Category Archives: Hope

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

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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

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.

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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

I Very, Very Happy

A man at work was diagnosed with cancer in a salivary gland.  After extensive testing, the course of treatment was surgery to remove the gland followed by radiation. He was to be back at work in four to five weeks.  Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasized and spread into his jaw bone.  A 2 hour surgery turned into 14.

When he woke, he had a new jaw on one side constructed from grafted bone from his femur.  The cancer had not spread to his brain, thank goodness.  Instead of localized radiation though, he began six weeks of intensive chemotherapy.  He caught pneumonia because his resistance was down and struggled daily, but after being off work over four months, returned, cancer free. Continue reading I Very, Very Happy

Slave, What Is Your Name?

(A reblog of an accidentally deleted post from 2-4-19)

Movie.

Gladiator.

Scene.

Maximus had been taken into slavery and became a Gladiator. He is ultimately taken to Rome to fight in the great Coliseum and wins the hearts of the blood thirsty mob for his valor and fighting skill.

The evil emperor, Commodus, thought Maximus was dead and forgotten. He goes to the Coliseum floor before the throngs to meet the great Gladiator, Maximus, whose face is always covered by his helmet. The ensuing conversation moves me to my core…

Commodus: “Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us his real name? You do have a name?”

Maximus: “My name is Gladiator.” (Turns and starts to walk away.)

“How dare you show your back to me! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name!”

Maximus takes off his helmet, turns and faces the evil Commodus.  In quiet, determined words, he tells his name, his TRUE identity:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north. General of the Felix legions. Loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.”

Utterly shocked to find Maximus alive, Commodus’ words falter. His troops draw swords to slay the Gladiators, but the Coliseum erupts in unison, “Live, live, live…”

The devious, scheming Commodus realizes he is politically and ethically trapped in the eyes of Rome, at least for the moment, so he reluctantly turns his thumb up to show the gladiator will live to fight another day.

Commodus walks from the arena while the Coliseum explodes in cheers, not for the evil emperor, but the gladiator slave as the chant begins…”Maximus, Maximus, Maximus!” Continue reading Slave, What Is Your Name?

Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Pharisee Recipe

Pour two cups of pride into a large mixing bowl while forgetting all the bad things you’ve done.

Add cup and half of good works to a cup of following church norms. Extra flavor occurs when family activities are sacrificed to accommodate church commitments.

Carefully compare yourself to others who’ve done worse things, then generously sprinkle in bowl when you need to feel good about yourself.

Smile continuously at those like you, but shake your head in “pity and concern” for those in need of God.  Demonstrate disdain for particularly sinful people, and keep your distance unless, of course, on a church mission trip.

Carefully sift from consciousness all personal weaknesses, struggles, failures, sin and wrongs against others.  Hide sifted mixture in large Tupperware container in back of your memory pantry.  Use multiple containers, when necessary, and cover with black trash bags to insure no one accidentally sees your Tupperware.
Continue reading Pharisee and Believer Recipes