It’s fascinating to see imperfect products and people come together to create something beautiful and inspiring. It’s like magic. You take a bunch of ugly things and sprinkle them all together, stir the pot, and voila, you get beauty. But it’s never that simple…

It’s no secret that part of what I do is build. Design first, then build. It’s messy from inception. From dust, stickers, cactus, and watching out for rattle snakes to determine the best floorpan and placement, to the smear of the pencil lead on the preliminary sketch.

The process seems more civilized and clean once the drawings are put onto a computer, but that’s an illusion. Since the person sitting in front of a computer doing the drawings isn’t perfect, the plans follow suit. There are always flaws to fix, without exception.

During the all out battle to make the structure plumb, level, and square, there is danger and noise and physical fatigue. While there aren’t any tears in the process, there are always blood and sweat.

The noise and dust of excavators to concrete, lumber, trusses, cranes, and all sorts of delivery trucks is constant. Keeping people alive in the fight for safety against gravity is also constant.

A few years back a painter either removed, or at minimum knew a safety rail wasn’t in place in front of an elevator shaft and didn’t notify us, which is protocol and part of the safety program that he signed. He walked backward into the shaft… A blood test showed that he was on drugs at the time. We got sued anyway… and he’s fine…

The end product isn’t indicative of the battle to make it look like it does. It’s almost like magic.

Finished now in Silverleaf
Close up during the battle of a process

The process of building brings me to the place of pondering how God uses the lives of broken people, and we are all broken people, to accomplish His perfect will and purpose. It’s like magic. It is the supernatural acts of broken lives and things put together in an impossible way to show His sovereignty, grace, and love.

We know we’re not perfect. And yet we know too that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” It’s like magic to the ones that don’t know Him. To us that do; we know it’s a miracle. And it happens every day.


The Easter egg hunt is different now, but it’s still the same in a lot of ways. Back in the old days the eggs were real. I didn’t necessarily like eating the hardboiled eggs, but my siblings and I were up for the thrill of the hunt.

I loaded coins, jelly beans, and gummy bears into the plastic eggs this morning then placed them strategically around the backyard. Truth and tradition are passed down and then we do our part in the process. It’s different now, but it’s still the same.

The two grandsons got new trucks to push around, which they do naturally and usually at warp speed. We used to have flimsy Easter baskets to haul the painted by hand eggs in. The boys use their dump trucks. It’s different now, but it’s still the same.

Our modern day Easter Basket

The story of Easter is told at home and at church. Kids learn but don’t grasp till they’re a little older. I’m not sure any of us grasp the depth of the Supreme sacrifice of the Son and the Father. The limited view and wisdom we have from our fallen flesh gives us just a glimpse of the grace we have been granted.

May we ponder the gift of eternal life granted to us due to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ every day of the year and not just this one. I’m thankful that although many things change, the Truth of the love and sacrifice for all who choose to believe will never change.

Where and how we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior may be different, but the Truth is still the same.

Happy Easter to you and yours.


I appreciate the orange trees that live in my backyard. They have many purposes, the obvious one is the fruit that they both yield twice a year. But they also provide shade for the backyard as well as block traffic noise from a busy 56st that sits on the other side of my next door neighbor’s house.

If a person enjoys the fragrance and isn’t allergic to the pollen, come Spring and Fall, when the orange blossoms sprout, it’s an orchestra for your sense of smell. It’s worth the sneezes even if you are allergic.

And then of course there’s nothing quite like pulling a ripe orange from tree, peeling it, and enjoying a slice that is a slice of heaven this side of it. Or squeeze or juice them for a drink works pretty good too.

Those trees aren’t new. They’ve lived in my backyard for going on fifteen years. I planted them myself. I watered, fertilized, braced, and cared for those trees while I was building our house. They started as not much more than twigs.

My orange tree

And while I appreciate all that those orange trees provide, there’s not a season that has gone by that I don’t think about their downfalls. When I bought those trees I paid extra to make sure I got seedless navels. But after planting, watering, and caring for those trees, when they finally did yield the hoped for treasures, they had seeds… I didn’t get what I was sold or promised.

A fella with a cynical world view that has been self employed for going on thirty years can tend to jump to conclusions and fly off the handle. Then I get mad…

I had to make a decision after a year or two after I planted the orange trees. Should I dig ’em up and take ’em back, or live with what I had and had nurtured. You already know the end of the story.

I think about myself, and all of us really; we all tend to be a bit like those orange trees. There was a time when we were young and full of promise. We sold the best version of ourselves. We didn’t show the people that are still in our lives the warts or the seeds. We hid the side of us that would have caused the prospective buyers to put us back on the shelf.

