Finding Floyd


Long before Tom Petty sang the now famous words, “The waiting is the hardest part,” I, well, me and my siblings, sometimes some cousins, were living, and groaning, through the reality of those words on Thanksgiving Day.

The work for the massive feast started early and the air was filled with the aroma of what was to come… eventually. The better part of a day is a long time for a little kid.

I remember my mom splitting the beaters from the electric mixer, that had all been but shaken clean off, with my sister and me. Pie filling and real whipped cream just whet our appetite and made the longing even worse.

The smell of the turkey, gravy, beans, stuffing, and bacon that went into my mom’s famous baked beans, had everyone’s mouth watering. The pumpkin, apple, cherry, pies and my dad’s fruit salad, that was more whipped cream than fruit, tortured us through the longest day of the year.

image courtesy of

After surviving the molasses of a day, one of the secret baked beans ingredients, we’d finally hear those two beautiful words, “Let’s eat!” They didn’t have to be said loud, we were within earshot. We’d be hovering close by like a pack of wolfs waiting till it was safe to move in for the kill.

It didn’t take long to figure out that the “Let’s eat!”, didn’t mean we were actually going to eat. It meant that we were one step closer to the magic moment that our bellies were grumbling for.

There was one more step. And that step could be a time consuming one. Because the next words were automatic, “Let’s say blessings”, my dad would say. It didn’t matter where we were, our house or someone else’s, my dad was the official family thanks giver.

“Heavenly Father,” is how he always started his prayer, Thanksgiving or otherwise. When it came to praying, my blue collar dad was always genuinely grateful for God’s provision and protection… and his prayers reflected that fact. He wasn’t an economical prayer.

No sir, when it came to praying our dad was an opulent prayer. Not fancy words, but real ones, straight from his heart. And he wasn’t in a hurry.

That’s where he was different than us as kids. We endured the prayers, like barbarians, ready to tear into the feast like Tasmanian devils. I wasn’t the only heathen that opened one eye to make sure the food hadn’t gotten away. I’d spot one or both of my brothers, on occasion, my sister too sneaking the, if not illegal, immoral peek.

I haven’t heard my dad pray in going on ten years now. And all I can think of from those early days of life and Thanksgiving are the words my dad prayed. I realize now that those words were infinitely sweeter than any dessert, including his fruit salad, I’ve had since then and will have on this side of heaven’s curtain.

I guess I’ll never measure up and be the prayer my dad was, but I’m proud of that fact. But if you ever hear me pray, which I do on many occasions, because I’m usually the appointed thanks giver, you’ll hear remnants of my dad.

“Heavenly, Father…” is how I start every prayer… Thanksgiving Day or otherwise.


I’ve never been to a tailgate party, but I’m no stranger to tailgates.

Blueprints were almost as much a part of our heritage as the Good Book was. I remember my dad scanning the boring blueprint pages laid out on a pickup tailgate with a contractor or worker, sometimes by his lonesome. I was the bored kid using scraps in a pile of job site debris to make pretend guns, spears, and forts.

Maybe that was the inspiration for all the forts I built? That or the fact that it was just part of my DNA. Maybe that could also be the scapegoat for the pilfering of job sites that I used to build them.

It didn’t take long to figure out that the best part of building those flimsy forts was the building part of it. Once they were done my buddies and I didn’t have a lot of use for them. Being built in the middle of desert arroyos, (a fancy name for desert foothill washes), it also didn’t take long to figure out that the rats had plenty of use for them.

It seemed like an eternity, but it wasn’t but less than a decade later and l was standing behind a pickup truck with the tailgate down looking over blueprints. And I was still thinkin’ that calling them “blue” didn’t make a lick uh sense, since they were mostly white.

It would be impossible to put a number on the amount of time I’ve spent looking over blueprints, on a slab, tailgate, or in offices. It’s even more improbable to put the amount of days, months, or years I spent at a desk designing my own projects that would one day come to be laid out on desks, slabs, bid plan tables… and of course tailgates.

Another job we’re about to finish, designed by the kid who used to build forts in the desert. For scale the glass between the tub and shower is 12′ tall.

We have plenty of office space these days… but I prefer being outside. Meetings are a part of life now-a-days. Some of them I can’t steer outside and to the backside of a Ford, Chevy, Nissan, Toyota, or Hummer for that matter… but some of them I can.

