Thursday, January 29, 2009

Around the Blog

One of Anna's daily rhythms is to float through the world of blogs. So to help her (and to give you a sense of what we look at on a daily basis), I've added a tool on the blog sidebar that lists the blogs we keep up with. It even includes recent post titles of the blogs. Have fun ...


Pictures of Farm House

Also ... another little add-on for the blog: picture album of the farm house.

For those of you wanting to track the work being done on the farm house that we will eventually be moving into, I have created a slideshow as an additional side item to this blog. Simply scroll down a little bit and look on the right side. You should be able to see it there.

I'll try to keep posting new pictures as they come.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Congratulations to Adam Quine for calling me out for not posting a Best of 2008 music list yet. Take heart: I have the list of the songs already made out; I just need to find the list and write the reviews.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

White Walls

wiped down, time and again.
the grooves tucking in time,
like crevices, formed by a hand steadier than mine.

and patient. so

Forgive me, then. My transgression of the modern.
I'm covering your handiwork, your artisan craft.

Two coats of primer, spilled and spilling.
dumped upon the floor, your floor
of hardwood sawed by hands, not machine;
so imperfect, and flawless.

I am washing the walls white - counting the sins in my head:
the futility of frustration, the blaming and squeezing of urgency.
And at the bottom of it all is this: I'm afraid.

I sat next to a headstone of the Hutcheson clan this week, and I remembered
the day I tripped Ryan Smith in front of Pleasantview Elementary -
the meanest thing I've done. ever.
And I ran from all the fights I would ever encounter.
Fearful of the facing of my enemy. Too strong. Not strong enough.

So, forgive me walls. I'll cover you white this time. White-washing the exterior.
Hiding my fear, my shame. But - as I do - I pray:
make in me a cleanness as clean as the snowdrift
upon the headstone and a newness to recover the ancient good.


Thursday, January 15, 2009


Don and Lori Schafer have been making music for years together under various band names and in conjunction with other artists. They comprise part of the worship musicians who have brought forth the many "Enter the Worship Circle" albums in the last fifteen years.

I thoroughly appreciate their work and have benefited from it tremendously, and I think their work is especially admirable given the rising popularity of Christian worship music in the last two decades. Don and Lori have managed to maintain a devotion to God first, and their music has continued to stretch itself in an attempt to expand their own faith. I think - if you read the bio for one of Don and Lori's bands (Waterdeep), you will see the maturity and care that goes into their music and - consequently - their message.

So, clearly, I enjoy their stuff. Well, today, I listened to a song of Waterdeep's that came out several years ago. As can often happen, I had heard the song several times, but the lyrics final caught my ear and the message entered my soul.

The song is titled "Take Me", and it is the story of how we learn to let go of our "earthly tents" in the process of aging so that our souls might be released and our bodies restored. Here are the lyrics to that song:

“Old ain’t a word that I’m fond of,” he said.
“And these days I’ve begun to lose count.”
Mumbling she rolls in her wheelchair, and says,
“I’m afraid that they’ve closed my account.”

There’s a blur that occurs in the line of their life
That decays the whole notion of sense
And they call to the past, insisting that it last,
While they’re climbing down reality’s fence

Singing with me
Take me
Take me
Write my name in the most Holy Tome
And when it’s my time
To assume the sublime,
Take me to my promised home

And their hands aren’t gnarled, they’re in love with the earth
And they’re dying to go there again
We say the essence of life is strong in our youth,
Slowly buried under wrinkles of skin

But there’s God in the way that life comes to an end,
In the way that it draws to a close,
In the saying of soul to the house of the skin,
You’re too weak now to really oppose

The kids

Photo of Elise courtesy of Drew.

Details: exterior

Just to give a better idea of the property we're working with, here are a few more images... These first two are of some of the "scrap metal" that will go by way of the auction at the end of the month.

Photos courtesy of Drew.

Details: interior

Photos courtesy of Drew.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Within this home that is inviting our labor and our investment, there is a sign on a pantry door - a small piece of country knick-knack. It says simply, "Count Your Blessings" and is decorated at the upper edges with two small country homes, one on each side.

Count your blessings. That is a good commandment and a wonderful spiritual discipline. Gratitude - I am discovering - is a thing cultivated.

So, I sat down the other day with a pen and journal, and I followed the instruction.

Count your blessings:
one, I have life and
the richness of those
who love me.
two, there is work for my hands
to do,
a community to empty myself into.
three, a son with cheeks like peach-skin
slapped by a northern wind.

four: food in abundance.

five: deliverance from my bondage

And the doe and her fawns walk through
Hutcheson's valley: six.

And my daughter, pulling back from my wife's breast,
looking fresh into my eyes,
hers a deep cobalt blue: seven.

Too many.
I have more than enough.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Beginnings

Here it is...the latest chapter in our story. This is the "temporary" house in which we will live. I use quotation marks because if we think about it realistically, our initial two to three year estimate begins to look more like 5 or 7...I dare not let my mind go beyond that.

It was originally built in 1885, and was perhaps a school house. The wooden handles on the doors indicate whoever built it was of a higher social class, and the music-themed woodwork in what will be our main bedroom leads us to believe that was some sort of parlor, entertaining space, or music room.

This house requires massive amounts of work. We are working to get it finished by the third of February...the day our furniture arrives from Owensboro. Who knows if we will succeed. I won't go into the details here, but plan to give before and after pictures of the rooms as they come to fruition.

Most recently, it was inhabited by a gentleman I knew and loved as I grew up in the farmhouse next door. He supplied our family with milk and honey and I carried over fresh baked pies...He was a cultivator, something to which I very much aspire.

The barn sits on perhaps my favorite part of the property -- just down a lane filled with mature fruit trees and berry bushes.

The inside is the best part and has me dreaming of the day we can afford to have it reworked into a modern home. It has a full basement, amazing loft, and although looks a bit shoddy from the outside, is quite structurally sound (from what we can tell). And who wouldn't want to reclaim that wood on the outside for a future ceiling?

All of this is a fantastic opportunity that would not be possible were it not for my parents' purchase of the property...and willingness to hold onto and rent it to us until we can afford to buy it from them. We are in a good situation here. In more ways than described here. We are so grateful.