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Winter’s Hold, Cold

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Just before the sun comes up
I head out to the barn
The soil’s turned concrete
or granite?
It’s so hard!

Nice to think it’s just a crust
shielding life down deep
Creatures live, under the frost
roots are holding life

Makes me think of a birthday candle
that relights itself, again and again
Winter snorts and blows
icing the world
but, aha!, nestled down
nature lives, and readies
for the world to tilt back
sun warming again
in spring

What things do hold us?
What is permanent
not held by winter’s cold?
One, I posit, is love.
A mystery, a fact
part of a couple
united in marriage and more
caring, yes, but more
sacrificing
self for others

How appropriate that in bleak midwinter
a child is born, for all mankind
wrapping a blanket around God’s love
Holding us close, communicating
caring, yes, but more
sacrificing
self for others

Selah, Lin Christmas 2013

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Bitter Cold

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Welcome to the Arctic!
and you didn’t even leave home!

Down, down, down comes
the sub zero blanket of air
freezing all it can

Soil, rock hard
snow, crunching cold
“Crack!” noises here and there
as materials contract, shrinking

We bundle up
and just keep going
hindered, modified
trudging to the barn
early morning darkness

Why don’t birds feet freeze?
How can the cow udders be so warm?
How can hairless pigs survive?

Chop! Chop! Chop!
The horse tank’s frozen over
8 inches of ice now covering
and the cattle are thirsty, of course.

Pieces of ice sting my face
propelled by the ax impact.
I throw some chunks aside, stepping back
to let the cattle drink.
I turn the valve, and the windmill pumps
warm water flows, 50 degrees down deep

Settling on the milking stool
I tilt in
my forehead warmed by Bessie’s flank
my cold fingers squeeze out milk
Grandpa’s doing the same
the ‘squirt, squirt squrit’
of our rythmic milking, the only sound

The udders empty
and we carry our steaming milk buckets
across the barnlot to the house
We’ll return
to grind feed, check the cattle
throw down straw
think of spring!

Selah, Lin, minus 3, windchill worse January 2015; January 1948

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Gathering of The Clan

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Coast to coast they come
to the Heartland
mid-America
Breadbasket
Flyover Zone

The gene pool arrives!
Gammy and grandpo hosting
kids and grandkids
a family of American Eagles
and eaglets

Generations in turn
learning to fly
and flying away
but coming back
home
the family farm
a hundred thirty years and counting

Eagles, eaglets
dreams coming true
Priests, professors, designers and politicians
(Now there’s a nest plumb full!)
creating
soaring
landing
watching
listening
doing

Risking, reflecting,
investing in people
and things eternal
the stuff of life
and life abundant

Oh yes scrapes and tears
winds and rains and
Thunder storms
But after the storms
Sun coming out
Fresh air, birds singing, flowers blooming
food growing on the farm
people, helping people grow

Food for the farmer
and a hundred fifty five others
the system setting them free
to think and do a thousand things
limited only by their imaginations

So songs ring out
Prayers of thanksgiving given
around the table they gather
the Warfel/Perry clan

Praise God from whom all blessing flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen…*

Selah, Lin Christmas 2014
*Old Hundredth L.M.

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Crunch Grass

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Folks down south miss a lot
things the cold gifts to us
Some good
some not so pleasant

This morning crisp, cold air
nipped at my nose and fingers
as I trudged out to the shop

Overnight cold was winter’s hold
refusing to let go to the sun
The January thaw was working
Gulf air boosting the temps
so the soil is gushy soft
roadsides mush
fields black as coal

Frost blankets the grass
refreezing the slender spears
holding them tightly

Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!
The sound reminds me
of sub zero snow crunching
as my boots push down

Crunch grass!
How hardy the grass
Lush in springtime and early summer
then lazy and browned by August heat and drought

Green and lush in fall
loving the cool temps, and rain
Then once again arrested
frozen, seeming dead
Always giving…to us!

Serving as carpet for play
luxury for my dog, as he rolls upon it
setting for the tapestry
of flowers and bushes and trees
flat lands and hills and even mountains

Food
for critturs that need it
even a cat seeking an enzyme
a ewe or goat or cow
turning it into milk…and meat

When the world’s on hold from the cold
the grass holds it together
protecting the precious soil
Crunch! Crunch!
Amazing creation!

Lin, January thaw, 2015

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Music of The Prairie

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Symphony, they call it
music that wraps its arms around us
because we listen, feel,smell, see

Perhaps it’s wind we can see
percussion we feel
bow strings we stretch and tune, bend and clip
and brass we mold, shape, file and weld

The farmer is a visiting conductor
a concert master too
finely trained, taught and taut,
anxious for beginnings
plantings, tendings, and grand harvest finales

He steps up, raises his arms
eyes sweeping across all instruments, all players,
Stop! tap! tap! Tap! the baton on the stand…
an electric Attention! Attencion! Fait attention!

With his arms, his hands,
indeed his whole body, whole being
he sets the orchestra in motion

Close your eyes and listen, imagine
springtime, raindrops pinging
wind blowing gently, stronger, stronger
rising, then falling
The sun after the rain
the smell of fresh earth
the hum of a tractor coming along
little noises from the planter, slipping seeds
into mother earth

The music of our prairie
gifting food to a hungry world…

Lin, January 2014

(and now Denise Yates, singing:)

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

Eighteen-eighteen saw your founding, Illinois, Illinois,
And your progress is unbounding, Illinois, Illinois,
Pioneers once cleared the lands,
Where great industries now stand. World renown you do command, Illinois, Illinois,
World renown you do command, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree, turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue, there were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln’s name appears, Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

Let us pledge in final chorus, Illinois, Illinois
That in struggles still before us, Illinois, Illinois
To our heroes we’ll be true,
As their vision we pursue. In abiding love for you, Illinois, Illinois.
In abiding love for you, Illinois.

Chamberlain and Johnston, the Illinois state song.

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Mothers of Distinction

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I discovered my wife
in mother mode
was a person of distinction
For a start
how could she do it?
Deliver a baby
Incredible…
Impossible?
But she did
Five times

Her love grew
for each one
and also for me
How could that be
that love can expand so
and do it again and again

At each stage
suckling to cup
baby food to burger
cooing and gurgling
to standing on a stage, reciting
first toddling steps
to running races
first day of school
to graduation exercises
mother mode was supreme
is supreme

So if we define love
as an accurate understanding
and an adequate supply
of another person’s need(s)
we see the depths
of Mothers of Distinction

52 years later
5 children, 6 grandchildren later
sons in law
daughters in law
me
loved

How can we say thanks?
ah, we’re back to love
the greatest of all
said Jesus

Lin to Kay, January 2015

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Planting the Flag

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A feller born this day
74 years ago
has a lifetime of
planting the flag!
I’ve seen him do it
time and again
courage is the backbone of leadership
and he’s got it!

School district train wreck
finances askew
teachers on the walk
somebody needs courage
plant a flag
draw a line in the sand
know how to add, subtract
understand

Pause, look down,
soil is precious
somebody needs to plant a flag
understand
we’re not doing it right
Here’s a better way!

Plant a flag, John, plant a flag!
So happy birthday,
Him Who Plants a Flag!
Well done!

Lin 2/2015
John Walter Fisher

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Used to…

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Where horses used to run
where buggies rolled along
where people heated rocks
to warm their ice cold feet
cars and trucks now run
rubber balloon tires
springs and shock absorbers
roll across the prairie blacktops
delivering folks here and there

Engines purr where horses snorted
pulling loads with ease
comforts taken for granted
in the winter cold

“Cold” did I say?
Nine below with wind
chill to the bone quickly
but on with the heater
flowing warm air
toasting the smiling occupants

Used to be, so different
on the farm in Illinois
Prairie State, and still
broad expanses treeless

Winter sweeps the same
freezing all it can
colder
and colder
and colder still
long nights wrap us in snow and ice
while winds do their best
to chill all that are warm blooded

Amazing, the squirrels, the birds,
the animals who live out of doors
surviving, seeming oblivious
to the cold

They’re unchanged
hardy
just like always
Used to be is still here
Oh my!
How we have changed!

Lin, 9 below, 2/2015

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Deep Draughts*, and The American Farmer

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Crop Management Conference
they labeled it
The rest of the story is
it’s all about farming
Year of Our Lord
2015

A baker’s dozen of Ph.Ds
sharing hearts and souls
with a hundred fifty farmers
and their supporters

The very best
from one of the very best
lecturing and answering questions
Getting their minds and arms
around the issues that drive us

Dollars and sense and marketing
cover crops and all things agronomy
Inputs and insects
diseases and herbicides
Best Management Practices
spelled out, numbered out
weather and soil

Ah, soil.
We definitely don’t call it…
Dirt.
Soil. We respect it.
Live with it. Sleep with it.
Study it six ways from Sunday!

One conference down
two days, thirteen hours engaged
with more to come
Two days on government
rules and regulations
laws and lawyers and courts

Legislators and bureaucrats engaging
back and forth with ideas
where we are
where we want and need to go
and how we might get there

Behind the meetings
preparing for planting
Machinery repaired and tuned
seeds and supplies filling sheds
At the ready for the coming day
Charge!

The deep, deep draughts* of farming
Like a cool drink after baling hay
all day

Information flows like rivers
from labs and test plots to the farmers
Oh, how they drink all winter!
Researchers anxious to share
audiences eager to learn
year after year after year!

Always in discovery mode
Study the problem
Figure it out! (I love that part!)
Try it out for the better
More efficient
More productive
No turning back!
The brew that is true!

Lin 2/2015
* 37 definitions of the word! I like ‘something that is taken in by drinking or inhaling’

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Boards from Parkville

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Winter evenings on the farm
Find me settled in
Family room, they call it
And indeed it is
5 red sweatered kids
Pictured above the fireplace
Me in my recliner
Good light, good book, warm fire

The walls are aged red barn boards
Hauled here by horse
A hundred years ago
The Parkville sawmill fed our farm
House and barn and out buildings all
With materials to last a lifetime
And two
And three
Now four, generations.

From 1898 to 1972
The barn stood strong and true
Setting on big boulders
Its beams endured the winds and rains
The giant mow held hay
The south side a milking parlour
The northside winter comfort
For pigs and cows and us

Out there me n grandpa
Started our day right early
Three thirty we were up
Coal oil lanterns in our hands
We hung them on the wall
And started milking cows.

Fast forward thirty years
No cows. No pigs. No horses.
The barn came down but
We saved the boards from Parkville.
They line the walls in the family room
Soft barn red, weathered,
A touch of gray like me
They wrap the family with history

Horse drawn, barn service
They hold family pictures
And seasonal decor
Still shielding the family
Still serving

Selah Lin January 2015

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Grinding Cold

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The calendar grinds along
sifting winter’s cold
adding sun minutes here and there
stretching daylight hours

Cold toes and fingers
stiff but not with age
grasp the icy handles
buckets and shovels and my little stool
and I park next to Bessie

Her milk plays its notes
striking, ringing the cold metal
as the cats, lined up, sit watching
waiting for a shot of breakfast

Now and then I squirt the cats
and they spring to action, licking
oh, so happy for fresh warm milk

Winter crawls along
freezing what it can
the earth, rock hard,
is waiting, not complaining

We grind feed for stock
throw down hay from the mow
head back to the house for breakfast

Shedding frozen clothes
the coal stoker toasts us quickly
the giant iron creature roars
heating the house and us

Winter is so wearing, so long
we wonder when, if ever
the birds will sing, the grass will grow
Hold on! hold on!

Lin, mid February, 2015
childhood on the farm

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Bindings

Bible

Books are bound together
warp and woof of words and pages
fibers woven into threads and strings
woods woven into threads and chapters
Front cover, back cover,
bound and determined to state
the notions and ideas of humankind
It’s those bindings that get them shared
Not one reader or two, but hundreds
and thousands and sometimes a million
or more

Consider the Christian Bible
words and pages of people stories
bound together by the idea
that there is a god
One God, holy
the binding for all mankind

So the creation of fibers
of threads and strings
that will not be broken
In the beginning and the now story
and an ending, somewhere
out there

We each one need our bindings
knowing someone cares
we spend our lives learning
how much
our pages are laid
one upon the next
tiny book, large book, a volume
created and creating
so in need of bindings

Welcome to The Book
history of the ages
words of wisdom, enduring
for all time
your time
my time
tomorrow’s time too

Page by page as our book is built
We need to seek those enduring pages
the bindings that can keep us strong, intact,
and give us meaning

Lin 2/2015

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The Sky in Mourning

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Indeed some mornings the sky
electrifies with shining grandeur
Sun delighting, orange and blue yea team!
The celebration continues
the birds happily flitting about
chattering their latest views

But other mornings are on slow
clouds veiling the sky
night time cold holding fast
refusing to let go
Only light through curtains
clouds draped in mourning
sad

Another dear one has passed
life’s highway ended
all engines stopped
no driver
deepening quiet
The hand shined steering wheels
unmoved, unmoving
paint on floorboards worn away’
by boots now at rest, done

Oh, the prairie moods
we capture in music
that wraps our souls tightly
then loosens
then sets us free
bodies under sod
spirits rising, higher and higher

Mourning, this morning,
loss
but gain, the higher plane
joining the Light of the World

Selah, Lin, winter 2015

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Gentlemen Farmers

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There really is
a ‘farm community’
but it’s bigger than one might think
It stretches over farmers
no matter where their land

Soldiers have their trenches
where many a battle is fought
and those who lay the pipes and cables
and those who dig the footings
all are part of the soil

With farmers it is food
enabled by the soil
don’t you dare call it dirt
it’s mysterious and fascinating
we’re discovering more and more

Growing, producing food
is a noble call for certain
after air and water we need it
all the days of our lives

Of course there are ways of doing business
and here again come farmers
with ‘gentlemen’s agreements’
Their word their bond
a gift to all who work with them

Come trouble and they join together
putting their own work on hold
to help their neighbors
through thick and thin
amazing to behold
how they help each other

Gentlemen, and farmers
honoring each other and their families
teams in motion
working, praying, sustaining
themselves and multitudes of others

Selah, Lin March 2015
American farmers: 1 feeds 155
I believe…in miracles…

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Me ‘n Grandpa

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Chores done, early morning,
Me ‘n Grandpa are in the house
Basement, actually
Shiverin’ cold out in the barn
‘cept for the cow’s warm teats
But the huge coal furnace
wafted warmth all over the basement
toasting us before and after the shower

Sunday morning, routine as usual
church
Grandpa puttin on his blue suit
suspendered pants, but with a belt
uniform for church
Grandma all ready
colorful dress, perfume
ker choo!
My nose didn’t like perfume!
In the car
me drivin’

11 years old
but experienced
at 4 and 5 I earned my wings
settin’ on Grandpa’s lap
steering tractors and the big truck

By 7 I reached the pedals
Big guy now! Well, sorta!
But never a cause for worry
Grandpa gave me the reins

So by 11, no big deal,
my drivin’ two miles to church!
Inside, the stained glass windows impressed-
what could those have cost?
Neighbor Salsbury paid the price’
for us to enjoy the art
the big pendulum clock, ticked away,
counting the seconds in that hour.

Assigned seats
I could find in the dark
eyes shut!
I knew where everyone parked
can still see their faces
Good, solid folk, farmin’ mostly
a banker and university folk exceptions

After church the Sunday dinner
Grandma at her best!
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes n gravy
corn and green beans and fruit from jars

Then the nap.
Me ‘n Grandpa on the floor
living room thick carpet
snoozing away for a little bit
waking to do the chores

Yup! Me ‘n Grandpa
living high
together
what a life!

Lin, remembering Sunday on the farm. Decembers past

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The Beautiful Blanket

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The farmhouse windows show it
the beautiful living blanket
that feeds us amply
year after year

Beginning as beautiful ebony
it hold a living world
microbes, by the millions
scurrying about, we’re learning,
they do amazing things

Winter’s skin puts things on hold
sometimes wearing pristine white
sometimes hazy gray or tan
patience quietly abounds

Life bursts forth in springtime
shades of green, then purple
tillage takes it back to black
then tiny spikes poke up, corn,
or fat duos of soybean cotyledons unfold
and we’re off to the races again

Summer finds the ocean blanket
emeralds sparkling in the dawn
dew on lush plants
drawing richness from the soil

Fall calls and shouts that winter’s coming
sure as sure can be
the gifts of summer’s sun await
the roar of farmer’s machines
Pouring into trucks and trains
even ocean ships line up
to share the bounty
food, for people
the beautiful blanket has given

Thank the Lord
for this creation
alive, and giving
not asking much
but to be respected, honored
carefully, thoughtfully tended
another gift to count, reflect about

Selah, Lin, the soil, 12/2014

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Monsanto Doors

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Unlocking secrets of creation
opening doors, Monsanto folk are real
Adventuring forward, looking backward
checking, checking, and checking again
Is this good? Is this okay? Is it better?
We’re talking food here

Young scientists, men and women
moms and dads
creme de la creme of scientists
abide in the labs, the greenhouses
putting ‘new’ in plots
then opening the doors
to a hungry world
today
even more so tomorrow

Should we fear science?
Should we create words that frighten
and tell stories from imagination?
Or should we discover
what has been created, gifted, to us?

Squanto taught the newcomers
G.W. Carver opened more doors
Borlaug ventured farther
Robb et al started a stampede
a good one
of unlocking more secrets of creation
Using knowledge to help us eat, sustain

Those of us with plenty
need to open our eyes
to those who open doors
and lead us forward

Lin, May, 2015

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Robin in the Rain

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Oblivious!
Sitting on the garden fence
Perky as can be
rain peppering the patio rapidly

Sitting tall
rain sliding off her easily
she was thinking ‘earthworm’, I’ll bet!

As our rich black soil soaked it in
the loam will surface the worms
oh, fat and juicy!
Filet de earth!
made for each other?

Our farm is home to light touches
the master gardener grooms
planting, caring for certain areas
flowers and shrubs and even trees
each in turn flowering, coloring
blessing we humans who abide
welcoming those who have wings

Humming birds find food
Baltimore Orioles stop by
as many other species do
Just for a visit
just for their time
before winging on their ways

Each and every one is welcome
we enjoy their visits
it even seems sometimes
they note our happiness to see them

Tiny creatures, so vulnerable
yet surviving, multiplying
fluttering about with abandon
some planting themselves here
nesting

Ah, we’ve nested here!
Settled down
hustling waning
nap times expanding
more often ‘setting’
soaking it all in

Becoming more like
the robins in the rain!

Springtime on the farm 2015, Lin and Kay and Kate, for the birds!

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Ebony Earth, Ribbons and Bows

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Kindness came to earth
the prairie speaks to us
sacrificed plants over thousands of years
turn the soil to ebony black

Gentle rains make it shine
glistening in the morning Son
Father creating mother, it seems

Breaking winter’s hardness
the earth tilts to give us warmth
farmers do their things
scratching, massaging mother earth
laying down rows of seeds

Corn, in particular
has a hardened point
sharp as a pencil it pushes up
from ebony earth comes ribbons green
so now we see
ebony earth, adorned with ribbons

From the thinnest of ribbons
come plants of promise
life spans of a hundred days
where one seed becomes 600
and the ribbons have become bows

Picture a newborn baby
fuzzy hair there
with a tiny ribbon somehow tied
then a young girl, smiling, laughing
running and jumping and squealing with joy
and then a beautiful mother
(aren’t they all?)
hair coifed just so
and a bow…

Ah, beautiful mother, earth
is adorned with a bow
seen from far above
It’s for us!
You! Me!
Ebony earth, ribbons and bows!

Spring 2015, a happy farmer, Lin, corn planted

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Fog and Fertilizer

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The giant tender is a ghost
a galleon floating back and forth
sprinkling plant food along its pathways

Satellite driven
much straighter than an arrow
it glides my field…in through the early morning fog

Corn seeds wait
nestled in my shed
waiting for the perfect day
they’ll be poured into my planter
and tendered into the soil
just so, 2 inches deep, firmed
long lines of ribbons placed
rows thirty inches wide
a kernel every six inches
a few days of warmth and moisture and
LIFE!

Springing forth
bursting the seed coat
a root emerges, pushing down
and a shoot pushes up
the root diving for food
the shoot driving for sunshine

Earlier, satellite driven 4 wheelers
zipped back and forth
technicians stopping, pulling soil samples
Maps created of nutrition
the galleon is varying the rates
more here, less there
based upon the need

Research, education, skills,
capitalism, desire
coming together in America
The farmer and technology
Always figuring it out
How to do it better!

Sail on, ghostly galleon
your lights flashing through the fog
the field will soon be done!

Lin April 2015, working in the fog

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Switch!

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Oft times unnoticed
a switch is thrown: “ON!”
and things begin to happen…

Robins are back
buds are swelling
and the grass begins to grow
faster, and faster, and faster!

Winter’s brown is pushed aside
and green grows the earth
the carpet is alive!

the grass drinks in the sun
and suckles on the soil
lush is the operative word

Lovely!

Easter fits so well!

What seems impossible
happens
a switch it thrown
for all mankind
things begin to happen

The whole earth is singing!
Around the globe songs rise up
Hearts swell
souls begin to grow
hope springs and grows
faster
and faster
and faster!

The people drink in remembrance
drawing on creation
“Alive!” is the operative Word…

Triumphant!

Selah, Easter 2015, Lin

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Frosting on the Cake

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Early springtime
winter holding on
squeezing us tightly, nightly
sunup showing a light white blanket
glistening with sparkles in the morning sun
frosted, our cake

Scarce known
our cake is what we walk on
blindly calling it ‘dirt’
but what a glorious cake it is!

Teaming with life
unseen to the naked eye
a billion microbes per teaspoonfull
are living under our feet!

Magic and mystery live there
hidden from the millenia
just now being discovered
revealed

Concomitantly we are learning
microbes in our inner selves
enable us to live
in balance, we do well
unbalanced, we hurt
digestion depends on them

How often what we see
is but the frosting on the cake!
Awaiting our discovery
they’re there all the time
Created, stretching our minds
at the complexity of it all
yet knowing, our all
is often so limited, so small

Frost
Soil
Open Creations doors and windows
Breathe in the smell of spring awakening
Listen to and savor the robin’s commentary
Reflect
on the wonder of it all!

