Shopping at second-hand and antique stores is one of my favorite pastimes. I really don’t have to buy anything; I mostly just enjoy seeing old things that I haven’t seen for awhile and the memories that pop up when I see them.

One day I came across a used book, “Heaven is for Real” and I recalled the movie that came out just a few years ago by the same name, which I never saw. I remembered it was a major motion picture which a lot of Christians talked about seeing it or at least wanting to go see it.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a young boy, the 4 year-old son of a pastor, who had a near-death experience during an operation and claimed he went to heaven and back during his operation. He describes his visit to heaven with the vivid imagination of a young child.

The reason why I didn’t go see the movie (or buy the book second hand) was simply this – it’s not biblical. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that someone has traveled back and forth between heaven and earth, except Jesus:

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:13

So as sincere and well meaning as this young boy and his father may have been, I simply don’t believe their story. In fact, I feel like they and many others who make similar claims, do more harm than good for the cause of Christ. Why would we choose to believe a fantastic or even delusional story about heaven when we have the Bible to refer to? What God has revealed to us in His Word, is the only legitimate place to learn about heaven.
The Bible tells us that heaven is for those who love Him and that it will be beyond our wildest expectations:

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:7-9

What I do think about this young boy, and all the others who have made similar claims, is broke down into one of the following two conclusions: Either, one, they simply made up the story, for whatever reason,  or two, they had their experience while in an unconscious or dream state.  I believe the first conclusion because given the right (or wrong!) set of circumstances, I know people are capable of lying about anything, if it suits them. I believe the second conclusion because I had a pretty strange experience myself, when I was around 11 or 12 years old.  Although it wasn’t a “gone to heaven and back” experience; it was rather a strange “out-of-body” experience:

I was sick and alone on the living room couch and I had a fever. I think my mom was at work and everyone else was gone. I remember crying and drifting off to sleep. The next thing I remember I was outside of my body and was floating near the top of the ceiling. I floated from room to room, all the while hovering near the top of the ceiling for what seemed to be several minutes. I don’t really remember much else about this except then I remember I was back on the couch and my mom giving me water, a cold rag for my forehead and some aspirin to bring my fever down. I didn’t go to the doctor and I never mentioned the floating experience to anyone because it was too weird. In retrospect, I know it was simply a dream or hallucinations from a high fever.

Now I do remember it all seemed very real to me so I can see where this little boy may have thought his experience was real also. But again,  I don’t believe he died and went to heaven and back, because it’s just not biblical!

So yes, heaven is a real place and as much as we all may really want to know more about heaven, we shouldn’t trust any other source but the one that was inspired by God Himself, the Bible.

Even more important than knowing about heaven, is knowing Jesus.  All of the knowledge in the world about heaven will not get you there. You need Jesus.

So if you haven’t already done so, put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today. Confess your sins to Him and trust in His finished work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Believe in your heart that He died, was buried three days and that God raised Him up on the third day.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus tells us there is plenty of room in heaven for all who love Him:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2

And He tells us that heaven is our home:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21

Trust Jesus and His Word:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

My #Nutrisystem Success Story

My #Nutrisystem Success Story

A year ago, February 2016, I was 40 lbs heavier and was taking a BP medicine and an acid reflux medicine daily. I thought I looked “OK” for my age, (61) and that gaining weight and taking medicine was all part of “getting older.”  But I decided that I didn’t want to just look “Ok for my age.”  I decided I wanted to be the best I can be, both inside and out.   I started using Nutrisystem and started walking 2 or 3 times a week for around 45 minutes to an hour. When I walk, it’s my time to listen to my favorite pastors/biblical teachers – killing two birds with one stone.

