Rick Hill


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  John F. Kennedy

“He is incapable of a truly good action who finds not pleasure in contemplating the good actions of others.” –John Casper Lavater (1741-1801)


Appreciation is Honest, Heartfelt, and Precise.  More than simply thankfulness (though there is nothing wrong with that) appreciation is a recognition of how a person or event has helped shape our life - giving new direction or improving one's condition. 


East On Eden’s Road

Words and music by Richard Hill

Child was a-traveling, east on Eden’s road

Happened ‘pon an old man, walking slow but bold

Where are you goin’, old man, can I walk a while

And have you got a gift you might give an eager child?

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a watch and chain

Gave it to the child with the warning of a sage

If Time it be your enemy, then even hope is dead

But Cherish every moment and Time’ll be your friend


Child was a-traveling, east on Eden’s road

Happened ‘pon a young girl dancing lightly on

Where are you goin’, young girl, can I dance a while

And have you got a gift you might give a wondering child?

She reached into her bonnet, pulled out a blossom fair

Gave it to the child and whispered as a prayer

Beauty’s in a flower, beauty’s in a stone

In moments or in monuments, seek the truth alone


Child was a-traveling, east on Eden’s road

Happened ‘pon a beggar man bent beneath his load

Where are you goin’, beggarman, can I carry for a while

And have you got a gift you might give a hungry child?

He reached into his sack, pulled out a walnut burl

Gave it to the child with a firm but gentle word

Living is like carving, you make it what you see

As wood is shaped by steel so life is shaped by dreams. 


The Child now is older and further down the road

Destination closer, but still a ways to go

Sometimes the journey’s rocky, sometimes it winds and bends

Sometimes the child is lonely, sometimes enclosed with friends

Every one encountered has a gift to share

The gracious heart receives them, as a jewel rare

We may not know the pathway, what lies to right or left

But heroes gone before us encourage every step.

Rick Hill


This was the first song I wrote in the series.  It is based, fairly obviously, on the story of Israel's exodus from Egypt.  But it was also a reflection on my own personal need to get out from under a job that was causing me tremendous difficulty and take on a new adventure.  Turned out to be more of an adventure than I was anticipating.  It landed me in Maryland where I decided to take a break from church work and try my hand, again, at being a full-time musician.  The break gave me an opportunity to hone my musical skills and I completed most of the Excellent 11 series.

Adventures will bond together those who do them.

The experience of the past

Builds trust in the present

Which leads to hope for the future


Storm the Gates

Words and music by Rick Hill

Life was good

The neighborhood was mild, easy living


The clouds of gray were pushed just out of sight

The sun did shine

And Egypt thrived all taking and no giving

All the toil we turn the soil and pyramids arise.


In the heat

A different beat slowly growing louder

Daily chores

Begin to bore the soul can hardly bear

From deep within

A surging hymn rises o’er the clatter

To wilderness, to wildness, the exodus is here.


The soul rises up and cries with consternation

All for freedom and damn the expectations

Shatter once more these chains of subjugation

Life is made for challenge, grab the reins and storm the gates


Loud the snorts

Of chasing horses bearing down like thunder

The royal guard

Attacks the heart attempts to quench the fire

“Remember when…”

Comes back again and tries to still the drummer

Conquer fear or serve the fear the choice is only ours


When the sea

The path impedes, and Pharaoh’s army closes

And every choice

Seems out of joint, no option stands a chance

Search the soul

Aim for the goal never fear the voices

Forward march, the sea will part its on to Promised Lands


Rick Hill


Compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings…
    --Thomas Merton

I was deeply influenced by Matthew Fox's "A Spirituality Named Compassion".  His thoughts on Compassion provide the background for this characteristic.

Fox unpacks the following as defining compassion:

   Understanding those whom you are helping

    Celebration of our unity and need for each other

   Works of Mercy done with an attitude of helpfulness

    Lifestyle that demonstrates compassion at all times.


 Spread Your Wings

words and music by Richard H. Hill

Spread your wings... And fly above the mountain tops

Where the sun... breaks through the clouds

Soaring high... Far into the atmosphere

See the world... With holy beauty crowned


Carrying upon your back

The troubles of the world

Lift them to a higher plain

And release them to the sun


In your beak... Bear again the olive branch

An offering... Of tomorrow’s hope

Let your song... Gently fall to earth

Beck’ning forth... The heart’s own tones


Join the choir of heaving sadness

Lifting their mournful song

Add your voice in deep compassion

Til you and they are one


Then spread your wings... And lift them o’er the mountaintops

Where the sun... Breaks through the clouds

Soaring high... Far into the atmosphere

Show them the world... With holy beauty crowned


Rick Hill


Resilience is a deep-rooted sense of joy and purpose that will not be defeated by any adversity.


            “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  Martin Luther King, Jr


Hold On to core beliefs, values and ideas that serve you well.

