Jan 012021

I helped my son move to Knoxville this week. It was a bittersweet experience. I was glad for the opportunity to help, but sad to see him go. He and his family are now four hour away instead of 20 minutes.

After we finished unloading the U-Haul trailer, I was getting ready to come back home when he asked me if he could pay for the gas. I told him “No, but there is one thing you can do for me.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Promise me that if you ever need help, you will call me.”
“I promise.” he replied.

Fighting to maintain our macho guy image, we both got a little glassy eyed, gave a quick hug, then quickly turned and walked away. The emotions were strong because I am his father, and it gives me comfort to know that my precious son would not struggle alone when he needs help. My love for him stretches way beyond the four hour drive to Knoxville. I want him to know that if he needs me, I will be there for him. I might not always see or do things the way he wants, but I want him to always, always, always, know that if he needs anything, he should talk to me about it, because we love each other.

So, that brings me to this morning’s bible study. It was from Luke chapter 11. It’s the story where the disciples ask Jesus how they should pray and he gives them an example, and a story about always asking, seeking knocking. Those christians who would make me feel guilty for making my prayers mostly about asking God for things should read their Bible more closely. It’s exactly what Jesus told us to do. Our Heavenly Father wants us to ask him when we need help. Why? Because we love each other.

Dec 152018

Well, after three months, we have one puppy left, and it’s getting harder and harder to let him go.  Just this morning, I already had to clean up poop and pee, and there is still a mess in the garage to deal with, but the puppy is still here.  I haven’t killed him yet.  In fact, I want to keep him around more today than I did when he was first born.  I’ve been thinking about why that is.

Buster Brown sleeping on his stuffed dog

Love is the key to all this.  When dealing with all the hardship caused by puppies, the poop, pee, chewing, waking in the middle of the night, etc. there are really only two emotional responses that can happen.  Either you decide to love them anyway, using that force which is always patient, always kind, always bears all things and never fails, or you can decide to move in the other direction.  You can let resentment build, let frustration grow, embrace anger, set your jaw and determine to get rid of the troublesome vermin as soon as possible. 

Option B is what causes little puppies to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere to starve.  Option A, an even stronger force, has the unfortunate side affect of puppies sticking around longer than they should on occasion.  Sometimes it even causes a lifetime of hardship.  But it’s a lifetime of hardship that is chosen because of a decision to love.  For me, I’d rather have the troubles of option A than the heart of option B any day. 

So, the puppy is still here.  And if it turns out that he is still here a year from now, don’t judge me too harshly just because I chose option A.  I learned it from my Father who, from the beginning of time, chose option A for me.

Sep 182018
Joy with her puppies

Our dog Joy had puppies this week-end.  Now she has nine squirmy, noisy, pooping, peeing, totally self-absorbed little fur balls causing her enormous amounts of grief and uncomfort.  Even so, she lays still for hours on end, bearing their constant grunts and squeals as thy crawl all over her, biting, sucking, and pulling in places they should, and shouldn’t.

I guess it is instinct that makes her tolerate their torture.  Somehow she knows that only she can provide what they really need.  Somehow she knows she must patiently watch over and deal with them as only a mother can.  Somehow she manages to deny her own needs so that she can tend to theirs.  For dogs, we call it instinct.  When people do it, we call it love.  But you know, the Bible says God is love.  So, should we really be surprised to find it reflected all throughout his creation?

Jun 232015

The quail eggs won’t hatch and the mood is somber.  With each passing day, hope is transformed into hopelessness.  The somber mood, like a dense fog, hangs over the corner of the kitchen counter where the precious eggs rest in the incubator.

Tammy was so excited when the eggs arrived.  She has been faithfully maintaining the temperature, turning the eggs and caring for the future quail offspring with more diligence than even the mother quail herself might have provided. But the eggs won’t hatch.

Quail eggs in an incubator

Quail eggs in an incubator

She started with nine eggs. Two were cracked, some weren’t fertilized, and a few did not develop. Only two looked like they might make it. One even briefly pecked at the shell, but then died in the egg. It was sad. Little bird lives that could have been, one ever so close, but never made it.

