Category Archives: inspiration

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

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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

Swinging Pendulum

There is something beautiful about clocks, but they seem to move so fast.

It’s true time speeds up with age, or maybe, we just speed up busyness and slow down awareness.  I don’t know.

An early childhood memory is sitting still watching a wall clock and realizing that if you stare straight, stare straight and concentrate, you can see the minute hand move each second in the tiniest of tiny movements.

Not intentionally, I sit now staring at a clock deep in thought.  Slowly an awareness of time dawns. Continue reading Swinging Pendulum

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

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!

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?

Taste an Apple

The callousness of day-to-day activities seem to dwarf moments in life that make it real, alive and special.

If life were an onion, the outer shell is work, chores and all the necessary tasks of living.  The outer, crusty shell of the onion can easily overwhelm the core and inner layers where the best and most treasured memories, events and times are held.

Peel life back layer by layer, day by day, and most days aren’t really appreciated, truly experienced, or even remembered, at least by me. It’s an observation, not a condemnation.

Nature itself seems to place our mind on auto pilot to mindlessly glide through the events of the day.  Continue reading Taste an Apple

Down The Road

The road is icy and what little moonlight there is hides behind deep, dark clouds and ominous sky.  It’s midnight, and although the temperature is below freezing, the harsh, rushing north wind makes it seem colder by the minute.

The wipers swipe the windshield, back and forth, back and forth. Part rain, part snow, part sleet strikes the glass as if it were an all out assault.  The heater blows on high, and even with a coat, gloves and extra socks, nothing keeps up with the bone chilling cold outside.

Like an impending doom, the cold surrounds the body and car trying to overtake both driver and machine to remove all heat, and movement, from both. Continue reading Down The Road

It Just Seems Right

Slowly walking with my four daughters through the Houston Galleria, we passed a Zale’s jewelry store.

I’m not sure who first noticed the couple inside, but they quickly captured our attention.  The couple was looking at rings, and because they were trying them on her left ring finger, we assume it was a wedding ring.

The guy wore flip flops, blue jean shorts and a nice sleeveless t-shirt showing off his well developed muscles.  His hair was stylishly combed straight down on all sides.

She wore a cream colored sun dress with sandals, and her flowing brown hair was curled on the ends.

Everything about this couple was normal, except they were midgets.

Continue reading It Just Seems Right