Tuesday, February 28, 2012


About an hour outside of Rome, New York, I am sitting on this slow moving train heading from Buffalo to New York City. We pass through nothing dramatic or exceptionally scenic. Melting snow covers the muddy woods, aged out factories, and small towns covered in rust. The bouncing click clack of the rails almost rocks me to sleep if I'm not careful.

For the mundane passing by, I do have some curiousities.

The other day riding the bus to work I saw a man walking down the sidewalk picking his nose. He looked right at the bus, but only saw a bus- not a tin can full of people staring back at him.

People must only see railroad tracks and trains, and don't remember the people who like to look out windows. Maybe that's why they built their houses right to the edge of the tracks. Some sort of perceived security or safety. There is nothing protected about taking a shower in your back yard when train creates the back fence. I saw that spectacle when I was on an electric train going from Zavolzh'ye to Niznhy Novgorod.

Trains get to wander through the woods in places labelled "Posted: No Trespassing: Violator's will be shot," without a single bullet heading it's way. They are lucky.

As we traverse through the forests in the middle of nowhere, I see stone walls that only man could have built. It seems that this was not always the middle of nowhere.

Orange juice and books on the seat tray to my left, there is still plenty of time for contemplation. "Miles and miles to go before we sleep," if you will. I wonder what everyone else is doing back home, where ever that is. I wonder where everyone else is going, here on this train.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In What Ways Have I Seen God's Grace to Me Lately?

As I was provoking my mind to list the many ways God has shown me grace lately, a poem that I had written in 2003 came to mind. It is quite simplistic (and strangely philosophical), but does the job of reminding me of the many, often forgotten graces God has extended. I can imagine as a seventh grader just coming home from a long walk down by the canal, or maybe coming inside after a long day of reading on the swing in the back yard and reflecting on God's goodness to me.

God is Great
By Alissa Graham (2003)

Blades of grass and every tree, 
shows how good God is to me.
He pours down rain to wash away fears,
He has guided me well through the years.
The sky above proves God's presence,
Flowers remind me of his essence.
All the rocks and the deepest sea,
Shows how great God is to me.

Today, as I reflect on the ways that God has shown his care, love, forgiveness, and grace to me, I am overwhelmed to know that He has welcomed me as a beloved daughter in His family. He does not condemn me or hold me guilty, but "he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant," and brought provision and wholeness. He is my almighty Father who is ultimately worthy to be praised.