The Stories We Tell…


St. Andrews Cathedral graveyard just outside my front door… So many stories are represented here.

I went to a seminar last week on the long lost memoir of Warnie Lewis (C.S. Lewis’ brother).

It was very informative

The lecturer rifled through a fat book of their personal letters, coming to well reasoned conclusions about the life and legacy of the brothers. She reminds us that Warnie was an author in his own right. She told us the story of Warnie’s conversion.

The questions began. What was Jack’s personal devotional life like? Warnie’s? What were theological beliefs the Lewises held but didn’t express publicly? The fellow in the green shirt in the corner questions the nature of Jack’s relationship with Mrs. Moore…was Warnie jealous? There is conjecture about whether their crazy school master was nicer to Warnie or Jack. It was Jack. Definitely Jack.

And then there was Warnie’s alcoholism. What was the cause? Was it the war? His mother’s early death? His natural temperament? Mrs. Moore? His relationship with his father? Wearily, we piece through the unearthed tapestry of their story, trying to follow faded threads.

But there were lovely bits too. The cheerful letter Jack sent to one of his Goddaughters on the day of her confirmation, and the playful jab at sending her the only kind of magic he seemed able to wield… a five pound note.

I walked home alone after that seminar. As the wind with its new autumn chill numbed my nose and tossed my hair, I wondered what the brother’s Lewis would have thought of all of us, sitting around with scholarly faces, engaging in the dialectic method about every detail of their bachelor lives. Did Jack ever feel, in the living of it, the weight his own life story would carry?

What a strange and wonderful thing to see a life laid out like a story at its end. 

And then it struck me, like the blast of wind from the north sea I walked along:

My story has already begun. 

Some of the ink on the pages of my life is already dry.

My story won’t begin someday in the future. 

It won’t begin tomorrow.

It didn’t begin yesterday.

It began in a day I can’t remember, and stretches out before me till days I can’t see.

What story am I telling with one life of mine?

I wonder, in a hundred years, what a room of scholars bent over my journals, letters, and Facebook messages would come to think of me. If I’m honest, that’s actually a sort of horrifying thought. But I do not feel tethered by the opinions of such hypothetical people, and it is unlikely that not one will study my life like that. But, I think of the children I hope to have some day.  I think of being old with my siblings, and looking back on life. I think of meeting God. And I wonder… what story will I have told with these few earthly days of mine?

The stories we tell with our lives matter. 

We need look no further than the news cycles of the past week to confirm that theory.







They compound over the years, and give your story a colour, a shape, a taste. An aroma. A stench.

Choices have real impacts that cannot be wiped out with flippancy, forgetfulness, or bluster.

As my mentor often told me… God forgives, but wisdom doesn’t.

The repercussions of our decisions, good or bad, echo into our lives, and the lives we touch.

This election season has played out like a morbid, almost comic, depressing moral story. It’s really quite distressing to dwell on. It is a wreaking mess of poorly told stories, and people trying to shake or ignore the sin that has shaped the story of most of their adult life. Sin that chases you down even after 10 years.

As I’ve contemplated the sorry affair we find ourselves in, I’ve come to this: I alone can’t fix the government, the candidates, the country, the state of global affairs, this school, the Church. I am limited in my scope of influence, but this I can determine: the faithful telling of my own story.

The reform I see as necessary in my country, and indeed in my world, is a reformation of character. Policies, spin, social reform, none of it will make a difference if each individual is not living a well told story, doing what is right though it hurts, renouncing evil and perversion, celebrating kindness, goodness, and justice. Real change only comes through repentance; the turning away from the Bad, and towards the Good. The plot must shift, the characters must decide. The story must be told in years lived, not in hasty words said.

And so, with each decision I make, habit develop, attitude I allow, secret I keep, word I say, vote I cast, I hope to be telling a story of faithfulness and humility. One that I will be proud to tell my children, and reminisce about with my dearest friends. One I hope is honouring to the Jesus I follow.

It was strange and wonderful to see the Lewis brothers’ lives laid out like a story at its end.

But it was a good story they told. 

And, Lord have mercy, may I tell a good one too.

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

(Psalm 90:12)




Dating and Courtly Love : 5 Helpful Tips



That desire and bond which ever culture seems to value.

Love, true love. 

That tricky, smoggy ideal we all awkwardly stumble around in pursuit of.


