Category Archives: Family

A Peace in a Piece of Water

A couple of weeks ago on a road up Mt. Ranier in Washington state, our group stopped at a roadside area.  We explored and found a waterfall that draws you in like a bee to nectar.

Nature’s charm began to mesmerize me from mind to the deepest part of the soul.

No thoughts. No worries. No concerns.

Roaring water sang a magical tune that dropped its spell over the heart.  Rushing water crashing on rocks below washed the present away to expose a taste of eternity.

For two minutes in a public place I was hypnotized in a private world for what seemed two hours.  No one was around, but people were everywhere. Continue reading A Peace in a Piece of Water

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People Patchwork

I bought a bust on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  At 90% off I snatched the last one up like a large mouth bass after a Carolina rig.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized my new purchase was damaged at the shoulder.  In fact, it had a really big hole in it.  At first I started to leave it like it was because looking straight at it, you couldn’t see anything wrong.  But turn it ever so slightly, and there was the gaping hole.

With a little bit of plastic cement and some poor, ragged patchwork, the hole was fixed, even though it’s obvious it’s been repaired.  After a couple of coats of spray paint, it was all the same color and not as blaringly obvious.

Now it’s on my desk in our home office. The pleasant, gently smiling woman looks like all is good, but on close examination, there’s “patchwork” hidden in plain sight. Continue reading People Patchwork

Cabbage Pot Love

They were young newlyweds, but he was already wise enough to be quiet.

She grew up a daddy’s girl, a tomboy in every way. She could fish, feed cows, bail hay, but at the time, she couldn’t make toast in a toaster to save her life!

She decided to make her groom a special supper of some of his favorite foods, including cabbage.  She’d never eaten cabbage before, much less cooked it.  Nonetheless, she wanted to be a “good wife” and learn how.

In life, hindsight is always 20/20.  Looking back now she laughs saying she should’ve asked a few questions, read a recipe, something!  But then again, how hard could it be to cook cabbage? Continue reading Cabbage Pot Love

In Shadows of the Moon

The full moon shines brightly tonight as it catches rays from the sun and reflects light back to this dark side of the earth.

The moon looks warm, even as the temperature drops trying to chase the warmth of life away.

The circle light bulb in the sky is comforting, peaceful, with shadows on the surface.  I strain, squinting to see the shadows.  It’s too bright to see with eyes wide open, too dark with eyes half closed and somewhere in between, there’s a sweet spot to see the moon shadows.

When shadows come into focus, there are shapes, places, people, even thoughts written in clouds on the blackboard of night. Continue reading In Shadows of the Moon

Tinnitus

It’s the craziest thing! Ringing in the ears that won’t go away. Tinnitus. That’s what they call it. A better name would be itsdrivingmealittlebitcrazyitus!

Only 10 to 20% of people have it, so the other 80 to 90% think it’s odd. Granted, it does sound weird; ringing in the ears that doesn’t go away.

I remember as a kid listening to ringing in the dead of the night when everything else was asleep. I didn’t know it wasn’t “normal”.  I thought everybody heard ringing. I even asked my dad as a little boy what the ringing in the middle of the night was. He looked confused, and said I must be hearing the refrigerator, or a mouse was telling me secrets. That was funny, but not an answer.

It wasn’t until college when I read a Dr. Gott column that described tinnitus and incessant ringing in the ears.  What a relief, in a way, to know it was actually a medical condition. At least it wasn’t from a brain implant from aliens who kidnapped me while asleep and performed tests so they could come back and take over the world! Continue reading Tinnitus

Fly Well

The knot is tied. The balloons won’t come apart. Each is similar, yet unique, different, but the same.

They have the same amount of helium, at least at a glance, but you never know about balloons. They were filled with flight giving helium about the same time, but sometimes a balloon leaks unexpectedly. Its smooth surface becomes slack and loose.  It doesn’t bounce or move like a newly filled balloon. Instead of rising to the ceiling, it begins to float around a room mid-air, eventually dropping even further until finally it rests on the floor.

