Thursday, May 31, 2007

ANOTHER Graduate!

Cindy and Natalie
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Woah, I reckon Jeff St is smarter than I realized. Our own Cindy G. just graduated from The Seminary (the good one here in Louisville, not the one that's turned to the Dark Side...).

Congratulations, Cindy! We love you!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Steven and Friends

Steven and Friends
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
We have, at Jeff St, many great, wonderful and sometimes weird musicians pass through. One of our latest dear friends and song writers is Steven (who is sadly away for the summer).

Steven has written some incredible songs, as well as played some wonderful covers of other folks' songs. Here's MY personal favorite [dan]:

I don’t know, I don’t know
by Steven DeGeorge

If Jesus drove a truck It’d be gray a 4 cylinder,
and just enough to get him where he needs to go.
With the 12 in the bed and a 3 speed on the column,
He’d be the talk from here to Mexico.

They’d say who’s that man and what’s he trying to say?
If he’s so great why is his truck so gray? And old? And noisy?
Well I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

He drive that thing all over West Virginia,
telling stories to the miners and mechanics and their families.
They’d have Him in for breakfast and comment on His truck and how they’d fix it;
He’d say don’t worry where I’m going you never need a tune up.

He’d take His crew up through Jane Lew and on to
Charleston and Beckley and Bluefield and Wheeling.
Well he’d love the Appalachian Mountains and all the people living round them
would come to hear and see the miracles.

They’d say who’s that man and what’s he trying to do?
Did you hear he turned those R.C. Cola’s into bottles of Blue Moon
the other night at a party?
Well I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

He’d walk on into church like he owned the place,
and they wouldn’t see much more than the dirt upon his face.
And then a man would come and ask politely if he could show him to the exits
but He’d walk right past and take the podium.

He’d say “blessed are the poor mechanics blessed are the miners’ families and
blessed are you who help the least of these.
And woe to you whose wealth is blinding for you the kingdom will be like driving through the eye of a needle in a white-washed SUV,
…and they’d get mad. They’d get angry.
But I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Well Just outside of Morgantown it threw a rod, the truck broke down,
and He sent His friends ahead and they hitchhiked.
They found a room and just like He said there was a Schwin and it was red, and
they brought it to Him and He rode triumphant in.

Hosanna man lay your Carhart down. He’s ridin in, put your coat on the ground
Hosanna man lay your flannel down. He’s riding in, put your shirt on the ground.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Earth Day 2007

Cindy BK
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
We heard two stories at our Earth Day service, both telling the story of Easter Island. In the first story, we heard something approximating what some consider to have really happened there.

In short, the people of Easter Island - Rapa Nui - overconsumed. They kept cutting down their trees to build homes and to make canoes from which to fish - both of which they needed to survive. And they kept growing, which meant they needed to cut down even more trees for survival.

Eventually, they just used up the bulk of their resources and their civilization imploded under the weight of their own consumption.

The second story we heard was what might have been. What might have happened at Rapa Nui if they had realized that they couldn't keep consuming more than they produced and they changed their ways. It was a more hopeful story.

Obviously, given the choice: Would you like to live without limits and eventually die and destroy everything in the whole world except perhaps the roaches or would you like to live wisely and within reasonable boundaries? - most of us would choose the second option.

The problem is, no one ever offers us the choice. We just live life as it comes to us, making what seems like either the wisest of easiest answer at the time problems arise.

This sort of laissez faire life – taking whatever comes to us without much thinking or planning, has led to a world of problems. We know the problems – pollution, breakdown of community, consumerism – I won’t belabor that. Because it’s easiest to take life as it comes to us, we tend to just be part of the larger problem. It’s not that we intentionally set out to pollute or destroy, it just sorta happens that way.

But Jeff Street has never been about doing what’s expedient, about taking the easy way out. We’re not lemmings running toward oblivion! We are a bunch of salmon here, swimming upstream...

...And Farm Community Blessing

Michaela Smirking
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
And so, I think it very appropriate to choose this Earth Day, with this particular message, as the day that we give blessing to the latest endeavor by one of our school of salmon: The Unknown Community Group. The Farmtalkers. The As-Yet-Named-Retreaters.

