Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tattered Sails

After the storm

Tattered Sails

The following poem is an Old Signpost that encouraged me during a time when I was preparing to return to Haiti. The previous months in Haiti had been filled with gunfire, tanks in the streets, fiery road blockades, and uncertainty about who was in control in the country.

 I’m Tired, Lord

 “I’m tired, Lord: let me furl my sail,
I hear through the mists how the sad waves wail,
My heart is quailing, and sick with fear,
Ask me no more on this course to steer.”

“Child, take this word again from Me;
As your days, so shall your strength be.”

“Lord, the storm is over – we have ridden it well,
Through all its tossings no harm befell,
It was your hand upon the wheel, I know
But the track is so lonely whereon we go!”

 “For the lonely hour, child, trust in Me;
As your days, so shall your strength be.”

“The canvas is torn, and the rigging rent,
While I see the white sails gleam content
‘Neath the golden light on a sheltered bay;
Let me drop my anchor there, Lord, I pray.”

“Child, you must leave the choice to Me;
As your days, so your strength shall be.”

“The billows are past and the harbor won –
And in the gleam of the setting sun,
The waters of peace my ship enfolds,
And my soul is anchored in joys untold.”

 “Now heart, be strong to ride life’s sea,
As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

 Martha Hawn VanCise©2014

From Consolation, a compilation of writings  by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (author of Streams in the Desert)  The Twilight Hour. No author given. Some archaic words edited. Photo:Unknown


I Just Can’t Help But Wonder What Really Happened …


I Can't Help But Wonder

I Can’t Help But Wonder

I’ve always wondered what really happened
On that resurrection morning.

What really happened
When the earth shook and
An angel put his shoulder to the rock and
The guards froze in place, blinded by light?

You, who could walk through rocks
And fleshy walls to a heart
Did not need
An angel doorman that morning.

When you emerged,
Did you quietly crouch beneath the arch
And tiptoe out, so as not to wake the guards
Blink in angel light and whisper, “Good morning.”


I can’t help but wonder if you
Grabbed the angel at the entrance
And exuberantly shook him with your embrace
Until he flickered angel light across the garden.

I can’t help but wonder if you
Threw your head back
And yelled “Yes! Yes!”
As you gave a triumphant
Fist-bump to heaven.

I can’t help but wonder if
Before you spoke to Mary Magdalene and
Before you went to Galilee
You spent some time that morning
Celebrating with your Father.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Yes! You lived a sinless life.
Yes! You stayed on the cross.
Yes! You broke the chains of death.
Yes! You prepared a way to heaven for us.
Yes! You would soon be sitting by the Father.

 I just can’t help but wonder what really happened
On that resurrection morning.

Martha VanCise©2014
Photo used with permission




Dad’s Best Sermon


Flowers in woods

Spring Wildflowers*

My dad was a Quaker (Friends) minister. He pastored small churches (30-50 congregants) in Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois during his 50-year ministry. His churches were not big but his ministry was respected in the area. In his later years, he was the preacher that non-church goers turned to when they lost a family member.  On the Sunday that he passed on, he spent part of the afternoon looking through a shoebox filled with memorial folders from the funerals he had preached. 

That evening, in the Number 11 Mission where he had given his life to Christ, he sat surrounded by his wife  and brothers and sisters. As they prepared to start the service, my mother and one of Dad’s brothers noticed Dad was intently watching a corner of the ceiling of the sanctuary. They looked but saw nothing. A few minutes later, the pianist looked back at the congregation and gasped. Dad had apparently died. Twenty years have passed since that spring evening.

I grew up hearing his sermons, but the one that I remember best was spoken as we walked through the woods when I was about nine years old. The first wildflowers were poking up through brown leaves. He stooped and picked a flower and held it between his thumb and forefinger. “Look, Mart,” he said as he traced the lines in the petals with his little finger, “look at those tiny little lines in this flower. Look at all the little perfect parts to this flower. How could anyone believe there is no God?” 

In Memory of Gleason J. Hawn

Martha Hawn VanCise©2013
*Photo by Dorothy Endicott