Turn a full helium balloon loose outside and it flies freely, climbing higher and higher! They are easy to see at first, but become smaller as they rise to wherever the winds blow until they finally look like tiny dots before disappearing from sight.

In some ways, two balloons tied together go farther, climb higher, move faster. They catch more wind together than individually. In the long run though one, or both, go flat. Maybe one is accidentally punctured by a tree branch. Maybe the weather changes and cold air causes the balloons to move less freely. Maybe they just sail along until they simply wear out.

Continue reading Fly Well

Riding Shotgun

As a boy I couldn’t wait to get up before the crack of dawn.  My Dad and I had a spot we fished about an hour’s drive away and the best time to get there was at dawn’s early light.

He had snacks and peanut butter sandwiches ready.  I’d ride shotgun in the old pickup held together by rust and bondo. About the time the sun rose, we’d get to the lake.

Crappie, that’s what we were fishing for, and when they were spawning, we were certain to catch them.

Carefully hooking a live minnow in the back with a big gold rim hook, we’d drop 4 or 5 cane poles and couple of rod and reels.

Looking back, I realize I’d bait the first line I dropped in, but after that, Dad patiently rigged up the rest so I could fish right away. Continue reading Riding Shotgun

City Chickens

A quiet young man at work calls himself a “city boy” by birth, but is becoming more “countrified” every day.  He bought a small chicken coop and put it in his backyard several months ago so he could have “fresh eggs”.

He lives slap dab in the middle of town and the four Rhode Island Red chicks he bought turned out to be roosters.  Roosters don’t lay eggs, so in quiet frustration, he told me he was starting over this weekend with four pullet chicks from another distributor.

The roosters?

“Well”, sounding more like a tired old farmer than a young city guy learning the basics, “I think I’m gonna have some fresh grilled chicken.”

Have you slaughtered chickens before?

“Well, no. But I went dove hunting once, and it’s probably about the same.”   He hadn’t decided if he was going to chop off their heads or wring their necks.  I smiled at his conundrum, and a brain wrinkled memory flashed back.

Continue reading City Chickens

Fires of Life

Janet and I have eleven children between the two of us, and the count’s at 9 on grandchildren. We’re thinking there’s plenty more to come, especially since 5 of the kids aren’t married yet.

We bought a place last year that was right for family and grandchildren.  I built a standard wooden swing set from a hardware kit.  Easy peasy. But it needed more!

We looked at playground ideas and my imagination ran as wild as an East Texas roadrunner.

Then a blast from the past popped up on Pinterest, a firetruck.  I grew up around that!  My dad was a volunteer fireman for years, and two of those years I was the official “mascot” of the fire department. That’s pretty cool for an elementary age kid!

I knew about an old fire truck which had been sitting in a field rusting the last 22 years. I got permission and scavenged pieces and parts.  Continue reading Fires of Life

Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba

Jared, my second son, was diagnosed as severely deaf in one ear and profoundly deaf in the other when he was two years old. He grew up with multiple ear infections, hearing aids and speech therapy. He could, and did, what every other kid did, but it was harder for him, like soccer, for instance.

Jared would be on a dead run dribbling the ball down field while simultaneously adjusting his hearing aid so it wouldn’t fall off.  When the whistle blew, he kept playing until other players stopped.

Crowded rooms with multiple conversations made focusing on a single voice or sound impossible. Jared never complained, and despite everything, even learned how to play the guitar. Amazing!

When he was twelve, Jared had a cochlear implant. The surgery wasn’t covered by insurance, so a home equity loan, negotiated cash prices with the hospital, surgeon, anesthesiologist and provider for the device put the price tag just below $50,000.

Part of his skull was drilled out behind his ear and a computer device the size of a quarter was implanted in the crevice behind his ear. A wire implanted in his skull runs into the cochlea where it stimulates the auditory nerve going to the brain.

His only disappointment? He couldn’t head a soccer ball anymore because it might knock the implant loose.  Otherwise, everything was a plus and the possibilities were all butterflies and roses. Continue reading Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba,Ba