By September of 2016 I had lost 40 lbs using Nutrisystem and was asked by Nutrisystem to come to Tampa, Florida for a 5-day photo shoot with 14 other people who had also lost weight. It was a great experience! I always wanted to be a fashion model when I was young, and I had gotten to do some modeling back then, but I’m only 5’6″ –  So, anyway, being pampered and treated like a model, with wardrobe,  make-up and hair stylists, photographed against a white screen and doing some short promotional video monologues on a green screen was nothing short of super-fun for this 62 year old mother of 3, grandmother of 10! (5 step)

Six months ago my doctor cut my prescriptions in half. I switched my Nutrisystem auto-ship program to an A la Carte maintenance program.

Three months ago and I was able to stop my acid reflux medicine.

Now, two weeks ago my doctor gave me the OK to stop my BP medicine all together and my BP has been normal everyday since without meds! Praise God! I’m so very thankful for my good health and don’t take it for granted!  Life is short; I believe we should live it out being as healthy as we can be, both physically and spiritually.  God has determined our length of days here on earth, and He tells in His Word that we are to take care of our bodies. I feel so much younger and healthier than when I was carrying around all that extra weight and having to take medicine!

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I now walk at least 30 minutes every day and yes, I still listen to my favorite pastors and biblical teachers! In fact, I look forward to my walks every day! Some of my favorite pastors/teachers are Greg Laurie, John MacArthur, Jack Graham, Alistair Begg, Steven Larson, Charles Stanley and Ravi Zacharias. Loosing weight, making healthy food choices, drinking water instead of sodas, and exercising every day has really made a difference in my health and in my life!  And I still enjoy some of my favorite Nutrisystem foods on a daily basis, because I love them! My favs are: Cinnamon Raisin Baked Bar, Blueberry Lemon Baked Bar, Double Chocolate Muffin, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, (Frozen) Hamburger, and the Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Nut Bar!
Thanks #Nutrisystem!



It’s November and the stores are ready for Christmas! But wait, we haven’t had Thanksgiving yet! Ha! I guess we’ve all gotten used to this by now; Thanksgiving being overshadowed by Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; it’s my favorite time of year as I’m sure it’s probably most everyone’s. Thanksgiving is to thankfulness as Christmas is to giving and receiving. So, we should be a very thankful people; we have been blessed and have received so much. 

But here’s a fact of life: it’s human nature to take things for granted; especially when we’re young. Although I don’t think it has as much to do with our chronological maturity as it does with our spiritual maturity. 

For me, my earliest recollection of being thankful was when I was 26. The setting: St Francis Hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana. The date: November 26, 1981. The occasion: two days after the birth of our first daughter. There I was, resting in my hospital bed, and the hospital worker rolled in a large meal cart and gave me my turkey dinner on a hospital serving tray. Michelle, 2 days old, lay asleep in the hospital bassinet right next to my bed. It was just the two of us and I was so happy and thankful to God for allowing me to be a mom to this precious child. I was overwhelmed with the thought that He had blessed me with a baby and was entrusting me to be her mom! I was in love with my newborn and just so very very thankful. I remember praying with tears in my eyes and thanking God with every tear. Here was my first Thanksgiving spent basically alone (Harold was at my mom’s having Thanksgiving dinner) and away from my family but it was really the first Thanksgiving that I recall being aware of God’s blessings and being thankful to Him. Now since that day, I’ve had many many more occasions of overwhelming thankfulness to God, such as the birth my other two daughters, Megan and Mackenzie. I’ve since found a correlation in my increased thankfulness with my increased relationship with God. 

It was while I was pregnant with Michelle that I rekindled my relationship with God. I had watched Billy Graham on TV one evening and a few nights later woke up in the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. I asked for His forgiveness, started reading my bible again and going back to church. I had first come to faith in Him when I was 12 but had drifted away during my teens and early 20’s. Interesting enough, I don’t recall being thankful during those years. I may have been, but I just don’t recall it, so I have concluded that having a relationship with a God and being thankful do go hand-in-hand. 