I have learned a few things through this experience. Of course the most obvious lesson of all is that, when life does happen, it really must be a miracle. Also, seeing her care for these eggs and the life within, I have come to realize how precious Tammy’s nurturing, loving spirit is to me. And seeing Tammy’s care really highlights the fact that mother birds are absolutely amazing. They have to be some of the most selfless creatures on the planet. It’s no wonder our Father used them as an example of His care for us, His delicate miracles.

As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign One, and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty king – I say this about the Lord , my shelter and my stronghold, my God in whom I trust – he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter and from the destructive plague. He will shelter you with his wings; you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.
– Psalm 91:1-4 NET

How precious is your loyal love, O God! The human race finds shelter under your wings.
– Psalm 36:7 NET

Feb 132015

Lately, I have been thinking about intimacy.  I can’t say whether or not everyone longs for it, but I believe at least most people do.

When we hear of intimacy we often think of sex. That can be a part of it, but it is not its essence.  Real intimacy is that private bond two share when nobody else is around.  Nobody else is involved. Just me and one other.  The closeness of which nobody else can be a part.  One is alone, three’s a crowd, but two can be intimate.

Sometimes I long for intimacy. I want intimacy from true love. Love can provide intimacy to another because it loves. And love can provide intimacy to another because it wants to be loved. The best intimacy is both. I don’t think true intimacy can exist long without both parties providing both.

I don’t want my wife just to give intimacy to me because she loves me. I want her to desire intimacy from me because she loves me.

God does both. Imagine that.

Aug 252012

The building stood empty and dark.  Here and there, a window was broken, a jagged hole left as evidence of a rock, hurled by a strong arm, powered by passion and malice.  All around the building, rocks, shattered glass, broken boards, nails and debris lay as evidence of dastardly deeds.  The doors were all locked, some with chains and bars.  It was evident that no one had used the building for some time. Continue reading »

Jun 212012

Occasionally, I write very short stories.  Flash Fiction.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t have enough patience to write long stories.   I liked the latest one so much, I decided to post it on the main page.


Where Does Juice Come From?

How to get juice from spinach?  She contemplated her predicament as she rolled the carrot between her fingers.  She had one carrot, a half of an onion, and a big pile of spinach.  The challenge was to make a good tasting juice from what she had.  And what she had, wasn’t much.

She promised her kids some juice, but the piggy bank was empty and the cupboard was filled only with dust.  Now all she had was one carrot, half an onion, a bunch of spinach, and a sick heart.  She didn’t even like spinach.

As she twiddled with the carrot, she stared out the kitchen window and slowly, without even realizing it, gave up hope.  The carrot dropped to the floor.  She slid her back against the cabinet and slowly sank down beside it.  Closing her eyes, she thought of her two beautiful young children.  A single tear formed in each eye, one for each child.

Her kids walked down the hall to the kitchen doorway, where they stopped abruptly.  They stood there quietly, watching their mother for a few moments.   Eventually, the youngest one, prompted by an unseen truth, said simply, “Have faith mommy.  There is always hope.”

An hour earlier, a next door neighbor had been at the grocery store.  In a rare moment of quiet insight, he actually listened to his heart instead of the noise and confusion of the world.  He bought extra groceries to give to his neighbor.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Now, an hour later, he pulled in her driveway and hoped she would not consider him silly when he showed up on her doorstep with an armload of groceries.

His arms were so full he had to knock on the door with his elbow.  The kids heard the knock, ran to the door and opened it.   “These are for you,” he said.  The kids got so excited they both latched on to him in an effort to give him a big hug.   In the process, they knocked him off balance.  Had it not been for a little push in the right direction, he would have surely dropped the gallon of orange juice.

Feb 102012

On most Wednesday mornings I drag myself out of bed a little earlier than usual so I can meet with two or three other guys from church.  We sip coffee, discuss a book we are reading, talk about our lives, and pray for each other.  The other day, we started talking about jealousy.  If jealousy is a bad thing, then why does the bible say God is a jealous God?

