Just Another Christmas Story

What’s your favorite Christmas story? Perhaps it’s one of the many works by Charles Dickens such as A Christmas Carol or The Cricket on The Hearth. My personal favorite was always

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry.

With it’s emphasis on man’s redemption, the yuletide season serves as a fitting backdrop for so many great stories and novella’s. Not only do these works wonderfully entertain us with their irony and drama, but in a classic fashion they remind us of what is yet good in this world by projecting it against what is evil. Speaking to the faint glimmer of hope held within each of us the desired effect is to draw us in. To, through the timeless magic of the story, embolden us to confront our own internal struggles and to realize some similar victory of virtue within ourselves. These stories are about giving and receiving and the triumph of good over evil in mens hearts. They hold out to us the possibility of a different perspective than the cynical one held by so many in this world today.

The following is my Christmas story, on the surface it’s about how I overcame my own personal obstacles and made it home for Christmas one year but on a deeper level it’s also about faith and trust in something much bigger than myself.

Making specific plans when your a truck driver can not only be an exercise in futility, but one of frustration as well. This is due to the fact that as such you’re continually at the mercy of a far greater range of un-foreseen happen-stance that can, just like they did in John Steinbecks novel Of Mice and Men, wreck havoc on “even the best laid plans” that one might make. Knowing these things full well, I didn’t make a lot of specific plans that year, I simply knew that one way or another I was going to get home by Christmas!  The company I drove for at the time routinely shut down on the 21st of December and so on the 20th I was set to deliver my last load of tools to a sale truck in Indiana which would then free me to come back west and stop over at “the house” during the holiday. But after delivering my load and placing a call to my dispatcher (who plays the part of Scrooge in this drama) I was informed that after my drop, I was needed to make a pick up in Kentucky that would have to then be taken back to the warehouse in Kansas without delay.


As I drove along I reasoned that the natural solution to this dilemma would be to simply call my wife and have her pick me up in K.C. (a 6 hour drive) but after inquiring after such, I was informed that she had to work (3rd shift) every night until Christmas, making it quite impossible for her to come and get me.


Another complication was that I had a bunch of gifts in the truck with me that I’d bought.  My only option available seemed to be to call her and have her meet me at a point closest to home on my way back west and drop the gifts off with her thereby freeing me up to then make my way home by whatever means unencumbered. After achieving that objective rather easily, I continued in my duty and returned to the warehouse in Kansas arriving around mid-evening. Resolved to my lack of any other remedy for my predicament I slept for a few hours and before light the next morning I was on my way back the way I had just came toward my home.

How you ask? by what mode or method? on foot my friend…

I took off walking with only a rolled up rain poncho and a black magic marker to make my destination signs with. I had to walk about 10 miles on 207th st. which is a gravel road before I came to hyw 69 at Stanley Ks. I scrambled up an embankment to the 4 lane road and within minutes was offered a ride with an older gentleman who took me to Harrissonville Mo. Next, I was given a ride from the 7/71 jct. on the back of a 1 ton flatbed all the way to Spfd, Mo. It was a very cold ride but despite my discomfort, I was most content, quite thankful even…imagine that!

Soon I arrived in Spfd at the I-44/13  junction, my new friends were headed into town and so I hopped off there. I was rather numb in my legs from the cold and so my walking was with a stiff limp. I hobbled over to the nearby McDonald’s for the days first “nourishment” of any kind and upon returning to my journey couldn’t help but notice how many people were crowding the ramps of the highway that day, panhandlers holding signs each pleading their case for charity. I remember I felt some embarrassment at that because I was afraid I would be mistaken for such because of my cardboard sign that read,”hyw 60 east” but I had come much too far to let such a baseless reluctance dissuade me.

It was nearly midday now and I had made it close to half way home! In the waning hours of that late December afternoon what I remember the most was walking what seemed like great distances on the snow covered frozen shoulder of the highway, hands and feet stinging from the lack of circulation in them, feeling the blasts of frigid air pushing me back and then swirling around me as the endless convoy’s of the freight trucks blasted by. Under these circumstances,one must also steel themselves to the thousand’s of curious stares fixed upon them by passing motorists, each with questioning eye’s which at times seemed to ask,

“What are you doing out here?’

But the Lord was with me…and after several warm comfortable rides I traveled the remaining 150 miles. By 4:30 that afternoon I was on the phone to my stunned wife asking her to drive the short distance into town and pick me up! As I think back I’m still amazed by many aspects of what occurred that day. I’m amazed at the kindness of strangers who perhaps disregarded their better judgement in giving me a lift that day. I’m amazed at my own tenacity that I would even attempt such a thing. Being put in the position I was, what was most essential to me was my faith and trust in God, that he was with me and that he would make my way if only I would just continue to put one foot in front of the other quite literally walking in faith! My feeling was that for every step I took after Him, He took two towards me! It was as if he longed to express his love for me and show me that no detail is too small to escape his notice and that nothing can separate me from his love and care…Several years have passed since then, but just like so many other times in my life before and since when I needed Him, my heavenly Father was always there!

