Holy Week Sonnet 4

Betrayed by a friend cuts deeper than bone,
deeper still than flesh, laying the soul bare.
Such a wound makes you painfully aware
yet dulls senses, you feel only alone.
The darkness of night drones on, on, on, on.
Into nothing, never-blinking eyes stare.
Again, again replays arise in air
And like grasping for smoke, once here now gone. 

Time plus forgiveness can such deep hurt mend.
Oftentimes need more time to end all strife.
But, God alone can heal soul wounds you know,
Spring forth new life, bringing pain to an end.
He is fond of making crooked things straight.
Emerging forth from the trial you’ll grow.

Holy Week Sonnet 3

Passover is upon us. Time to slay
the Lamb, perfect, life laid down, silent, bound.
Remember when the  death angel came ‘round.
Put blood on the door to live one more day.
But, how much longer can we live this way?
Kill, remember, repeat. In this we’ve found
solace in sacrifice each time around.
But does the lamb’s blood something greater say?

Alas, God himself a lamb will provide.
A lamb in a tree at time appointed.
On the hill of the Lord, he’ll see to it.
Blood spilled, body broken, darkness defied
Covering of blood for his anointed.
On the hill of the Lord, he’ll see to it.

Holy Week Sonnet 2 – The Way (April 6)

The way, we know not to where you’re going
and you tell us we cannot go with you.
How can you speak such, upset us anew?
For life, we left home, kin, all our knowing.
Our hearts are deeply rent, each day growing
troubled as we learn the days may be few.
Lord, why should you hide the place you go to?
Where is the truth we have been following? 

“You know the way as sure as you’ve seen me.
Believe in God. In me believe also.
To prepare a place for you I must go.
Let not your hearts be troubled nor dismay.
I will return and with me you will be.
I am the truth and the life and the way.”

Holy Week Sonnet 1 (April 5)

Triumphant the borrowed colt bore through town
Messiah over palm branches thrown down.
Crowds gather ‘round to him, aloud they sing,
“Hosanna, save us! Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord,” and then,
“Glory in the highest. Peace in heaven.”
Such celebration for a king is fit,
yet Jesus on a humble beast is sit.

Young, old, and all into one voice doth meld.
Save for the Pharisees voices withheld.
“Rabbi, rebuke them,” they hiss and they jeer
a venomous threat as the the man draws near.
“I tell you the truth,” he replies a shout.
“If these go silent, the rocks shall cry out.”

The Noises That Boyses Make

“Be on your best behavior,”
I said to my boys.
“Our guest will soon be here.
Absolutely no noise!”

DING DONG! Someone’s at the front door
“She’s here,” I say.
“Our neighbor, Mrs. Greeley.
Run along. Be quiet. Go play.”

The boys ran off to the back room.
They listened to me!
“Mrs. Greeley, come in. Welcome.”
We sit down. I offer her tea.

The conversation is nice.
I don’t hear a noise.
Until a THUD, and a YELP,
Followed by SCREAMS from both boys.

I rush down the hall to check it out.
Fling open the door,
I find nothing was wrong, but
An action figure fight right there on the floor.

I shot them a look as best I could
To quiet them down.
I return to Mrs. Greeley.
We chat again with no sound.

Mrs. Greeley looked at me and asked,
“What was that noise?”
I was embarrassed to say,
“That’s my two little boys.”

She raised her head and lowered her voice,
“Are they always loud?”
I nodded my head and said,
“At least I can find them in a crowd.”

Mrs. Greeley laughed and patted my back,
“Don’t worry my dear,
I had two boys myself.
And, look at me I’m still here.”

“Really?” I asked. Feeling some hope.
“When does it end?”
She chuckled out loud and said,
“As soon as the next noise begins!”

“I know you don’t want to hear it,
Might make your heart ache,
But please let me tell you
Some of the noises that boyses make.”

“There’s a REVVING of and engine.
A fire truck WAIL.
A RUMBLE in the tummy
SHEW! What’s that smell?

There is the SHRILL of a whistle.
A lion will RAWR!
The SQUEAL of excitement
At a spider on the floor.

There’s the WHIZZ of an airplane.
The MOO of a cow.
The HUM of a new tune
Picked up somewhere, somehow.

The PATTER of feet down the hall.
A STOMP on the floor.
To go with asking for more.

You better look behind you.
A monster GROWLS.
Hunched down to attack
With a SPUTTERING scowl.

