Every parents’ nightmare

The late-night/early-morning phone call.

Every parents’ nightmare. It pulls you out of pleasant dreams and a sound sleep and your mind immediately goes into overdrive. Let’s face it: that’s the one where someone says “Mom just died,” or “Uncle Frank’s had a heart attack”. At least that’s the way it used to be.

In today’s world, it’s this:



I saw this on my cellphone about 20  minutes after it was sent, and called the only hospital I could think of in Galveston, but due to privacy concerns, they could only tell me he was being admitted. That put my mind at ease – a little. He was alive, and that was the important thing.

We jumped in the car to make the 70+ mile trip to Galveston, and I was fortunate to be driving, as it required me to focus on getting there safely, rather than letting my mind wander and jump to conclusions. I couldn’t take my mind off driving long enough to look at Yvonne, but I knew the look I’d see on her face; the worry; the internal struggle; the helplessness.

Upon arrival at the ER, we were told he’d been moved to a room in the Trauma/Ortho wing, and walked in the room to see him standing there, phone in hand.

He looked up, said “Oh, you’re here,” and hung up the phone.

Family members and friends showed up and shared our joy that he was okay, and even gave Yvonne and Lisa a ride home.

You know how, as a parent, you miss holding your kids when they’re grown up? Just hugging them?

Them allowing you to hold them because the morphine won’t touch the pain isn’t at all what you had in mind, but you take those opportunities where you can get them. So, cradling his head against me, I stood by his bed for an hour, gently picking the grass burrs out of his hair, until I felt him relax.

The next day, we were told he’ll recover completely, which is amazing. He’s suffered a broken neck (fracture of C7) in the crash. Hospital staff told us that 90% of those who suffer a break of C7 (the bone that you feel at the base of your neck) die. Of the 10% who survive, 90% are paralyzed. Let’s do the math: Out of 100 people, 90 will die from their injury. Of the 10 who survive, 9 will be paralyzed. That’s 99. My son was the 1 who walked away.

And I thank God for that.


A dozen or so years ago, my kids wanted to play soccer. We enrolled them in a league where scores weren’t kept (officially), and where every child received a trophy at the end of the season. I loved watching my kids play. Lisa gave it her very best effort every time. She wasn’t the best player on her teams, but she loved being out there as part of a team and constantly encouraged her teammates. Michael was pretty good. Small, fast, quick and agile, he would begin dribbling the ball downfield, gliding between the kids on the other team, break into the open field…and then muff the shot. He was slightly pigeon-toed, and couldn’t get his foot in the right position to kick the ball sharply.

The second (and last) of those seasons, unfortunately, I coached Michael’s team. A parent will be one of two types of coach to his own child. He will either be too easy, or too hard, and unfortunately, I was the latter.

As much fun as they were to watch, watching  Michael play goalie was exasperating, especially for me. The next-to-last thing a kid with ADHD needs, when playing goalie while off his medication, is to be left alone with time for his mind to wander when butterflies and dragonflies flitter past his head, or for ants to march in their precision formations at his feet. The last thing is a dad who’s also his coach.

I would let my frustration with him flow freely. “Michael! Here comes the ball!” “Michael! Stop chasing that dragonfly/running from that bee!” “Michael…” “Michael!!…”  “MICHAELLLLLL!!!!!”

Yvonne was embarrassed by and for me. I’m surprised she continued coming to the games, except that she knew he needed someone who wouldn’t be critical of him. Looking back, I just shake my head in disgust at myself.

So many years later, my kids are grown. I think I have grown out of that phase somewhat, although it hasn’t been easy. As our kids mature, and as they go through the challenges and heartaches that come with young adulthood, I so want to tell them how to fix things. I so want to “take over” and push them through life, but I can’t. I can offer suggestions, ideas, even insights from my own life, but I have to be careful not to get preachy. Now, when they really need it, I need to be less a coach, and more a friend. (Maybe I’ll get the chance to combine those roles, but only if they ask .)

