Monday, December 29, 2008


Hi friends. We had a scare on Saturday night. Mom and Dad were winding their way home from sister Sue's in San Luis Obispo on the train, bound for Union Station, LA. Once dropped off by my sis, they were on their own, and that's when things turned scary. They immediately heard of a 6 hour delay of their train, but that if they caught a bus that was leaving right away they could catch another train home in Santa Barbara and be only an hour behind schedule -- so, like two noble hobos, they jumped at the chance, and jumped trains. But they're not hobos, they're parents and grandparents and friends, many times over, and connections in all these categories lost track of them on the Amtrak for a number of hours. A total of three different people at three different times showed up at Union Station to pick them up -- no folks. Checking the internet for train delays, they discovered the 6 hour delay, but alas, who was to tell them about the creative alternative my folks were taking? Certainly not my folks. Mom insists they left their cell phone at home, on the car charger. Dad swears he had it with him but that it was indeed out of juice. When they finally arrived in LA, proud of themselves that they were only an hour behind their time, alas (I keep using that word!), no ride home was anywhere to be seen in the freezing, emptying out train station. Borrowing a train worker's cell phone, they called their friend (finally, what a novel idea -- they called someone with info as to their whereabouts). When they got home and to bed before 11:3o p.m., the rest of us were stewing and brewing about what mayhem may have finally caught up with my Mom and Dad. Bottom line: "Mom and Dad, we're going to have to have a lesson in independent travel, before letting you out of our sights again!" Mom did say that they had mutually decided what we and Dad's doc have been urging them to do for a long time, no more of Dad driving out of town. But, with this fiasco on the nighttime railroad, I'm afraid they've jumped out of the frying pan and right into the fire. And we five children, and hundreds of other family and friends, are no match for Mom and Dad's skills at being blissfully and gleefully independent. Happily, we have a loving Heavenly Father who's still looking out for my earthly mother and father. I'm glad HE can keep track of them!

Do you remember the term, "Four F"? It is the term used by the draft board which says the candidate for military service is not medically fit to be an active member of the armed forces. I have a little different interpretation of the "4 F" part, but with the same conclusion, regarding my folks. As is often the case with me, putting my questions and frustrations into a poem adds perspective and helps me cope, and hope. Here's what I've come up with in that regard...

They used to be so agile,
Going here and there without fail;
But now they are so Fragile,
Forgetful, Feeble and Frail.

It's no picnic, growing old,
And not for the faint of heart,
This buildup of rust and mold --
Does it mean that they're falling apart?

Rust infecting each joint,
Mold infesting the brain;
O God, with your presence anoint,
And soothe Mom and Dad in their pain.

These things that I see in my folks
Are symptoms of life winding down.
Once tall and strong as two oaks,
So weak now, and running aground.

My metaphor's woefully mixed
But that, too, describes to a "T"
This problem that can't be fixed
By humans like you and me.

Regarding living a life
As they are accustomed to doing
This noble man and his wife
Have not the least little "cluing"

That they have now reached a "Four F" --
But an "Honorable discharge" it must be.
And now in the time they have left
May they still serve You, Lord, faithfully!

(PS - We entrust them to Thee).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whitish Christmas -- Wonderful Grandkids!

