Friday, December 31, 2010

Jesse McGuane

Jesse McGuane is 47 years old.
He has not always been a rancher,
at one point in his life he was a songwriter in Nashville.
He never had any serious success,
but he never stopped writing songs.
You can't stop when it's a gift,
whether the breaks come or not,
it's not a faucet you can just turn off.
He grew up in Mississippi and East Texas.
Before he could walk he sat a horse.
The pictures his mother has proves it,
and she is always happy to show them to whoever will sit with her long enough.
He and Anne moved back to Mississippi in 2001,
they wanted to raise their kids on a ranch with horses, dogs, and cats..
Their daughter Isabelle is a junior at Mississippi State.
Their son Seth a freshman at Ole Miss on a football scholarship.
All Jesse's life he wanted to have his own place for horses and a few cows.
He grew up on a 120 acre cattle ranch in central Mississippi until his parents divorced.
From the time he could remember until he was a teenager when his father moved to Texas,
there was not a single day without a horse.
Divorce is a painful road to go down for a kid..
The years in college and Nashville not owning a horse were rough on him.
He continued to keep them in his life one way or another.
He worked on a ranch in Brentwood Tennessee for 5 years caring for the owners roping horses,
occasionally breaking a two year old in the spring on his own time.
After years of writing songs and working numerous odd jobs,
he and Anne decided it was time to leave Nashville..
Jesse was all for it.
His black hat was covered with snow as he dismounted..
He tied Cisco to a snow laden branch and walked into the woods..
He saw an old man and a young boy standing over a dead doe.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Snow blanketed the piny woods,
big thick heavy flakes fell in slow motion upon the rolling hills,
"I've never see it like this before." He spoke to Cisco..
The wind blew steady from the north,
"There he is boy."
The young bull was huge.
He seemed larger in the snow,
His jet black winter coat contrasting with the blinding white landscape,
"He is something ain't he?"
Jesse loosed the rope from it's leather straps,
he meant only to use it as something to wave in front of the Angus..
he had no intention of roping the giant..
They moved around the herd so as to turn them toward the barn.
working slowly..
"Easy boy, suc suc suc cow..move along..eeeeasy.."
the big Angus took a step toward the barn,
moving a few feet ahead of the small herd following.
Suddenly, a shotgun blast from the woods shattered the quiet..
it sounded like they were no more than 50 yards away..
"Hey!" Jesse yelled and moved Cisco toward the woods..
"Stop shooting, you got cows and calves out here in this field!"
Another shotgun blast rang out..
At this point the bull and cows were running in the wrong direction..
He let the herd go..focusing instead on the poachers..

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the young bull

The big red horse was fine.
Jesse turned him out after checking him over.
He had a slight stone bruise,
nothing serious.
He walked down the hallway of the barn to the tack room.
Cisco stuck his head out the stall as Jesse passed by.
"Hey boy, you ready to chase a bull?"
He walked in the tack room and removed his roping saddle,
an old Ralph Shimon he inherited from his grandfather.
Cisco is what you call a "Blue" horse, or a blue roan.
A perfect example of a Quarter Horse..
Stocky, small head, broad chested, quick, athletic, and eager to work.
He loves to hunt cow.
It's in his blood like a bird dog has hunting birds in his blood.
They set out in the snow with more snow beginning to fall.
Snow in the spring in the south is a peculiar thing..
His rope was frozen stiff tied to the leather straps hanging on the saddle.
Jesse had called his neighbor saying he would bring the bull home..
his neighbor, Jim Hastings, was out of town and had said he appreciated it.
The bull had made his way to the north pasture where Jesse's cows were eating hay.
He really didn't mind if the young bull had met up with a few of his "girls",
in fact, he hoped he had.
This bull's offspring were very healthy and carried a lot of weight.
It's the least the bull could do for causing him all the trouble.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


