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
“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
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
“You’re going to cry when I graduate, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
That was enough to satisfy my youngest daughter, Jessica, back in September. She’s the last of my eight children to graduate high school.
She graduated Friday.
We have a few college graduations left, but by and large, the work is done. The time is finished. The investment complete.
I cried, not why she thought I would, but I cried… Continue reading 31 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days
Anticipation was high. All the mother’s anxiety was higher.
Water bottles? Check. Halftime orange slices? Check. After game snacks and juice boxes? Check.
Spectators set up lawn chairs battling for the best open places on the sidelines. This would be an epic contest, one replayed on family home movies for years to come.
Coaches were nervous. After all, their reputations were on the line. If their teams didn’t perform, well it would be obvious to everyone, and most importantly themselves, that they were failures as coaches, maybe even failures at life, like, forever!
The referee wanted to take control of the game of four-year olds in 4 vs. 4 game that doesn’t require World Cup refs. It didn’t matter. His nervous habit of rubbing his acne took the air out of his mystique. Plus, he was only thirteen, 5 feet tall and maybe 97 pounds.
The players weren’t stressed a bit. Although two players had to go potty before the game. Probably just nervous energy.
Continue reading Little Rascal Soccer
We sat in assigned seats. She sat next to me. I didn’t understand why she would keep her arms crossed, as if holding herself, and rock back and forth while looking down at her desk or staring at the blackboard. Back and forth she rocked, back and forth.
We were in second grade. I understand child abuse now, but then, I didn’t even know what it was.
Looking back, she did. Continue reading Maybe For One
When my oldest son was 4 years old, we were on our way to “Life Chain”, a pro-life activity where everyone stood silently holding signs along the business route in support of life. There were hundreds of people participating and the silence was, in and of itself, peaceful.
What I remember the most, however, was the drive. Blake sat next to me and asked where we were going. Thinking a short answer would suffice, I told him it was to support babies who hadn’t been born. As kids will do, he filled his logic train by peppering me with, “Why?” over and over.
Honestly, I didn’t want him to know about abortion, but after answering a couple of questions vaguely, I let the word “abortion” slip out. He zeroed in like a heat seeking missile. Continue reading The Baby Dies
I told four of the grandsons, ages 3 to 5, a story before bed time.
I learned a long time ago, the hard way, you don’t tell a scary story to small boys, UNLESS you’re camping and you have to sleep in the same tent with them. Then, any old ghost, alien or crazy wild flesh-eating bear story will scare the living bejeebers out of them. Afterwards, you can go soundly to sleep in the tent while in silent terror they stare wide-eyed listening intently for any ghostly rattles, spaceships or bears creeping through the woods.
This wasn’t such a time, so story time was about four boys with names that rhymed with their own. They were just amazed how the names seemed so much like their own. 😉
The story was about a submarine adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. The four boys were looking for sunken pirate treasure.
Instead, they found a sunken K-Mart cargo ship full of copper forks, tambourines and a miniature cannon. Continue reading Where Your Story Starts
We saw the toddler boy with his parents waiting to board a tour of Mayan ruins in Mexico. That’s not normally where you’d take a toddler on vacation, but he was too little to care. Besides, it was his parent’s vacation.
The toddler was clinging to his parents, no one else. The mother even told a well-meaning worker trying to help them off the bus that he never, ever went to strangers.
Two hours later, standing a distance from the Chichen Izu ruins, the toddler pitter patted away from his parents right up to my wife, Janet. He looked up at her and held up his arms to be picked up.
She simply said, “Awe”, reached down and scooped him up in her arms. The little boy looked at her closely, then laid his head on her shoulder in peaceful contentment. Continue reading A Child’s Wisdom
His frail fingers trembled as he took the nickel from the missionary’s hand. The starving Haitian boy was wearing a pair of ragged shorts, threadbare t-shirt, and shoes that had worn out months before.
During the peak of the famine, homeless children and orphans looked for any way they could to survive. If they could get a nickel, they could get enough scraps of food to live another day.
So when the missionary was walking on a road in Haiti and came across the sickly orphan boy sitting listlessly on the roadside, he gave the boy a nickel. Continue reading When Did I See You Hungry?