• contemporary-measuring-cups-and-spoons

    advent journal: good measure

    by  • December 19, 2014 • 3 Comments

    I can show you a cup of flour, or a pound of sugar, and I’ve gotten pretty good at scooping a two ounce cookie, but I am at a loss to quantify how heavy grief is, how long a heart stays broken, the depth of damage done, how far it is to forgiveness, the...

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    advent journal: dinner together

    by  • December 18, 2014 • 3 Comments

    If you have followed this blog for any length of time, or if you have read Keeping the Feast: Metaphors for the Meal, you know about Thursday Night Dinner. We gather each week with friends around our table for no other reason than to be around the table together. OK, so it also gives...

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    advent journal: without

    by  • December 17, 2014 • 2 Comments


    One of my favorite Pierce Pettis songs begins, “The presence of your absence follows me.” The song has played in the background of my week because tomorrow, December 18, will mark five years since my dear friend David Gentiles died. I could say many things about David, but maybe this will give you an...

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    advent journal: singing in the dark

    by  • December 16, 2014 • 1 Comment


    Going to the mall each day means being inundated with holiday music — well, the same ten songs. I thought tonight I might offer a soundtrack that has found me in these days. Talking about Patty Griffin’s “Mary” a couple of days ago set me to thinking. My list is by no means exhaustive,...

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    advent journal: saints of diminished capacity

    by  • December 15, 2014 • 3 Comments


    I have been going back through some poems I wrote several years ago. My intention was not to repeat them, necessarily, but a couple of them have taken hold in new ways and feel as though they are worth bringing to light once more. I needed these words tonight. I hope they find you,...

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    advent journal: blue christmas

    by  • December 14, 2014 • 4 Comments


    Last night before I went to bed, I pulled the box up out of the basement that holds our tree (both Ginger and I are allergic to the real ones) and we set it up in the living room. As we working, I said to Ginger, “I wonder if life was this hectic for...

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    advent journal: first lines

    by  • December 13, 2014 • 2 Comments


    I was going back through some poems and found this one, so I spent a little time revising it and offer it anew tonight. Feel free to sing along. first lines I pulled into Nazareth was feeling ‘bout half past dead I don’t want to hear a love song doctor my eyes have seen...

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    advent journal: a (short) tale of two cities

    by  • December 12, 2014 • 5 Comments

    my home town

    I spent a huge chunk of the day working on my book. The time was one of my birthday gifts from Ginger. As I sat writing about home, I realized once again how much I have come to love Durham and the people who make it a wonderful city. Over the past few months...

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    advent journal: caught by surprise

    by  • December 11, 2014 • 8 Comments


    Last weekend I said something to Ginger about Thursday Night Dinner and she said, “We aren’t having dinner this week.” Knowing it was my birthday eve and knowing her penchant for birthday surprises, I took her statement at face value. i spent the day writing and came home to find out we were going...

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    advent journal: answer this question

    by  • December 10, 2014 • 8 Comments


    As I was driving to and from work today I heard interviews on NPR related to what is being called “The Torture Report,” or the “Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” which looked at the secret prisons the CIA ran around the world after September...

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    advent journal: numbering the days . . .

    by  • December 9, 2014 • 4 Comments


    It was the summer of 1984, as I remember it. I was twenty-seven, living in Dallas, Texas and working as a chaplain at Baylor Medical Center. My father was pastoring at Westbury Baptist Church in Houston. The ties between us were strained a bit, in large part because I was working hard to figure...

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    advent journal: we did good

    by  • December 8, 2014 • 2 Comments


    I was driving to work early this morning, as is my custom more days than not, and took my usual exit off of I-40 at Fayetteville Road. The ramp bends up and over the freeway to get to the mall and there’s a traffic signal just before the bridge. As I came up the...

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