The unfortunate cultural fallout of a society without an agreed upon romance manual, comprised of unspoken social constructs developed mostly from Taylor Swift songs, the 60’s, Coca Cola ads, that one weird book you read in high school, and the fall of humanity.

And so we find ourselves in the social dance that no one knows the moves to, stepping on each others toes as often as we accidentally fall into each others arms. Stepping in love as often as we fall in it.

There must be another way!

And so I propose turning back to the old, the tried and true, the Manner of Courtly Love. 

After studying Courtly Love in my graduate course this week, I’ve decided that it has the best advice which I will now follow unquestioningly.

And so I present to you 6 ways that love may be acquired, as set out by the twelfth century love sage Andreas Capellanus.

1. Be extremely, very, very good looking. 

Capellanus’ first way to win love is simply to be, or look for someone who is, just golly old darnit attractive. Capellanus notes, “A beautiful figure wins love with very little effort.” And really, what could go wrong here? Could there be a more common sense way to find love than to base your affections solely upon physical attraction?  If you are wildly attractive, Cappellanus also particularly recommends finding a simple (read: stupid) lover, because they’re happy to settle for a relationship based on looks. I quoth, “A simple love thinks there is nothing to look for in a love besides a beautiful figure and face…I don’t blame such love.” In such happy cases, you can go on being attractive, your love can go on being simple, making you one happy, shallow couple.

And what more could one ask for, really?

2. Have a good character because that’s attractive… I guess. Sort of. 

It is, of course, impossible to be both of good character AND attractive. And so, if you feel unconfident about your looks, forget trying to find an inner sense of value and beauty, or developing in confidence, just be a good person. Afraid people won’t like you just for your “nice personality?” No fear. Capellanus reminds us that, “A well instructed lover does not reject… an ugly lover if the character within is good.” Isn’t that comforting? And also a great and totally not problematic reason to be virtuous?

3. Talk a great deal and with many anecdotes which will inspire and enlighten your future love.

Being of “ready speech,” is in Capelanus’ mind meritorious of love. Ready speech, as far I can discover is the general proclivity to say nice and funny things, and to talk a lot. Sorry introverts. But this also applies to being a generally socially mature human. For instance, Capellanus recommends the following for men: “After the man has greeted the woman, he ought to let a little time elapse, so that she may, if she wises, speak.” This is good advice. It gives us women the momentary illusion that you care about what we think, which is very nice. So, being ready to always say witty things is good for winning love, but so is not saying things. It’s really a toss up.

4. Be wildly wealthy.

Mr. Darcy? Romeo? Cleopatra? Queen Victoria? Rochester? They all had one important thing in common: they were out of this world rich. Now, Capellanus notes that this is perhaps not the most advisable reason for falling in love. However, it’s worth noting that, “I know from personal experience that when poverty comes in, the things that nourished love begin to leave.” One might wonder if this perhaps says something about the nature of the commitment and quality of the relationship. Would a real love relationship not grow with each difficulty it encounters?


It is a clear sign that wealth encourages love. Or at least, as my grandmother once said, it is no harder to marry a rich man than a poor one.


5. Be desperate:

What more needs to be said? Join the teeming masses. A great aid in obtaining love is a “readiness with which one grants what (love) is sought.” Basically, don’t be picky. Have in your mind the attitude which approaches each person you meet with this question: are you my boyfriend? How about you? No? Maybe you?

Again, one can hardly imagine where this might go wrong, or how it is indeed a way love might be acquired as it sometimes appears desperation is repelling. Well, I guess my advice is just to not ask too many questions and stay desperate.

And there you have it! The five ways to acquire love. If only E Harmony had told you it was so simple. 

It must be noted that Capellanus is doubtful of the last two ways of acquiring love, going so far as to say we should, “banish them from the court.” All things considered, I think this is an overreaction. I mean, what does Capellanus think those of us who are not extremely, very, very good looking are going to rely on? Our good character? Pfft!

And, so these are Capellanus’ ways to acquire love.

Do let me know how they improve your love life.

Tune in next week for more helpful Courtly Love tips like what kind of flowers to bring your beloved and how to woo a courtly lady from France.

Over and out…

Joyful Discontent


Deësis mosaic in the Hagia Sophia.

I am not by nature a contented person.

