Friday, July 26, 2013

We've got a cool spell here in St Louis this week, so much so that last night, it felt *fallish*, and the A/C was really too much.

Earlier today, my better half went to the river for playgroup with our kiddos, and the youngest about froze his little tuckus off. Seems a little odd for summertime? You betcha.

I just got back from a walk in the business park where I work, and got rained on for 20 minutes. To be fair, it was not your normal Missouri rain, mind you; if one were to walk in conventional MO rain for 20 min, they may as well lather up with soap and also utilize the time for personal hygiene. Point is, and all incidental commentary aside, this hebdomadal interlude in the middle of summer has felt like autumn.

It is as if the leaves should be changing, and the anthropomorphic shorts and tees in my wardrobe should begin to feel sheepish that they're still in use; they do not belong in chilly weather, alongside cider, oatmeal, and sweaters.

Yep, I am projecting. The fall is still some weeks off (Sept 22nd for you equinox-minded folk), but today *felt* like fall to me.

I love the fall. Truth is I have learned to love all four seasons; as a child winter meant snow forts, and cross country skiing, and bizzing on the back of cars; spring meant green and sports, and playing outside, with life returning all around me as I watched it. Summer meant shorts and lazy days with friends, and tree houses, popsicles, camping and fireworks. Fall meant the invariable trip back to school, with jack-o-lanterns, hunting, cider and cool air.

As I look at my own children, and the adults in embryo they already seem to be; I cant help but wonder what they'll look back on and see in these their current days. What will this summer meant to them? How about fall? And the other seasons? I hope that the family trips, and the play group trips, and the holidays, and the mundane day-to-day (fighting with each other, playing games, catching lightning bugs/turtles/fish, riding bikes) will coalesce into something they value as their childhood. That it'll distill into something like I had, a youth that was sweet with life experiences; because before too long they'll find themselves like me; a thirty something with babies of their own, looking back at their life and feeling as if it has quietly slipped along its path down the riverbed of time.

My stepfather passed away recently. He was diagnosed with stage 4 thoracic cancer (I heard the actual cancer name once, but I refuse to learn it/acknowledge it again). It was discovered when he went in to the doc back on Memorial Day because he had a sore throat. They ran test after test and with each revealed greater and more severe depths of the cancer. He refused treatment (oh, that I will be that tough!), he went home, spent time talking with all of us (I chatted with him on the phone twice; using wit both times to get him to laugh despite the seriousness of the situation), he made sure he told us he loved us, and he let go of this mortal coil. He returned to his God on his own terms.

I got to fly back home and be there for the funeral. In retrospect, I was conflicted; I was at times angry, I was sad, I was happy for him to be out of pain, I marveled at several taciturn facets of his life. I had my eyes opened to the man through several revelations in conversation form with my siblings and step siblings; I discovered he was an accomplished baseball player (I always knew he was passionate about the game, but had no idea this had brought him fame), I learned he was a quiet numismatist, I listeneed to stories about his youthful anger and how he mastered his passions. I believe he gathered wisdom and worked out his own salvation with his Maker.

Truth be told, I was out there for my mom; death takes those who are ready to make the journey, but leaves the living seeking their cry. She and I spent some time together and through that period, I found my own anchor in couching my own observations in my journal. I worked at her wish of cleaning out/organizing things; and made trips to the thrift store to donate items, journeyed to the dump to dispose clutter, labored sunburnt in the yard, and filled garbage can after garbage can; meantime soaking in all the conversations in between. I drove his truck. I went to lunch with my mom when she felt like it. I know it is what my step dad would have wanted.

The funny thing was, during the first couple of weeks, I caught myself on more than one occasion looking for him, remembering his laugh, listening for the sound of the garage door opening, his foot on the stairs, the jingle of his keys as he hung them on the hook in the kitchen.

Instead I had this sort of internal reflection back on the things he taught me about balancing the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual sides of myself. It was odd, but I slept in my old bedroom. And through it all I reconnected with my siblings and step siblings.