CLINK-CLANK goes a spoon in a bowl.
One milky SLURP.
A satisfied MMMM MMMM!
Followed closely by a huge…YAWN!

SQUIRT and toothpaste is all ‘round the sink.
The bristles go SWISH
Back and forth then a GURGLY throat.
Wash it all down with one giant SPLISH.

Fill up the tub – SPLASH – you’re all wet!
PLOOP PLOP bubbles appear
With a big giggly smile.
Did they come from here or here?

There is LAUGHTER at a bad joke
And TEARS in the night.
A SIGH of relief
When MAMA comes in sight.

All snug in bed, wrapped up in calm
Such a peaceful sight
When all of a sudden your pulled in close
For a whisper, GOODNIGHT.

There sure are lots and lots of noises
That boyses will make.
Some can wear you down thin
Make you groan, grunt, and shake.

But, I say let them make noises
Again and again.
You will miss those boys noises
When they grow into young men.”

Mark T. Collins
Written for my wife who has four little boys and one on the way
All Rights Reserved.

Ella Toe Head

Just for fun

Ella Toe Head

On a morning just like any other morning, Ella woke up an got out of bed. She looked in the mirror and screamed! “AHHH! When did I grow toes on my head?”

Ella made her way downstairs. Her mother walked past her and didn’t think twice as she smiled at her daughter and said, “Ella, my dear don’t your toes look nice.”

Ella was quite confused at what her mother had said. She thought to herself, “Toes are not supposed to grow on your head!”

They live on the end of your sweet little feet, hiding in your shoes and under your sheets.

“Maybe Daddy will know about these toes up there. He always has wisdom and insight to share.”

Back upstairs little Ella did creep with her toes on her head and toes on her feet.

Her father was sitting in his chair with a book. And he said to Ella without taking a look.

“Ella my dear what have you done. You grew toes on your head. My, my what fun.”

They laughed and they giggled and they rolled on the floor. And then big brother came bursting through the door.

“Doesn’t anyone else think it is strange,” he said. “That Ella has grown three toes on her head?”

“Cut them off now, make them go away. Ella, toes on your head look weird, I must say.”

Father and mother looked at big brother and said, “We love your sister Ella even with toes on her head.

“Some people are different than you and me. Some are quite tall, others short as can be.

“Some can grow hair while others have none. Some like to walk, others like to run.

“So we love your sister, toes on top and all. Nothing can change that however big or small.

“You see big brother, our love is from God who gives it without fail. And we love you too even though you grew a tail!”


by Mark T. Collins
written in Gatlinburg, TN sometime after having a conversation with Ella’s dad about a dream she had

© 2016 Mark T. Collins All Rights Reserved

Ezra tells an Easy Rabbit Story

cropped-easy-rabbit-horizontal.jpgImagine three children nestled into their bed’s. Mommy and Daddy are there with the youngest. His name is Ezra. He is fun-loving, imaginative, and surprisingly articulate for a two year old boy. He says that he wants to tell us a bedtime story about Easy Rabbit, a lovable bunny who lives in a hole with his family and adventures into the woods with all of the woodland creatures. Naturally we all agree. I grab my phone so that we can capture this moment. I love stories and this one just entered my top ten of all time!

Ezra tells us the story of a rabbit, a skunk, and a four-wheeler. Here is your first taste of Easy Rabbit from the mouth of a two year old. Remember that you are listening to a two year old – give it some time!

Cyrus Maxwell

Cyrus Maxwell Edited

Cyrus Maxwell

Cyrus Maxwell is a lovely lad.
Even though his breath smells bad.
Garbage for supper then straight on to bed.
In the morning you’d’ve thought his insides were dead.

Cyrus can hardly keep a buddy
’cause his words smell so cruddy.
If you go too far, it might make him yell
and everything in sight will be dead from the smell.

What’s that you say? I exaggerate
this poor boy’s odorous fate?
Well, let me ask you one question right now,
Have you ever been near the rear end of a cow?

Once when he was twelve he gave a speech
on “How to Lengthen Your Reach.”
His arms did not heed his soliliquy
for his toothbrush and paste has yet to meet his teeth.

Poor Cyrus is as sweet as can be
despite the stench ‘hind his cheeks.
Mints can quickly fix his one fatal flaw
until the next time he dines in the rubbish stall.


