If you’ve been knocked down, get up.

If you’re too tired to take another step, but you’re not “there” yet, press on.

If your heart’s been broken, your trust betrayed, find an anchor for your soul and dig in. [click to continue…]

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The Last Piece

Thi lad I kne – a rathe larg, joll sor – onc joke, “I don’ hav a proble wit diet. I star on ever Monda!”

Th jok, o cours, hint a th proble.

Sor o lik th ki wh joine m scou troo afte bein a membe o tw other an wantin t star ove, workin o th ran o Tenderfoo.


H like startin.  Bu no pressin o o finishin. [click to continue…]


Davidson High School, Mobile, Alabama.  Circa 1974.  My freshman year.  I’m standing in the cafeteria line, waiting to decide whether I was going with the hamburger or whatever today’s chef’s choice was.  It was there I spotted her, headed toward the faculty dining room.  This was worth losing my spot in line for.

She was our school guidance counselor, and also an experienced English teacher.  She was wise about things I was ignorant of.

She also happened to be my great aunt.

“Aunt Helen!” said I.  “I wanted to ask your advice about something.”

“What’s that,” she replied.

“Well, see, I’m writing a book – a novel – and I wanted to get some advice from you about how to get it published.”

(I should pause here to interpret what “novel” meant.  I probably had about five chapters, about five notebook pages hand-written each, about a tough-guy high school kid who winds up dying for the girl he loves, who happened to have the same name as the girl I was fixated on in the ninth grade.  Anyway…)

Her advice was sage – way wiser than my 14 years.   She didn’t write off my dreams and tell me that 14-year-olds don’t get published as novelists.  She didn’t boggle my mind about query letters, agents or publishing houses either.  She offered me words of encouraging truth. [click to continue…]

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The Finisher

by Andy Wood on September 4, 2012

in 100 Words

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished” (Luke 18:31).

God is a finisher.

He fulfills His intentions and finishes what He starts.

He’s a promise keeper.

Nobody has ever heard the Lord address a promise, however hopeful or dreadful, and say, “Aw, disregard that.” [click to continue…]

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I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

-Harry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle”

reading letterHe’s an old man now.  His physical vision is virtually gone; his heartbeat will soon follow.  His spiritual vision?  That’s another story.  It’s still bright and filled with fire and hope.  But it’s a vision that now sees through the eyes of other men.  He has no children of his own, but does have a relationship with a man who may as well be.  He’s one of those blessed individuals who knows his time is up, and who faces eternity with no regrets.  And now he writes the man he calls his son in the faith.  His future looks bright; he can only pray the same for Tim. 

Stand steady, and don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Bring others to Christ. Leave nothing undone that you ought to do. I say this because I won’t be around to help you very much longer. My time has almost run out. Very soon now I will be on my way to heaven. I have fought long and hard for my Lord, and through it all I have kept true to him. And now the time has come for me to stop fighting and rest (2 Timothy 4:5-7, LB).

 A decade before I became a father myself, Harry Chapin sucker-slapped dads everywhere.  [click to continue…]

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Somewhere in the back story of the drama that is your life, you are rehearsing a Cinderella story.  One that transforms you from zero to hero, from reject to regal.  You imagined it as a kid in ways that were unique to you.  This dream may have been fed by caring parents, or it may have been an escape from the harshness of your world.

Simply put, you dreamed of glory.

Not vainglory, mind you.  Something more.  An image that said you mattered.  Belonged.  Were wonderfully adequate for the role you’d been chosen – for your quest.

Then came the collision.  Dreams were broadsided by disappointments.  You never quite figured out how to translate that high school stardom into a career or a destiny.  Or worse, you actually found your place in the world, but stared in the mirror at a fraud.  Maybe you got what (or who) you’d always wanted, and you bombed.  Maybe you just settled into paying the bills and keeping house, and woke up a generation later wondering what happened.

Sometimes I think our greatest fear or vulnerability isn’t the evil we’re all capable of.  What we most dread or most grieve is that we’re just so ordinary. [click to continue…]

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This is about a talking doll house.

No, I’m not referring to a cartoon, and no, I don’t need a trip to the you-know-what.  This doll house didn’t come with audible voices.  It was a symbol for about six months – an imposing, silent, unfinished structure that would sit in front of me and remind me of unfinished business.  Here’s the story:

Somewhere around Carrie’s eighth- or ninth-grade year, she became really interested in doll houses and all things miniature.  So we loaded her up one Christmas with the house, furniture, shingles for the roof, and other assorted stuff.  Over time, she lost interest, and needed space in her bedroom for other pursuits.  The unfinished doll house wound up in a room we used as both study/office and a family room of sorts.  It was en route to the attic, but was apparently on the scenic route to get there.

For months the doll house sat there, looking like the result of a tornado that ripped through Dollville.  (Truth is, Joel had knocked it over one day, and just crammed everything back into it.  So the bathtub sat, along with the bed, in the living room near the toilet.)

Children have passing interests that they outgrow; that’s part of living.  What haunted and taunted me was what the doll house didn’t have. [click to continue…]