It wasn't exactly what I was dreaming about, but our Christmas was certainly white -- with some snow, but more with sleet and hail. We opened gifts with the whitish/slushy stuff streaming down outside the living room windows, the kids anxious to finish so they could go outside and enjoying the best toy they received for Christmas -- from God working in our favor through the natural operations in this particular little corner of His universe. The grandchildren had fun slipping and sliding on the deck. No snowmen or snow angels, but sleet snowballs were fun, first for throwing but then for bringing into the house and setting on the woodstove and watching them sizzle almost instantly into nothingness. What a good lesson in the water cycle, not to mention a clear warning to keep hands and fingers clear of the scorching surface. I don't know if the amount of heat produced by the stove during that half hour was offset by the amount lost by the front door standing agape while my little workers trudged back and forth with their precious little snow cargoes, but what a joy it is for us adults to see the world anew through the eyes of those seeing it for the first time. That's what it means to be a kid again. That's what it means to be a grandpa and grandma. How blessed we are to be grandparents times eleven!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Day After Christmas (Hey, should Christmas EVER be over? Answer: as far as tinsel and trimmings and shopping and sometimes extravagant spending and being spent...YES. But as far as remembering "Who's this party's's Mary and Joseph's Boy" (lyrics of Alabama's Christmas song by that title)...NO. But the only way to keep Christmas in our hearts is for Jesus to be there, firmly entrenched and in charge, because He's been clearly invited. Remember His words, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and bids Me enter, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My First Post

Karen and I had a wonderful mini-vacation at Lake Tahoe, guests of our dear friend, Andy Thomas. It was chilly, but obviously before snow-time!

I'm finally joining the ranks of the blogging community. Here I have been sitting, a self-professed writer, only reading the blogs of others and wishing I could do it, too -- when along came my wonderful son-in-law, Jason Worsley, visiting with his family of six, who volunteered to steer me safely into this particular new age. The second best gift of all is the gift of knowledge (the first is the gift we're celebrating on this Christmas Day, God's grace expressed in His Son, Jesus). Now I know -- with Jason looking over my shoulder and guiding my fingers -- what to do to share with you a little of what's happening in my life and in my heart.

I'm excited to introduce my second book, HEADING HOME, which just came out yesterday, published by Lady Bug Press, right here in Sonora. There are about 200 poems and essays, in over 300 pages. The first run was just 20 copies. The eventual price will be $15.00, but my introductory offer is $10.00, until these copies are gone. Sorry to sound like a salesman. I find the marketing part of being a writer to be most undesirable, so bear with me. But let me just share with you my favorite essay/poem from this volume. It represents not who I am yet, but who I want to be. I consider my spiritual gift to be that of EXHORTATION, which is best defined in this Bible verse: "Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24). And this is what heartprints is all about...

We leave our fingerprints on everything we touch. This is one sure way thieves and murderers can be identified. But it isn't just the unique identity of our body that we cannot hide, for everything we are, revealed in our words and our silences, in our actions and our attitudes, in our tempers and our temperaments, comes out wherever we go, and rubs off on everyone we meet. Like footprints in new fallen snow, we leave heartprints wherever we go. A beautiful prayer by an unknown author is quoted in the November 22, 2006 issue of the OUR DAILY BREAD devotional: "O God, wherever I go today, help me leave heartprints of compassion, understanding and love; of kindness and genuine concern. May my heart touch a lonely neighbor or a runaway daughter or anxious mother or aged grandfather. Send me out today to leave heartprints. And if someone should say, 'I felt your touch,' may it be Your love that touched them, through me. Amen." Amen indeed!

It matters little where you are
But oh, it matters much
To bring the essence of God's presence
To everything you touch.

Every person is a pebble,
His world is a pond.
The ripple effect will make a connect
Nearby and far beyond.

While walking in new-fallen snow,
Wherever your path may wind,
The way you go all men will know
By the tracks you leave behind.

A man's unique identity
Is easily revealed;
His fingerprint will give the hint
Of what was once concealed.

And every kindergarten child
All throughout the land
Learns to display in plaster clay
The print of his own hand.

The print of finger, foot, or hand
Is how each does his part
To make his claim of simple fame --
But what about the heart?

Each time you walk into a room,
Whatever you do or say,
Your heart will spill for good or ill
On those who pass your way.

What will your heartprints say about
The person you'd like to be?
Fussing, complaining, on parades raining --
Is that what others will see?

Or will that room just brighten up
With light from heaven above,
As you bring a touch that means so much,
That feels like God's own love?

Oh that this crazy world would,
From words and deeds so kind,
Be better since it sees the prints
Your heart has left behind.