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We had the opportunity to visit with our daughter at our house this past weekend, who will soon be having a daughter of her very own. While she was here we happened to come across an old box with some of her papers from when she was younger that had something I had written about her when she was only about 3 or 4 years old. Here is the original paper I had hand written those so many years ago.
“She came into our lives as a blessing from above. So tiny, so beautiful. GOD blessed us with our little bundle of love. At first she barely crawled, and now look at her run. At first she could hardly talk. Now look at her; she hardly stops talking! Each day we grow to love her more. Thank you LORD for our little blessing. Thank you LORD for Valerie. Brown eyes, brown hair, and that special warm caring smile.
Each time I look at her, I hear GOD whispering in my ear. Be good to her, and raise her to learn of me. Teach her love, patience, kindness, goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and train her in the way she should go. Teach her right from wrong. Teach her to love others, to give unto others. Look at her now how big she is growing, changing every day. Thank you LORD for our gift from heaven above. May we love her and show her your ways each day. Thank you LORD for our Valerie.”
The picture above is of our daughter Valerie and her own grandfather, my wife’s dad. His name was “Papa” I can’t wait to have a photo taken with my own granddaughter. I know people say it often, but it does seem like only yesterday when our daughter was this age. As a matter of fact, it still seems like only yesterday that I was carrying her to her first bed to lay in after being born in the hospital. As the days pass, I pray that I will be able to be the grandfather that my granddaughter deserves me to be. I pray that I will be able to show her the right road to take too, and that we will have many good years together. If we are together, they can’t help but be good!
I promise again LORD that I will teach her just like I taught her own mother. I will teach her the road to take, right from wrong, to love others, and to give unto others….. and I promise you I will love her every single day!
We were the best of friends growing up on the south side of Oklahoma City. Kevin’s dad worked with my dad down at the steel plant in the city. During those burning hot Oklahoma summertime days we’d always be over at each other’s house playing baseball and running up and down the concrete creek beds on our bicycles. Neither one of us liked to wear shoes in the summertime so were always getting stickers or blisters of some sort on our shoe-less, dirt blackened feet. Kevin and I both had one of those long banana style seats specially fitted for our bikes. Then we added colorful plastic streamers for each handlebar. Finally we’d grab a few clothespins from the clothesline and pin them to the back wheels of our bikes with a few bubblegum baseball cards. That would give us the true to life sound of a motorcycle as the spokes of our wheels strummed the cards like a drum. The only thing missing to make us official motorcycle riders were the helmets.
Even though Kevin and I went to the same elementary school for years, we never saw each other much at school. As some might say -“We were in different classes together.” The summers passed us by as did the years of growing up together and soon we were in Junior High School. Have you ever wished you could go back in your life to some specific moment in time to change something you did or didn’t do? Something you said or didn’t say? I do!
One day I happened to pass Kevin in the hallway during our ninth grade year. He pulled me to the side and asked me if I could help him sell donuts for the student council in the hallway between classes the following week. I thought that would be a neat experience so I agreed to help out. It was during that time that I realized Kevin really had a difficult time in school. He couldn’t really calculate properly. He couldn’t do the basics of adding and subtracting properly so he asked me if I would help him out during that time to get through his shift with the student council. He did seem pretty desperate when he asked me to help out. I never knew before that he struggled so much with school work. I later found out that the reason I never saw Kevin much in school was because he had been taking special education classes all those years.
Then one morning before classes started I was sitting in the lunch room at a table with some of my friends playing paper football. Kevin walks by with a big Bible in his hands. Joe, another friend of mind starts mocking Kevin as he passes by. “Hey Bible boy” “What are you doing with that Bible?” “I didn’t know special ed kids could read.” he says. I could see the tears start to form at the corner of Kevin’s eyes while I just sat there with my mouth shut pretending I didn’t even know him. The bell rings for classes to start and the kids in the lunch room start to shuffle out. I hang back to the be the last one out the door before Kevin. Kevin just stares at me bewildered and says “Why didn’t you say something?” “You acted like you didn’t even know who I was?” “Kevin, why do you carry that Bible around?” I said. “Because that’s all I know to do.” “The kids here are always picking on me.”
It was in the middle of my ninth grade year that we moved twenty miles to the west of Oklahoma City to a new town. I never saw Kevin after that except for one more time during our senior year of high school when he dropped by to watch a Oklahoma Sooners football game with me.
Then one day I got a phone call from Dad when I was away at college my freshman year. He told me that Kevin had just died in a terrible construction accident in Oklahoma City. He had been helping unload some construction material when an overhead power line snapped into and fell on top of his truck. He stepped out onto the ground and was electrocuted by the live wire. His body they say was burned and charred beyond recognition. It was “unrecognizable”.
Yes, I do wish I would have said more. I wish I would have done more back then. But for my friend Kevin – I waited too long to tell him I was sorry for not recognizing him that day. Kevin, I really am sorry.
This old church used to be a Baptist church and is the one I first started going to when I was a kid in Oklahoma City. Every now and then my brother Tim, and I would invite a few neighbor kids to go with us. One Sunday morning we invited a friend named Lawrence who had never been to church before. At the time I was in seventh grade and Lawrence was in the third grade.
That Sunday we sat in our normal seats which was about fifteen aisles from the front. Lawrence sat between Dad and I, and Tim sat next to me on the outside seat. Lawrence spent most of his time fidgeting and drawing snowmen on scrap pieces of paper with a pencil he found in a round holder in front of him. He stopped drawing and moving around in his seat at the very end of the service when the pastor gave the altar call. If you are not familiar with a Baptist church, most Baptist preachers in a Baptist church give an altar call and ask if anyone wants to come down to the front to be saved. It is not just once in a while. The altar call is every service.