His green 1984 Chevy Silverado slowed to a snail's pace
Jesse checked the fence-line along the highway.
The neighbors prize Angus Bull across HWY 30 had broken through somewhere.
It was cold.
Two inches of snow had fallen the night before, which is unusual.
He spotted the mangled fence in a dense thicket of briars..
"Dangit" he whispered to himself. "You would have to cross there."
The briars tore his canvas coat sleeve as he pulled them out of the way.
The leather gloves kept the sharp points from getting to his hands.
His cell phone rang, the ring tone a George Strait song, "Run".
By the time he backed out of the thicket and got his gloves off it stopped.
He checked to see who it was.
The missed call read, "Shuug.", which is the pet name he calls his wife Anne.
He called her back.
"Hey Shuug, I found where he came through the fence, right in the middle of the dang briar patch!"
She told him the big Sorrel was lame in the front left foot,
wanted to know had he noticed.
"I didn't see him this morning, keep him in the stall, when I get this fixed I will tend to him."


Monday, December 27, 2010


snow in the south
makes you feel like a kid
it's something we rarely see
you folks in the Midwest
in the Mountain West,
the Northeast,
whether you love it or not,
you know snow..
we don't..
even our horses down here are having fun,
kicking and bucking as the flakes fall.
Jack loves it too,
it's easier to see squirrels..


Sunday, December 26, 2010


He leaves the 99
to find one
the lost sheep who wanders off
to find one
to find us
to bring us
He searches
so that we
rejoin the flock
carrying us,
safely in His arms.


Saturday, December 25, 2010


Merry Christmas to all from Snowy Oxford Mississippi!!


, Renee, Wesley and Jack

this moment

Christ's Mass
it's His liturgy
The Son takes on flesh
believe it or not
He is come
on earth
this globe
this moment
Angels sing
shepherds watch
Mary and Joseph
alone in a cave
with animals...
and the baby God


Friday, December 24, 2010

Wes and Cisco

being with the horses soothes
blood pressure falls
the soul breathes better
the smell alone is peaceful
Cisco walked over to Wes
he rested his head on shoulder
as if to say..
"I have missed you."
Horses are not like dogs..
they don't love like dogs..
they are never human-like
they are always "Horse"
the head on the shoulder is a horse thing..
a pecking order movement within the herd
Wes spent many hours with Cisco
breaking training gaining confidence and trust
the horse remembers him,
Wes' scent and movements imprinted within his equine synopsis
the connection must be timeless
however it is defined,
it is a beautiful thing..
one more grace from our Beloved..


Thursday, December 23, 2010


your brother is Peter
you are fisherman in Galilee
you grew up a devout Jew
learning the prayers from your father and mother
asking God to send the Messiah
false Messiahs are a common day experience
you start hanging out with the crazy prophet John
he eats Locust and wild honey
dresses like a mad man..
people still talk about the rumor of a baby born in Bethlehem,
but 30 years have turned it into another legend..
one day,
at the Jordan river..
John's cousin from Nazareth walks by..
John points at Him as if he had never seen Him before and yells..
"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"
You follow Him to where He is staying..
after hanging out for a few hours
something in your gut tells you it is true..
this is the One we have been praying for..
You run and tell Peter,
cause he'll know what to do..


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

coffee with cream

coffee with cream
walking in the leaves
back in my beloved Mississippi
Jack by my side
horses i will ride
with my son this afternoon at 3
shopping almost done
shopping ain't fun
people drive like bats out of hell
but it's good to be home
where the ones i love roam
with coffee walking in the dead leaves


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fwd: Life on the Rock, Christmas Special December 23..

Be sure and check out the Life on The Rock Christmas Special on EWTN, December 23..9:00 Central, 10:00 Eastern.. They recorded me doing a tune I wrote called "God Always Had Mary on His Mind" when I was there earlier this year.
Merry Christmas to all with the hope for His help in all we do!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: W. Keith Moore <>
Date: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: Life on the Rock, Christmas Special
To: Jill Sanders <>

Thanks Jill! I am honored and humbled to be a part of anything to do with EWTN!
Peace and Merry Christmas!