I think about the old adage “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” That makes sense and a plan, or plans, is part of a wise process. We don’t have blueprints for our lives, but we have plans, dreams and desires.

I’ve built so many structures I couldn’t even begin to find them. They’re mostly in Arizona, but they’re in several states. Of all those structures, and all those plans, not a single one was perfect. They all had flaws. That’s part of the challenge to manage jobs and people.

I think our lives are like that. We plan, but we run into problems with the plans and how we navigate around them are how we determine our success in life. Even if our plans are perfect, at least in our mind, we aren’t the Great architect. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

I think about Noah building that massive boat. And David designing the temple, Paul making tents… and of course the Greatest Carpenter. Whatever our calling I believe our job is to do it in a manner that brings our Maker honor. What we do, who we are, has purpose. It doesn’t have to be a grand thing. It just has to be what God designed us for in order for us to be gratified in our works.

I’m no stranger to tailgates… and neither is God Almighty… He’s with us wherever we are and whatever we do. And I’m pretty sure he loves the smell of churned up dirt and fresh cut lumber.


I’m what you call an aggressive driver. That makes it sound worse than it is, at least for me. See, I’m not mad or crazy, well, not mad for sure, I’m just in a hurry. Aggressive makes it sound like you wanna hurt someone, I don’t wanna hurt anyone, I just want to get around them and get on my merry way.

I don’t get too rattled when someone honks or flips me the bird, I usually smile and wave. The other day I was following, obviously closer than the driver wanted, a little white economy car – waiting for the opportunity to get into either the right or left lane to get around them.

Movement from inside the car in front of me caught my eye. I looked closer to see the person, I couldn’t tell if it was a male or female, flipping the bird to the rearview mirror and shaking it violently to make a point. I smiled. Then gave a friendly wave as I finally got around them and left them shrinking in my own rearview.

The problem, or at least one of the problems, is that at some point there are a few folks who take it personally and they want to talk to me… up close.

A few nights back, on the way to dinner, there were two turtles in the left hand turn lane in front of me. We had enough vehicles in the lane to trigger the left hand turn signal, but I barely made it through the light on a long green and yellow because the first two people in line were moving like molasses.

After we made the turn onto Thunderbird, a four lane road, our two heading east, I pulled into the far right lane, the driver in front of me into the left. He was still lollygagging so as soon as there was enough room to pass I gunned the supercharged engine and shot into the left lane and was off to the races, or dinner as it were.

Pretty soon turtle two was right behind me. After about a mile he started flashing his lights. Lucky for him the restaurant was less than another mile. I whipped into a space right up by the front door. Angry turtle two was pulled in perpendicular in back of my vehicle, window down, telling me exactly what he thought of me. I’ve heard those expletives before.

image courtesy of

The other problem I inferred earlier is me. And for more than my driving habits; I don’t have a lot in the way of fear. I try to reserve that for the One who says that fear of Him is the beginning of wisdom. I’m still a beginner because I still do dumb things and have more confidence in myself than I probably should.

I grew up in a somewhat violent setting, at least when I was very young, and I’ve been around the block. Get the pun there? I’ve been punched in the face more times than I care to recall and that was long before mixed martial arts training accomplished a severely deviated septum with ease.

Turns out turtle two’s real name is Darren and Darren had a few drinks of some sort. Nothing like alcoholic courage. Eventually he apologized, shook my hand, and off he went.

The other problem is I wasn’t alone… I told my wife to go inside the restaurant as I went to face the stranger in the Ford.

Of course I wouldn’t want to put anyone in a difficult place… but I wasn’t considering anyone but myself when I set out to drive to please me… and to Iceland with anybody else… near or far from me.

Most that know me know that I admire and adore humility. It’s a beautiful trait from God above. The opposite I guess is selfishness. And when I’m honest I have to admit it’s a trait that comes far too easily for me.

That gas peddle makes me a monster… even when if I’m not in a hurry. It’s hard to smell roses going a hundred miles an hour.


I don’t honk my horn that often, probably ’cause I hate it when people honk at me. I sat behind the gal in the SUV waiting for her to turn, we had a left hand green turn arrow for the love of Betsy. She finally looked up from her phone and ran a last second yellow light… leaving me stuck there.🤨 My left eye and mouth twitched slightly. It’s a world of frustrations.

image courtesy of

I like to read and write, but sometimes life gets in the way. As I type this, since I didn’t have time last week so I reposted an old one, I haven’t driven the old car I vowed to this weekend… (yeah, I’m a whiner with first world problems)… I haven’t had time to touch a guitar, I haven’t called my mom yet, and it all adds up.