Good parents train their to kids, hopefully, to be conscientious and polite, to be thankful for the good fortune of living in America, but then we have to watch from more of a distance than we’d like as they learn the same lessons we did, and maybe more, in what I think is a much harder world than we knew at their ages. We want to pick them up; dust them off; send them back out there. But the truth is that now it’s all on them.

God bless them as they fly, and give us strong hearts and faith as we stand by, breathless, awaiting their discoveries and standing by to pick up the pieces.

Regarding the 2nd Amendment…

Just saw a Facebook meme on gun-control that says gun-control proponents want

  • Mandatory training classes for people, not guns
  • More thorough background checks of people, not guns
  • Stronger negligence penalties for people, not guns

The meme ends with the thought that anyone who thinks activists are mad at the guns are too stupid to own them.

My question, then, if the activists aren’t mad at the guns, is why the focus of the current POTUS, Court Jester Vice POTUS, former Speaker of the House, Senate Minority leader, Gabrielle Giffords, and every activist on TV is on the guns? “‘Regular citizens’ don’t need semiautomatic GUNS”, “Register the GUNS”, “Ban the GUNS”, “Go door-to-door and take the GUNS” (has happened already in certain locales in California, as highlighted in this link: http://www.infowars.com/gun-confiscation-begins-in-california/), etc.

Not that I, nor most other 2nd Amendment protectionists, would agree to this, but if that is what they truly want, why have the activists not offered something more muted than “ban the guns”, along the lines of the following?

“First-time firearm buyers must complete a state-approved firearm safety course prior to the initial firearm purchase. At the time of the initial
purchase, the purchaser’s name will be entered in a gun owner’s registry.”

Wouldn’t such a proposal be in complete agreement with the stated desires of gun-control advocates? So why hasn’t such a proposal been made?

The most obvious answer, whether right or wrong,  is that the most vocal activists are ANTI-GUN. Maybe they don’t represent the rank-and-file of the gun-control advocacy population, but they take front-and-center-stage whenever the TV cameras are on or a microphone is pointed at them.

And here’s the other big problem with the anti-gun zealots: they fail to recognize that those who are already criminals, hereinafter referred to as “thugs”, have earned that designation due to their demonstrated and repeated disdain and disrespect for their fellow citizens by breaking the laws that are already on the books. You cannot reasonably expect the lawless to obey the law.

CNN’s LZ Granderson has a take on it as well. Read it here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/17/opinion/granderson-gun-control-fail/index.html?npt=NP1

Disarming the citizenry is the recipe for both anarchy and monarchy, neither of which particularly suits my palate.

Can’t Help but Think (Part 1)

…in this time following the Newtown, Connecticut grade school attack, that within the concepts of the following words, although spoken to Moses for the benefit of the Israelites, can be found the cure for what ails us as a nation:

Deuteronomy 6

New International Version (NIV)

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear (revere) the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”


In the news: Relationships

Help me out, please. This is just for my own information. You’re allowed 2 selections. Please use 1 to answer the poll question, and the 2nd to tell me your age group. I have no way of knowing who you are, or what you voted. Once you’ve voted, please share this link, as I’d like to get as much data as I can, both inside and outside my group of Facebook friends. Also, you’ll only be able to vote once, and the poll closes sometime on July 11, 2012.

…and I am so blessed

I promise to slow down on these blog entries soon, but sometimes, the (b)logjam breaks and the river of thought rages…

I’ve been concerned lately about one of my nieces. She’s a nurse, and she works really hard, and I’m envious of her because even on the worst day that I can imagine having in her line of work, she is doing something that she absolutely loves.

She lives in my area with her husband and kids, and I see her at church all the time, and at family gatherings, but lately not so much.

So the other day, I sent her a message:  “Sure have missed seeing you! Love you!”

To which she replied: “Missed seeing y’all, too. Found the culprit behind the migraines. Evidently I am pregnant. 11 weeks today. Feeling good, but exhasted and fight headaches. At least no nausea. Due in Jan. just wanted you to know. Love you”

Me: “Well, I think that’s GREAT!!!! Love you, too!”

