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There is something astonishing to me – and, I now see, thrilling – whenever the Scriptures say that Jesus “marveled” over something. That God the Son should be filled with wonder, or astonishment, or surprise is in itself a marvel.

He marveled at the Centurion’s faith. This Roman soldier’s faith, a Gentile, was greater than any He had seen in Israel. Why? Because, unlike the Jewish elders, whose argument for Jesus to come help him was his worthiness, he knew himself to be unworthy. And he understood the power of word/command and Jesus’ authority to accomplish His will by them.

So the slave is healed. Luke gives us no other response from Jesus other than His expression of wonder. There is no healing command mentioned. The messengers go home, and find the slave in good health.

I think I am more like the Jews than the Roman soldier.

Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.”

Luke 7:9

Praying that, if ever I begin to more fully tell of the Primary Teller, I never, ever mistake the telling for the thing told.

Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.C.S. Lewis

I put up a bird feeder this fall. We’ve had them before, but this time I chose to mount it right off one of the posts on my deck, about 20 feet from where I am sitting right now. It’s a large one, hanging by a sort of shepherd’s hook screwed right to the post. I can swing it back over the deck to fill it as needed, then swing it back out so the birds can do their thing and make their messes out over the yard instead of the deck.

I am not a skilled bird watcher by any measure, and my ability to identify birds is limited. For that, though, I found a useful app for my phone called Merlin, put out by the Cornell University ornithology lab. It makes it easy to find out what’s visiting.

So far, though, that’s been exceptionally simple. Black-capped chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches own the property. There has been an occasional white-breasted nuthatch, a sparrow or two (who like to camp out on the bottom tray for a while), and I’ve seen a blue jay now and then. There’s the real bully of the neighborhood, too: a red squirrel that scoots up onto the deck and drives everything else away for a bit. I’m working on getting him gone, but the timing hasn’t yet been right.

My deck (and the feeder) are 20-25 feet from the woods and swamp, where balsams, spruce, tamaracks, alders, birch, and poplars stand thick and untamed. With the leaves now gone, I sit frequently in this very chair and watch. At times, the movement across the wall of forest, and for yards deep into it, is constant. It is like living next to a natural version of O’Hare airport, as the chickadees mostly, and the nuthatches, and the occasional extra visitor, bounce from branch to branch, then brave the open spaces to flutter in and grab some seed. They are there for mere seconds, only to expertly disappear back into the woods, presumably to a nest well hidden from view. The chickadees perch upright and nibble from the feeder holes, while the nuthatches seem to prefer to eat head-down, toes gripping the metal mesh, attacking the seed from above.

Hoping to see a greater variety of species as the winter moves ahead, but even these are fun to watch.

And here’s the weird thing about having a blog site: you can figure out how to do all sorts of cool stuff with the software and easily create every imaginable look. But if there’s no content, it really doesn’t matter. Does it?


  • Fall leaves against rock background.

This blog of mine is the home page on my browsers. But I am horrible at using it. Though I may wrestle inside with the hope of making some use of my simple writing and photography skills, I never seem to get off the starting line.

But I’m tired of looking at the previous blog post every time I open a browser, so I think I’ll change it. Just to change it.

Kentucky last weekend was good. Lots of people; lots of photos. The featured image here is one from Natural Bridge.

“All flesh is grass,” Isaiah says. Or God says.

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
Isaiah 40:6-7

We whither. We fade.

“As summer flowers we fade and die / Fame, youth and beauty hurry by /But life eternal calls to us / At the cross.” **

Yet, look at this purple coneflower hanging out in my garden. Is it so bad to be compared to something like this? Or this 20160805-172726_22hosta blossom?

In one fell swoop, one simple, raw, and natural image, the testimony of Scripture is of both the tender fragility and unspeakable beauty of human life.

** “My Worth Is Not In What I Own”, by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Graham Kendrick


I think I have figured out how to do this. At least, to get a gallery of images to appear on a page. I would love it if I could find a way to add a single image to a post.

At any rate, these are images included in the Featured Photos gallery on my photo site. They are some of the ones I thought were either reasonably decent on their own merits or that helped tell something of a story about what I have been up to. Many of those, for instance, from my recent trip to Mazatlán, are about the people I was with and the things we did rather than being necessarily very art-like.

So I am updating this page today, February 3, as part of the process of getting to know software and just how to get things done between SmugMug, WordPress, and the attempt to do a web site.

In trying to rebuild this web site, I am researching ways to link my SmugMug photo gallery to WordPress. I’ve had a really tough time getting this to work, but now at least have some images showing here. I think I will leave this up for the time being, so I can see what I did, but will probably take it down eventually.


My whole blog and web site died the other day. One day it was working fine, the next, nothing. Couldn’t even get a back up to work.

So I’m taking it as a sign. It means one of three things:

  1. It’s time to change hosting providers. But that’s way too much work and hassle and expense for many reasons.
  2. It’s time to abandon all thought of writing/blogging. But I can’t yet bring myself to do that.
  3. It’s time to start fresh and clean. So here I am. The old stuff is gone. Even if there was value there – and conceivably it could one day be recovered, in theory – it might as well be compost on the forest floor at the moment.

So this is my first post on the re-created blog. Brilliant, I know. But I have to start somewhere. And it’s kind of interesting to see again what a clean install of WordPress looks like.