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Poetry and Prose by Writers’ Workshop (February 12, 2012)

The Writers Workshop is a group of church members and friends who meet once a month to work on their writing together. Everyone is welcome to bring something they have written that they can share with the group.

Group members displayed the following examples of poetry and prose as part of Faith & Arts Sunday 2012.

Change is necessary for survival

Robert G. Ahlstrom

Rare is a person who is all things to all situations; ergo, persons believing they can do everything alone should consider mind set changes.

A leader without followers has no one else to lead. The surgeon with skills can save a life, but singularly is unable to play a football game because this requires team effort. Although gifted individuals can thrive alone, their efforts can better excel with a support team. Akin to an established musician with a booking agent, marketing expert and lawyer, creative individuals need support to concentrate on developing new ideas for future activities.

Enterprising minds began a long time ago when early man carved the first wooden bowl to replace cupped hands used to scoop water. Proving that for every action, there is a reaction, observers became convinced the bowl held all of its water, whereas a cupped hand leaked water through their fingers. Those with the wooden bowls became leaders and soon afterward followers realized the advantages of dipping for water with their own bowl. Progressive thinkers won, whilst skeptics lost because they were unable to adapt to change and continued to cup their hands to dip water. Of course today the wooden water bowls of the past have been replaced by plastic cups.

Trust is necessary for progress. Unfortunately, trust failed my grandfather. He was unaccustomed to using electric alarm clocks. Adaptation meant his daily tradition of winding a manual alarm clock was lost to progress. When electrical outages delayed the clock's alarm for minutes or hours, my grandfather was late for chores. He returned to winding his manual clock. When long-term batteries became available, my grandfather learned he only needed to remember to change batteries once per year. Because he was burned by the failure of modern conveniences and wanted to make sure he awoke on time, he still wound his manual alarm clock.

Success breeds criticisms and curtails achievements; however, those truly dedicated to constructive changes for survival must never be sidetracked by antiquated traditions and attitudes. Imagine when Henry Ford first presented his Model “A” automobile. Harness makers, horse stud farms and carriage shops fought against progress to preserve their profitable way of life. Copycat companies soon expanded needs to develop roads and eventually highways. Travel time was shortened to minutes instead of days. Today we should not blame Henry for helping create traffic jams and access to superstores leading to the downfall of small local markets. Fortunately, horses have survived to become entertainment on polo grounds, racetracks and specialty exhibitions.

Today determined persons continue to create competitive ideas with such wonders as the iPod and giant liquid crystal display television screens.

Each of us can create a future deserving 15 minutes of fame. Imagination changes survival, education is the start, all else is possible.

Robert G. Ahlstrom

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The Child

A child born in love

A child to be loved

A child to give love

He crawls in quickness

He takes his first steps

His tiny legs race

His mother chases

His father laughs

He seeks to touch

Oh, how he questions

Watch careful this child

He was born to know

He was born to teach

He was born to heal

To give and give more

Beware of the leaders

Bewildered they scorn

How short was his life

Ending so quick

So cruelly to die

His cross was so heavy

He carried mine

Robert G. Ahlstrom

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Have you seen my horse?

Have you seen my horse?

I have forgot whereabouts that pony may be.

See these here legs un-swift

Leave me short of the mark

I must answer to

In these parts when a man is put afoot

In denial of his call.


I wear my mission, so it’s not hard to recognize.

With a barefaced truth I see the way

Indifferent of what others think.

I do not doubt the responsibility.

My backbone stands this test of nature and man;

The cold stare shows the seriousness

By which life is measured


So caution invested returns marked time

Perhaps little more

Lest a false step befalls me

And a bad move could easily give rise to

A swift graceless judgment by men

Leaving my bones dry and deserted,

A product of time and place And purpose.


Alone I

Await the harvest

When reunite with my horse

Without penitence.

Gary Buchs

                photo of a young boy dressed up as a cowboy
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Oh what a wonderful word is this why

For my Granddaughter Anna

AnnaBefore the Sun can even rise

Anna asks “Why”

It’s too early for me to think about whys

“Grandpa, Why”

How many whys will she ask me today

Patiently questioning everything passing her way

“You need to”, “Why”

“Please don’t”, “Why”

“Let’s go”, “Why”

I am feeling frustration

As answers elude me

I’m unable to satisfy most of her whys

A “because” or “I said so” now seems not very wise

When “because” has betrayed me

It’s then I visualize

The “I said so”

