I have Christmas songs still playing in my head. I hate to admit that one of them is Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer… but it is. I also have my annual fresh cuts and bruises on my hands from wrestling the Christmas tree to the ground and tying it like a steer and stuffing it back into the two boxes that are the size of coffins. And I’m contemplating another new year.

365 sunrises and sunsets. Seems like a lot when you think about it like that, but with time that perspective changes. For many of us; we know the reality is that we have less years ahead of us now than we have behind us. That’s life.

In some ways 2017 has been a tough year. There have been family illnesses, close friends fighting for their lives, and the stress of business along with the personal struggles of life. It’s been busy. This is the first time I’ve punched out a new post in about a month.

I met with one of my good friends yesterday. He was recollecting his past, which is eerily like mine, and brought up a name that I hadn’t thought of in years; Malarky’s. Malarky’s was a nightclub in Phoenix that fools like us would frequent. It was the eighties. We were young and, it goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway to remind myself, dumb.

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I can’t remember the year, probably ’85, and I was with a buddy of mine and our girlfriends to ring in the New Year at Malarky’s. It was wall to wall young people. That mixed with alcohol is a recipe for disaster.

Two guys went at it in the lobby, one ended up breaking a beer bottle and using it like a multi-knife on the other guys face. That was as much blood as I’ve ever seen.

That was back when a year closed and another New Year opened with a kiss. Most years close and another one starts these days while I’m sawing logs. Although I’m known to throw a firecracker or two if my youngest is around.

I think most of us have done dumb things, I’m still not immune from them. We all have memories, good and bad. We’ve all shared these years, good and bad. We’ve endured hardships, heartaches, and headaches, caused a lot of them ourselves. But we’re blessed to be here and it’s due to the grace of God.

So here we are, celebrating another New Year together at this time in history. I’m honored to have another New Year with you. May your New Year be blessed by God. Happy New Year!





Repost and edited from December 2011

It’s supposed to be a happy time of year… As long as I can remember my heart was thrilled at the prospect of Christmas and gifts, but there was another part of my heart that broke for the less fortunate.

My mom and dad reminded us to pray for the less fortunate when I was a kid. I always did, even when on a few occasions we may well have fallen into that category ourselves. It’s heartbreaking to think of kids without presents, much less without the basic necessities of life. We were blessed to not have to fall into that extreme category.

I’m highly doubt that the most fortunate kids are the ones who get everything on their Christmas wish list. In many ways those might be even less fortunate than those with little, I think it all depends on our perspective.

We’re planning to do things for the monetarily less fortunate this year. That means we’re fortunate. Not because we have jackets, but because it’s a gift to be able to give and help, especially when it’s cold outside.

As a kid I was no different than any other kid, I wanted cool stuff for Christmas. Like God’s gift and sacrifice of His son to a lost and dull world, parents give, sometimes with sacrifice to their children in tradition of this season.

Kids don’t grasp the Gift. It can take decades before they gain wisdom to get the true meaning of Christmas. We often take the gift of God’s Son for granted, just like the little ones longing to shred the wrapping paper off another gift.

It isn’t until some time later that kids can look back in hindsight to see the sacrifice of a parent or parents, in a very small way – reminiscent of our Father and His perfect gift. Once grasped, we look back in wonder and awe at the perfect gift of Jesus Christ.

I think when we begin to grasp that, we also grasp the other gifts from God, those gifts that aren’t wrapped sitting under a fake or dying tree; The living gifts of our family and loved ones. The precious memories aren’t the tearing of wrapping paper off a present. The memories are the gifts of time being spent with people who dearly love us; the ones we sacrifice for.

Like a child tearing wrapping paper off of presents, we miss the best part of those gifts. We miss the smiles on the faces of the loved ones who sacrifice, directed by God to care for His little ones.

Often we take for granted God will grant them or us another year. For those of us who live with the reality of another Christmas without the smile of a loved one to share with us, also know that the real gift is life.. Here now, and in eternity later.

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The thoughts of Christmas still bring mixed emotions to me. I’m thrilled for the time with family and I’m sad for the less fortunate…

There is an area about two inches under my collar bone, just above my heart that gives me slight pain, as I ponder another Christmas without my dad. It certainly helps me understand the true meaning of fortunate.

The fortunate are the ones who realize that the real gifts of Christmas are the gifts of salvation…

And the stocking stuffers I like to call family…


Repost from December 2010 edited.

While I enjoy classical Christian songs, there’s a secular one that speaks to my heart too; “The Little Drummer Boy.” My Christmas isn’t complete until I’ve heard that simple song with the Pa Rum Pa Pum Pum. My favorite is version is by Bob Seger.

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I’ve heard that song my whole life. When I was younger I listened to the words without hearing them. About five years ago, after listening to that song my whole life, I finally “heard” the words to that song.

Although knowing the words in my brain, they couldn’t make their way through the denseness down into my heart. When they finally did, that’s when I learned to love that song.

Not that the song was a true story, but the idea of God showing His approval to his children finally got traction in my heart.

Like that little drummer boy we have nothing to offer God. We only have to give Him what He’s given us first. Like the Psalmist understood, (paraphrase) “What is it that I can give to you, God? All things come from your hand.”

I have nothing– I am nothing– All I am is because of God’s gift to me. The ultimate Christmas present–The only perfect sacrifice to cover our sins permanently, His son Jesus Christ, whom He allowed to suffer on our behalf so that He would be able to look upon us, even with our sin and offer this perfect gift. The gift of eternal life.

As if that weren’t enough, He also gave each and every one of us something else… Another gift. The things we do. The things we have a talent or passion for. I have a drum set. I even have a guitar. I have no illusions, that gift He gave the little drummer boy he didn’t give me.

