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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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Are we there yet?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When you finally reach that point in life where all things finally work together and you’ve arrived at your life’s goal, will you know that you’re there when you get there? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When I’m there, will I know that I am there? You know the feeling? In the days before GPS it was a very common one. You had an address and some basic knowledge as to where you were headed. At most you had a map that you hoped was up to date. At journey’s end you hoped you were on the right street or close to it. Slowing down you began to look for a street sign, nervously looking into the rear-view mirror for traf

If but to look where it is?

My friend, may I ask you a question? It’ a funny thing about life isn’t it that when we find ourselves off course we very seldom consider reversal the right direction to take? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I guess it is just human nature to assume that where we’ve been already was a good choice and that all we need to make things right is to make adjustments and not changes. To admit that we may have been on the wrong path altogether is often far too hurtful to our egos to consider. Recently I lost my favorite baseball cap. This cap was the one cap that fit right. It was the one cap that had just the right look and feel on my head. I have many othe

Trouble that is not there

My friend, may I ask you a question? When trouble does threaten us and the horizons of life appear dark and foreboding, do you picture Jesus on the stormy shore or are you looking over your shoulder at nothing at all? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. How often we see things dimly sometimes, only to confront something altogether different than what we thought we saw in the first place. Here’s a story. Not long ago I was awakened early, much earlier than I normally venture out in the morning. As it was June and the days begin and end less thriftily than any other time of the year, the sun was already promising day even though the clock on my bedside tab

A tool like none other?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is, perhaps, prayer not only the bended knee, but also the bended life; a life lived in full submission to God in works, words and thoughts? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Do you pray day and night? In fact, do you know of anyone who does? I struggle with this personally, always feeling that perhaps the most precious faith tool God offers me is the one I’ve hung up neatly in life’s garden shed and forgotten unless I go rummaging around looking for some other solution to my problem and find it once again hanging there less used than it should be, but always the best choice if I simply remember it. I did come acros

Shake it off?

My friend, may I ask you a question? It’s tempting to stand and counter others when others attempt to bury us with their opinions. Is there a better way however though? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Like anyone else, conflict isn’t something I look forward to. Recently I went out to dinner with some old friends and their spouses, friends I hadn’t in some cases seen in years. It wasn’t long until table talk turned from remembrance and sharing family news to politics. It wasn’t a subject that Holly and I wanted to talk about since we knew it was likely the other couples felt one way and we were alone left to feel another. Opinions these days are stro

Counted worthy?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is happiness something we deserve, or the product of having a purpose in life founded on what a man builds from his misfortunes as well as his successes? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I know that Father’s Day is nearly a week gone, but today I was thinking of my Dad. Growing up there is no doubt that the one person who was larger than life to me was my Dad. The reason was simple. He towered over me and just had a way of peering down at me that could either rivet me to the spot in guilt or immediately cause me to reach out in search of his love. He had a smell about him that was uniquely him as well; that faint o

Uniquely purposed?

My friend, may I ask you a question? What is your purpose in life? is there a singular reason that you awoke this morning and were by grace given another day to live and breath? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Although I am technically retired and receiving a Social Security benefit these days, I can still remember the days when hunting for a job was at times my chief purpose in life. Since in many ways who you are is connected to what you do, job applications were, in that sense, very purposeful. Filling out a job application though can be frustrating when you confront statements like “describe a situation when you acted under pressure” or “explain

Rise and shine?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Perhaps, God in his wisdom has made choosing a special gift, something that we can use to not only benefit ourselves but others as well? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Even though I went to bed late last night, over an hour past my usual bedtime, I awoke at my usual appointed time of 4:00. For some reason my body clock goes off every morning at 4:00, probably because that is the time I’ve gotten up at for many years. Each day as I open my groggy eyes I am confronted with the same thought. Should I stay in bed and go back to sleep? Some choice? As I get older, by the way, the stay has gotten a whole lot easier tha

Tentatively?

My friend, may I ask you a question? As you and I go through life, do we often find ourselves trying hard to do the best we can, but failing with tasks that are uncomfortable, even scary at times? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My son Dan and son-in-law Andy helped me with a big job several years ago. Since my knees weren’t in real good shape at the time (knee replacement still being three years down the road), they volunteered to install a new ridge vent on our house. The job was an arduous one since the pitch on an A-Frame is steep and there isn’t any way of doing the job practically–except by saddling the ridge and pulling yourself along ripping

Half-cocked?

