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
A few weeks back I was leaning on the rail of a cruise ship sailing the inside straits of Alaska. Miles away were large, looming mountains on the Alaska coast.
It wasn’t the land that was intriguing though, it was the hundreds of birds on both sides of the ship. They were a species of seagull and they were everywhere! Some sat on the water riding out the waves.
Most, however, flew about a foot above the water and didn’t miss a flap of the wing. Occasionally, one would scoop down to pick up some tasty morsel of food flying at break neck speed.
There were so many over the water, yet it seemed they flew with organization, almost marching band style. They were like a symphony of different instruments playing different notes that make no sense alone, but all together play beautiful music. The birds darted and dodged, skillfully avoiding mid-air collisions, moving in groups in their beautiful, living maze of feathered music. Continue reading To Who Knows Where
I hope this letter finds you doing well. In your last letter, you asked me to describe more about Jesus to you. I’ll do my best:
As you know, I am his father, at least in name. His existence has literally nothing to do with me. He would have been here, one way or the other. I know that. Really, I’m just lucky, blessed that I get to be where I am.
The angel told me what happened, and part of what would be. I knew then my part in His life was an honor and privilege.
Some people frown at me, particularly some of the high and mighty people around here. They look down their noses at Mary and I and sometimes say cruel things. We just keep going.
I want to react, to fight back and tell them how the camel eats the grapevine. Instead, Mary quietly reminds me to relish today. After all, the end is the prize, not the present.
Continue reading I’m Kind of HIS Father
A cold, internal stone wall held him prisoner, but somehow, he was held captive at the same time he was set free.
Like everyone who grew up there, he loved the beach, so when it was darkest inside, that’s where he drove outside.
It’s an isolated stretch of beach where few venture, especially at night. No one was around for miles. Inside he felt in 360 degree direction, yet outside, the full moon was shining nature’s night bulb so bright you could see your shadow.
He sat on the bumper in the warm, humid, salty air. The sea, rich in smell and wet sand gave off its familiar odor. Roaring waves crashed upon breaking waves which eventually slid gently in a thin glass sheet to where land starts and ocean stops. Continue reading Beach Fix
Last Sunday night we went to Janet’s old church in another town. There were about thirty speakers! Now before you pass out, here’s the deal – each person had memorized either a chapter, or a large portion of the book of Revelation. Each quoted their portion sequentially until the entire book was quoted from memory!
The pastor quoted Revelation 1 and applause broke out as he returned to his seat. A teenage girl, about 13 years old, stood and quoted chapter 2 as smooth as silk on a glass table.
Next her twin, autistic brother began quoting the words he knew so well. About the 6th verse he faltered, and in frustration, rocked back and forth. He quickly regained his composure and continued quoting what he had worked so hard to learn. He hit another roadblock and began rocking again, but the train returned to the tracks and he hit his rhythm.
He stumbled once more, and looking up, began moving his hands in a grabbing motion, as if to grasp individual words floating in his brain to get them back in logical sequence. Continue reading Revelations From the Heart
Today was Jessica’s last, first day of school. It’s always different for a senior during their last year of high school. It’s the beginning of the end, but also an end of the beginning. It’s a celebration, yet a mourning, and both emotions run a parallel course.
Most seniors. whether high school or even golden age seniors, inherently seem to make more effort to savor the time. A sentimental process of looking back and remembering starts.
At the same time, seniors usually seek out more opportunities to make more meaningful memories with their friends because the looming reality is that it is all about to change.
It’s strange. I’ve noticed that even kids who don’t like each other tend to unite during their last year of high school. Maybe it’s because they share a bond of we’ve done this together and belong together. We belong to this school. We belong to this year. We belong to this graduating class. We, we as a group, we have walked a path together, even if on different trails, and we will end this journey together as a group, so we will enjoy each other on the path because after this year, it is no more. Continue reading Last First Day
The knot is tied. The balloons won’t come apart. Each is similar, yet unique, different, but the same.
They have the same amount of helium, at least at a glance, but you never know about balloons. They were filled with flight giving helium about the same time, but sometimes a balloon leaks unexpectedly. Its smooth surface becomes slack and loose. It doesn’t bounce or move like a newly filled balloon. Instead of rising to the ceiling, it begins to float around a room mid-air, eventually dropping even further until finally it rests on the floor.
Turn a full helium balloon loose outside and it flies freely, climbing higher and higher! They are easy to see at first, but become smaller as they rise to wherever the winds blow until they finally look like tiny dots before disappearing from sight.
In some ways, two balloons tied together go farther, climb higher, move faster. They catch more wind together than individually. In the long run though one, or both, go flat. Maybe one is accidentally punctured by a tree branch. Maybe the weather changes and cold air causes the balloons to move less freely. Maybe they just sail along until they simply wear out.
Continue reading Fly Well
Janet and I have eleven children between the two of us, and the count’s at 9 on grandchildren. We’re thinking there’s plenty more to come, especially since 5 of the kids aren’t married yet.
We bought a place last year that was right for family and grandchildren. I built a standard wooden swing set from a hardware kit. Easy peasy. But it needed more!
We looked at playground ideas and my imagination ran as wild as an East Texas roadrunner.
Then a blast from the past popped up on Pinterest, a firetruck. I grew up around that! My dad was a volunteer fireman for years, and two of those years I was the official “mascot” of the fire department. That’s pretty cool for an elementary age kid!
I knew about an old fire truck which had been sitting in a field rusting the last 22 years. I got permission and scavenged pieces and parts. Continue reading Fires of Life
The man sat on the bench in front of the Wal-Mart checkout lanes. I thought he was waiting on someone, but he wasn’t. He was just sitting and watching for a minute.
He was obviously a working man, about 65ish, and had a day-old shave. He was a bit chubby, but not flat out fat. He had draped a couple of plastic bags of items he just bought over his blue jeans. He wore work cowboy boots and a free blood donation T-shirt.
His face was confident, like he knew he could pretty much handle anything that happened on the outside. His eyes, however, looked like his heart had been, or maybe still was, wounded. His eyes looked like muddy, shallow puddles instead of a deep, free flowing fresh water wells.
He got up and started for the exit limping with a distinct, weathered limp. Who knows why, but I suspect his limp was from a rugged injury such as a car accident, oilfield work injury, or getting his leg pinned against a chute while dealing with cows. Continue reading Help Wanted
When the heart’s tap root hits pain, angels cry. Do you feel it? Do you feel them, something, somewhere, swirling, moving, circling the soul as the root draws up pain watering the heart making it swarthy and bruised?
Some people, some personalities cannot get away from the pain. It’s not that they don’t deal with their own. They do. It’s that some can’t get away from other’s pain.
Sometimes out of the blue it can hit you, in the store, watching TV, hearing a story, understanding what has happened. The person’s pain, both shown, and even more intense, the hidden pain, grabs hold with a dry ice-cold grip burning the very beats of one’s own heart.
It can’t be explained with words, for words don’t express it. Letters can’t convey it, and the alphabet becomes nothing more than scissors on the tongue. You can’t get out what has gone in. Continue reading No More Angel Tears