Dear Father… You are patient and gracious far beyond our deserving. Let us hope for your forgiveness when we can find no way to forgive ourselves. You bless our lives even when we have shown ourselves to be utterly ungrateful and unworthy. May we be strengthened and renewed, to make us less unworthy of blessing, through these your gifts of sustenance, of friendship and family.” – prayed by Jack in Home by Marilynne Robinson

You would have to read the book to understand how beautiful and sad this prayer is.  Jack, the “black sheep” of the family prays here and it nearly broke my heart. This is the prayer I need to pray. Every. Single. Day. I identify with the ‘no way to forgive ourselves’ sentiment. And the being blessed even while ungrateful and unworthy.

Prayer doesn’t change things, but prayer lays hold of God who changes things and Who, in prayer, changes you. And sometimes in the midst of it all He gives you the assurance that your plea has been granted. – from The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis

I like that part about how God changes us in prayer. And gives us assurance.

Feedback and Forgiveness (not)

by Stuart Miles

by Stuart Miles

I’ve loved ABC books and A-Z lists for quite a while. As a teacher I’ve used the A-Z idea for brainstorming new topics, for studying, and for writing. This post is one in a series on writing, with the subtopic of poetry.

“Find and befriend readers whose critical judgment you trust, and then cajole, beg, and bribe them to read and comment on your work.” – James W. Fuerst, author of Huge.

The most important point to remember here is to find someone you can trust to give you critical judgment. You don’t need someone to puff you up with compliments; you need someone who will give it to you straight – the good and the bad- so you can improve if needed. Secondly, these need to be READERS, not just your husband who loves you or your friend who goes to movies but never actually reads anything.

For a goofy poetry break, here’s a tidbit  in memory of Williams Carlos Williams.

Forgive Me (not)

She had our Barbies in her hands

held dangerously above her pool


mine accidently went in the water

She said “Sorry”

I knew she said “not”

That other time we fought

I bit her

because she ripped my dress

I had to go next door to say “sorry”

but I wasn’t

All the while she sat smug in her little chair

in her pink bedroom

in front of her TV

Who has a TV in her bedroom

in 1964?

She did


Who calls their child Star?

We called her Baby Huey

behind her back