On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:24 PM, Jill Sanders <> wrote:

You'll be featured on Life on the Rock's Christmas Special which airs on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 10pm EST.


Thanks for your help in making our Christmas show so special.





Jill SandersCopeland


Life on the Rock
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, Alabama 35210

205-271-2900 ext. 3250


You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.

 -- Matthew 16 : 18                                                          



Jesus and Mary Pic

many religious intellectuals believe Luke chapter 2 a myth
akin to how Hebrew scholars read the story of Adam and Eve
a myth with eternal truths and windows into seeing God
many don't accept the Virgin birth,
here is the problem with these reasonable views of Luke 2..
they remove the most important Truth..
if Jesus was not born of a Virgin,
by the Holy Spirit,
if He was just a man,
just a good teacher...
then He was insane
He often called Himself "I Am".."Before Abraham, I AM"
the same thing God told Moses when Moses asked God's name..
if He is not fully God and fully man,
then we who believe are insane..
Christmas is about the INCARNATION..
God chose to come to this world through Mary..
not Elizabeth or Judy or Amy..
this is why understanding Mary is still so vital in our world..
the early Church battled these reasonable ideas too
the debate over Jesus' nature..
the argument over Mary's virginity
this is why the earliest Churches were named in Mary's honor..
not to worship Mary,
but to make it clear to everyone,
Jesus the Lord was born of a virgin by the Spirit of God..
making it clear He was fully God fully man.
her importance lies in her Son..
we don't meditate enough on this..
we read it aloud around the table at Christmas dinner almost myth-like..
if we really meditated on this for hours, days, weeks,
something beautiful will grow inside us


Monday, December 20, 2010

dig in

think about it..
Yahweh Elohim Jehovah
allows Himself to become a baby
puking peeing pooping drooling
man, that is crazy..
you know?
but think of this..
He is born in Bethlehem
which still exists today..
The word Bethlehem means..
"House of Bread"
what do we do with Bread?
Do we have faith in it?
Do we worship it?
we eat it..
He is also laid in a manger..
do you know what a manger is?
it is a feeding trough for animals..
it is where they eat..
the Guy Who eventually says,
"Take and eat, this is my Body"
"Take and drink, this is my Blood"
in the moment He enters our sphere.
is laid in a food trough..
God makes no mistakes..
He allows Himself to become our food..
which is so incredibly amazing..
His desire is to be our very sustenance...
it makes all the sense in the world,
and at the same time no sense whatsoever!
what incredible mystery is this faith we are given!!


Sunday, December 19, 2010


here we are
6 days away
the day we remember the story
it's a bizarre story if you think about it..
takes on the flesh of His creatures..
the DNA of Mary
comes as a helpless infant.
crazy deal..
and now,
2000 years later..
we shop eat bake travel
bring trees into our houses
put lights on the outside
in one way or another,
whether a person believes it or not,
whether we say Holiday or Christmas
this story is still messing with our world


Saturday, December 18, 2010


people dressed as clowns
should not be allowed to drive
i was heading to work the other day
listening to music..
up ahead coming toward me was a blue truck
an old antique GMC Step-Side..
i love old trucks..
when i got about 50 yards from it i noticed something odd,
a clown sat behind the wheel
I am not a big fan of clowns,
I've always been a little uneasy around them
and though this clown had a smile painted on,
he looked really angry when we passed each other..
crazy deal..


Friday, December 17, 2010

laughing at the moon

one guy asked another..
"You think the moon is made of cheese?"
the reply..
"You think the world is flat?"
scientist believe in the building blocks of experiments..
they believe the premise reliable,
they could not form conclusions..
so even scientist have to believe,
they must have some kind of faith is absolutes..
i know an atheist
i told him i believe in him..
i asked him if he believes in me
he looked perplexed..
i don't blame him.
the guy who asked the question about the moon
started laughing..