So again, Christmas time is my favorite time of year. Gifts are fun to receive and fun to give! Emphasis more on the later as we get older! But here’s a truth and a gentle warning: there’s a danger that surrounds the many gifts we receive throughout our lives. The danger lies within our own hearts, that we may desire the gifts instead of or more than the Giver. While it’s true that all gifts are from God, never loose sight of the fact that the Giver is much greater than the gifts He gives us. 

Be ever thankful. 

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Psalm 107:1

The Wishing Well

The Wishing Well

Back in the 1980’s, we lived in a small double on the south side of Indianapolis. It was a rental (actually owned by my mom!) and it was our first real home together after living in an apartment for a short while after we got married.  It was pretty plain on the outside with red brick and white siding; the inside was even more plain. But I was so excited to fix it up and to give it my own personality!  I painted, wall papered and spruced it up as best as I could!

Home decorating has always been one of my favorite things to do. It started back when I was in my teens. I loved changing my bedroom room around and redecorating it. I would pick a color and run with it! My first favorite color was orange! Everything was either orange because it came that way or I painted or dyed it! I even painted my TV orange! No kidding!  Then I moved on to blue & green and of course I painted my TV, picture frames, etc. Basically if it could be painted, I did it!  Next, I moved on to green and white. In the early 2000’s my favorites were hunter green, tan and white. Fast forward to today, my favorite decorating colors are deep red, black, gray and white! 😊

So anyway, back to our first home. I got it looking pretty much to my liking, considering what little budget we had and with what I had to work with. But, eventually I found myself spending a lot of time going through catalogs looking for more decorating ideas and wishing I could afford this or that. I would circle and ear-mark my favorite things and then stack up my “wish list” catalogs in a nice pile. The closest thing to it today would probably be surfing online and “Pinterest.” 😊

Around this same time, I found myself daydreaming and wishing things were different in my marriage. The honeymoon was over, so-to-speak, and things weren’t quite the way I had imagined. I found myself both wanting and wishing for nicer stuff and for things to be different in my marriage. I thought of it kind of like a “wishing well” in my heart.

According to Wikipedia, a wishing well is a old term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that wishes could be granted by the guardian or god of the well. After uttering a wish, you would drop a coin in the well and that wish would then be based upon how the coin would land at the bottom of the well. If the coin landed heads-up, the guardian of the well would grant the wish, but the wish of a tails-up coin would be ignored. It was thus potentially lucky to throw coins in the well, but it depended on how they landed.

What a silly folklore; all based on chance or luck, and some unknown guardian or god.

One day after a particularly unfulfilling period of time spent looking at catalogs, and daydreaming about how I wished things were, this verse came to mind:

“You have not because you ask not.”
James 4:2

I realized that my wishes and wants, as genuine and real as they were to me, were not going anywhere (but to the bottom of a well) because they were just that – wishes. I had not been praying and asking God about these things. I realized I’d been wishing for things when instead, I could have and should have be praying about them.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33

So I began to pray and it was in my praying, I learned to shift my focus off of my material wants and off my daydreaming, and instead, changed my focus toward God. It was in my prayers and my growing relationship with Him that I found true happiness. I learned that happiness and contentment are not found in what you have, they’re found in Who you know. I learned that God wanted me to pray about everything, especially my wishes, because it was in my prayers that I began to know the heart of God.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:7-11

From all of this I learned that God is a good God and He uses anything and everything to draw us toward Him; material goods or lack thereof, our wishes, our problems, our daydreams, our past, our present, our talents and our treasures, etc.

