by James Sander-Cederlof

(visit his website ... also check out his essays at Tilted Talk)

  • Father
  • That Eleventh Day
  • Reflections
  • Stars
  • Just a Little Smile
  • Crucified
  • The Weight of Sin
  • What Is Sunday?
  • Tasting the Goodness
  • McPherson
  • God’s Promise
  • Mother
  • Through the Eyes
  • AKA Memories
  • To My Friend
  • For Sale By Private Party
  • Where Was I?
  • The Lord
  • The Football Team
  • Proverbs 30:5ff
  • John 11:35
  • Five Minutes
  • My Mind
  • Father

    Letting you go is hard to do.
    I’ve known you so long. Can I give you up?
    I don’t know. You mean so much to me.
    Inside, I feel pain, sharp pain;
    Hurt cries out, but only on the inside.
    I want you here to stay with me.
    Why does it have to hurt?
    It’s been said, “Parting is such sweet
    Sorrow.” But no, no I say. Parting is
    Just plain sorrow.
    Many diff’rent songs come to mind as
    I see you ready to leave.
    I must live my life, you must live your life.
    Why though? I’ve had you all my life.
    How can I live without you here?
    You must go; I know that.
    It still hurts much. I can’t deny.
    If I did it would be a lie.
    That would not stop the pain I feel.
    I do not want you gone, but I know my
    Wants aren’t your needs.
    I must agree with Boys II Men
    When they say, “It’s so hard to say
    Goodbye to yesterday.” It is.

    James Sander-Cederlof
    Written to my father when he moved from California to Colorado
    Also published in the Desert Winds magazine
    in Deming, New Mexico
    as a Memorial Day tribute in 1995

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    That Eleventh Day

    Oh, what did it mean to you?
    Where did your thoughts fly to?
    Did you go back to family,
    Did you visit an old friend,
    That eleventh day?

    Waking up, seeing the news;
    It hardly seemed so real.
    Sat there thinking it could have
    Been me on those planes in the sky, for
    I was to fly on that eleventh day.

    How could someone do this?
    How could someone be this mean?
    All I wanted to do was to
    Visit a friend that I hadn’t seen.
    It all was to start that eleventh day.

    As I pondered what to do,
    I realized this much:
    Not completing the trip
    Would only mean I lost
    On that eleventh day.

    I packed my bags in my car
    And on the road I was;
    Looking back never once,
    California bound
    On that eleventh day.

    People thought me crazy
    For the action that I took.
    Crazy maybe, but stupid no;
    For I didn’t let the terrorists win
    That eleventh day.

    James Sander-Cederlof -- 2001

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    Reflecting back through the years;
    Where did all the time go?
    Seems I’ve made it so far,
    Yet never reached the goal.
    The things I’ve wanted, some
    I got, others I guess
    Have eluded my grasp.

    To live again I would
    Not do. Mistakes I’ve made,
    I’ve had my share, growing
    From them is what I’ve done.
    Life’s a journey, or so
    They say; I guess that means
    I am not finished yet.

    Perhaps I’ll do those things
    Left to do; not to try
    Would be the crime. I’ll give
    This journey one more shot.

    James Sander-Cederlof

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    I sit alone and watch the stars,
    So thankful for what they are.
    God’s handprint up above
    To show us his love.
    So perfect in every way
    To shed new light every day.
    In awe I sit here gazing
    At his love so amazing.
    Oh how He loves us so
    To give us that to which I say “whoa.”
    The stars in all their glory
    To remind us of His Son’s glory.

    James Sander-Cederlof

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    Just a Little Smile

    Just a little smile is all I need
    From you to pull me through today.
    When times are tough I think of you
    And it gets better just like that.
    The wonder of your smile I
    Can’t explain, but it warms my heart
    All the same. Thinking of it day
    And night is to be truly
    Satisfied. Glee fills my soul with
    The smile in my head. Won’t you
    Please give me a little smile?

    James Sander-Cederlof

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    Oh, What did we do? Oh why
    Were we so cruel? He stood
    There and cried while we mocked
    And laughed. His tears, we could
    Not see the meaning of them.
    He had only love for us, even
    Though we beat Him so. This
    Perfect white Lamb, we stained
    Him with red. The whips, the spears
    All for Him. He was barely
    Alive as we made Him walk to
    His death. Why? We were so mean,
    Yet His thoughts had our best intentions
    At heart. He willingly gave His life
    To spare ours. Knowing we would
    Still kill Him today, He was willing,
    Willing to go to that cross and be placed
    On it to die. Yes, for all that I am, He
    Was willing, though I don’t understand
    Why, to go there and be