Mark T. Collins
written in the Veranda at the Rabbit Hole and in the school room at the Rabbit Hole


© 2016 Mark T. Collins All Rights Reserved

Sing the Bible with Slugs and Bugs, Volume 2!!!

Sing the Bible Volume 2Is it okay for me to listen to my kids music in the car all alone when my kids are far, far away from me? Absolutely! But, only if that music is one of the albums by Slugs & Bugs.

Randall Goodgame, the creative force behind Slugs & Bugs has accomplished something incredible by doing for music what C.S. Lewis and A.A. Milne did for literature and what Pixar did for film. He has recorded music that is enjoyable for kids and equally enjoyable bigger kids (adults). The whole family can enjoy his music together travelling down the road in the mini-van, cleaning the playroom, or during family worship. Mom and Dad, feel free to listen alone without any guilt. It’s ok. I promise. No seriously, you can turn it up louder. Don’t even worry about that car beside you giving you strange looks. It is completely normal for a grown adult human to sing at the top of their lungs about Mexican Food or Bears.

For his last two albums, Randall Goodgame has written and recorded scripture to music. What a gift to have the precious words of Scripture joined with quality music echoing through your home and the hearts and minds of you and your children. My two-year old can quote scripture. Yep, you heard that right. It’s crazy.

Sing the Bible Volume 2 will be released on March 18th, 2016. The theme of the album is a Musical Handbook for the Christian Home. It features scripture from Isaiah 40 (Do You Not Know), Matthew 5 (Let Your Light Shine), Ephesians 2:8-10 (Masterpiece), The Ten Commandments, and much more.  The fourteen songs on this album could quite possible represent more scripture than you have ever memorized up to this point in you life. Just think of the possibility of sharing that with your children. King David wrote, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).” Perhaps you have been searching for ways to “store up” scripture in your heart, Sing the Bible Volume 1 and 2 will help set you on this path.  

Sing the Bible Volume 2 is not just an album that you will want to buy for yourself. You will want to buy multiple copies and give them away to your friends, family, and strangers who have children (well, maybe you should introduce yourself to them and then shortly after that you can hand them a CD).
Dads helping out at Slugs & Bugs LIVE!
If you live in the Statesville, NC metropolitan and surrounding areas, Slugs & Bugs LIVE! is coming on Friday, March 18th. Yes that is the same day Sing the Bible Volume 2 releases. You can find out more information and reserve free tickets for you and your family at www.westernavenue.org/slugsbugs. If you are reading this and know of anyone who would enjoy Slugs & Bugs Music or Slugs & Bugs LIVE!, please pass this along to them.
Slugs & Bugs LIVE! is interactive for the whole family
To learn more about Slugs & Bugs news and music at www.slugsandbugs.com
To sign up Slugs & Bugs newsletter, (The Slugs & Bugs Bacon) visit www.slugsandbugs.com/the-bacon/ 
To purchase Sing the Bible Volume 1, visit Slugs & Bugs store!


Look Up!


During the summer before I entered the fifth grade, my cousins were home. Their dad was in the Air Force, and they were preparing to move to Japan. I always loved when they came to visit (still do). We played, laughed, talked, and enjoyed that time. There was one particular day that I remember well.

My young brother had been playing in a plastic swimming pool earlier in the day. He has a great imagination and if my memory serves me correctly, he was pretending to play baseball. He would pretend the ball was pitched to him. He would pretend to hit the ball and then he would round the bases. Home plate was the swimming pool of course. There was always a play at the plate, and he would have to make a head first slide into the swimming pool in order to beat the tag.

Well, he left all of his gear in the pool. Or at least he left his bat. This was not your typical plastic wiffle ball bat. It was a molded plastic bat made to look as though it had wood grain in it. The plastic was thicker than a normal wiffle ball bat. You couldn’t bend it over your knee like you could a wiffle ball bat. As the bat sat in the pool all afternoon, it slowly began to fill with water.

That afternoon, my older cousin, my brother, and me were out in the yard. My cousin began to swing the water-logged bat. For some reason my Atlanta Braves hat was in the pool as well. My cousin picked up the hat had tried to hit it.

I was standing about twenty feet to his left. Almost in perfect position to be playing third base if we were playing on a short field. For a second, I looked down. I looked away. I cannot remember if I happened to look back at what he was doing or if someone called my name. I am leaning toward the latter. As soon as I looked back toward him, I saw the bat flying through the air, spinning.

At this moment all things turned to slow motion. It felt like a minute before the bat got to me, but it had to be a split second because I had no time to raise my hand to block the bat.