I wish I was, sometimes. But more often than not, I wander around the world with an achey exuberance. I feel awakened by all the beauty and meaning in the world, called out by it, invited. And yet, I feel pierced through by the sadness, annoyed at the general lacklustre of ordinary life. I want more seriousness, I want more levity. I want harmony and resonance in my beliefs with my ways of living. I want to be still. I want to dance. I want to be rooted. I want to fly.

And so I hover in an existence of happy discontent, each experience of beauty and life making me at once more joyful and more full of longing.

Apparently I don’t respond to icons properly. 

This week in class we studied icons as a chapter along the development of religious art. While discussing a particular icon, I noted that they seem so charged with quiet emotion. According to my professor, this is not the intention of the icon writers; they are meant to draw you into a quiet mood of acceptance and contemplation. They are meant to sooth, to quiet, to subdue.

And here I am feeling things again.

The face turned full force towards the viewer. Eyes unflinching. The deep, jewelled colours. The sense of movement, and stillness. It makes me think of a line from  Malcolm Guite’s poem The Singing Bowl… Timelessness resounding into time. And something in me is awakened by the beauty, invited by the person and stories to which this written painting testifies. It makes me want to drink from the springs of life eternal, surging through the goodness and beauty that survives through every generation.

But, I am told, my emotions are in the way.

I used to feel guilty for wanting so much out of life. I felt it I were a little more mature, more Godly, I would ache a little bit less. Rejoice a little more quietly. I would be satisfied.

But, I’ve learned to listen to my longings. And in them, I find the echoes of a deeper reality, a richer faith, a fuller humanity. In the midst of one of my achey days, I read this..

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

I think one of the great faults of our present world is the inability to sit with emotions and longings. To listen to them, and let them be. To not try to medicate or philosophise or spiritualise or numb them away. I think sometimes we are frightened that if we give these old longings the time of day, they will swallow us whole, or that they won’t go away.

And you know what? They often don’t go away.

Sometimes the ache remains.

But in it, we find a testament to something true and deep. I find that, in my better moments, my discontent is often only a longing for the deeper, richer life for which I’m made. It protects me from apathy. I motivates me to press in and dig deeper in Jesus to find the true bread of life.

And sometimes, in my aching joy, I find I experience the “Joy as poignant as grief” (Tolkien, On Fairy Stories , 1947).

And so, I am satisfied in my discontentedness.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

A few wee Scottish things…


A casual driver around town… (spotted today)

A few wee things…

Hello, oh world! Oh occasional readers! How’s life? What are you thinking about these days? What’s your favourite hot beverage? What do you think of almond croissants?

Quite to my astonishment, I find myself already on the brink of my second week in grad school. It has been grand, surprising, fascinating, deep, exhilarating, and even a little bit exhausting. I’m sure that soon, it will yield the lovely fruit of thoughtful blog posts. But at the moment, my brain is too fried to access or articulate any lofty ideas. Instead, I thought I’d share with you a few things that I have discovered and delighted in here in Saint Andrews, and hope to take back with me to the States. In no particular order, here they are…

  1. Wee bit… (phrase):

How do I begin to express my affection for this phrase? I guess I could start with saying that I don’t think I realised how much people actually use this phrase, and how much you can use it. It is usually just a much more charming way of saying “small.” Why say you want a little bit of cake when you could say, “I’ll just have a wee bit.” Or why say “look at that kid,” when you could say, “look at the wee lamb.”  It just makes all adorable diminutives that much more adorable. I love it a lot.

2. Dogs:

Let me confess; I’m missing Darcy. How could one not miss such a cuddly, neurotic floof? But one great comfort has been the many furry friends that tromp around St. Andrews. They’re everywhere! Sidewalks, sea side, book shops. The floofs rule the Fife!

It seems more acceptable to take your dog everywhere you go here. For instance, yesterday I was in my favourite book shop in town, when I spied a mother, father, small child, and small dog, huddled in a corner, looking through a shelf of books. One of the employees walked by, stepping over the dog like it was nothing more than a pile of books. I don’t think this would ever happen in the States.

Or, the day before that, I encountered this sombre creature…


He was sitting outside the door of a house with its door slightly cracked open. No leash, no collar, no intention of moving. I bent down to pet him. He deigned to endure my advances, but was aloof. I saw the owner peak from behind the door, unconcerned.

And so, dogs run free! A merry part of the warp and woof of life. They weave between legs, run whole heartedly into the sea, sit quietly by professors pouring deeply over tiny academic books.

I rather like it.

