Turning Points

It’s been more than 40 years, but the scene hasn’t changed all that much.  Downhill run, dirt road, just north of the family farm.  Back in the day I was driving my Granddaddy’s pickup and my grandmother was in the passenger seat. I don’t remember the occasion, but most likely we had taken Lucy or Dot or some other domestic help back to their house, and we were headed back.

Just as I cruised down the dirt road, flexing my pride in the manly art of driving, the pickup slipped off the road into a shallow little ditch.

“Ditch” is too harsh a word.  More like a little soft trough where rain water would gently ease down the hill. Really wasn’t that big a deal.

“Oh, no, we’re stuck,” Grandmother said immediately.

Ridiculous!  It wasn’t deep, we were doing downhill, and all I had to do was give it a little gas, turn the wheel, and…

Well crud.  We were stuck. [click to continue…]

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I wasn’t going to do it this year.

I was tired. Really tired.

Frankly a little lost.

In a year filled with sorrows, disappointments, and a little health scare of my own, I had about decided to forego the attempt to frame this year around a central theme – my one word. (You can read more about the idea as a substitute for New Year’s resolutions here.)

Previous years saw themes emerge such as Lean, One, Advance!, and Renew.

Cynical candidates for this year included such cheery themes as Coast, Surrender, or Vegetate. Nothing else really seemed to resonate, so I had decided, despite a couple of really good suggestions from my daughter, to pass this year.  That’s when I decided to take a walk yesterday.

And about the same time the Holy Spirit seemed to whisper, “Yes.  Walk.” [click to continue…]

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One of my many "therapists" who came into the hospital room.

One of my many “therapists” who came into the hospital room.

Well.

That was different.

It’s one thing to waste time. Save time. Time to stand still.

I’m making up for lost time.

Literally.

I seem to have misplaced about four hours last week.  Oh, I lived it. And was pretty agitated about it. I just can’t remember it.

TIA, they called it.  Which led to an MRI, an EEG, and a hospital with a big FEE.

I crack myself up.

That was not exactly how I had planned my day to be. But life – and LifeVesting – has a way of throwing curves. And those curveball experiences are their own version of sowing and reaping.

Let’s start with the reaping. [click to continue…]

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This post is part of a series of posts celebrating Father’s Day titled, “That Time My Kids Hacked My Blog.” To read more, click here.

bikeDear Dad,

You may not remember the day that I learned to ride a bicycle, but I do. We were living in Fayette, Alabama and all of my friends had already figured out how to ride and graduated to ten speeds. After spending several weeks trying to figure out how, I had resigned to give up.

I am not sure how long it was, in my mind it seems like it was years but I am sure it was only a few weeks, that Mom brought up the topic at dinner. I remember telling her that I couldn’t do it. While I am sure mom said something encouraging it was your response that made a lasting impact. You said, “Yes you can…let’s go.” Then you stood up and the two of was walked downstairs into the basement took the training wheels off my bike and went to the driveway. The next hour I fell several times but each time I did you picked me up, told me I was okay, and encouraged me to try again. It wasn’t long before I figured out how to balance and pedal. Up to that point in my life I am not sure I had ever felt so accomplished and to this day I still love riding a bike.

That day you taught me how to ride, but what I didn’t know at the time was that you were also teaching me how to live life. Time and time again I have seen you act in a similar manner. [click to continue…]

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This post is part of a series of posts celebrating Father’s Day titled, “That Time My Kids Hacked My Blog.” To read more, click here.

dadDaddy,

One of my favorite things about you is how you relate to people. You don’t make other people fit in your box, rather you relate to them in a way that not only allows them the freedom to be themselves but you encourage it. You seek out the unique things about a person that make them, well, THEM. The way you have parented follows suit. I have watched you relate to Cassie and Joel at times and noticed how different it is from how you and I relate. I’ve never felt sad about that because I know this great quality about you. In fact, it makes me feel more special because I know that our relationship is one of a kind, even though you have three kids.

I like to think the way you and I relate is through “moments”. These little snapshots of time that make up significant and meaningful times that we share. We’ve never really talked about it out loud before, but sometimes when we catch each other’s eyes I feel like we are on the same page, having a moment. (If that’s not what you are thinking will you just pretend that it is since this is a public letter??) Some of our moments are big and life changing and some of them are just small conversations that soften my heart. All of them I treasure.

