About hopesquires

I've left behind the daily grind to write full time and to figure out what my own flourishing tree looks like. I'd love to help you flourish and grow along the way, so that you, too, can cultivate a life that pleases God.

Still waters, raging waters

We’ve had a five-day break in the rain here. More arrives tonight, and there’s rain in the forecast every day for the next week. Is it okay for me to confess I’m weary of rain and mud and the park closures due to high waters?

I’ve taken advantage of the sunshine and spring-like weather to get out with my camera. At a nearby dam, I’ve been struck by how different the water is from one side to the other.

The “lake” remembers it’s a river in its soul, and though it flows briskly, it does not rage the way the waters do on the other side of the dam.

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The “lake” side of the dam

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The reverse, where the water knows it’s a river

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Something that doesn’t love a wall

One of my favorite poems is Mending Wall by Robert Frost. There’s a good chance you studied it in a high school English class, but it’s one of the most often misunderstood poems around. It begins:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it …

Perhaps too many students forget the beginning by the middle of the poem and drift into daydreaming by the end of it. And, therefore, they forget the whole point of the poem.

While you’ll often hear the line “Good fences make good neighbors,” from the poem, the line was the exact opposite of Frost’s main message. The narrator in the poem wanted his neighbor to think beyond their annual tradition of meeting to repair the wall, to understand that, simply because the neighbor’s father had fed him the “Good fences” line for many years, they didn’t need the wall between them. His neighbor refused to listen and doggedly repeated what his father had taught him about good fences.

Some fences are good and necessary. Here a fence keeps sheep and goats penned in until they can get their dose of medicine. The sheep stares out through the fence as if saying, “I don’t love this wall.”FurryFirefighters2016_3FT

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What to read in these uncertain times

I’m heartsick about what’s happening in the United States these days. Perhaps you feel some of the same bewilderment and anxiety?

I’ve put together a reading list for these uncertain times. I’ve read some before and want to revisit them. Others, my husband has read and recommended.

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A mix of fiction and nonfiction, in no particular order, to read in these uncertain times

With a couple of notable exceptions in eighth grade and my freshman year of college, I had lousy history teachers and came out of school with only the most basic understanding of World War II and the Holocaust. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank introduced me to the horrors of that time period when I was in middle school.

As an adult, my reading of both fiction and nonfiction has filled some of my knowledge gaps and broken my heart over and over. Continue reading

The calm after the storm

After several weeks of mostly rainy, dreary days, glorious sunshine has followed to dry out the ground and soggy spirits. I’ve had a hard time staying inside, choosing instead to take long walks with the dog, even though the walks still mean muddy shoes and paws to clean up afterward.

What I’ve noticed most the last two mornings is the return of the birds. Their happy whistles sing a song my soul understands.

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Western Scrub-Jays, happy in the morning sun

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A closed boat launch

The river remains closed to boating, but despite its muddy rushing, ducks and wading birds have ventured back into it in search of home and food. Their grace and beauty is a welcome addition to the banks of the river. Continue reading

An alternative to going dark

Friday brings a change to the White House, a power shift in Washington. I hope—whether you’ll be commiserating with family and friends, celebrating, or marching in protest—that you’ll take a few moments first to ponder darkness and light, contempt and compassion, condemnation and grace.

I’ve seen buzz growing around the idea of going dark on Facebook this Friday by posting a completely black rectangle where your cover photo would normally be. I confess the idea has some appeal to me, but I also know I have to carefully guard my own soul and heart and mind from settling in with dark thoughts and fears.

Church this past Sunday offered a scripture reading that reminded me of an essential truth to cling to in the days and weeks and months ahead. God calls each of us to reflect God’s light to others:

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I will also make You a light of the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth. — Isaiah 49:6

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