Lin, Springtime 2015
“Then sings my soul’!

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Retired, Re-tiring

farm-tractor-on-highway

Retired from the Presidency
Champaign County Farm Bureau
but, really, getting ‘a new set of tires’!
Still doing, still involved, still thinking!

Retired from Parkland
no longer a board member
no longer chairman
but, here, a different automobile
still self propelled, still moving
still doing, still thinking
Poking, here and there, with ideas

Retired from state college business
Illinois Community College Trustees Association
No longer on committees
No longer on the board
No longer an officer
Secretary, vice president, President
retired, not tired, but
still doing, still thinking, still poking
So I’ve been retiring for fifteen years already!
How’s that working for me?
Different tires, different ‘modes of transportation’
and not enough time!

More books to read, more magazines and newsletters,
more issues, more policies to think about
create amend or delete
Plenty to do, to think about, to poke around in and with and…

Fascinating, the ride!
All along life’s highway we go
sometimes flying (Japan to Turkey, Antarctic to Arctic)
sometimes driving (Maine to Florida, Canada to Mexico, Seattle to L.A.)
sometimes thinking… all over the planet!
Sometimes in history, sometimes now, sometimes future!
No ‘whoa’ to me yet!

I’m getting new tires!
I’m getting a ‘new ride’!
What is it?
I don’t know yet! Never did!
Just keep ‘knocking on doors’
that just keep opening!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Lin, Almost Spring 2015

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Honestly Abe

286-lincoln

Honestly Abe,
we need you back!
If your are indeed
walking out there at midnight*
just for a bit we’d like you back

God grace flowed through you
your words, your choices
and a lot of fine things have happened

The Land Grant Colleges you birthed
have sown abundance on Illinois
World leaders are planted here
with food and machines so grand
imagination gets stretched and stretched again

Bunge, Archer Daniels Midland, Kraft
process and enrich far beyond our borders
Caterpillar and John Deere shine world wide
multiplying man’s abilities
to farm and construct
creating mountains of food
moving mountains, building buildings

The rivers still are flowing
barging grain to a hungry world
now seven billion mouths strong
Yes, what a marvel, your Illinois

We’ve sunk into a cloud
a fiscal nightmare of our making
a culture of pandering** pushing, leading
so strong we lost our honesty, Abe…
We don’t even know where we are
our debts are banging on our doors
and we’re afraid to answer

Honestly, Abe, we need you back!
Just for a few years, to help us firm
Where we are
Where we want to go
and how we might get there…***

Selah, Lin, March 2015
*Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, Vachel Lindsey
**Our Culture of Pandering, Senator Paul Simon
***”House Divided Speech, Old State Capitol Springfield, 1858, A. Lincoln

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Spittin’ Snow

blizzard1_300x169

Illinois is an adventure
we can have ‘snow globe’
whiteout
blizzard,
skiff
and we even do one more:
spittin’ snow!

I know! Hard to believe!
But if you had my window
my office, you’d see
a combination that’s new
No, not sleet
that’s ice
ah, come on spring!

Meanwhile we start a snowstorm
with something new to see
better yet get out the door
and feel it!
Yup! It IS spittin’ snow!

Lin, Adventureland, March 2015
Brrrrweather!

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First

flag

First…Americans
an interesting lot
trained the boys to be
hunters, and warriors

Hunter meant meat
the women did farming
childbearing, rearing, cooking
clothing, blanketing, beading
corn, beans and squash, the staples

Then first white folk
Europeans, of differing ilk
Importantly, crucially,
people of The Book
a different concept therein
First among equals

Indeed, there were still ‘Firsts’
and still are
but the Apostle Paul nailed it
“No longer Jew nor Greek,
neither slave nor free,
nor male or female…
You are all one…
in Christ Jesus.” *

But the struggle remained
over who ‘owned’ what
where the lines are drawn…
Yours…Mine.

First doesn’t hold us
it’s a fleeting state
History has them strewn
across the land and time
But
First among equals can

The wise leader knows
especially in America
every vote, thus every person
counts, is equal

What tomfoolery says
“The winner takes all!”
It’s only for a moment
not sustainable…

Wise ones seek wisdom, so
they ‘turn their eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonder full face.
Then the things of earth
grow strangely dim
in the Light of His glory
and Grace…

Selah,
Lin 2/2015
*Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 3, verse 28

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Windows on the World (2015)

home-052_IMG_1379

I suspect each one of us
have our own windows on the world
that would be our world
the one we pour ourselves into
checking
watching
thinking

three come to my mind at once
first being,
when my feet hit the floor
after a night of rest

Three quick steps to the window
looking across the driveway
where grandpa and I ran footraces
where I rode a pony, and then a bicycle
then drove an old car, back and forth
I’m checking the little world
where I live, where I farm

That view is loaded with memories
snapshots of people and machines and cattle
of putting hay up into the barn
and butchering days with neighbors
I see little faces, our kids,
smiling and laughing
and swimming in the horse tank
where the cattle used to slurp noisily

The second window’s in the kitchen
same view but from ground level
it looks different somehow
Here grandma stood, looked and commented,
somehow mom is missing
but from here my wife commanded
the house her castle, the farm she embraced
her hands on every surface
her arms around us all

The third window is in my shop
all seasons I spent there
designing, building, repairing, maintaining
and in the winter, by the wood stove
settin’ with a fella, or fellas,
solving the world’s problems
well, analyzing and discussing anyhow!

Here the windows are looking out,
not in
From here we travel far
nearly the ends of earth
and nearly around the globe
oh, so precious
to come home
to the farm

Here I was conceived
Here I lived my first days and years
and here we settled in
family
the farm
our centennial farm
we own as tenants

It is good

Selah, Lin January 2015

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Rain Reigns

018-rain-on-window

The world is held in tension
Created that way
Sustained that way
Pause and reflect on rain with me

Picture a prairie farm
Mid summer day
Hot
Soil dry and hot
Thirsty plants
Dark clouds rolling in
Thunder
Farmer and his wife looking up
Praying
Big raindrops splash their faces
Tears of joy mix with raindrops
The soil drinks
Harvest is possible again

On the other extreme are floods
Think 1927
Mississippi River
Wet fall, wet winter, Minnesota down
Extra wet spring
Roaring streams screaming rivers
Ever expanding their footprints
Scouring soil away
Whisking away homes
And more rain pain

Good things taken to excess
Come back to bite us, haunt us
How lovely balance is
How utterly fine
To fragile humans

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Soil and Seeds

116-corn-spring

Secrets abound on a farm
hidden and waiting
unendiing discoveries inside
soil and seeds are diamonds
precious

What comes naturally
is to simply walk on soil
unknowing, uncaring its value
yet life depends upon it
no one could live without it

A particle of this and that
chemistry and physics
and mystery, no
mysteries!

Bacteria, for example.
50 years ago in college
I studied a few
now we think a million, or more
are living in the soil (and us)
doing things important

Comes the planter
who studies seeds and plants
breeding, sorting and sifting
selecting
50 years ago in college
we knew a little
genes and chromosomes
and mystery, no
mysteries!

Genomes
genetic modifications
a million chances for change
carefully

What some my think lifeless
soil, seeds,
discovery shows alive
fully alive, teaming
Surprise!

Thank you for the soil, the seeds!

Selah, Lin January 2015

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9 in the Evening

024-The-Sun-Comes-Up_300x169px

Long day
Good day
The sun came up
in all its Glory
Resplendent! Awesome! Power full!
No way to stop it, it just keeps rising!

It’s arc complete, work done for the day
it sank out west
slowly, slowly, then ever more quickly
and gone…

The evening quieted the winds
so more and more softly, gently,
nighttimes blanket settled over
as stars poked through the darkness
brighter and brighter
and the moon rose, full

9 in the evening
found me leisurely walking
strolling across the harvested rows
to pull in the last, now lonely, grain truck
I stopped

The smell of rich earth
of stalked and grain
the softness of the soil
now blanketed for winter’s keep
a cock pheasant calling out
(“I am here. Where are you?”)
and the sky, overwhelming me
stars

I realized…
Great grandma and grandma saw the same
grandpa and grandma
dad and mom
now me.
Same stars, same field
I’m so small

I raised my strong arms in praise
stretching them as far as I could
to get them round the universe
no way
My part is so small
and the rest is so huge
I live in God’s creation
in God’s grace
I’m held in God’s embrace
for my little time
9 in the evening
Selah

Lin, ending harvest, coming winter 2014

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Homeward Bound

star-of-bethlehem-large

Some days are giant magnets
pulling so hard
they snap!
And we go!

Emotions ride hard and high
about Christmas, family
and being together
Mom’s and kids and grandkids
tender dads, kisses and hugs
caring that was born and grows
always

So highways and byways
trains and planes and even ships
take folks in and deliver
People pouring home

Take snapshots of drivers
purposed, driven
to make it home for Christmas!

Bathed by music, church programs
food and presents folks are blessed and blessings
in their Christmas garb and doings
It is a time for sharing

Staggering to try to capture
put our arms and minds around
the greatest need mankind had and has
God made it simple.

A baby came
defenseless
pure
Lowly shepherds witnessed
Princely nobles came, gave
connection, click enter, God and mankind

Dwelling among us He spoke
His words endure
sifting and sorting all of life and living
poking, enticing, showing the way
to personal and mutual abundance:
“I have come that you might have life…abundantly”
Creation yielding, creation sustained

Peace on earth
and goodwill to men…

“Hosanna, hosanna
the whole world is singing
the hope of all ages is born
Though sometimes it may seem
this old world’s in control
He’s still King of Kings
and Lord of Lords!”*

Merry Christmas! Lin 2014
*Gloria and Bill Gaither, Ron Huff, 1975

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Swimming Upstream

278-swimming_upstream

What comes naturally
is ‘going with the flow’
no need for a sail
just put your boat
out into the current

Lots of company
floating along
life is but a party!
A continual celebration
down a lazy river
of days, months, and years.

But there’s some folks
who set their sails
pull out the oars
and go the other way
Up the stream
against the currents
eyes on a prize

One way lies the waterfalls
a crash landing
over
The other, a reward
“Well done, thou good and faith full servant!”

Fully human, fully alive
assessing the situations clearly
setting out to make things better
Oh, what a ride!
Choosing paddles
sometimes tacking
against the winds
using the wind in spite of
gaining, always gaining…
closer, closer, to the prize

Making ports, landings,
out of reach to the floaters
higher, higher up the streams
high ways of life

And somewhere up there
the final landing
a dock like no other
a heavenly ‘click’
connection
a welcome
to a mansion

selah, Lin, a leadership journey, 2014

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The Planter

099-093_IMG_2434

Strange, those who
take the best seeds
carefully selected
admire them
treasure them
and bury them in the soil!

What drives that planter
to bury his food
into the dark, unknown, unseen?

Faith, I say,
in life and all its processes
in design
and a creator
who rewards those who step out
step forward

Deep inside that see
life exists, at the ready
so warmth and moisture
just so
can fan the ember into flame

Exploding, multiplying cells
burst the tomb
to send forth a root
tapping nourishment
and then a shoot
heading for the sun

Each stage studied hard
by the planter
observing, caring
documenting
what works
and works the better, the best

Faith rewarded
a plant is growing
again, studied hard
through the season

Adversity strikes
too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry
not enough sun, too much sun
diseases, insects
soil fertility, cation exchanges
bacteria good and bad
and finally the fruit
or not

Faith
the man, the woman
who has studied, toiled
and believed
in harvest

Somewhere in heaven
is a smile
Well done
thou good and faith full servant!

Selah,
Lin post harvest 2014

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Chicago Steam

Chicago_Skyline_from_Lake_Michigan

Streaming, steaming to Chicago
Illinois farm folks hit the roads
pouring from their farms
all across the state

Cairo to Galena
Danville over to Quincy
Champaign, Decatur, Springfield,
some 2,000 arrive in the Loop

Indeed it’s Science
modern agriculture
education on the move
botany, biology, genetics
animal science, food science
soil science, medicine
setting the bar
for the world

And it’s Technology
satellites, drones
site specific applications
computers, software
the worlds in microscopes
creativity steaming across the state

Oh, it’s Engineering!
Beautiful machines gleaming
grooming soils and planting
accuracy untold but growing
to harvesting with ever increasing efficiency
Green and Red competing
engineers abound around the farms

Math comes into play
numbers all along the way
in science, technology and engineering
the farmers know how to ply them
accounting, planning, discerning
what works, what doesn’t
they figure it out
and figure again

With seven billion Souls On Board
planet earth spins along
every year more children, men and women
needing to breathe, to drink… to eat.
Agriculture rises always
from hunter gatherers to farmers
millennia building industry
and then computer knowledge
every day, we need to eat

Chicago, four days,
Illinois Farm Bureau is in town.
Delegates propose, consider,debate, determine
the policies that govern the association
Volunteers, almost all unpaid
except they make it better
and better
and better

The President and Senators,
Representatives, Governors,
come in turns to see, to talk
Agriculture,
the sea of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
becomes STEAM
and rightfully so

Please pass the salt!

Lin, Palmer House, December 2014

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Hush

265-farm-fog

Corn stubble fields
like two day old beards
lay softly sodden by the dew
Soybean fields lie in wait
the fruits of their labor ready
Come on harvest!
 
Mother earth had different plans
as the sun slipped up
a downy blanket came down
fog
quietly forming on the warm earth
spawned by cool moist air
hush
either a mother or a lover
put a blanket over us
then disappeared back to mystery
 
Not to be forgotten
tall buildings and trees poked above
and we, knowing our sun
prepared for our day of labor
Precious moments to savor
how very small we are
captives in our very small places
we can but watch
 
Who can stay the fog
or stop the earth from turning?
Who can cause the rains to come
or not?
Can this power be bought
or traded
or what?
 
Hush…
ours is but to ponder
and wonder
at the beauty of it all
 
Selah, Lin harvest 2014
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Mom

039-139_photo1

Turn the name, upside down,
and it is, of course, rightfully so:
WOW!
 
She carries us, in part,
as an egg.
Waiting
A funny fish attaches
and human is created afresh
Each and every single one
different
 
And so we grow
hidden away
protected and nourished
precisely
and grow
and grow
until
some fateful day
it’s time
 
Hosanna!
A tiny human emerges
sucks in air and breathes
then sucks in food
from mom
Held and nurtured
in every way
mom and child together
 
Up on two little legs
junior hangs on to…mom’s leg
hides behind…mom’s leg
Little arms reach for the sky
and mom picks him or her up
 
Oh, do they ever…
play ‘pick up’! 
 
Two days later
it’s ‘Pick up from school!’
 
Two days more,
and she watches
junior at the wheel
driving off to college
 
And a thousand prayers later
she watches
junior drive off…to a honeymoon
 
Wow!  Mom!  Grandma!
 
Selah 9/2014
Great is Thy Faithfulness
 
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The  American Farmer…Today

274-071_IMG_2412

I know them.
Individuals, couples, teams.
I watch them, study them
with fascination and respect
 
Indeed there are rich soils
that mother them, father them
Sustain them,
keep them going
 
Most of them
just do their jobs
quietly, not in the newspapers
and not on tv
But
 
The teams they create
the contributions that are made
are truly amazing
 
Food is taken for granted here
the luxuries of meat prevail
beef, pork, chicken and turkey
fill grocery coolers…always
taken for granted
 
One farmer feeds himself or herself
and sets free 152 others
to use their gifts, find their niches
mostly in our cities
 
Nearly every local farmer
has a mate for life
together they are teams
side by side at church and meetings
side by side along life’s highways
 
In and out the driveways
salespersons of every ilk come and go
some delivering fuel, machinery, plant foods and more
I count some 80 team mates and more
lawyers, doctors, nurses
technicians of every sort
educators, past and continuing
I can see all their faces
Then there’s the neighbors
every team of them exceptional!
A farmer wears a lot of hats!
They volunteer, serve without pay
in a myriad of ways
making this whole thing tick
 
It starts and ends with the soil
Beginning with Adam, the rest of us are born
to study and work the soil, mother earth giving
Father earth stern with consequences
we grow our food for our seasons
then return to the soil
becoming a part of it
 
Haven’t we always been
aren’t we always now
a part of the soil
married in ways we are just now learning
The bacteria that live in us, that live in the soils
play their parts in living soil, in living beings
 
Yet we are more, as
we think and can learn
and ponder higher things
Creation constantly unfolds
revealing a Creator
 
From around the world
a stream of people come
to study us
Why do we have abundance
while so many live hungry?
 
The American farmer
lives the answers.
Come watch with me….
 
Lin, post harvest, 2014
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Friends

273-Bruce-and-Linda

More than a brother and a sister
they come to share
burdens and joys
and their hands
 
They lift and carry
cook and drive
working with us side by side
Two by fours
 
Building
with those basic parts
something more, better, more quickly
 
This week two million pounds of corn
harvested, transported
Early morning coffee, breakfast
lunches brought to the fields
dinners late together
around the family table
Ah, it can be good,
when friends work together
two twos becoming four
 
Well done!
Congratulations!
You did it!
 
Enjoy the rain rest!
 
Lin, Harvest 2014, Lin and Kay, Bruce and Linda
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At Ease

at_ease

Welcome words
to the soldier standing in line
He showed up early, early, early, for formation
Drill Instructor fudged for early
Shavetail lieutenant fudged for early
and our recruit was being cautious!
 
So there he was
standing in formation
spit spot all shined
waiting, waiting, waiting
 
Company, TEN HUT!!!
Inspection
Eyes forward, don’t move!
“Sir!  Yes Sir!”
 
Finally, “Company!  At Ease!
Breathe.
 
Springtime, early morning dark
farmers are stirring
birds are chirping pre dawn
Out of bed, out the house,
shed doors roll open
Engines come to life
deep toned diesels throbbing
almost like horses pawing, anxious
for inspection
 
Put ‘er in gear
pull back on the throttle
Roll, baby roll!
 
The smell of fresh stirred earth
the sun warming the soil
seeds dropping into soft, moist sanctuary
Back and forth, fill the planter
back and forth all day
Sun going down
lights on
back and forth
Seeds sprout quickly
shoots poke through the surface
like swimmers bursting from the deep
leaves unfold and stretch to the sun
growing like crazy, happy
 
A giant switch somewhere
stops the growth, cries ‘It’s finished”
and a crop is ready for harvest
 
Once again, early morning
farmers hit the roads
fields offer up their bounty
grain pours into harvesters
into trucks
into trains
into ships
and then
 
“At Ease” comes to the fields
and to the farmers
 
Corn stubble, bean stubble
stand like sharpened sticks
with carpeting of leaves comforting the soil
 
The farmer and his fields settle down
a farm cat snuggles its nose into his arm
in the home, a little one tucks her soft face
into her daddy’s neck
mama smiles, knowing
 
All is well, all is well….
 
Lin, at ease, post harvest 2014
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October 2012

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“Where has October gone”?
asked a friend in agriculture.
“It’s been graced with sprinkles,
laced with showers again and again.
Cold weather, warm weather,
hurry then wait
while crops and soils dry out.”

The raindrops bind the harvesters
keeping them in their pens
their masters under roofs
Desk work and meetings often the fare
when normally they’d be in the fields
But even with the interruptions
some farmers are ‘getting done’.

Translated that means harvest completed,
as a farmer’s work
like that of a homemaker
is never done!
They just move on to the next task!
Seasons blending into years
for crops and people alike.

Individual initiative is inspiring
as the farmers roll with the punches:
combining soybeans in a pond!
Our new machines with giant tires
can smooth across the soil
so different from long ago.

December 7, 1941
Dad and grandpa were harvesting soybeans
or trying their best to!
A tractor pulled a combine
both were getting stuck
so another tractor and a chain hooked on
all wheels churning, struggling on.
December 1966
Step dad and I and a new combine
self propelled now, no tractor pulling,
would get stuck, back out, and try again
a different spot
Mercy! What ruts the wheels dug out!

October 2012
Smooth purring giant combines
sailed along on wet soils
even going through some water
no stopping, charging on
to harvest complete!

Wonderful machines!
Great progress!
The weather’s still a challenge,
but we are gaining!
We are gaining!
Designers and engineers,
factory workers and local dealers
an economy that makes it work
with the farmers, all in harmony,
doing it better…every year!

Selah, Lin 2012

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Sunday on Monday

_seasons_generic_300px

Agreed we can’t live on and in the Sabbath!
Sunday is a special day, for certain sure,
with soaking in Words of the ages
wisdom for all ages
and remembrance, precious,
of one who died for us, for me
 
So we come to Monday!
How can we have a bit, still, of Sunday,
as we trudge through the week.
Nasty deeds, nasty words
swirl around us
sometimes become the slangs and arrows
that injure us, hurt us.
 
Brothers and sisters can help us
maybe it’s at breakfast,
when a brother asks:
“Would you pray?”
and the food gets blessed
and so do we
so do I
Both arrows and comforts fly
and we ourselves can send them
A smile of thanks
a pause, a look,
a timely word
can help us on our way
Monday and every day
we’re built that way
 
So the Wise One spoke
teaching his fellows (and us)
to pray in  this manner,
recognizing who we are
and who He is
and He was here, in the beginning
creating the world from chaos
 
Selah, Wednesday, day after election, November 2014
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Fixed Right

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Sometimes things don’t work
presenting a great adventure!
Jump on the problem!
Be a grizzly bear!
make it right right now!
 
Sometimes that doesn’t work!
Try, and try again
and still it’s just not right
and you know it
 
On the phone again
and again
try this, try that
think
 
Along comes a fella
a thinker type
He studies the problem
reads the problem
Gets inside it, with fresh eyes
 
‘I think it’s ______,” says he.
Order parts, wait.
Parts come in, put ’em on.
Voila!
Fixed right!
What a bit of happiness!
Sail along freely
Machine humming, farmer humming
“Oh what a beautiful morning!”
 