The preacher started the altar call and asked if anyone wanted the LORD to save them and to come on down to the front if they felt led by the LORD. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Lawrence got up out of his seat and walked to the front where the preacher was standing all alone. When he got up to the front our preacher bent over to have Lawrence whisper in his ear. The pastor was about six feet six inches tall so he had to lean over a good distance to get down to Lawrence’s mouth to hear what he had to say.
After hearing what he had to say, the preacher just leaned back up, smiled, and then pointed his long skinny index finger to the right hand set of wooden double doors which Lawrence quickly walked to and through to the other side. The preacher continued on talking to wrap up the altar call and soon Lawrence emerged from the double door area and returned to his seat next to mine. I wasn’t quite sure what he did up there so I leaned over and whispered in his ear , “What happened up there?” Lawrence just looked back at me with a puzzled face and said, “I asked him where the bathroom was.”
At the end of the altar call the preacher said, “Folks we didn’t have anyone who found the LORD today, but we did have one who found out where the restroom was.” Have a great week!
I can’t stand scrunchy foods with the juice that oozes out and and rushes in to fill up my mouth. It started when I was a youngster at the age of four years old. I can remember the day oh so well as the lunch hour I want to forever forget. Mom chopped up tiny pieces of this food called “apple” that I had never seen before in my life. She plopped the slices beside my plate and told me to eat them after I finished my sandwich that day.
I took me a while to polish off my ham and cheese sandwich. After swallowing the last bite of bread, I picked up a small bit of apple to give it a proper sniff test. It smelled okay so I decided to give it a taste. Okay here goes! I placed the sliver between my front teeth and bit down hard on it so as to break the skin. Squishy, oozy, watery liquid flowed within my mouth and started running down the side of my face. I felt this awful scrunch inside and spit it out on the top of the table. It took a few spits to get it all out. “Ewwwww”, I said in a loud screechy voice. Mom was hovering nearby like a helicopter looking for a landing deck. She glared at me with her mouth wide open in annoying shock. Her hands rested on the sides of her hips and her eyebrows were raised up high in the shape of the peak of a rooftop, like when she gets really mad at me.
That’s the moment I knew I was in a country boy heap of trouble! “Tony!!!!, you finish eating that apple”. “I don’t like apples Momma” “I don’t care, you need to eat your apple like I told you!!”, she yelled. “There are starving little boys in China who don’t have anything to eat and here you are spitting out good food on the table.”
I honestly thought that the top of the table was the best place for this terrible tasting food called an apple. I picked up the few remaining pieces of Mount Gushmore and forced myself to chew and swallow. I was sitting there trying to figure out how in the world little boys my age in China would starve if I didn’t eat this repulsive tasting food. It was beyond my four-year old brain, so I just went along with what Mom was saying. It wouldn’t have done me any good to argue with her anyway.
From that day forward I have detested apples except in the form of an apple pie. I have never eaten a raw apple again in my entire life. I also can not stand other similar fruits that have the same scrunchy, oozy, watery, awful taste. That would include fruits like watermelon with those slimy, oozy black seeds and the water that gushes out in your mouth. I also can not stand pears, or cantaloupe or anything of the sort.
I know it’s a good idea for parents to get their kids to try different foods, but the apple idea kind of backfired.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away and I can tell you without any hesitation that it will certainly keep me away to stay.
I just finished my new book “Teddy & Cowgirl” which is a combined bundle book of two previous children’s books – “Cowgirl the Smiling Doggie” and “Teddy the Talking Cat“. This book will be available at Amazon and then at Barnes and Noble and other stores soon. This combined book makes it easier to continue with one complete story of these very good friends! Teddy and Cowgirl will bring a smile to every child’s face and will have adults smiling and laughing right along with them.
Smiling and having fun is just not an option when these two characters get together to romp and play and generally stir up trouble. I hope you will enjoy this new version of Teddy & Cowgirl! You might as just as well throw worry out the door because these two fun-loving rascals have never heard of the word!
Who says I’m beautiful?
Petals hide thorns of pain
They call me names again and again
They pick on me with no restrain
Beautiful and afraid
Thoughts of ending it all
Fragile, frightened, small
I can’t take any more
Who knows what’s in store?
Can’t you see?
Rain will not fall
Fragile, frightened, small
Tonight I’ll end it all
And in the morning
I’ll be set free
My thorns for me no more in store
On average, one person every 40 seconds somewhere in the world will die in the world as a result of suicide. Global rates for suicide have increased by 60 percent in the past 45 years according to the suicide awareness and support group, suicide.org.
Bullying and cyberbullying are big issues in the world we live in today, especially for teenagers. Some kids are stronger than others and can take the bullying while others just don’t know how to cope or have not developed adequate coping skills to deal with others who choose to bully.
Parents, family, teachers, and friends need to recognize the dangers and signs of bullying and the effects on children before the morning comes. My heart goes out to those in this world who have lost a child to suicide. How very hard that must be.
I just wanted to let you know that my new children’s book, “Katie the Kid Changer” is now available as a paperback on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. The Kindle version is available as a pre-order now and will be released this Friday, March 6th.
Katie is the story of a young eight year old girl and how she would change the world we live in if she were in charge. In Katie’s world;horses fly, dogs and cats speak in a human voice, every kid will be given one million dollars to spend however they choose, people will never grow old or get sick, there will be no more wars, kids will never be abused, and parents will never get divorced. Katie has her perfect world all figured out. Our world is due for a big change with Katie in charge!