Let Go of beliefs, values and ideas that don’t serve you well.

Move On to replace what you left behind with what you hope for.


“Resiliency: How to Bounce Back Faster, Stronger, Smarter”  by Tessa Albert Warschaw and Dee Barlow, MasterMedia Limited, New York, 1995


Editor-In-Chief of ODE magazine Jurriaan Kamp provides a huge WOW in his Letter from the Editor. "RESILIENCE is cropping up with increasing frequency as the next step in thinking about SUSTAINABILITY."

"RESILIENCE is a dynamic concept focused on incorporating inevitable CHANGE. RESILIENCE is about how systems respond and how we can support such responses."

Kamp goes on to say that "RESILIENCE is very different from SUSTAINABILITY. Sustainable, after all, means 'capable of being maintained'(!). SUSTAINABILITY features static control. RESILIENCE is about DYNAMIC RESPONSE."

He adds one more thought: "Resilience systems have a capacity to handle disruptions (change) and reorganize themselves while preserving their function, structure and identity."


Log Roll

Words and music by Richard H. Hill


Big ol’ turtle sat on a log

In the middle of a puddle in the middle of a bog

Soakin’ up sun in the early morn,

Shuffles his feet as the log slowly turns


Life is good, life is sweet

Sun so warm settin’ on that tree

Keep your mind on where you wanna be

And let that log roll on


Turtle’s got a friend joins him on that log

In the middle of a puddle in the middle of a bog

Lured by the sun and the casual pace

Climbs right up and takes his place


Two more turtles spied that log

In the middle of a puddle in the middle of a bog

Climbin aboard, they caused too much spin

Dumped every one of those turtles back in


You might think what a shame, what a pity

Life rolls over and you’re back in the gritty

But if you’ve set your mind where you wanna be

You get dumped then you climb back on


Life is good, life is sweet

Sun so warm settin’ on that tree

Keep your mind on where you wanna be

You get dumped then you climb back on


Big ol’ turtle gets back on that log

In the middle of a puddle in the middle of a bog

Soakin’ up sun in the early morn,

Shuffles his feet as the log slowly turns

Rick Hill


This song is about "confidence".  Our confidence comes from knowing who we are and whose we are.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror, I can take the next thing that comes along”… You must do the thing you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

That quote is the specific inspiration for the last verse.


Journey On

Words and music by Richard Hill

Long as you are out here in the weather

Wondering where the path went in this dale

Pause for just a moment and consider

What the world around you has to tell.

Not every bird will fly south in the winter

Some will find a home in snowy cold.

Home is where you find the things that matter.

You choose the path to your own home…journey on…


Ev’ry flower blossoms with distinction

Ev’ry blossom has a purpose in the field.

Ev’ry plant a gift to the creation

Ev’ry gift longs to be revealed.

Gardens filled with flowers wild or cultured

Flourishing where’re they hit the ground

Roots reaching deep, blossoms sunward

You choose to blossom where you’re sown…journey on…


Every moment, every motion

Every thought and every word

Holds the seeds of two tomorrows

Which will you leave on earth?


If you stand in fear before the mountain

If you freeze in terror on the path

Your breath is gone and your heart a-thundered, pounding

Destiny a harsh and angry blast.

Ev’ry hill that’s conquered helps you climb the higher mountain

Ev’ry terror faced helps you dare the great unknown

Courage triumphs over fear and moves the fearful forward

You choose the path you triumph on…journey on…


Rick Hill


Creativity helps us see things in new ways, which helps solve seemingly unsolvable problems.

Creativity flourishes in communities that value:

    Safety – it is OK to express individual ideas

    Possibility – there are many valid ways to approach a problem

    Power – we have the ability to do things differently

    Identity – we are clear about who we are

    Faith – we are guided by a God who loves us and wants us to do well.


The song is inspired by John 8 in which Jesus encounters the woman caught in adultery.  The ones who bring her want her to die for her sins, but Jesus finds another way.  In a Bible study on the Gospel of John, one of the participants noticed the up and down movement of Jesus - down engaging the woman, up engaging the Pharisees.


From Dust

Words and music by Richard Hill


I settled in the dust................. And everyone knew

Nothin’ more than mud.......... It was understood

Look up to the sky................... Tower’d o’er by trees

That leafy canopy.................... Roots ran so deep


Everyone knows...................... Everyone sees

That’s how it goes................... It was meant to be.


I settled for the dust................ And I never grew

Far too great the cost.............. Of seemin’ a fool

Lines drawn in the dust........... An invitation to stand

Rise above the forest.............. Claim who I am


Not everyone knows............... Not everyone sees

It doesn’t have to go............... It never had to be


Where are your accusers now?

They have all escaped...

Light breaks thru the forest boughs

And shows another way...


