Category Archives: Hope

Fires of Life

Janet and I have eleven children between the two of us, and the count’s at 9 on grandchild.  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

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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

Nightmare at Bedtime

Our granddaughter, Claira, is 15 months old. She was spending the night with us, along with her brother and sister, ages 5 and 3.

Claira has a sweet, happy personality, but she’s also semi-strong willed.

She was all rainbows and unicorns! She even had them on her pajamas, but then it was… bedtime.

Claira had been laughing, cooing, and cawing until JJ (my wife Janet) and PawPaw (me) had the audacity to lay her down in the baby bed.

As JJ carefully laid her down, Claira immediately let it be known that she thought we were completely incompetent to try to put her down to go to sleep!

We talked softly to her, patted her back, patted her diapered bottom, rubbed her head, nothing made her happy.

She spit out her pacifier like it was a poisonous trick, pulled off the baby blanket, and screamed even louder when the door closed. We figured she’d quickly settle in for a long night of restful sleep.

Nope!

The unicorns changed to red and grew multiple horns.  The rainbows turned into a Class 5 hurricane.  She started to wail, not whimper, not cry, wail.

Continue reading Nightmare at Bedtime

Help Wanted

The man sat on the bench in front of the Wal-Mart checkout lanes.  I thought he was waiting on someone, but he wasn’t.  He was just sitting and watching for a minute.

He was obviously a working man, about 65ish, and had a day-old shave.  He was a bit chubby, but not flat out fat.  He had draped a couple of plastic bags of items he just bought over his blue jeans.  He wore work cowboy boots and a free blood donation T-shirt.

His face was confident, like he knew he could pretty much handle anything that happened on the outside.  His eyes, however, looked like his heart had been, or maybe still was, wounded.  His eyes looked like muddy, shallow puddles instead of a deep, free flowing fresh water wells.

He got up and started for the exit limping with a distinct, weathered limp. Who knows why, but I suspect his limp was from a rugged injury such as a car accident, oilfield work injury, or getting his leg pinned against a chute while dealing with cows. Continue reading Help Wanted

No More Angel Tears

When the heart’s tap root hits pain, angels cry. Do you feel it?  Do you feel them, something, somewhere, swirling, moving, circling the soul as the root draws up pain watering the heart making it swarthy and bruised?

Some people, some personalities cannot get away from the pain. It’s not that they don’t deal with their own. They do. It’s that some can’t get away from other’s pain.

Sometimes out of the blue it can hit you, in the store, watching TV, hearing a story, understanding what has happened.  The person’s pain, both shown, and even more intense, the hidden pain, grabs hold with a dry ice-cold grip burning the very beats of one’s own heart.

It can’t be explained with words, for words don’t express it. Letters can’t convey it, and the alphabet becomes nothing more than scissors on the tongue.  You can’t get out what has gone in. Continue reading No More Angel Tears

10% Thankful

When Jesus healed ten people, only one returned to Him to say thank you. (Luke 17:11-19)  Jesus even asked where the other nine were. They were all blessed. They were all miraculously healed. They all gained life over a slow excruciating death, yet only one even bothered to come back and say thank you.

That’s horrible! It’s wrong on so many levels!  But then I cringe when I realize I’m not in the 10% of people who are truly grateful.  I don’t always go back and say thank you. I’m ashamed of that.

I once read it’s impossible for an ungrateful person to truly be happy.  Makes sense! A lot of sense! Continue reading 10% Thankful

It’s Always Been About The Heart

I, like you, feel deep compassion for the people of Santa Fe, and every other school, movie theatre, club, church and public location that has experienced a mass murder.

What to do? What do we do?

Well meaning people are now looking to, in fact, clamoring for the government to “fix” the problem and solve the dilemma. People are demanding legislation for sentences for “hate crimes”, creating programs to treat mental illness, gun control restrictions and regulating behaviors.

In my simple mind, it’s a paradox. It seems common sense that after planting plum trees, you get plums. You get the fruit of what you plant.

Stay with me.

Continue reading It’s Always Been About The Heart

A Child’s Wisdom

We saw the toddler boy with his parents waiting to board a tour of Mayan ruins in Mexico. That’s not normally where you’d take a toddler on vacation, but he was too little to care. Besides, it was his parent’s vacation.

The toddler was clinging to his parents, no one else. The mother even told a well-meaning worker trying to help them off the bus that he never, ever went to strangers.

Two hours later, standing a distance from the Chichen Izu ruins, the toddler pitter patted away from his parents right up to my wife, Janet. He looked up at her and held up his arms to be picked up.

She simply said, “Awe”, reached down and scooped him up in her arms. The little boy looked at her closely, then laid his head on her shoulder in peaceful contentment. Continue reading A Child’s Wisdom

I Hate You, But Not Really

(This is based on a true story told to me by a Chief Juvenile Probation Officer.)

~~He knelt down on his knees, looked up at Jesus on the cross, and shook his fist. “I hate you”, he said loudly, “I hate you.”  He said it over and over.  Soon he was screaming with every fiber of his being. Louder and louder, with more and more pent-up emotions streaming out of his voice. “I hate you! I HATE you!  I HATE YOU!”~~

The boy had suffered emotional and verbal abuse from his mother since his birth. When his father was around, which wasn’t a lot, it was always the same song, second verse.  He could count on one hand the times a physical beating for some slight or imagined offense hadn’t followed a visit with his father. Continue reading I Hate You, But Not Really

Help This Boy

Sometimes pictures get me.  It sounds silly. Maybe it is.  But sometimes, a picture hits me in my core, cutting, ripping, tearing away at soul and sinew.

Some pictures, some stories haunt me as assuredly as a ghost in a graveyard.  I can’t sleep without it popping into my dreams. I can’t concentrate without it popping into conscious thought.

This picture sticks with me like a chain around the heart:

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Continue reading Help This Boy