test runMy youngest daughter leaves on a one week field trip tonight. She’s never been away from us for that long in her short twelve year life.

She’s a little apprehensive about the sleeping conditions, the seasick medicine and the confidence in it, the no cell phone rule, and the time away from us.

I guess this is like a test run. She’ll get to see what it’s like to live away, sort of on her own without her parents for a week. We’ll get to see what it’s like to be empty nesters for a week.

I’m not diggin’ this test run… The sun will rise and set seven times before she gets back home. Then the rising and setting of the sun will continue for a time, a very short amount of time… And she’ll be gone.

She texted her sister at college yesterday to let her big sister know that she was “on her way to work.” She has volunteered to work at the library restocking books. I have to say I’m impressed with the fact that she went directly to her passion to find work, she doesn’t care that she doesn’t get paid, she loves it.

This, of course, is another test run for her to see what it’s going to be like someday when she works for real.

I know it’s the natural way of things, I’ve been down this road before. It’s just that this is the last road… My job is to make sure she’s on that road and knows which direction she’s headed. I know she won’t get lost because she has a GPS. (God Provides Service) She’s learned that with God she cannot be lost.

I know it’s a gradual process, off to college, back for the summers, it takes a while. When McKenzie left for college our life changed forever, it hasn’t been the same since. The realization that yes they do grow up and leave is very real. That was a difficult adjustment period, especially for my wife.

I thought it would be easier when Ali left for college. It wasn’t… Change is a monumental task. The reality of coming to the day you’ve prepared your kids for their whole life. I hate to use the worn out coinage, but “surreal” really does best define it. I’ve stood there in shock twice now, struggling to grasp the realness in the moment of drastic change. And then they’re gone…

That reality of kids growing up and going off to college caught me off guard, and I was watching carefully, them and my watch, and it still snuck up on me.

The little one is learning valuable tips on how to prepare for a trip. My wife has made several lists, crossed of each item as they finished them. She’s learning how to be organized and prepare for change. This change is just a different place to sleep for a week.

My list of things I need to get done before she leaves on her more permanent trip is getting close to the bottom. I’ve crossed off many things. There are more items crossed off our list now than items outstanding…I hope I haven’t forgotten anything on her list…

She’s getting ready to go now. I’ll drive her to school and I’ll wait until the bus pulls out of the parking lot. We’ll be waving at each other until she’s out of site.

I’ll be thinking of that day in the not so distant future when I’ll be waving goodbye for the last time…


once again..Yesterday was a difficult day. I had a million things on my agenda to get done.

It was a tight schedule, but with the proper amount of management, “No Problemo.” On days like this I become the “multi-tasking musketeer,” once again…

There’s one problem with a tight and hectic schedule, you can miss some of the basic needs of a day, like food, (I don’t think this really qualifies as fasting…) but not gasoline.

I was on the on the back edge of being behind schedule. I made my stops in between business calls and sometimes during them. I didn’t really have time in my schedule to eat, but I was “starvin like Marvin,” once again…

I went into a fast sit down “greasy spoon” right next to the gas station. I inhaled my food and headed for the door on the phone of course. I was putting out fires and setting sparks for new ones, once again…

In the truck, down the road, headed to see my mom. Yesterday was her birthday. She lives in a not-as-small-as-it-used-to-be town where I grew up. The town is almost 200 miles away from where I live.

I was still on the phone when an unfamiliar alarm sounded… I’d never heard this sound before, but instinctively knew instantly what it was. It was the sound of regret… It was the sound of humiliation… It was the sound of the “low-level fuel alarm.”

With a new focus and a wildfire from nowhere, I put all my attention now on one thing, being rescued. Funny how priorities change so quickly in life, once again…

My fast paced world would come to a complete stop in about 15 miles, 45 miles from the next small town.

There I sat, all four windows down, both passenger doors open to allow some cross breeze, feeling like a dumb kid, once again…

Three hours is a long time to sit in the southwest August sun. A person can do some thinking in that time. There would be absolutely no napping with Semi’s passing me about six feet away.

You might say this is an ugly place to be. Surrounded by danger, civilization on one side that allow no mistakes at 75 miles per hour. Where the black top ends and the desert starts is what feels like “no man’s land,” my new home for three hours. About 15 feet from the black top is thick brush that graduates into trees. This is where the rattlesnakes live. After dark packs of coyotes wander through it.