On through the day
on into night
good lights shining brightly
neighbors out too
Ah, flashers galore going down the road
Somebody’s heading for the barn
Careful!  Slow moving vehicle
Big, wide and long
 
Great to be a farmer!  One more round towards victory! Lin
 
 
Selah, harvest, 2014

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Corn King and Queen

106-tall-corn-growing-in-a-field-pv

A fascinating plant
Maize, or corn
 
The tassel high on top
in its time throwing pollen
Light but loaded, floating down to…
Just in time the silks
Little tubes in waiting
each to carry a single pollen grain
in to a special place
an egg in waiting
The two become one, and a kernal is born
Anchored just so, to a life sustaining spot
Protected very well in a hidden place
beneath blankets called shucks
 
500 kernals grow
each one loaded with genes
each gene a particular, specific fellow
with work to do, in a team
 
Maybe the tassel is the kingly crown
but it wouldn’t be much
without the ear, the queen!
Together they really are something
From one colonel, er, kernal,
and one egg, a queen
500 children of mom and dad!
Whew!
Think about that!
And the tiny mustard seed
that grows into a small tree!
 
Now think about the super ‘weeds’
that throw off 600,000 to a million seeds!
Secrets to unlock!
What are we waiting for?
Prepare, study, learn, discover!
 
We know so much
We know so little
And we get too soon old
and too late smart!
 
Smile…
and think about it
Think about a sunrise, a sunset
and offer praise
to the Creator
 
Selah, Lin, Harvest 2014
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Enormity

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Rain rest election day 2014
I’m on it.
Judges sit in a row
My name is on the scroll
In the book of life political
I’m in!

Two pages of issues
Candidates
4 billion spent
Gone
Darken the circle
Darken the doors
Be there

I show up once
Winners show up for years
2,4,6,8
Who will we appreciate
For jobs done well?

Around the world
It’s not done this way
The right to vote’s
Been written in blood
The ability to choose
Is ours

The enormity staggers me.
I make my marks
So the candidates can make theirs…

Selah Lin “I voted!” 2014

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Grand Grace

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Dark plus 2
I walked to my nearby truck
the prairie was quiet
after a day of roaring harvest machines
 
The sky was bright with stars
more than I could ever count
what a display of span
so grand I stood held fast
 
I was standing on the soil
in a field my great grandpa farmed a hundred years ago
I’ll bet he stood under those same stars
and was also held fast
same as I
And my grandpa too!
Same soil, same field, same stars,
he would have gazed and been struck
at the beauty, the wonder of it all

And my dad, who farmed the same field
stood on the same soil
and after dark some harvest night
would have stood under those same stars
 
God’s grace is everywhere
above us
all round us
our challenge is to stop
look
and soak it in
 
Selah, Lin night harvest sky on the prairie, 2014

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Shifting Gears

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The farm, well mechanized,
has lots of tires, lots of motors,
and lots of shifting transmissions,
shifting gears
 
As seasons shift
so must we
to match our efforts
to changing tasks
 
Winter has us pondering
computing and thinking
How to make the numbers work
Changing prices, inputs and outcomes,
somehow we need more ‘leftover’
more income than outgo
So we make our plans
and launch
 
Into springtime
the glorious bursting forth of life
of seeds into mothering soil
of plants growing like crazy
and war against weeds, insects and disease
 
Shifting gears, summer slides in
more sun, warmer sun
summer rains just in time
and preparing for harvest
 
Shed doors fly open
and machines roar to life
House sized machines come out
groomed for enormous tasks
of devouring, sifting and sorting
and delivering the goods

Once again long hours
workers glued to seats
Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen hour days
before sun up, to after sun down
with better and better lights
and machines that guide by satellite
yet need our eyes and ears
 
Seasons of shifting gears
decades of doing it better
more efficiently
more productively
 
What a privilege we have
with freedom and capitalism
to study hard, earn, and return
giving thanks
 
Time to shift our gears
it is, indeed, Thanksgiving time!
 
Selah,  Lin 2014

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Rainy Daze

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Days of rain during harvest
give us a time to rest
But all too quickly we begin to wonder
“Where’s the sun?”
 
We peer at the darkened, cloudy sky
and wish for the warming, drying sun
So critical for harvest happening
 
Rain storms pass by
with wind, lightning and thunder
as we watch, helpless
the cornstalks jerk and lean
heavy ears at risk
Hang on!
Don’t twist and turn and break!
Truth be told
the sun is there
just waiting above the earthbound clouds
the clouds will rush away
and the sun will work again
 
So wait, uh, patiently!
That’s so hard!
Get ready, to run and pounce
work and laugh and share
Savor
The earth comes with seasonings!
 
Selah, Lin, harvest 2014
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Tween Rows

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Horses chose corn row widths
way back when
The horse’s rump determined the gap
to allow the horse and farmer passage
 
Over the years things change
and others stay the same
 
We’ve gone from 40 down to 30
and some even down to 20
as machines replaced the horse’s hinny
the goal to capture sunlight
a skill in which the corn leaves excel
 
Corn becomes a forest
lush and dense as any jungle
except the rows make pathways
used by man and beasties
 
The farmer checks his corn
walking, stopping , studying
sometimes even with a lens
noting bugs and diseases thievery
pollination and yield guesses
 
Then comes fall
Harvest
Giant harvesters house sized moving
devouring
Eight and twelve rows wide swaths
twenty or thirty feet paths
back and forth they go
sifting, sorting, down to the seeds
the treasures of food, fuel and fiber
that makes it all worthwhile
Little critturs scurry, tween rows,
running along in the pathways
stopping and looking
“Here it comes!”
running further and further
between the rows
not able to think or see
safety is to the side
oh so close
they stay between the rows
 
Are we, like them
too often just tween the rows
not thinking, seeing
better ways, safety?
Are we following some long gone rump
instead of turning left or right?
 
Ah, tis easier
to follow the path
some ho hum horse trod
that became a human highway
and we don’t even know why
 
Lin, harvest 2014
following a rabbit tween rows
thinking about the tension between: sports and scholarship
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Garden Walk

008-058_IMG_1385

A world of color
and shape
and texture
and size

Brought from catalogs
from other gardens
from other places

Brought together
in fine imagination
becoming reality
as paintings are painted
master gardeners sculpt in plants

Beds and borders
raised and sunken
terraced and potted
arranged just so
the creations bloom
and shower color
and bring us pleasure

Once a year
the gardens open
visitors stream
to gaze and ponder
savor and enjoy

Recognizing hard work
matched with creativity
the gardeners gather
to ooo and awe
appropriately
The soil so wooed
with seed and sun
food and labor
sends forth the fruits
to make it so

Creation
our tiny understanding
So pleasing
the Garden Show

Lin 06/05

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The Rest of the Story

monsanto

Evening in the city
my experienced friend the driver
Heather and I in her BMW speed along
brake hard and speed again
the sea of cars and people ebb and flow at rush hour
 
To the Reception!
People from around the world
a mix of winners and judges and The Company
Interesting and fascinating folks
Argentina, China, Hungary
America and the Americas
Asia, Europe, talking, sharing
 
Weather and crops, home,
What’s new? What’s exciting?
Every person with a passion for agriculture
Discoveries and actions, results
Sustainable Yield Pledge Awards…
the Rest of the Story
 
Brett and Deborah,
Heather and Michelle and Linda
Jesus and Pablo
Robert from Cornell and Yale
Kim who knows his ‘bees-ness’
John, the publisher, writer, editor…farmer
Viktor from Ukraine and children interests
Anna from Sweden, and
Marisa, Buenos Aires and Geneva,
mix in Billy from Missouri Corn Growers,
and Lin, a farmer from Illinois…
Who put their feet under a table
and ate together in St. Louis
Morning at headquarters,
a quick rehearsal, seats assigned,
visiting with the team from Hungary and a team from India,
a team from Argentina, and then
Jesus, vice president, The Company, in Argentina:
 
         ” Good Morning!”
 
Indeed it is! as he skillfully shares
a man with passion for science
passion for people who need to eat
for people who create and do
 
To the Awards!
A trophy 14 inches tall, a gold leaf, fitting:
adequate, healthy sustainable food is better than gold
 
Congratulations and a picture with the President
a reward for doing more with less
in a Sustainable Yield way
Efficient use of water
increased yield of crops
even a program to excite STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in education)
(Please expand that to STEAM- add Agriculture for a hungry planet!)
 
This just a taste of
The Rest of The Story…about a company
where responsible research creates
 Food
 
Monsanto, the People 
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Empty Chairs

_Holiday-Holy-Days_generic

It hits hard
    the empty chair
    staring at us
A ghost sits there
    partially filling
    memories reaching out to us
 
A brave person sits next
    going on, keeping on
    carrying two new burdens
 
One the missing touches, embraces
    that link humans heart to heart
The other a thousand things
    the missing one did, would be doing
 
As time goes by the empty chairs increase
    numbers at funerals decrease
    those ‘on the other side’ grow
    those showing up moving slowly, carefully
    with canes and walkers and wheelchairs, assisted
Chapters close, books finish
    we lay them aside, or
    put them on a shelf, to gather dust
 
From dust we became
    and so return
    our fingers leaving marks
    my hands become my grandpa’s
    and I see them in my grandson’s…
 
Selah, Lin June 2014 
I got a jolt just yesterday.  A five star energetic lady, Nancy Strunk, recently lost her husband Duane.  At a meeting of the Farm Bureau legislative committee where she and Duane were regulars, she was sitting there with an empty chair next to her.  Just happened.  But the empty chair was ‘talking to me’, grabbing me by the throat.  They met and fell in love at the U of I, married, raised kids and worked side by side.  Now there are grandchildren.  And an empty chair.
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The Alleluia Chorus

_Holiday-Holy-Days_generic>

Indeed there are tears of sorrow
shaking us in our core
spontaneously erupting
After all
Jesus wept
Peter wept
The mothers and those who loved Him wept
 
Death sometimes swallows not just the deceased
but those who go on living
in the deep dark shadows of separation
touch stolen
living and breathing but not whole
 
This background was added to
by unjustness, evil
pouring out, anger unleashed
by torture
humiliation
The worst that cruelty could image
was done
over
 
But
 
The stone was rolled away…
the grave cloths left
the story of the ages unfolded, as foretold
Christ has RISEN!
No wonder, then,
that warm tears of joy pour forth
that we must sing
must sound trumpets and tyrannies
FFF
 
Hope born was murdered
but rose from the grave
walking, talking, breaking bread
appearing again and again
teaching
making a way for us
to live victoriously
prepare for you, for me,  a mansion
and open the doors of heaven
 
So here we join the Alleluia chorus
for just a tiny whiff
of life forever
 
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
 
Selah, Easter, 2014 
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The Annual Meeting

260-farm-bureau

Four degrees above zero
but the cars and pickups are rolling in
It’s a hardy bunch, these farm folks!
Not to be dissuaded by some bitter cold
 
Plenty of smiles at the check in desk
plenty of ‘Good to see you’ words being spoken
as the coat room fills to overflowing
 
The president gets the nod
taps on the mike
and the evening begins
“Welcome to the One Hundred Second Annual Meeting
of the Champaign County Farm Bureau”
and the faces of three hundred turn to see
 
A very spry eighty year old makes his way
looks out on the audience
He’s a veteran of decades of teaching math
helping others
and now the Prime Timer chairman
“Let’s pray.”
 
The clear voice fills the room
giving thanks
asking guidance
praying for those in the military
asking a blessing on the food
and those who prepared it for us
“Amen!”
 
“Let’s eat!”
A fine beef meal served
dessert and coffee finishing up
the meeting begins afresh
Switching from an eighty year old
to high school students
the Blue Coats parade the flags
Young men and women of the FFA
Shining examples of our youth
and the best America grows
The Young Ag Leader leads (of course!)
“I pledge allegiance…”
“One nation under God’
No apologies here, just recognition
of how small we are
and how big God is
 
All ages coming forth
to report, inform, about the business
“Smooth”, some said after
‘Best ever”, said others.
“We loved the speaker”, said others.
 
Katie Pratt, young farmer,
spouse, mother, advocate, educator
stepping up to the plate
from New York City to Hawaii
telling it like it really is,
the real story of American agriculture.
Outstanding!
 
The program closes
and many slip away
but many stay to visit
enjoying each other, no rush
 
A pleasant time
this event
to be remembered, savored
Good!
 
Selah, Lin January 2014 
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Corn, Soybeans and Chicago

Chicago_Skyline_from_Lake_Michigan

Incongruous
you are thinking perhaps
but oh, they are linked!
 
Think ‘Price!’, for a start
and the Chicago Board of Trade
World leader
bringing willing seller and willing buyer together
to find a price to sell, a price to buy
today and tomorrows too!
 
We’re planted deep
in the prairie soils
luxuriating in green growing crops
but, summer passing,
the crops mature
and harvest begins
where will the grain be used?
 
Nearby factories?
Southeast livestock?
Or will it move to water
barges and ships and faraway places?
 
How is price discovered?
What’s that magic number?
Chicago plays that role….
 
A fitting place for that to happen
as our nation provides for the world
The only major supplier
every year, not now and then
(Jimmy Carter the exception)
ships load on our shores
carrying away food
to a hungry world, a growing world
population up up up!
Across our land
the scientists labor
riding the waves of grain
they discover
pass it on
genetically modifying, carefully,
very carefully,
to grow and more
with less and less!
Unbelievable!
But true!  Fact!
Less fertilizer, less chemical,
more yield!
Efficiency over and over…
“Keep It For The Crop!”
GPS the yield and GPS plant population…
GPS the plant food site specific!
Oh my!
 
Now ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’
are rushing in to being
Google that one for a treat!
Oh my!
 
Enjoy the scenes of agriculture,
and enjoy the grain pits in Chicago
Dinner is served!
 
Lin, 8/2013 
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Windows on the World

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A friend, sitting at our table
was watching a hawk at work
Our window on the prairie
was most satisfying to him
as it has been to us
and many, many others
 
The rich black fields stretch out
thick blankets of potential
now cold and wet with springtime rains
soon to be mothering
our food, fiber, and fuel
human necessities
 
Harder to measure
this view we savor
The impressive hawk
sometimes gliding, watching
then swooping down for a meal
Or the robins hopping about
or migrants stopping by along their ways
the doves so heavy looking
(can they really fly?)
In the distance a train zips by
Detroit to St. Louie
back and forth, a hundred cars
engines purring along
every mile their fog horns blasting
sound swallowed by the distance
 
Other folks have windows too
tapestries of their homes unfold
to make the pictures that capture our minds
Here we are blessed with space
the nearest house a mile away
there’s room for thoughts to stretch
reach out, grow
 
 
this is what home should look like…
Enjoy!
 
Lin 4/2013 
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On Hold

scales-justice22

What a week!
A yelling, cheering crowd
lining the streets
a man on a colt passing by
 
Something went wrong
or was it right?
When crowds became vicious
begging for cruelty
evil pour out
 
A mock trial
a flogging
another procession
then the sky darkened
the earth shook
a heavy felt curtain suddenly ripped
silence
 
The world on hold
 
It was Friday
but Sunday was coming
 
The sun came up
and people went about their business
Sabbath days were quiet ones
Was the world holding its breath?
History had been opened
and sense made of so many things
Explained, in parables
Understanding stretched so beautifully
extended to coming generations
History had been made
the rebellion
the rebel
finished
 
Some were weeping
some in hiding, fearfull
some were happy at last
and some were simply relieved
 
Who knew?
The whole world
had been put on hold….
 
Selah,
Lin 3/2013 
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Tender Men

256---036_IMG_1363

he Marine’s have a slogan:
“The Chosen, the Few”
that works, I think for some men I know
 
Strong are they,
fitting a term ‘man up’
they face life’s highway
storms and all
and keep going forward
 
This being earth
challenges come surely
as sun rises, sun sets
but, no matter,
these guys go
Yet they are tender
kindness in action
and tears come
It’s okay
Jesus wept
 
Oh how that lifts us
that ‘arms around us’ moment
when what is in a man’s heart
flows out in tenderness
 
A chorus comes to mind:
“He touched me,
oh, He touched me.
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me…
and made me…whole!”
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Tides and Rivers

_Heaven_Earth_generic

Taking two giant, sweeping steps back,
to think about the tides and rivers of mankind
and history, the currents across the face of earth
it strikes me how good and evil
rise and fall
 
Some strains are so obvious
with time, looking back
Like evil doomed, but nevertheless,
waiting with power, in the wings
to rise and twist in  ugliness
 
Sure, Germany was a mess
paving a way for Hitler
to organize, motivate, energize
So we have pictures of soldiers,
rivers of them streaming
into parts of Europe
 
And Japan, too,
their soldiers, planes, ships
growing like a tide
rolling into China, Island after island
even Hawaii
 
Russian troops, unleashed,
binding neighbor nations
strangling them with communism
grinding them in poverty
 
June, 1944, Normandy,
the greatest tide of history
as the collected strength of Allies
poured onto the beaches
then surged inland
like a new Mississippi
of troops and tanks and artillary
of wave after wave of fighter planes
and bombers by the hundreds
 
Evil unleashed
or saviors
to push evil down
get the lid back on
we need to be careful
to step back
and see ourselves as others see us
ask ourselves what values we have
and how are we doing
No question both good and evil
can unleash energy
My favorite movie story
puts the anger of a poor Jewish athlete
up against a flying Scott, Harold.
Both run fast, motivated
by opposite extremes
of love and hate
 
Love doesn’t come easy
nor is it kept clean
since Adam and Eve
it’s been a struggle
 
What a contrast
to understand, that this is earth
and up there, out there, is heaven!
Here what’s normal is ‘all messed up’
To make it better
it’s gonna be work
hard work
step by step
three steps forward, two steps back
 
So we have a model
God in human form
who came, lived among us
spoke and ate and slept
 
A baby in a manager
a man nailed to a cross
Precious baby, nursed by his mother
a boy,taught by his father
a young man, who brought evil to focus
let it pour out on him
 
In Him we see answers
how to value each other
“Behold thy mother; behold thy son.”
Man, woman, each one valued
treated with respect
Little man, big man,
fisherman, scholar
tax collector, Roman
no matter
Here is the way, the truth, the life…
 
For a person or a nation
by Him we can measure
where we are
By Him we can set our goals
and find the paths to get there.
 
Selah,
Lin 2/2013 
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Numbers and Emotion

tension

Frustration rules on both sides
in the debate about the facts
I got a lesson early
in dealing with the public
 
Numbers are cast in concrete
two plus two equals four
end of story
but not for all!
 
You see, the problem is we’re humans
and humans like to think
often times in channels
or ditches or ruts
depending on your point of view
 
Some brains like mine are stuck
to drop into channels
ignore all else
focus
and race along the straightaway
Ah, but others
just as fair
go this way and that way and
do curves and mountains and valleys
Serendipity along their way
Oh my!
What gives?
 
I’ve pondered long and hard
and have come up with an answer
the norm in this world is tension
We are all in suspension
pick something, anything
and study reveals it’s so
 
So we’re gonna have some folks
born to see things differently
it is all created adventure
Climb aboard!
Enjoy the ride!
Yell and scream a bit
but know
 
This is earth.
There will be tension.
 
Lin 1/2013
(“Mr. Warfel! Those are the facts!  I don’t care about the ____facts! I know what I want!”  Unit 7 school board meeting, 1983) 
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Peace Story

_Holiday-Holy-Days_generic

Peace reigned supreme
in the Garden of Eden
But turmoil rains and reigns writ large
on the earth today
 
Peace broken, for the man
work, and labor
For the woman
labor of a different sort, but sure
seizing and dominating completely
 
Yet creation, the Creator, breaks through
from her labor a baby is born
IMPOSSIBLE
every birth
Yet there is the child
stretching and announcing “I’m here!”     

O Little Town of Bethlehem (softly)
 
This tiny human
toes and fingers
eye lashes and fingernails                       
everything arranged just so 

Hosanna! Hosanna!
The Whole World is singing! 
The hope of all ages is born!
 

The child comes with hunger
and sleep
peace

Time passing, a moment comes
and the mother tenderly, firmly, holds the face
“Look at me!” she says.
“Listen!”
Captured completely
the child looks into her face.
 
So here we are, Christmas
God holding our faces
“Look at me!”  God says
 
Peace, peace, wonder Full peace
coming down from the Father above
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray
with fathomless billows of love.*
 
So God did
So God does…
 
Selah
Lin 12/12/12 

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The Wonder of It All

093-wedding

The setting
a terminal moraine
south of Philo
center of the universe
for an interesting group of people
 
A clearing in the woods
just happened
as trees have been planted
over thirty years passing
 
But a just right space
on a just right summer’s day
as the setting for beauty unfolded
A bride, a groom, and guests
 
Honor bestowed
to brides, now mothers
escorted with care
to the honored seats
Dads are tag alongs
in more ways than one
on wedding days
Gotta be there
on best behavior
but kept out of the way
 
Except the bride’s dad, father
gets to escort his daughter
and give her away
one last kiss
one enormous passing
closing, partly
what a challenge
 
Reflections fly
as he remembers
a couple of decades in a flash
Feeling her first movements
before her birth
and then the birth
so grand, so impossible
but oh so real
Holding her close
tiny little person
studying her face
her fingers and toes
her eyes and eyelashes
watching her breathe
and watching her first protestations
Good lungs!
Born with a temper!
 
So at peace
as she slept
her face nestled
her body so relaxed
rocked to sleep
but dad not wanting to put her down
 
Another sunny morning
Saturday
tossing a ball back and forth
and running a race
she laughed so hard as she ran
and passed me up!
 
Seated tensely on her new bike
dad’s hand on the seat, steadying
he trotted along for a ways
and then set her free
the first of many ‘letting goes’
 
The dad says his lines:
‘Her mother, and I.”
 
