Collecting Hope

Photo by Vinu00edcius Estevu00e3o on Pexels.com

Every end of Winter 

Before Spring finally comes

I find myself needing to

Bolster myself with hope

To gather the fragments 

I can find

Into a basket

To turn over stones

Looking for something shiny and bright

To scan the trees for feather or flutter

To listen to stories

Of those who have come through

A dark winter, or time

Where help arrives

Just in time

Where a secret door is found

Out of the dark passage

Where an innocent prisoner is freed

When the trauma of the world

Weighs too greatly on my shoulders

This is when i need

To grab my basket

And start collecting hope

© 2023 Julie Clark

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com
Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com


Could we just move

Towards each other

Instead of listening

To the voices inside and out

Telling us how divided we are?

Could we remember

Laughter and friendship

Kindness and love

Sorrow and grief

We have tasted together?

Perhaps repair

Does not always need

Many words

But slow movement

Back to each other

A gift, a call

A jar of pickles

We know love is action

Not just pleasant thoughts

And feelings

These times need creativity

To create new ways

Of reconnection

Of loving one another

Our neighbors

Even our enemies

© Julie Clark 2022

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Categories: Autumn Poems, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two Years In

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Two years in

Not normal now 

never will be

Never was

We can’t go back 

Normal was never 



For everyone

All we have is



What will we do

With it?

We can’t get our

Dead back


From disease or

Gun shots

So we must

Grieve and lament

Mental health?

Anyone not 

Been depressed or anxious


So we must

Seek peace and community

Two years in

And a million miles away

From what any of us would 

Choose for ourselves, 

Our children

And grandchildren

What choices do we have?

We can choose

Love, kindness, forgiveness 

We can choose a path

Of generosity and peace

We can turn our weapons into

Tools for living, farming, building and

caring for 

One another

It’s time for a new pledge

Not to a flag

But to our Creator

To our common humanity

To the planet we share

A pledge to share our resources

To help those less fortunate 

To make amends

For our wrongs

No more excuses

No more denial

To Restore the earth

To take care of this

Precious planet

We call home

To be makers of peace

Not war

Categories: children, Faith, grief and death, lament, Life, Love, pandemic, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments


It is when the waters are still, we can see clearly the reflections.

Bill and I are taking a Sabbatical for a few months. We are slowing down, breathing deeper and paying attention. More thoughts to come….

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Pandemic Christmas

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

This year we are all

Frayed around the edges

Wheels wobble and threaten to roll off

Relationships can be tense and anxious at times

Fingers pointing, fault lines drawn

Whose fault is it anyways?

We’ve all inherited trouble 

All have passed trouble along

Instead of blaming with pointed fingers 

Instead of self-protection and mental isolation

We can acknowledge that we are all in this together

Imperfect and in need of mercy

From God

Others and ourselves

The humble road is the path to life

The humble hand extends mercy and

Receives mercy

The humble heart

Has room to expand

To grow love

And give it away

©  2020 Julie Clark

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lament for the Earth

I wrote this 2 years ago when smoke engulfed the Pacific Northwest from fires burning. This year the fires are worse and so is the smoke. I am one of those with underlying conditions. I am not well. It is supposed to rain and help clear the air. I think of those who have lost lives, homes, businesses in these fires this year. This on top of the Covid 19 pandemic which has taken so many lives around the world. Pray this prayer of lament with me and let us work together for change, starting with our hearts.

Backfromtheborderlands's Blog

forest fire smoke burning Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God we ask for your mercy and help.

We have filled the waters of the earth with poison and pollution.

We have harmed people, animals, fish and plants with this water.

We have continued to fill the waters with chemicals, plastics and garbage even when we know this is harmful.

God have mercy on us and forgive us.

Help us to care for these precious waters that sustain us.

We have poisoned and polluted the land.

We have destroyed forests and fields.

Our foods are no longer rich in nutrients.

We continue to harm people, animals and plants with our poisons and pollution.

God have mercy on us and forgive us.

Help us to care for the land that sustains us.

We have poisoned and polluted the air.

We continue to burn fossil  fuels that are heating our atmosphere.

We are harming people, animals and…

View original post 174 more words

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Reflections on the Tiananmen tragedy, 30 Years Later

Photo by Paulo Marcelo Martins on Pexels.com

(I am very happy to host a guest blogger today, Bill Clark, my husband and companion on a journey for nearly 40 years.)