3. Kilts:

All I will say is this: Scottish men wear kilts a lot more than I was expecting, and I think it’s grand.

4. Fragile (phrase):

“I felt a bit… fragile!” she said, tittering over with a mournful grin. This was said by my lovely friend who cleans the dorms, upon recounting to me her slight sickness over the weekend, feeling unprepared to dive back into the rigours (and awkwardness) of undergraduate dorms.

I’ve heard this phrase several times, and it always tickles me. It can mean anything from having a head cold to suffering the consequences of consuming a “wee bit too much.” Either way, I feel it describes one’s condition when undisposed to be able to deal with the world and its numerous indignities. It is such a better phrase than “feeling sick” or “having a cold.” It’s so much more descriptive of how one actually feels when under the weather. Somehow its more dignifying… and it makes me laugh.

Definitely a phrase I’m taking home.


I have truly experienced such kindness at the hands of my Scottish friends. Informed by the often misleading representation of movies, I had always seen stories of Scots as the opinionated warriors; powerful, prideful, cultured, and strong enough to eat Haggis. Hurrah, stereotypes!

But I was not prepared for the downright friendliness of the Scottish people. There is a warmth and a helpfulness that I have experienced at the hands of numerous people in all sorts of situations. The frankness and kindness of many I have encountered has made this little seaside spot feel like a home away from home.

So those are my Midnight Monday thoughts (Tuesday, actually!). I hope you are all thriving. What is something from another culture you appreciate or enjoy?

Till next week!



My current favourite study corner…

From my Scottish Window…


The view from my room

There is a series of dramas I can witness out my window here at Saint Andrews.

There is the drama of the fishing seagulls. 

This one makes me laugh. As if framed by the rust coloured shed in the foreground and the stretch of pure and brown land in the far background, I have a very nice view of the sea. To my eyes, slightly blurred in their perception by reading one too many books on one too many late nights, I can mainly see an impressionistic conglomeration of colours and movement. I see the vast grey blue of the ocean, streaked with the darker moving lines of waves. And then there are the little white specks: seagulls! I noticed them first after sitting at my window with tea for a while. I saw the specks hovering and soaring low over the water, as if looking for something. And then… in they went! And in place of the little white speck emerged a little white wave where the gull had submerged. After a few moments, up pops the triumphant gull, who then rests on the water for a while, exulting in his spoils. For some reason, this discovery tickled me greatly; what a humorous thing nature can be at times.


And then there is the drama of the wayfarers.


I call them the wayfarers, but I’m really referring to the the bobbing heads that appear over the roof of the rust shed, and the voices that carry (unbeknownst to the speakers) up to my window. My house is right near the ruins of the cathedral and the sea in town, so many people pass on the roads surrounding my little spot. Oh the things I overhear! Mostly, I’m too distracted (and bound by my ethical opposition to eavesdropping) to listen to actual conversations, but you get the gist from the tone and rhythm of bobbing of the groups of people. There’s the young loves, walking along hand and hand, trying to decide if they should look at the sea or each other, not talking much. There’s the couple arguing emphatically about who knows what. There’s the rowdy heard of Freshers (freshman), on the prowl in search of mischief. There’s the lone stroller, wandering an unset path, and stopping at the apple tree (oh wait! That’s me!).

And then there is the drama of the cathedral.


It is grander than you can imagine. I can see it out my kitchen window. Towers reaching to the heavens, arched windows staring out at the sea. It makes me a little sad to look at it, laying in waste. A shell of its former glory. No longer able to hold souls in its walls, and to host worship. I think of all the history I don’t know, and all the stories these ruined walls could tell. I wonder what will last of my story, and what will become a weary, ruined, chipping wall. What am I building with this short year? With this life of mine?

There are so many little views out my window, and they are all true at once. And they all teach me something. We all sit at a window in life, seeing many dramas play out before us. Sometimes I find I focus too much on one, beginning to believe the sad drama is all there is, or becoming obsessed with the lives I watch from my window, instead of the life I live within. I want to learn to turn my eyes, to look for the bigger picture. Never to deny pain or sadness, but also to allow myself to laugh at the diving seagulls, to smile at the blushing new lovers, to think on the lasting legacy of the strong cold cathedral. And when I have thought long enough, I’ll close my window and join the view.

What views lay outside your window?


Saint Andrews at Night…

ps: I’m sorry I missed last weeks posting. I’ll be back to schedule now, and will post more updates next week.