(The next day)

“Early or late January?”

Her: “Mid. January 15”

“I’m so excited for you!”

“Us too!! I’m so much bigger than w/ the others, but I feel great! Just tired and headaches”

“i love you so much.”

“Thank you! I love you, too, you know!”

“i do know, and i am so blessed”

“are you working toinight?” (sic)

Do you see what I did? I mean, really, do you see what I did?

My niece shares this fantastic news, and says that she considers herself blessed. Why? Obviously, her pregnancy, her husband and kids, her family…her Uncle Scott

And what do I do? Act as if she’s someone I barely know and switch the entire flow and direction of the conversation.


First, I’m not knocking my niece or anyone else for saying it.

It’s not that anyone in my family ever took anything for granted. My dad and mom grew up during the Depression. Their stories of hardship – Dad (at maybe 14 years old), his mom, and his 3 little sisters having just a single boiled chicken – just chicken – to share at Christmas; Mom picking cotton as a little girl until her hands bled – were just so vivid, I suppose, that I realize I’ve never had to deal with true hardship. Their stories helped me understand that I have been blessed, and I thank God for His blessings each and every time I pray. But it’s just one of those things that I just don’t say in general conversation. Maybe on some level I’m a bit self-conscious about having been the recipient of so many rich blessings without having done without. I don’t know.

But I sit here at my desktop computer (because my laptop charger died) researching ObamaCare and expressing my unhappiness about it, debating as I shiver from the air conditioning whether or not to get up and raise the thermostat in this house Yvonne and I built a little over 9 years ago, eagerly anticipating next Friday, when we leave for a 2-week Alaska vacation as an early celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, listening to Michael play the X-Box 360 in his room and hearing Lisa laugh in the living room while she watches TV and surfs the internet on her Mac laptop, walking into the family room and seeing Yvonne asleep on the couch, knowing that I serve a loving God who is always willing to forgive me…

…and I am so blessed.

Wherefore art thou, Civility?

It’s a few months before the 2012 elections, and I’ve been reading about a couple of U.S. Senate debates in which the candidates have traded accusations about each others’ intentions and plans for the country when they get into office. One guy (“Challenger”) is accusing the other (“Incumbent”) of wanting to maintain the status quo regarding social policies (“things are fine, no changes are needed”), while Incumbent says that Challenger’s plans for change would bring about the Apocalypse. It’s my opinion that both Incumbent and Challenger – some backwoods lawyer named Abraham Lincoln – believe that their desired course is best for the country.

Even before Mssrs. Lincoln and Douglas squared off for their debates, politics has been a dirty business (think Julius Caesar, Ides of March, etc.).

But in this year, 2012, I’m appalled at the out-and-out lack of civility that we, Americans all, are exhibiting toward each other.

I will say up front that I’m conservative in matters concerning both religion and politics, and that, in my opinion, both the Bible and the U.S. Constitution say what they say, and that it’s not really in the realm of my authority to determine which parts of either one should be disregarded, nor would I want the weight of those ramifications to be on my shoulders.

It’s a human trait, I suppose, that when one is vested deeply in a particular ideology, either religion, politics, or some combination thereof, it’s difficult to even try to see an issue from another’s vantage point. At the same time, in our age of “enlightenment”, we Americans don’t even seem to be trying. We are showing such disregard for each other, and vitriol toward each other that it sickens me. I’m tired of it.

This used to be a lot longer, but let me end by saying this: In matters of faith and politics, you are free to agree with me or not. I will not think the poorer of you if disagree, but ask that you afford me the same consideration. Our disagreements do not make either of us stupid, uncaring or any of the other invectives being bandied about. They just make us different.

Finally, a few words to ponder:

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
—C.S. Lewis

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
—William Pitt, 11/18/1783

“The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.
—John F. Kennedy

“People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.
—Soren Keirkgaard
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“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
—John Adams, Second President of the USA.

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
—Thomas Jefferson