So today, if you find yourself doing a lot of wishing and wanting, try praying instead. Wishing will get you no farther than the bottom of a well. Praying will eventually get you more than you could have ever imagined. 💭🙏🏻😊

Dancing with the Scars

Dancing with the Scars

None of us escape problems in life. I know I haven’t. I’ve had hardships throughout my life, up to and including now. And while I’d much rather focus on the absence of trouble and the things that make me happy, I write about troubled times, because I know that it’s in and through the dark times in my life that I have been made able to trust God. I have learned to trust in His goodness, even in the bad times. I know He’s allowed my struggles and difficulties to mold and make me into the person He wants me to be, and He’s done it according to His plans; His way. He has an eternal perspective and long-term plans in mind when He allows both the good and the bad circumstances in any of our lives.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Green

I’m not sure how old that quote is, or if that’s even the correct author, but I believe it’s still true today. For my purposes I would simply update it, and shorten it to, “Dancing with the Scars.” While scaring is a natural part of the healing process, dancing is good for the soul, regardless of what scars one may have. Life is a gift.

As I mentioned in my first blog, I was sexually abused when I was young, sometime between the ages of 6 – 8. To those who have not gone through this sort of thing, I understand where you might think, “Get over with it already!” But to those who have, I say, “You’re not alone. It is traumatic. It does affect how you think and feel about yourself and how you relate to people. It affects how you relate to God.”

I never told anyone about the abuse when it was happening; I was afraid; I was a child. Then my mind blocked the memories of it until I was an adult. I have forgiven my abusers, and I will go into more about that later. I choose not to go into any details of my sexual abuse but I will share about another traumatic experience that happened when I was around 11 years old:

While babysitting a toddler and a baby, I was held at knife point over a bloody bowl of dead rabbit that was being cut up. I was forcibly held and made to watch for what seemed like eternity; I was basically scared out of my mind. I also was afraid to tell anyone about it at the time. That experience alone was bad enough but it was made even more tragic when I learned that this same person had murdered a woman and cut-up her body and hid her remains under the floor boards of the very same kitchen where he had traumatized me in. Within a few months of what he did to me, he was caught and convicted of murder and put in prison, where he later died. I was told that he was also suspected of murdering two other women in a similar way, but additional charges weren’t brought against him because they had enough evidence to convict him of the one murder. In retrospect I believe without a doubt and with all of my heart, that God placed His hand of protection over me on that day and protected my life; and this was prior to me coming into faith and trust in Jesus. I believe He had plans for me and my life, even before I was born. His sovereignty and his providence are almost too large for me to even begin to comprehend.

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:3-5

Bible verses like these help me know that our hardships have a purpose; they develop our endurance, strengthen our character, they give us hope, and they shape our perspective toward God.

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph told his brothers,

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”


“And we know that in all things

God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.” 

Romans 8:28

God uses the troubles, sorrows, heartache and trauma in our lives to shape us and ultimately to make us more like Him. While we may not understand why He allows some things in our lives, we are to trust Him, nonetheless.

As I mentioned earlier, I have long ago forgiven my abusers, all of them – and it’s simply because I asked God to help me forgive them and because God’s word tells me to forgive:

“Be kind and compassionate to one another,

forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:32

Regardless of what sins were committed against me, there came a time in my own life where I realized that I too was guilty of sin. It was at that point, that my life began to change; and when I came to understand that:

We’re all born with a sin nature.

We’re all hopeless without Christ.

We’re all sinners in need of a Savior.

Jesus took the penalty that we deserve and offers us a new and eternal life in Him, when we come to Him in repentance and faith.

I also believe it’s wrong to see yourself as a victim. While it’s true you may have been a victim, I’m saying it wrong to see yourself in that way. See yourself in the light of God’s word:

“For all have sinned

and fall short of the glory of God,

being justified freely by His grace

through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
Romans 3:23-24

“All” includes the most vile person you have ever known – all the way to the sweetest person you have ever known.

“None is righteous, no, not one.”
Romans 3:10

And when you receive God’s free gift of salvation through faith and trust in Christ alone, God sees you and receives you, clothed in the righteousness of Christ. That offer includes you and me, and it includes my abusers.

“For God so loved the world

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him

should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

So dance, because:

“Dancing is good for the soul, regardless of what scars one may have. Life is a gift.”

Game, Set, Match.

Game, Set, Match.

