Who Cares?

The first thing I should have done was check to see if she was alright. That was what I should have done. I’d like to point out it came quickly on the heels of what I actually did. So, there’s that.

Sometime in 1981 I was in the 2nd year of my time at Humboldt State University. Lori and I were married in 1980, and we took up residence in a $210 a month apartment immediately adjacent to school. One afternoon we were walking across the steps of the university library. I’ve since looked at a picture of the pillars in front of the building, and I’m not sure how I managed it, but somehow I led my young wife directly into one of those pillars, and she went down. Now, I have to say that for as long as I’ve known Lori, I’ve taken on an extra degree of responsibility when the two of us walk together. This is due to the fact that her depth perception is not excellent, and things like stairs can present a challenge. When she goes someplace new she’ll count steps up and down to help her the next time she goes there. Lori is demonstrably above average in nearly every other way, but God has chosen to make her less than perfect in this. I believe the divine purpose is to give other people hope. Okay, I jest, and you might say my wife being on the ground was no laughing matter, except it was a very funny moment. What would forever cement this moment in our memory was my immediate reaction. I quickly looked around to see who might have witnessed our two-Stooge-Three-Stooges-performance. Then, I began to assess the extent of any injuries Lori might have incurred. And she noticed the order of my priorities. Fortunately, our laughter helped to both rescue me from my inappropriate immediate response and cement this as one of those family memories we would laugh about for years.

I believe our God has a sense of humor, and it’s one of those personal attributes we should take the time to encourage in each other. Goodness knows there is enough stress in each day that we should take advantage of every Godly remedy we have at our disposal. A genuine smile is one of the greatest gifts we can give to both folks we know and those we don’t. Finding ways to encourage laughter in each other can help bring unity and healing. Who cares? It’s clear God does. If God cares for us, we must find every way we can to humble ourselves and bring joy and laughter to help lighten the loads we all invariably carry.

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Luke 6:21

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:25-26 NIV

Worry and care we accumulate,
burdens we weren’t meant to carry.
Sadness upon sadness
we add through the years
when to it
no one asked us to marry.
Grief has its place
and shapes us like clay,
but God purposed us
for more than one expression.
We owe to lift our brothers and sisters up
to all God’s grand dimension.

© Joel Tipple 10/12/2019


On November 30, George HW Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away. Since that time, and including today’s national funeral, many have remembered his time in political office. Of the personal qualities that have been mentioned, his sense of humor has come up often. Here are some notables.

“I’m a conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.”

“I have opinions of my own, strong opinions. But I don’t always agree with them.”

“Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington are not bothered by heavy traffic.”

His biographer, Jon Meacham noted that during a campaign stop Bush mistakenly grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin, asking for its vote. When he realized what he had done, he said, “Never know, gotta ask.” Meacham also told about showing Bush the remarks he would be making at his funeral. Said Bush, “That’s a lot about me, Jon.”

“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

“Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They’ll tell you.”

Finally, this story from his son and former president George W. Bush.  The father and son were sitting on a porch enjoying the ocean view. The younger Bush, who had been painting earlier and had gotten some on his pants, said he hoped this might be a moment he could glean perhaps some deep, personal insight from his father. “Beautiful view, isn’t it, dad? Yes, son, it sure is, his father replied, quickly following with, “Say, do those pants come in clean?”

© Joel Tipple 12/5/2018


(Sometimes you just need a break)

I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
Psalm  3:5

Sometimes I need some rest,
I expect like all the rest.
Critters too, go ahead and ask my dog.
It’s the way we all were made
and if you don’t have enough shade,
it can shorten your running time even more.

Do yourself a favor,
favor folks like the Psalmist,
who saw the wisdom
in hittin’ the hay.
He’s got stuff for you to do,
so respect the time he’s giving you
instead of being in a hurry to your grave.

A third stanza was required
since we found ourselves mired
in such a gravely serious place.
So practical matters pressing,
when for the night you’re undressing,
remember to brush your teeth
and wash your face.

Peace, out.

© Joel Tipple 11/4/2018

The End of the Beginning


Sometime around Christmas of 2012 I decided to challenge myself by posting at least once a day for a year beginning January 1, 2013 to a newly created blog. From the beginning the toughest part of this challenge has not been posting “something” each day. Posting something I was truly happy with, now that has been a whole other bottle of ink. So, I made up my mind to make this year a training ground of sorts. I would allow myself to experiment with various styles of poems, devotions, short stories, editorials… really, any sort of writing that I could come up with in a day. I made it as fun and meaningful as I could, both for myself and anyone who cared to take the journey with me. I tried to not pay too much attention to the number of people reading or “liking” each post and I tried to give myself enough room to fail now and then. One of my favorite lessons to take away from the Bible is that God expects us to fall down once in a while. Anyone who has gained a reasonable amount of life experience knows that’s part of the process. I failed just enough to learn some, I think.

My prayer throughout this year has been that I might be an instrument of God to bring healing to those who need it. That sounds like a lofty goal, and I guess it is. If I may be bold enough to say so, I think followers of Jesus bear the responsibility of expressing healing words to those we encounter every day, whether they are spoken in what we might consider an artful manner or not. I don’t consider myself to be that sophisticated. Most of my training in writing has been to write clearly and succinctly. Conveying thoughts through the various means of creative writing can be tremendously therapeutic for the writer, as well as (it is hoped) for the reader.

So what will I do for 2014? To begin with, I will continue to post here at least once a week. Going from seven days to one will allow me to branch out into other projects. I would like to publish my first book before the year is up. Naturally, you want to know what kind of book I have in mind. Right now I’m considering that. Using a word I learned reading Mark Twain, I’m “cogitating.”

To those of you who followed this blog during the last year, I want to express my deepest appreciation. Thanks for reading, commenting and just hanging in there to read again when you had no idea where I was going. Thank you very much indeed.

© Joel Tipple

Airline Economy


I’m giving up on the airlines
my travel weary buddy said.
They charge you extra for every little thing,
even laying bets
on whether you might land
or weather you might not
if a lightning storm
or storm of birds
got caught in your prop.
And they charge you for a pillow
or a blanket to cover you up.
Let’s not even talk about
what they charge you for your sup.
It’s really getting quite silly,
the degree of financial damage.
Don’t tell the attendant you’re unhappy,
or she’ll charge you for emotional baggage.
You can try to avoid it,
but most of your funds will still be shed.
I once flew economy
and landed $17 trillion in debt.

© Joel Tipple

First Rain & Ninja Umbrella Surfing


I suppose technically this isn’t really the first rain of the season. But these are the first decent sized drops we’ve experienced in our neck of the woods in some time. In our part of Northern California (read Oregon/Washington, not that place with the sun and beaches) this Summer has been nice in the extreme, so nice in fact that we’ve been issuing warnings to non-natives to not get used to it. We’re low on water right now so we’re grateful to see any precipitation. But what does one do when that deluge comes along and you’re caught out in it with no umbrella? The answer isn’t carrying an umbrella all of the time. Instead, become a Ninja Umbrella Surfer!

There’s a tactic I use when caught by the first rain.
It isn’t because I can’t stand being wet or that I’m vain.
But invariably when the heavens begin their leaking
I have to resort to what I call Ninja Umbrella Surfing.
It works best on city streets where there’s likely to be a crowd.
Frankly, in smaller locales it’s generally not allowed.
You find a fairly friendly looking vict…, I mean, person, holding a
good sized umbrella and start up a conversation, pretending you’re
a normal fella (or lady. Our program is not sexist). Continue
the discourse, keeping a weather eye, being ready to move on to
another umbrella, should you lose the one you originally caught.
Ninja Umbrella Surfing. Why carry your own umbrella?

© Joel Tipple

Green Granddaughter


This week I managed to go out three times cycling, twice to work, which is 15 miles away. Since my bike is part of my exercise plan and a way to save money on gas, I came home satisfied, though tired. As I came through the back door, I could hear my six-year-old granddaughter in the living room, so I went in to say hello.

Me: “Hey Cynthia, how was school?”
Cynthia: “Good. Hey Papa, why are you wearing that?”
Me: “These are my cycling clothes. I rode my bike three times this week. Isn’t that cool?”
Cynthia: “Yeah. Hey Grandma, Papa’s recycling!”

© Joel Tipple