Oh, the wonder of it all
generations passing
a baby makes a little noise somewhere
grandma and grandpas focus keenly
couples in the audience clasp each others hands
remembering, savoring the moments
 
Ceremony and reception over,
 the newly weds drive away,
honeymooners, at last alone…
together
 
Selah,  Lin 8/2014 
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Sustainable Farming

251---035_IMG_1362

Just right tall
lush and dark green
a picture of health
and productivity
 
A child of success
the corn plant stood
food factory, par excellance
 
From one tiny seed
six hundred grew
a hundred day miracle
of science, environment, and work
 
A symphony American
genetics, engineering, machinery,
ethics and government
conducted by a people, a nation
 
So, the single farmer
supported by family
and a host of helpers off the farm
feeds himself, and 155 others
Freedom, with ethics
core values triumphant
year after year after year
we are blessed
 
So here we are
breadbasket
heartland
family farm
pausing, reflecting
at the wonder of it all!
 
The Doxology comes to mind:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
 
Selah,
Lin 8/2014 
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Summer Rain

018-rain-on-window

A distant rumble
Darkening sky
The birds fluttering for a haven
Big drops splash here and there
Let the big show begin!

Now thunder rolling
Lightning cracking, sizzling
The clouds unload, raindrops pounding
Leaves doing a panic dance
Puddles forming gutters gurgling
A car splashes past
Wipers pounding back and forth in vain

The soil drinks deeply
Soaking up the rain like a sponge
To hold in trust for our plants
To store down deep for our wells
To recycle back through evaporation

We, being two thirds water
Are made to sing and dance
At the wonder of it all

Selah Lin July  2014 

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The Screened Porch

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An evening on the prairie
Sun sinking a way out west
A cool gentle breeze swishing the corn leaves
And a comfortable chair on the screened porch
My shirt still wet from the evening’s work
Tiredness melting away with the breeze
Reflect on life
And blessings

The rich black soil that gives and sustains
The family
The Lord is good
Friends, near and far
Our church and churches
The flotilla of organizations, that reach out, reach in
Education, that lifts
Research, that unfolds. Reveals creation

A government, that lurches and stumbles
Yet somehow, with God’s grace
Goes on
Two steps forward and three back
Then four steps forward and two back

The mate, best friend 52 years…
And counting.

Here we are
Summer
Year of our Lord
2014

Selah. Lin. June is waning… 

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Rain, Rain, and More Rain

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Rain, rain and more rain
soggy earth saturated
the crops stand and take it
 
Creation sent the glaciers:
Nebraskan, Aftonian, Kansan, Yarmouth, Illinois and Sangamon,
the pressed their weight on the face of the earth
and ironed it flat through here
 
So we’re flat!
So flat the water stands
no direction bidding, calling
We await the sun to evaporate
time to soak down down down
to become an aquafer, Mahomet Teays
 
Up north I hear of rivers flooding
lakes overflowing
on to the mighty Mississippi
Old Man River
that living twisting water snake
that sends our waters south
 
The thunder softens
moves on east
the pinging rain drops slow
and we Splash Splash across the barn lot
The cattle stood out in the rain
heads down, rumps to the wind
now steam rolls off their backs
as the sun shines on their glistening black hides
Their munching away begins again
Does the grass taste better
like salad washed and fresh
I wonder
 
Sometimes I wish that I
could stand impervious, oblivious
to the cold splashing raindrops
water dripping off my nose
Yet I know I’m made
fragile, sensitive
with a brain that says: “Don’t do that!”
“Seek Shelter!”
“You are the crown of creation”.
 
The fragrance after the rain I know
the colors of all that surrounds me are vivid
Life on high
I nestle under the wings
of creation, Creator
 
Selah, Lin June 2014 
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The Mountains Between Us

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Nature has so many built in things
that can divide, separate us
Where we happen to be born
The parents, and all their learned differences
The circumstances, so varied yet important
 
Our feet get put on Life’s Highway
and we travel on
Left to see…or not
Hear…or not…
Touch…or not.
 
So we cling to our ‘own kind’
and the comfort of sameness
living in the valleys
between the towering mountains
 
How to melt the mountains?
How to level them out
so that we can be
what we are meant to be
 
Find a link, then another
that reaches across
above and beyond
and hold on
adding link after link after link
 
A rope of many fibers
cannot be broken
 
Caring is lifted up, held forth
but, I offer to you,
caring needs to be built on something
and that’s where education comes to help us
stretching us more and more and more
in ways we thought ‘Impossible!”
So we have Grey’s Anatomy,
a huge thick book
of all the parts
that work, and we live
for a moment
 
Graduations are toppings on our cakes
Yes, the cake’s been in the oven baking!
Ingredients pouring in, mixing, then into the oven
the time elapses, a buzzer sounds
and we pop open the door
heat pours out!
We set the cake out to cool
(how many of you are taking a break?)
Now comes the icing
 
What will you do?
Where will you do it?
With whom?
 
You have been prepared
and the doors are open
Go forth
and do your part
to bring down the mountains between us
 
Risk, reflect, and invest in people and things eternal!
 
Selah,
Lin Warfel, May 2014
Frank Walker’s Graduation   
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The Mountains Between Us2022-09-03T14:53:00-04:00

Nesting Time!

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The robins and the doves
have one thing on their minds:
building the perfect nest
NOW!
 
Twigs and straws
pieces of grass and weeds
carried in beaks announce
a spot has been chosen
selected in very particular places
 
Fascinating the design, the process
that each species seems to know
that temporary home so necessary
to hold the eggs, the chicks
 
With the whole farm theirs
they flutter about and pick and choose
some liking buildings, some liking trees
some selecting spots up high
some selecting close to our house
 
Some seem oblivious
of the danger cats present
building too low, or easily accessible
But then, cats can be amazing
balance impressive
as they do high wire acts
to gain a meal.
Robins and doves
sparrows and wrens
pigeons and starlings
the list is pages
diversity sustained
we have our picture books
to help us I.D. them all
 
Driven is putting it mildly
they build their nests
and settle in
No books, no doctors to guide them
they just somehow know
eggs are coming
chicks will hatch
and grow
and fly away
 
Whoa!  Slow down…
sit back
reflect
 
“His eye is on the sparrow…
I know He watches me”.
 
Selah, Lin 4/2014 
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Holy Week

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Looking back on half a century
and the time and season of planting
I can bear witness, I think
to something said to me back at the beginning:
“Holy Week the weather’s always troublesome!”
 
How about 48 out of 50?
That’s how often I wanted to plant
but weather intervened.
This year’s no exception!
 
Cold front.  Rain.  Dark.
Okay, Palm Sunday maybe better,
but then it falls apart.
No way tiny seeds
would like to be ensconced
in cold wet soil.
Wait!  Anticipate!
Easter is coming!
 
How fitting,
I think,
that weather often helps us
sort through our plans, our efforts
to give us a lesson (another)
on how small we are
how dependent on larger ‘things’!
 
So we trudge through the week
machinery all captured
behind closed doors
and we think.
Shouting, happy crowds
Hosanna!  Hosanna!
The whole world is singing
but then the world turns
and evil pours out
flooding the same streets with anger
Revulsion
One man, the focus
Lies. False accusations. Weak leaders.
Claiming great power:
“Don’t you know I have the power of life and death over you?”
The quiet man speaks:
“You have no power, except that given you from above.”
 
At another point
a rooster crows,
and the quiet man looks…at his disciple.
Oh, how often, eyes can lock between persons
and volumes are shared
without words being spoken
 
It’s Friday
but Sunday’s coming….
 
Selah, Lin 2014 
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Snow Birds

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As sure as the snow flies
in northern climes
The snow birds flap their wings
or mount their wheels
to head to southern beaches

Their money flows with them
restaurants and shops
hotels and motels and rentals
lift their signs:
“No Vacancy!”

The cold weary folks
shed their parkas
insulated caps, boots and mittens
toss off shirts and don shorts
swapping suits and ties for swimming suits
skin gets into the game
strangely
with gals in bikinis…
and guys in Bermudas!
What gives?

Quiet streets get overloaded, jammed
with cars bearing northern plates
single lane bridges sprout long car snakes
of inchworm traffic

It is but for a day, a week
and they fly away, motor away
back to the cold and dreary

Selah, Lin 3/2014

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Dancing with the Soil, Seasons, and Nature  

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It is written
that we came from the soil
dust of some nature
shaped into the form of man
No wonder, then,
there’s something about soil, that draws us
farmers and gardeners who use their hands
to touch, ponder, the mysteries of soil
 
The seasons are a wonder too
stretching our imaginations
challenging our capacities
with heat, cold, wind, rain
Parching plants and people
in August heat, the sun
almost cooks us
then fall drowns us in color
as leaves shout their warnings of winter
IT”S COMING!
Push the panic button
to store up food
to seal the doors and windows
against arctic blasts, snow and ice
Then, mixed with our exhaustion and depression,
buds begin to swell
robins appear again
pre dawn concerts alert and encourage us
that winter’s hold is slipping, and
in spite of a last flurry or two,
the grass is greening and spring is springing
In all these changes we have wind
and more wind
sometimes scourging in angry swirls
ripping trees and houses
slamming cars and trucks, smashing
and sometimes gently cooling us
Oh yes, the soil and seasons command us
 
“Be still”, spoken once to the winds and waves,
commanded Nature, but we
are left to study, discover, alter
tiny pieces to our pleasure
Each discovery finding more
another level, hidden til then,
but there, all the time.
 
Wise are we
to bow, to ask,
“May I have this dance?”
It was created, gifted to us,
for our use
We’ve learned so much
know so little
the dance has just begun
 
Selah,
Lin Almost spring, 2014 
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Dancing with the Soil, Seasons, and Nature  2022-09-03T14:53:01-04:00

April Winds

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Chilled, from deep winter’s freeze
the winds whosh and whistle
sending leaves and debris hip scotching along
barren branches twist and turn
remembering Chubby Checker!
(C’mon everybody, let’s do the twist!)
 
Wrapped against the chill
I freeze out in the wind
and melt in sun drenched lee spots
Cold, hot!  Cold, hot!
It’s springtime on the prairie!
 
The winter browned grass is waking
steadily climbing through the thatch
it’s green green green coming!
 
Buds are swelling,
so tender yet so strong
life will soon burst
into the magnificance of Easter
Color will splash the earth
and mother earth will open
to welcome the seeds of promise
I can’t but help wondering
if winter gets piled up somewhere
far and farther to the East
where the April winds blow it
Is it a giant earth game
where seasons hide and seek
to suddenly shout “You’re it!”
 
While governments muddle and stumble
the powers above us move
surety abounding
we can but respond
amend our plans as needed
to tune ourselves
to play in the orchestra
so small a part
so small our voice
 
Yet, together
our tiny voices can sail
singing with the winds
soaking in the sun
seeing and drinking in the seasons
we set our sails…
 
Hosanna!
 
Lin 4/2014 
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Howling Winter

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A pinhole or a crack
is all the howling wind needs
to send snowflakes sailing in
Blizzard
Whiteout
Hour after hour
 
Snow swirls and drifts
sculptured piles arise
packed hard and firm
challenging man and beast
 
In grandma’s day the drifts
topped fences
so the cattle walked over them
as did she and her siblings
 
The one room schoolhouse
with the wood stove in center
was open all winter
Summer was for field work
Hard to image her folks
first winter on the prairie
living in a lean to…til spring.
Great grandpa took a sled
four miles southwest
sawmill on the river
brought boards back to the farm
to build a house the next summer
 
We’ve been building ever since
and the wind still blows
and the snow comes
Still, we have howling winter
and we hunker down
 
But we are warm…
Thank you Lord…
 
January, 2014, Lin 
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Christmas Characters

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Some two thousand years ago
a parade of folks was moving
urged along by a star
 
A star above, Bethlehem,
small town Israel
plain people, none of note
 
But along came a couple
wife a young mother to be
husband a good sort of fellow
and the baby came
in a stable
 
Born in a barn, of sorts,
this little fellow
drew a line in mankind’s calendar
Anno Domino, came to be
They named him Jesus.
 
Out in the country
shepherds tended their sheep
as good shepherds do
But the star was overcoming
and drew them to that stable
 
Wise men from far away
noted the star as well
and they journeyed to that stable
bearing their significant gifts
The tiny babe set in motion
a king so powerful
he could order all small boys killed
He did, to solve a threat
But he missed one
just one
 
So here we are,
2013, Anno Domini
and we are challenged
to stop, reflect
on history before, and history after
and how it fits today
 
Can we be part
of that long parade
and visit the stable
and wonder
Like Mary, treasuring in our hearts
the story, and Jesus
 
“O Come, all Ye Faithful,
joy full and triumphant!” 
 
Lin, Christmas 2013 
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Arms Around Agriculture

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Happens once a year
a gathering of the arms
Illinois Farm Bureau
407,378 members
represented by 342 delegates
from each county in the state
 
Cars and busses
trains and pickup trucks
the farmers pour in to the Chicago Loop
toting suitcases (and billfolds!)
Delegates and alternates, friends and staff
officers and directors and onlookers
some 2,000 all together attend
 
Into the exhibit hall they come
greeting one another
happy to be together
Old faces and young ones
from strollers to canes and walkers
they meet and greet and talk to each other
 
Young Ag Leaders engage
debating issues of the day
bright young folks
educated and well spoken
they compete and are judged
but every single one’s a winner
 
Politicians come too
to milk the crowd
Friends of Agriculture
The Bureau pats their backs
pays them respect

The capstone moves into place
342 delegates take their seats
Consideration of Resolutions begins
ideas to amend policies or add new ones
gathered from all round the state
sifted, combined and presented
by the TRC, the Tentative Resolutions Committee,
18 county presidents rotated from the 18 districts

 
Each resolution read, then discussed and debated
sometimes for a moment, sometimes for an hour
the arms of the Bureau, the minds of the delegates
engage and resolve, yaying or naying.
The votes come in sound waves, most often,
a rush of voices competing
the President assesses, sometimes looks right and left
to the astute secretaries, the vice president, the legal counsel
and pronounces the fate, “Passed!”… or “Failed!”
and the body moves on.
 
46 pages, this year, 2013, plus some added from the floor,
 surfaced just recently, but important to consider.
The delegates march on through
Parliamentary procedure tested:
“Point of Order!”  ‘Move to amend!”
“Ready to vote?”
Finally complete, the policies will gain feet
Thousands of feet, walking to Springfield, to Washington
carrying the ideas for presentation
with some policies becoming bills, and the laws of our land
 
The astonishing rich soils of Illinois
produce these people
the “Show up” folks
who move our state, our nation
the Farmers of Illinois, America,
who have their arms, around agriculture
producing the food, fiber, and fuel that sustain us.
 
Lin Warfel
the 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau Convention
the Palmer House, Chicago 
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The Pouring Season

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From the garden
the orchard
and the fields,
fall is the pouring season!
 
Nature pours forth rewards
for labor and energy
for thinking and planning
and so we see
 
The tomatoes and potatoes
the squash and onions
gathered into baskets and coming in
The kitchen is alive with processing,
changing summer’s bounty into keepers
Slicing and dicing and grinding
freezing and canning
protecting for later use
the work is enormous
 
The fruit trees, the nut trees,
shower the ground when they are ready
Next year’s life having moved into seeds
life hidden, protected with layers of nutrients
to spawn more trees
So we work to capture the fruit
pouring the apples, the pears, the walnuts
from buckets and baskets into carts
to, once again,
make their way to the kitchen,
where processing swings again
The corn and soybeans click some switch
Growth stops.  Green goes away
to be replaces with soft colors
gentle, soothing colors of completeness
Done.  Ready for harvest.
So the harvest machines roar back and forth
sucking in the fruits, processing them,
pouring them into trucks
that pour them into giant storage bins
that pour them into trains
that pour them into barges and ships
 
Pouring, pouring, pouring!
Bounty to feed ourselves
and folks around the world!
Blessings poured out as food
for we are hungry every day
created for life
 
Ah, we pour ourselves
into the tasks
and creation pours back to us
and we sense, we see
though dimly, through a darkened glass
God breathed life into us
poured into us
and we are to pour into others
in our time
 
L’chaim!
Lin, Harvest, pouring, done, 2013
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Soil Chef

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Fascinating
to watch a skilled chef
who knows the chemistry
to watch him or her mix
then taste, savoring, thinking
a little bit of this, a little bit of that
 
With soil,
we dig a trench to see
the profile, from top to deep
we slice a sample
a core
then head to a laboratory
 
Test for balance
acid/alkaline, neutral?
phosphorus, potassium
and a scattering of others
and then we can create a prescription:
 
Needs this much of that
this much of that
and so on
 
The mix is bought and scattered
and then we test again
and again
and again
all the while looking, watching
how the plants are doing
Sort of ‘stick out your tounge and say ‘ahhh”
 
Hmmmm
There must be something more
slipping away unnoticed, unmeasured
We need to study this more
 
By and by we find bacteria
Not one, but a million!
Little critturs banging around
spewing out compounds, chemicals
in response to what they encounter
Wow! We find
a whole huge world we’re walking on!
What we’ve been calling ‘dirt’
is fascinating!  Complex! Amazing!

So it becomes ‘soil’
spoken with respect
and ‘dirt’ is said no more.
 
It seems that, sometime earlier,
soil was sculpted
designed
created
in a distinct and orderly way
 
There must have been
a soil chef
who put this mix together
 
Who could have shaped
and breathed into
gave life to
yet another dimension
for us to discover
uncover
 
“O Lord, my God,
when I in awesome wonder
consider all
the worlds thy hands have made…’*
 
Lin 10/2013
 
*”How Great Thou Art”, Stuart K. Hine, 1953 

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Water Water Everywhere!

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Sandy soils overlaying the ocean
holding back that behemoth of waving, foaming power
give way to sandy soils over plentiful water
 
Fields carved by streams and rivers
water, water everywhere!
Navy, fishermen, pleasure boaters
attuned to the waterman life
 
What a treat!
Refreshing, for the flatlanders of Illinois!
How tempting to wet a line
take a cruise
kayak, canoe, or power launch
Sailboat maybe?  Silently slipping along…
 
Water colors, flavors the lives
tides rising, falling, rivers gliding out to sea
and the sea, a mind of its own
with moods of compliance
or testing
or dominating severely
Respect required, commanded,
wisely obeyed
we mark the shores with lighthouses
build docks to capture and hold the boats and ships
build giant factories to pour their products forth
filling ships to sail the seas
Rail yards to serve the land produce
dumping their grains and coal and steel and
a thousand, ten thousand things and more
to share commerce around the world
 
The people sleep, yet waves lap
lap
lap
grinding shells, grinding sand
night and day and year after year
who can fathom the energy
hiding within the oceans?
 
Selah, Lin, Virginia, the York, the James, the British and First Nation names…2013 
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Flowers in the Rubble

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Our structures stand
wind and rain
sun and cold
strong against the elements
 
But in a moment
the wind can torture
the rain can flood
the sun can certainly age them hard
and the cold can make them crack
 
Above these things
the humans reign
building, tending, repairing
but in a moment
an angry wind can take away
 
The roar of a freight train
on the loose
making its own track across the prairie
lifting up
dropping down
the tornado twists and sucks
smashing all in its way
 
But in a moment
it is gone
and quiet comes
to find but rubble
where once proud homes stood
and the people come out
scratched and bruised and bleeding
but walking, talking, looking
at the lashing the wind has done
The people are the flowers
who rise up from the rubble
to once again build
Newer, better, the structures go up
as hands and machines work together
 
Help has come
neighbors join and share
clothes and food pour in
as word goes out
 
Insurance dollars flow
gifts of money come
and folks find ways to build it back
 
Buildings, trees, cars and trucks
have their times and places
but the flowers
the people
rise above
Thanking God for life, and mercy
 
Selah, Lin 11/2013 
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“I’ll Figure it Out!”

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Delight comes
in ever so many ways!
Years ago a college student called.
“Could you use some harvest help?”
Indeed I could, so I invited the young man out.
 
On the farm he was in his element.
‘Can do!” was his aim.
He did!  Expeditiously with a smile!
In the field or at our table
he was a pleasure to be around.
And we worked.
Hard.
Long.
Til harvest was complete.
 
As planned, he graduated…
and commended his younger brother for the job.
Hired him too.
Like his brother
a ‘Can do’ person.
Driving trucks, tractors, the combine, mowers…
whatever
Did the jobs with aplomb!
He was a pleasure to be around!
In the field or at our table.
As planned, he too graduated and was gone.
 
Two decades passed,
and I got a call.
“Could you use some harvest help?
My dad and my uncle worked for you,
and thought you might need a hand with harvest.”
This one had a special comment,
when I gave him instructions on what needed done
and it was new to him:
“I’ll figure it out!”
Determination, crystal clear on his face.
What an attitude!  I loved it!
First thought, ‘That’s the American Farmer!”
Whatever the challenge:
“I’ll figure it out!’
We have!  We do!  We will!
Second thought: ‘That’s the American way!”
From the founding fathers and mothers on
America has done that, does that, and will do that!
 
Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfuss figured it out.
A history prof, he reflected on our short history,
and the history of the world.
He believed an Invisible Hand, has been upon us,
and he stated his case well.
 
George Washington Carver
‘figured it out’.
Studied the Bible and concluded:
‘There’s more to the peanut than we’ve discovered.’
He discovered, and discovered, and discovered.
 
Adam Smith, philosopher,
thought long and hard and made his notes.
Sat himself down, and in 1776
‘figured it out’.
Freedom, capitalism, and the wealth of nations…
America
‘figured it out’
 
The Hand, the Word, the mind in freedom
the attitude
and we, indeed, can
‘figure it out!’
 
