Seattle Space Needle

what breathtaking views

green spaces on roofs for dogs

boats sail Puget Sound

skateboard park thrill rides

kids running through the splash pad

football stadium

(one dog playing fetch

so of course my heart remained

backwards on the spin)

the world at my feet

perspective changes it all,

this eagle’s eye view!

Ussie Atop the Space Needle

June’s Open Write with Fran Haley – Syllabic Verse

Fran Haley of North Carolina inspired us to write verse in a syllable count that feels comfortable to us. I chose to write mine about traveling as I embark on a June adventure to Alaska with my husband, and made mine an acrostic as well.

Tasting the World

such magic~

that spellbinds
in small realms
new places
go explore!

June’s Open Write – Anagrams with Fran Haley

Fran Haley of North Carolina is our host on ethicalela for the Open Write this week, and she challenged us to write anagrams.

Here in the Deep South, sweet tea came to mind. We drink it syrupy. What a fun challenge! I think of our rural farmland and the equivalent of sweet tea for little lambs, too (I just thought I should explain the second line). Mine makes absolutely no sense, but I had fun and will be on the lookout to try more anagrams when I see the swatches and pieces play out!

wee state
ewe teats
wet tease
we set tea
eat sweet
sweet tea!

June’s Open Write – Word Association Poems


Allison Berryhill of Iowa is our host today at for the June Open Write. She is challenging us to write word association poems by letting our eyes land on something in the room, then associating that word with another word, and another and another and then going back and adding words on each line to create a poem.

Hydrangea Hopeful

My words were:

a hydrangea hopeful
from her island garden
my friend
from childhood who also
loves poetry~
we rode bicycles
to the village
crabbed off the pier

Poetry Treasure Hunt

Allison Berryhill is our host at today, inviting us to write poems about items we find on a nature walk.

Treasures from my morning walk

Poetry Treasure Hunt 

blue bloom

from a starter plant

named Missy

gift from a childhood friend’s

island garden 

shed its training wheels of

protective netting

now thrives hands-free

like we did



among the rocks

gift of warmth 

a mother’s blanket

shed from the empty nest 

now combs the breeze



in the understory

from the playground canopy of

resident fox squirrels 

gift of fire kindling

now seasoning a spark for 


dried flower

from an I Love You


gift of fresh beauty

declaring what’s cherished

for all to 


I Still Will Follow My Father’s Footsteps

Wilson Felix Haynes, Sr. and Jr.

Happy Father’s Day to my father, the Reverend Dr. Wilson Felix Haynes, Jr., who shares a special memory of his own father today on my blog. I, too, have fond memories of my grandfather Haynes and his deep love of people – and animals (especially cats). Here is Dad’s story:

My dad, W. F. Haynes Sr., was a bi-vocational preacher, a railroad man pastor, a man of God in a blue-collar world.  He was enamored that God called him to preach. He would often say, “I would rather be a preacher than the President.” 

He felt genuine humility in his calling. Once I became a pastor, I would often go to my hometown of Waycross, where he would take me to lunch.  Invariably, someone would come by the table and speak to me about the incredible impact of his life upon them and their family. I heard that repeatedly in South Georgia. Dad had a down-to-earth, casual way of connecting people to Jesus. 

He was a prolific reader, even with limited vision in one eye. He read hundreds of books and sermons, especially those of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He would read one early in the morning and reflect on it all day as he worked at his railroad job. Dad allowed his life to be steeped in God’s word; he had a knack for taking great truths and applying them to life situations. He was unique and authentic. 

One particular episode defines my dad. After many years of preaching in the South Georgia area, he retired. A few years later, he was asked to preach the community Thanksgiving service on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving Day in Mershon, a rural village in Pierce County. He had served that vital congregation for ten years before retirement. All the nearby churches joined together on that occasion and there was a “crowd.”  He was in his mid-eighties and well-loved among those people. 

