Tag Archives: life

A Heartbeat Away

Between almost awake and half asleep, my brain registers discomfort.  Oh no! An earache!  I had so many earaches as a kid and hate ‘em. Just hate ‘em!

The throbbing’s the worst. Each heartbeat bangs on the ear drum.  No matter how you twist or turn, you literally feel, and hear, every beat of the heart.  Like a marching band, the regular beat on the drum creates a disconcerting percussion concert.

It’s fingernails down the blackboard!

I try to go back to sleep, but things on the “to do” list start cluttering the mind.  Too tired to get up, too conscious to sleep, several hours of nothingness tick away in the dark with only my thoughts and the striking of the ear drum with each beat of the heart.

In a way, it’s fascinating.  The never seen heart constantly pumps life in rhythm.  The body, soul and spirit, it rises, and falls, in a life dance with the ever present heartbeat on the ear drum. Continue reading A Heartbeat Away

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 (2) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

“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

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

Dad, Does Insurance Cover an Ambulance

I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t answer. “Hello.”

It was my third son, Todd, who has an adventurous spirit.  “Hey, Dad. Whatchu up to?”

“Just watching a soccer game on TV”, I said.  “I thought you were in San Antonio playing in the college club soccer tournament this weekend?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Y’all doing alright?”

“Yes sir. We won the first one, lost the second, and tied right now.”

Todd pressed on. “Hey, does our insurance cover ambulance rides?”

“Yeah. Why do you ask?”

“I was talking to some guys and I didn’t know.”

“Yeah, any time there’s an accident, it’s covered.” I was getting confused. “Where are you?”

“I’m at our game.”

“Are you finished, or about to start?,”

“No, the game’s going on now.”

“Well Todd, why aren’t you playing?”

“I was, but I was making a steal and slid to clear the ball out of bounds.  The guy from the other team fell on me and when he did, there was a loud pop in my neck.”

“Oh man!! Are you hurt?  Need to go to the doctor?”

Todd matter of factly said, “These guys think I do.”

“What guys?”

“The paramedics.” Continue reading Dad, Does Insurance Cover an Ambulance

I Went to a Football Game

I went to a football game, alone. It was second half of our local 13,000 student Stephen F. Austin State University football game.  It was Parent’s Weekend, so literally half the people left after the 2nd quarter.

It was a stifling hot Texas evening, so I sat at the top of the stadium where there was virtually no one, but the team flags blew in the breeze. That breeze was nice!

I participated, without involvement. Was part of the crowd, yet not crowded. With people, but all by myself.

Plus, high in the stands you can see plays develop.

Perfect! Continue reading I Went to a Football Game

Whisker Windfall

This Labor Day was the twentieth anniversary since I grew a goatee. Haven’t seen the ugly under those hair follicles in this century!

Several weeks ago Janet and I traveled, and in Keystone, South Dakota, I shaved.

I was shocked! Without hair on my face, everything looked different!

At least my receding hair line, even if it’s in a steady retreat, is a gradual reveal.  It’s like a slow descent plane landing.  But shaving cold turkey and going lickety-split from whiskers to clean shaven after twenty years, well that’s an engine failure crash landing!

I felt like I needed to introduce myself to the guy staring back at me in the mirror! Who is this stranger?

The worst part, however, was somehow, sometime in last twenty years, someone snuck another chin under the original! It doesn’t look like a double chin with facial hair, right?

But now, my face looks pregnant! Nine months. With twins! Continue reading Whisker Windfall

To See The Way

A college student in an electric wheel chair was moving up the sidewalk beside our local university.

She controlled her chair with one hand while tapping a cane back and forth in front of her with the other.  She was partially paralyzed, and on top of it, blind! Yet there she was, out in public, on her own, making her way from place to place!  Amazing!!

I respect her immensely for doing what seems impossible to me!

She reminds me of a blind friend named Randy I knew in college.  Randy was 7 or 8 years older than me and had lost his sight his senior year of high school when he caught a rare virus. Continue reading To See The Way

Playhouse to Lighthouse

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. Playhouse foundation

~Challenge accepted.~

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.                     img_0633

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