Tuesday, October 27

Walk in the Woods

Join me in this poem and in this video link for a walk through the woods that I loved during my growing up years. Writing the poem, capturing the place in a video walk, and assembling that into a music video has helped me find my footing in a new role in life. 

This newness came mixed with sadness, as my siblings and I said goodbyes to beloved parents, and then to the family home. Time does not stand still does it?

The movement from one generation to the next, as new patriarchs and matriarchs in a family rise up, will come to all of us. May what I share here help you to reflect in a thoughtful way about your own place in this movement of family generations through time.

It is the end of an era
The beginning of a new way 
Of being in the world,
Time to be family heads now rather than look to parents
As the role models of stability and wisdom.
Even with a fist full of decades in one’s repertoire
This duty beckons with surprise
As footsteps hesitate to
Mount up with wings as eagles,
To walk and not be weary
For the challenges ahead.

And so I take a good-bye walk
Around beloved space,
Listening to the wind and leaves
While adding my own voice in prayers
Of thankfulness for such a richness
In legacy, 
Highlighted by the riotous colors of the
Fall woodland, decked in
Flutters of golden and red whispers.

We are not alone in this world.
The spirit of our loved ones
Salted the earth in their own times,
Paving the way for those who follow.
The Spirit of God ties us with them
In memory, in beauty, in hope of reunion.

The fall woodland reminds all that
Each era of our days on earth
Is spread out in time with
Masterful skill by the Designer
Of changing seasons; springtime, summer, fall.
His intricate weaving of life with life,
Soul with soul, days scattered,
Hours diffused with mundane or majestic centers,
All part of His score for the world.

Our part, however lovely, long, or little,
Is to play note by note, minute by minute,
Breath by breath, the song that
The Composer of our souls
Gives us in love and time.

Bless my frailness, 
My leapings into this or that, Lord.
Help me to play Your music well.
May this arc, the end of summer,
The stepping into the autumn of my life,
This third movement of a life symphony
Be rich and bold with grace,
Celebrating the harvest of life 
That has seen goodness from Your hand,
Taking up each ripe fruit, 
Using it for goodness sake.

Prepare me, Lord, in all these glorious days
For the walk with dignity into the next movement
When the cadence of my Fall is complete,
And the quietness of my Winter breathes
Frost-like on another chapter toward life’s end.
With echoes of golden leaves hindering sadness,
May the boots and mittens of winter
Not inhibit the song,
Hummed softly during long nights
Or bellowed joyfully when
Crystalline flakes dance with delight
Windowing clearly the bluster and beauty
In all of life’s days.

Here are photos from that walk . . . 


A Walk in the Woods - piano solo from my archives on "Faith of Our Fathers" with video from the woods at Spring Hill Farm

Monday, October 26

Exclamation Mark at Bedtime

Bedtime is always an occasion for me to learn things afresh through the mind of a little one when the grandchildren visit. Daisy brought this little book to me to read to her when tucking her in during a visit last spring. 

As I read one of the prayers she interrupted me with a loud request, 

"I want to see God!"

I paused, thinking of the enormity of her request. As I proceeded with a response, she interrupted again, 

"No, I want to see the WORD God!"

Ah, on the page. A five-year-old learning to read. I pointed it out and she spelled . . . G-O-D. God. Then she had to find all of the instances of this word in the book. Perhaps it was a combination learning-stall tactic, but we indulged and exclaimed over each discovery. 

As she drifted to sleep later, several things simmered in my heart. I prayed she continues to look for God and find him through the living Word, the Lord Jesus. I prayed that I will too always do the same! I also want to long with all my heart to see God with an exclamation point, not just half-hearted, or as a distraction to duty, or once in a while.

May you too, dear friend, have the simple prayers of a five-year-old in your heart today:

"I want to see God!"
"I want to see the WORD God!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

And the Glory of the Lord - from Handel's "Messiah"

Lord, When Your Glory I Shall See - exquisite TTBB setting of this hymn, sung here by the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Chorus.

Here's a provacative question via a lovely song to consider over the Christmas holidays ...