No matter what season it is, can a man have any more comfort than that?

tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy…

I Had No Business…

If ever I were to write my life story, this would probably end up being the title.

What does “that” really mean?

That my life has been characterized by my feeling that I’m a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

That as a square peg in a land full of round holes you will do a lot of searching to find a place where you fit in.

Which also means that chances are you’ll become involved with a lot of stuff that you really…

“Had No Business”

being involved with.

I’m not saying it’s been all bad or anything, or that I’m really any different than you are.

In fact, I’ll bet you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

A couple of weeks ago one of the transient cats that frequent my yard decided to have seven kittens and abandon them there.

My wife was the first to hear something crying, we found most of them inside of an old cabinet next to our house.

All efforts to reunite them with their presumably overwhelmed mother failed and so the task was taken up by my daughter, who passed it off to my wife…

Without getting into the details of my personal financial situation, let me just say that

“I had no Business”

spending the money I did on “cat formula replacement” or the eye dropper and tiny bottle that I bought at Wal-Mart.

I didn’t even know there was such a thing, it’s about $10.00 each, I bought two containers.

(I call this “one” Don King)

Now it’s a week or so later, six have died from aspirational pneumonia which is caused by formula getting into their lungs and causing an infection, one is left…

But he is SO cute!

What the head makes cloudy,the heart makes very clear…

Last November I decided to rent a building in a nearby city and try to establish what I called a “ministry center”

It was an idea based not only on what I believed to be an unmet need in the community, but also on what I perceived as being a need to “walk the walk”  in the Christian community.

For eight months I showed up five days a week during the scheduled hours. I promoted it, and I paid every bill associated with it’s operation.

Including but not limited to…the rent,electric,phone,water,to the tune of about $500.00 a month, and during the entire time I think I might’ve talked to a dozen people about their drug/alcohol problems.

It’s sort of a double entendre

I had no business spending that money, and I literally had no business going on!

“I Had No Business”

When people use that phrase to describe someone else what are they really saying?

At least in part I think it means that there’s no profit in what you’re doing.

maybe it means you were involved in something that was better left alone or that wasn’t your affair.

And in these times we’re in right now, minding your own business is a pretty easy sell when it comes to doing something towards meeting the needs of our fellow man.

(or beast)

Do you think that “minding your own business” is part of being a Christian?

In the story of the good Samaritan that Jesus told to His disciples, I’ve always thought it was interesting that the first two people who came across the man in great distress were representatives of the church…

If we fear becoming involved, whether it’s financially, personally, or BOTH! And we rationalize that fear because of our circumstances or based on the possibility of negative outcomes, it may well be said that we’re simply “minding our own business”. And although the primary motivation I mentioned is fear, we can further rationalize that our choice’s are right by referring to them as being


But that’s in stark conflict with my understanding of what being a Christian is about.

It’s definitely not loving God and others as yourself.

It’s not trusting that God has all of our circumstances under His control.

Not being interested in expressing love can only mean you’ve yet to receive it.

Lately it seems to be a popular thing for Christian people to refer to themselves as

“followers of Christ”

Luke 2:49

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business

Many church’s and individual Christian’s are seeking a move of the spirit, and yet they’re standing still! One possible interpretation of Luke 2:49 is that the church is seeking Christ in the wrong places. That if we’re seriously interested in following Jesus or in being used by the Holy Spirit we’ve got to come down off of our mountain and move towards the front line’s of this battle for souls that’s going on, that’s where the Spirit of God is, and I believe that’s where the Father is looking to “do business” and that’s where He needs His church to be!

So go and rescue some kittens, and then go and volunteer at a rescue mission if you want to see the spirit move!

Well, not exactly…but what I am saying is to let it be your constant compulsion to find a way to

“let your light so shine”

among men that your Father in heaven is glorified!

Never be convinced by the apparent lack of results from your efforts to serve the Lord that you

“had no business”

In attempting to do something.

Our adoption into Gods family makes it our family business to proclaim Christ!

I have no business other than the Fathers

In closing, this quote from C.H. Spurgeon

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

Also this…

Evangelism is a process of bringing the gospel to people where they are, not where you would like them to be… When the gospel reaches a people where they are, their response to the gospel is the church in a new place…–Vincent Donovan

We love you…because you’re YOU!

