Category Archives: inspiration

The Best Love Letter Ever!

Seriously, it was the best love letter!

I was in high school.  The summer before my sophomore year, I lived with and worked for my uncle in another town about an hour away. Through their church, I met two sisters, one also about to be a sophomore and one a junior. 

I was pretty naïve then, like Forest Gump at a dogfight naïve.

Continue reading The Best Love Letter Ever!

Why Do I Write?

Why do I write?

The question was asked in a conversation going on in my head.  I had to stop and think past the pat answer, like enjoyment, or just being able to creatively express myself. 

My head conversation continued:

But really, why do I write, Jeff?

Honestly, I don’t know.  Me, myself and I have often discussed this.

That’s not an answer, Jeff.  There has to be something, something inside or out, that brings you back again, and again, to fill an empty page with words.

Right now, I really don’t know.  Sometimes writing seems like a preordained calling from high above, one that cannot be disobeyed. 

Other times, it’s a good feeling to write, but that’s a feeling. Feelings can be so feeble, so fleeting, and they can move depending on the wind’s direction. 

Then that’s not all of what I believe writing is then, is it Jeff?

No, me, but part of it’s fun.  It’s building a simple shanty, a family home, or even a gorgeous mansion, word by word.  Ideas are the architect.  Punctuation marks are the nails. Grammar insulates the walls, and thoughts brick the exterior with meaning, both obvious and hidden.  

Continue reading Why Do I Write?

Cross Talk

From the time I was a seedling, I wanted to be something worthwhile. Every day I stretched higher, farther, reaching for the sun to bathe my leaves in life giving photosynthesis.

My life in the forest ended when soldiers wearing helmets, red cloaks and armor cut me down. 

I hoped the soldiers would form me into an honorable, useful item, like a fine chair, magnificent bed, or maybe a grand formal dining table. I would’ve even been satisfied to be a powerful support post in a house or mansion holding it all up.

Instead, their axes hacked me into a long, rough beam. Still, I hoped. 

They loaded me in a wagon and hauled me to a city. There they cut off a smaller beam from my top, notched a side to fit over the beam, and secured my pieces with long spikes and rope.

Continue reading Cross Talk

Dear God

Dear God,

There’s so many things I don’t understand, so I’m writing You hoping You can swoop down and take care of things, at least the questions.

Like, why do kids starve in parts of the world? And why was a child somewhere, probably a lot close than we want to think, abused beyond measure by someone who is supposed to care and love them?

And God, why do you let evil people kill in the name of false gods? And why does it rain like crazy one year, then a drought the next….wouldn’t it be better to just even it out? Continue reading Dear God

A Little Favor

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

    Déjà Vu

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

HEART OF HOPE (1) – 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

Writer’s Block

The weakest ink lasts longer than the strongest memory.

Sometimes the ink flows.

But sometimes it’s stuck in the pen.

Full, but nonetheless, dry.

 

Thoughts crash in thunderous explosions,

Yet it’s all thunder, no rain.

Ideas, memories, laughter, pain,

They come, they go,

Enter, leave,

Flicker, fail.

Nothing sticks, nothing lasts.

Writers Block

Like Alzheimer’s,

Random, continuous thoughts flow,

But nothing connects in logical sequence.

Before a memory is expressed,

The wind catches it’s seed, without root,

And no effort or concentration can make a difference,

As neurotic puffs wisp away the thought to oblivion,

Never to be seen, nor known, again.

 

And so it is today.

The pen remains silent.

Still.

Dry.

Maybe tomorrow ink will flow.

Maybe.

 

Writers Block

You Come From Good Stock

Three months ago. Saturday. 8:04 AM. Work rings. Never good. Answer phone.

“Dee’s mom called. His wife is a nurse and woke up and heard him gurgling. She called 9-1-1 and started CPR. They don’t know how long he was without oxygen. He’s at the ER now, but non-responsive.”

My heart sunk. We’d worked together 23 years. Dee’s a quality guy. I knew then I’d never see him again, not the same.  At minimal, brain damage from oxygen deprivation would forever change him.

~~Something awakened Dee’s wife, Alanda, at 6:15 AM.  She heard Dee gurgling from fluid filling his lungs. She flipped on the light, called 9-1-1 and started CPR.

Alanda saved Dee’s life. He’d crossed death’s doorway, but at the threshold, Alanda grabbed the tip of his little toe toenail and began pulling him back.

Five minutes later paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and used an AED.

One electrical shock to the heart. Two. Continue reading You Come From Good Stock

The Other Table

I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting.  The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”

Her face lit up as if she remembered something important.  She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.

She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”.  She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled.  By all accounts, he’s a little odd.  Add it up, and he’s an easy target.

The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others.  That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention.  He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table