God has his ways of slowing us down. I find those loaded Semi’s and speeding cars on one side with the poisonous snakes and wild animals on the other, isn’t near as dangerous as trying to navigate this life without God’s guidance. Sometimes He uses those dangers in life to get our attention. He got mine, once again…

I made a new schedule, it started with a prayer. I watched a one foot long lizard-hunting for an early dinner. I spotted some big branches for targets in the trees and threw rocks trying to revive an old pastime. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, it felt pretty good, once again…

After my overdue rescue, I was off, but not like before. God gave me a new perspective on my day. I didn’t set the cruise control to 10 over the legal limit or pass everything in sight.

The sun on those purple mountains on the other side of the lake are beautiful just before sunset. It was good to see them once again…

I made it to town just in time to take my mom and some of the family to dinner in celebration of her birthday.

After dinner, my mom and I talked, reminisced, and laughed once again…

It was good to slow down and catch up with my mom, the perfect ending to a perfect day. Once again…


the worn out sweatshirt

My Youngest Sporting The Almost Famous Sweatshirt

What happened to the average I-don’t-care-what-I-wear-on-Saturday people? They’re either gone or they’re hiding.

This was a typical Saturday for me with a few exceptions. Work in the morning hit the gym early and take care of whatever falls into the “his” category of responsibility.

I don’t dress like Frank Sinatra any day of the week and I’m the polar opposite on Saturday. This is the day that society has deemed acceptable for a person to wear worn out, discolored, wrinkled, outdated or just plain ugly clothing. At least it used to be. Come to think of it, I guess I’m probably the only one at the gym with  holes in my clothes nowadays… Whenever they changed this code they didn’t inform me of it.

I went straight home from the gym, got my wife’s much past due for an oil change car and took it to the “lame lube”. (We don’t pull out into the desert to change oil anymore, I did get that memo) They were even slower and more inept that day than usual. I didn’t have time to let them try to figure out how to reset the oil life percentage read out. My youngest daughter was at home waiting to be taken to her orientation at the library where she has volunteered to work on the weekends.

She is definitely a “chip off the old block.” She loves books even more than I did when I was young. There is a possibility that she has read more books in her life than I have in mine. At any rate, we only had time for her to hop in the car and head straight to the library.

She was a little apprehensive about walking into the library by herself. She wanted me to walk her in. This, a job that she volunteered for without my wife or me coercing her into. I didn’t even know they had such positions. I thought you had to be middle aged, wear glasses, wear your hair in a bun and have strong lungs to be able to say, “Shhhhhhhh”!

What do I know? I know enough to know that she needed to walk in alone and learn to be independent. “Please go in with me”! She pleaded. I responded, “Do you really want me to walk you in with holes in my shirt”? A perfect prop for the occasion. She started again, “I think y-“-RIP!!! I cut her off. Mid sentence I reached over to my left shoulder and enlarged the size of the hole in my shirt… to ensure independence. “Okay, Dad.” She smiled as if to say, “That was a good one, Dad.” I finished with, “I’ll wait out her for a few minutes in case they need me and my ripped up clothes to sign anything.”

She walked briskly with intention in her steps, I know because I followed her at a distance. The library is adjacent to the mall and sometimes has some suspicious looking characters hanging around. You know, people with holes in their clothes and the like…

With one hour to kill, I stepped through the parking garage to the mall. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been to the mall by myself in the last two decades. I can count, on the other hand, the times I’ve been with my wife in that same time period.

To my surprise, I was the only one walking through the mall with a sweatshirt on that had noticeable sweat discoloration and holes. Doesn’t anyone else wear their old favorites that should have been thrown away years ago except me?

While discovering a $9.99 baggy shorts sale rack, I got a text from my daughter. It read, “It’s getting ready to start, I think it’s going to be really good”! – “I don’t need you to come in.” I texted back, “Good job girl, I knew you could do it”!

Off in the distance, in my minds eye, I see and taste that bitter-sweet day of my little girls independence…

This worn out sweatshirt soaks up the tears quite well.

I think I’ll keep it for a while…..


My Dad passed from this physical world to the spiritual world May 7th of this year. God blessed me with an earthly father who, “ran the good race, and fought the good fight.”

I could write a book about the character traits that make up a good man based on my Dad’s life. In fact… I did.

My first manuscript is titled, “The Common Threads Of Greatness.” I penned it in 09′ finishing the last of it in August, the last August of my Dad’s life. We didn’t know it was his last summer.

I’m not sure if God inspired me to write it based on the lessons taught to me by my earthly father, about my Heavenly Father. Whatever it was, it honors both my Heavenly Father and my earthly father, and I’m honored my Dad got to read it this side of heaven.