Where's the Line to See Jesus? with singer Becky Kelley

Friday, October 16

Night Walk

Silent, slow, the thoughts at evening go

Unannounced through the remains of the day

Searching for untucked pieces lying low

In hope of blanketing softly, putting away

All wildness and leftover fears

As night falls and dreams draw near.

Saturday, August 29

Crystal Tears

Many friends know the story of my sister-in-law's struggle with cancer. Marti passed away on August 14 at her home in Marble, Colorado. After her funeral, I spent several days with my brother and four of their children still at home. This poem has been winding its way through my heart since then.

Crystal River at Redstone, CO, a few miles from my brother's home in Marble.


Crystal River catch my salty tears,
Meld them with the melted snows
That pass o’er marbled terrains

Friday, July 31

Catching the Holy Whisper

God whispered my name
As the sound of words
Sublimely wrapped
In golden tones of Graceful song
Filled cathedral space
Yet nestled soft as down
In my heart’s sacristy.

Is God‑love this warm?
Is Christ‑joy this knowing?
Is Spirit‑hope this near?
Does that which is far beyond
Find its way to these light‑dappled chambers
Of personal cloistered space
When angelic sounds
Soar high and low?

Thursday, May 21

Heaven's Books of Prayers

Libraries are one of life’s fine companions, aren’t they? How many pleasant hours in childhood are spent nestled in these corners exploring the world through the pages of books? How many paths to adulthood and discovery are spent perusing and devouring a gamut of subjects? Books widen our understanding, fears, knowledge. They invoke new questions, confirm or deny old suspicions, give us new frameworks for life. Books that are good, true, noble, lovely, admirable, sobering, enlightening, or excellent enlarge us and grow us as individuals, citizens, and communities. 

Clementinum, Prague

Saturday, May 9

From Our Mother's Arms

Everyone has a mother! Regardless of how one perceives their mother's successes or failures as a mom, everyone can be thankful for the gift of life in the same manner that this hymnist writes . . .
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Thursday, May 7

Life's Small Celebrations

A poem celebrating new kittens for my Colorado nieces and nephews who just welcomed a new batch of kittens into the family. Thanks to my nephew Josh for letting me know!

New Kittens!

New kittens are meowing in the nestbox
As I dream of coming days filled
With kittenly joys
And new laughter in our walls.

Such dear little pittances!

Soft, fluffy, totally dependent on
Love to keep them safe and warm
And full of tasty milk.

Monday, May 4

In Flight

Soar with me high
On wings of song
Scraping the belly of heaven
In search of our highest praise
And holiest joy and deepest
Reason for wings.

                                              © 2007 Nancy Gerst  

Near Marble Colorado, Photograph by Jerry Begly

Tuesday, April 28


The chair-of-today which seats me,
Body and soul,
Is a cushion of promises,
Background pledges
That make this day possible and
Watch over me with
All the stability of a mountain pass,
All the reliability of a golden sunrise,
All the bets of heaven laid on
A Carpenter from a dusty village 
   in Galilee.

The gentle breeze 
Teasing in my window promises
That with life’s changes
A Mysterious Force will be
Propelling them on a mission,
My part will be to ride the wind.

Tuesday, April 21

A Distant Song

Photograph by Katherine Micks

In memory of Mike Persson. A dear friend, servant of the Lord, lover of music, choralist, and champion of All That Is Good, True, and Noble in Preparation for Life in the Courts of Heaven. 

A Distant Song

Sing for me dear friends!

Sing me to heaven on wings
Of songs soft and low
That still all fears and
Whisper in hushed, holy
Strains about the wonders
Just around the bend.

Monday, April 20

Present with the Lord

With loving thoughts of my dear friend, Mike Persson, who has left this world today to be with his Lord and Savior. A remarkable man, and a dear friend, he will be missed greatly by all who knew and loved him.

Vigil of Angels

The Annunciation Angel by TITIAN

Always ready to do His bidding
The mighty, patient one stands alongside,
With watchful, tender, gleaming eye
Knowing how to trust and judging
Not by labored breath or pain etched face
But keenly watching the soul prepare for the journey;
Growing steadily more beautiful in grace,
Fingers of earth loosening their grasp
And the hands of the trusting spirit lifting toward
God and His Remarkable Kingdom.