For those of us that belong to God understand these gifts aren’t ours, they belong to God. When we use them to bring Him honor we find peace and joy beyond our flesh. We live in a spiritual peace that surpasses human comprehension.

Since the gifts we have are actually intellectual property of the Creator of the cosmos, they are given with a responsibility.We have a duty to use them in such a way that shows the greatness of the One who provided them.

The last verse of that song is what I finally heard after a lifetime of listening to it. “Then He smiled at me Pa Rum Pa Pum Pum, me and my drum.”

The God of all creation smiling as we use the gifts He blessed us with. I can’t imagine anything better.

This is one of the gifts He’s given me, may I honor Him with it. May He smile on me and my family as we try to bring Him honor with what belongs to Him.

This Christmas may we all use whatever gifts He’s blessed us with.

May we bring a smile to His Holy Face…


I can’t say for sure when I first heard the old adage, but it was early on. It was one of those sayings that sticks in your head. “You can’t outrun your past,” I heard someone say. Being naturally contrary, I set out to prove them wrong.

The most reckless of days are fading in my memory like paint in the Arizona desert. I’m okay with it. There are some things I’ve done I really don’t want to remember.

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With ignorant choices beginning to fade like a vapor, it sometimes feels like I’ve outrun my past. But then something happens that jogs my memory. The painful side of free will returns with a vengeance.

About a hundred feet from the airport screening area I realized I forgot to leave my knife at home. I took off back to the far, far away long-term economy parking with loping strides.

I ran through the massive airport like O.J. Simpson before his fall from grace. My lower back was reminding me of the surgery it had earlier this year.

By the time I got to my truck, that was a quarter-mile from the tram to stash my switch blade, I was huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf.

I’m in fairly good shape, but it’s been 40 plus years since I ran a marathon as a kid. Not to mention I wasn’t pacing myself.

I was about half way back to the tram after stashing my knife when, without warning, my left calf tore. The first thing that flooded my mind was the ridiculous weight that tore it the first time.

That was just the beginning of the plethora of my life’s re-runs that began to play without the luxury of an off switch.

I hobbled toward the tram – pulling my left leg that looked like it weighed a hundred pounds. As I one-legged it for the tram I saw one of the tram cars whiz out toward the terminals. I knew I had three minutes to get to the high-rise people mover before the next one left.

I magically forgot about my searing back pain as I tried to jog with a torn muscle, my left heel taking the brunt of the abuse.

Everybody makes mistakes – guys more than girls in majority. Forgiveness is sweet. Pure forgiveness I don’t think we’ll fully grasp this side of heaven. I’m humbled and grateful for forgiveness. I’ve got extra portions.

As supernatural as Divine forgiveness is, it doesn’t change the past. And time machines only exist in the movies and funny papers.

It’s a wise person that learns from their mistakes. And makes less of them as time and life goes on.

Without our memories, some of us would touch the hot pot on the stove all the days of our lives.

“Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.”

After days of hobbling, icing, Ibuprofen, and stripping the nasty knot in my leg, it dawned on me how apropos the lesson. I thought of the old adage, “You can’t outrun your past.” Of course I got a reminder… while I was running.


Repost from November 2010

I grew up listening to old Hymnal songs in a conservative Baptist setting. I didn’t do too much in the way of singing. Sometimes when I did sing it was usually done out of sheer boredom.

I heard the songs so often during my formative years that sometimes even now at this age, I wake up with one of those old traditional Hymns stuck in my head. You might remember some of them, like Amazing Grace, Just As I Am, How Great Thou Art?

Last Thursday I heard one of those old Hymns I hadn’t heard in decades. The song is titled It Is Well With My Soul.

I may have heard the history of the song sometime in my life because the author of the song’s name sounded familiar. That sort of history doesn’t matter too much to a bored kid. The words of the song, however, would remain in that kid’s mind and heart forever.

The song was written by Horatio G. Spafford. Spafford lost his son at four years of age. Shortly thereafter, the successful attorney lost the majority of his wealth in a real estate investment due to the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

Two years later Spafford planned a trip for his family to visit Europe. A business issue required he be delayed from his trip. Spafford sent his wife and four daughters ahead planning to follow a few days in arrears.

The ship his family was traveling on collided with an English vessel and disappeared below the surface of the water within minutes. Spafford’s wife was the only family survivor. After being taken to safety, she cabled her husband with only two words. The words he read were, “Saved alone.”

I can’t imagine the dreadful voyage navigating the Atlantic on his way to recapture his only remaining family member.

The amazing part of that journey is when close to where he lost his remaining children, Safford penned the song that multiple millions of people would hear and sing over the next almost 140 years and certainly beyond.

Here is the first verse:

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It is well with my soul

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I was reminded of the history behind this song at my wife’s friend Candy’s funeral. Candy was an amazing person, blessed by God with the gift of teaching, compassion and mercy, just to name a few.

I’m not sure who chose this song to be sung at her funeral, but I know her husband Steve, like Horatio Spafford, echos the words given by God to soothe his soul.

To know with confidence the ones taken by God are in a better place is the reason we can be well in spirit even as we suffer in this flesh.

I thought of difficult times in my life. My soul squirms, dodges, and weaves, trying to bear up under the flesh. Occasionally God will use events in my life like the example of Steve and Candy to remind me, “Whatever my lot, He has taught me to say, it is well with my soul.”

During those most difficult times, I feel the hand of God lift me up with one hand and cover me like a small bird with His other.

“It is well with my soul.” Those words have been with me my whole life. As God guides me through this life, may He give me the strength to honor Him under all circumstances.

May God give me the will to say every day, including the one He chooses to take me home,

“It is well, it is well, with my soul”…