I’ve heard it said that friendship is a lot like playing ball; kind of like tennis. It takes two to volley, and the longer the volley, the more the fun. The back and forth of the tennis ball is like the conversations and fun we have in friendships. You both take turns and you can’t play by yourself!  You have to volley the ball back and forth in each other’s court to play; much like the back and forth interaction we have in friendships. I have fond memories of my first friends:


Annette was cute and bubbly, the same age as me, and full of mischief! She lived in our neighborhood for a pretty short time; I was so sad when she moved away!  My funniest memory of us was when she convinced me that it’d be fun to put apples in our shirts and then go show her mom. I remember thinking it probably wasn’t a good idea, and I was right; her mom wasn’t too happy with us and I was so embarrassed! And what made it worse, I think Annette told her mom it was my idea! Ha! 


Lynn was also a neighbor; she lived two doors down from our house and although Lynn was a couple of years younger than me, we got along well. Her house was warm and inviting, filled with antiques and the tick-tick of an old clock. We almost always played indoors so I guess that’s why I remember her house so much. Lynn was quiet and small for her age and she was super sweet. I remember her mom telling me that Lynn was fragile and couldn’t play outdoors or as often as I wanted to play. As life would have it, and I guess because of our age difference, we didn’t play together much past those initial couple of years. Years later, I was sad to hear she had passed away in the prime of her life.


Carla and I met in 3rd grade; she was a beautiful girl with a sweet personality. She had the prettiest smile and a flawless tan complexion. Most of my memories of us consisted of playing Barbie dolls together. She moved away sometime during grade school then moved back to town during our high school years, but so many years had passed, we barely seemed to know each other.


Judi lived next to the grade school and I thought that was so cool! Ha! She was creative, fun to be around, and we had a common love, as so many others girls in 1964: The Beetles! We used to practice cheers, play Four-Square, teatherball, and her mom would drop us off to go shopping downtown Indianapolis, all by ourselves! I felt so grown up! I think we were only 10 or 11 years old at the time and I guess it was considered safe back then! I remember going with her family on a trip to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. I thought that was the coolest place in the world!  We lost touch after 6th grade when we went to different junior high schools for 7th – 9th grade. We ended up going to the same high school but it wasn’t until the end of our sophomore year that I realized who she was! She had grown about 6 inches taller than me and I hadn’t even recognized her. It was sad though, because we both acted like we didn’t even know each other anymore. Four years had passed and I think I was afraid to talk to her; we weren’t little girls anymore.


I met Donita in 7th grade junior high and we were fast friends! We’d talk on the phone for hours and hours! I remember my dad getting so annoyed because I would be on the phone almost every night with Donita.  This was back when we only had home phones, and they were attached to the wall!  I would lay on the floor in the living room and stretch the cord out of shape, and my dad would complain that nobody could get through to us because I was always on the phone!  Eventually I got a phone installed in my room (which I painted bright orange!) but we still only had one line.  Donita and I loved hanging out together; our common interest was talking about boys. Some of my favorite memories include just spending the nights over at each other’s house and when she went with us on a family vacation to Indiana Beach:




Then one day Donita told me that they had to move to Georgia because her dad was being transferred.  We cried for hours – both on and off the phone! We kept in touch by writing letters for the first few years of years (which I still have) and when I graduated from high school, I flew down to Florida and met her in Atlanta on a one hour stopover at the airport. As the years went by we lost touch. I thought of her often, and then a few years ago I remembered a picture that she had sent me of her baby girl with her name written on the back of it. I did a Facebook search and found her daughter, who then gave me her email address.  We connected up again and I got to visit with her, again in Atlanta, but this time we met for lunch. It was good to see her and to be back in contact after all those years. That’s one of my favorite reasons I like Facebook. It helps connect you and keep you in contact with old friends!