Half-cocked? (06-18-18) Proverbs 20:25 My friend, may I ask you a question? Does your anger often result in a bad outcome? Do you find that bad situations open themselves up to an often “halfcocked” response to problems in your life? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. “Don’t go off halfcocked!” I heard that term often growing up, being a bit of a reactionary when things didn’t go my way. Whether it was my Mom or Dad, it didn’t matter. They both kept that little adage in their “parent’s holster” ready to draw it out whenever I began to stew about something, mutter, stutter and reach the nonsense level about something. I really didn’t understand fully wh

Could of, should of?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If life is made up of thousands of those split-second moments requiring a decisive demeanor, many in split seconds, what is the key to being decisive without regret? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I’ve always been fascinated by the critical moments in life; those split second moments when we make quick choices that affect us, often for the long run. Usually we’re not aware of those small seconds until after they’ve come and gone. And, unfortunately, it’s that retrospective look at things that usually shows us what we could have done better and didn’t. Oh, those “Could of, should of” moments. Nine times out of ten

Missing the target?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When we strike out at those who hurt us with angry words do we often end up not only hurting others, but hurting ourselves in the process? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. As late spring ushers in early summer, there’s an aspect of summer beyond the heat and humidity that I really don’t look forward to: Deer flies. Those little dive-bombers that come out in late June and don’t go away until the first frost love to hang out in transitional areas around Beech Springs where sunlight and shade meet. That’s where they hide, just waiting to nail you as you walk up the driveway to get the mail or as you mow the lawn and d

Puddle stomping?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Life has many pitfalls; should we be avoiding them, always looking for some way to go around them? Or should we faithfully walk through them trusting that God has a purpose? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. A number of years ago I was walking with my grandson James down our driveway; a driveway full of small potholes. He was five and had a whole different perspective on life than his Grandpa. It had rained and the indentations were filled with pools of cool water standing around, just waiting to drain away, but their time had not yet come. As I walked with him down the driveway I made it a point to step carefully a

Unspoken?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Is prayer about ideas that we have for God to help us out? Or, is prayer about giving thanks and allowing yourself to fall into the arms of the Almighty who already knows what we need and when? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. When I was a little boy, I remember praying this prayer, “Dear Father whom I cannot see; smile down from heaven on little me. Let angels through the darkness spread, their holy wings above my bed. And keep me safe because I am, the Heavenly Shepherd’s little lamb. Amen.” I must have prayed this prayer a thousand times. It’s sing-song harmony still echoes in my mind after decades. At times whe

Civility?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When it comes to knowing what’s right, is it proper for a Christian to express this to others? Or, are we being judgmental when, moved by our faith, we tell others about how God expects them to live? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Did you ever hear this? “Well, what’s right for you, may not be right for me. We both might be right.” I’ve heard that more often than I care to say. It’s called moral relativism. “If we’re both right, we’re both happy and we’re both equal. And, isn’t that what living in society is all about?” If it’s good for me and not for you, that’s ok. It’s all about diversity. Right? Really? In ot

A quarter's worth?

My friend, may I ask you a question? If we neglect a faith that is moved to action long enough will it be a faith so diminished that it just doesn’t click in anymore; even when the need is so obvious that compassion ought to lead us to act? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. I don’t know how many times I have looked for a flashlight over the years and not been able to find one. Flashlights are one of those things that seem to have a knack for growing legs and walking in our house. Mostly because, of course, I usually am the culprit that doesn’t put them back from where I found them in the first place. There was one in particular that I really liked thou

Changed, not just patched?

My friend, may I ask you a question? Are there no “ifs, ands or buts” when it comes to living the penitent and changed life of a Christian dedicated to producing “fruit in keeping with repentance? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. There are two ways to fix a leaky pipe. You can choose to patch it somehow and hope for the best or you can choose to replace it and start over with something that promises to work from the start. On the surface that doesn’t seem like a no-brainer, but when the one is so much more expensive and involves a lot more time and effort, taking the easier route has its good points. Several years ago I was confronted with a leaky sho

Choosing hell?

My friend, may I ask you a question? As odd as it seems, is choosing hell easier than it sounds. Perhaps when the devil gives each of us an excuse for rationalizing the guilt we fail to reckon our fault? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Choices. We make them every day by the hundreds. One psychiatrist has suggested the average adult makes up to 800 every day. These range from turning off the alarm clock in the morning, to opting for a second helping of mashed potatoes for dinner. In between are a myriad of choices, some big, others small. We debate some, and others we chose by habit. In the end, however, choosing is something we do a lot of, perhaps m

Wounded not broken?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When life’s storms hit and our spirit is wounded, hurting and looking for relief why is it that some among us are merely wounded but still standing and others are broken, even destroyed? My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. Several years ago, one of the most severe storms in many years pounded our four little acres. It came out of the northwest embedded in dark, angry clouds. We saw it approaching in the twilight and could hear its snarl off in the distance as it rolled over farm and forest with a vengeance. The thunder was continuous, not intermittent. It sounded like a slow rumbling freight along some lonesome rail l

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