Female Faith Poet-Susan Cowger

Susan Cowger confesses she was the ‘black sheep’ in the family, not quite fitting into the mold of family vocations–nurses, pharmacists, sensible people. Instead, her first language was art, a calling that led to a BA in Fine Art (1977) from Montana State University and subsequent MFA in Poetry with a secondary emphasis in Art from Eastern Washington University in 1997. Susan is a sculptor, … Continue reading Female Faith Poet-Susan Cowger

No Anchor But Jesus {{#backtochurch}}

“Where do people put such things when they live by Plan? Our entire plan is simply Miscellaneous.” -Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Seasons, 1950 Last Sunday was our first time back in a building to gather and worship for church since March of this year. I refer to that time as “2020 B.C.” as in Before Coronavirus. Guided by our pastor and staff, we were properly spaced … Continue reading No Anchor But Jesus {{#backtochurch}}

Five Haikus for Spring

Blue Door Sapphire welcome says hello at the start of day I walk and wonder. Wisteria Dropping amethyst Translucent emerald trailing Reflected treasures Haiku for Spring Drops of see through gems moisture gift drips slowly down Silvered honesty. Accompaniment Devoted songbirds Daily raise their melody No maestro but Spring. Aerial Hummingbird sips blooms From windows I spy each zoom Birds in lilacs appear I’ve been … Continue reading Five Haikus for Spring

Accompaniment {a #poem}

Birds, their tones both winged and bright Harmonize from branches out of sight Know their parts, score memorized Flash and zoom before my eyes. Soprano, alto, second, bass Throaty praises from branchy place Echo, float, reverberate A pause, then celebrate Mornings’ rise first slow and quiet Against dull backdrops now a riot Their songs a span of treble and bass Background my day, this hallowed … Continue reading Accompaniment {a #poem}

Naming our Losses {#lifeinthetimeofcorona}

When Washington State brought the country’s first case of novel Coronavirus to the US, we had no idea what had begun. While the sudden deaths of loved and aged family members was a shock, the nursing home tragedy was still an hour and a half away from where I live. Things moved quickly, tho’. Suddenly the virus was way too close to home and there … Continue reading Naming our Losses {#lifeinthetimeofcorona}

Finding My Name~an Easter Week Story

When my mother was taken by cancer at the age of 55 and I was 33, there was no estate to divide, no money to deposit, no silver to share. After she was gone, I wasn’t saddened by the loss of anything tangible like an inheritance, but because there were questions I would never have answers to.

For instance, where did my name come from?

When my mother passed, I felt unsettled about this piece of my life. The older I got, my identity and family history became more and more important. I had never heard the background, the whys or whos of my name.  There was no connection to the past, no legacy left via family stories with the particulars. This left me feeling un-moored– although I’d been Jody as long as I could remember, certainly she had intentionally chosen the name Joanna, but why?

It never occurred to me to ask my her while she was alive.

My mother was Helen Elizabeth. Names matter; and I got neither name. I really would have liked Elizabeth, perhaps for a middle name. No, I was Joanna Lee–Where did ‘Joanna’ come from? And how did I become ‘Jody’? (Of course when I was little I was called by my ‘in trouble name’, “Joanna Lee!”)

The question remained, Who was I named after? So imagine my joy when several years after my mother died, I read the name ‘Joanna’ in the passage in Luke recalling Jesus’ resurrection story.  Continue reading “Finding My Name~an Easter Week Story”

Celestial Bodies {a #poem}

My weary eyes need reminders to view the galaxies aright. Focused on the sliver of moon, they forget an entire orb hides in the dark. I gaze at dull concrete, traipse around the observatory, past an entrance where God stands in the doorway beckoning me to peer, Galileo-like, past roofs, across trees, into velvet sky. As feet pause on sure ground, a whisper beckons to … Continue reading Celestial Bodies {a #poem}

We Were Made for Connection

IMG_20200605_130201Last week I wrote about#loveinthetimeofthecorona–illuminating what or how we can embody love in the world in these very challenging times, especially as believers in Jesus. (And? Did you know, #loveinthetimeofthecorona is actually a hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. If you are on either of those social media platforms, type in the hashtag and be inspired.)

I was originally going to title this wrap-up, “Thank you Al Gore for the Internet” (which is partially true. Thank you Wikipedia). People all over the globe are working and connecting and chatting via Zoom and Facetime, Facebook live and Marco Polo videos and so on, all thanks to the world wide web.

How starved we are for the sight of our friends and loved ones’ faces! And a voice–who knew how we would miss that? I was serenaded last week via Voxer by a friend on the opposite coast as she sang “It is Well” in her lovely alto voice and tears rolled down my cheeks as I harmonized with her.

Our church has live streamed “services” from an almost empty sanctuary (with stuffed animals in the audience) and the attendance last Sunday was nearly double what we have on an ordinary Sunday. This week our pastor shared a message about Jesus calming the storms, with a painting on the living room wall behind him as spoke from his home. Viewers were given his cel phone number to text in answers to trivia questions from the Bible and even the young kids got to play along. Necessity is the mother of invention, yes? Virtual or not, is a great way to be connected with those we know and love.

In that vein I’d like to share some of the goodness I’ve found online with you–a quiet word on how to deal with sadness or fear, and talk to your kids about their feelings. Orchestral music via Skype, a library tour with poet Malcolm Guite, the Quarantine Song from two very talented Grandparents, never before seen photos of crystal clear canals in Venice, Italy and opera singers and everyday folks serenading from their balconies and plazas.

I hope you’ll take some time to listen and watch; maybe you’ll find a way to connect just a little bit more with the beauty and goodness around you. Continue reading “We Were Made for Connection”