I remember when I was in college, dating my wife.  We hadn’t been together very long, and she had a guy back home that wouldn’t give up.  Even while I was dating her, he would send her flowers.  I think he even asked her to marry him.  It made me jealous.  Who did he think he was, trying to steal my girl?  She’s MINE!  A few months later, she went home for the summer.   The guy had given up.  I was glad.   Even so, Tammy called one day to ask if I cared that she go out with a guy she was friends with.   It wasn’t a “date.”   Just two friends going to hang out together.    I told her . . . Yes . . . I mind.   She didn’t go.  I was glad.   And still jealous.

So what does it mean when God is jealous?  I think it means something different than when we are.  I was jealous for some of the right reasons and perhaps a few wrong ones.  I loved Tammy.  I didn’t want to lose her.  I didn’t want anyone else to have her.  I wanted what was best for her, but I also wanted to hang on to what I thought was best for me.  I was jealous because I didn’t want her to give to someone else the attention that I thought belonged to me.   I didn’t want to lose what was MINE.   I cared for myself, and my “possession.”   My jealousy has a since of selfishness in it.  My jealousy has me claiming as mine, another person.  Tammy is not mine.  She belongs to God.

God is jealous for all the right reasons.  He is jealous when other things pull us away from Him. He is jealous when we put other things above Him, not because He has some sort of ego, but because He loves us and wants what is best for us.  He loves us so dearly that He jealously looks after us.  When evil would try to stake a claim on us, He scoops us to Himself, jealously guarding His prized possession.  When Satan sends his evil on the attack, my Lord whose name is Jealous sweeps his arms around me and declares “MINE!”   He is jealous because we really are His.  And because what is best for us, is Him.


.  .  . for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God . . . 
               – Exodus 34:14

Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?   
               – James 4:5


Sep 132011

I think I would rather be a crow than a hummingbird.  Crows are smart.  Hummingbirds are not.  I realized this fact this past weekend, when a hummingbird flew into our garage and could not find his way back out.  The large garage door was wide open, but still, he buzzed about inside, incapable of figuring out how to fly below the raised door to freedom.

God has made all kinds of creatures and all kinds of people.  Crows are large, ugly, black and noisy.  Hummingbirds are small, cute, beautifully colorful creatures.  So, we feed hummingbirds, and shoot crows.  This is one of those situations when I really do wonder:  What would Jesus do?

Jun 192011

My son was ruthlessly attacked by vicious angry beasts this weekend.  He was just trying to do a good deed.  It made them angry, so they swarmed from the bowels of the earth and attacked.

At first Sam didn’t understand what was happening.  As he was mowing the grass, the pain hit him from out of nowhere and shot up with increasing intensity.  He yelled and writhed as he was hit over and over again.  He didn’t know what to do or how to stop the merciless, agonizing attack.

I heard his cries, looked and saw what was happening.  As the attack continued, I yelled “Run Sam!  Run!”  He was too tortured to hear.  I finally ran to him, guiding him to the safety of the garage.  Even there, one of the tenacious monsters still continued to cling to the sock around his ankle, inflicting wound upon wound.  He yanked off his shoes and socks then ran in the house, suffering in pain.

It made me so angry.  How dare these evil monsters attack my son with such ruthlessness.  I grabbed a can of wasp spray, dashed out the door, and emptied its contents on the yellow jacket nest.  It knocked down some, but still more swarmed around the nest.  I went for a second can, gave them another dose, then turned attention to Sam.  He had so many stings we had to take to the emergency room.

There are still some yellow jackets in that nest, but their time is very limited.  I will not rest until they are all gone forever.  They will suffer my wrath for hurting my child.  Tonight, while they are all in the nest, I am going to pour gasoline in their hole.  Then, just to finish the job for sure, I’m going to throw in a lighted match. 

Today is Father’s day.  On this day I think about what it means to be a father.   And as I plan my vengeance on those evil monsters that attacked my son, I realize my wrath burns so hotly because of the love I have for my child.  I also think about God, the perfect father, who has adopted as His children those who will accept Him.  Although I can’t pretend to understand Him, I do feel like I am beginning to have an inkling of understanding about “the wrath of God.”  It’s funny, but somehow now, it feels like love.