We were made from dust....... To dust we shall return

Between we rise above........... How far’s to be determined

You can shine your light.......... For everyone to see

Help someone to find.............. Help someone to lead


Not everyone knows............... What everyone sees

The way it tends to go............. Is not the way it has to be

Rick Hill


Good balance creates space for healthy relationships.


The four areas must find equal nurturing:

Body - Physical

Mind - Intellectual

Heart - Emotional

Soul - Spiritual


Earth, Fire, Water, and Air

Words and music by Richard Hill


Body grows in earth and space

Heart will always flame embrace

Mind like waters filled with life

Soul on restless wind will fly

 From the dust of earth we’re born

And return when work is done

In between we reap and till

Flesh and bone seek hope and will



Passion finds its life in fire

Quick consumes what e’er lies near

Destroyer or Refiner choose

Heart is broken or renewed



Sometimes truth in shadow hides

Making fools of those deemed wise

Sometimes truth in light breaks forth

And fools seem wiser than once thought



The wind will blow, one knows not whence

It freely comes, or freely ends

 So our spirits long for flight

To play, to dream, to love, to life


Rick Hill


“Great designs are not accomplished without enthusiasm of some sort.  It is the inspiration of everything great.  Without it no man is to be feared, and with it none despised.” – Christian N. Bovee (1820-1904)

This song is about passion/enthusiasm.  Clark holds enthusiasm up as the characteristic to be sought, but I would like to suggest going one step further - to passion.  The steps are excitement leading to enthusiasm leading to passion.  When one is passionate about a project or an idea, then there is nothing that can stop that person.  He/she is willing to overcome any and all obstacles in order to reach the desired end.


Bring That Laurel Home

Words and music by Richard H. Hill


You gotta dig deep

There’s gold hidden in the ground

You gotta reach high

Aim for the sun and the moon

You gotta stretch real wide for these wings to fly

Believe in yourself, let the rest go by

Everybody’s got dreams but the laurel’s gonna go

To the one whose steady and strong


Tortoise and the hare in a race one day we’re told

Rabbit was a laughing and soon lost sight of the goal

Everybody thought, “What a piece of cake

Hare’s got the race right out of the gate.”
But the tortoise instead focused his head

And brought that laurel home



There once was a man who lost everything he loved

He stopped complaining and figured what must be done

His friends all laughed when they saw the mess

But the man had a dream, he’d give it his best

Stone by stone, blood, sweat and bone

He brought that laurel home



If you’re hanging your head along the side of the road

Hopin' there’s a bus that’ll come and save your soul

That driver don’t care if you’re lost and gone

And the folks in the seats sing the same sad song

Let the bus go by, catch your dream and fly

And bring that laurel home



Rick Hill
words and music by Richard H. Hill, copyright 2010


“The life which is unexamined is not worth living” – Plato


A long time ago, I was at the Montreat Annual Recreation Workshop.  I took a class in Low Ropes and the instructor used three questions to do the debriefing.  those questions have stayed with me ever since.  I believe they are a great way to work through a period of reflection:

            What? – what did you do?

            So What? – what difference did it make?

            Now What? – where do you go from here?


Step By Step

Words and music by Rick Hill


1. Early morning

The shadows deep surround us

Proud Orion 

His rival still he fights

Timid footsteps

Filled with hesitation

Not knowing where the path may lie

2. A splash of light

And darkness flees the morning

The world alive

Emerges into view

Distant voices

Alluring sirens calling

Who deceives and who is true?


Take my hand

And walk this road beside me

Step by step

And I’ll tell you what I’ve seen

As the highway slowly rises

Stretched before us

All our dreams

3. Midday heat

The sun is overpowering

Can we take

Another step toward home

Drained of hope

Despair is overwhelming

Plunders us of all we’ve known


4. Now the sun

Caresses the horizon

Reds and golds

Are painted on the sky

A lonely dove

Gently wings homeward

Her journey o’er , her dreams close nigh

Rick Hill
Richard H. Hill


“The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.” Walter Lippmann , Roosevelt Has Gone


            Common sense is the ability to:

            1.  See clearly

            2.  Judge virtuously

            3.  Act decisively


Pokeweed and Thorns

Words and music by Rick Hill


If I planted poke weed

If I planted thorns

Why in the world would I ever think

I’d harvest peas and corn?

If I’d known the wind would blow

All my life away

I’d have moved all I own

Had it for another day.

Get yourself down to the field,

Take a look around

See with something more than eyes

Tell me what you’ve found

Early morn, sky is red

A storm will soon approach

Signs and omens all around

But still we stand and watch

Raise and hold the plumb line

Let it not go slack

There can be no excess

But there should be no lack

Tho’ the world is colored

 In many shades of gray

You must make a judgment

You must lead the way

Arise and claim your call, now

Be steady strong and true

The hurricane approaches

And overtakes the fool

The cry grows ever louder

“Never, never back!”

The one who was the first

Will suddenly be last.


Copyright ©2010 by Richard H. Hill. All rights reserved.