Category Archives: Gratitude

Why Me?

I was making my way to a book store downtown in my own little world, absorbed in my own thoughts, with no desire to interact with anyone other than get through and get gone.

A man came out of God-Tel, a local homeless mission, up the sidewalk from me.  He started walking towards me and I dutifully moved to the right so we would cross in the socially acceptable manner.

He walked with no sense of purpose, and his steps had no urgency.  I glanced at him to give the slight nod of the head that men give each other that says, “I see you. I recognize you and respect your presence, but I have no intention of talking to you”.

Instead of making the acceptable brief, expressionless eye contact and responding in kind with the same nod back, he looked away toward the street.

Not giving eye contact raised a red alert alarm, so I steadied my gaze on him as he ambled toward me. Continue reading Why Me?

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Help One

He walked in front of me.  He was on a mission.  So was I.

Shopping in a grocery store is easy. Little list. Grab it. Go.

He was quick too, except his handful of items needed a shopping cart.

Two 5-gallon containers of peanut oil, five boxes of fish seasoning, eggs and four bags of cornmeal.

His clean overalls said he had already cleaned a ton of catfish from either trot lines or baited holes.  And now he was about to have a party, a fish fry, and he was fidgeting to get the fryer started.

There was still one thing in his basket that didn’t make any sense to me.  He handed the little deli bag to the cashier who asked if he had two, or three, fried chicken tenders. Continue reading Help One

Everybody Wins

It’s our large family tradition. Easter egg hunts for the children AND adults.

The kids go first, eggs with candy, bubbles, little toys, and more candy.

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Then the adults hunt. We had 13 adults hunt this year because 5 of our adult gang couldn’t make it.  Janet and I sat back and enjoyed watching the 13 go after it.

Fun, fun!

It’s basically the same each year, but with new twists thrown in.  The twist this year was games made up of random teams.

The first-place team in points from the Egg Toss, Egg Spoon Race and Rabbit Race (tow sack races) got a first-place head start hunting eggs, followed by the second-place team, then the lowly third-place team. Continue reading Everybody Wins

Broken Picture Frames

I like broken people, the ones whose frames are scratched, dented and their corners don’t match up well.  I like people who have discolored pictures, broken glass, torn canvases. Somehow troubles, pain, turmoil, and suffering tends to create genuineness.

There’s something about pain and trouble that acts like a cleansing fire burning out the impurities of life. Those who emerge from hard times are tempered, refined, and often, real.  It’s not that anyone wants a broken frame or cracked glass, but life breaks and shatters us anyway.  Continue reading Broken Picture Frames

All I Want For Christmas

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For peace.

For things to slow down.

For batteries not to run out in toys.

For salad and Whataburger pancakes.

For a hungry child to fill his stomach full.

For lonely widows to have someone to talk to.

For all the unwanted children in the womb to live.

For my own children to be happy, successful and fulfilled.

For the person with cancer to have a cure, if only that be hope.

For laughter that brings tears to the eyes and snorts to the nose.

For a little boy, with his dog beside him, to shoot a bull’s eye with his BB gun.

For abused children not to be afraid of what’s under the bed, or who’s around it.

For adults to have more fun playing with the box instead of the gift inside.

For once actually getting in the fastest checkout line at Walmart.

For people to love on Monday like they say they do on Sunday.

For God to admit that His practical joke on the world was cats.

For workers at nursing homes to be extra nice and careful.

For just an hour of conversation again with my dad.

For the ability to write something significant.

For the soldier to sleep through the night.

For unemployed to feel worth.

For a kind word.

For peace.

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Stand in Respect

It was refreshing! Every year the local Christmas parade across the old brick streets of the oldest town in Texas starts the same…a police car with lights on twirling red, white and blue flashes followed by men and women who have served in the military carrying the colors.

Maybe it’s the way people are addressing the flag right now in the U.S., or maybe it’s just as simple as a sign of respect, but something simple happened the other night that made me smile.

Everyone stood. Continue reading Stand in Respect

No Logical Answer

True story — It was Thanksgiving Day and he got up ready for a day of family, feasting and football, but something was bugging him.  He couldn’t get a co-worker who had been in the hospital and hadn’t worked for a month off his mind.

A crazy idea kept bouncing like a rubber ball in his head.  He kept feeling like he was supposed to buy bags of groceries, including a turkey and all the trimmings, for the man and his family.

He dismissed it several times, but couldn’t shake the thought.  A little later, the man’s wife needed something at the last-minute from the grocery store, so he loaded up two of his young sons to go with him.

At the store the thought was stronger than ever, so he grabbed a buggy and started filling it with canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, a turkey, milk, flour, eggs, the whole works.  When his sons asked why he was getting so much, he told them they were about to give the food to someone. Continue reading No Logical Answer

Thank You Isn’t Enough

Sometimes it’s best to hold firm and decline a gift of disproportionate value and, in fact, it’s down right selfish to accept it.  At first, I thought this was one of those times, so I thanked the man I knew from work and politely declined.

“I can’t accept this. This needs to go to your kids and passed on in your family!”

He squared his shoulders and looked me straight in the eye, “Yes, you normally do, but in this case, I want YOU to have it.”

He was holding a small maroon pin which he was awarded for serving in the Army.  He explained the pin’s significance which represented where he fought and served.  The pin’s actual value is minimal, but the sentimental, sacrifice and emotional value is priceless!

Again, I told him I just couldn’t accept it.

“You don’t understand”, he said, “You have to take it!” Continue reading Thank You Isn’t Enough

Smiling Eyes

It was a short run into the grocery store before work for a few apples and coffee creamer, but the only checkout line was long, too long.

The lady at the front of the line was an elderly lady and the bagger said something I couldn’t understand, then walked out with her to put her groceries in her car.  The next person checked out and was on the way out when the bagger returned.

The man bagging was probably 65 years old and had a round face with sharp features and a big pleasant smile.  The lady in front of me checked out ten or twelve items and the man’s face seemed locked into a smile.  He’d grab a couple of items, glance at the checker and customer, as if searching for something in their faces, and then bag the next items.

After the lady paid, the man handed her grocery bags to her and said something, but again, I didn’t understand him.  She smiled, spoke back to him and he laughed out loud beaming a huge smile.

I wasn’t paying attention when the checker checked me out.  I swiped my card, spoke to the checker and turned to grab the plastic sack from the bagger.  I caught a glimpse of his hearing aids just as he said in garbled words like someone severely deaf….at least I think he said, “I love eat apples!  And coffee!”  Continue reading Smiling Eyes

Supper Lord’s Backwards

Things were different with communion last week! Normally they pass around a tray with little cups full of grape juice followed by a plate with crunchy, unleavened bread.

To save time, someone had a great idea…..wait for it….how about two clear little pew cups? Put juice in the top cup and the little unleavened, wannabe a big Saltine cracker when I grow up, in the bottom cup. Brilliant! Cuts the distribution time in half!

Houston, we have a problem. Mainly, I wasn’t paying attention.

It came time to partake, (partake is a much more spiritual word than drink or eat, yes?) so I chugged (not a spiritual word) the juice in the top cup.  Janet looked at me, started laughing and said in a semi loud whisper, “You did it backwards”.

Confused, I looked at my little communion cup and there were still a couple of drops of juice. I figured she meant I left some, so I took another swig, even stuck my tongue up in it to get the last taste of grape paradise out of the cup.   Continue reading Supper Lord’s Backwards