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
It’s going to rain all day. Some say how great that is. Others say it’s horrible. It’s the same place, same day, almost the same people.
They know each other well, yet their perspectives differ vastly. It’s not that one’s right, or one’s wrong. It’s just, different.
For some, rainy days are sad, depressing, maybe even frightening when the wind roars and thunder rolls.
Maybe it’s a psychological reminder of rainy days and storms gone by, yet consequences of those days resonate in the soul. There were things to do, places to go, plans made, and now, it’s all scrapped onto a rubbish pile while the clouds cry.
Maybe it’s figurative. Maybe the sun is just being lazy, sleeping in and resting in bed all day, occasionally dozing off under the dark, cloudy covers of the sky. Continue reading Rainy Days
Sometimes I just sit in my home “office” staring at my wall of collected musical instruments. I don’t play any of them. I just like them.
It seems nostalgic, yet, real.
It started with a casual garage sale purchase, but now I want a mural of music making contraptions. Granted, most are non-functioning wall hangers, but when I stare at them, I wonder, imagining the sound of each instrument as deaf music flows to hearing ears.
Whether a solo, or a symphony of organized noise produced by metal, wood and strings, sometimes I hear it. Continue reading Hear the Music
Between almost awake and half asleep, my brain registers discomfort. Oh no! An earache! I had so many earaches as a kid and hate ‘em. Just hate ‘em!
The throbbing’s the worst. Each heartbeat bangs on the ear drum. No matter how you twist or turn, you literally feel, and hear, every beat of the heart. Like a marching band, the regular beat on the drum creates a disconcerting percussion concert.
It’s fingernails down the blackboard!
I try to go back to sleep, but things on the “to do” list start cluttering the mind. Too tired to get up, too conscious to sleep, several hours of nothingness tick away in the dark with only my thoughts and the striking of the ear drum with each beat of the heart.
In a way, it’s fascinating. The never seen heart constantly pumps life in rhythm. The body, soul and spirit, it rises, and falls, in a life dance with the ever present heartbeat on the ear drum. Continue reading A Heartbeat Away
The last thing I wanted was a diversion. It’d been a long day.
Sure enough, diversion.
As I drove out, he was walking the opposite direction into a cold, 20 mph wind with light drizzling rain.
“Stop. Turn around and give him a ride” was the quiet, still message inside.
My internal response was, “Aww man!”
A quarter mile down the road, I felt bad, so a U-turn and a quarter mile back, I pulled up beside the tall, slender man.
He was probably 55 to 60 years old, carrying a plastic grocery bag in each hand. His clothes were old and worn, but clean and well cared for.
His head was ducked down, leaning into the frigid wind, and his arms remained close to his sides to try to stay warm while carrying milk in one bag and can goods in the other.
He looked up with a tired, worn expression, but when I asked through my truck window if he wanted a ride, his eyes lit up instantly. Continue reading A Little Favor
She was out of place at the convenience store Subway. I saw her sit down at a tall bar stool table inside.
She wasn’t eating, but had a small Styrofoam cup of coffee that she wasn’t drinking.
Her silver blue hair was perfect, in every way, and she was wearing her Sunday best dress complete with a little pearl necklace and old fashioned black, block heel dress shoes.
She was tall and slender, and her glasses seemed to be part of her face, like they’d been there for years. Continue reading Déjà Vu
“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
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
A college student in an electric wheel chair was moving up the sidewalk beside our local university.
She controlled her chair with one hand while tapping a cane back and forth in front of her with the other. She was partially paralyzed, and on top of it, blind! Yet there she was, out in public, on her own, making her way from place to place! Amazing!!
I respect her immensely for doing what seems impossible to me!
She reminds me of a blind friend named Randy I knew in college. Randy was 7 or 8 years older than me and had lost his sight his senior year of high school when he caught a rare virus. Continue reading To See The Way
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.
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.
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