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timjfranklin

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Oak Leaf in late November

a lone leaf

brown and dry

drifted across my path

loosed at last

reluctantly

by a neighboring oak

it tumbled slowly

earthward

to be gently cradled

by ten thousand others

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World’s Easiest Fruit Cobbler

I get the greatest joy out of watching my kids have fun together! When they are treating each other with kindness and love, it is so sweet to see. Just completely relaxed and enjoying each other and life. I can’t help but smile when I see moments like this leap into Lake Champlain. In fact I’m smiling right now as I post this photo. And I can’t help but wonder if the way that I feel about my kids is the same as our Father feels about his.

Haiku #2: A Fair Night

Yellow fluorescents

Italian sausage beckons

“Taste the spice tonight.”

Another Flower?!

“It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.” -G.K. Chesterton, in Orthodoxy

Choose

Most mornings I take a short walk. My route doesn’t vary much. I go out my front door and either turn right or left. After that I walk for a mile or two, turn around, and come back. Taking the same route over and over again doesn’t get too monotonous though, because the views are spectacular. You’d have to spend some time in the Champlain Valley of Vermont to fully understand, but I can tell you that I have clear views of the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks to the west. So whichever way I turn the scenery is breathtaking.

On my walk this morning I noticed this road sign. I took the photo with my phone, so it’s not great. Anyway, I have seen this sign hundreds of times. You’ve probably seen one just like it. But for some reason I really noticed it this morning. It stands there at the end of Short Street in beautiful downtown Bridport and points out the obvious. You can turn right onto Crown Point Road. Or you can turn left onto Crown Point Road. Either one; it’s your choice. But you can’t do both. The sign says “Make a decision.” For me this morning, turning right meant moving toward home. Turning left meant moving away from home. Some days I turn left and extend my walk, but today I turned right. And then every step I took brought me closer to home.

Every day I have to choose what direction I’m going. Saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to something else. I make these decisions all the time. Unfortunately I don’t always think about it very much. I choose a direction without considering the implications; what I am moving toward, and what I am moving away from. It would be nice to have more bright yellow signs to alert me to the choices I am making. Or someone like Moses, challenging the Hebrew people on the banks of the Jordan River. “… I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) Like the sign at the end of Short Street, it’s rather obvious when I stop to think about it. I can’t have it both ways. I can’t move toward God and away from him at the same time.

Choosing to move closer to Jesus and to pursue his kingdom means that I’m turning away from my own agenda of self-fulfillment. Conversely, when I decide to indulge myself or travel the path toward my own desires I am moving farther and farther away from Jesus. He put it very succinctly when he said “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money [or anything else for that matter].” (Luke 16:13) The challenge is to turn those unconscious decisions into very intentional decisions. To recognize the moments when I am facing a big yellow sign.To ask myself, “Is this going to move me toward Jesus, or away from him?” And then to choose to move closer to Jesus, closer to life, closer to home.

Playing Around

On Saturday we packed into the Kia and headed out on an adventure. Our first stop was the local farmers’ market, where we discovered some beautiful produce. We picked up a few items, including some okra that was the perfect side dish for the fried chicken that we had for dinner that evening. But perhaps the find of the morning was an amazing blt sandwich. Local grass-fed pork, local tomato and lettuce, local bread, and even homemade mayo. It was amazing! Visit Understory Farm if you want to taste for yourself.

The farmers’ market was great, but we were all looking forward to the main event: a local blueberry festival. All the requisite festival elements were on hand. These included face painting, live music, silent auction and raffle, and of course a variety of baked goods featuring blueberries. The thing that caught my attention though, was a water balloon toss. Not something you find at every festival. So of course we decided to participate. A dollar apiece was all it took to get the opportunity to fling water balloons at each other across an ever-widening expanse of lawn. Six of us played and three of us got wet. Sometimes I sit these things out, but on Saturday I played. There’s something about playing that is different from watching people play, even watching your own children. As any parent can tell you, watching your children play is delightful. But for a few moments on Saturday I played. Sometimes I can be too serious. Often I take on the role of observer rather than participant. I forget that letting myself relax, breathe deeply, and play is a refreshing pleasure, a gift. And one that I want to receive and enjoy more often.

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SONY DSC

Nothing says summer

like fresh mown hay, or peach juice

dripping down my chin.

Day One

It’s 9:07 p.m. on August 1. I am writing my first blog post. This is something I have been thinking about doing for a long time. The time has come to begin. It’s a small beginning, but a beginning nonetheless. I intend to post photos, observations, poetry and whatever else crosses my mind. So here’s a photo I took today to get things started.

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