I want you all to know, though, that they’re no casual fly-by-night communitarians, no sir. They’ve been working on this idea of a community in various forms for a long time now. And this particular group has been working, praying, visioning, meeting and planning their rowdy departure from Babylon for five years.

The success that they will meet, in their move to their farm community across the river – and they will meet with success – will not be an overnight success, but one of careful planning and prayerful consideration.

They know, in the words of Thoreau, that “What's the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?”

They know, in the words of Dorothy Day, that “the best thing to do with the best things in life, is to give them up.”

They know, in the words of Aldo Leopold, that “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”

Dave, Cindy, Lydia, Amos, Michelle, Chie, Adam, Hanae, Roger, Christy, Michaela, Katherine and Laura. You know we love you and are proud of you. You’re showing us a way of living more sustainably. More wholly.

And so, we bless you all, as you have and continue to bless us.

Go, learn the passing of the seasons as a friend passing by. Dig deep into the soil and make it rich as it enriches you. Climb your mountains, tend your valleys, nestle your homes in their elegant embrace. Make a safe haven for children and bluebirds, Jeff Streeters and normal people.

Lead the way for us and for the world. “Go, not where the path may lead, but where there is no path, and leave a trail.” [Emerson] Show us how to live and to live well.


Dan, Charlie and Paul

Dan, Charlie and Paul
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
The woods were made for the hunter of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
There are thoughts that moan from the soul of pine
And thoughts in a flower bell curled;
And thoughts that are blown with scent of the fern
Are as new and as old as the world.

~Sam Walter Foss

Laura Running

Laura Running
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights. All is divine harmony.

~John Muir


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
What's the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?

~Henry David Thoreau

Grapevine Dave

Grapevine Dave
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Listen, Oh heavens, and I will speak, hear, Oh earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.

~Deuteronomy 32:1-2

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
The Congratulations keep on rolling in! Earle ALSO graduated this Spring in a degree that I'm not sure I can even spell! Hooray for all our way-intelligent loved ones!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Dan Tootin'
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Congratulations to all our graduates. We had at least four Jeff Streeters pass that milestone this last week.

Congratulations to Dan, Miranda, Michelle and Steven!!

You all add so much to our lives and we're excited for you.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
We've got at least three really smart folk at Jeff Street. We know because they all just graduated from three very challenging programs and are beginning a new stage in their respective lives. Way to go, Miranda, Steven and Michelle!

A blessing then, for them, from brother Edward Abbey:

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing.
May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl...


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
...Through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone,
and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm
where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs,
where deer walk across the white sand beaches...


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
...where storms come and go
as lightning clangs upon the high crags,
where something strange and more beautiful
and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams
waits for you--
beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.

Congratulations, all you wise folk!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Community Work

Community Work
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
As most Jeff Streeters know, but perhaps not others out there, we have a group within our church who have been working on developing a farming community for many years now. Planning, meeting, discussions, visioning.

And now, now it is beginning to come together. Land is very nearly purchased and plans are unfolding. The air is delicious with excitement and possibilities.

So, to honor their work, here are a few photos and quotes of the dream unfolding at the As-Yet-Unnamed Community.

I'll begin with a little Mad Farmer...

Excerpts from The Mad Farmer's Revolution, by Wendell Berry:

The mad farmer, the thirsty one,
went dry. When he had time
he threw a visionary high
lonesome on the holy communion wine.
"It is an awesome event
when an earthen man has drunk
his fill of the blood of a god,"
people said, and got out of his way.
He plowed the churchyard, the
minister's wife, three graveyards
and a golf course. In a parking lot
he planted a forest of little pines.
He sanctified the groves,
dancing at night in the oak shades
with goddesses...


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

~St. Francis of Assisi

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

~Langston Hughes

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends
can come back.

~Dr. Seuss

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

~A. A. Milne

Dave Mowing

Dave Mowing
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.

~Henry David Thoreau

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.

~Helen Keller

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

~Crowfoot , Blackfoot warrior and orator

The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them up.

~Dorothy Day

Kids Working

Kids Working
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.

~E.F. Schumacker

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life.

~John Burroughs

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion.

~The Talmud