Cut & Split NEW!

by Mark Brunner


Devotions inspired by living with trees.


72 pages, softcover–This Passing Day, 2019  $7.99

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Fake truth?

Don’t rely on what you think but what you know, including what a church might teach. Always check your sources before embracing a truth. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Fake news is in the news. Due primarily to the proliferation of Internet news sources and smart phones, news is now more impacting than it ever has been before; and the term “fake news” gets tossed around commonly these days. What exactly is fake news? Let me give you an example. Let’s say that a certain real politician has made real news in recent days. All the major networks online or otherwise are broadcasting the real news about the real politician. As with most news stories there are

Spiritual driving?

Excellence trumpets talent, genius and knowledge, all rather empty without a persistent attitude to achieve our best every moment of our lives. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. We all have those rare moments when the mundane disappears and a sense of excellence covers us. You know these moments because they feel different. Life flows better and more smoothly and the results of what you’re attempting to do come more easily. When these moments subside we reflect to ourselves, commenting how well that went, fervently wishing that things would always go so well. I recently experienced this for the briefest of moments as I was driving on the freeway. I needed

What do you think?

God never looks over to us when we question his will and responds, “Just say ‘Yes.’” Rather, he prefers a free will responding to the question, “What do YOU think?” My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Growing up I was more accustomed to hearing commands as opposed to entreaties. “Clean you room!” This was more commonly heard than, “Why don’t you clean your room?” Or, “Cut the lawn.” I don’t recall being lured into cutting it with some sort of reward or responding to a plaintive, “It sure would be great if you cut the lawn?” Typically it was a directive and not a plea of some sort. I completely understand the logic of the discipline here. Given the opportunit

Wearing your work?

Don’t put your career Bib Overalls on every day. They reduce the margins for godly work and leave little room to grow spiritually. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Another weekend has ushered in a new work week for many of us. Personally, there are many significant changes of habit and routine that mark this morning from the Saturday morning now past. I slept until 6:00 Saturday; this morning I was up at my usual weekday 4:00. Another evident change from Saturday is what I am wearing. Typically on Saturday mornings I put on a pair of Bib Overalls, the type that pull chest high and strap over the shoulders. This is my Saturday uniform throughout the year.

Coming with the day!

Sharing, it seems to become a natural part of being in a relationship with someone on a long-term basis. Why is it so essentially a part of our relationship with God? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. One of the many benefits of marriage I’ve found is the aspect of sharing. Not that sharing was foreign to me prior to meeting Holly, but it did possess a different dynamic altogether. Prior to marriage I lived with college roommates for a number of years. They became good friends and to this day several remain so. However, as with most friends that you see once or twice a year, the aspect of sharing is no longer a driving force of the relationship. I just don

Brilliantly simple?

Being simple is one of the smartest ways to approach life; it’s also a character God would prefer each one of us possess as we build a relationship with him. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. The term simpleton isn’t used much any more. However, growing up I would hear it occasionally. In fact, I knew a simpleton or two back then, or so I thought. We often characterized folks who conjured simple solutions, dwelt in plain places, wore non-descript clothing, and spoke with few words as simple. Unfortunately, along with these traits frequently went the label of dullness or stupidity. We tend to label people according to degrees of social conformity. If the m

Busy laziness?

Sometimes the laziest people are the busiest when they spend the lion’s share of their time taking care of themselves. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. There’s an old farmer in the area living in a run down, old clapboard house. Some of the siding has fallen off and the place hasn’t been painted in decades. There’s an old addition on the side of the house that was never finished, so it’s now the tarpaper end of the house. By all standards, other than the old farmer’s, the house is an eyesore. He’s also a hoarder. Prior to a town order forcing him to clean up the mess, the house and the dilapidated old barn nearby was surrounded by a hoard of rusty old far

Little calamities

Life is full of two types of calamities: major and minor. The major ones, easier to spot, are the ones we are most likely to both anticipate and endure. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Holly and I recently purchased a set of kitchen chairs. Our old chairs had begun to wobble and creak. They were nicked and scratched after several decades of kitchen use. It was time. We went to a local furniture store known for its high quality, Amish-made furniture. In fact they have an Amish buggy out in front of their store promoting their Amish offerings. We were looking for chairs that would last for many years, so when our chairs were delivered and we were delighted

Where are you?

When trying to get somewhere spiritually are we so anxious to discover journey’s end that we overlook the obvious in favor of a goal more obscure than we think? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Getting lost is one of my greatest concerns in life. Year’s ago it was it was even more of a concern. There was no GPS, just an auto map with highways and towns. If you did get lost, however, there was always the service station you could pull into and ask directions. I recall a time years ago when I was headed to a place in an unfamiliar part of the city. I thought I had it pinpointed on the map, but was mistaken. I was lost. I pulled into a Gulf station along the

Good crash landings

Every time a crisis faces us we experience a sense of abandonment as it’s a clash of wills–ours over the perfection of our adversary. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I’ve been recording these daily devotions around 4:30 in the morning for nearly fifteen years. That’s nearly 4,000 recording sessions. Monday through Friday I position the microphone, put the script up on my computer screen, boot the recording software and get ready to click the key to initiate the recording. Having done this thousands of times, one would think that it would be nearly mindless, automatic; it isn’t. Every morning I hesitate before clicking that key, knowing that once the sess