And coming out of it all on this side, two months later, I feel somehow lightened. Not the way that one lightens a sponge from its burden of water, not wrung out; rather I felt as if it was done the way one carefully empties a knapsack filled with delicate things. I had no idea my bag had been filled by handpicked stones, it would seem I had placed them there over time, and with my step dad's death, it felt right to begin to sort through them.

Most meant something at one point; hefted and placed into that sack due to some now-forgotten reason. I found most of them were now without meaning, and in studying them determined I could now simply let them go. As I look in retrospect to those weeks, the work, the conversations, and the time spent together after his death, allowed me to cast those stones out on the water, like so much bread.

Heavy writing, I know...I am no great fan of buzz words, and often laugh at their use, but this post has come about very organically for me. I can think of no other way to describe it.

My shirt, once damp from today's prologue fall rain, is now dry. My tears, spent grieving for my stepdad and my mom are also dry. I am looking forward to the fall, to the changing of the leaves, to the wearing of sweaters, to school starting again, to sweaters, and oatmeal and hunting. I am looking forward to life carrying on.

Meantime, thank you for reading these words. Hopefully they, like my stones cast out into the water, will return to me in another way.


Monday, May 06, 2013 Screen Shot of My Article

Screen shot of the coinflation link to my article!



My Article: Silver Thoughts For The Beginner

Hi All,

Been a bit of a while since I posted.

Here is an article I wrote for last week. I also saw it credited on for March 02 :)

I like to see things I write accepted on such a widely read forum! Survivalblog gets 300,000+ unique hits per week!

I appreciate your thoughts on the article.

God Bless,

Monday, November 19, 2012

For A Future Win'try Day:

For A Future Win'try Day:

Don’t cry for me when I am gone
I’m off to dwell in better planes
Where pain and strife and envy cease
And love and living go aeons on

My native land with golden sand

With people who I know I’ve missed
Ten trillion souls I comprehend
(Yet did not then with eyes below)
These all will greet me with a kiss

From country roam to going home

It is my place, this heavn’ly field
And filled with green, in all degrees
Of God’s own hammers, sounding halls
My mote and dust will be annealed

To traveling sail and parting veil

Don’t yearn for me, you left behind
And wail in ashen dreary dreams
My rooted clay so lodged and left
Must stay and sleep, but not my mind

This place feels new, yet presque vu

I’ve gladly set my broken dreams
Aside like linen, old and stained;
This new cloth finger’d with a smile
Such stunning starry flaxen seams!

Then waiting day, tho slim delay

I’ll wait and work with God’s own gold
(the real kind, found in human souls)
As each gloss’d fire returns to Him
I’ll do this work, and won’t grow old

So freed from time, and loos’d of rime

And tears we’ll shed when joined again
When you too make this pleasant land
By sailing through the darkened shroud
To dock and leave the blessed main!

Safe harbor made, and kept and stayed

Your gold will then be back with God
And yours and mine with all of His
To ne’r be spent in rolling roads
The race of man no more to plod

Reunion sweet, angelic fete

So dry these tears you shed today
Ours is a moment so detach’d!
And soon you’ll turn and I’ll be there
To clasp and go no more away!

-JRB    11-19-2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Psalm, April 24th, 2012

God of my secret soul
Shelter my holiest hopes~
That as storms of life condemn,
And shake the bulwark side
(and I trembling within)
Forget me not!

God of my yearning soul
Guard my anxious mind~
That as the tasks of life mire
And cast me from my craft
(and I on the beach)
‘Member my soul!

God of my muted soul
Captain of my inward parts~
That as plots of wicked men,
To sink both bark and span
(and I making for harbor)
Keep lit Thy light!

God of my disquiet soul
Architect of joy and pain~
That as the toils cumulate
And precipitate great weight
(and I with trembling limb)
Strength to mine arms!

God of my murmuring soul
Chef Cornerstone of all~
That as my days prolong
And year and year redouble
(and I with weakened age)
‘Turn to thy breast!

God of my hard won soul
Author of Celestial spheres~
That as thanatopsis arises
And dust, sleep shaken from eyes
(and old man, new again)
No more to lie!


