Friday, February 24, 2012

Old, But Valuable

Too much can be lost when books and music have a limited audience and then go out of print.  You might happen upon them in a thrift store or Ebay or even on Amazon, but there’s a reason they are no longer in print; they would be unprofitable.  Out of print and unprofitable don’t mean without value, however. 

I ordered this out of print book of poetry for a single poem and found others that touched me.  Here are two of them.

You! Jonah!: Thomas John Carlisle: Books

by Thomas John Carlisle, published in 1968, a collection of poems about Jonah.



I will demonstrate

my immediate


providing You comply

with my demand

for a more satisfying




The word came

And he went

In the other direction.


God said: Cry

tears of compassion

tears of repentance;

cry against

the reek of unrighteousness;

cry for

the right turn

the contrite spirit.


And Jonah rose

And fled

In tearless


Thursday, February 23, 2012

True Art

What follows is a quote from Makoto Fujimura, a New York artist and founder of the International Arts movement.  It was taken from the commencement speech he gave last spring at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi.  You can find the complete text of the speech here.

True Art does not chase after novelty—it is a sensory quest toward the New order of what God is creating, toward fully realized humanity. Using our senses, Art poses deeper questions, rather than giving easy answers.  To be truly human in a liquid reality, we must re-define what the culture of fear and cynicism deems as the “world that ought to be.”  "The World that Ought" to be is not an utopia; it is instead created out of sacrificial love. To love is to quest for the “World that Ought to Be.” Love is enduring and love uses all of our senses. Love is generative, and will create the stage for the New to appear. The role of the artist in a liquid reality is to awaken all of our senses through creativity and love. 

He tells us what, but not how.  The how is for us to find.  On to the search to awaken my readers through creativity and love . . .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Door Into Summer

There is one book I can never forget, but I rarely admit to reading.  It’s time for true confessions.  In the book, the cat—yes, it’s a cat book and it’s not my other favorite cat book:

Millions of Cats (Gift Edition) (Picture Puffin Books) A repetitive story for young children)


The Door into Summer

the cat, in winter, cries and meows at every door of the house, always hoping that one will open into summer.  There’s something in all of us that hopes for that one elusive opportunity/adventure that might be just around the corner, over the hill, around the bend, or through the door.  Especially under the bleak skies of winter, we need that hope. 

In this short novel of my childhood, the protagonist’s life has fallen apart; he needs his own door into summer.  The way he finds it is pure science fiction involving cryogenics and time travel.  We don’t have that technology at our beck and call.  How do we find our door into summer?

By now you’re wondering if I have the answer. . . I could drag this on and let you keep wondering, but I’m not cruel.  Sometimes finding that door requires waiting.  How long?  Minutes, days, weeks, months, years. . .decades?   Scientists may spend decades or a lifetime looking for a breakthrough.  Students spend years in school waiting for that first job that will take them on a new adventure.  Parents spend months awaiting the birth of their child and making preparations for that child’s homecoming.

Our wait is not passive.  Like the cat, we have to check out those doors.  One of them may lead to summer.  But when they don’t, we wait.  The word most non-Americans use to describe a waiting line is “queue,” a word that sprang from the French word for tail.  A cat looking for the door into summer has a tail that drags on the ground in disappointment.  The cat who waits in expectation has a tail held high with a quiver and a shake as thoughts of what might be run through the cat’s mind.

The scientists prepare for that breakthrough every day they study and experiment.  The students study, and search out internships, to narrow their field of interest.  Expectant parents delay their own needs to make the baby’s entrance smooth, even to changing their diet, their transportation, and their abode.  And like the cat, we prepare with tail held high in expectation of what lies through the next door.

That not so easy for we of the complex minds.  Cats have few desires—eat, attention, sleep, play.  My more complex mind is filled with the stuff of business: taxes, marketing, paperwork, and the stuff of life: cooking, cleaning, paying bills, buying groceries, accommodating a dying parent, planning upcoming birthdays, and other mundane activities.  How do we look past these and leave space to prepare and be expectant?

One way is to celebrate the season of Lent, the 40 days (not including Sundays) preceding Easter.  Ash Wednesday, today, is that start of that.  What can we do to prepare room for God and remain expectant?  Sometimes it means letting go of something that deprives us of space and time for deeper thought like television or reading or listening to music or twitter or Facebook or games or radio.  Sometimes it means letting go of something we don’t think we could live without.  Perhaps that means to use public transportation or bum rides instead of using your car.  Or it might mean that you stop eating food that contains calories, but little nutritional value (candy, chips, pop), or food high in fat, or meat, or whatever.  Maybe it means sharing what you have been afraid others might misuse.  What might it mean for you?

Whatever it is, forty days is only a little over a month.  That’s not so long.  Yet, it’s long enough to form a new habit, a new way of life.  Are you, like me, looking for that door into summer this February.  Then join me for Lent and form a new habit of preparation and expectation.  Then you, too, will be able to hold your tail high, knowing that your wait will not be in vain.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Support the Buckeye Trail