He called me and asked for an idea. I suggested that he might use the story of the early pilgrims as an illustration message. During that first winter, Gov. Bradford issued a meager 5 grains of corn to each person for a part of their daily meal. The Pilgrim band managed to survive that harsh winter. They learned more about agriculture in the ensuing year, and things improved significantly. Food became more plentiful. Thereafter, Bradford suggested that on the next Thanksgiving (Harvest Thanksgiving after the English tradition) that each family lay aside on the table 5 grains of corn as symbols of things for which they were grateful. So, I suggested that Dad relate that story and share 5 things for which he would like to express his gratitude. I also suggested that he use no more that 3 minutes on each point. My mother was famous for telling both of us to “preach about God and about 20 minutes.” Great advice!  Dad gave great thought to this subject. He would preach parts of it to me via phone.  I could feel the spirit at work in his preparation.  

Since I was also preaching a community Thanksgiving service in another location, I could not go to Waycross to drive him the 22 miles to Mershon. Thankfully, my cousin, Porky Haynes, agreed to take Dad to Mershon for the service. He called me the next day to tell me about the experience, sharing the event with detail. Dad’s points were these: I am grateful for 1. Freedom 2. Family. 3. Church family 4. The Bible. And 5. MySalvation. 

Porky went on to say: “Felix, I will tell you this: we worshipped God that night. When W. F. shared that last point, he said, ‘I am going to do something I have always wanted to do to conclude this sermon. He paused and started to sing, (preface)-I want you all to know this (lifted his voice in song), I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, though none go with me, I still will follow. At that point, the whole congregation rose to their feet and joined in singing all the verses of the hymn (soft and a cappella).’”  

Porky added, “I saw tears shed in that place and felt goosebumps. It was a powerful moment!” He shared this with me in such a way that I felt the power of authentic worship in hearing the story. 

This was my dad’s final sermon.

Could there be a better memory on Father’s Day?

Happy Father’s Day to Felix!

Things You Can Do With An Oar

Today’s host at for the first day of June’s Open Write is Allison Berryhill of Iowa, who inspires us to model a poem entitled Things You Can Do with an Orange. You can see the prompt at

Come write with us! Allison will host three days, and Fran Haley of North Carolina will host two. We’d love to have you. I spun the online spinner and landed on Oar – so, here are Things You Can Do With An Oar:

Things You Can Do With An Oar

you can dream about it

you can dream about it
and let loose about 
that one time 
you went canoeing
down the Flint River
from Sprewell Bluff
to Highway 18
in Thomaston, Georgia
and ended up in the 
same boat 
with Randy
who’d tried to sing
like Burl Ives

it was a church youth
trip and you were
both chaperones
otherwise you’d have
had better sense 
on an ordinary day
than to row with Randy

Randy was an expert
and you were blessed
to be paired with him 
and his skill set

Randy thought he was a chief
and you his squaw
as he sat on the floor of
the canoe on his knees
giving you directions
on the roles of the rowers

when you tried to tell him
the boat was backwards
he waved his hand at you
dismissing your words

until you showed him the 
fanny cutout 
on the bench
how it was rounded at the
back and fannies 
did not fit this way

he acted perplexed
scratched his head
you know, I think they 
Installed those wrong

you rolled your eyes
kept rowing 
as Chief got all quiet
like he was preparing to
come up on some 
tribal camp
catching them by
surprise with a 
peace pipe

(weren’t no peace pipe in this boat)

teenagers on the trip 
were noticing and whispering
about this strange man

you just stared at your 
gold flip flops
and prayed these
three hours to the 
landing would fly by

and that Jesus kept
control of your tongue
on this church outing

until Chief lost his knee balance
in this backward boat 
and flipped the canoe
one gold flip flop 
lost forevermore

and in this dream
you can go back to that 
and pretend that Jesus
himself walked on water
handed you back your oar
and asked you what you
thought you could do
with an oar 
and looked the other way
long enough
for you to do it

Jesus handing me an oar in my dream