Thanks Dad . . .


Thanks Dad – for adopting me. Back when I was a defiant teenager you rescued me into your family in ‘as-is’ condition . . . without condition. Over the years I regret having so often disappointed you by stubbornly disregarding your patient advice in lieu of doing things my way. I’m ever amazed and grateful that you never once abandoned me . . . I’d have dumped my rebellious self at the nearest police station or orphanage a long time ago.

Thanks Dad – for always disciplining me, not in anger, but with supernatural, patient, tough love . . . I needed it! It allowed me to learn by experiencing the hurtful consequences of my wrong choices. As a father myself now, I realize it hurt you much more than it did me.

Thanks Dad – for my much older, ‘biological’ good brother. Like you, in spite of all the hurt I’ve caused him, he still loves me to death . . . it’s in his DNA . . . I see each time he reaches out to hug and forgive me with nail scared hands.

Thanks Dad – for accepting me into your family . . . always loving me . . . and being there for me 24/7/365 . . . I Love You . . . You’re the best!

Happy Father’s Day!

Your ragamuffin, prodigal son . . . Freddy

PS – I’m headed back towards Home . . . can’t wait to see you and brother.

Rescued – Loved – Adopted

Valentine Beauty


Some of us may not be what some consider a “beautiful” Valentine, but anyone can be a “pretty” Valentine. I’m thankful that “Beauty is only skin deep.😊

Staistica confirms Americans are obsessed with beauty, constantly trying to turn back the hands- of-time on what they see reflected in the mirror, reporting:

  • In 2020 the United States cosmetics market was 95.92 billion, and is anticipated to reach 155.25 billion by 2026
  • Skin care products account for 40 % and hair care 21 % of the United States cosmetics market
  • Women in the US spend roughly $313/month on beauty product
  • Men in the US spend roughly $244/month, 22% less compared to women. However, I contend this is not necessarily because men are less vain than women . . . many men grow beards and are bald negating the use of skin and hair care products 😊

Having miraculously attained an age where Botox no longer smooths wrinkles, and Rogaine doesn’t sprout hair on chrome-domes, I’ve grown content watching the Ole Dude put in his dentures and hearing aids in front of the mirror 😊. Other than razor blades, shaving crème, a tube of Ben-Gay, and a deodorant stick to use when my wife takes me out in public, I maintain ‘beauty’ for under $25 bucks/month 😊. I like God’s description of  handsome,

He has no from or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isaiah 53:2

Here’s a favorite Valentine’s story I’ve seen a few times but believe is worth repeating . . . Beauty-in-Action . . . Pay it Forward.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose.

 
His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.


The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.

 
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. “You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.

I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened next:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.

She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.

And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be, grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.

 
I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me. May I take you to dinner?”


The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!


It’s not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell’s wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive. “Tell me whom you love,” Arsène Houssaye wrote, “and I will tell you who you are.”
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Kindness


Gary is a long-distance friend in Minnesota who recently shared this story of what our world needs more of . . . spontaneous, un-selective random acts of kindness.

Kindness

Last week when it was really cold (-60 wind chill) a lady I know invited a stranger to sleep on her couch. A truck driver was going to curl up in his idling truck in the gas station parking lot. Different skin color, 600 miles from home, first job out of prison, not used to the cold weather but very used to the coldness of racial tension. By the time he left, the whole family (even her husband) had adopted him and he them.

I love her explanation. “I would never do a thing like that on my own but I just felt moved to tap this guy in front of me in the convenience store line and ask him if he had a place to stay tonight. Then I called my husband and told him we had company for supper and overnight. I knew it was Jesus moving me, I just knew I was safe, so I would not take no for an answer from the trucker or my husband.” A funny-moving story in real life not many will hear, but is somewhat common in some circles.

So, picture me this America. Land of spacious skies, freedom and home of the brave. At least you Jesus followers…how about “Love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34

Turns out our truck driver had found and followed Jesus in prison, but was adrift in the big cold world not having found any support. He found God’s warming love from an unlikely stranger on one of the coldest nights winter could bring. That saga will continue…

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Matthew 25:37-40

Thanks Gary.

Peace . . . Hope . . . Joy . . . Love


Clouds abated today and sunshine peeked through, a welcome respite from a lengthy stretch of stormy weather . . . and I heard the mountains calling.

John Muir once said, “You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you” . . . and today they moved in.

High among mountain cathedrals’ majesty, blanketed in pristine virgin white, He silently whispered to my soul in the solitude . . . Peace, Hope, Joy and Love . . . so thirsted for in the world below me.

Scripture tells us that faith can move mountains . . . climbing mountains always moves my faith to greater heights, wishing I could linger longer.

I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Chugach Vista
Contented Footprints
Talkeetna Vista

Teardrops and Raindrops


Creation’s Tears

Tears of joy, and those of sorrow

We know not which will fall tomorrow

Raindrops upon a flower’s bloom

Prompts dismissing teardrops’ gloom

Our tears of grief, and those of loss

Were all once shed upon a Cross

He knows our grief, our pain and sorrow

And saves each one to dry tomorrow

You know how troubled I am; You have kept a record of my tears” – Ps.56:8 GNB

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or cry or pain”.  – Rev. 21:4 GNB

Last Words


Having the last word may be of benefit in a discussion, but of what benefit will your last words be?

As though it was yesterday, the last words my mother spoke to me before going Home at 93 still echo in my heart . . . “Later Freddy”. Those two words spoke, and continue to speak, the confident hope of eternal reunion someday.

Four words, cried out in inconceivable anguish, sealed that reunion on a cross 2,000 years ago . . . Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  . . . My God, my God, why hast thou  forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46

In the words of Pastor John Ortberg:

The cross is the ultimate paradox: God experiencing the absence of God so that He can draw closest to us in our loss and grief. Jesus was in a sense never closer to us than when He was furthest from the Father”.

Wherever this Easter may find you, be it in trail or triumph, my prayer is you will find the confident hope of reunion in knowing the One whose last four words uttered in death, conquered it, and loved you into eternal life.

Forgiven- Thomas Blackshear II

This picture sits on my desk reminding me how totally forgiven and loved I am, and the reunion that awaits