Lin 10/2013  Kendall Phelps 
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The Last 500 Feet

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As a runner
I’ve been there:
that last 500 feet
The finish line to cross
 
Yes, the race matters
all of the way
The hills, the straight aways
the curves we can’t see around
yet there’s something about
that last 500 feet
and the line we need to cross
 
A year of planting, tending,
then harvesting
gets to that last 500 feet
The last rabbits, pheasants
are there to help
as the last rows are devoured
processed
into the chosen kernals and seeds
that hold the valued foods
 
The finish line
that needs to be crossed!
Like a journey across the vast Pacific
that ends at a specific dock
where a gang plank goes down
and connects with the land
 
Like the long long flight
the landing, the connection
and then the cabin door is opened
and fresh air rushes in
and used air rushes out
And like the journey through classes
papers and exams
and more classes
til finally, finally,
one crosses a stage
and a diploma is in our hands
the last 500 feet
to a diploma…
 
Some 32,000 days, on average,
pass from first breath, first suck
to the last 500 feet
and our last lay down
No more mountains to climb
no more rivers to cross
just 500 feet to cross
to the finish line
 
A final planting
marked with a stone
a peaceful spot
where loved ones can come
reflect
on the journey, however long,
and then
the last 500 feet…to heaven
 
lin, harvest, 2013 
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Butterfly World

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A friend stopped by
the other day
Business on his mind
We sauntered to the backyard
a retreat environ
to set n talk a bit
 
Settling back, he observed:
This sure is a peaceful place!
Patio surrounded
trees and shrubs and flowers
Blue sky, white clouds
shades of greens and splashed of flowering plants
far from the din of the world
 
It’s a butterfly place, you see
They come, to flit about
and rest
Background sounds are wrens
several families call this home
their songs of greetings abound
as do the tiny Finches
adding to the splashes of color
Doves rest heavily under the feeders
happy to coo about, mourning
and Robins chirp their tunes
a symphony of sounds
abetted with colors
clouds moving lazily
flowers and leaves waving
fluttering sometimes
as do the butterflies
birds
It’s a created place
combinations put in place
by the Lady of the House
the Lady of the farm
Master, indeed, Gardener!
 
Creates a place for separation
creation
inspiration
 
Come sit with us sometime
rest yourself
and soak it in
 
Selah,
Lin 7/2013 
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Threads to Tapestries

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Thoughts can often be threads
opportunities alone
happening but needing friends
 
Alone they reach out
but can’t survive
going further and further
until they disappear
 
But joining with others
they become a cloth
offering great things
Think sails on great ships
think uniforms on a million soldiers
Think warm blankets in a cold world
or suits and dresses for kings and queens
or denim for the workers
who show up, and carry the world
 
Together they can become
a tapestry
portraying mighty deeds
encouraging others to carry on
 
Here’s to those who create the threads
that bind us
becoming a cord of many strands
that cannot be broken….
 
Lin 7/3013 
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Corn Talk

091-069_IMG_2410

No, I’m not slipping away!
I just do my best to tune in…
to ‘think like corn’ along the way.
 
So there’s a ‘pop’ in early summer
when corn pops its spike up through earth
to greet the sun and me.
One day the field is just rich and black
and next day a million spikes are there
having popped up to greet the sun and me
 
Next there’s a scramble
as it grows as fast as can be
the race is on to canopy
cover the earth with green
capture all the sunlight possible
 
Ah, corn talk happens!
Chest high and higher
with maximum growth conditions
between the joints on the stalks
some summer evenings it happens:
A soft popping noise!
A million plants are growing,
reaching
and at the nodes the leaves unfurl
growing so fast there is a noise!
 
Add to that to soft rustle of leaves waving
summer breezed blowing
almost like a green ocean surf
one can see the wind waves
So soon the plant is finished
and the green turns to tan
Sun tanned?
The tone changes
and brittle leaves speak
Harvest!  Harvest!
 
In an instant it’s over
as the harvester roars along
grabbing the stalks and jerking down
32 feet per second
one fourth of a second
and the stalk is on the ground
crushed
and the ears are in the combine
 
The sound of corn pouring
from the combine to a truck
from the truck into a grate
and the harvest goes to processors
 
The Creator through the earth, creation,
has blessed us
with food, fiber, fuel
that we may live
abundantly
 
Lin, at corn popping stage, 7/2013 
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Fog

265-farm-fog

Something about the fog
that quiets the cattle
me
the world
 
A fine white mesh
shrouding the earth
closing us in
together
 
We move more slowly
me
the cars
the ships
nosing our ways
on quiet
 
Slow down earth
it seems to say
you’ve been hurrying
much too much!
Peace, now,
murmur to each other
hold off on shout and push
and race to nowhere
Up there somewhere
the sun is burning
all powerful, to be sure
it will burn away the curtain
turn up the heat, the pace
and we’ll all be back at it…
 
Shhhhhhhhhhhh….
 
Did you hear the low
Moooooooooo?
The lazy fog horn?
Go ahead!
Mutter it long and low
and quietly…..
 
Lin 7/2013 
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Fragile and Strong

116-corn-spring

The warmth of our springtime sun
has caused the buds to break
Tiny, fragile leaves abound in greeting
Blossoms will soon burst forth
color and fragrance will bless us
 
What a time of freshness
as the grays of winter fade
and the prairie celebrates life again
It was there, all the time
but hidden from us
 
Leaves and flowers and grass surge
in the power of life created
and won’t be held
What nature does for plants
Easter does for us
Ah, earthly powers won’t give up!
Strong winds will blow
tree limbs falling
some leaves and blossoms blowing away
a cold snap or two will lash out
maybe even some snow
But
the sun, the son
will win!
Have won!
 
Take two steps back,
pause,
take it in
take Him in…
 
Lin 4/2013 
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Climbing to the top

Sun-Field-Mountain-HD-Wallpaper

Climbing to the top of the Hill
The forest floor tilts
slides and rises
trees bored in
flora and fauna blankets rich
 
The sun shines through,
filtered beams of light through tall black and gray soldiers,
the mountain world challenges, teases
we humans to conquer
We are born to climb
every hill, every mountain
has a top
just waiting
 
What’s on the other side?
What view is just over ‘there’
somewhere, over the rainbow….
Climbing to the top
to sing, ponder, see
soak in the hills and valleys
Ants, in the scheme of things
we’re the only ones in charge
owners, no, tenants only
we can learn and grow
and understand, a little
and knowing that sense
there’s more
 
At the top are more
mountains to climb
always more
there we find
ours is to do the climbing
and then discover we’re small
smaller
and God the creator is big
bigger, biggest
 
Selah
Lin 4/2013 
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Leaning In

_Holiday-Holy-Days_generic

Humans have a core value
deep within their spirit hearts
we see it in attractions
especially when they’re focused
 
Words come hard to define
emotions that hold us firm
love, being at the top
commanded, by the top
 
So we are blessed
to come to a place, a time,
when inhibitions melt
and someone ‘leans in’
instead of holding back
 
Ah, the world is a place
of holding back!
Safety, assumed,
in retreat, seclusion, cocooning
fences built and strengthened
locks in place, secured
Then too,
the world is a place
of lashing out
anger boiling, spilling over
to hurt, punish
swinging wildly at any and all
eyes closed in fury
 
Antidote: love
leaning in
the healing, growing, healthy way
to abundant life
now and forever.
 
“Teacher!  What is the greatest commandment?”
“Love the Lord thy God, with all your heart, soul,
mind and strength.  And the second is as unto the first:
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
 
And who is my neighbor?
You are!
 
I’m “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!”
Lean in!
 
Lin 4/2013 
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Falling Rain

018-rain-on-window

Can be a downright gift
raindrops falling on dry soil
quenching a thirsty land
replentishing an entire aquafer
When drought reigns
it’s cause for celebration
 
Can also be a plaster
slapped up against the house
windows lathered with running water
maybe even a piece of leaf sticking to the glass
and the gurgling of downspouts commenting
 
Can be, here on the prairie
‘horizontal rain’
as the winds go full bore
sometimes, even,
masking a tornado
circling winds at race car speeds
tearing and smashing cruelly
our constructs ripped to rubble
people hurt and killed
My favorite’s the early morning
gentle rain
pattering softly on our roof
a good morning lullaby
that I can sleep in a bit
my day changed to ‘slow down’
and ‘catch up’
The soil is being patted
and so am I…
 
Orchestral ministrations
for life’s opera
bumping along life’s highway
letting us know we’re small
so small
and we need each other
 
lin 5/2013 
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Carried Along

223-0519-0911-1909-1604_presidential_seal_o

Who, would you think
is the most powerful person on earth?
Some might say ‘The President’.
 
Yes, he is ‘Commander in Chief’
but in that role
the Generals and Admirals
know so much more
Even the sargeants do too!
The President comes along later
far from the jeeps in the desert
far from the ships at sea
 
Indeed he sits with Congress
and the Courts
to push his agenda forward
but oh, so many limits
so many strings
not there for him or her to pull.
 
I submit the President
is in fact carried along
by events not chosen
not really controlled on earth.
Ride along with me
out in the country
where buffalo used to roam
sit at the family table
with the farmer, the agronomist, the teacher
put your feet under the table
as the family shares the day
 
This, is still, the
astonishing rich soil of America!
Indeed!
 
A place of intelligence
focus
passion
and compassion. 
 
That’s where you and I live,
far from the marble and concrete
of government.
Here cows don’t give milk
somebody has to take it from them!
Nor does the soil magically yield fruit
somebody has to till and plant, tend and harvest
Engineers dream and build machines
that move the world.
 
Selah,
Lin 5/2013 
 
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Dads and Sons

Memorial_Day_500px

Two times
I saw grandpa cry
First time was at Camp Butler
His only heir was being buried
the casket lowering into the grave
the pale blue eyes were flooded
he was so quiet
 
The whole place, big cemetery
was quiet too.
A sob was heard here and there
as folks remembered him
the fallen Captain
life snuffed out in far away Normandy
St. Lo, they said.
Fierce fighting
 
A man of few words
a thinker
who worked so hard
watching his dreams return to the soil
Too soon!
 
Generations pass
and memories fade, pass away
but there are markers
We should walk there
reflecting on this one and that one
Names from all nations
who became America
and stepped forward for the test
What price will you pay
for freedom?
Dates of first breaths and last
carved into white stones
Long, straight lines, these markers
now stand at permanent attention
Years will pass
the stones will witness those who come
to remember, reflect
on who the person was, what they might have been
If
 
Yet they live on
in the markers God created
genes, faces, voices
hair and eyes and size and even mannerisms reflecting
the silent ones
 
If
they could but see and laugh and touch and hold
but they can’t, and won’t
 
So we are left to ponder, reflect,
and walk amongst the long white lines
of Camp Butler
 
Lin
Memorial Day
Camp Butler
2013
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Widows and Moms

Memorial_Day_500px

Camp Butler, National Cemetery,
home to fallen soldiers and wives
sees a stream of folks coming
gathering for solemn ceremonies
followed by volleys of rifle shots
the whole graced
with tears
 
Widows with children
stand and watch, listen
kind words spoken
then flag folded purposefully
and handed to her
a gift from a grateful nation, preserved
 
A clang of metal against metal
as the half mast Camp flag flutters
whipping and snapping in the wind
Almost like notes, messaging,
snapping a salute
there is an unseen, but present
a dimension we sense is there
but we can’t see…yet.
Time passing,
the grave site is seeded
and the grass grows
as do the children
cars pass by on the nearby interstate
The flag flies high again, waiting,
for another procession to come
a bugle to blow
and more tears gracing this place
 
Resolved, said Lincoln
It shall not be in vain!
It hasn’t.
It isn’t.
 
Grandchildren, great grandchildren come
walk on the grass
soak in the peacefulness and wonder
at the long straight rows of markers
standing rigid at attention
“Ten Hut!”
Listen up!
Freedom is not free!
What will you pay?
 
Camp Butler
Memorial Day
2013 
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Diamonds and Pearls

diamonds-pearls

Context can be fascinating,,,
Want to take a quick trip with me?
Down memory lane, to
college days
and today?
 
There we were in ’59
the Class of ’63
Indeed, bright eyed
and bushy tailed
(and bushy faced, a Cave man thing!)
standing on the Chapel steps
singing as loud as we could sing
 
As freshmen at ‘Dear Ole Wabash”
we had a ceremony
The Chapel Sing
wherein we all were required
to sing the song
without a hitch
but with a catch:
Upperclassmen could do their best
to confuse, bamboozle, frustrate, distract
so we would lose our concentration, falter, fail
 
Whereupon a special haircut would brand
the poor, poor Rhynie!
“W” would be the only hair left
atop the noble crown!
All could see the failure stamped
announcing he messed up
The world at end…?
 
Time marched on
and so did we
Studying, learning
jumping through the college hoops
to life
 
We were young pearls
cast upon the mighty seas
Oh what varied oceans we,
so small,
did launch into
Ah, we plowed
this way and that
making marks
Law, medicine, education
all the arts of liberalism
yet disciplined to be conservative
holding fast to values learned
lived, by our profs
Their names still live in us
 
As President White proft to us
“We never left Wabash,
and Wabash never left us.”
Indeed.
 
So there we were
back on the Chapel steps
Singing our hearts out
competing, with each other
and other classes
‘Dear Ole Wabash
thy loyal sons shall ever love thee,
And, o’er thy classic halls,
the Scarlet flag shall proudly flash.
Long in our hearts,
we’ll bear the sweetest mem’ries of thee,
Long shall we sing they praises,
Old Wabash!”
 
Diamonds now,
hardened by 20 thousand days,
50 years and counting
having attained, being,
pearls of wisdom and learning
cementing around the grains of sand
that caught our imaginations then
indeed.
 
Selah, Lin Warfel, ’63, June 2013 
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Pleasantville

219-081_IMG_2422

A gentle afternoon, I’d say:
gentle breezes, nudging the trees
branches like huge feathered fans nodding
Oh so mild temperature, just right
humanly speaking
 
Even the sun seems at ease
sharing the afternoon with us
 
A screened porch, shade
just right softness chairs
made to rock a bit
even a ceiling fan
waving and nodding down
 
Wrens and finches
robins too
back and forth from feeders to nests
All together now:
Pleasantville….
Long green lines of soybeans or corn
marking the rich dark soil
Soon the lushness will close and cover
hiding the soil til fall
The prairie is quietly exploding
with flowers and beauty
Like the beginning of a great musical piece
this movement hides the power coming
the crescendo builds towards harvest
 
Yes, nature is singing
the orchestra is tuned
for just some moments
we can sit and breathe
 
Selah
Lin 6/2013 
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Abba

shoulders

There is a place
for Fathers!
Perched high up on his shoulders
a little one rides along
wrapped around dad’s neck
holding on to his ears or hair
Secure and happy
to be so tall
look out upon the world
from that exalted stage
 
Another day
his big hand holds hers or his
as they cross the street together
Secure and happy
under his wing, protected
for that passing moment
 
Absent for some time
arrival home happens
She or he runs full bore
leaping up into his arms
enfolded, warmed deep down inside
together again
the world catches its breath
another passing moment
precious, counting
He or she prepares
due diligence to the task
practicing over and over
and then the race
Competing, running with the pack
then bursting forward
snapping the tape
Hurrah!
Abba’s heart is bursting
popping buttons on his shirt
Well done!  So happy!
 
So many happy times:
graduations
marriage
a baby…
 
Turn around, this is earth
not heaven
so bad things happen
Abba’s there too
heart twisted and wrung
squeezed and scratched and cut
deep pain
Holding the hand, praying,
all he can do…
 
Our Father in heaven
holy is your name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
on earth
as it is in heaven…. 
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The Planter Sits

137--storm-clouds

The planter sits
in the cold dark shed
last week it came out in the sunshine
then, like Punxsutawney Phil
went back into its hole
to wait for a better day
 
Thunder rolls across the prairie
yet another rain
I’m dreaming it sure would be nice
to move this shower to July
when the crops and I are wanting
But that’s not my role
 
I hitch it up
repair and grease
adjust and refine
test it out
and wait
 
The planter sits
long and quietly
waiting for it’s season
the curtain call
pulling on stage, under the lights
like a plane on the runway
engines tested
all inspections passed
ready for the call
“Cleared for takeoff!”
Throttles eased to full
engines roar
moving, faster, faster
all systems go
monitors clicking, flashing ‘Go!”
“Go!  Go!  Go!’
At first I’m humming
then I’m singing!
‘Yea!”  I’m working!
Winter’s shroud is torn asunder!
the seeds of promise  slipping in
patted just so, precisely, counted
Okay!  Okay! Okay!
 
But not today.
Not tomorrow.
We wait.
The planter sits.
 
Lin 4/2013 
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Mama Sabine Manyonga

<_Holiday-Holy-Days_generic

Sister, and mama, beloved
Angelic on earth
welcomed home for sure!
She graced while she was here
 
A presence, wherever
she was, lighting the room
with kindness and caring
Tender, to all, she engaged
with her smile and happy disposition
How did she do it?
suffering herself?
 
Somewhere back in the Congo
she gave herself to Jesus
and he lifted her mightily
as a nun, as a nurse
she loved
and people responded
 
Especially to the little ones
and to the weak ones
her love reached out
and she was loved right back
Joy walked with her
Within moments, one knew
this lady was special!
Somehow her spirit engaged, connected
and a bond was formed
She saw into a person, a gift
she used with compassion
so people sought her out
trusted her, confided in her
 
We lost; heaven won
for now
 
Selah, Lin 4/2013
Sister Sabine Manyonga, May 3, 1967-April 4, 2013
Job 1:21
Job 19:25:27
2 Timothy 4:6-22 
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Heart of America

215-048_IMG_1375

I’ve been thinking
about where America’s heart is
and I think I’ve seen some answers!
 
I note a certain part of the county
where guys and gals are givers
they reach out constantly
it’s a habit
close by and around the country
 
Begin with ‘they are craftsmen (and women)
whatever they do, they do with passion
to do their best, make things ‘right’
Could be farming, building houses
or electrical work with insulating houses
or plumbing/heating
ah, mechanics/technitions – the best!
Gardens, foods? Dinners?
They are a joy to behold!
Dutch flats?  Flatville?  Gifford?
Like one great big family…
with great big hearts!
 
Okay, pick another area
southwest, this time
two small towns
each a dominant, different church
but the same predisposition
to do it well, very well
and keep on doing it better!
The same skills pursued
and mastered with like aplomb
again, two great big families
with great big hearts!
The core, I believe,
is their link to church
and not just any
but ones with heart commitments
ones that serve, the other fellow
helping and respecting are nurtured in
They help each other
and they reach out, further and further
no boundaries
they care
 
Jesus is the Master
guiding and directing
the way, the truth, the light
His way is their way
so they care, they serve
 
Oh, how they live!
Loving and laughing
crying when it fits
they are blessings
the best, they are
the heart of America
 
Selah, Lin 3/2013 
 
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Chapter 22

206-137_KayInHerNewKitchen

Another door closes
as Sonia’s hands pull
family treasures enclosed
trucked here and there and
Where?
 
Glancing back on decades
of goings…and comings
Places flit across the minds eye
Oregon, Illinois
New York
lines reach out to places
as far away as France
 
Home is where the heart is
and heart begins with mom
She can make a home
wherever she is, in ‘now’
 
A train station?  Airport?
A little circle is drawn
surrounding mom
and that’s the temporary home
A room at Hampton Inns?
She can make it home
for just as long as she is there…
 
On the farm, upstairs
but really all over the farm
her presence draws the lines
and around her we gather
‘come home’
to be with her.
 
Indiana?  Oregon?
No matter!
If she is there
so are we!
 
Moving on
with mom…
 
Selah, Lin 3/2013 
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March Sunrise

197-done-planting

Crisp morning air greets me
the walk frosted lightly
green grass grayed with ice
the warmth of the sun so good!
 
Winter’s hanging on
by it’s fingernails
losing to the tilt of earth
more and longer sun
 
Our black soil is soaking
a soppy blanket of mud
drinking in the precious water
that seedlings will soon be needing
 
Fitting that we are preparing for Easter
when darkness wins, then loses
and the Son bursts forth from the grave
New life is the order breaking bonds
rising to new heights, soaring with singing
The crocus spears have poked on through
buds are starting to swell
lambs dance around in the pasture
Soon church parking lots will overflow
with seekers and finders
 
Hosanna! Hosanna!
The whole world is singing!
The hope of all ages is risen!
He is the Way, the Truth, the Life
Now, and forevermore
Amen!
 
Lin 3/2013 
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Catch!

football

One fine Kentucky summer day
some friends stopped by the drug store.
“Come on, Ken!” they said,
“We’re gonna try out for football.
Come ride along with us.”
So he did, the high school grad.
 
Standing near the coach,
the coach was sizing him up.
“Wanna try out?” Coach said.
“Take this ball and get past those big galloots!”
“Catch!”
Run, he did, tricky little guy,
he zipped right past ’em.
“Try it again”, said the coach…
and he did… for four years!
 
We all have moments like that,
when somebody tosses us the ball.
After we catch it, what happens?
Stand on the sidelines, holding on?
Or running, with all we’ve got,
zigging and zagging around the obstacles,
heading for the goal line.
“Lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the earth.”
We don’t run alone.
Someone was with Ken,
as he progressed to be,
using his gifts, maxing out.
Oh, did he soar, blessed
along life’s highway.
 
So, the ‘coach’ tosses us a ball
to see what we will do.
Yawn and watch, or
run with the wind!
Doing our part,
running with.
 
Selah, Lin 2/2013 
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White Grass

211-green-snow-white-grass

The earth’s blanket
wears different coats
Most famous I think
is green
 
Poets, singers,
laud the richness
of lush grass, growing
and feeding animals
 
Summer’s harsh sun
and lack of moisture
or winter’s cold
can turn the green to tan
An earth tone
is suspect
 
A little coat of snow
can grace the grass with white
brilliant in the morning sun
purity displayed over earth
This morning’s grass was white alone
frost had glazed each blade
so thick the carpet lay
tinted green so slightly
it was quite a sight to see!
 
Even our barn red mailbox was frosted
plastered with thick frost it stood
another testament to moisture laden air
being pulled from cold darkness to springtime sun
 
I’ve been frosted too!
Years have grayed my hair
and headed it towards white
How about you?
 
