Saturday, July 11, 2009


Rest day today. I'm taking a break. Hope you do, too. I hope to meet you here tomorrow!

Friday, July 10, 2009

No Sweat!

I watched a group of high school and college young people dance an impromptu "Hokey Pokey" yesterday. I'm only a little biased when I say that my granddaughters (Chickie is 3 and Molly is 2) and I don't need to sweat the competition!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shaped By Storms

I was over a hundred miles from home recently when I looked up and saw someone from my past. "Is that Beverly?" I thought. Sure enough, I noticed that her husband Dave was walking just ahead of her on a narrow sidewalk. I called out to them and discovered that they were there looking for me. They phoned my office earlier that day and discovered that I was in another town so they stopped there (they weren't far away) to see me. We spent a few precious hours catching up.

At one time, Dave was Associate Pastor at the church where I serve. When I arrived in 1986, he had been on the church staff for 3 years. They continued to serve there until he accepted a pastorate in 1991. For the past 15 years they have been in Colorado, where they have planted and tend a church made up of three distinct congregations.

Every opportunity I have to spend time with them is cherished. They have taught me much about walking through storms.

Dave was a young husband and dad with two children when he arrived stateside after his second tour in Viet Nam. He called his wife as he disembarked from a troop ship and told her he would be home (in the midwest) in a few days. That's the last time he spoke with her. When he got there, someone else was watching their kids and she had just disappeared. She abandoned them. He heard that she was alive, but was never able to locate her. Finally, with his hope lost, he filed for divorce.

Beverly was a young mom with two children when she lost her first husband. She was trying to hold things together as a single parent when she met Dave. Love sparked between them and they got married with a commitment that they would both accept all four children as their own. A short time later, God blessed them with another son.

Dave was a career Marine, who was assigned to MCAS Yuma. They began attending the church and, at the time, Dave was petrified of praying in public. He wanted to serve God, though, and applied himself to learn Scripture verses and grow in his understanding of how a church operates. Finally, he chose retirement after 27 years in the Corps, and immediately went to work at the church. By the time I met him, he was a good leader who loved God and had a great heart for people.

The past few years have been stressful and painful for this wonderful couple. One of their daughters, who is herself now a grandmother, contracted a disease that ultimately took away all control of her muscles. Dave and Bev moved her into their home and Bev is the primary caregiver.

Just a couple of years ago, one of their grandsons had been home from Iraq for about a month. He was in a car accident that took his life. A year and a half later, that young man's dad -- Dave and Beverly's son -- died suddenly of a heart attack.

I heard somewhere that problems will make us either bitter or better. If you spend 5 minutes with this couple, you can feel the love flowing from their broken hearts.

They aren't who they are in spite of their storms...

...but because of them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life's Little Luxuries

Those hot afternoons, sitting in the shade of the garage with the door up, was part of our life for several years. Our son, always willing to work hard, got a job as a paper boy. The temps might have been 110 degrees in that shade, but the afternoon edition had to be delivered.

Our dog, Mo, never one to miss any action, was quite willing to stand guard as the papers were being folded. He had an ulterior motive. If he fetched the paper and brought it into the house, he was given a treat.

The only problem was preventing him from fetching the papers awaiting their bike ride to the subscribers. He learned to wait patiently. Usually. I guess he wanted us to view him as a diligent worker!

Then came the days when our family would play "Steal the Bacon" (some of you may call it "Capture the Flag") in the front yard. We tried a rolled-up newspaper as the bacon. Mo kept stealing it and running to the front door for his reward. We had to substitute Pringles cans.

Mo was will us for seventeen years. He looked funny -- like a black Lab whose legs had been cut off at the knees. But he had a great personality, was smart as a whip and fetched the paper almost his entire life.

Treats were his little luxury.

He was ours.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's not the fall that hurts you...'s the sudden stop at the end.

I remember the first time I realized my rules had changed. I was watching a chase scene in in a movie. The good guy was chasing the bad guy (or vice versa -- I don't remember) and they kept climbing up walls and fences, then leaping down on the other side. Every time one of them landed, I silently flinched. I could almost feel the pain in my knees and back.

I don't know whether we gain wisdom with old age...

...or just aches and pains.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

He Would Be Proud

I wrote on Memorial Day and the day after about my friend Pete Yount, a Harrier pilot who gave his life as he did his job to protect our freedom. With joy I looked up on Sunday to see Pete's widow, Janet, and their two daughters walk into church. They are visiting from the East Coast.

It was a wonderful end to our Independence Day weekend that Cathy and I joined them for dinner on Sunday evening. They continue to amaze me with their sweet spirits and love for life. Pete's two daughters are growing into beautiful young ladies.

When I see them, I think of the resolution I made when their daddy died. I, along with several other guys, made quiet commitments that we would always be available to offer what we could, trying to be an example as Christian men. Pete would have done that for any of our families.

It's tragic that their dad isn't here to see them as we saw them yesterday...

...but he would be proud!