Tuesday, September 27, 2016


 To keep my blog viewers in the loop of my writing projects, and since you already know that I multi-task, this is to let you know that I am ahead of my own schedule. I have just mailed off the press-ready manuscript of FABLES OF GOD'S KINGDOM FOR GROWN UPS to the publisher. In a month or so it should be off the press. I am well into SELAH REFLECTIONS: The PAUSE that Refreshes. A collection of the most popular of my blog posts in recent years. It should be off the press before Christmas. And I have pondered over a title and theme for the second collection of my selected blog posts. I like to have that settled at least in draft form while I work on the contents. The Introduction to SAGE BRUSH-INGS: (Not sure of the subtitle yet) is below..

Sage Brush-ings
Unpacking the title-a play on words

Who is a sage?

A sage (Ancient Greek: σοφός, sophos), in classical philosophy, is someone who has attained the wisdom which a philosopher seeks.

The Wisdom books of the Old Testament highlight the prime importance of seeking and finding wisdom, the source and fulfillment of which is in God. We are all admonished to seek wisdom above all things.

The Dictionary plumbs the depths of meaning: A synonym discussion of sage:

Wise, sage, sapient, judicious, prudent, sensible, sane mean having or showing sound judgment. Wise suggests great understanding of people and of situations and unusual discernment and judgment in dealing with them. Sage suggests wide experience, great learning, and wisdom. Sapient suggests great sagacity and discernment. Judicious stresses a capacity for reaching wise decisions or just conclusions. Prudent suggests exercise of the restraint of sound practical wisdom and discretion. Sensible applies to action guided and restrained by good sense and rationality. Sane stresses mental soundness, rationality, and levelheadedness.

As the author of this book, I don't claim to be a sage in any prideful sense. Nevertheless, at least by virtue of calendar age and experience into my nineties at this writing, the '”ancient” aspect might fit me. There aren't any youthful sages! I can't claim that “I have attained wisdom,” just as Saint Paul also declared, “Not that I have attained, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12 ). 
As my years have accumulated, the priority of becoming wise in the sense that Scripture uses it has been my ever-increasing, energetic pursuit. The New Testament letter of James, chapter one, verse five, has impressed itself on my heart and mind. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 
I have asked for God's generous wisdom. It doesn't come overnight but gradually over decades and scores of years. I hope that “when I grow up” I can be a sage! I pray that the short, savory topics in this book will be fragrant and tasty sage seasonings for my readers.

What is sagebrush?

A North American aromatic plant of the daisy family, the shrub is seen chiefly in semi-arid regions of Western North America. Since it is so common, it might seem to be a useless scrub. However, it provides shade and shelter from the wind and food and habitat for a variety of species such as grouse, antelope, rabbits and deer. The bush is many branched and makes a good hiding place for critters. It has silver-gray foliage, a good camouflage, with yellow flowers and leaves covered with fine silvery hairs.

The bush is evergreen with a strong, pungent fragrance. Its deep taproot enables it to find water from the water table several feet beneath it, and its laterally spreading roots near the surface gather water from precipitation so it can survive under any conditions. Native Americans used its foliage for herbal medicine such as healing infection in wounds, to stop bleeding, in the treatment of headaches and colds, and curing athlete's foot. It can only be applied topically and shouldn't be eaten or swallowed.

Sagebrush is not the same as the herb plant sage which we can ingest and use in a dried form at Thanksgiving in stuffing and turkey. The herb sage has a soft, sweet, peppery-rosemary flavor, very delicate. A versatile seasoning, it is known to be anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory, and said to be an outstanding memory enhancer. Perhaps that's why it is called “sage” and we expect “seasoned advice” from folks who seem to remember everything. (The foregoing for background only--nothing to do with the contents of the book, only for the cover picture and title.)

What are “brush-ings?”

In the context of my title, I am departing from the literal meaning of  “brushing,” like the strokes of an artist's brush as he paints. My brush is words--I paint with words. My verbal brush strokes are my choice of words, sentences, paragraphs, sensory terms and themes. I hope they are “sage” as I offer subtle but seasoned wise thoughts for the reader to reflect on.


Some paint with brush and canvas
depicting beauty seen by human eyes
others paint with notes on a staff
which become music to delight the ear
some paint with green thumbs
planting and tending seeds to harvest
in fields and gardens
for beauty and nourishment.
I paint with words.

Some paint with photo lens capturing color
some blend nature's produce to cook
gourmet food for eager palates
some paint with skillful healing hands
to restore health to broken bodies and minds
and bring color again to pallid cheeks.
I paint with words. 

Some paint with hammer and nails
daubing mortar and cement
to build homes for fellow man
others paint with numbers and equations
probing and solving universal mysteries
or painting with technologies and systems
creating astounding things in cyberspace
beyond my finite comprehension.
I paint with words.

Some paint on engineering blueprints
white lines on blue backgrounds
bringing to life impressive architectural edifices
a graphic artist paints from dreams and imagination
still life or incredible animation
a sculptor paints with mallet and chisel in stone.
 I paint with words.

Each is an artist endowed by Creator God
with a portion of His creative spirit
in stewardship as a precious gift
not intended to be a secret treasure
to hide or bury unused
but to discover and invest and multiply—
and so must I

I paint with words.

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