Archive for March, 2009

Timing (and place) Is Everything

March 30, 2009

I picked my daughter, Amy, up from school one day last week and stopped off at Chick-fil-a. We were both hungry, but I also had a couple issues I wanted to discuss.

She was a little surprised by my questions, but our discussion went very well. As we were wrapping up, she asked me if our talk was the reason we’d stopped for something to eat. I said it was and thanked her for not being defensive. (more…)


Oom Papa – Confessions of a Reluctant Child Accordion Player

March 27, 2009

I’m a fan of clever bumper stickers, but some of them can outright scare me — like the one I saw on a car just in front of me on the interstate.  “I brake for hallucinations,” it warned.  Just how was I supposed to know when that might happen?  I steered around to move out of harm’s way.

But the one I saw most recently really gave me a fright, for an altogether different reason.  It said, “I brake for accordions.”  What?  That didn’t even make any sense.  Yet it awakened an uncomfortable memory from my childhood.


Knee Pads Required

March 25, 2009

Growing up in a home that was irreligious (not anti-Christian, just no evidence of faith lived out), the practices of faith were never expressed in a way that I would catch them.  Prayer was not an everyday practice except for the mealtime ritual speed mumbling of “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest.  And let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen”.  We usually said that so fast that I don’t know if I really knew what I was praying until I just wrote them above.  It sounded more like, “Comelordjesus be-r-guest andletthesegiftstousbeblessed.  Amen.”

Needless to say, the power of this prayer was probably lost in translation. When I came to a personal relationship with Christ at the ripe age of 17, I began to understand the part Prayer played (and plays) in a relationship with God.  (more…)

Grace and More Grace

March 23, 2009

I received an email from a friend today. She was telling me about some of difficulties she and her co-workers were going through. Layoffs. Illnesses. Car accidents. Deaths.

I was reminded once again that everyone is going through something difficult. Sure, the degree of difficulty is different, but difficulty is also relative, isn’t it? (more…)

Raw Life Footage

March 20, 2009

“Time to buy stock in Kodak.” — investment advice I received as a new father.  I’m amazed at how many “Kodak Moment” photos and hours of video we shot in those early years.  As a newbie dad I remember propping my arms on my daughter’s crib trying to hold the video camera steady in anticipation of capturing her first time rolling over.  It was like watching a pot boil.  As my arms tired, the temptation grew to help matters along by giving the crib a little tilt.  Then it happened.  “Whoo hoo.  She did it!”  And I’ve got all those hours leading up to it on tape.


I’m Listening…Really!

March 17, 2009

A couple of months ago while home from college, my daughter and I spent a lunch together on one of our periodic dates. It was a great time to catch up with her and live in her world for a few hours. I have missed hearing the regular details of her life during her freshman year. You know, the personal details that spill out over dinner or in car rides to church. Our conversation ebbed and flowed. Then, during one of those pregnant pauses that mark every good conversation, I snatched the opportunity to buzz-kill a light discussion.  I thought all dads did that ;).  I never miss the opportunity to “teach” a life lesson, much to the chagrin of my children. “So, honey, as you look back on our days together as a family, are there things that I’ve done as a dad that you wish I hadn’t done or would have done differently or would change now?” Door opened. And she entered. (more…)

Perception Is Everything

March 15, 2009

I’ve never been a big fan of March. It’s a “no-mans-land” month for me. Football ended a couple months ago and doesn’t kick-off again for over five months. I like March Madness, but not enough though to move March up in the rankings.

March is also a “weather-tease.” Some days are warm, but it could still snow before the month is out. Yesterday was one of those warm days, but not warm enough for the air-conditioner, so I had the sliding glass door in the living room open. The flies aren’t out yet, so all that came in was a cool breeze. Until one of those large, slow-moving mosquitoes wandered in. (more…)

In the Blink of an Eye & A Break of the Heart

March 14, 2009

There is at least one thing that is universal among the member of UPA, universal parenting association–no one anticipates or wants to think about losing a child to death.  Yet, it happens more often than any of us want to think about.

Late in the evening a couple of days ago, a 17yr old daughter of friends of ours was killed in a car accident. (see my story on my blog at

SOUND OFF:  If you’ve lost a child to an accident or illness, would you share some of the things that helped get you through it and how you continue to deal with it today?

Nice Hat!

March 13, 2009

Some of the best memories I have of my Dad are the times when we started something with excitement, got half-way in, and then didn’t know whether we could salvage it from disaster. There was that woefully under-powered go-cart we built, named the “Chug,” assembled from a scavenged motor, a plank stolen from the basement shelves, and wheels bought at the hardware store. We were stumped when it came to rigging up the steering mechanism, and the assembly stopped. I was eleven, and an eager helper, but the engineering was way over my head. One night we were seated at dinner when my Dad jumped to his feet, shouted: “I know how we can do it!” and bolted down the basement stairs. I was on his heals, still swallowing my chicken casserole. There, with shafts, axles, and chunks of steel the basic geometry of our steering dilemma was solved. The next day we went to the welder for a few precision bends of the steel spindles, and progress resumed.


I’ve been Pwned.

March 11, 2009

“Hit the A button…No Dad.  The A button!”  One of my teenage sons excitedly coaches me while the other breaks into hysterical laughter.  The instructions I heard to make the guy on this video game jump was, “Hit the A button, hold down the trigger key with your left finger, push the thumb lever to your right and scratch your nose.”  Or something like that.  Mastering a video game controller is like taking a lesson from a golf pro.  I can’t assimilate the four hundred other things I’m supposed to do after “keep your head down.”  I gave that game up too.