Jack’s New Book of Celtic Blessings

Get a copy from Amazon: Jack’s Book of Blessings: Celtic Poems by a Scottie Dog

When I was preparing for the release of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings, I started writing a companion book with my Scottie dog, Jack, in which he would offer his own blessings. Now, three years later, Jack’s Book of Blessings is available! It was released on March 16th and, starting on the 17th, has been running #1 in Amazon New Releases in the category of Irish and British poetry. At least for now it is ranked above works by Seamus Heaney, Mary Robinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Blake, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. (I can see Jack’s smile from beyond the rainbow bridge and his questioning gaze, asking, “Can I have a Special Treat?”)

More about Jack’s Book:

Jack the Scottie tells you about his day with poems for every activity from breakfast to going to sleep. Jack’s Celtic-style blessings lead us through each moment of the day: the walk, the leash, the treats, the lap, the dog park (and even the not-so-enjoyable bath). The book features original drawings of Jack, drawn by his companion and co-author of the book, Beth A. Richardson.

Introduction by Roberta Bondi

The introduction of this special book is written Roberta Bondi and Curly, her white-haired Bichon Frisée. Dr. Roberta C. Bondi is professor emerita of church history and spirituality, Candler School of Theology. Roberta writes, “These are such great prayers, which the world always needs, especially in these hard times, but they were also written by a dog. Everybody knows that dogs are especially good at blessing others as well as asking others to bless them. Jack, of course, was always particularly articulate in his own canine way, and as a true lover of God, others, and the everyday world he lived in, he was perfectly suited to write this book.”

Praise from Cats and Dogs:

At last! A book that goes beyond affirming we non-humans bless God, to one that translates those blessings! Jack’s Scottish Celtic heritage proves ideal for framing this universal expression of praise. As a Norwegian Forest cat, my prayers are more reserved than Jack’s, and I certainly do not have his sort of co-dependent relationship with my humans (“Mom,” p. 3, really?!). But the nap, the bed, the treats, the lap, these are universal in relationships with domesticated humans, every one of whom should read this book to strengthen their often inconstant faith.
– Pepper Allen, Norwegian Forest cat

Jack has penned such lovely blessings for the life of us dogs. We treasure all the things that matter–our families, our food, the smells, the walks. Jack rocks!
– Graford and Fiona Earle, border collies

About the Authors

Beth A. Richardson, is a writer, photographer, editor, cartoonist, and lover of dogs. She is the author of a companion book to Jack’s Book of Blessings called Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.

Jack, a Scottish Terrier, was born in Indiana and lived with Beth and her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Jack the Scottie was a “real dog.” (Cartoon Jack, however, was much more cooperative than “real Jack.”) Jack passed away suddenly in October of 2018. He lives on in the hearts of many.

Get a copy from Amazon: Jack’s Book of Blessings: Celtic Poems by a Scottie Dog

Last Night I Dreamed of Jack

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Last night I dreamed of Jack.
He was lost, but I knew he had
Crossed the road
And gone into the woods.

I walked into the forest
And climbed to the top of a pine tree.
There was a nest there,
Rocking like a cradle
In the gentle breeze.

The trees showed me the nest
And told me he was safe,
Gently rocked,
Held close.

When I got back to the ground
I could see, far off,
a circle of dancing women.
White flowing dresses,
Radiant warm light bathing them from above,
Their arms swayed in the air
Like a nest rocking
On a gentle breeze
In the top of a pine tree.

I woke up
And felt
At peace.

Ashes and Hearts

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Ashes and hearts.
Hearts and ashes.
The convergence of this day of
Sacred and secular.

As if we needed a reminder that
To dust we will return.
We with our bodies showing signs of age …
We with our society exploding?
Imploding?
Teetering on the edge of
We-don’t-know-what?

What is this day,
Then,
Of hearts and ashes?

Ashes of hearts?
Hearts of ash?

From dust you came,
And you will go back to dust.
And, along the way,
There is Love.
Before, behind, beside, within,
There is Love.

Great Lover of the Universe, may there be love … before, behind, beside, within us. Mark us with your love. Amen.

How Can We


How can we
Withstand
The chaos

The unravelling of
Sanity
Values
Order

Some days it feels that
We are so broken
We can never be healed

And still
In this violent
Confusing
Aching world

You send your Spirit
Tongues of flame
To remind us

That however alone
Distressed
Abandoned
We may feel
You are with us

The Long View

When I feel despair about
The way things are
Or hopeless about
What is to come.

When I feel lost,
No longer sure of the paths
I am to follow.

When I have worn myself out
In anger or in worry.

I catch a glimpse
Of the blip of time
In which I live.

A fungus on a stump.
A stream of water carving a path through a boulder.
Prophets preaching in the wilderness
Or bearing witness on the street corner.

Let me not give up.
But, instead, hold on to
The long view.

Believing that the arc of history
Moves towards love,
Towards justice,
Towards life.

Show me my part
In this long journey.

A Message from the Trees

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I walk outside
And look up at the tree
In my front yard.

Its branches, bare.
Leaves, long shed,
Were raked and carried
To the backyard months ago.

But I see buds growing in the branches,
Promising life that will return
In its season.

What message for me, for us,
In these months of fear and challenge?

That though we have lost
Hopes and dreams …
That though our plans,
Swept up,
Now lie in the bottom of dust bins …

We are alive, growing,
Dormant, but still grounded in earthy hope.

Step outside and look toward the sky.
Life and hope and promise
Are growing in hidden places,
Preparing to break forth
In beauty and strength.