BAM! The bat crashed into my face leaving those fake wood grain impressions.  As I grabbed my face, I could feel blood running through my fingers. I screamed!

My dad and my aunt were in the front of our house painting shutters. They didn’t move when they heard me scream. I guess I must have screamed a lot. They just thought I was being dramatic. So, my older brother obviously disturbed by the blood ran and got my dad. When we got the bleeding stopped, I got into the car and he took me to the doctor. I looked into the mirror of our Volkswagen Beetle and my nose obviously no longer straight. The doctor popped it back into place and then followed up with surgery a week later.

For a split second I had looked down. I often wonder what would be different if I had been looking up. What if I would not have taken my eyes off of the bat? There is no way of knowing what the outcome would have been. I only like to think that I could have had time to pull my arms in front of my face. Maybe I could have walked away that day with two bruised forearms instead of a broken nose.

In Daniel chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar looks down from his rooftop to his kingdom below. He sees the great Babylon – the city that he built, the palace that he built, the hanging gardens that he built – his kingdom. He boasts of his greatness and his glory. And his kingdom was great. He did had two of the ancient wonders in his kingdom – the forty-foot-high double-encased walls that chariots could ride on and the famous hanging gardens. By worldly standards, he was on top. He had everything that anyone could want. He was the most powerful man in the world. So, he did what powerful men do. He looked down and he admired the kingdom that he had built. He was distracted from looking up by all of the wonderful and glorious things that he had built.

But, as he looked down, he was about to receive a lesson from above. A year prior to his rooftop boast, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. It was a horrifying dream. It was a dream that Nebuchadnezzar could not figure out. It was a dream that was about his future. No one in the land could interpret the dream for the king except for Daniel, the man of God. Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar that his dream was a prophecy about his fate. A tragic fate that would leave him humiliated. If he did not change his arrogant ways, he would be driven out from his kingdom and made to eat the grass like the oxen (Daniel 4:4-27)

Nebuchadnezzar looked down on his kingdom and he boasted arrogantly about how great he was. In Daniel 4:31, the words of his greatness were still in his mouth with a word from heaven came down and decreed his fate. Nebuchadnezzar was immediately driven from men and began to eat grass like an ox (Daniel 4:33). How humiliating! At one point he was at his highest height. At another point, we was brought as low as you could possibly get.

What do you look down on? What kingdoms have you built that you take pride in? We build kingdoms of friendship, grades, sports, and reputation. We build kingdoms of wealth, houses, jobs, and families. We take pride in how much money we have. We take pride in how big our house is. We take pride in how good our children are. We take pride in how good our grades and our jobs are. We look down on these little kingdoms, and we like Nebuchadnezzar declare how great we are and how great our little kingdoms are. We look down on our social media profiles and we admire the number of notifications that we get. We live and die by the number in those little red circles. They give us a false sense of security about how great we are.

Others don’t look down on little kingdoms and say, “How great I am!” You look down on yourself and think about all your shortcomings. You look at everyone else’s kingdom and think that you are not worthy. You don’t like the life you’ve been given and you certainly don’t enjoy it. You would probably never be caught boasting and bragging about how great things are. But, you too are looking down on your kingdom, and perhaps you would do everything in your power to keep your life miserable. N. D. Wilson has a quote in his book Dandelion Fire that says, “Self-loathing and self-worship can easily be the same thing. You hate the small sack of fluids and resentments that you are, and you would go to any length, and betray anything and anyone, to preserve it.” Self-loathing – looking down on yourself – is still a form of worshipping your own little kingdom.

What happened to Nebuchadnezzar after his humiliation is a lesson for all of us to learn. In Daniel 4:34, Nebuchadnezzar says, “At the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to the heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him who lives forever.”

Nebuchadnezzar looked up. He looked up to the heavens and realized who was really in charge. He confessed that God is the Most High. He took his focus off himself and looked up to God.

Nebuchadnezzar’s fall and restoration is a lesson for us all. Let’s learn from his mistakes so that we are not humiliated like him. Take your eyes off of yourself and your kingdom. Look up. Look up and see the world around you, nothing you have built is greater than the world that God has built. Look up from your phone. Look up from computer. Look up from your job. Look up and recognize that God is the King. Look up to Jesus, the one who was lifted up for your sins (John 3:14-16).

Looking down leads to destruction. Looking up leads to life.

Look up!


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