We talked of things written in my manuscript while he was battling his short bout with brain cancer. He spoke of the wisdom in my book as if it were a revelation to him. It wasn’t, but he was proud of me.

My Dad lived his life far above and beyond the folly that my life in my early years were marked by. His life was marked by selflessness, mine selfishness. His life of self-control contrasted mine by the lack thereof.

One of my favorite stories Jesus told was, “The Prodigal Son.” My Dad reminds me of the dad in that story. In the story, I would be the example of the selfish son, who by his actions disrespected and dishonored my Dad and family. My Dad like the dad in the story never judged. He knew like the wise dad in Jesus’ story that I would need to learn life lessons the hard way.

Like the dad in the famous story, my Dad waited patiently and looked for me off in the distance, coming back to the light. It was my Dad who welcomed me back to wisdom.

When I reflect my life and conversations with my Dad I will forever remember how he always addressed me. He called me Son… That word, Son… In his voice, it spoke love to me. The tone in his voice was forgiving, nurturing and accepting. It was my name to him. I never heard the words uttered by him to me and didn’t feel his love. Even when he was trying to correct me or instill wisdom, it was patient and it was kind.

I’m honored to be his son. He was a simple man of simple faith. That faith in God that directed the paths of his life. I thank God for the example He set before me in my life.

The amazing thing I’ve learned about truly great people in life is this; The great ones never tell you they’re great. Their lives are marked with humility. Their actions speak volumes. Sometimes us foolish people miss it even with it right in our face. I didn’t miss it this time. I got to see it over my lifetime.

I thank God for my Dad. I wish I could have seen him a little longer…

I wish I could have talked with him a little more…

I wish I was a little more like my Dad…

I’ll carry my love for my Dad with me in this soul cage until I see him again on the other side…

I miss my Dad……


old dog new tricks


Fifteen or twenty years ago one of the ladies had a “Farside” calendar on her desk in the office. You remember those, the cartoon for every day of the year with the date on it. It was bound at the top and you just peeled one day off to reveal not only the next day’s date, but more importantly the next day’s cartoon.

Some of them were amusing, some I didn’t get, some were pretty funny. This one, I remember still cracks me up! I think I actually rolled on the floor of the office the day I saw it. I can’t remember the date, but the cartoon I’ll never forget.

It was a drawing of a dog named Rex. Rex was balancing on a unicycle that he was riding across a high-wire in a circus act. He held a long balancing pole across his chest with a smaller dog on one end of the pole and a scared, arched back cat on the other end. The artist drew several close lines around the body of Rex to indicate his shaking while trying to stay balanced. There were drops of sweat shooting off of Rex’s face. To top it off, the artist gave Rex big, scared wide open eyes.

With that picture in mind here was the caption; “The one thing that was really bothering Rex was that he was an old dog, and this was a new trick”!
This, of course, assumes one is familiar with the old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I’ve given that dumb cartoon some thought over the last couple of decades. More now than before but for different reasons. Occasionally when I’m venturing into something new I remember it. I’ve heard the “old dog” analogy used on many different people in my life, usually referring to an older person in business or a person in the workplace that bucks change. These type of people will drag their feet or go out of their way to make a change being implemented more difficult. I’ve also seen the people who force a company to fire them because they refuse to change.

Some of us get in our comfort zones and don’t really want those zones to change boundaries. We all like to find the habits of procedures in our lives and fold them into a daily routine so there are no surprises.

We as adults don’t really like surprises. Oh, we like the obligatory present because we have an idea of what’s in the box. Real surprises for us are dreaded. We try to avoid them like the plague. The telephone ringing in the middle of the night, when our kids aren’t home, is not a good surprise.

We’ve come to dread so much the possible in life that we lose the joy of the dreaming and striving for the impossible. God’s word says, “With God all things are possible.” I believe that with all my heart and soul.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve received some of those dreaded surprises in my life. I’ve also been the recipient of great joy doing the things others gave up as impossible.
Change is inevitable, it’s going to happen whether I want it to or not. I’ve come to realize with change comes opportunity, something to be excited about. Like I was when I was a kid looking forward to Christmas. At the very least with change comes more knowledge to use with the wisdom given by God for our and others lives.

This writing rediscovered by me now is one of those changes. I’m not saying I’m good, but I’m gratified, even if nobody else is.

It is a gift from God and I’m thankful for it because I am an old dog, and this is a new trick!