An Oxford Wedding

My sister got married yesterday… What more is there to say?

The doorway to the church… Beautiful!
If rain on a wedding day is lucky, hail has to be blessed. Wedding bells and hail…

One must wear a hat at British weddings.

More updates next week.

Hello from Oxford… and Honest Songs!

Honest Songs

Two Benedictions – Honest Songs .. Click here to get your copy!

I am writing this blog from Oxford! My eyes are fluttering with the almost intoxicated sleepiness of jet lag  (please forgive the inevitable typos in this post). And yet even in my weary state, I’ve watched the fading gold of a summer evening melt out of the sky over a soccer court and a church steeple. These dreaming spires will always be special to me.

I’m particularly thankful that Oxford has welcomed me back to the UK for this new year. I am excited to go to Scotland, but Oxford is an old friend making it easy for me. And truly… could there be a more magical place for a wedding? I’m so excited for the Sister-Woman.

I look so forward to writing stories and blogs about my adventures this year. But not enough has happened for a full report, so I wanted to update you all on a previous adventure in my life: our new album!

As a parting project, Joel and I worked in all our spare minutes this summer to produce a small album of songs. I can truly say it is more personal than anything we’ve yet written together. It was so beautiful to work with Joel on shaping music that wasn’t just “about things,” but that was more a part of who we are.

I cried when I listened back through it. Perhaps it’s because these songs were parts of my heart and story from this year, and years past. Or perhaps it was because I so cherished getting to work with Joel before heading off to the wide, wide, wonderful year. Perhaps it is because I haven’t slept enough since Freshman year of college. Who is to know?

But this I do know: the making of this album has been a gift to me, and I hope its product will be a gift to others.

So, as I sign off tonight, I thought I’d give you all a copy of all of the lyrics on the album! I am a lyrics person and love to ponder over the songs of my favourite writers. As most of the albums will be bought digitally, I thought I’d use this post as a lyrics wrap. I plan on doing some explanation and stories of some of the songs soon.

I hope you all enjoy, and please get a copy of the album and let me know what you think!

Get your copy here: Two Benedictions – Honest Songs.

Parting Glass (traditional Scottish folk tune)

Oh of all the money that ‘er I had, I spent it in good company.

And all the harm that ‘er I’ve done, alas it was to none but me.

And all I’ve done for want of wit to memory now I can’t recall,

So fill to me parting glass…

Good night and joy be with you all.



Joel and Joy

Leaves turn on trees, die and decay

Is this the fall? Or is it just the way?

Seeds fall into the ground and die

So will I, so will I, so will I.

Everything’s waving a long goodbye


We will not disappear, tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.


Silent and still, under the ground.

Will what is lost ever be found?

Seeds come up through the ground, they try.

So will I, So will I, So will I.

Digging through darkness by and by.


We will not disappear, tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.


All these days we take for granted are not wasted they are planted

We will grow if we can stand it, if we push beyond the fear.

All these days we take for granted are not wasted they are planted

There’s a hope that grows inside us and it never disappears. (x2)


We will not disappear, tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.


Leaves turn on trees, die and decay.

Is this is the fall? Or is it just the way?



Joel and Joy

I think I already love you, I think I’ve loved you since I knew I who I was.

Blue car, playing winds, and lonely heart,

And all at once I remember a future I haven’t known.


I’m already, already, already to love you.

To love you.


I think I already bear our children, I think I’ve born them since I knew who you were.

Church pews, curls and benedictions,

And all at once I remember the children we have yet to bear.


I’m already, already, already to love you.

To love you.


I think I already miss you, I think I’ve missed you since I knew who we were,

And who we are to be.


I think I’ve already found you. I think I found you since I’ve known what love is.

I’m already, already, already to love you.

Already, already, already to love you.


When it Comes to You:


There are some things that I can never say.

There are some words I don’t know how to pray,

When it comes to you I always end up looking the other way,

Because there are some things that I can never say.


Sometimes love is just a word and words can always lose their meaning.

And I know when I’m with you, I often feel alone.

But I hold onto the chance that these words could be redeeming,

And I sing these songs because I hope that this may someday feel like home.


There are so many things I feel that I must do,

There are so many things I feel that I must do for you.

When it comes to you I know that what you say may not be true,

There are so many thing I feel that I must do.


Sometimes love is just a word and words can always lose their meaning.

And I know when I’m with you, I often feel alone.

