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
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
Somewhere in the forest of the mind, echoing between growth rings of the trees, laughter is held captive.
Over time it dies, or at least settles in the hard wood, and many don’t really remember laughter at all. We remember moments, the freedom, the feeling, not the laugh itself.
Laughter bubbles up from fresh water wells that runs deep in the soul. It spills over, runs across the ground, even the stony parts of the heart. If there is enough joy, the water rises soaking even the high, arid places of the heart allowing lush green fields of Spring grass to once again grow.
In its sincerest form, laughter is kind and gentle. It happens when the heart is full, safe, secure.
It’s the kind of laughter children have when wrestling the family pet, and to their delight, the dog plays back. It’s baby laughter when they first become old enough to respond to silly faces that cause hysterical laughter. It’s a toddler’s uncontrollable belly laugh in a fullness and purity that we adults often crave to experience again. Continue reading Laughter in the Mind
She remembered an incident that happened years before and burst into laughter. Instinctively, her hand went to the rocking chair beside her. The blade of reality cut as she returned to the present.
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes to regain her composure, and settled quietly back into the rhythmic rocking of her chair.
For years she sat each evening with her husband rocking at sunset. Sometimes they talked non-stop; sometimes they sat quietly. Sometimes they even bickered back and forth like two school children, but there was never a doubt that they were on each other’s team. In fact, they were each other’s biggest fan.
The years since he retired were some of the best and enjoyable evenings of all. Each knew, however, that the sunsets they watched from their front porch rockers were similar to themselves.
Even so, when he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer six months earlier, it seemed like a short time was cut shorter, for it was all too quick, too sudden, too complete. Continue reading A Rocking Chair of Life
It’ll be dark in an hour. I jump in the pickup and start driving aimlessly in the country. After a sweltering hot day, it’s cool. With both windows rolled down, it feels like heaven on earth air conditioning.
Smells of a freshly cut grass, honey suckle patches on fence rows and the scent of distant rain clouds permeate the air. Red dust flies up behind the truck. It envelops the branches of the trees looking like a Picasso painting in the rearview mirror.
A little further down a pickup pulling a trailer is in a field being loaded with hay bales from last week’s cutting. Just past that is a house where a boy rides his bike in a big circle over and over. He finally gathers his courage to take another shot to go airborne off the ramp he made from two 5-gallon buckets and a stiff piece of plywood.
It’s the South. It’s the country. It’s rural living. It’s a culture where most folks like a slower pace of life, and not being crowded in at the gills by neighbors. Continue reading Dirt Road Drive
I used to work in the mental health field as a Licensed Professional Counselor. With that said, I’ve talked to a lot of people who suffer from depression and, in fact, have been depressed before myself. To say it is difficult is a vast understatement. Statistics show that 10.4% of all physician office visits have depression indicated on the medical record. With that in mind, here’s my best shot to describe depression –
Depression is having cold feet in the summer, and sweating under your coat in winter.
You used to raise your hands to praise to God, but now, getting them high enough to scratch your ear is hard.
You smile, shine your package, wrap your heart under brightly colored wrapping paper, but the contents are broken, crushed, spilling out.
You don’t know why. Not really.
Hope despairs. Continue reading The Talons of Depression
When my youngest son, Clark, was in high school, he got a gash in the top of his head from a basketball tournament. Clark shaved part of his head so we could look closer. Butterfly stitches wouldn’t stick, so I pinched the skin together while one of Clark’s friends dripped Super Glue on the cut. Worked well too, a lot better than the first time….
….the first time Clark was 7 years old. I coached his baseball team and was working with the outfielders to catch pop flies. It almost dark and I told the boys no more but Clark begged for one more pop fly. Since he was my son, I went against my better judgment and threw one more pop fly, high, really high. Clark had perfect big leaguer form, stuck up his glove, and the ball hit him squarely in the mouth.
The week before he pulled his first front tooth and had big open gap when he smiled. The ball smashed the open gap and pushed the next tooth through his upper lip.
Another player’s dad, a doctor, took a look. It needed a stitch, maybe two. Off the record, he said if it was his son he would avoid the ER trauma and just super glue it together. Continue reading Super Glue Stitches
I just wanted a smoothie, that’s all! A simple smoothie, in and out, no big deal.
Last week two college girls were working the Smoothie King counter. After staring mindlessly at the order board, I finally asked what the best tasting, healthiest smoothie was.
She immediately said her favorite smoothie was loaded with vitamins, fruit and called the Pre-Mama.
She was right! It was great!
Friday two college guys were working. They were polar opposites. One was huge and tall; the other short and small, leprochaun size really. I wanted to catch the hyper little guy and demand he take me to his hidden a pot of gold!
A lady was ordering in front of me. The big guy taking her order had on a T-shirt at least a size too small, plus he had no, absolutely zero, enthusiasm. Undertakers at funerals have more enthusiasm! Continue reading Mama of King Smoothie