Some folks do put others back on the shelf… and they miss the beauty of caring for the less than perfect that describe all of us. I receive grace from God and loved ones… and try to pass it on… I think of that when I see or think about my old orange trees. Seeds and all, they belong to me.


Edited and reposted from October of ’11

image courtesy of photo

The first time I saw the Upper Colorado River from that dizzying vantage point I was impacted by its beauty, even at a young age. The rugged cliffs towered over the edge of the river that was formed by the cutting force of the vicious current below.

Some said those cliffs were over 80 feet tall, others said that the most notorious cliff, aptly named “Suicide”, was just over 65 feet tall. I’m not sure which was closer to the truth, I only know they were scary high.

We started on the lowest cliffs and after each jump into the ice cold water the swift current would take us down to the entrance to a cove. We’d paddle our arms and legs as hard as we could to ensure we made it into the cove. A miss of the entrance to the cove would mean ending up way downstream in the mighty Colorado current.

After about half way up to suicide, my brother called it quits there. He was brave enough, everyone knew that. He was just secure enough with himself to not have to go higher. Being younger, I felt I had something to prove. I wanted to prove I was brave and courageous.

As I stood 60 to 80 feet above the swift moving water I felt gut-wrenching fear… Sheer terror owned the inside of me as I glanced at the distant water and my brother a few cliffs down watching me. My brother didn’t care if I jumped or not, it wouldn’t change his world or what he thought of me.

Why would anyone put themselves in such a precarious predicament? What makes people do things in spite of fear? I couldn’t tell anyone then, I didn’t have a clue. I have a better understanding of these matters now. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two about insecurity since then.

As great as the immense fear was within me at the time, it wasn’t as great as the opposing force. It could be called many things; courage, bravery, or guts. It’s possible those ingredients are part of the makeup, but those aren’t the driving force in all similar circumstances.

No, the biggest influence that sometimes makes people overcome fear? In my opinion. Fear itself.

As frightened as I was of the height of that cliff, I realize I was more frightened to not be brave. I sensed more terror of being controlled by fear of the jump. The fear that might come to define my life and own me.

Many are familiar with FDR’s famous quote from his 1933 inaugural address, -“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I wasn’t familiar with that famous quote at that time of my life, standing on loose sand, peering over the side of the cliff at the blinding and shimmering river below.

The jump called me out… It dared me to risk my life. It taunted me… Only the fear of not having the strength to overcome the fear of the jump is what could cause me to “chicken out” and crawl back down in defeat.

There was no crowd cheering me on. There was no one there I needed to impress… except me…

I’m not saying my jumping off a cliff made me a man. I’m also not condoning ignorant and dangerous acts. I just think sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone. Maybe do the solo at church, tell the people in our world of our beliefs. Ask the advice, give the advice, run that marathon.

Fear, if we allow it, will keep us locked in the closet of life, while others take that step of faith, believing they can fly, even if for only moments.

I could smell the adrenaline in my nostrils as I sprinted toward the edge of that cliff… I planted my left foot about eight inches from the edge of that cliff and shoved off into the great wide open…

Funny thing, once I started running – committed to the task, I felt no more terror…

Only determination.


It’s been one of those hurricane type of weeks. Busy beyond belief, what you’d call a “Milestone” week. When one of those type of weeks roll around, with all the balls I like to juggle, something’s gonna fall. And more often than not, it’s a fine thing.

You see, we’ve been praying, and not for just a little while. Not so much for this day or week, but for all the days of Ali’s life.

Family and friends were present to see our middle daughter get married. There was laughter and there were tears… and the family got bigger. And to a very welcome and fine young man that grasps the meaning of “Fear of the Lord”.

Mr. and Mrs. Quaid and Ali McKinnon

It’s a blessing from God to live long enough to see our children walk the paths and aisle directed by Him.

I’ve gone from being a little tyke in people’s weddings as a kid to participating in my own. Now I’ve seen three daughters grow up. I’ve witnessed two of them getting married and one of them having a couple kids of her own.

These aging eyes have seen much… and I’ve never failed to see the hand of God’s protection, provision, and grace in my life and the lives of my loved ones.

So I’ll continue to pray like I have from the beginning. As my family grows so do my prayers.

A week when all the balls I’ve been juggling drop to the ground around me, I’m reminded of what’s truly important. And I’m also reminded of the wisdom it takes to be still and know that He is God… and He’s the giver of blessings in milestones.