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I AM

ADVENTURE

COURAGE

PEACE

THE EPISCOPAL VETERANS FELLOWSHIP

ART WORKSHOP with ELIZABETH DECKER

Brandy Carpenter, Robert Goodacre, Dwight A. Gray, Tony Hathaway, Frank Hutchison, William Livingood,  David Peters, Bill Smith, and Lynn Smith-Henry

I Am (Hypervigilance)

I am returning to a civilized world

I no longer recognize.

Eight years go

to the night we toasted our brothers

beneath a mortar streaked sky –

too tired to run for shelter, too comforted

in the fire of a makeshift grill, too much

feeling as if the others should be here.

I am in a safe community of strangers

each one known by the chirp

of a car alarm, the slam of a door.

In the absence of danger we’re creating

our own fear.

I am trying

to wring stories out of a dry brain,

some by folks not here to tell them.

I am over the desire to look

for what’s falling from the sky,

but I am wondering if I shouldn’t be.

D.A. Gray, 2016

Adventure (Getting Back Up)

Before I’ve even taken a step
the legs become rubber.

It seems like hours, standing
atop Elk Mountain waiting

for the strength to come back.
Light begins to shape the prairie,

granite rock emerges,
as do bison grazing in a field

of Indian paintbrush.
Nearby, a lizard scampers out
on the ledge. My eyes still

focusing, I’m reduced
to hearing its soft feet clambering,

to forgetting ever falling. For a second
I can walk anywhere.

Dwight A. Gray

Courage

Dear Liberty and Future Adopted Children,

Courage, easier said than done.

To be courageous is to be different.

To be courageous is to stand firm in your beliefs but also be able to grow and not be scared to reshape your beliefs.

To be courageous, you must stand up for those who can’t.

To be courageous, you must love unconditionally, knowing great pain may come with such freeness of love given.

To be courageous, you must dance to the beat of your drum–not everyone else’s.

To be courageous, you must befriend others.

To be courageous, you must be comfortable with the philosophy,
SEE ONE, DO ONE, TEACH ONE.

To be courageous, you must learn to admit to your mistakes no matter how painful the consequences may be.

To be courageous, you must push past what you perceive is your potential to actually unlock your destiny.

To be courageous, be yourself–first and always. Make your own path. Be your own persona. Be YOU.

Love, Mom

Brandy Carpenter

Courage (Recovery)

To my younger self: At this point
you’re still standing at the edge
of a sinkhole that’s been slowly
swallowing the ground, that’s become
the landfill for what won’t burn. You,

if you repeat this pattern,

will have your first drink
in a few more hours. You may think
you can escape. It will take years
to realize, no matter how much
trash you toss in this sunken place,
it will never fill. You can see

the trash of past lives,

truck parts, scrap metal,
all starting to rust, all which will still
be here at the end of this bender
and every one that follows.

Dwight A. Gray

COURAGE is at the core and heart, spirit and soul of every part of my being.
As a child I had to overcome fear and develop physical courage to stand up to bullies.
In college I developed mental courage to challenge ideas that were not right.
In my 33 year military career I learned to combine physical and mental courage with moral and spiritual courage.
As a commander I had to show other my faith in people and my beliefs and core values in my decisions and actions when it would have been easier to follow the crowd.
Our life journey is finding who we really are at our core–we grow most when we show physical, mental, moral and spiritual courage–and they all make a real difference.

Bill Smith

Peace (Finding it Amid Chaos)
On the cold tile floor, too stiff for crossing
legs, I’m counting, inhaling, pulling
the room in and waiting for the discomfort
to fade.
Six seconds since the last stray thought.

The first thought was money, the second
a sharp word I hadn’t heard in years.
Memory burns like a fire on the horizon.

Peace comes when I push the air,
and every negative thought, out.
Emptiness. I’m learning to let them pass,
the sirens at the traffic light,
last night’s argument, things
I can not change–all passing through.

Dwight A. Gray

Peace

We have seen good times
We have seen bad
We have seen wartime
At times we are glad

The Peace that we desire
I wore on my boots
To remind me of their sacrifice
To remind me of why I serve

These brave soldiers sought Peace
Stared evil in the eyes
Put us before themselves
The enemy took their life

I hope that their sacrifice
Will one day bring peace
For now I honor their gift
To an undeserving person like me.

Brandy Carpenter


episcopal-veterans-fellowship


The EVF Facebook Feed
15 hours ago
David W. Peters

Verse two is about a veteran with moral injury

Since most of you are building your Ash Wednesday playlist, here's one I wrote last year you can add to it. If anyone wants to cover this (especially anyone who is a Real singer/guitarist, please ... See more

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5 days ago
Coffee with the Author: David Peters

This book is about how EVF got started and its founding intellectual and theological principles. Please come and find out what they are!

Grab a coffee and join us for this 30-minute interview between KUT's Jennifer Stayton and author of "Post-Traumatic God" David Peters. Books are available for sale in Holy Grounds and there will be a ... See more

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6 days ago
Help Name Our Veteran Integration Center!

A group of us have been working together to create a Veteran Integration Center - it's akin to a Veteran Resource Center, One-Stop or "Drop-In" center with one exception: We don't "help" Veterans ... See more

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1 week ago
Have You Met the Post Traumatic God?

I'm so thankful for Anna Courie's review of Post-Traumatic God. Just knowing that my small offering is providing Hope to people like Anna who have borne the battle, makes any difficulties I ... See more

I am trying to remember when Facebook told me that David Peters and I should be friends.  In an unusual pattern, David and I have socia...

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1 week ago
Cecil

Good Shepherd Tomball cares for our veterans

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1 week ago
David W. Peters

Our sister, an Episcopal Veteran par excellence! Let light perpetual shine upon her.

Today we lay to rest our sister Susie She trained pilots for combat, often towing a paper target with her plane that they would shoot at. I asked her, how long was the rope? About 50 feet she ... See more

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1 week ago
What Do You Say To A Veteran Contemplating Suicide?

Hopefully you’ll never need it. Sadly many do. Here’s what to say to a veteran considering suicide.

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2 weeks ago
Recent A&M-Central Texas graduate accepted into Hambidge Fellowship

We're so proud of one of members, Dwight, who recently received this fellowship! He is an amazing poet and person.

One of Texas A&M University-Central Texas’ newest alumni, Dwight A. Gray, was recently accepted as a Veterans Fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, a creative retreat ... See more

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2 weeks ago
The Living Church

"The Iraq War left Marine Reserves Chaplain David W. Peters reeling from post-traumatic stress and a broken marriage, but he is not done with voluntary suffering. Not by a long shot." As Lent ... See more

For these Christians, suffering is neither terrifying nor messianic. http://ow.ly/OhNA308TKAG

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2 weeks ago
The Living Church

For these Christians, suffering is neither terrifying nor messianic. http://ow.ly/OhNA308TKAG

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