Category Archives: children

Somewhere Near You

The small boy was on red alert.  He smelled the peculiar smoke coming from the bathroom where his mom kept a little pipe above the medicine cabinet.

He never knew how long it would last, but he did know it meant trouble.  It was always the same, but always different.

He looked for food.  There were no crackers or candy under her bed where she hid it, but he found a can of beans in the pantry.  He desperately tried to open it before she got out of the bathroom, but his little fingers couldn’t manage to get the manual can opener to work.

He didn’t hear her coming out. It was too late by the time he did.  Angry, she shoved him to the ground and threw the can of beans striking him squarely in his chest.

As he shrunk toward the door, grabbing the can in a frantic backward crawl, she lunged toward him, grabbing, jerking his skinny, little body across the floor.  He was terrified.  The kind afraid where you can’t breathe, can’t move, can’t cry.  The kind where every second felt like a year. Continue reading Somewhere Near You

Dear God

Dear God,

There’s so many things I don’t understand, so I’m writing You hoping You can swoop down and take care of things, at least the questions.

Like, why do kids starve in parts of the world? And why was a child somewhere, probably a lot close than we want to think, abused beyond measure by someone who is supposed to care and love them?

And God, why do you let evil people kill in the name of false gods? And why does it rain like crazy one year, then a drought the next….wouldn’t it be better to just even it out? Continue reading Dear God

Corona Church

Life has temporarily changed. Pandemic. The world’s partially shut down because of the Chinese coronavirus.

Like this: we went to church Sunday, online!  We logged in on my iPad to watch Facebook live!  And no one else can see you.  If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have brushed my teeth or clipped my nails!

The first minutes are great, the kid’s part!  I understand that part, kind of a milk of the Word thing, ya know?

So I’m slurping on my spiritual glass of Borden’s watching the children’s minister when all the sudden a little angry face icon 😡 floats up the side of the screen!  That’s rude! It’s the kid’s part of the service for crying out loud!

Then there was another angry face, and another! It was terrible! I felt a self-righteous indignation!

But then I realized I was holding the IPad with my right hand at the bottom with my thumb on the angry face.  Every time I moved, my thumb pushed an angry face! Continue reading Corona Church

HEART OF HOPE (2) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

“Daddy, they called! They have a heart!!”

(Read Part 1 here)

A new heart!  Renewed hope!!  A chance for Shelby to live a full life!!  It’s exactly what we hoped and prayed for!

But wait!  Wait…

For one to live, someone doesn’t.

Somewhere, a family’s tears flow. Someplace, loved ones grieve. Somebody is hurting, mourning a tragic loss.

Their hope, it’s gone.

Yet, in the deepest of deep grief, they share. They share life through their loss.

To someone else, some unknown person to them … to Shelby … they pass along a heart, the very beat of life. Continue reading HEART OF HOPE (2) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

HEART OF HOPE (1) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

Phone rings.  3:42 AM.  Never a good call at that time.

I listen, shocked.  Adrenaline rushes.  My fingers tremble on my shirt buttons.

Twelve minutes later in the ER, several people explain that Shelby, my 20 year old daughter, has an enlarged heart that’s only working at 15% capacity.

I can’t get to her.  People everywhere, beside her, in the way. I can’t reach her, and she’s slipping away.

It’s almost ten minutes before I can bend over to see her in the bed, pale.  So pale.  Shallow breathing.  Hands and fingers, blue and cold.

I speak softly, fully understanding I may not ever get to again. “Hey Sweetheart.”

Her eyelids flutter before opening her blue eyes that are there, but slipping.

I see the recognition as she whispers, “Daddy, I don’t want to die.” Continue reading HEART OF HOPE (1) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

Dad, Does Insurance Cover an Ambulance

I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t answer. “Hello.”

It was my third son, Todd, who has an adventurous spirit.  “Hey, Dad. Whatchu up to?”

“Just watching a soccer game on TV. I thought you were in San Antonio playing in the college club soccer tournament this weekend?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Y’all doing alright?”

“Yes sir. Won the first one, lost the second, and tied right now.”

Todd pressed on. “Hey, does insurance cover ambulance rides?”

“Yeah. Why do you ask?”

“I was talking to some guys and I didn’t know.”

“Yeah, any time there’s an accident, it’s covered.” I was getting confused. “Where are you?”

“I’m at our game.”

“Are you finished, or about to start?,”

“No, the game’s going on now.”

“Well Todd, why aren’t you playing?”

“I was, but I was making a steal and slid to clear the ball out of bounds.  The guy from the other team fell on me and when he did, there was a loud pop in my neck.”

“Oh man!! Are you hurt?  Need to go to the doctor?”

Todd matter of factly said, “These guys think I do.”

“What guys?”

“The paramedics.” Continue reading Dad, Does Insurance Cover an Ambulance

Playhouse to Lighthouse

The tenth grandchild is coming in October! Can’t wait! Grandkids are great!

Last year I built a swing set for the grandkids, then a fire truck (you can read that here).

The boys had something, but JJ, daughters, daughter-in-laws, and even granddaughters said they wanted something for the girls, specifically, a playhouse. Playhouse foundation

~Challenge accepted.~

I drew up plans for a little 10’ x 10’ playhouse, bought the materials and started work.

It’s insulated, with lights, porch lights and a plug for a heater or fan powered by an extension cord.

Like everything that comes from your hands though, I know where I messed up.  I see my mistakes, things others, besides building professionals, may miss.                     img_0633

But I see them.

I shake it off.  Remind myself that the goal isn’t perfection, even if I want it.  Demanding perfection, whether in a playhouse or a child’s life and behavior, destroys the goal. Continue reading Playhouse to Lighthouse

The Other Table

I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting.  The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”

Her face lit up as if she remembered something important.  She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.

She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”.  She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled.  By all accounts, he’s a little odd.  Add it up, and he’s an easy target.

The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others.  That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention.  He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table

Brahm’s Lullaby

In college I worked one summer at a funeral home.  Morbid? Maybe, but I wanted to be around the death process to understand, not fear it.

Sometimes though things, places, events — they change you, change the way you think, change the way you see and feel life.   That summer changed me, one night in particular.

I had two jobs that college summer.  As soon as I finished my maintenance job, I’d shower, put on my suit and rush to the 2nd job at the funeral home.

It was a visitation that night, just one body, with few visitors expected.  The funeral home owner told me he and his family were leaving town for a short trip, threw me the keys and told me to lock up after everyone left that night.

No one was there, so I went into the state room and was shocked to see the tiny casket.  Inside was a beautiful, eight month old baby girl.  Continue reading Brahm’s Lullaby

31 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days

“You’re going to cry when I graduate, aren’t you?”

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

That was enough to satisfy my youngest daughter, Jessica, back in September. She’s the last of my eight children to graduate high school.

She graduated Friday.

We have a few college graduations left, but by and large, the work is done. The time is finished. The investment complete.

I cried, not why she thought I would, but I cried… Continue reading 31 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days