Category Archives: Hope

Sweetie Pie

I’ve been thinking back about an older couple I knew when I was in college.  Loved them! Great, rock solid, influential people!

He developed cancer.  After a valiant fight, Hospice was called.  Hospice was there round the clock during his last days at home.

They were always a very kind, loving couple, quite expressive in their love and admiration for each other.  They used pet names, like Sweetie Pie and Sugar Plum, Honey Bear and Honey Bunny, along with other pet names as terms of endearment.

They would greet each other, usually in a higher pitch voice with great emphasis on their tones, sounding like they were talking to a bouncing baby or a favorite animal.

Their transparent physical, emotional and verbal affection for each other was fun to watch.  I learned a lot from them.

But that was in life.  Death was a little different. Continue reading Sweetie Pie

Advertisements

Finish the Race

Paula Ratcliffe of Great Britain set the women’s marathon world record in 2002, broke it in 2003, and was the odds on favorite to win the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

She started strong and was in the lead, but the 95 degree heat began to weigh heavily on her.  At mile 22 of the 26.2 mile race, she suddenly stopped and sat down on a curb. She couldn’t finish.  She put her head in her hands and began sobbing uncontrollably.

She was officially classified as DNF – Did Not Finish. A small Japanese woman crossed the finish line first for the gold, a Kenyan won silver, and an elated American finished third for bronze.

I remember the race vividly, not because of those who won at the top, but those who won at the bottom. Continue reading Finish the Race

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

A Thought To Remember

One of my sons, Todd, told me a story that still lingers several years later.

He had several jobs at once in college, but quit them all to work in a college intern. He continued to work, however, for a gentleman in his 80’s he’d met a couple of years before.  The man was in great shape, but hired Todd to do heavy labor work around his farm.

As Todd got to know the man and his wife, he really liked them, a lot.

Unfortunately, she had Alzheimer’s, and was getting progressively worse in the short time he’d known them.

One day sitting in the gentleman’s pickup, he told Todd he would need him to work more to help look after the place.

Staring out the front windshield, he spoke quietly, as if thinking out loud. He said his wife’s memory lapses were becoming longer, and more frequent.

Occasionally, she would snap out of it and be back to herself instead of the confused, absent minded stranger.  He was was forced to move her to a nursing home for proper care. Continue reading A Thought To Remember

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.

kids 1

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

Picture Perfect Jesus

It was a brainchild for a number of years.  He imagined an art exhibit with nothing but Jesus pictures.

But who would come? And where would he get all the pictures?

He began collecting.  Originals, copies, professional, homemade, any and all works that in some form or fashion displayed Jesus.

57588224_2801141426593292_5449878813573906432_n

He had almost 40.  All different and unique, but it wasn’t enough, so he threw a wider net.  His congregation caught a vision to celebrate together, and at the same time, reach out to the community on Easter weekend.

Members, friends, families began to offer and loan their works of Jesus art for a museum quality exhibit.

57400177_10210499102793473_5777072540329443328_n Continue reading Picture Perfect Jesus

Dance On

She smiled, flashed her big brown eyes open wide in anticipation, before scooting over and asking what I knew she would ask.

“Daddy, will you dance with me?”

Dancing. It terrifies me. On the other hand, I don’t mind looking like a fool on the dance floor because other than a slow dance, I know that’s how I’ll look.

Now my oldest daughter, Shawnna, who was 14 years old at the time, was asking to dance with me at her basketball fund-raiser in the school cafeteria.

There’s only one answer. “Absolutely!”

There were lots of girls there, only a handful of guys, and even fewer fathers.  If you lined all the other males up and rated them from first to last on the dance floor, I would by far be last, dead last.  I didn’t, no wait, I still don’t know how to two-step.

Shawnna is a very kind, observant daughter and knew I would dance, but also knew I didn’t like dancing because quite frankly, I don’t know how.  As if our roles reversed, she smiled, took my hand and said, “Come with me. I’ll teach you.” Continue reading Dance On

Stand Up, Warrior!

He fell face down in the dirt. The field was plowed a week before and the small clods crumbled between his fingers with dry chaff and stems of the previous crop.

He couldn’t get up. This Valley of Elah, of sorts, was too much, too hard.  The mountain was too high, the valley too low.

His energy was drained, resistance exhausted, and he was so weary of well doing.

Dirt on his forehead began to clear from the sweat of his brow while dirt below his eyes washed clean from tears. Continue reading Stand Up, Warrior!

High Risk, High Reward

There was a long line for the first interview.  It was person after person in rapid succession.  I wrote “high risk, high reward” on his application because everything pointed to him striking out as an employee, but IF he made it he would be a home run.

A few days later I was getting pretty desperate and went back through applications. There he was.  After a bit of head scratching, I called and left a message.  Within minutes he called back as excited as an elementary boy alone in a candy store.

He was 15 minutes early to the second interview the next day, which is a good sign, but hyperactive as that same elementary kid who ate ALL the candy!

I asked him to tell me about himself.  A gun fired and the race started.  Without breathing, he told me he had graduated from high school seven years ago and everything about himself except which was his favorite tooth. Continue reading High Risk, High Reward

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