This is a re-post of a blog I did around my birthday last year, I wanted to move it from yahoo 360 and share it here with ‘yall…

Yesterday was NOT a good day for a lot of folks, I saw the former CEO of AIG say that he’d lost about three billion dollars…A lot of people are having to accept the idea that perhaps they’ll be working past the time they had planned on retiring. We’re all concerned with the current state of the economy, it can get to you if you let it! Yesterday was my birthday, because my mother sent me a check for forty bucks I had the money to put gas in my car, go to West Plains and buy some groceries at Aldi with my food stamps,come home and eat lunch, and then later go to church. I’ve been having an alternator problem with my car lately. Last night after church it was dark and I had to turn on the lights. A few miles outta town it died on me and I was able to limp it into a turn off beside the road. We (my wife, daughter and I) got out of the car and my wife reached into the backseat to grab the ice cream we had bought in town to go with the cake she had made. I questioned her about that, not wishing for her to carry this melting sack for who knows how long it might take for us to somehow eventually get home, she persisted. We took off walking, it was a beautiful nearly full moon lit night but it was still quite dark. Within five minutes a pickup truck drove by us, stopped…came back and asked if we needed a ride (two women) We all loaded into the truck, girls up front and me in the back. These “Good Samaritans” took us all the way to my house which is located two and a half miles off the paved road down some of the worst roads in Oregon county…I’ve never been so thankful to anybody! Driving through the blackberry thickets,the lady driving mentioned how much she liked blackberries so when they dropped us off my wife gave her a couple of quarts out of our freezer we had picked last summer. After a few minutes of letting my nerves settle we had my birthday party…the ice cream was still frozen! Then my daughter gave me my present she had made, here are some pictures of the book she made for me…

this is the cover…

We love you when you’re sad, (notice she has colored me blue) that’s me sitting in my chair.

This is me when I’m mad!

you guessed it! me when I’m happy…about getting a job!

We love you because you’re YOU!…yup, I trained this one!

It’s quite a wonderful thing in these times of upheaval and stress and so much hardship to be able to appreciate how truly blessed I am. I’m so thankful to God that He loves me, a broken sinner! and that He not only has my present circumstances under control but my future figured out too! I’m so thankful that he gave me my family my friends and for the love they show me. and lastly, but NOT leastly, for the kindness of strangers!

Green Banana’s


I can always tell when it’s getting to be time for me to write another blog.

For days now, I’ve been hearing internal dialogue’s going on in my mind…

Phrases turned, concepts tried, meaning sought.

I chose this title because of a phrase my father used to say in reference to his health

“I don’t even buy green banana’s anymore.”

There’s something comical to me about a person seeming to have so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality. It’s as if whats of greatest importance is to engage the other person by means of “truth telling” or “gallows humor.” It also reminded me of our current economic malaise, the whole de-flation thing. Banana’s are normally about .69 a pound (green bananas) But if you wait for a short while, they bundle them up on a tray and sell ’em for a quarter a pound! They say they’re “over-ripe” but I’ve never thought so, they’re actually just right and the price is right too! Why should I care if somewhere in Central America a banana farmer has to lay off a few workers or cut the wages of some others because I wouldn’t pay .69 a LB for banana’s?

(these are the banana workers)

What am I trying to do, guilt you into paying full price for some bananas?

No, I’m just using the banana story to illustrate something I’m sure most of you already know. That for every person who holds the clean end of the stick…

(well you know what that leaves)

Also, to try to give a real life example of what each of our choices or actions say about what we really think is going on.

How about the consumer confidence level? Given the uncertain nature of our economy, right now may not be the best time to spend money on new big ticket items or take on long term debt. Many Americans are only spending on necessities and are putting off the”wants” in favor of the “needs.” Still others are of the opinion that our current economic cycle is precisely that. That there’s little cause for serious concern. To quote a late great elder statesman, one Frank Zappa, who in a song by the same name playfully mocked American people by saying, “It can’t happen here!” (please,check it out) What can’t happen? That our highly prized way of life could rather suddenly go by the wayside…

It certainly has “happened” to me!


I find it to be the height of coincidence that my situation has so closely paralleled the bigger picture of our country, not only in the last few years but in the years since my birth in 1960. So if you’re looking for someone to blame I suppose that’d be me… I witnessed the American family becoming less relevant than the self, providing the proper mindset to embrace the rising drug culture as my “religion” in the 1970’s. I was flush with the fashion in the conspicuous eighties, doing my utmost to consume enough “whatever” to keep the wind from whistling through the hole in my soul. It’s a lot harder than you think to be tragically hip..