Penny and I met in Junior High and our common interest was shopping, Janis Joplin. rock bands, and boys. We had lots of fun together and I don’t know how, but somehow we managed not to get into too much trouble!  One night we took her brothers car out for a drive (she drove, not me!) and we were probably only 14 or so.  We went to parties together and we loved to dance. We’d dance at the Sherwood Country Club for hours and thought we were so cool because we made friends with some of the band members. We went to rock concerts like Three Dog Night, Chicago, and Iron Butterfly. Here’s we are in 1969 with my brother who had just graduated from Navel training:

Me, Ron and Penny 1969

And some pictures of us at Indiana Beach:


Me and Penny 1969

I remember Penny always had a beautiful tan (even in the winter!) and I tried so hard to get as tan as her. One day, after laying out for several days in the summer sun, her mom told me, with a serious face, “Elaine, you should get out in the sun more.” 😁 Ha!

1969 Penny and me

Here we are at our 40th high school reunion in 2012:



The first time I read this verse, I assumed that it referred to friends:

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” Proverbs 18:24b

Later in life, I learned and realized that the “friend” in this verse is referring to Jesus. He, in fact, is my closest friend, far and above all others.

Then, in the late 1980’s I remember hearing this next verse in a sermon and it really caught my attention. It’s funny how you can hear or read a Bible verse several times and then, all of a sudden, it’s as if it’s the first time you’re hearing it. Interestingly, it’s the first half of Proverbs 18:24:

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly,”  Proverbs 18:24a

I’ve thought about that verse a lot over the years, yet throughout most of my adult life, I’ve found it difficult to allow myself the luxury of taking time for friends. First of all, I think it’s easy for us to get “out of the practice” of friendship. We get busy with kids, work, and just the busyness of life.  And second, for as long as I can remember, I always felt different from everybody else; like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.  So for me, it was a lot easier to do “things” rather than “friendships.”  I have no problem with being friendly but I do shy away from making friends.  Even today, I know that my friends are all by the grace of God, and I’m thankful for each one, but I still have a tendency to put family, work, church and simple everyday obligations ahead of friendships.

But, if my older self could go back and talk to my younger self, my best advise would be this:

  • Make time for friends; step out of your comfort zone.
  •  It’s ok to take time to cultivate and maintain friendships; “things” can wait.  
  • Don’t be such a loner; everyone needs a friend.  
  • Don’t be afraid people won’t like you; nobody is perfect.  
  • And most of all, get in the practice of friendship; don’t get so used to being alone that it’s too hard to change.  

So this blog is both about me and for me. I need to be continually reminded to stay in the game; not to drop the ball or quit; to serve; and to return the ball whenever it lands in my court!  But it’s also for anyone who finds themselves described anywhere in this blog.  I’ll close with this quote from C. S. Lewis:

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”


He “Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”

He “Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”



🎼 “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.” by Barbara Mandrell, was a popular song in 1981. I wasn’t much of a country music fan but this song caught my attention; the lyrics made me think about my dad. He had passed away in 1978.

He was a good dad in many ways. He loved his kids, he loved my mom. We lived in a nice home in a nice neighborhood, always had good food (my mom was a good cook!) and plenty of clothes. We had lots of great Christmas memories and he always made sure we went on vacation every summer; I think my love for travel came from my dad and all of our fun vacation memories.

He was also a sentimental man; tears would come to his eyes whenever he talked about his mom who died when he was only 9 years old. He suffered from polio in the 1950’s and as a result had one weak arm and one weak leg that caused him to be frail and walk with a limp. But he never let his disability keep him from working and living life. In fact, while I was growing up, he always had two jobs; working for White Castle on the weekdays and playing guitar at night on the weekends. He worked during the day because he had 6 kids to feed; he played guitar at night because he loved country music and playing the guitar.

He taught himself how to play guitar when he was in high school; he played by ear and was pretty good at it. I remember he told me that the principal at his high school used to ask him to play his guitar for impromptu convocations. Here’s a photo of him, I think in 1938, with his guitar and wearing his Cloverdale High School letter sweater that he earned playing basketball:

Dad 1

Later, he made a couple of records (45 LPM) and played in various bands over the years including “The Hoosiers” and “Boomer and the Boomertones.”‘ He played on a local TV station in Indianapolis on a show called Mid-Western Hayride in the 1950’s and worked nights at local taverns playing country music throughout most of my childhood.