In the Spring of 1989 my wife Julie and I and our 2 small children were living in Northwest China. We lived in a small city, Guldja or Ili, 64 kilometers from the USSR border. I taught English at a regional teacher’s college.  That semester I taught an evening class open to the community which met two nights a week. In May the students were consistently showing up 15-20 minute late for class. When I pressed them on it, they said they were watching the live evening news broadcast from Beijing which, because of the time difference, started at 5:00 pm local time. They explained that at that time every evening the latest news was available from the students camping out in Tien An Men square. Sometimes as a teacher you have to know when to go with the flow. I am glad I went with the flow on that issue.

The entire nation, including our small provincial town, was transfixed by the events happening among the students and young people in Beijing. Beijing’s elite educational institutes collect the best and brightest students from all over the country including from among the several hundred families who lived on our Teacher’s College campus. The demonstrations were personal for our neighbors.  There was a profound hope in the atmosphere of our school that the reforms the students were expressing would be for the good of the nation.

When the violence began on June 4th everyone was at first shocked and then devastated. A death pall fell on our campus. Families wanted news of their loved ones and whether they were safe. Little known to most Westerners, there were similar student demonstrations at regional centers around the country. One family we were close to had a graduate student in Chengdu. The PLA opened fire on those students as well and our friend narrowly escaped with his life. He reported multiple casualties all around him. One grandmother told us she could not eat for days because of the grief she felt for those young people. Many people became deeply depressed.

The official explanation began soon after. Our college’s top communist party member called the foreign teachers into a meeting to give us the official explanation. Rather than being recognized as the patriots, : “the students were out of line and acted up  (xuesheng nau shr) and were justly punished.” One colleague said he literally felt sick as the lies we were told did not square with even the limited information we had access to.

Some foreign teachers broke their contract and left early. We did not want to do that but neither did we want to stay during the summer break. We worked out an arrangement with the school to teach accelerated classes and leave for the USA two weeks early and return in the fall with another year to teach. It was with conflicted emotions that we left as many of our local friends would have liked to have left China then, but that was not an option for them at that time. We returned in the fall of 1989 to a very different China.

Bill Clark

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Locked In and Locked Out

door green closed lock

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

(This poem is dedicated to those imprisoned in concentration camps and their families in Northwest China.)


What else can I do

But continue to speak up and out

For the ones locked in

And the ones locked out

They are separated from family

From community and their beloved land

From health and safety

Their hearts are tormented

And their bodies are broken

They are in anguish and pain

Can you hear them and lend your voice?


What else can I do

But pray and cry out

For the ones locked in

And the ones locked out

For the ones I know and do not know

To ask the One whom death could not hold

Who razor wire and prison gates

Cannot keep out

To walk among these people

Locked in and locked out

To call them by name

To comfort

To give courage

To give hope

To heal

To restore

To lift up

To set free

To rise like the sun

And bring a new day


© 2019 Julie Clark

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, grief and death, Hope, lament, Poetry, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why We are going to the Mosque on Good Friday

art cathedral christ christian

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


It is Holy Week. We remember all that Jesus did for us when he went to the cross, died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again. The very depths and heights of our faith. My husband and my calling to follow Jesus in loving those outside our own faith community compels us to go to our local Mosque this Friday night. Don’t get me wrong, I love Good Friday services. The somber reflections of the ultimate sacrifice Christ paid moves me deeply.


This friday is especially important that we go to the Mosque. For many years of our adult lives we  have lived in Central Asia, first in Northwest China, then in Kazakhstan. We lived and worked among many different ethnic groups – Chinese, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, but especially Uyghurs. Our Uyghur friends and neighbors taught us deeply about many things, hospitality, faithful loyalty to family, respect for elders, love of music, dancing and food, to name a few. These very ones who sowed richly into our lives are now struggling for their own lives in their homeland. The government of China is attempting to wipe out their culture and possibly existence by incarcerating over a million people in concentration camps where people are dying daily. They are seperating children from parents and mercilessly controlling every aspect of their lives through extreme measures. We are teaming up with our local Mosque this Good Friday to lend our voices to the voiceless. We are speaking up together to say No to this horrific act of violence.


What better way to fight the evil of dehumanization then to join with our Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world. We will not be manipulated into divided camps, but stand together and with one voice cry out to God to deliver the Uyghur people from their oppressors.

Categories: Faith, God, Good Friday, lament, Lent, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mysteries

birds flying over body of water during golden hour

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

The mysteries

Of all we do not know

They are more than

The riches some heap

While others go without

They are more than

The wars against body and soul

The what ifs and the whys

The pit of sorrows we fall into

The crushing weight of grief


The mysteries

Of all we do not know

The greatest is love

That holds us when all is gone

That leads us to treasure

At the end of a dark tunnel

It runs through us and to us

Lifting us and helping us

To breathe and to live

And one day hope again


© 2019 Julie Clark


Categories: grief and death, Hope, Love, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: