Let’s Hear It for Moms and Pops

Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way

There’s an independent bookstore
in the town that I call home.
It is owned by folks who also live nearby.
It is where I see my neighbors
when I stop to browse the shelves.
And it warms my heart to hear them call out “Hi!”

It’s a place where people know my name
and ask about my kids.
They make me feel important when I stop.
Our bookstore is a fixture
in our small community.
It’s a destination where folks go to shop.

And while a book is cheaper
at a box store or online,
there’s something to be said for “mom and pop.”
The independent retailer
is what keeps towns alive.
So when you’re prone to pass them by, please stop.

This Saturday (or any day)
it pays when we invest
in local businesses right down the street.
Their future is dependent
on the dollars that we spend.
We are the means by which these stores compete.

*This poem was inspired by Island Books on Mercer Island. This small-town independently-owned business was just awarded BEST BOOKSTORE OF 2017 by KING 5 Evening Magazine.

An Earthquake in La La Land

Examining what’s been exposed in the rubble

In Hollywood an earthquake
has exposed a timeless trend.
The walls that hid men’s sins are falling down.
The aftershocks keep coming
as their victims voice their pain.
The seismic waves have rocked Sam Goldwyn’s town.

Abuse, it seems, is rampant
in a culture most depraved.
Those abused for years at last have found their voice.
And the pain we hear is piercing.
What was buried is not dead.
Those defiled have new life. They have a choice.

With the number who’ve been wounded
(knowing they are not alone),
those defiled can defend themselves with pride. 
Or they can (within the rubble)
point a finger at the cause.
There’s a fault neath La La Land no one can hide. 

Where is God?

Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town

So where is God when crazed men kill
their helpless victims sitting still
prepared to worship One who came
to rid our world of hate?

So where is God when children sing
their praises to the King of Kings
and bow their heads as they are told
because “God hears our prayers?”

So where is God when church folks die
before they have the chance to try
and run away from one intent
on emptying his gun?

So where is God when cynics sneer
and question how could He be near
when evil stalks the innocent
and steals the ones we love?

The answer is God’s everywhere
observing what we cannot bear
to contemplate or comprehend
because it is so cruel.

God’s weeping with us as we grieve.
Our world (unlike what God conceived)
is flawed and broken, filled with rage
and prone to self-destruct.

And yet God has a plan for good
displayed upon a cross of wood
that will (in time) redeem what’s wrong
and vindicate His name.

An All Saints Day Tribute

Remembering those who left us

They left us through the door of death
the day they took their final breath.
While hearing angels call their name,
they closed their eyes in peace.

They left us grieving they were gone
as we discovered life goes on.
And yet the life we now embrace
is lacking something rare.

They left us as we knew they would
although we prayed somehow they could
defeat what they were battling.
But sadly they did not.

They left us precious memories
providing us a ring of keys
that opens doors to days-gone-by
we enter all the time.

They left us all a legacy
of faith and hope and love so we
can make our world a better place
by following their lead.

They left us with a cause for praise
on this most holy Day of Days.
We’re grateful for all saints who died
who live again in Christ.

This poem is dedicated to my dad who died nine years ago this week (November 4, 2008)