January 2020 – Beast Of Burden

“Write something from the donky’s point of view”

The Chorus of the Big Bend in Fort Stockton is in their third year. Alex Cordero, the group’s director is talented and creative. I thought perhaps he’d lost his mind when he asked me to write a piece for the 2019 Christmas concert. “Write something from the donkey’s point of view.”

This was a new “writing to spec” assignment for me. But through much prayer, and inspired by our concert theme, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” the poem took shape.

The poem was read by Ken Ripley between choral pieces “O Magnum Mysterium” (the mystery of the animals at the Nativity) and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” (Daniel Elder)




Every day my life the same,

Beast of burden is my name.

I do the work my master wills,

Eat my food, sleep standing still.


Until one cold and brilliant night

I heard a sound from up – the heights;

Whispers, whispers from afar

Sang “You are chosen, yes, you are,


To take the master to the place

Where yearns the broken human race.

So on the morn and with the dew,

You must go, it falls to you.”


Whispers, whispers from afar

How I wonder what you are

Thought I know not how you sing

I will be this offering


So when the sun came peeping out

I became the master’s scout,

Trekking far across the land

To fair and tiny Bethlehem.


Then I heard upon the wind

The voice that spoke to me again,

“Careful, careful where you walk

The mother feels each dip and rock,



Take her where the angels sing,

She is the mother of the King,

Careful now, don’t let her fall

She carries Grace for one and all.”

Whispers, voices from the stars

How I wonder what you are

Though I know not how you speak

Help me find the place they seek.


Soon was born the baby King

With sights that I had never seen.

Even I, a lowly beast

Joined in heaven’s worship feast.


“Beast of burden, you’ve been true,

Now I have a gift for You.

It is your seed who’ll take me in

Triumphant to Jerusalem.


No more shall they call you beast

But servant to the very least,

For in my Kingdom I must bring

Those who do the thankless things.”


Creator of both beast and man

I will serve those from your hand

Who carry burdens on their back

Those who mourn, and those who lack


Now with heaven I proclaim

Glory, for He changed my name 

I will praise for all to see

For I know- that He- knows- me.



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January 2020 New Years Goals


Who isn’t making New Year’s Goals or Resolutions? Most people are, including this writer. One thing that’s always at the bottom of the list is reading. I usually include “Read (an unrealistic number) books.”

As a writer, teacher, and librarian, you’d think it would be more of a priority. The benefits of reading are well-documented:

  • It exercises our brains.
  • Reading teaches us about the world around us.
  • Improves vocabulary and language skills.
  • Develops imagination
  • Great form of entertainment and relaxation.

I’m resolving to read more for pleasure this year, and not only for research or for reviews. Someone in our writers’ group is going through the 100 Best Classics. I may find a list like that and dive in. Or maybe just go from one random interest to another.

Reading is why I became an author, and it’s high time I got back to it. Maybe I’ll join a book club. It might be best to start with the “To Read” stacks of books I have on my nightstand.

Stephen King, as well as many other authors of note, have stated that if you want to write, you must read, read, read.

War and Peace, anyone?




Sarah Shuttleworth: To continue to be creative, learn, and grow as a writer.

Vea Anna Hooker: My goal is to finish the first draft of “Are There Ghosts in my Attic or Just Bats in my Belfrey”.

Frances Gomez Armstrong: Mine is to go back to last year’s Nano’s story and work on finishing it.

Glenda Bonham: Do editing on novel already written.

Jodi Martin: YEESH!

Jody Day: To stick with a writing schedule and daily word count goal.


December 2019 Year End Recap

Fort Stockton area writers group, Critique Café, has had it’s best year ever. Celebrating eight years in existence, I’ve watched these writers grow. Some have come and gone, but it has been a joy watching these folks learn to give and receive constructive criticism, improve their skills, and put out an amazing body of work.

The group produced two anthologies of our work this year, and published a newsletter each month. We held an art contest for our Children’s Edition cover, and gave support and prizes to young artists.

I’ve observed many come out of their comfort zone, lead groups, give speeches, and take the risk of baring their souls through their work. We’ve cheered each other on, supported, encouraged, and poked great fun at each other.

National Novel Writers Month has challenged and made better writers out of some brave people; 50,000 words in 30 days!

We’re so grateful to the H. Edward Petsch Foundation and the Fort Stockton Public Library for its sponsorship and support. We have some great community supporters as well.

It’s been a wonderful atmosphere to grow as a writer, and we ‘ve had the added benefit of meaningful friendships as well.

If you’ve ever thought of writing anything at all, and would like some feedback and support, we’d love to have you join us on 1st and 3rd Mondays at the library @6:00 p.m. ~ Jody Day ~

Book Review

November Newsletter: Joy Express

Joy Express
by Jody Bailey Day

Critique Café member Jody Bailey Day is set to launch a new book on November 8th. Joy Express is the third offering in the Washout Express Series. The series is inspirational fiction and follows the journey of two thirty-somethings, Bailey and Scott, as they overcome many obstacles to finally arrive at the alter.

“This one is different,” states her publisher, Pelican Ventures. “There is some tragedy in this one, as in the others, but it’s ramped up a notch in Joy Express. As always, in Jody Day’s books, faith brings the situation to a satisfying conclusion. Not necessarily tied up in a nice neat bow, but the reader is left knowing there’s something, rather Someone, to hold on to in times of trial.”

Day will celebrate the launch of her new book alongside the launch of Critique Café’s new anthology at the Fort Stockton Public Library on Monday night, Nov. 18th.

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An early review: “Reading anything that Jody Bailey Daywrites is like coming home—and like home, there are fusses and fights, and a lot of suspense and drama built into Joy Express, but faith winds through it. It draws you to toast your hands over the warmth, and hug yourself with the blazing joy she brings to everything she writes. I don’t often read faith-based fiction, as writers can sometimes get heavy- handed. You can tell by this book that Day writes like she lives, with the warm fire of faith in every word. I have read everything she writes, and wait eagerly for her next. Every. Single. Time.”

Lisa C. Hannon
Author, “She’s Thinking Out Loud”


August Newsletter Poetry Corner: Pearl Light

Pearl Light

by Jody Bailey Day


The light slips pearl-like

Through the window in my room,

The soft, first light of day…

Hallowed time, a moment

Before the coming noise,

The quiet, first light of day…

The Dove sings His songdove

Of love into my heart,

The precious, first Light of day…

Father whispers to His child

His way of life and Word,

The Holy, first Light of day.