Thursday, December 16, 2010


i love Christmas
the smell of Cinnamon Apple Cider,
glazed ham in the oven..
a fire in the fireplace..
crows high up on the naked branches
frost on the whiskers of a horses nose
waiting for a baby to be born..
a baby that's gonna rock this old world..
turn it upside down
grow up,
cause a bunch of trouble..
offer hope and salvation..
walk around barefoot for 3 years with 12 losers..
forgiving whores, tax collectors, and lawyers..
attacking religious dudes using God to make money..
i love Christmas
time to forgive those dudes using God to make money
time to look in the mirror and work on that log..
time to visit extended family for a couple of hours..
time for Eggnog and singing..
Robert Earl Keen's Christmas Song comes to mind..


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Self Portrait

when standing by this painting..
so close to it,
the brush strokes invite you closer
Vincent didn't just paint his own likeness
he revealed a soul,
he has a secret...
he is not a man staring into nothing..
or posing for a portrait..
i don't know what it is about his expression,,
about the colors..
no other artist said so much..
his paintings make you stand and stare
leading you to some kind of conclusion
some kind of explanation..
and always,
to a vibrant restlessness.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

9 degrees

9 degrees in Nashville
that's pretty cold
reading Augustine this morning
talking about seeking God
when we seek from intellect
poking out our chest..
we often find dark angels
when we seek from humility,
beating our chest..
we often find God..


Monday, December 13, 2010

"I can't preach that"

yesterday at Mass..
our priest said this..
"I can't preach that."
he was talking about hate..
a Baptist church protested Elizabeth Edwards funeral..
her funeral!
they believe God killed her for something she said..
Ms. Edwards had said she went through feelings of disappointment,
when her 16 year old son died..
wondering why didn't God spare him..
the Baptist believe this is why "God gave her breast cancer"..
this sign was held high..
it read..
"Thank God for breast cancer!"
our priest said he could not preach this thinking..
these baptist are living in the old testament pathos of God..
without looking at God through the lens of Jesus,
without Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church,
these are the interpretations and beliefs American Christianity espouses..
this is why Tradition is so important!
without Tradition,
one can interpret the scripture however one wants..
make it mean whatever..
John the Baptizer wasn't sure anymore about Jesus..
from his jail cell he sent his followers to ask Jesus if He was the One..
maybe because Jesus wasn't filled with rage and in people's faces..
like an old testament prophet..
like John the Baptist had been with King Herod..
Jesus told the folks John had sent..
"Tell John the lame walk, the blind see, the poor are hearing the good news.."
I don't think Jesus would be carrying a sign that read,
"Thank God for breast cancer!"


Sunday, December 12, 2010

winter is here

the snow is falling
the streets are frozen
the wind is howling
winter is here
horses run and play in this kind of weather
they huddle together for warmth
turning their rear ends toward the wind
their ears back
listening for predators
i remember many cold mornings on the farm
walking to the pasture
the frozen dead grass breaking under my boots
throwing Alfalfa flakes out for my beloved horses..
a good memory..


Saturday, December 11, 2010


we get surprised sometimes
by life
in good ways and bad
it's all part of the journey..
without hope,
the bad surprises would be too much to bare..
without humility,
the good surprises could ruin us..
St. Therese said,
"Everything is grace"

Friday, December 10, 2010

perfect love casts out the scary

scary dreams are scary
the black mask that won't come off,
odd movements
anxiety ridden situations
can't move in normal movements
crying out the name of Jesus..
kidnappers flee..
the devil in the details..
i guess this is suppose to produce fear..
but the fear doesn't last..
curiosity does..
we must view our anxiety and fear through the eyes of our heavenly family..
they no longer dream..
they live in a perfect reality of love..
which casts out the scary..
they are a "great cloud of witnesses cheering us on"..
if they can cheer us on,
they can also pray for us..
just like i can cheer you on and pray for you..
but their prayers and encouragement is not tainted by sin..
like mine is..
isn't that incredibly encouraging?!
it's more than pom poms and 2 bits..
God set this up.
we are a family living in love of the Trinity..
though still here in the scary,
we are joined through the cross with the unafraid in heaven..
Mary and the Saints are cheering us on..
it makes all the sense in the world..
scary dreams are temporary,
Perfect love casts out the scary..