But I hold onto the chance that these words could be redeeming,

And I sing these songs because I hope that this may someday feel like home.


There are somethings that I can never say,

There are some words I don’t know how to pray.

When it comes to you I can’t say if I’ll go or if I’ll stay,

Because there are some things that I can never say.

There are some things that I can never say.


Girls in the Movies:

Joy and Joel

I don’t want to fall in love like the girls in the movies do,

On vacation in Rome, far from home,

Like love is a vacation too.


Let it be gentle, let it be slow

Let it be easy, like coming back home.

Let me come home, let me come home, let me come home to you.


Everyone I’ve tried to love felt like a holiday.

Fine while it lasted but as soon as it passed it was too easy to slip away.


Let it be gentle, let it be slow

Let it be easy, like coming back home.

Let me come home, let me come home, let me come home to you.


I’ve seen city lights come and go,

Faces pass like lines on a road.

All I really want is a garden that grows,

And a hand for me to have and hold.


Let it be gentle, let it be slow

Let it be easy, like coming back home.

Let me come home, let me come home, let me come home to you.


I don’t want to fall in love like the girls in the movies do.


Born Again:


It’s the same old mountains.

It’s the same old sky.

It’s the same old love song

That made me cry when I was

Just a little bit younger,

Just a little bit stronger,

Just a little bit better.


It’s the same old heartache.

It’s the same old sigh.

It’s the same old wishing

For a time when I was

Just a little bit younger,

Just a little bit stronger,

Just a little bit better.


So wake me up to the wonder of it all,

Breathe new life in the dry and weary halls of this

War torn heart that has made a home for pain,

I wanna be born I wanna be born again.

I wanna be born I wanna be born again.


It’s the same old mountains.

It’s the same old sky.

It’s the same old love song

That made me cry when I was

Just a little bit younger,

Just a little bit stronger,

Just a little bit better.


Parting Glass (Continued):

But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not,

I’ll gently rise and I’ll softly call,

Goodnight and Joy be with you all.


Two Benedictions – Honest Songs


Indeed! Joy be with you all!

Off to a jetlagged slumber.



Packing in Haiku

FullSizeRender (3)

For this detailed deprived idealist, packing is a challenge only to be mastered with a great, great deal of tea. This weeks’ packing struggle has been epic, and I have won. The only appropriate way I could think of expressing the battle was through the honored art of haiku.

Packing in Haiku

A carpet of clothes

Drawers of good intention

An empty suitcase


Too many sweaters

Lonely, single, patterned socks

Not near enough books


Chocolate I once loved

Now a part of my suitcase

*sigh* And so it goes


Sell your things and give

Administrative nightmare

And yet appealing


So that’s where you’ve been

You elusive sweater, you

Not a fan now 😦


This will be easy

I said before the undoing

Please sit on this case


Toil and tight zippers

Begetting a journeys birth

Adventures begin


The Darcy Dog is a helpful packing companion.

Ode to Colorado

This fall, I’m off on a new adventure: Scotland. But as I go about packing my bags and purchasing my rain boots, I’ve found myself aware of the gift that Colorado has been to me this year. Not just the people — although they are probably the greatest gift— but the place… the mountains, the seasons, the moods of the sky. It is a magical place. It deserves and Ode. So, tonight I wrote it one.


My friend Rebecca on a hike with me in the big, big mountains.

An Ode to Colorado

Oh, Colorado. I love your ways.

I love your casual magnificence, the way you brandish sunshine mountains and red rocked glory, even on a Tuesday.

Oh, Colorado. I love your untameableness, your proliferation of shy wild beasts. I love the feeling of never being quite safe, and yet being embraced in the glorious Other.

With you as my residence I feel associated with a power I cannot control, but one which deigns to endure me.

I love your blustering emotions poured out across the afternoon sky. The blistering heat of anger that cools in your marshmallow cloud rains.

I love you best in fall, and only better in summer.

I love your phasing flowers, the summer fields that fade from pink to blue to yellow.

I love when you slip into autumn for a day or two in August, just to sooth our sour, sweating souls.

I love the freckling sunshine that doesn’t outstay its welcome, allowing for Camelot rains.

I love when the awakening breath of autumn chill winds its way through the whistling pines. I love the dawn cold that smells like adventure.

I cherish the gaudy shimmer of the aspen trees dancing across the foothills.

I love the days when there’s nothing to do but listen to celtic music and eat apple muffins.