Lin  2/2013 
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Grandad’s Island

GRandfather_Clock

Put together over years
the island was a refuge
the world whirling, swirling
in chaotic ways
power and money soaring and sinking
the island was a place
where perspective rested and grew
 
Every shelf, every wall,
every cupboard and every drawer
spoke smoothly of the couple
whose lives were tapestry to see
Grandma lived there.
 
Colors, patterns,
art and memories
reflected times and places
Grandma was a home maker.
 
The nook where he devoured
the Trib and WSJ
the local paper here
and hometown paper Kentucky,
the plain steel office desk
and common office chair
where he raced through computations
checking, correcting the IRS
Reading (devouring) facts and figures
The love seat couch in the den
where movies were watched together
 
Small wonder, the island became
so precious at the last
when a worn out body settled down
to ‘put in time’
do final things….
So fitting the island was
where he passed
quickly and without pain
from this life to the next
 
The island now has waves
of distribution to the family
Week by week, items leave
Room by room the island empties
sometime soon to some new owner
 
Nothing is the same.
Yet it is.
The prairie seasons changing
winter will melt into spring
and new life will come
as always
 
New islands are forming
east coast to west coast
new tapestries of life are being woven
every day, the threads that bind us
can become stronger
 
We are left to consider
what it all means
how we shall then live
Will we invest ourselves in people
and in things eternal?
 
Remember
Grandad’s Island
 
Selah, Lin 1/2013 
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Tucked In

209-tucked-in

Little moments come our way
like tucking in a little one
lovingly smoothing a blanket
to cover them just so
 
The early risers do the same
to the sleeping loved one snuggled
with pillow and blanket for a little more
A kiss, a careful adjusting,
perhaps a gentle pat
and murmured words
“I love you”
 
On the other end of life
an undertaker steps up front
to pull a silken quilt up
covering a face a final time
then closing the lid
turning a sealing crank
 
Done
 
Some words are spoken
some songs are sung
the preacher puts one hand on
almost patting the casket
raises the other hand high
calling on God to comfort those here
receive the loved one there
Done
 
Solemn men step forward
transfer the casket to the hearse
family and friends que in their cars
the last ride begins
 
The Old Bailey waits
quietly watching, receiving
Earth is open
the casket eases down
The black silk soil tumbles in
 
Little moments come our way
like tucking in a little one
lovingly smoothing a blanket
to cover them just so
 
Selah
 
Lin, 1/2013  Farmer Bill Maxwell, RIP 
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Spike and Dunk!

basketball-dunk

Games have their moments
In volleyball it’s a spike
the ball sizzling straight
to the floor and a score
Yea!  All right!
and in basketball
when an arm arks down
and the ball is slammed through the net
Swoosh!  Yea!  All right!
 
Doesn’t life carry those moments too?
In a movie theatre somewhere
a young man slips his arm out
to carefully capture the shoulders
of a willing young lady…
A groom kisses a bride
sealing the deal, launching a marriage
A mother holds her child
a father does too
A person senses God
loves them, even them
 
Exclamation points
in the story of lives, of living
of knowing
Two young princes
of the kingdom Serendip
were out upon their quest
along their highway things happened
Spikes and Dunks, I think
that were much greater
than what they sought after
thus we have a word
serendipity
to capture a happening
unplanned, yet believable
 
Indeed, we have Christmas
to detour from normal
stop
recognize
God’s spike, God’s dunk
serendipity
 
But wait!  There’s more!
 
Lin 12/15/2012 
208

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Palmer House Morning

farm_bureau

Early morning quiet
as I walk a long hallway
Murmuring sifts from some doors
as I pad softly past
The farmers have come to town
two thousand
to stew their policy, ideas,
and surface direction for another year
 
Couples long together
are working their get up routines
teams, pulling together
raising families, crops and livestock,
they feed themselves and 300 others
 
Push the button
ride the elevator down
street level
workers bustling in and past
the coffee shop full tilt
A young lady, perky,
ready to serve the java, the joe
Folks studying the morning papers
others punching phones, smartly
 
Up the escalators, off to work
some three hundred fifty folks
every county represented
Jacobs calls out:
“Adams three!”
“All here”, says the county president.
“A quorum present!” is declared.
The stenographer introduced
the silent one down front
whose finger fly as she concentrates, documents
“Education”, declares the worker bee.
“Line 24 amended to read…”
And so it goes for a day and a half.
 
In the back, in the hallways,
a steady flow of folks, greeting, visiting,
“You gotta minute?” And off they go.
Democracy in living color!
Grass roots ideas
being hashed out
formed into policy
and often into law
The men and women of Illinois Farm Bureau,
the families, young and old
do this once a  year
Lifetime friendships formed, molded,
by common values, goals
More than just jobs
farming is a lifestyle
It’s who they are
inside and out
 
The ideas flow
first like tiny creeks,
but joining others, amending, growing
becoming mighty rivers
carrying a mighty nation
‘from sea to shining sea’*
this land,
‘the astonishing rich soil of America’**
produces
food and fuel and fiber in abundance
 
Freedom
Faith
Capitalism
bound together, so strong, yet fragile
 
“Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
for amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
America, America, God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good, with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.”*
 
Lin, 12/2012, Palmer House Chicago, Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Convention
 
*”America, the Beautiful”, text Katherine Lee Bates, music Samuel A. Ward
** George Will 
207

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Sure Hands

206-137_KayInHerNewKitchen

In every nook and cranny
a particular pair of hands
turn a house into a home
You can guess whose hands!
 
I’ve watched them in the kitchen
hands on fine china
confident, touching with memories
of her mom or Gammy
toweling that precious bowl
The same hands wield a knife
chopping or shaping something just so
Ah, yes, they can stir a pot!
Or whip some cream
or roll out a crust for an awesome pie!
 
I’ve them in the sewing room
guiding a seam, making a garment
with love sewn in stitch by stitch
Those hands smooth a fabric
just so, to make it right,
for ironing or marking or cutting cloth.
I’ve seen them hold a slippery babe
lathered with soap the little crittur,
all wiggles,
but safe in mother’s hands
 
Sure hands, are they,
reaching out for my hand
linking us in communion, oneness,
in our walk down life’s highways
 
The spiritual claims, quite rightly,
“He’s got the whole world, in His hands,
Okay, but I’m thinkin’, one fine picture
of sure hands,
belong, quite rightly,
to the Lady of the House!
 
Lin, 11/2012
to Kay, 50 years down life’s highway together 
206

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Streetlights on the Snow

FIRST-SNOW-VI

Late last evening
Bundled against the cold
I stepped into a painting

I stopped in my tracks
To take it all in, a pleasure
Fresh fallen snow
Thin as a sheet blanket
Was skinned over the scene

Soft yellowed light
From street light globes
Snow diamonds sparkling
The old drug store restored on one side
A dime store on the other
Pick up trucks all white parked in lines
Like white horses waiting patiently

I broke into that world
Behind me friends breaking the silence
“Drive carefully!”
“See you soon!”
Engines grinding into life
Silence returning to Main Street.

Small town luxuries abound
If we but stop to absorb
Sip them in to savor
Lin
11/2012

205

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Chicago, Yesterday and Today

Chicago_Skyline_from_Lake_Michigan

A Frenchman made his way
into a great unknown
land, and more land,
lakes and rivers and native peoples
Westward on he went
discovering a land full of wonders
 
A great lake
and great lakes
like huge inland seas
fresh water, fish
here would be a place
where people could live
and well
 
Time passing
it came to be
my great grandpa settled there
working at a saw mill
making boards
making a city
a new life
far from tyrants and kings and queens
aristocracies unkind to people
Here, life was better
 
Wave after wave of people came
and the buildings grew thicker
and taller
til they became like stalagmites
reaching to the sky
sky scrapers, they called them
growing ever more tall
 
Box rooms built on box rooms
of homes and office spaces
served by small boxes on cables
lifting up, gliding down
the people sorting themselves
into their caves and places
Beneath the earth level tunnels serve
holding pipes and cables
feeding water (clean one way, used the other)
fuel and wires abound
trains come and go
loaded with folk by the thousands
 
On the streets cars and trucks and people move
pulsing here and there
rhythms and waves day and night
noise accentuated with sirens often
“Give over!” “Emergency!”
 
Where food came in wagons
it’s now traded through wires
Contracts are made, sold and bought
grains and cattle and hogs only on screens
numbers flashing all day long
prices established around the world
as dealers strike and call
 
Insurance and investments
banks and stores and restaurants
more sophisticated, complicated, all the time
more and more stalagmites for companies grow
Somehow all of it works!
 
Amazed, always, I visit there
in huge hotels
with others from around the state
sometimes around the nation
Swirling in with people from around the world
Mixing, sorting, doing our business
Then I go home
to the prairie
to nestle in my small place
the next person a mile away
The sky laid out for me to see
quiet
peace
 
Lin
11/2012 
204

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Hangin’ in There

025-098_IMG_2439

The Great Teacher
has his lines and sayings
His students know them well
so too, his family
 
‘Read the problem!’
Good advice.
‘You may find this helpful, along life’s highway’….
‘If yer gonna be a bear, be a grizzley!”
“Do it the easy way!”
But one comes to mind nowadays:
“I’m hangin’ in there!’
 
A lifetime of being prepared,
I mean really prepared.
Did his homework, superlatively…
Smart, focused, passionate, compassionate…
He’d walk quickly into his classroom,
push himself hard
let his students know he’d maintain hyperspeed
the goal, the exam, the goal:
“75 and alive!”
 
Life has its challenges,
and he knew it.
Most significant person in his life?
His mother, plus his wife.
Granny Perry was a saint
in every way I can think of
deserving respect
what a lady!
Shirl, or “S”
held her own
quite a lady too!
A baby girl
filled out his ticket
“Oddie”, or “Kayper”
his pride and joy
forever and a day
So now we arrive
at “Hangin’ in there!’
The best that he can do.
A very worn body
has slowed him down
put him in a chair
He’s still thinking
soaking up
newspapers, magazines,
and nightly Fox
Still calculating
keeping tabs
accounting, don’t you know!
 
Visitors come
each one cherished
they come and lift his spirits
Gone, they’re mixed with memories
‘along life’s highways’
 
Somewhere along the line
a wise person said it well:
“Invest yourself in people,
and in things eternal’.
Indeed he has, and does!
His family, his students, his friends…
Granny’s God, his God
each person  benefited
from his investment, in us. 
203

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Morning After

197-done-planting

Everything is different.
Everything, except one, is the same.
 
One is gone.
A very special one:
Dad
Grandad. 
“B” is for Barney.
Professor Perry
Colonel Perry
 
A pillar knocked over
like a domino
a long chain of events to follow.
Bring the family home
Put all else on hold
Do the mundane things
while numb
Lots of tears and hugs
Everything’s different
Everything’s the same…
 
The sun came up
just as it did when my step dad died
mom and I watching from the hospital hallway
The grass the trees, the fields of September
were for some moments put on hold
Our world paused
Our known ones remembered, reflected
 
Who was this man?
Whom did he touch
in life changing ways?
They came, to honor and remember
Many sent cards, many with notes
 
LIfe turned a corner
with Grandad’s passing
Everything’s different
Everything’s the same
 
Harry got a driver permit
Libby started school…again
Evie went for horseback riding
Keller ran and ran
Sam discovered lots more things
Joe remarked on it all
The grownups hit their sidewalks
pounding along life’s highways
The friends went back to their lives
as we are bound to do
 
Kay and I are now
the ‘older generation’
Suddenly!
So soon!
Imagine!
 
Up to us
to have perspective
be there at important times
Encouraging as Grandad did
a thousand times ten thousand.
Amazing (not) how his best lines
fit right in with Scripture!
 
A last day sharing
with his teacher grandson
he laid it out:
“If I could get my students
to believe in me,
they could believe in themselves.”
 
I know what he meant.
His reputation was know, established in living stone:
His word was truth. 
If the top teacher in the nation
said it
You could put it in the bank.
He said: “75 and stay alive!”
“All my students pass the exam”.
He wasn’t asking for perfection.
He knew mistakes would be made.
But the appropriate goal
was pass the exam.
 
Jesus said: “Come unto me,
you who are burdened and heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.”
and “Believe in me,
and you shall have life abundantly.”
 
So the students had their gateway exam
leading to profession
All of us need to address the question
the gateway to eternal life
“Who do you say I am?” said Jesus….
 
Selah,
Lin 10/2012
Professor Kenneth W. Perry, 1919-8 Sep 2012 
201

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After

025-098_IMG_2439

The room stands quiet
returned to its former state
all the things carried in
are carried out, gone
 
The people
those who stood in front
those who played their music
and those who filed in
claiming chairs for a moment
have gone to their cars
and motored away
 
Quiet reigns 
 
In their hearts words are replayed
faces cross the mind screen
the family, the people
have come together to share
a passing
a moving away
moving on
 
The book of a life has been written
the touching part has slipped away
so now, we can only touch things they touched
but hugs are no more
forever
 
The structure of creation is such
that in our mind’s eye, in our heart of hearts
we still touch
and do
pleasuring in the memories
that will stay with us
Some fine days we’ll be together
family
sharing memories
laughing
choking up, tearing
it will be good
 
Thinking deeply
we’ll be aware again
there are seasons
We’ll hear a baby cry
hold a grandchild
receive a hug
Some young person will cross a stage
receive a diploma
A young couple, all decked out
will face each other down front at church
place rings
facing life together
Maybe we’ll see an older couple
walking down a sidewalk
holding hands
 
Springtime and summer
fall and winter
the trees, the grass, the flowers
all mark the days
they too, are passing
 
So we scratch the earth
plant some seeds
grow and flower
then begin to slip
returning to the soil
 
Selah, Lin 9/2012 
   74
200

After2022-09-03T14:53:14-04:00

Life: A Brownie with Ice Cream Laced with Chocolate

199-brownie

Professor Ken Perry knew how to live life
and live it abundantly
“If you’re gonna be a bear,
be a grizzly!” he told his students.
And so he lived.
 
Focusing was his forte
riding on passion…
and compassion.
 
So judge him on the outcomes:
Students who passed The Test!
Therein he set the standard:
raised the bar so high!
#1 and # 2 of 65,000 takers…
three times!
#1 or #2 a number of times…
Students in the top 10%…
Students who praised him…
for decades after the class, after The Test.
 
“75 and stay alive!”
“Let the Institute take you by the hand and walk you through the problem!”
“Read the problem!” (RTP)
“Don’t fight the problem!” (DFTP)
“Always question your answer!”
 
So he worked and lived
excelling in accounting
But out of the University eye
he excelled in another area:
Teaching nuclear warfare in the Army!
Colonel Perry did.
He could teach a two hour class
or a 48 hour class on the topic
to Army officers!
So he worked and lived
excelling with his family:
a daughter and five grandchildren.
Kings’ Island with the grandkids
he was ridin’ on “The Beast”
Sharing the thrill of a giant coaster
or sharing on a timid ride
to break a new one in.
 
Graduation brought a reward
a cruise in the Carribean!
What a blast they had!
 
Some eighty cruises shared with Shirley
a hundred eighty countries
On many of them dancing –
what a time they had!
 
So life was a brownie with ice cream
chocolate swirl on top
and now he’s off to heaven!
 
Selah,
Lin, grandad, not RIP, but Joy Unspeakable in Heaven
Kenneth W. Perry 
199

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If You’re Gonna Be a Bear

025-098_IMG_2439

Set yourself in your favorite chair
snuggle down and close your eyes
Now
In your mind’s eye
picture these slides
through a very long life…
 
A small house in a small Kentucky town
dogs and chickens, a cow and a garden
Family noises, kids darting here and there
the neighborhood like one big house
 
A small boy running
chasing, being chased
laughing with his buddy Ray
Older siblings, younger siblings
big families the norm
 
Next slide, school.
The little boy is sitting down front
close to the teacher’s desk
close to the blackboard
so he can see
(poor folks didn’t get glasses)
Teacher’s pet, earned
recognized as bright all along
 
Next slide, high school.
Football.  Strategy and the game
Focus the energy, the strength
give it your all
Block!  Tackle!  Run run run!
Quick and tricky is so much fun!
 
Next slide, drug store.
Friends come by
“Wanna come with us?
Goin’ over to Eastern,
to try out for the team.”
 
Eastern Kentucky College
Tryouts, football field,
standing and a watching.
Coach sez : “Here!
(pitches Ken the football)
Run past those two guys!
Give it a try!”
He did.  He won…
a scholarship to the college!
 
Next slide
a pretty coed.
Shirley Kimball
Cute as cute could be.
Smart.
Click!
Down the diploma aisle

Next slide, Lieutenant Perry, U.S. Army
“Take this test and we’ll test your mettle.”
Bingo! Top of the class!
Off to learn artillery!
Next stop Fort Knox and tanks:
Figure out rockets trajectory
do the math
We want rockets on tanks to hit their targets
Invasion in Europe is in the plans.
So he did.  They did.
and then down for a marriage license!

 
Next slide a little girl
cute as a button
daddy’s pride and joy
Kayper!  Bright and bubbling!
 
Next slide, a tiny grocery
proprietor
Athens, Ohio
Grad school classes
just for fun
A master’s degree in the making
 
Major shift!  Next slide:
down to Berea, Kentucky
Berea College
Ken Perry, teacher!
A tiny little dwelling home
 
Major shift!
Illinois!  Getting a ph. d.
Growing a legend program
the best
Accountancy, University of Illinois
Soaring!
 
“If you’re gonna be a bear…
be a grizzly!”
Give it all you’ve got.”
 
“If I can get my students
to believe in me,
I can get them to believe in themselves.”
 
They needed to think:
“This professor is awesome!”
“If Professor Perry thinks I can do it
I think I can! I’m gonna give it all I’ve got!”
 
So for a very full semester
he rode ’em hard.
Picture a herd of mustangs running
flat out
big cloud of dust behind
heading for the goal
 
“Read the problem!”
“Don’t fight the problem!”
“Always question your answer!”
“Let the Institute take you by the hand and walk you through the problem!”
 
They did.  They passed.
 
All along the way
“If you’re gonna be a bear”…
 
At 93, Kenneth Wibur Perry passed
soared one last time
his life here completed,
oh, did he ever pass!
 
Selah,  Lin 9/2012 
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Done…

197-done-planting

We’ve done about all we can do:
 
We chose the seeds most carefully
from ten thousand possibilities
put the soil, under microscopes
and tested for its health
amended it, for maximum yield
 
We nestled the seeds
into warmth and moisture
watched them sprout, grow
to fine young plants
 
Watched for bugs, disease,
and mindfully sprayed where needed
honoring the soil and environment
 
So, we are done.
Each day the corn holds court
for whatever nature delivers
Temperature, moisture, wind
whatever
time goes by
 
Hunter gatherers roamed the earth
surviving, but in short years.
Along came farmers
who planted, cultivated, and harvested
saving seeds for food year round
surviving, better, but still with problems
nearly everyone had to be
a farmer
Then came knowledge
connecting, mothering nature
ah yes!
 
Our minds can study
learn, discern
how to make things better
 
Discover mode
lifts us higher
so one percent are farmers
freeing others for mankinds benefit
for doctors, and dentists and
ten thousand jobs to help each other
still, we need to eat
 
So a better seed gets planted
the soil is treated better, respected
the plants are encouraged, protected
and harvests grow
grains pour from harvesters to transports
trucks and trains and barges and giant ships
moving, moving, moving
from growing hands to hungry folks
around the earth, it happens
 
We’re all waiting
watching
done, til harvest
What will it be?
 
Selah, Lin
James 5:7 
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Letting Go

_Holiday-Holy-Days_generic

A plethora of thoughts
‘letting go’, surrounded
Pictures race across my mind
 
Of a little one
hangin’ on to mama’s leg
a shelter in the time of storm
 
Of a proud papa
kissing his daughter
giving her to her husband
 
Of airport scenes
parting folks
kisses and hugs
and reluctant goodbyes
 
Of dad, hand on the bicycle seat,
running alongside the precious one
letting go
Of mom and dad
in the doorway
watching a teenager, alone,
driving away to college
 
Toughest of all life’s lessons
is holding the hand
of a loved one slipping away
final breaths coming
stopping
a chapter closing
 
Letting go happens so often
apostrophes in life
we know keep coming
long rows of candles
one being lit
another being snuffed
all in a context
of The Light of The World.
 
Selah,
Lin 7/2012 
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Relief!

106-tall-corn-growing-in-a-field-pv

Days of hundred degrees
weeks with little to no rain
but the crops are hanging on!
 
Drummer Flannagan doin their thing
black blanket tucked under green crops
holding tight to subsoil moisture
 
So when the crops should look
like the unwatered yards in town
still, they’re growin green!
Soaking up the sun
converting elements to our next meals
Amazing!
We are blessed!
A cold front rolling through
has dropped the temps a lot
Evenings in the 70’s
soft breezes blowing
the roots are going down
deeper and deeper they sink
sipping on the nectar
that we are mostly made of
 
Leaves that were curled against the drought
are now unfurled, relaxed, relieved….
and so am I!
 
Waiting for real rain!
But sleeping better!
 
Selah, Lin 7/2012 
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Journey

highway

The theme was mostly:
“We went with him”.
as we traveled along life’s highways
He certainly covered a lot of miles
And he always led the pack!
 
Like icing on our cakes
he flavored our lives in stories
take this one:
 
Finishing up a tour of duty
at an army camp in Kansas
a friend from Champaign asked if he
could catch a ride back home.
“Sure”, said Ken. “I like to get movin’ early”.
Three hundred miles down the road,
the friend asked if they might stop for breakfast!
 
He and grandma took cruises
sometimes taking grandchildren
Rewards for graduations!
Once he offered me a trip
join him to the Antarctic!
We did!
Guess who was first off the boat
first feet to hit the beach
Leading the pack as usual!
 
Oh, how he loved strategy for the journey
whatever it might be…
From his home to office, or doctor
quickest route?
In and out of the Assembly Hall
or the stadium
Seats chosen with purpose
quick in; quick out…
The final journey was in slow time
beginning with pushing a grocery cart
zipping around the store
then with his walker
keep pushing!
Know the limit, and be right there!
 
