only He knows what the next hour will bring.  The storm could dissipate and never reach you.  I have watched thunder storms stop on a dime and give out.   I have also seen them part and go around on all sides.  We never know.  So, when that storm is approaching, pray.  Ask God to stop the storm, or to move the storm, that is coming toward your life.  He stilled the waves and the wind (Mark 5:35-41), and He can calm your storm before it even gets to you.  Just ask.

Then there are the storms of life that affect your friends, your family, your neighbors, and, yes, your enemies.  They loom off in the distance and all you can see is the looming clouds.  You are not sure who they are affecting, or what the intensity is, but you know there is a storm over their lives, ether because they told you, or you see the signs of a storms:

This is a time to pray.  We are called to be intercessors (Ezek 22:30-31. Eph 6:18).  This is the highest calling I believe.  To be a prayer warrior for God is a blessing to so many people often those we do not know.  If we are listening to the Spirit, He will tell us people who need prayer throughout our day.  Do you ever have names pop in your head in the middle of the day?  This is the Holy Spirt prompting you to pray for them.  Never, ever doubt that.  How should you pray?  The bible tells us the Holy Spirit will give us the words as groanings that cannot be uttered (Rom 8:26).  Allow God to work through you, and just open yourself up to pray.  He will help you.

And on the other side of that storm is always a blessing.  When we go through trials of faith, we grow in our walk with the Lord.  We become stronger, ready to face bigger trials.  But we also are ready to help others face theirs.  We are more prepared to help someone else who is going through the same storm in their lives.  These storms are meant for our growth, not out harm.  But if we try to get through them on our own, they will probably cause harm.  Either that or we will not make it through, and give up.  If that happens, we will most likely have to face the same storm again.  It is so important we rely on God’s strength to help us through.  He will never fail us.  And we will see the blessing when the storm passes.

The Believer's Life

His Mercy is There

I struggle some days to see
The mercy of God for me
I know He is there
I know that He cares
I just don’t know why He loves me

I know He sees all my faults
He sees the worst parts of me
But He quickly forgives
Then He helps me to live
In the mercy He pours out to me

His mercy is always there
His mercy is always there
No matter where I go
His mercy is there
I cannot escape His love
He showers me from above
When I look at myself
His mercy is there

I have to open my eyes
To see all the love He provides
It’s more than enough
To fill up my cup
He has an enormous supply

Now I can plainly see
That His mercy is meant for me
I raise up my hands
I thank God for His plans
He always does the best for me

His mercy is always there
His mercy is always there
No matter where I go
His mercy is there
I cannot escape His love
He showers me from above
When I look at myself
His mercy is there