I even love your hateful winters. I begrudgingly thank you for unplanned snow days. Though I mope and stew, those days give time for thoughts to simmer and rise with a clarity as bright as the blinding snow. In winter, roots grow deep.

I love the eucatastrophe of your springtimes, the way they come in a sudden rush, like someone bursting from a closet to surprise you, scattering violets with every chuckle of self satisfaction.

I love the urgency of your summers, the aching feeling you must drink them up before the glass is dry, or frozen by winter.

And as I lay my head down tonight, witnessing the clashing flashes of lightning and grumbling explosions of thunder, I feel that same urgency. I am urgent with the desire to stand witness to your loveliness that I might not forget it when I’m gone.

The fragrance of falling rain fills my heart with rest and longing.

Wherever I go, thunder will make me think of my mountains.

I will miss you, Colorado.

And I’ll be back.

Honest Songs

Honest Songs

Honest Songs – Two Benedictions… coming soon!

Music is special.

It seems that there is something woven in the fabric of our souls, and written into the chemistry of our brains that makes us respond so strongly to melodies and harmonies. Even those whose aged minds are fading into another world respond to an old familiar hymn. Every couple I know has a song that is “their song.” Music is univerisal. Every culture without fail has their music, their patriotic pieces, their aching story songs.

Where there are humans, there is music. We can’t help ourselves.

Personally, music has the effect of making me feel swept up in a reality larger than my own. In writing music I find I can lose myself and find myself all at once.

Really good music feels like an invitation to me; my soul responds and I dive in. The melodies and harmonies and rhythms pull me under like a rushing river. They draw me out of myself and remind me that there is so much pulsing, aching beauty in this world. Music gives me the gift of self-forgetfulness.

And yet…

Music helps me wrestle into resolution what I cannot resolve in life. Just as we all long for the resolution of that final major chord, we all long for resolution and peace in life. We wish for tidied loose ends and relationships where we are always understood. The older I get the more situations I have been faced with that I could not, in my power, resolve. I find myself returning to creativity, whether writing or music, to face the irresolvable bits of my life. The disappointments I can’t make sense of. The rush of wondrous joy I can’t quantify. In music I find that though I can’t always resolve elements of my life, I can give them shape.

I need music in my life at the moment, because there are many things that need shape given to them. In my experience, much change begets much creativity.

That is why I am very glad to be in the midst of producing another album with my brother Joel.

Joel Maestro

In the slap-dash, quick-bang manner that we are accustomed to, Joel and I decided to write and produce another album before we are off on our wild, wild adventures. 

Recording is not always glamorous.

Book Micro

As you can see, we work with a very sophisticated (and somewhat wobbly) mic stand comprised of fat books. We laugh a great deal while recording; The Giggles are the great enemy of the recording artist. We gently tease when our voices just won’t cooperate. We forget words and start over again. And yet, somehow in the midst we pray we can make something beautiful… something hopeful.

Silly joel

We’re calling this album “Honest Songs.” We are calling it this because it is a work of our lives; the songs are shaped by the experiences we have had, by the hopes we harbor, the griefs we carry, and the faith we keep.

I feel a bit as though in releasing this album, I am releasing to God the past years, so that I can open my arms to all that is coming.

How thrilling that is.

Thank God for the gift of music.


For anyone who lives in the Colorado area, we are throwing an album release party. You can get tickets  here.

For everyone else, I will post about it here when it is up on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

And, just because, I thought I would share with you all the lyrics to one of our Honest Songs.


Leaves turn on trees,

Die and decay. 

Is this the fall?  Or is it just the Way?

Seeds fall into the ground and die,

So will I, so will I, so will I.

Everything waving a long goodbye.


We will not disappear,

Tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

Silent and still,

Under the ground.

Will what is lost

Ever be found?

Seeds come up through the ground,

They try.

So will I, so will I, so will I.

Digging through darkness by and by.


We will not disappear,

Tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.


All these days we take for granted

Are not wasted they are planted.

We will grow if we can stand it, 

If we push beyond the fear.

All these days we take for granted

Are not wasted they are planted.

There’s a Hope that grows inside us,

And it never disappears.


We will not disappear,

Tossed away with the turning of the years.

We will not disappear… disappear.

Leaves turn on trees,

Die and decay, 

Is this the fall, 

Or is it just the Way?

– Joy and Joel Clarkson

Click here for the full audio of this song.