Does not satisfy and leaves her

Thinking once again why


Gradually the day slows to a quieter pace

But after weeks of her questions

I soon realize

That I’m certainly not really feeling so wise

Aware and thinking

Afraid to ask why

So I somewhat sadly reflect


Where are my whys

So I listen to her and to my surprise

I slowly begin to find some long concealed whys


Anna when you read of your wonderful whys

Will it be a search for wonderful wise

Be aware you may not recognize

But don’t stop caring and searching

Since maybe the wise thing is to ask why not

Since the source of our wise comes from

A God oh so wise

Who knew us even before we were able to ask why

And before the sun could even rise

Gary Buchs
November 2011

Proverbs 24:14
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

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photo of a dog with a ballScarydog was born on Christmas Eve 8 years ago. At six weeks old, the little dachshund crossbred came to live with Gary in his truck when her original potential master failed to pick her up. Over her lifetime she was a faithful truck dog who loved meeting people wherever she went. And she never failed to bring a smile to the faces of the people she greeted with her wagging tail and cheery bark. Gary and I had never had a house dog before and were somewhat overwhelmed by the attachment we developed with our little pup over the years. Needless to say we were devastated at her sudden death last May. In our attempts to console ourselves we did a lot of reminiscing and one of things we came back to time and again was what her life taught us. She was a wise little dog and we would like to share with you our favorite story about lessons learned from her.

It was a Sunday afternoon. I had laid out two frozen rib eye steaks that morning before we left for church. When I went to marinate them that afternoon they were gone. After some searching we found the wrapper and immediately knew the culprit. We had noticed that Scary had been kind of sluggish that day. By 3:00 she was downright lethargic. We were only half sympathetic to her gastric plight, in light of our lunch downgraded from rib eyes to hamburgers. During the day, several times we called her up to lay beside us on the sofa. She would slowly rise, head down and weakly jump up for a few strokes and murmurings and then dejectedly drop once again to the floor where she laid, legs splayed out behind her. It was obvious she was miserable as the floor was never her first choice of seating when there were warm laps to lie on. We determined that her tummy full of choice beef was giving her misery that she never imagined as she was devouring those rib eyes earlier.

About sundown she slowly rose, and walked, tail hanging low, out of the living room. Just a minute later she returned with a raw rib eye between her jaws. She slowly approached Gary and laid it at his feet. Totally surprised Gary picked up her bloody offering and walked to the front door where he called Chloe, our lab. Scary calmly watched the proceedings from the living room. Any other time she would have been dancing around Chloe waiting for the best opportunity to steal away from her any treats we offered, but that night Scary just sat quietly, accepting the fate of the other rib eye. When Gary returned to the couch the transformation occurred. The ears came up and the tail was once again held high, wagging energetically as she hopped up beside Gary and enthusiastically accepted his caresses and words of comfort. It was not her stomach that was was her heart. Our little dog had spent a guilt ridden day until her conscience could stand it no longer. And the amazing thing was that once she confessed her sin and paid her penance, she expressed her delight in the sure knowledge that she would be forgiven. Her joy returned.

Gary and I will never forget this lesson learned about the joy of forgiveness from one of God’s special creatures. And as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior this season we remember that He came to earth to live and die so that we too can know the joy of sure and promised forgiveness. May this assurance bless your holiday this season!

Marcia and Gary Buchs

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Friend Beyond

Noble knight,

radiant soul,

empyreal servant,

destined for the kingdom of glory;


Riding now

among angels

in clouded reserves,

journeying to higher realms beyond;


Past are days

grueling and harsh,

deprived of solace,

bearing trials beyond human bounds;


Past are nights,

sleepless and long,

driven by mission,

lone, fatigued, death’s shadow hovering;


Laid to rest

are secret plans

against unnamed foes,

a hidden life, known but to a few;


Warring done,

challenges met,

loved ones safe and sound,

homebound; now he heads for diff’rent lands.


Dark divide,


veiled shadow that keeps

us from our friends and beloved souls;


How may one

understand such

a great, fell chasm?

And how may one truly say farewell?


I still feel

he brushes near

my frail, earthbound heart,

silently affirming bonds of love.


Time suspends

past and present

in those rare moments,

sheltering an embrace born of faith;


Bringing calm,

dispelling tears,

surrounding with peace,

offering strength, solace for a time;


Bearing hope

of things to come,

of truths eternal,

guiding, illuminating the way.

Karen Fay

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I Sought Jesus

I sought Jesus in desolation, loss, and despair;

In that place, He lifted my eyes

revealing a hidden sanctuary reflected in the darkness,

blessed and peaceful, in the light of His presence.


I sought Jesus when discouraged, weak, and powerless;

In that place, He bade me persevere

in His vast orchards of humility, mercy, and justice

that they may bear the fruits of His witness, each in their time and season.


I sought Jesus in overwhelming trials, chaos, and pain;

In that place, He stood by

until I knew His heart, His suffering, and believed without doubt

in the unfolding miracle of His resurrection.

Karen Fay

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Light House Twilight

So, here we are

a place of our own

cuddle cupped in calm

we talk and touch

teach and tell

as time winds us down


Just now we are safe

from harms frothy fangs

still lifting light

concerned that

youth take bearings

before their night


Scanning horizons

from our headland home

we dream ourselves away

feeding each other

wisps of wonder

till one is alone

Donald K. Johnson

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Moving Away

An early morning walk on a hilltop
in Hawaiian Memorial Park, close to our home.