    James Sander-Cederlof — I had been thinking of some ideas,
    and this poem finally emerged from within me as I was sitting listening
    to a Ray Boltz CD I have. The song I was listening to was
    “Watch The Lamb” and I sat there thinking how I was responsible
    for Jesus being crucified. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did
    writing it. The poem ends in a question type statement.
    I know the answer to it, but I wanted to leave it this way
    for people to think about it. (Easter 2005)

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    The Weight of Sin

    My thoughts raced back through all
    My sins. There were so many
    I could not count them all.
    It was horrifying to
    Relive them all. I sat
    There crying as I was
    Crushed beneath the weight
    Of them all. I could not lift
    Them up no matter how
    I tried. My mind then flew
    To another place, another
    Time. I wondered what I
    Was doing here. The place
    Seemed so strange, yet so
    Comforting. Just what was
    I doing here? I could still
    Feel the weight; that had not
    Left. Why would I leave the
    Place I knew just to come
    To this strange place? The answer
    Came as I looked up and saw
    Him on that cross. The weight
    Left me as He looked at
    Me and said, “You my
    Son are forgiven.”

    James Sander-Cederlof — This poem has its roots
    in a dream I had a while back. You might say
    this poem is reflecting true life, since I did
    experience it. I hope you like it. (April 2005)

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    What Is Sunday?

    My head is ready to explode;
    My stomach feels ready to implode.
    I’m turning red, or so they say.
    “Daddy, Will Mr. C be okay?”
    “Yes son, he’ll be fine,” is what he says.
    My hand is shaking as I pick up the glass.
    My head aches above the eyes;
    Something has gone through my head,
    But has not made it all the way through.
    Holding my breath, but not in fear.
    I try to speak, but nothing forms.
    I cannot breathe; my head size grows.
    The harder I try, the harder it gets.
    If only I could convey my message,
    But it seems this will not be.
    My body, I cannot control. If I
    Could just utter one word, control
    Might be mine. The enemy is having
    His way. He won’t allow me to say
    What is needed to say. I must
    Put forth the answer and stop his wicked
    Ways. It all started with a simple question:
    “What is Sunday?” Kathy asked.
    As they sat there eating, and wanting to
    Help, God finally gave me the strength
    To utter the one word answer:

    James Sander-Cederlof — I wrote this poem because
    I was reflecting back on the dinner I had the previous night and the
    encounter that took place from one simple question that our enemy,
    Satan, did not want me to answer. He, however, was not victorious,
    as God came through and rescued me from his snare. I cannot recall
    being baptized before (at least for the right reasons), so I feel the
    need is now to comply to that calling of God. Our church will be
    doing a baptism on this Sunday, the 17th of April, and I will be
    taking part in that. If God wants and loves a broken down vessel
    like me, He can love anyone. I am but an empty vessel He wants to
    repair and fill. (April 12, 2005)

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    Tasting The Goodness

    The river flows; All I need is You.
    It starts stirring, I feel it spinning.
    I look around and all that’s familiar
    Seems so rare. Only Yours is the
    Milk I want; It’s all I’ll ever taste.
    Time comes, times goes, but You
    Remain. The simplest of words is
    But what I have to give. You’re
    Shaping, molding me to fit Your
    Form. I press on towards the goal;
    Reaching it at the end. No, not
    The end of the day, but the end is but
    A new beginning. The goal that I
    Will complete is that Amazing Grace
    In which we’ll dwell and have “no
    Less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we first begun.”

    James Sander-Cederlof — This poem actually came to me
    while listening to a secular CD by Yaz. The songs I was listening
    to were Don’t Go and Only You. I began to think about
    how I wanted only God and I didn’t want Him to leave me.
    It is comforting to know He will never leave or forsake us.
    It is us who makes that choice. That is a choice I do not want to make.
    Eternal separation from the joy and happiness is a hell
    I do not want to encounter and feel.

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    Slowly he passes the lamppost
    As the moon looks on. The
    Gentle stride makes silence
    In the October night. Up
    Ahead McPherson makes
    Haste, ne’er looking back.
    McPherson, running the race
    But losing ground with each
    Step. McPherson meets the
    Brick wall at Finish Lane.
    His slow, gentle stride comes
    Over McPherson. Yes the
    Two met at Finish Lane,
    And Death breathes into
    McPherson’s soul.

    James Sander-Cederlof — I got the idea for this
    poem while experimenting with Poetry in Motion
    (which I submitted “Crucified” to).
    I began to think how we cannot take life
    for granted and act carelessly.
    Let’s make the right choice, right now.