He recorded hours and hours of his music, first on Reel-to-Reel tapes, then on cassettes. Our garage and our basement were like recording studios. I have lots of childhood memories of all sorts of musicians coming over to our house to play music. When they played in the basement, it would be full of laughter, cigarette smoke, long neck bottles and loud country music. When I was in my teens, he tried and tried to teach me how to play but I’d complain that the guitar strings hurt my fingers. That was my excuse (although true), but in reality I just didn’t think country music or playing the guitar was very “cool” back then.  Somehow, I was unimpressed by all of it.

Inescapably and as life would have it, the good times were mixed with the bad. Actually my dad’s preferred mix was Seagram’s 7 and 7UP. Nearly every night he would drink 7&7’s. He’d even have me make it for him if I was nearby. He was quiet and kind during the day and then he’d be argumentative at night. It was literally like night and day. I remember thinking everybody’s dad drank 7&7 every night because that’s what mine did. I think it could be best be described as controlled chaos; it would be crazy at times then everything would be fine the next day. Then one tragic day in 1963 my oldest brother died in a car wreck and our whole family was devastated. My dad had such a hard time coping and was in so much pain. We all were in pain really. During the following 2 or 3 years I witnessed him attempt suicide on two occasions. It’s hard to explain my feelings through the eyes of 9, 10 or 11 year old, but I mostly remember feeling so sorry for my dad but not knowing how to help him – mixed with some anger because it was just so hard to process. Those years were hard; it was a hard time in all of our lives back then. A few years later in 1973, I did what we all do when we grow up; I moved out to live on my own.

In 1978 I moved back home right around the same time that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away within 6 months of his diagnosis. I remember the night my (future) husband carried him from the house to the car to take him to the hospital where he went into a coma and then passed away two weeks later.  Here’s a photo of us together at a family picnic a couple of months before he passed away:


Cancer is a horrible disease and I hate it, but at the same time, I believe it’s a hidden blessing to have the time between the diagnosis of cancer and the time of passing: time to collect your thoughts; time to heal relationships and; time with God. I believe it was God’s providence that drew me back home during that time. I got to spend those last few months living with my dad and my mom while he was going through cancer treatments. It was then and there that I saw my dad read his bible and pray. He talked about God and I saw his bible study notes. He had both old and new notes in his bible. I also learned that he was a Christian long before I was even born. That surprised me because I thought that Christians were supposed to be “perfect” and that they didn’t have any problems. In reality I believe my dad struggled with many real life problems – losing his mom at such a young age, the polio, the alcohol, the death of my brother, etc., each that turned into heavy burdens in his life. In fact, Christians aren’t immune from problems; God uses them to get our attention and ultimately to draw us closer to Him.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Now at this time in my own life, my walk with God wasn’t very close – I was keeping Him at a distance. Even still, I believe God’s grace was at work in my life and that this period of my dad’s passing and me being present in his life during this time was all part of His plan in both of our lives.

And looking back, I realize I was not as close to my dad while I was growing up as I wish I could have been. I think I kept him somewhat at a distance as well.  While my love for my dad has always been there and I never doubted that he loved me, somehow my feelings and compassion for him have actually grown since his passing.  And, if he were here today I would tell him how much I love him and that I now understand that life is not perfect; people are not perfect; Christians are not perfect; difficult things happen in life; and that we all make choices in life that we may later regret. Jesus is the only One who has led a perfect life. If my dad were here today, I’d tell him I’m sorry I didn’t let him teach me how to play the guitar. I’d tell him that his guitar and his country music were “cool.” Most of all, I’d tell him that he was in fact, very “cool.”

“Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26