Here’s a go at my first ‘real’ poem.

A rowboat her bed, the sun’s rays warming
Gentle breezes cool,  bringing distant sounds.
     Sounds that comfort and calm
Whistling train meanders, church bells toll.
Birds sing out claim and invitation.
     Asking for no reply
Listening is enough for her

Unhurried in its call,
The river barge lumbers along
     leaving only mystery in its wake
Sailboats slink nonchalantly
     under the watchful eye of a drifting cloud
The seaplane skims the glassy surface hoping for its point of connection
Patience is enough for her

Velvety Cabernet swirls about lovingly
     soothing her tongue, awakening memories.
The campfire crackles and spits,
     smoky wood burning,
     wafting up to the starlit sky
Lost in thoughts
     yet connected with the beauty that surrounds.
Lying in bed, children in arms, a new day calling
Remembering is enough for her

Resistance is no more
     as the dress drops slowly to the floor
    before stepping into her lover’s embrace.
Sinking into the cool feel of the worn leather chair,
     embers glow with the promise of warmth
And the river waters wash along
     gently caressing each encounter
Loving is enough for her

Rocking slowly on the porch
     the creaking wood cries out for relief
Barely a sound the screen door opens
     silently as stars appearing in the night sky.
The promise enters
All is right in the midst of all the wrongs

Being is enough for her


Growing up in Woodstock IL in a small neighborhood on the outskirts of town known as Todd Woods, our home was situated on the corner that for many was the entrance to the neighborhood. The house was set up higher off the road and angled in a way that left a distinct viewing point for all who passed by. It also had a large front porch and picture window as you can see from the picture.

  st johns road     Being the small neighborhood it was, we all knew one another, which meant whether sitting inside on the sofa by the window or outside on the porch, we would see everyone who passed by and vice versa. This resulted in a lot of waving to and greeting people as they entered the neighborhood…and even mooning some passer-byers once when mom and dad weren’t home. We were promptly turned in to our parents.

I’ve recently been reminded of this because I’ve spend the last couple months in two RV resorts in Florida in which I’ve experienced a similar dynamic (with the exception of the mooning).  It’s been quite nice!

I engaged in a good deal of reading and research before beginning my travel adventure attempting to uncover as best I could what it might be like living in a motorhome and traveling about from campground to campground. I was struck by one particular dire warning on numerous websites and forums, “If you want privacy, campgrounds are not the place for you!” Okay, maybe dire was a bit of an exaggeration, yet as one who cherishes my privacy and quiet time, it certainly caught my attention.

So is this true?  Does living in a campground mean loss of privacy?

Prior to this trip, I lived in a home in the suburbs that afforded me all sorts of privacy. Sometimes to a point where it felt like too much.  There was minimal waving to all the neighbors when they passed by much less knowing everyone by name including those of their children and pets. In all fairness that might also have been due to decreased memory power on my part now that I’m older. 🙂

I think it’s safe to say that mostly this is due to the fact that in suburban communities the bulk of time spent outside occurs within fenced-in back yards with one safely ensconced out on private decks or patios. Rarely did I witness people hanging out on their front porches if they even had a front porch area large enough to do so.

This lack of interacting is compounded by the presence of electric garage door openers. De rigueur in most suburban homes built over the past 30 years.  We arrive in our respective neighborhoods, press the EGDO, disappear inside and then reappear out back to relax in private.   I’m sure that not all suburban neighborhoods are this way. There are always exceptions and the truth of the matter, my personal experience with large, suburban neighborhoods is limited. Okay, I confess. It’s only been one…mostly because I’ve chosen not to live in them if I can avoid it. And thankfully, the suburban neighborhood I did experience wasn’t too bad. Maybe it was partly because I lived on a cul-de-sac where people do have more of a tendency to hang out in the front. It’s a perfect place for the children to gather and play and all the parents can keep an eye out for them.  And maybe also because I had a front porch on which I spent a good deal of time, often engaging with people when they passed by.

I am not critiquing the desire to relax in private as it is something I also enjoy and relish nor do I wish to demonize suburban living as a way of life for those that choose it. What I’m speaking to is the lack of recognition and interaction with our neighbors other than those we already know and choose to invite into our homes.

Yes, while growing up there were neighbors that my parents were better friends with than others, and no, us kids didn’t necessarily play equally with everyone all the time. We all had our best friends. We all knew one another though. On those summer evening walks, most all would stop and visit with one another being able to greet them by name.  This is what I’ve experienced in the campground communities in which I’ve stayed for any length of time. Maybe this happens because we have no choice as there are no EGDO’s, much less garages. There are no fenced in or fenced off back yards. Unless it’s uncomfortably cold or warm outside leaving people to retreat indoors, when you’re outside you’re not sitting in a private back yard. You’re often sitting right next to the backside of your neighbor’s house sometimes all of 15 feet away depending on the layout of the campground.  This means that when the windows are open, all sights, sounds and smells are fair game!  🙂

So yes, one could say there is a lack of privacy. Like many things in life though, it’s a blessing and a curse. There are times I miss my fairly secluded suburban back yard, yet it’s due to this different/lessened level of privacy that I’ve had the opportunity to meet many different and interesting people. Some that are passing through and some that I hope will develop into enduring friendships.

I wonder now about all those people in my old neighborhood.  What treasures might have been hiding behind those closed doors and fenced-in back yards.

hummingbird LOGO point left CROPPED


Wondering about the hummingbirds present throughout my blog?hummingbird Web LOGO point left

I’ve selected the hummingbird as a visual reminder of the way I choose to live my life both personally and in working with others. Native to North, South and Central America, hummingbirds have been referred to as New World birds and as might be expected have become associated with a number of symbolic and cultural meanings throughout the centuries.