Holding the high moments

Life’s high moments are some of the greatest treasures of life. Do we bank these, turning them into spiritual capital that truly impacts our lives? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Life is full of high moments and low moments. Unfortunately, the low moments tend to be the more common and the high moments rarer. I’m a writer, so my high moments tend to be moments when I’ve found just the right word, put together the most impacting paragraph possible or finished an edit that I’ve been putting off for months. Your high moments may be quite different than mine, but we’ve all had them. There is a certain feeling when you’re standing on top of a high moment. At

No spiritual holidays

Details, as cumbersome as they can be, are the stuff that builds character and performance. They may be the difference between just succeeding and excelling. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. A good vacation is all about changing up your life, putting away the daily details of what you do in favor of other things that you don’t often do. The most creative of people see the purpose in that. Leonardo Da Vinci, for example, when asked about getting away asserted that vacations were extremely important to him because when he returned to his artistic work his “judgment (would) be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause (him) to lose the power of ju

Shoulder checking

After over fifty years of shoulder checking experience, what I pass on in the checking is a shared feeling. It passes from me to them returning in kind. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. To this day I remember the pressure of my Father’s hand on my shoulder. When a man, especially an older man with the strength of days and the heritage of toil in his hand, presses it down on a young man’s shoulder and then tightens the grip, it’s a very unique and special feeling. I’ve always called this shoulder checking. There’s no imposing or invading in shoulder checking like this, only reassurance and a sense of abiding. When my Father wanted to make a point with the

Smack-dab mediocrity?

Did you know that the geographic center of the continental United States is located in Kansas near the city of Lebanon, approximately 12 miles south of the Kansas-Nebraska border? This is not to be confused with the geographical center of the entire United States which is located somewhere in North Dakota, if you take into account Alaska and Hawaii. Let’s stick with the contiguous states for the sake of argument though. Yup, the breadbasket of the United States; smack-dab in the center of the country in Kansas. If you ever visit the site and take a picture along side the historical marker there, the landscape is less than remarkable. It’s pretty much flat with a lot of fields growing a lot o

Our share of the load

Doing it alone results in an untenable load. It satisfies pride but not the burden. Life’s burdens beg for a second set of helping hands. We need to know the difference. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I’ve always been one to take on burdens too heavy for myself, and then looking for ways of improvising in order to bear the load. Asking someone to assist me with the burden does usually cross my mind at some point early on in the decision to lift and tote. However, the thought is quickly supplanted by my Rube Goldberg mindset focused on fabricating some means by which the burden might still be carried alone. For example, there’s that very heavy fire pit t

Ouch moments

Those unfortunate ouch moments can be our worst nightmares. Even though our intentions were good, the results weren’t what we intended. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. One of the worst things that we can do in life is unintentionally hurt someone without even the least effort in doing so. Recently, in an effort to help someone with a logistical issue on the job, a friend of mine discovered that she had done the exact opposite without any malice on her part. Her kind words supporting the her friend with coworkers were delivered with the best of intentions, but when word of them got back to her friend through the office grapevine they were terribly miscons

Worrying on account?

If you have an account with God that is divinely invested on a daily basis, is there ever an cause to worry at all? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. I wrote a check yesterday on account for $55.50. That isn’t a lot of money, but compared to days gone by, it’s sizeable. I remember back in the late 1950s when my Dad changed jobs. My parents were sitting at the kitchen table talking about what the job change would mean. They both agreed that the biggest change would be that now he would be earning a net $50 every week. A nice increase for them. Back then our family was a typical, middle-class family of modest means, so $55.50 was a lot of money in 1959. If m

Consider the Trilliums

God plants us somewhere and we bloom. Try as we might to bloom somewhere else, our best intentions usually leave us with a high chance of failure. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. One of the most beautiful flowers of the woods around our home here at Beech Springs is the Trillium. Some old timers call it a Wake-robin. I guess that’s because they begin to push through from their rootstock not long after the ground thaws in the Spring at a time when area Robins return from their Winter migration. These beautiful, triple petaled, white, pink or purple flowers pop up in beds around Beech Springs with striking colors making them an eye popper against the backg

Between heaven and here

There was always room for a relative or two on Sunday? It was just a matter of being prepared to receive whomever at whatever hour. How about God? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day. Sundays were a very different time for me growing up. People went to church, of course. Since there were no alternative services on Saturday, Thursday or Monday like today, most people went to church on Sunday. The exception being Wednesdays during the Advent and Lenten festival times of the year. Of course, in that case, you were expected to attend twice in a week. The other major difference about Sundays was that people took Sunday drives out in the country. We lived in the co

A bug-a-boo?

Remember this little joke? It was one that I liked telling when I was in grade school to demonstrate how witty I was for a 12-year-old. “When Noah’s Ark came to rest on the mountain, Noah said to all the animals, ‘Go forth and multiply.’ All of the creatures came out of the ark except the adders. When Noah called them to come, they refused and Noah asked them why? They said, ‘We can’t come, were adders, we can’t multiply.” Groan. That was usually the response I got. The core of that little pun, however, was the question that Noah asked. You leave that out and the joke isn’t funny. The adders had set Noah up as the straight man and he fell for it. Noah became Oliver Hardy or Bud Abbott, to th



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