Thursday, December 9, 2010

my confidence

there are so many confident peoples
confident in their beliefs
Buddhist Jews Muslims Christians
all over the world right now,
someone is praying in their confidence..
in America, personal interpretation rules religion..
that's why television works,
"reality shows"
how bizarre it is..
i judge not..
it is what it is..
i'm thankful for friends
for kind debate and challenging disagreements..
it's healthy..
but more than anything else..
i'm thankful for mysterious mercy and grace..
which i see in the cross of Yeshua..
my confidence..


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

made in His image

if you have ever read Augustine's "Confessions",
you realize something..
St. Paul called himself the worst of sinners..
Augustine elaborated..
and yet,
the entire book is about love..
it is about mercy and grace..
and then,
it is about the journey of enlightenment..
wait a minute..
this sounds like our journey..
when walking through the Met in New York,
i kept noticing something,
humans are as mysterious...
which reminded me..
"Let Us make man in our Image"


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the cold air

walked in a field yesterday
after work
drove out to the country
had to get out of this congested city
needed to breathe
it was dark
the deer were running
sometimes i take stuff too serious,
myself included..
i rant against this and that..
who am i anyway?
my Angel shakes his head,
i think i heard him laughing yesterday
at me..
but in the dark walking in the old hay field,
as high as my waist..
i took a deep breath
the cold air,
the laughing breath of God..


Monday, December 6, 2010

Mustard Seed

the faith the size of a mustard seed
is a little bitty thing
but when moving mountains
becomes a Frodo ring
when it ain't about love
when it ain't about hope
when it's all about money
when it's all about fame
when it's all about power
when it rules the poor
and the sick
giving their tithe to Joel Olsteen
and the other heretics, thieves, and liars....
the faith of a mustard seed grows anger, bitterness, and despair
Come Lord Jesus!
for Fr. Joe

our Advent

Advent is a wait
O come O come Emmanuel
He has come..
He left
He comes in the Mass
He is coming again..
in the mean time He says,
"Do this in memory of me"
"When you do it to the least of these,
you do it unto Me."
"You fed me we I was hungry"
"You visited me in prison."
"You gave me drink when I was thirsty."
"Enter into the joy..."
he never mentions having faith..
he only speaks of doing..
faith without works is dead says St. James..
he sounds like Jesus..
we should be doing while we are waiting..
unto others..
remembering Him the way He commanded..
this is our Advent


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Damp Cold

it is cold in Mississippi
damp cold
gets in your bones cold
the wind is whipping the naked trees,
the bare limbs moan..
no squirrels out for Jack to chase
they are staying in the nest this morning
the sun has a job waiting when he rises,
it will take some work to warm this day
walking in the dark before dawn
in Oxford MS..
with Jack,
the wonder dog..

Oxford MS

Saturday, December 4, 2010

running on water

I never live with balance
I always wake up nervous
Light comes at me sideways
I hold my breath forever--Bruce Cockburn

the restless soul
is not stagnant
i dreamed last night i walked on water
i dreamed last night i ran on water
as i high stepped across the windy waves to shore,
i kept thinking,
i am going to sink any second..
but i didn't.
i even stomped the water a couple of times..
i felt fear, anxiety, joy, wonder, and curiosity
Jesus was not in the dream...
but i remember thinking as i ran..
"i must not look at the waves around me,
only at the shore."
there were friends, some of you even,
you were watching from the shore,
urging me on..
as if you had already made this journey
once on shore i felt relief..
but also a tinge of sadness,
i wanted to do it again..

Oxford MS