It was refreshing! Every year the local Christmas parade across the old brick streets of the oldest town in Texas starts the same…a police car with lights on twirling red, white and blue flashes followed by men and women who have served in the military carrying the colors.
Maybe it’s the way people are addressing the flag right now in the U.S., or maybe it’s just as simple as a sign of respect, but something simple happened the other night that made me smile.
Everyone stood. Continue reading Stand in Respect
Joseph and Mary watched baby Jesus sleep. He stretched, smiled, then let out a little complaint as Mary removed a piece of hay scratching His neck. His little face relaxed into deep, silent night sleep.
His eyes moved back and forth in rapid eye movement sleep. Sometimes He smiled when He dreamed. Sometimes deep agonizing pain came across His face.
Mary asked, “What do you think He’s dreaming?”
Without looking away Joseph whispered, “I really don’t know.”
There’s no guide-book on how to parent the Savior of the world. The immensity of raising a son, who’s also the Son of the Living God, is beyond comprehension. They really didn’t know what to do except the things that were in front of them minute by minute.
The sleeping newborn was completely, physically dependent on His parents, but there was so much more. How could Mary and Joseph understand that as they smiled upon their sleeping child, He smiled upon them? How could they fathom their dreaming baby was hearing people praying to Him at that very moment? How could they know He was dreaming in human form, but in God form knew everything? Continue reading Baby Jesus Dreams
Saturday was the annual Christmas parade down town. We found an open curb on the brick street to sit on for a front row view. It was about 6:30 PM, so it was dark, but well-lit with street lamps. Directly across the street a pickup sat in a driveway with the tailgate down. Several adults, all apparently related, were sitting on the tailgate, in lawn chairs around the back of the truck and on the curb ready for a bird’s eye view of the parade that would be starting soon.
About 10 minutes before the first lighted float crawled by, an “unofficial” Santa slowly walked up that side of the street. He looked the part too — real white beard, red suite, black belt and boots, big belly. The “official” Santa always rides the last parade float, so this guy wasn’t the “real” Santa! He was a wanna be Santa, but he was convincing, even for a certified Santaologist.
To the poster child of cuteness little girl sitting on the tailgate, it didn’t matter one iota. To her, this man dressed like Santa was totally, completely and absolutely, the real deal! Continue reading Wanna Be Santa
Shake the desert sand out of your shoes. Get the pebble out of the toe. There’s a mountain to conquer.
It’s not too big or tall, not too steep or too rocky to be settled. It can be done. No matter what the circumstances, it can be conquered. There is a way. The size of the mountain is not as much of a limit as how we think about it.
There’s always fresh challenges, additional issues, new problems. There’s always something different that starts to make the mountains look the same.
I want the green, lush valley of rest, where gentle breezes and bubbling brooks wind their way through the trees and flowers. I want the easy path instead of a hard climb, the gentle road, not of the stony trail, but that’s not how it usually goes.
Climb anyway. Continue reading Climb The Mountain
True story — It was Thanksgiving Day and he got up ready for a day of family, feasting and football, but something was bugging him. He couldn’t get a co-worker who had been in the hospital and hadn’t worked for a month off his mind.
A crazy idea kept bouncing like a rubber ball in his head. He kept feeling like he was supposed to buy bags of groceries, including a turkey and all the trimmings, for the man and his family.
He dismissed it several times, but couldn’t shake the thought. A little later, the man’s wife needed something at the last-minute from the grocery store, so he loaded up two of his young sons to go with him.
At the store the thought was stronger than ever, so he grabbed a buggy and started filling it with canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, a turkey, milk, flour, eggs, the whole works. When his sons asked why he was getting so much, he told them they were about to give the food to someone. Continue reading No Logical Answer
I put the rose from his garden in his rigamortis hand. It didn’t look natural. A snap of the stem to shorten it, then working it under his cold fingers and folded hands made it presentable.
Yes, that’s better.
I slipped a note I had hurriedly written, almost as an afterthought, and slipped it inside his suit jacket, hidden from the world, never to be read by anyone, not even the one it was written to. Continue reading What Words Cannot Say
Sometimes it’s best to hold firm and decline a gift of disproportionate value and, in fact, it’s down right selfish to accept it. At first, I thought this was one of those times, so I thanked the man I knew from work and politely declined.
“I can’t accept this. This needs to go to your kids and passed on in your family!”
He squared his shoulders and looked me straight in the eye, “Yes, you normally do, but in this case, I want YOU to have it.”
He was holding a small maroon pin which he was awarded for serving in the Army. He explained the pin’s significance which represented where he fought and served. The pin’s actual value is minimal, but the sentimental, sacrifice and emotional value is priceless!
Again, I told him I just couldn’t accept it.
“You don’t understand”, he said, “You have to take it!” Continue reading Thank You Isn’t Enough
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
Three balls for $2 or nine for $5 — man after man, boy after boy, redneck after redneck, stepped up from a large semi-circle of spectators around the dunking booth at the Brazoria County Fair, Texas.
Sitting in the dunking booth surrounded by carnival rides and loud music, the little clown face painted man was easily heard above it all. “Ayayayayayaya!“, Bobo hollered into a microphone. He had no shortage of insults for anyone who dared pick up a ball trying to drop him in the water.
They’re only prize was to see Bobo drop in the water, but he and his worker were making money hand over fist. His abrasive voice rang out over loud speakers and like flies to a spider web, one by one he lured guys in to plop down their money. As soon they stepped in his web, Bobo started. His constant chattering, challenges and chastising made you laugh hysterically at times, wince at others.
The nature of young men is to battle, in one shape or fashion, to show their dominance, and Bobo capitalized on this — all the way to the bank. Everyone knew what was in store as some overconfident ego filled guy stepped up like a gladiator to throw a ball. In most cases, the gladiator walked away humiliated. For spectators like me, it was hilarious. Continue reading Bobo