Crisp moon-shadowed morning

Troubled by roosters impatient for the dawn

His dew-licked zorried toes

Move over lives that have been

Moments—years treasured

Glide through nature’s door

Soul-touched by a soft breath—smiling

Down-wind from night

Donald K. Johnson
Edited, August 8, 2011

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A Pillar of Strength

A pillar of strength

Stood tall all my life

Overflowing warmth

And every thing nice

But up came a lump

And then destructive surgery

The pillar went limp

Yet somehow managed merrily

The bump went deceivingly away

For a happy year and a half

Then came back this time to spread and stay

Wreaking havoc through its forged path

The pillar crumbled, devastating me thoroughly

Her glorious days linger still in my memory


R.I.P. Grandma Ruthie

[Rest in Peace]

Rebekah Johnson
February 3, 2012

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Grand Children

O! The joys of Grand Children

To view the world through their eyes

To hear the sounds through their ears

To appreciate that play is their way to learn


Five years old and multiple cultures clash

Through three different languages

Their different connotations

Their inherent puzzling humor


Three years old and a whole new world

Develops with the multiple tongues to learn

Different concepts to understand

Varied attitudes to similar situations


All this can be discovered

With patience and love

By Grand Parents who care

And a loving, understanding spirit

Jean-Paul Klingebiel

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Human Planet

Everywhere and at all times

Human activity never ceases

We keep transforming our planet

Visible, even from outer space


Monochrome our planet is not

White and gray from clouds,

Polar caps and glaciers

Tan and brown from barren lands


Our blue planet is also green

From grass prairies and forests

Blue and green from water

All this is not static but in flux


While some adaptations can be good for us

Where is our duty as stewards of God’s creation?

Our earth is quite resilient for transitory situations

But what is best for the planet surely must be best for us.

Jean-Paul Klingebiel

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A life has passed

for Robert G. Ahlstrom

A life has passed while we were away

Our friend is sorely missed anyway

His friendly smile and rolling chuckle way

No longer will lighten our day


Our life was richer for his Christian love

His light coming from above some way

Helping older folks to be connected from above

He could reflect that light their way


Fare well old friend, we are grateful for you

For your life, your presence and your dignity

Jean-Paul Klingebiel
January 18, 2012

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and the winner is...

water falls from the sky

sits on the earth

sometimes wants to run along sideways

always wants to go down


no flame wants to go down


flame sometimes falls from the sky

always sits lightly on the earth

flame only wants to go up

fire up in flames


can a flame tame the wet water

Kathryn Klingebiel
October 24, 2011

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Yours truly went back to a favorite line or two

Yours truly went back to a favorite line or two

and they weren’t there

in the past:

they would not stay put, they’re knocking at the door tonight.


armless she is silence

still, like the moon,

she has forgotten moons in their thousands


Thereupon popped up the long-ago refrain:

go to the beach to watch the electricity

atomic bodies alive in sand and sun

but not without you


But without you I went back to a line from a 1996 TV show

(“Oliver’s Travels,” BBC)

“No use in a straight line, but brilliant sideways“

reflection on a lateral mind:

this is what will ultimately save us from machines


I stumbled upon a few lines probably best forgotten:

fairy child

little shit

who would thought

a single child to have

so much noise in it?

Full of suffering on a long-ago plane ride.


By now you’re probably ready to swat me:

exciting with a capital X

wonderful with a capital why

daunting with a capital damn

mischevous with a capital I


But don’t you get to wondering if you too could pull a little something together...?

Kathryn Klingebiel
February 21, 2011

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Dog Time-Share

A dog and his boy

Photo of boy and dogWhat do you do when you want a pet but you like to travel? Well, what I did first was to complain and moan and groan to my children about how unfair it was that I couldn’t have everything I wanted. When that paled, I resigned myself to reality and hard choices, just as I told my children they need to do at times.

Then a magical thing happened. One of my daughters suggested that we share a dog. I floated this idea by them earlier but had gotten no positive response. Suddenly, the perfect dog was available and needed a home. From that point on it all fell into place so smoothly I couldn’t remember why we hadn’t shared a dog before.

The way it works is I have the dog, Logan, during the week and my daughter has him on the weekend. Since I’m retired I can spend more time with him during working hours and he is at my house when I have the grandchildren over after school. Then on the weekend I can relax and not worry about walks and feeding and the thousand things having a dog entails. When I go on a trip Logan will stay with my daughter. So far (two weeks) it’s been great. I really do enjoy having a dog around and I’ve come to believe it’s good for my health.

Another reason to teach children to share. They can become very useful to you in your old age.

Steve Miller

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