I received the letter below and want to encourage you to support the Buckeye Trail.  I am offering a 2-night at my cabin for the silent auction. 
Monday, February 13, 2012
Dear Diana,
Hello, my name is Yvonne and I am an avid hiker and backpacker. From the Foothills Trail of North Carolina…the Sheltowee Trace of Kentucky…the Appalachian Trail reaching from Georgia to Maine and the great state of Ohio’s own Buckeye Trail, I have backpacked hundreds of miles on these footpaths. From the strenuous climbs of a rugged mountain, to the views of a peaceful valley spreading below, I am passionate about them all and because of that love I want to help build, maintain and promote the trails and to protect the lands on which they traverse.
I want to focus on just one of these beautiful trails today…Ohio’s Buckeye Trail. The Buckeye Trail is a 1,444 mile hiking trail located entirely within the state of Ohio. It traverses 49 of Ohio’s 88 counties. From the southern terminus at Eden Park overlooking the Ohio River…this trail follows old canal towpaths, abandoned railroad rights of way, rivers, lakeshores, rural byways and primitive footpaths over forested public and private lands. It passes through state forests, state and local parks and many small towns and urban areas where traveling on foot gives you a unique perspective of our state. It is truly a gem in our very own back yards…that needs to be preserved, protected and maintained for now and for future generations.
As a volunteer of the Buckeye Trail Association (BTA), a 501(c) 3, nonprofit organization formed in 1959, I am coordinating the Silent Auction to be held at the 1st Annual Buckeye TrailFest. On April 26th-29th, 2012, the Buckeye TrailFest will feature Presentations, Workshops, Field Trips, Hikes, and this fundraiser. This letter is a personal invitation for you to get involved and to possibly donate towards this Silent Auction. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the BTA and may be tax deductible.
Thank you, for reading this letter, for researching our websites and for considering making a donation to the Buckeye TrailFest. This Silent Auction will be a grand fundraiser and a romantic weekend package for two or any offer, will be greatly appreciated by myself, Andy Niekamp and the many hikers and backpackers of Ohio…Check out their websites at and
Loving Life,
Yvonne Entingh
Buckeye TrailFest Silent Auction Coordinator

Friday, February 3, 2012

Trees and Utilities

This morning as I work on taxes—yes, the dreaded taxes—the Bumble beehorrifying sound of a chain saw splits the silence, as though millions of bees were buzzing in anger at the loss of their homes and food.  The white-painted steel pole lifted the orange-jacketed cutter high, into the marble limbs of the sycamore, one of our majestic trees, as beautiful in winter with it’s skeleton arms embracing the winds, as it is in summer with its shade.  I can tell you the reasons why these majestic trees are trimmed and downed.  Cities want the streets to receive full sun to aid in ice melt, telephone companies want to preserve the connection, and electric utilities want us to keep our lifestyle.  Let’s consider whether these reasons are valid. 

First, the cities.  We all want safe streets.  But at what price?  In the south, the beautiful tree-lined driveways and avenues draw us to their shade.  Even here in the north, the summer heat is fiercer and lasts longer than winter cold.  Would you prefer summer shade or winter’s speedier ice melt?  Consider the aesthetics.  The dappled shade of a street sheltered by overhanging branches has far more beauty than amputated limbs.  How much value to we place on shade and beauty?  When CEO’s and lawyers perform cost/benefit analysis, the individual person and the individual tree or creature, always loses. If a business releases fumes that affect only a few, but brings money into a region, we ignore the few, for the benefit of the many.  Follow the money and you will see what is important to the powers that be. 

Just as an aside, here, Jesus never sided with the many over the needs of one or a few.  He was the one of whom the local leader said, “Better one man should die than the nation perish.”  He spent time with the Samaritan woman (who others rejected), rescued the woman caught in adultery (who others would have killed), and was available to all who were disenfranchised.  Paul, his appointed ambassador to other nations, was almost killed for interfering with the local manufacturing economy, when he told people the truth about idols and convinced them not to purchase such things.  Follow the money, follow the power, follow the greed.

Next the telephone, the wired communication device still present in some homes.  During an electrical outage, wired phones will function, unless, of course, they are cordless.  My mother cannot use a cellphone, so I keep a wired phone at my mother’s house for this reason, and one at mine so she can contact me in an emergency.  But, my mother is dying.  In a few months, the reason for the phone at her house, and at mine, will be gone.  I know there are others in that situation and for them, phone lines are critical.  We need a phone that looks and works like a wired phone, but uses the cell system.  If such a device existed, we could all say “goodbye” to the wires.

Finally, the electric utility makes the harshest cuts, trimming the upper branches on the side of a tree nearest its lines, or topping a tree within 10 feet of where its lines run.  Although it sickens me to see a tree topped or improperly trimmed, we need a stable supply of electricity. I don’t know anyone who could live without electricity.

My husband and I have debated purchasing a generator to provide us with electricity during an outage.  We don’t need electricity for heat; we have a wood stove.  We do need electricity for our water; our well pump is electric.  We also would like to preserve food in our refrigerator and freezer.  But, a long-term electrical outage would also affect our ability to obtain gas for the generator.  Gas station pumps are electric.  A long term-electric outage could bring our cities, counties, and states to their knees.  I love the trees, but I may love electricity a little more, although it chills my heart to write that.  But, without electricity, we return to the days of our ancestors, days we have never known, a time without electric lights, without anything produced using electricity (everything we now own and use), and we would be reduced to producing our own food, clothing, shelter, and other needs from wood heat and human toil.

I am much too comfortable in my life to want to make soap or spin wool and weave clothing, even if I could learn to do it.  When I attended a workshop on orienteering a few years ago (navigating using a map and compass), I realized that GPS was simpler and more accurate (at least for me).  The same applies to almost anything done by hand; someone or something else can probably do it better than I. 

Here is where I stand.  Cities should stop cutting the trees that shade our streets.  Phone companies should preserve the lines only for people who really need them.  Electric companies must do all they can to ensure a reliable supply of electricity. 

What do you think?