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told you when to run you’ve missed the starting gun…(Breathe-Pink Floyd)

A great ironic hallmark happened to me in the 1990’s, supposedly I was “over the hill” chronologically. But due to my years of drug use I was emotionally still a child in a lot of critical ways. Before this decade was through I had had it all and lost it all, I faced the new millennium sober for the first time in my adult life. I was a 40yr old “Green Banana”

A brave new century, and a new life! which seemed to me to be about putting out fires and exorcising the demons of the past by living “politically correctly” in the present. A plausible theory if you don’t start any new fires which can harbor new demons. We all must eventually confront our own frailties and understand our own new limitations. I became old early in February of 06′ when I slipped and fell on some wet steps. It was more than my rotator cuff that shattered that groundhog’s day morning, it was my invincibility. Sort of like my own personal “twin towers” moment.

They say it’s a recession when it happens to someone else, but it’s a depression when it happens to you.

My last full time job prior to being a school bus driver ended on 07/07/07…
I was blacklisted in the trucking industry when a former employer lied about me to the driver “advocacy” council, (legally libeled)
By December of last year I was behind on my mortgage and looking to put my home on the market…(I’m still in my home by the grace of God!)
By April my car had been repossessed, (which made me eligible for food stamps) and my pastor provided me with one that had been donated to him.
I went “belly up” on my credit cards, owing about 7-8 thousand dollars, I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls but nothing more than that.
I “survived” for months on money I made selling vegetables I grew, fresh eggs, and stuff I owned that I sold as well as some small odd jobs I took on.
I turned myself in to the authorities in August because I was unable to appear in court on contempt charges related to my child support and spent 10 days in jail, I was deemed too wealthy to receive “free counsel.” (I was released on 08/08/08)

Naturally, I had to chuckle when they announced in late November of this year that our country was in a recession.

There’s something comical to me about a person seemingly having so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality.

My father passed on the summer before last, and so now it’s me that doesn’t buy green bananas…

Send in the clowns…

That seems to be the mood lately, I’m a little tired of all of these “reality” shows though. Does it bother anyone else besides me that we as a nation are so preoccupied with them? I think what we really need is an “Extreme Government Makeover”, Or maybe we should watch “wipe-out” while the market tanks! Maybe we can ALL be contestants on our own “home version” of “survivor”…Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned, so why can’t we “dance with the stars”?

It just amazes me how the priorities of a whole society can be so incredibly shallow…

That we, like the Romans, would prefer to sit back and watch these “spectacles,” I suppose it’s mostly because watching someone else be ridiculed or be challenged in some ridiculous way, somehow makes Us feel less ridiculous.

Hold on friends, before you take that extra Valium… I’ve got some “good news” too!

Do you remember the other day I was talking about my cars alternator and how it wasn’t working right? A couple of days ago I changed the oil and when I pulled the car off of the ramps and parked it I noticed that the battery light on my dash wasn’t on! I was skeptical, so I started it up a few times…still off! That turned out to be really important when I went in to do some pre-training for a job I’m trying to land and had to leave before it was light! It was previously unable to keep itself running when the lights were on. I talked with a mechanical friend of mine and he said that sometimes the brushes inside the alternator don’t make good contact or something like that…I’m just saying THANK YOU JESUS! that’s cool huh?

Here’s another “coincidence” way back in 1994 a
guy smashed my windshield. (long story) I get a postcard in the mail from the prosecutor of Greene county telling me to call them and when I do she informs me that this individual has been picked up for another warrant and that this was still on his record as being unpaid. She asked me how much the windshield cost me, we agreed on 150.00$ and either today or tomorrow I’m expecting a check in the mail! GOD IS GOOD! strange isn’t it?

UPDATE! here’s the check…received it tonight!

And then, there’s this job opportunity I’m pursuing right now. I was interested in being a bus driver with the Couch Mo school district, only to find out that the maintenance man is quitting in October and they’re going to need someone there too! That’s a better Job than just being a driver and I’ll also make additional money driving for them! Hallelujah!!

So God really is looking out for me! I was talking to a lady yesterday and we both agreed that as bad as things in our economy/nation/world seem right now, we’re probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg! It’s SO much worse than any of us can even fathom…But are we anxious? are we depressed? NO! why? because we know from Gods word that these things must come to pass, and that like birth pains, these are the signs that our Lord will be coming soon. This worldly system of things is a wash out, we can’t do anything to change it! All we can do is be busy here with our heavenly Fathers business of telling as many people about the real “great news” that there is a God! He does love us! He sent His Son to save us from being eternally separated from Him and from our own choice to be cast into torment! That’s whats important right now…don’t you agree?

Send in the clowns, don’t bother they’re here!

I say send us the savior, it’s ever so near!

Come go with me to that land over yonder, He s prepared for the pure and the true.
It s a place where sickness and death cannot enter, I m going brother how about you?
Maybe today or maybe tomorrow, He ll return in robes of pure white.
I m packing up now getting my things together, Who knows? It might be tonight…