His counsel was much sought
and highly valued by us all
He gave it to us straight
but only if we asked.
What a treasure!
 
So many of his guiding principles
were in harmony with the Scriptures:
“If you’re gonna be a bear,
be a grizzly!”
(Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord!)
“If I can get my students to believe in me,
I can get them to believe in themselves!”
Most thought he was the very best, bar none.
“So if the very best professor, who knows this stuff so well,
believes I can do, I think I can!”
How like Jesus, who taught to believe in Him,
and through him have life, and abundantly.
 
So he ran the race
passing the tests
boosting his students to pass theirs
 
Well done
Thou good and faith full servant
Kenneth Wilbur Perry
 
Selah, Lin 9/2012 
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Just a Sip

193-marathon

Half way through a marathon
a runner grabs a cup
a quarter inch or water there
No time to grab another
he throws it down
rushes on
the goal still far ahead
 
Ten miles down
sixteen to go
the runner knows it’s not enough
from top of head
to tip of toes
cooling sweat is soaking
 
Better than nothing
this ‘not enough’
yet the runner’s thankful
no way back
going forward
trained to do just that
 
Focus
Concentrate
set small goals
another drink is coming
somewhere forward
getting closer
every step, every minute
July is hot
July is dry
not much water can be expected
so crops and people reach way down
to find their drops of water
 
Shade’s an answer
for them both
a gentle breeze to boot
A crop ‘canopies’
people burrow, cocoon
conserving all they can
 
Just a sip feels so good!
We’ll take it!
Be thankful!
and
keep moving forward!
 
Lin July 2012 
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Sunshine

018-2012-03-29_06-41-01_4311

Early morning darkness
coffee, newspaper, coffee again
Waiting for the sun
to whisk away nights soaking
 
Straight sticks adorned with seeds
standing at attention
in long straight rows
waiting for the farmer
to whisk and sort and steal away
food
for man and beast
 
Soybean harvest
is one of waiting
soy seeds so tender, porous
they soak up dew defying
harvest on most mornings
 
So the farmers stir
and stir their coffee
and do those little things
that always need some doing
Come ten, come eleven
checking, testing
rubbing pods between toughened hands
come twelve
aieee! Come one…
and then we roar!
 
Clipping off the straight sticks
very close to earth
gathering in, sifting, sorting
treasuring seeds
pouring into trucks, into trains
into giant ocean going vessals
Food is on the move!
 
Come on sun!
I’m waiting!
 
Selah, Lin
9-2012 
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Little One

172a-114_P1010127

Indeed they are precious!
The little ones have been molded
Shaped to look like us
just smaller?
I don’t think so!
 
Each one, every one
is unique!
A combination, perhaps,
of mom and dad
and brothers and sisters
grandmas and grandpas
aunts and uncles…
the list goes on.
 
Maybe they’re like
a huge bouquet
all buds
yet to be unfolded
 
What a blessing
purest joy
to be a part, play a part
in witnessing the unfolding
flowering
 
How they breathe
How they move
Learn to look at us
smile, frown
laugh, cry
Squeeze our neck
nestle in
relax and sleep in our arms
Wrap tightly around our leg
 
Run with us
Play hide and seek
Walk with us, hand in hand
Run to greet us
Leap with abandon into our arms
Sit tightly beside us
in nervous times and place
 
Ride high upon our shoulders
King or Queen of the world!
Seek us out
above all others
when trouble comes their way
 
Around the world
we can watch them, study them
So many things in common
Maybe what we have is love
played out, lived out
right before our eyes….
 
Selah, Lin 9/2012
Dad
Bitsy,Jen,Andy,David,Kate
Grandpa
Harry, Libby, Keller, Evie, Sam and Joe 
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Table

041-101_IMG_2442

Significant women have made statements
regarding the importance of ‘table’.
Barbara Bush said it this way:
“The most important decisions in America
are made around the kitchen table.”
As always, Barbara’s wisdom was front and center.
 
Grandma Warfel
near pioneer
drew a line defining:
“True friends feet
have been under your table
and yours under theirs.”
 
The family table is always defined
with mom and dad in specific places
honored and respected, noted always
Throughout history
it’s just the same
 
Everyone has a place
to start
square, round, or long rectangle
no matter
 
How natural Jesus was
at the table head
how unnatural he arose
with towel and bowl circled round
washing each one’s feet
Not just his own
but also with others
he joined with them at table
and he speaks to us, each one,
inviting us to His table
 
Living water offered…
Bread broken for you, for me,
bread that nourishes forever…
 
Bridges are built, maintained
at table
 
“I’m so glad, I’m a part,
of the family of God.
I’ve been washed in the fountain,
cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus
as I travel this sod.
I’m a part of the family,
the family of God.”
 
Lin 10/2012 
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Wet Air Morning

189-After-The-Storm

Leaves drifting down, early morning,
as I pop out the door to snag the paper
the air engulfs me like a big wet kiss!
a wet air morning for certain.
 
Soaking my world
the fields and grass are laden
humidity must be a hundred
A pin drop would make it rain!
 
Far to the south
the Gulf offers up its moisture
and winds duly christened travel
a giant swirl brings them here
to bathe the plains with life giving water
naturally
sufficient
to make this a garden
 
Lush, comes to mind,
in seasons warm
lovely, when cold
slides down in winter
Harvest will wait all morning
as the sun bakes the plants for plucking
Shed doors fly open, late morning
machines growl out
crawling like giant caterpillars
in the fields
Devouring,
spewing
sifting, sorting
pouring out the fruits of summer
 
Into the darkness the machines roar on
pushing against the night
then, moisture again, settles in
smothering plants and machines to silence
 
Another day of harvest
 
Selah,
Lin
Harvesting soybeans, 10/2012 
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Grandpa’s Hands

188-100_IMG_2441

High on my office shelf
sits a sculpture done in love
Albrecht Durer’s Betende Hande
a labor of love by a brother
for his brother who loved
 
Just this evening I came in
weary from a day of labor
hands smudged with grease and dirt
from a day of farming
Warm water flooded my cold hands
as I rubbed and soaped them slowly
rinsed, I dried them, and I paused,
I have my grandpa’s hands!
 
Not so surprising, really,
as fifty years of farming
have ever shaped and molded
young boy hands to older farmer
 
Tanned, marked with scars,
big strong hands from exercise
decades shaped and strengthened
Happy to have
all my fingers!
The bones grown bigger
they say that happens
my grip grown stronger
I can pull a wrench, lift a boulder,
shape and cut metal
My sister says
I AM grandpa Warfel
I’ve become him!
Well, I like that!
He was my hero,
my daddy sub
First memory is
sittin on his lap, driving a little tractor
(big then, small now!)
He and I had lots of races
he could run quite fast
(though now I know, only yards)
together we worked, side by side,
he coached me all along
We fed cows and milked them,
pulled weeds and built fences
Painted barns and fence post tops
Pleated rope from baling twine
Sat side by side in church
over on the far north side
Big Ben ticking away an hour
We chowed down grandma’s cooking
ate fresh veggies from the garden
butchered cows and pigs and chickens
Oh, a thousand, ten thousand things!
 
And now I have my grandpa’s hands!
 
Selah, Lin  10/2012
Grandpa in the mirror, age 71
Alfred Warfel, 1884-1954
Profile on the book cover…Grandpa looks like his Grandpa! 
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Morning Moon

187-morning-moon

randpa rolled out at 0330
to do the livestock chores
Pitch the hay down
from the mow
shovel the grain
into cow shined troughs
slap the stantions
on the milk cows necks
and do the milking
 
The walk to the barn
only a hundred steps
was lit by stars that twinkled
and by the morning moon.
I wasn’t “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”!
 
The cattle knew we were coming
they greeted us in moo talk
even the cats had something to say
as they scampered along beside us
 
Walking back to breakfast
the moon still shone
pristine, in the dawn soft sky
The stock, the stars, the moon, the earth
go about their ways, a habit
while, in sharp contrast,
we can ‘know’.
Thinking about the past
and early rising grandparents
the present
and those whose lights are on
and the future
Who holds it?  How will it be?
We can wonder, dream and plan
 
Good morning Moon!
I’m on my way
to think and do a thousand things
I’ve never done before!
Hug my wife and out the door
to use my mind and muscles
to fix and fuel and operate machines
that gather in the summer’s bounty
Food, fuel and fiber are my business
People are in line waiting, expecting
and I
I will deliver
 
Selah,
Lin 10/2012 
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Touch and Permission

_Loved_Ones_generic

An Asian culture posits a greeting
with hands at sides, and a bow
Another culture folks fold their hands together
prayer like, and do a head nod bow
 
Somewhere back in our ancestry
swords were often present
firmly gripped in one’s right hand
Noted by their absence
an empty hand was extended
to grip another person’s right hand
 
Touch
and permission
 
The pastor greets the flock
service ended, folk headed home
words offered, exchanged, with all
and hands offered, taken,
sometimes held in lingering, caring ways
 
The politician reaches out
shaking all the hands they can
moving, always moving
to shake someone else’s hand
Glancing touches
like a thrown rock skipping across the lake
 
A young man, a young lady,
sit side by side
signals passing
“Okay”
his hand grasps hers
with her permission
and the world becomes far away
two, on life’s highway
to becoming one….
A child lays abed
burning up with fever
a mother’s hand, cool, soft, gentle,
touches the forehead
the suffering somehow is relieved
 
Another child running
falls and scrapes a knee
Mom or dad picks them up and hugs them
and pats them gently on the back, soothing
and the pain softens steadily
 
Then there’s the leap across a chasm
and full blown hugs are done
Parents and children
and special ones, with permission
are hugged and held in abandon
Pausing, seconds really, in a lifetime
but oh, so precious!
 
We humans have a dimension
where only we can go
Minds and hearts combine to claim:
“He touched me.
Oh,He touched me…
and oh, the joy that floods my soul.
He touched me
and made me whole.”
 
Permission granted
 
Selah,
Lin, 10.2012 
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1882

158-009_bring_historic_photos_memorabilia_annual_meeting_

Indeed, a long time ago,
but just ‘yesterday’ in history…
 
Great grandpa was a walking
Tolono depot just behind
Southwest into the prairie
what he saw was not a goldmine
but a ‘blackmine’
 
Soil soft on his footsteps
speaking to him in farmer tones
“This could be really good, really somethin'”
“This could be our home”.
 
So he bought a field in ’82,
and planted himself right there.
He quickly built a lean to
shelter against the winter
for great grandma and the kids.
 
A horse bought, and a sled
he trekked across the snow
Parkville, sawmill, boards he bought
for the first home to be built in summer.
 
Little great uncle Fred had a job
a ridin’ on that sled.
Last load coming home
he sat upon the lumber
waving a lantern at the wolves
who slinked along behind
 
First house built in ’83
great grandma was in heaven
but here on earth she worked so hard
supporting her man in the field
Monday’s she carried water
two buckets at a time
from the open ditch just north of the house
so Tuesday could be washday.
Too big a job, carrying water,
to do both jobs same day.
 
By and by great grandpa
happened to be nearby, when
in Tolono a rail car was in the siding
piled high with wooden barrels
Giant ones called ‘hogsheads’
were for sale that day
He bought one, and wagoned it home.
Buried it next to the kitchen
situated just so
a downspout from the house roof
could be directed in.
He piped it from the kitchen sink
aided by a handpump
great grandma could stand at the sink and pump
and carry the buckets no more
My grandma witness the first water
and then great grandma’s tears bore the message:
Happiness about a burden passed!
 
Seventy miles, to the south
John Delano Warfel settled
veteran of The War
the Buckeye native planted his farm
and raised a great big family
Little Alfred was born there
about the same time Ida was
on this farm
and thus begins another chapter
in ‘Farmers on this Land’.
The same young Illinois Central
that brought H.J. from Chicago,
brought Alfred up from Rose Hill
to the Tolono station.
That’s the same rail station, by the way,
where Abe Lincoln spoke his last words
on the way to Washington.
 
Some fifty years from ’82,
H.J. hung it up.
Moved into Sadorus
two miles to the west.
Took a little doing
to get great grandma there
several months went by
before she would give up
and follow him to town.
Alfred and Ida moved in here
the second generation.
 
Again war was to tumble
family plans and movings
’41 December, Pearl Harbor happened,
grabbing my folks and farming.
Hank, my dad, was called up,
and off he went to war
as John D. had some 70 years before.
Mom, my sister and I,
stayed anchored here on this place
as battle after battle waged
across the face of earth.
One year.
Two years
Three, then June, the sixth,
and Europe was invaded
Americans poured into France
my dad was among them, fighting
to push the face of evil back
One week
Two weeks
One month
Two
and then one more explosion
Captain Hank Warfel was no more.
Except in a metal casket, and some memories.
 
Skip forward thirty years
and his son came on the scene
to move into the house built
the year that he was born.
He came home, with his family,
to take up plow and planter
and harvest as his fathers did
Watch his children grow
 
Time, like soldiers, marches on,
and now the son,
the grandson,
the great grandson’s
 grown old
Seven decades and some change
his boots walked on this ground.
Babies grown, moving away,
making their way in the other world
but rooted in this soil
 
His song and theirs
is “The Song of the Prairie’.
 
Selah,
Lin 10/2012 
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Order in the Court!

waiting_room

Seattle, St. Louis…
Baltimore, Chicago…
waiting rooms the same
hallways polished keen
Great big buildings
many floors
folks in starched coats scurrying
 
America’s clinics hum along
patients in; patients out
patients, patients, all about
secretaries by the score
nurses on the phones
and then, the doctors
In
 
Women and men so educated
so focused
mountains of information in
sitting in front of a human
one person
to one person
one question:
“How can I help?”
There is order in the court!
 
And orders go out:
this test and that
lab and xray and more
digging deeper, deeper, deeper
for that nugget, that exclusive ‘click’
“This is the problem”
and “This is the solution”.
Orders go out again:
to the person
to the pharmacy
to the therapists
to the army of support
yes indeed, Order in the Court!
 
So life goes on
in a better fashion
all the while remembering
life is precious
and oh so short, determined
by birth and death
mountains and valleys in between
seasoned
measured
savored with perspective
 
“This is the day
the Lord has made!
We will rejoice
and be glad in it!”
 
Selah,
Lin 6/2012 
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The Blue Shirt Folk

152-friends

I know a certain former congressman
now president of some colleges
whose trademark was a blue shirt
button down
Back and forth to Springfield
then back and forth to Washington
Blue shirt Monday
and every other day
 
Eastern preppies  uniform, I note
was khaki pants and blue shirts too
although stripes of blue came along
with Paisley ties and Herringbone tweeds
 
My grandpa and my dad
grew up in bibs of denim blue
with chambray shirts, long sleeves
Summer, winter
it didn’t matter
Hats and jackets changed
but blue shirts ruled the farms
Farm and Fleet and rural stores
still carry lots of the selfsame shirts
and lots of us still wear ’em
Protect us from the hottest suns
make the bugs try harder to bite
and keep the hay chaff out
protect our arms from scratches
Colder weather finds t shirts under
and sweat shirts over
but that blue shirt still rules
 
Maybe we’ve more in common
than sometimes people think?
Practical wear should be the rule
for those at work wherever
I’m happy in my work shirts
my brand, my label, my ‘flag’
 
Selah, LIn 6/2012 
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The Bitter Taste of Winter

067-img_3445

Cold, they say, bitter cold!
And right they are!
The cold bites us, in many ways!
 
Noses and toes
fingers and ears
get nipped and painted red
Pay attention!
Our bodies say
this is not to my liking!
 
Frost bite, they call it
as winter chills and works on us
seeping in to gloves and hats
the wind burning our skin
eyes watering
tears freezing
oh, we are so cold!
 
Tis a bitter taste
winter gives us
yet, beneath the snow and ice
there’s good
We’re killing bugs!
Rebalancing nature acting
fighting back gainst insects
fighting back against diseases
winter bites and kills
those nasty critturs!
 
Thank you winter!
You’re saving me money
and helping me avoid
the use of poisons to kill those bugs
the use of chemicals to kill those weeds
that rob our crops
rob our foods, feeds, fuels and fibers!
 
So I’ll look for sugar
to sweeten winter
I’ll bet I’ll find some
somewhere!
 
Selah,  Lin Zero degrees and below 2014 
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On the Move

parkland

Planted on a prairie hilltop
the highest spot around
the college has to grow
Engaging the community in learning!
Firm foundations abound
for buildings and for students
minds are stretched
and buildings sprout

A wing goes here
a wing goes there
students slip in, and fly away
that’s the Parkland Way!
A thousand students, two
then four then ten
and finally…
a front door to welcome them!

Thousands of feet
now ten,
thousands of feet! Over time,
two hundred sixty…thousand!
Oops! that means half a million people feet!
Borrowed rooms and buildings first
then spankin’ new buildings now forty
hundreds of thousands of building feet
of rooms linked in wings
a living, breathing place

From soils to stars
roaring engines to computer clicks
dogs and cats to people care
giving speeches and writing books
wind and fire and policeman training
pounding nails and welding iron
music and arts and theatre too
whatever needs are out there
the rooms grow, and serve the people

A place
investing in people
and things eternal
Buildings and minds still growing
and it is good.
Very good!

Lin, 5/2012

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Surrender

169_16x9

Twas a half century ago, this month,
I met a young woman,
who became my wife come December.

My life turned a corner
a big one
and I surrendered to her
and she to me

Ah, not 100 per cent at once!
Actually, I’m still working on it
but we’ve come a long way
Fifty years worth of trying
and getting better

Some forty years ago
I turned another corner
went forward, actually
and gave my life to Jesus
I surrendered again
Ah, not 100% at once
Actually, I’m still working on it
but I think I’ve come a long way
and getting better

Two thousand years ago
God came to earth in human form
the Son surrendered all
enduring all the evil the world could muster
he forgave
and proved His Godness
rising from the grave

Not the way of earth, surrender.
Conquer is our game
Conquer things, and conquer people
No
Surrender

A little bit of heaven’s revealed
when surrender rules the day
Picture a very small child
sleeping in mom’s or dad’s arms
nestled in, sleeping peacefully
safe and secure from all alarms

Other places God reveals
the peace that passes understanding
and we sense a greatness
a Creator
just a glimpse

Selah, Lin 4/12

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The Quiet Man

quiet_man

Hours I spent with him
some in heavy waters
some in lighter moments
He became a brother
He was almost always there
passionate in his being
so much so

He came to one board meeting
straight from being
a patient in the hospital…
Always alert, listening with energy
sometimes eyes a twinkling
I would catch that look
and know
something was cooking, coming

Often a humorous arrow
flaming to the heart
and laughter would fill the room
How many votes?
A thousand or two?
Thought through issues
discussed from different angles
But in the end agreement
a team player

Bodies wear out in time
so we come, with sadness
to final moments
but remembering
appreciating
the precious gift of life

We pause to give thanks
for those who were givers
going extra mile after mile
to do their part
share the loads
of living free

Freedom on earth’s constrained
by ten thousand things and more
but, passed, freedom is complete

From a humble dwelling here
to a mansion, with streets of gold
Paul Quinlan
Mansion builder, gold winner
now complete

5/1 Lin

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Rolling, A Song of the Prairie

179-129_IMG_1688

Rolling
Big tractor wheels
taller than a man
carryin’ 300 horses
back and forth
back and forth
tilling the soil
planting the crop

A lazy swirl of dust
marks my way
Soil seeking heaven
…just like me
the way of earth
the way of man

Row after row
seeds of promise
nestled into the waiting soil
dark. warm. moist.
A trigger is kicked!
Life clicks!

Root down, spike up
seeking sun up, and food down
Creation is a symphony
all parts singing a song
Here it is before us:
the Song of the Prairie

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Tree Hugger

178--tree-hugger

A hundred thirty years ago
great grandparents settled here
Planted themselves
and then planted trees
Apple trees, pear trees
Osage orange and ash trees
The Osage Orange were windbreakers
cause the prairie sure had wind!
They made great fence rows
and nearly permanent fence posts
Some still line the boundaries

The fruit trees were very precious
cause sugar sure was high
so sweetness was very special
jams and jellies tasted mighty good
all through the long, cold, and snowy winters

Ash is a good hard wood
for making strong shovels and handles
and hand work was the way to do
The ash trees grew so tall
they seemed to touch the clouds
Strong winds served to do the pruning
broken branches made good fires
for cooking and for heating water
and heating the big old farmhouse

Over a century old now
my arms won’t reach around one
limbs way up in the trees
are big around as trees as well!
But time goes by
and nature has its way
to raise things up
and bring things down
We have the Green Ash Borer

The trees will die.

All of them.

I’ll have enough firewood
for a decade or more I’d guess
but it’s a sad sad time
to see them starve
from all their wounds
Fewer and fewer leaves
until the last leaf falls
and the tree stands sullen, barren

No leaves to greet me in the dawn
no shade for noonday sun
or evenings on the porch swing
no watching the branches lean
as strong winds shake the house
No place to hide the Robin’s nest
just lifeless wood
awaiting the saw, the axe
the fire I sit beside

As winters pass
I’ll stoke the fire
read my books and ponder
Bout how this is earth
with all its problems
and how there is a heaven

This summer I’ll hug each tree
give them my small blessing
thanking the Creator
for the century the ash trees gave us
and thanking for diversity
for oaks and maples and Hawthorns and others

Perhaps I’ll slice some boards from ash tree logs
and build some things to remember
Selah, Lin 4/12

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Working the Broom

177-old-broom

The humble broom is a crucible tool
clean sweeping nooks and crannies
My mind is rich in pictures
of ladies working a broom!

I see grandma
with her broom corn broom
made by a certain blind fellow
down Tuscola way
Grandpa and I visited the guy
every now and then
I watched the man’s fingers fly
and he stitched the wad of strands
the product of a special corn
Grandma would work that broom
somewhere every day
inside the house and down the walk
I still see her chasing dust!