I knew that I had issues with commenting on Betty’s Wise Hearted site. I’ve literally spent, I’ll bet pushing, twenty hours trying to figure out how to fix it… to no avail.

Then just this week I found out that the scads of comments that I’ve left at Diane’s site, Hadarah, and Martha’s site, Meditations Of My Heart, never showed up on their end.

So, for I would say years, probably since I got a new computer, I’ve been reading and commenting and thinking all was well with the world, but I was wrong.

It’s not the end of the world, but it’s frustrating. Add the little frustrations and irritations together and pretty soon blood is boiling.

Once I’m in that state of anger I have to step back from myself. The truth is God is sovereign. If I was meant to drive the car it would have happened, or I need to change my world and schedule. If that guitar really needed to be picked and strummed I’d have made different choices about the rest of my life.

I’ll call my mom once this is done. I’ll have just enough time before the kids and grandkids show up for Sunday pasta… the shave will have to wait…

If those words that I plucked out were meant to have been read, I’m certain they would have. My words matter little.

God’s Word matters.

I tip my hat to all my on line brothers and sisters that I’ve never looked eye to eye with, but punch out words of honor and encouragement with discipline and perseverance. God does use other’s words to remind and encourage. I’ve been the blessed recipient of them. So I say thanks again.

I’m pretty sure it’s probably a lot of your words that help me be able to not honk my horn that often…


trick or treat

image courtesy of

Repost from October 2010… She’s long done Trick or Treating with her dad…

I know a lot of Christians who refuse to celebrate Halloween. I understand and respect their opinion.

Me? Other than some of the ignorance shown on this day of the year, I love it.

This is a night that even some of the grouchiest people act nice. Cute kids knocking on doors, knowing if the door opens someone is going to be charitable, even hospitable.

Halloween feels to me like a warm up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. People practicing being cheerful getting ready for the championship of holidays.

I have some pretty fond memories of Halloween. I don’t remember being much more excited about anything as much as Halloween and Christmas. I even remember what I was dressed up as. I got the most compliments as I recall dressed up as a Cowboy. The home-made-by-my-mom mustache was the coolest part of my costume.

We have a ritual for Halloween in our house. My wife stays home and passes out candy and I take the kids Trick Or Treating. Now I just take the youngest.

At 12 years old my ritual and streak is at stake. My wife asked our youngest how long she was going to Trick Or Treat with her dad. “Until I’m outta high school!” she declared… That’s my girl. I hope that’s true, although I suspect her heart while in the right place may change before then.

I’m a little more sentimental than my wife when it comes to these matters. I remember when my wife announced it was time for the youngest to be weaned from her baby bottle. I was devastated. I knew that season or chapter of our lives were over forever.

As the sun is starting to make its somber descent this afternoon, I’m faced with that similar awareness. Today is Halloween and it might be my last one spent with my youngest in costume.

I think back on all of them when all three girls went with me. Kenz dropped out, Ali lasted another two or three years, and now Gurm’s (nickname) in the twilight of her Trick-Or-Treat career.

I remember the costumes. I recall reminding them to say please and thank you, even in their frenzied scurrying. We discussed tactics, which streets to take. Sometimes up one side and down the other, sometimes zig-zagging across the street to cover more houses.

I carried bags, coats, shoes, and my daughters. I walked a lot of miles Trick-Or-Treating. I loved every one of them.

God’s word says life is like a breath. An inhale, an exhale, and it’s over. I’m reminded again of that tonight. Understanding how short life is gives me strength and desire to bring God and my family honor.

This is one of those nights that will accumulate with the Halloweens past to create a vivid memory for my daughter. She’ll always remember our ritual. She’ll share stories with my future grandkids of all the fun her and their grandpa had.

I’ll bet she even remembers and shares with her children how her Dad’s favorite candy was Snickers bars. She’ll hopefully tell them the truth, how she always let me have as many as I wanted.

She’s a good girl. I wish we could Trick-Or-Treat forever, but that’s not the way life works.

We all need to cherish every day as the gift each one is, whether you celebrate Halloween or not, I’ll cherish this day as a gift from God.

If you see a cute 12-year-old dressed up as a Narnian Princess and her dad in a sweatshirt with a ponytail watching proudly from the sidewalk, wave…

It might be the last time you see me there.