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    God’s Promise

    Wow! God just made a promise to
    Me. I heard His still voice in the
    Air as He spoke that promise to
    Me. It’s such a sweet, soothing
    Promise that He made. It’s like
    No other promise He could have
    Made. His promise told of how
    He had compassion for me; He
    Would not destroy me for the wicked
    Things I’ve done. His promise
    Gives me hope, for since He
    Wiped the face of the earth,
    He promised me that rainbow
    Today in the sky. I saw hope for
    My future looking through the bow.
    Yes, my God is in utter control.

    James Sander-Cederlof — I came up with this poem today
    as I looked at the rainbow God placed for me to remind me
    and Him of His promise so long ago. I thought it was truly
    awesome this promise He gave. Never again will the Flood be.
    The time is coming, true indeed, but what a wonderful
    handprint the rainbow is. (23 April 2005)

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    The mother’s love, so complete;
    So perfect in ev’ry way.
    Time and time we disappoint,
    Yet she still shines her love
    Through to us. She’s always
    There for us, good or bad.
    The hand of love, it’s also
    Comfort. Where would we be
    Without our moms? Reaching
    Out, she guides and directs
    Us. There’s so much to learn
    From her. If we could just
    Give back a little love
    She gives freely to us,
    That would please her greatly,
    But would not begin to be
    Enough to pay her back for
    All those times she’s been there
    For us. Today is that
    Special day when we should
    Remember and think of her,
    So Mom, “I love you,” but
    Not just today, but ev’ry
    Day is the same, for ev’ry
    Day is Mother’s Day.

    James Sander-Cederlof — 8 May 2005

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    Through the eyes

    Through the eyes of a three year old
    I am no different from anyone else.
    I am someone to play cards with
    And someone to laugh with. She sees
    I like to play GameCube with her older
    brother now and then. I also have this
    cool thing that I use to walk with.

    Through the eyes of a seven year old
    I am that person who loves to play games.
    We have a ball whether it’s backgammon
    Or GameCube. It’s even Chutes And Ladders
    With his younger sister at times.
    Sure, I need help now and then getting
    Around, but I do have the walker and his helping
    Hand for that. So what if I can’t do everything
    Normal; I play great at GameCube games for
    Using just one hand.

    Through the eyes of one aged thirty-four
    I am beat down and worn out but like
    To play games. I wonder what it would be like
    To hit the ball and run the bases. Run and catch
    The ball would be a treat as well. In the mind
    I make the perfect play. I guess right now
    I’ll have to settle for the mind, as I have the
    Daunting walker to remind me that I’d never make
    It to first base, let alone home. That perfect catch
    Would result in a first-class fall.

    Through the eyes of God
    I am just how He wants me to be. He
    Nudges me at times to get me there when
    Off I stray. he doesn’t care if I can’t make the
    Perfect play or run to first. He looks at me
    And sees someone who likes to play cards and
    Play GameCube now and then. He also likes
    That cool thing I use to walk with.

    I guess God is a lot like a three year old.

    James Sander-Cederlof — Maybe I should be more like a three year old, perhaps? (August 2005)

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    AKA Memories

    The child, sitting there, looking so sweet,
    Smiling back at me. The bond we share,
    None can compare. Thinking of the times
    We’ve had, the moments we’ve shared;
    I wouldn’t trade those memories. The joy
    He brings fills my soul. It doesn’t matter
    What we do; We do it together. It could be
    A simple snack, or a simple meal. A simple game
    To pass the time. You can take my money, or
    My stuff. Just leave me the memories.

    James Sander-Cederlof — Fall, 2006

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    To My Friend

    I’m glad you’re my friend,
    There’s so much we do,
    There’s so much we share.
    You treat me as equal
    When we are so ill-matched.
    There’s nothing I do that
    I think would deserve to be
    Treated special, yet I
    Feel special when I’m with
    You. I guess I am special
    To have a friend like you.

    James Sander-Cederlof — Nov 17, 2006

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    For Sale By Private Party

    It’s just a simple vessel
    That’s been well used.
    It’s seen many a mile,
    Yet the oil’s never new.
    The paint is fading
    From the years of abuse.
    The headlights are cracked,
    And I believe they don’t shine.
    The doors, they stick, and
    The tires, they’re bald.
    The mileage is bad, and
    The speed is subpar. The seats
    Are worn, and the springs
    Stick through.

    With love and care, the
    Vessel will run. My price
    Is low, but it’s quite
    Fair. All I ask for
    Is Your love and care.

    With those two things,
    I’ll be like new. I’ll
    Still be worn from my
    Years of abuse. I’ll
    Still be slow, and my
    Distance will be low.
    I’ll still need eyewear,
    But my eyes,
    They’ll finally shine.

    James Sander-Cederlof — Nov 1, 2007

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    Where Was I?