First morning in Japan
I arose and looked out the window
I saw Japanese ladies working brooms
sweeping their porch and steps
then the sidewalk on to the middle of the street!
Wow! Did they work their brooms!

Farmers had their pitchforks
handles and tines kept shiny
and farm wives had their brooms
to shoo away some critter
doin’ something nasty
“Out! Shoo! Shoo!”
I’d hear, knowing who would win
the ‘woman of the house’ for certain!

I had a certain uncle
who took it ‘pon himself
to keep us kids in line.
Somewhere in his past, I guessed,
his mom, my sweet grandma,
had used her broom on him!
His threat to us, on needed occasion, was
“You behave! Or your mom will…
work her broom on YOU!”
Terror! He had our attention!
We all knew
mom could work that broom!

Progress has come to many things
but the corn broom has survived!
Plastic tries, but cannot win
we still have the same old brooms
and farm wives still
know how to use ’em
Shudder!
Better behave or else….

Selah, Lin 4/12

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Pain Full Memories

032-Memorial_Day_300X169px

Life can bear down hard
slapping us, jerking us around
War brings horror over the top
so tough
experiences can’t be spoken
But they are remembered
though they’re buried deep

Sometimes decades later
the ice is broken
and they come out
December 7, 1941
a ‘Day of Infamy’
when thousands died
and more were injured
memories planted deep
June 6, 1944
Normandy
the greatest armada of all time
paratroopers landing
ships pouring soldiers onto beaches
bodies floating in the surf
the beach a graveyard

150,000 invaders
coming coming coming
in some outfits
9 of 10 died
but in others, most lived
to fight
memories planted deep
pain full, memories

Somehow people went on
to come home, to live,
raise families, work
The painful memories pushed back
pushed down
but very much there.
Ours to listen, to care,
to ask ourselves:
“What did we lose?
What did we win?”

What We Lost, and What We Won*
Will we remember
the world at war
Army’s marching
aiming, shooting
shells exploding
cities smashed
families dreams as well

What we won
can be measured
Freedom, from tyranny
cruel insanity
a madman was in charge
madmen came to help him
evil was set free
people died in ovens
in concentration camps

Jewish men in a line
pressed together, front to back
shot to see
how many could be killed
with a single bullet

American soldiers eaten
on far off Pacific Islands
Some sacrificed their lives
Some suffered wounds forever
and some came home to
The Land of the Free,
and the Home of the Brave…
We helped win freedom
to live and grow and be
in this land of opportunity

Sustained by God
we have gone on
that is what we won
Men and women working
worshipping freely
raising families in peace
not even locking doors
children playing into summer nights
friends visiting, laughing, talking
a generation, then two, then three
free to come and go
A handful now, in uniform
vigilant, on guard, protecting
Then, every family was touched
someone in uniform
everyone purposed:
Stop Adolph Hitler
Stop the Emperor’s minions
Stop the world, from going insane

What we lost was half a decade
millions of people and more
“Maybe we will not remember,
what we lost…
and what we won…”*

Lin, 4/2012
*Listen to Ben Bedford, writer, singer,

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B is for Blankie

149-FirstSnow-3

A little guy I know
has to have his B
to feel the world is right
With it he can sleep
let the world go away

A common thing
this blankie time
for little ones round the world
Something about a softness
a shield
to sense the world’s in place

Late winter, early spring,
last year’s corn stubble does its thing
capturing the blowing snow
trapped, it is a blankie, a “B”
protecting winter wheat

Often falling silently in the night
it piles like feathers over the fields
gently tucking in the rich black soil
something about a softness
a shield
to sense the world’s in place

The corn stubble, so stiff and strong
mellows with the moisture
freezing, thawing, soaking in
the melting snow
the blanket comes and is pulled back
over and over again

Soon enough machines will roar
and till the earth to plant
but just now rest
sleep well
all is well, all is well

Lin, late winter snow blanket 2/2012
Joe Warfel and his “B”
I remember tiny Harry, with his blankie pulled up over his face, only two little hands showing gripping the top edge of his blankie….
Not to mention his mom…, and her blankie! Or Kate!

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What Hath the News- Gazette Wrought?

podium

The president moved amongst the crowd
“Helloing’ here and there.
Handshakes, smiles, friendly comments,
a welcoming on all sides.

Up two steps to the speakers platform
stepping up to the podium, the mike,
he looked out upon the moving sea
listened to the voices
watched the people moving, mixing
These folks like each other!

“Good evening!”
spoken once
spoken twice
a few folks find their seats
but the waves continue
greetings abounding
The president studied some more
and saw, it was good:
These folks enjoy each other!

Farm leaders and spouses
people who’ve risen tall
carrying the ball in many ways
plays writ out large in lives lived well
living well
Tested by storms and drought
floods and markets
government kerfluffles
the vagaries of life
they’ve taken their blows
and risen

Compounded, winner after winner,
selected by peers,
the News Gazette brings them together
to add another, once a year
Forty years coming
people with faces gather
honoring each other and a new one
comfortable in who they are

Finally, they’re all seated
and the program begins
Recognitions, a video
and the honoree speech
Well done,
good and faith full servant
The News-Gazette!
It works!
Lin 4/2012 Farm Leader of the Year Award Banquet

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Yes! Easter!

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The wrenching of cold
Broken, crashed, by Easter!

It was mankind broken
at its worst
celebrating in evil
unjust accusations
warped trial
a sentence all wrong
the season of “Hosanna!”
gone wrong

No surprise the earth shook
no surprise the sky darkened
they won
He died

But!

God had a plan
much bigger than man
God IS over all
including death

What horror at man’s sin
yet God’s grace triumphed
over sin
over death

He arose!
He lives!
Hosanna forever more!

Easter 2012, Lin

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Little Angels

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“Except ye come as…”
begins a well known statement
about the kingdom of heaven

We get little packages
in the most personal of ways
results of brief encounters
resulting in new life, birth

The little ones grow quickly
we count them weeks at first
then months
then oh so soon, in years

They grow in our hearts
in places we didn’t know we had
but become stamped so firmly
we savor moments with them always

From their first recognition
smiles
laughter
querulous
to first ‘their heads nestled in our necks’
to riding on our shoulders
to racing some short distance

They trust us
so beautifully
sleeping in our arms
on our laps while we read together

What gifts they are
our task is to ponder
and learn
and be
like them, tender in special ways….

Selah Lin, 3/2012
to Sam and Joe and Libby and Harry and Evie and Keller, Malia and more!

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Concert Time

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The sun season has changed
and our air is springtime
first blushes from plants seem rushing this year

An abrupt shift from winter
a mild one it was
so the warming sun has clicked
and plants come to heel

Swelling buds
tiny leaves
grass yawning and stretching
then racing to be mowed
farmers and gardeners itching
pulling on gloves
scratching the soil
humming of insects
chirping of birds
it is, indeed, concert time

The whole earth has turned
and nature is glorious
Spring is surging all round
oh, what a time!

Won’t you come celebrate
take a moment, step back,
and nestle in nature
and the Creator, of it all?

Birth, new life remind us
touching all senses
that design was purposed
and so are we.

Lin 3/2012

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Country Folks

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Meandering up country roads
I did my best to soak
A beautiful spring day
blue sky, cumulous clouds
fresh green grass and budding trees

I zig zagged near a river
heading back to the farm
The woods were dotted black
with Angus cows a grazing
lazily munching along
safe and secure on the edge of woods

Easy to find the rivers
here in central Illinois
as woods line their pathways
One farmstead, then another
Well appointed homes, aged,
and neatly kept barns and sheds
Not a painting, real
Real places, real people
Secure in who they are
Breathing in the people
I know their names and faces
Soaking up the places
centennial farms planted

I got my arms around them
and I was blessed
To be a part
It is good
And I am grateful
to know and be known
by them
Page Two
Maybe we were sculpted
by some special soil
(in truth, all soils are special!)
but I do know the soils are part
of what we do each year

We touch them, feel them
waiting for warmth to mother seeds
We scratch and till them, tile them,
and cover them with blankets green
They give us food, and fuel, and fiber
to feed, power, and clothe us
The farms are laced with tools
shiny handled shovel
our hands have polished often
Shiny door handles, gate latches
where we’ve touched them often

My grandpa’s hammer
his much prized scoop
a shovel made for grain
I still have, on the shop wall now,
a little simple stool I sat on
when growing up
to sit and milk the cows!
My bride has grandma’s hoe
sharpened by the soil
the metal half the original

Prized tools all
loaded with memories working
Countless animals have trod the fields
mooing, voicing their messages
while I in jest, mimicked them and laughed
I helped to birth them, feed them,
raised them to be shipped away
They did their part

We, the people,
do our part as well
Drawing together the best
of knowledge, research, progress
bout seeds and breeds and tools and more
To tune ourselves to nature
and nature’s Creator, God
Come Sunday morning quiet
a different day for us
set aside

like the Good Book says
“Even during planting and harvest,
work (only) six days.”
Families pile into cars
and make their way to church
to sing, to pray, to study on the ways
laid out for all mankind
Amen, and amen,

Selah, LIn 3/2012

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Happy Tears

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We humans are strange folks
our emotions try to prove it!
When pain comes our way
if it’s big enough
we cry

Warm tears flood from our eyes
as though the bad can be washed away
somehow, it does help
Does anyone know how?

Today I’m thinking of the other sort
the tears that flow from ‘happy’
Very, very happy!
Good! Very good!
Oh, so good!

A famous Army general
broke the ice with his comment:
“I don’t trust a man who doesn’t cry!”
This from a very tough guy.
So we now have license, we men!

I cried okay when a child
little boys were often admonished
‘Big boys don’t cry!”
I took that to heart.

At three decades I turned a corner
and gave my life to Christ
to be my Lord, my Savior.
Maybe you can guess what happened?
I cried.

So, for forty years now,
for exceeding happy
for sad and tender
I can cry.
And it’s okay.

50 years ago come April
I met the girl who married me.
50 years December
we’ll pause to celebrate the wedding.

I’ll bet the happy tears
would fill some buckets now!
Precious, the word,
has grown and grown
I put strong arms around the thought
and then around her
and I cry
little warm tears

Happy tears……

Lin 3/2010

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First Whiffs

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Cold iron moves from shed
on stiff rubber tires

A disk blade or spring cultivator
eases into the rich, loam soil
and the farmer gets a first whiff!

There’s that stirring in the memory
of communion with the soil
and all the things a farmer does
to raise the plants that feed us
clothe us
fuel our machines these days
Do you have a favorite ‘whiff’?

Fresh bread smell wafting through the house?
Apple pie on the counter?
Pot roast with onions, carrots and potatoes?
Roses or apple blossoms

Oh so many wonder full whiffs!
How about the rain freshened air
after a sweet summer rain?
How about baby shampoo
on your precious baby child?
Or fresh brewed coffee in the early morning?

Bacon frying
Hamburgers on the summer grill?
Fresh mown hay some summer day
a field of clover, in full bloom?

Are we blessed or not?
The farmers and the gardeners
are out and doing their toil
I’m thinkin’ there should be a symphony
playing in the background
some singers humming quietly
along with the robin’s tunes

Selah, Spring, 2012 Lin

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First Light

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It’s a magic moment
in my day
when I see the eastern sky
first light is beckoning
every day is different

Night time clouds
darken areas
but one knows the sun is coming
Rather we are spinning towards it
our earth rolling around
it will be our turn

To think, to do
a thousand things or two
eating, reading, planning,
on the move
blended with quiet moments

Just this moment I’m captured
remembering
watching the sun come up, holding
Evie, newborn grandchild,
while her mom is busy in the kitchen
Evie and I watch, but have to turn
as the sun gets brighter and brighter still

The sun in the sky
grandchild in my arms
what a special memory!
Now she’s nine
a young lady
blue eyed with long blonde hair
playing the violin

First light a reminder
that I am still here
and have a purpose
however small
to take the gifts I have been given
investing myself in people
and things eternal

The Light came into the world
and it is not the same
because He lived, and lives
His example Living Words
that need to be
in me.
Small, small me.

Wonder….

Lin sunrise, 2/2012

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Dashes and Marathons

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What a gathering!
Folks up to their tasks
so different!
Some primed and
“Ready! Set! Bang!”
and others, standing at ready,
relaxed
going to run the marathon….

From 20’s to 80’s in ages
growing up in eras so different
music and styles far apart
yet here they were
captured for a moment
at a Farm Bureau directors meeting

A heartfelt prayer by the octagenarian
appreciative of those who keep us safe
and have, each generation
Grounded in faith
ever so full of thanksgiving
a tender moment

Young Ag leaders
jumping in, eyes flashing
energy pouring at eight in the evening!
Facing the present and future firing
thinking solutions, actions, wow!

Those in between solid
carrying their loads with grace
making mountains, climbing mountains
families growing, getting taller
school and church and a million things
swirling around those folks
and they’re moving steadily forward

Over all, in all, and out in front, tomorrows
the faithfulness of the Creator is
the I Am has been there
and is here
the future is still in God’s hands

These hands around the table
are the hands that bathe the children
drive the tractors
type on the computers
pull the wrenches
lift the loads and carry
Indeed, move with the earth

The moment passes
and the folks hit the roads to home
doing the dashes
and the marathons
making the world
our world
a better place….

Selah, Lin 2/2012
Champaign County Farm Bureau

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Enchanting Land

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It happens ever so often
I stop, realize,
the scene before me
this place where I live
is simply, profoundly
enchanting

First light last night’s snow
slipped lightly on the trees
has marked, outlined
winter gray branches
down to the tiny twigs
snow rests
not even clinging
just lofted down quietly
as if it is sleeping there

With the dawn a little breeze
makes it look like its snowing
but only from the tree tops down!
Enchanting….

Just the other day
we awakened to the Hoar frost painting
roadside weeds glistened in the sun
trees and bushes were wrapped
in Christmas wrappings
all white
closer looks saw
chrystaline shapes
so fragile
laced so finely
Soon the morning sun appeared
and chased it all away
back to winter’s gray!

Nighttime frigid air
driving along a terminal moraine
I could see for miles and miles
sharp black night pierced by stars
high in the sky and across the prairie
the night lights of the farmsteads
all quiet
the earth and me, so small I
so magnificent the scene

The Creator is indeed
everywhere
If we just stop to see, to listen
There, all of the time….

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Winter Snows

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A skiff, a flurry,
a snow storm, a blizzard
we have them all
on the prairie!

For cash grain farmers
the same applies
to meetings during winter!

The constant change, in agriculture
drives us to always be learning
So, when winter comes
so do meetings
and they come like the snow

Computers help
an enormous boost
to be in touch almost daily
with colleges and universities
and providers galore
with information

This is they age,
some say,
of ‘information’
where knowledge is the new wealth
Genetics, computers, GIS and GPS
in skiffs, and flurries
in storms and blizzards
available!
Blowing about us!
Swirling around us!

Machines and markets
policies and government
sometimes all combine
to bury us with information
so, we sift and sort through meetings
all winter, except Christmas week.

What a ride!
A ‘slay’ ride wherein we
slay the dragons that oppose us
Diseases, weather, bugs,
Regulations storming at us
We face them all….

Ah, come sweet spring
and the planting
time again on the tractors
sowing the seeds
in the mother earth
rich black loam inviting
warm sun beckoning
we do it again!

Communion
with creation, and the Creator,
what a combination!
Blessed, we are, to be
Farmers
simple farmers
Right?

Lin 2/2012

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Beyond the See

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We humans have a place
a way beyond the see
treasures there abound
to savor and enjoy

The land of beauty
surrounding us
unfolds in seasons grand
summer foliage
winter whites
frosted window panes
springtime flowers
fall colors shouting
Cars and quilts
and thousands of things
that somehow pleasure our see

Then there’s love
somewhere mysteriously in us
making it possible for two
to become one
How can that be?
The something that we call heart
knowing it’s not really
but somewhere in our brain
‘the greatest of these is love’
and we know it’s so

And friendship
again, that links us
wraps us in bindings
that set us free
how can that be?
Oh what a foretaste
of glory divine…

See so often
becomes simply, property
important, yes
but with it we are all but tenants
never really owning
just passing through
receiving, possessing for a while,
then letting loose

We see words
on a page, filling a book
and thoughts swirl in our minds
about the unseen
yet we know is there
and life settles into mysteries

O love, that wilt not let me go…*
and What a friend we have in…**

Selah, Lin, 2/2012
*George Matheson, Albert L. Peace, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”
**Joseph M. Scriven, Charles C. Converse, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

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Pasture Lessons

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Grandpa had a lot of cattle
a hundred forty head or so
and thus the pasture lessons!

Along life’s highway valued flags
to sift and sort some wisdom

Cowpies always favorites!
Dried, they made nice campfires
wet, like polka dots
we learned to step around them
lesson one:
cowpies happen

Nature has its ways, you see
(and smell, don’t touch)
Cows drink water
by the gallons
eat grass and hay and therefore
four stomachs later
the mixture passes out
Ker PLOP!
A pie!

Lesson two:
when playing baseball in the pasture
interesting bases are made
plain and clear they lie there
beckoning to the runner
Run TO them,
but don’t step IN them!
Hmmmmm.

Lesson three:
All things created
have their uses!
Ours is to discover
Cowpies are quite valuable
mixed in garden soil
tomatoes do quite well
in the natural food for plants
Pure organic
is the sell

When the worst thing happens
as when we forgot to look
Soap and water do the trick
more serious things will come
but we’ve been tempered
with the yuk!

Plod on, my friends, knowing
you’re the wiser
for learning pasture lessons
farm talk, yes,
we’ve lots
to poke our thoughts with humor….

Lin 2/2012

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Stacks Attack

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Some folks have ’em
some folks don’t!
I’m amongst the chosen few

One might say
we all are witnesses
to the capture of piles of stuff
and not all are bad, you see

Haystacks in a summer scene
bode winter food
for cows and horses and their needs
Stacks of money
aren’t that bad
especially if the money’s yours!

The stacks at libraries
speak treasures of words
inked for posterity, valued
treasured, for memories
and researchers looking

Warehouse stacks
forklifts working
move ’em in and out
sorting what goes where
always moving

Stacks of laundry
stacks of papers
stacks of magazines and more
piles on desks and chairs, oh my!
Now we’re sinking down

End of day
a cleaned off desk
is a mighty precious thing
Going home
all in order
the bare desk calls out loudly
Free!

Lin, 2,2012

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Wounded Hearts

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Scientists search
but can’t find
exactly all the human dimensions
What we call ‘heart’
a case in point.

Neutrinos zoom
faster than light
continuing to amaze
and puzzle

Photons gather
yet appear in other places
continuing to amaze
and puzzle

Along life’s highway
babies are born
are locked in love for lifetimes
continuing to amaze
and puzzle

Death comes too
searing our hearts
landing with a thud
and breaking in to capture
hold us fast, in still motion
trying to grasp some meaning
understanding

“No two hundred year old saints’
my doctor friend is wont to say
and yes, we all know it
in our minds

Yet in our hearts we struggle
reaching back
drawing deeply
for the things that hold us

Music helps
soothing, giving vent
to warm tears
running down our faces
Hugs from friends and family
connections, heart to heart
sharing loss

Somehow in another dimension
one we cannot see, for now,
we sense a standing place
firm, above and beyond
the here and now

There is an empty tomb
there is a risen Savior
and He’s in the world today
walking, talking, along life’s narrow way…*

Lin, 1 Feb 2012
Easter Comes

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Gatherings

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A century ago
here in Champaign County
a small group of farmers assembled
America, this is
where freedom of assembly
is a law of the land

Farmers and their land
a communion of sorts
people combing and brushing
seeding, tending and harvesting
soil, intellect, and labor combining
to grow the things that feed us

Ideas passed among them
How to do this better?
What do we need to…?
I think WE can change this!

Man faces here
some on their own
others pushed forward by spouses
together, an association was birthed
The “Illinois Farmers Institute”

Dekalb County, Kankakee County,
and Champaign County caught the scent
June, 1912, the words ‘Farm Bureau’ appeared
in an add, The Urbana Daily Courier.

The catalog company, Sears Roebuck,
sent a thousand dollars
Seed money, in need of match,
to hire a special person
a crop and soil expert
to help the local farmers

Two hundred and fifty people
mostly farmers
put their dollars on the line
the rest, we say, is history!

Today some ten thousand county people
have put their names on a line
and joined Champaign County Farm Bureau
each a part of gatherings
for services wanted, met
through the hands and arms of people

Fertilizer, chemicals, seeds,
information gatherings, socials,
through the pain of the Great Depression
people saw the need to gather
combine their knowledge, come together,
forming companies.

Country Life, insurance company,
a creamery association
and a ‘service company’
to bring to farms the gas and oil they needed.
Illini Electric Cooperative, and Production Credit,
and Grain Association
ten companies, all together
moving progress forward
through the worst of times
into the best of times

This year marks one hundred years of gatherings
to bring soil, intellect and labor together
Now we pause, remembering, rededicating
to keep it going
make it even better
this day and tomorrow

Happy One Hundredth Birthday
Champaign County Farm Bureau!

Lin, 1/2012

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East 80

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Of course
a centennial farm has history!
memories scattered across a century
Each field has pictures
snapped and kept
in someone’s mind, to savor, ponder

My 80, she called it
Ida Augusta Bialeschki
who married a hard working guy
Alfred Warfel was very well known
as a premier hard worker, smart
Why, he could shuck a hundred
ears of corn in a day
working from dawn to dusk
A trader, par excellence
of anything to do with a farm

The east 80
lies east to west
along the Sadorus road
a little rolling, some flat spots
ponding is a problem
dark soil and lighter
you know a glacier was there
by rocks, found annually
rising from winter’s freezing, heaving

As a little lad
I worked with grandpa
forking up the hay
riding the hay rack home
Grandpa was fond of contests
races, if you will,
like when me and Francis (Butler)
tried to beat him
pulling millet
one end of the field to the other
Grandpa won, just barely
I think he strung us along!

The east end
held a school
gone before my time
except for well, standing alone
complete with pump and handle
Time was, grandpa plowed
round and round he