With love, peace and joy in life as a common thread, the hummingbird is seen as adaptable and resilient due to its ability to tirelessly fly great distances relative to its physical size.

The hummingbird also carries with it the spiritual significance of resurrection. This comes as a result of the hibernation-like state it goes into at night only to return to life in the morning continuing its work of flitting from one nectar-filled flower to another spreading new life in its wake.

The hummingbird as a symbol can inspire us in many ways. To love and enjoy the sweetness of life; to remain persistent in pursuing our life passions; and to take comfort in knowing that not only can we be a part of bringing new life to others, it also awaits us at every turn.

Peace,  Leigh+

Religious Freedom or Discrimination??

As a member of the Christian denomination, the Episcopal Church, we begin worship with a gathering prayer called the Collect. In this past Sunday’s Collect  we acknowledged God’s teaching that whatever we do without love is worth nothing.

Someone please explain to me then how the legislation pertaining to religious freedom passed by the Arizona state legislature and awaiting the Governor’s final decision, is about love much less religion.

While I don’t hesitate to express my views in conversation with others, I don’t usually write publically about LGBT issues, yet this is something in which I choose not to remain silent. Some of you may interpret this as my preaching politics. Some of you may even agree with the proposed legislation in Arizona. Some of you may feel just as offended as I that a state government would propose what is in essence a (thinly) disguised Jim Crow law.

Some of you may be wondering how this personally affects me since I am not L, G, B, or T.  Many people I know though are. People I respect and care about. People I admire. People I know not to be any different from me other than their romantic relationships are (in general) with same sex individuals. And the truth is, discrimination in any form hurts everyone in one way or another.

Another reason I find this offensive is because it’s being done under the guise of religious freedom. The bill defines Exercise of Religion to mean “the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.”

Religious or not. LGBT or not. If this wording doesn’t scare you, it should. Especially the last line, “whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.” This sounds to me that it’s completely left up to individual interpretation and determination of what constitutes a religious belief.  In other words, one large blanketed excuse to discriminate.

Religion was used to keep blacks down pre-Civil Rights and now it’s being used to keep LGBT men and women down. What or who is next? Formed deeply in a Christian faith tradition (that’s what they do to us in seminary 😉 ), anything that’s done to oppress other people is not about love. I’m hard pressed to find any examples in scripture of Jesus either engaging in or supporting acts of oppression in the name of God.

Jesus doesn’t call us to condemn nor discriminate against others. Jesus calls us to spread the Good News and the Good News is about love, forgiveness and salvation.

So how is this related to my RV travels? One of the ways we are called to speak out in protest of this bill is through the act of boycott. Arizona is/was one of my travel destinations next winter. Beside the warm weather, it’s home to a number of friends of mine…a seemingly perfect place to go to escape the winter weather of northern IL.  Now what?

Florida is looking pretty good right now!hummingbird Web LOGO point left

Your well thought out comments are welcome with the exception of any hateful spewing or condemnation of others.

Choosing Life

Many of my friends from church have often heard me talk about a Bible commentary series entitled Feasting on the Word.  There are also daily meditation books based on this series entitled Daily Feast: Meditations from Feasting on the Word.

Oftentimes when preparing a sermon, I come across bits and pieces from the commentaries that I can’t say any better than the author already has. So with that in mind, here is a selection from Brett Younger’s* homiletical perspective on the Book of Deuteronomy 30:15-20 in which Moses (before his death and subsequent transfer of leadership to Joshua) is laying out for the people what their options are as they prepare to enter the Promised Land, i.e. choosing life or choosing death.

(In my humble opinion) Brett’s words are relevant for all of us, church-going or not.

Choosing life means, “Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Give to the poor. Fight for justice. Care for the hurting. Treat others fairly. Share food with the hungry.

Learn things you have told yourself you would never learn. Enjoy simple things. Play with children. Laugh often, long, and loud. Cry when it is time to cry. Be patient with your own imperfections as well as the imperfections of others. Celebrate sex with the one to whom you have given your life. Surround yourself with what you love-whether it is family, friends, pets, music, nature or silence.

Walk around the block. Turn off the television. Get together with your friends. Invite a stranger to lunch or dinner. Clean out a drawer. Read a book of poetry. Quit doing what is not worth your time. Do something so someone else will not have to. Give money to a cause you care about. Stop arguing. Apologize to someone, even if it was mostly his/her fault. Forgive someone, even if he/she does not deserve it. Have patience. Stop having patience when it is time to tell the truth. Figure out what you hope for and live with that hope.”

And specifically for my church-going friends…”Worship with all your heart. Pray genuinely. Love your church. Believe that God loves you. Remember the stories of Jesus. See Christ in the people around you. Share God’s love with someone who has forgotten it. Delight in God’s good gifts. See that all of life is holy. Open your heart to the Spirit. Search for something deeper and better than your own comfort. Live in the joy beneath it all. Let God make your life wonderful!”

I will say it again; I couldn’t have said or summed it up any better. Thank you Brett Younger and Feasting on the Word.  

Peace, Leigh+

* Brett Younger is an Associate Professor of Preaching at the McAffee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA

My Story

I sold my house in the suburbs this past summer and moved into a chateau… a 32’ Thor Chateau motorhome that is.  Fulfilling a long held desire to travel about (and get the heck out of the suburbs!) this is also an opportunity to delve deeper into the many facets and cultures that exist here in North America.  With a background in psychology and religion, along with a never-ending sense of curiosity, this will allow me to play cultural anthropologist along with providing the time necessary for writing and continued development of my photography skills.

This website will be one way to stay connected with all the friends and family back home as well as post photos and write about the adventure.  You can contact me via email: leighways15@gmail.com

I hope you’ll come back often and visit!