    Where was I on that fateful day?
    In the corner of His mind, what’d I say?
    Was I there cheering Him on? or was I
    Jeering Him on? He knew which side
    I took and loved me still the same. Would
    I have been willing to carry His cross?
    Would I have spit right in His face?

    He wasn’t Monty Hall, and there weren’t any two doors,
    One with “A” and the other labeled “B”. It’s but
    A simple thing, you see, as He knows which side
    I would’ve picked. My head shouts cheer, while
    My heart pounds jeer. My heart breaks
    Now, you see, for I fear Peter wouldn’t have
    Been alone when that cock, he did crow.
    “Father please forgive them” said He,
    As he looked me straight in the eye. I
    Hung my head in shame, and wanted to die.
    “It’s over” he proclaimed, and proceeded to die. Why?

    It was for people like me He chose to die.
    He loved me so much He willingly died.
    He’s there to help me when I call;
    He’ll carry me the distance when I fall.
    Love like His you’ll never find,
    For you see, He’s one of a kind.
    He chose us on that fateful day,
    Regardless of where we stayed.
    A cheer? A jeer? He loved the same.

    I’ve figured out where I was at Calvary.
    I was where I still am. You see,
    I was there in His heart.
    He’s praying we’ll never part.

    James Sander-Cederlof — August, 2008

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    The Lord

    Fear the Lord, for He is good.
    Love the Lord; He is awesome.
    The Lord is perfect and grand.
    He has promised us life
    For the taking. All He asks
    Of us is to believe. All
    Our heart should follow
    The Son. When we fall
    He is there. He helps us
    Up and dusts us off if
    We ask. He is reaching,
    Reaching out to us. Let us
    Reach out for His hand.
    Let us fear and love the
    Lord; He is God.

    James Sander-Cederlof — August, 2008

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    The Football Team

    There’s two sides to ev’ry story they say.
    That’s true. I can visualize this day
    The two sides of my life. I may lay
    In my bed thinking of the great way
    I have lived and how it’s been A-OK.

    My friends deserted me, but that’s alright.
    I’ve made new ones that stay in sight.
    When the going got tough, they quickly took flight.
    I have a grand time reflecting at night.
    During the day, I lift things with all my might.

    Choices I made call for my new friend Jack.
    He’s trying real hard to separate me from crack.
    I listen real hard as his mouth goes yackety yack.
    It’s hard to believe how fast my life got off-track.
    Oh wait, it’s all because I wanted to turn time back.

    Reality, you see, is really quite diff’rent.
    New struggles, no, there aren’t. Bent
    Down in pain, I scream, just to vent.
    I grasp the wall to move around the apartment.
    This method is how I always went.

    I never chose to live this way, but someone
    Else wanted me this way. I just can’t run,
    Or catch the ball. My role on the team isn’t none.
    It’s to think how we can get the game won.
    To this end, my job will never be done.

    There’s different parts on the football team,
    And to play the runner, for me it’d seem
    I’d have to go back, but from what I seen
    That’s a place I wouldn’t want to be.
    I’ll play the part I’ve been given on God’s football team.

    James Sander-Cederlof — August, 2008

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    Proverbs 30:5ff

    Lord, I want my share. I don’t
    Want too much, but I want
    What’s right for me. It’ll be
    Neither too little nor too much.
    You’ll feed me with the food
    That’s convenient for me. You
    Know how much I can handle.
    And that’s the share I want.

    James Sander-Cederlof — August, 2008

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    John 11:35

    The wars, from then to now,
    Fighting them as we go.
    The plaques are there to remind us how
    Our people just wouldn’t say no.

    People we’ve lost along the way
    Through exploring a new place.
    They wanted to brighten our day,
    One ship blew up traveling to space.

    Natural disasters , there’s been a few.
    Earthquakes and floods, but still
    There’s more. Winds have torn through
    Places through time, and yes, they kill.

    These are some reasons why
    Jesus wept.

    James Sander-Cederlof — August, 2008

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    Five Minutes

    God, all I want is five minutes.
    I’ll be satisfied after those five.
    I want to be Superman and set foot
    On this place. I don’t want fame
    And I don’t seek cash. You know
    My reasons, as I’ve told You before.
    Yes, just give me those five minutes
    With superhuman feats. Yes, I just
    Want five minutes of being “Normal Joe.”

    James Sander-Cederlof — October, 2008

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    My Mind

    God gave me a mind, yes it’s true.
    It’s amazing how it works, through
    And through. Quite well; it works
    All day strong. I put it to use and
    Things go right through. Why is it then
    I vow at times to use it so slight?
    It hurts my brain to think this through.
    I guess I must think of something new.

    James Sander-Cederlof — October, 2008

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