Sunday, March 25, 2012


Sometimes feelings are simply
too big for us to handle
and washing across us,
(emotive wave, so linked to the moon!)
we weep

Laughter turned to tears
or uffish thought spawned by scent
mem'ry of taste or sight or smell~
(perhaps a song'll do it to us)

Taking us back to something missing
(some object lost in youth?)
or a tingle felt
when someone long gone
intimates our thoughts with longing

(Why so? Why this ache?)
Are we really just dust?
and these rivers on which our boats
catching momentary views on sweeping bends,
merely the itch one feels for a missing limb?

The tears you shed tonight
(the ones which you felt were too big for you)
laughter breached by lamentation
are just the pushings of your pith
testing the sides of it's earthy container~

So laugh! and cry
and stare off into space
talk to yourself, confide in you
(be a true friend to your own secret self)
God inhabits that same inward space

That space needs no careful hidings,
no bravery of tinkling ornaments,
(or cauls, or crisping pins to prop up!)
'tis one where only that bearded Father
and you can couch, and vouch as safe

3-26-12 @ 23:12

Monday, March 05, 2012

Journal Entry

Today marks less than a week to the five months mark in my current role. Five months! My, how time flies by.

Missouri is starting to feel more and more like home. Melissa is homeschooling our kids, we are going to church regularly, we have callings, and work is busy. We are actually replacing the furniture and odds and ends bit by bit which we sold pre-move. We sold a lot of stuff all those weeks ago.

The funny thing I realized with this move was that I had harbored a lot of fears about moving, about a new place, about being an oddity and a minority, about being away from family. Skype, and email and phone calls all help supplant lack of family contact, and are very nice to assuage the longing for a hug with said loved ones. The fears of moving and relocating are ones that can only be addressed by doing. Like the metaphorical monster under the bed, the specter of moving reared it's ugly head at me for years, and I cowered back at its supposed fury, cowed, determined to remain in my place, afraid.

Moving has been a blessing. Melissa and I have grown in ways we never expected. Yes, a few gray hairs have sprouted, but they are supposed to. Melissa's hide in her blonde locks, but mine show up like beacons in my dark hair. These highlights are won by walking through life's paths, determined to see the end of the trail.

I am excited to start planting a garden. Melissa and I will do the planter box thing this year, and have a few good ideas to start. We are a bit premature, being March 5th and all, but the odd weather patterns are waking things up a wee bit earlier than normal, and our minds move to spring, due in a few short weeks (Vernal Equinox, March 20th) and dwells on resuming daylight savings time (spring forward, March 11th @ 0200).

I have been working out regularly since Christmas break: motivation finally tipping after seeing my slim younger brother Dan after he *dropped* 35 pounds by riding an exercise bike 45 min a day. Way to go Dan-o! I have dropped next to nothing (but I do like to eat). I am however taking the stairs, running on the treadmill, and lifting. My fat is coming off slowly, and my muscle mass is notably enhanced. I shall continue.

I have been reading a lot of books lately: fiction, how-tos, and of course a lot of news online.

I have been working on my suburban (full transfiguration delayed by repaying some significant loans to get us here to MO), door seals, roof rhino lined, strike bolts replaced, etc. I hope to get it painted and the motor rebuilt this year, among other things.

And so I will leave you for now. Life is full and busy. I thank God for my blessings, and for my family.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

My God!
what examples in
my father, my stepfather, my grandfather(s),
sirs who went and did
and stayed their courses
perhaps not so nobly as by astrolabe,
but plotted by some hidden distingue.
admittedly, most days slip by for me
toiling moments roiling on in their march
'till I look up all of a sudden
and peer back at ten and fifteen years
which should feel close enough to touch,
Spderweb of time.
Father, do you still feel thirteen, betimes?
do you wake for sleep and reach for a bedtable
years and years gone?
Oh! the stars must chuckle at we(e) little ants
scurrying so quickly with the ebb of elan
here and gone before we know it.
outline in me oh God, the stars:
that even as I go about my daily tasks
make this little bit of clay I am
not leptonic in my interaction
but firm in my resolve
silent keeper of distinction

-Jay 2-23-12 @ 20:16