Here are a few of my favorites: [click to continue…]

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{Disclosure:  This blog has been hacked.  This blog post and the three that follow today do not represent the thoughts, ideas, intelligence, creative perspective, sense of humor, theological viewpoints, or grammar skills of Andy Wood Ph.D. and he is hereby released from any responsibility, liability, culpability, and general other abilities related to said posts.  He did, however, sire, raise and influence all three authors –  so make what judgments you will.}

SiblingsToday’s a pretty significant day.  It’s a day that is set aside to purposefully honor fathers, or father-like figures in people’s lives.  Now, we might be a little biased, but we kind of think that we hit the jackpot when it comes to dads.  Our father is loving, creative, funny and has spent his life pointing us to Jesus.  He is an excellent communicator, a generous giver, and puts up with our family vacations to Disney World.  So it makes pretty logical sense that on this day dedicated to dads, we would want to come up with a really cool gift idea, right? Right!  Let the brainstorming begin! [click to continue…]

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Comforting friend. Woman consoling her sad friend.

I got chided a little this morning for good reason.  Some desperately hurting people had written comments to this post, sharing the depths of their pain, fear, frustration and even torment, and I had failed to respond to any of them.

And though it’s a little foolish to lump the hurts of people all together in one reply, I did. You can find this response also in the comments section there (#10 added later), but I thought I would share it with a larger readership with the hope that maybe it would be an encouragement to you or someone you care about. God knows it isn’t the last word on pain. It’s just what I’ve learned through some of my own.

Below is my reply. [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Button

One of my favorite pics of Grandpaw and Button

It was one of the many differences between us.  Maybe it was generational. Maybe it had more to do with personality. I don’t know.  To me it was silly at best, annoying it worst.

Corny, that’s it.  It was corny.

But my dad did it without apology, and routinely yucked about it.

“This is so-and-so,” he would say, “but I call him [insert nickname here].”

To know him well enough to banter at all – which for him meant more than one conversation – usually earned you some sort of nickname.

The manager of the local bank:  “I call her Cuz.”

A friend and pastor’s wife:  “Here comes Trouble.”

His and Dean’s friend Dolores got a play on the pronunciation, for no apparent reason:  “Doh-loh-reez.” [click to continue…]

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Daddy and Laura KateYou’ve probably never heard of Yarbo.  Unless, of course, you’ve spent some time tooling through Washington County, Alabama.  This unincorporated community, positioned halfway between Chatom and Millry, flies by your car window pretty fast on Highway 17.  A couple of old chicken houses, an abandoned softball field, a few house trailers, that’s about it.

At least that’s how it looks through my window.  Yarbo is a place on the way to some other place.

My dad had a different view.

On his regular excursions between Millry, his home at the time, and Chatom or Mobile, he would notice a singular figure sitting in the shade of one of those mobile homes.  An older black gentleman would spend hours there, offering a friendly wave at passers-by.  And there in the warmth of those Southwest Alabama summer days, my father found a kindred spirit.

He waved back.

Eventually he came to look for his nameless friend and would make a point of tooting his horn and waving.  Though separated by all the things that make for TV news sound bites – race and economic status and culture and probably politics – each of these men found in a simple gesture a point of connection.

That wasn’t enough for my dad. [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Archer

I started writing this last Wednesday with an urgent prayer that I would get home in time to see my dad before he passed away. What would normally have been a routine knee replacement surgery poked a vicious bear called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  He would never leave the hospital.

Lynchburg to Charlotte

On the plane headed home from Lynchburg. Going home to a father who is going home himself. It seems that everybody – including him – has concluded that there is no fight left. He gets weaker every day and this morning he has some sort of infection that requires everybody to wear a glove and mask to be in the room with him.

I postponed the weekend trip to Lubbock. Cassie and Joel are on the way. They will get to Mobile ten minutes before I do. It’s just a matter of time.

It was both distracting and comforting to be at a conference filled with worship leaders, listening to people sing about victory over death and the power of the blood of Jesus – even the old standby “I’ll Fly Away.” It takes on a totally new meaning when my daddy is about to be doing the flying. [click to continue…]

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