Wednesday, January 30, 2008


She wasn't the prettiest car. Wasn't the sleekest design. She wasn't tried and true.
She wasn't experienced or skilled, wasn't high dollar, wasn't refined or cultured....
One thing she was?

She was the fastest pine wood derby car in town tonight. :) Yes, our first time out into the arena of Grand Prix Racing, and my boy, the rookie, took first place.

During the painting process, about half way into the making of the car, he picked up the chassis while it was still wet and smudged the window paint.

I pulled the classic adult whine,
"What did you do that for?! Get a paper towel, hurry before it dries."
He ran back into the garage and said, "At least we're working on this together and having fun, right Dad? I mean, that's the most important thing."
I smiled, thinking 'he must get that from his mother.'
Always a great feeling to have your kids remind you that it's not about the stinking paint, huh dads?

In the end, our car had hand-crafted, lead flames shooting out the back end, a highly polished deep blue paint job, white-wall tires, and 5.000 oz of maximum street-legal weight. She was a lean & mean machine with a need.....for speed.

vrooom.. vroooommm..... vrooo-rooooooooooooooooooom.... rooooooooooommmmmm roooooooooom!

What can I say. It was my boy's first trophy, and the look on his face when they called his name was priceless. In 7 out of 8 races he took 1st.
I don't care if he never wins another one. We had a good time.

The announcer said that in 27 years it was the first time he could remember that, in the adult/kid class, an adult didn't win. It was an 8 year old wet-behind the ears up-n-comer. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Living Through My Love

(Our condolences to the Spindler Family...)

Living Through My Love

I remember the day I didn't think
I'd have the strength to go on.
I drove to your grave and curled on the ground
then I stayed there until the dawn.

The groundskeeper came and asked my name
as he helped me to my feet.
He brushed from me the fresh laid soil
and straightened my tie neat.

I thought about your smile then.
That's when the tears began to flow.
And there I stood upon the earth,
a lost and desperate soul.

As the old man brushed my hat
and set it back upon my head,
he looked into my heart somehow
and this is what he said,

"Your world has fallen down.
I know what you're going through.
It wasn't long ago
I lost a Love, like you.

You feel you might as well
be lying there by their side.
Your life seems just a living Hell,
your reason for living has died.

But in your journey, keep in mind,
your Father has a master plan,
and though the reason's hard to find,
you must try hard to understand.

Turn from your faith now
and you will have lost the chance
to hold him in your arms again,
to smile and Love and dance.

Hold on to what you have
and keep his Love there in your heart,
because Up There we look the same...
only Love tells us apart."

Then the sun broke through the clouds
and gave my eyes a blinding glare.
I turned to shake his hand,
but He was no longer there.

Daniel C. Elliott
Copyright 2000

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lost & Found

It's been a long work week and so my wife and I and kids decided to just hang things up and go out for supper last night.
On the way into the restaurant there was a little boy, maybe 7 or 8, sitting on a bench. He was sobbing uncontrollably, feeling so small in the great big world that he was taking up as little space as possible. His fists were clenched by his side as he edged closer to his panic.
A woman just in front of us was trying to talk to him, but he could hardly speak, and when she asked if he was lost he only nodded and kept crying.
I leaned down to him and asked him his name, and still he couldn't answer. Then we asked what his mom and dad's name was, and he looked up with these big round eyes and said very seriously,

"My mom's name is Mom, and my dad's name is Dad."

It's amazing the power that fear can have over us, isn't it? Its grip can be as cold and ruthless as tempered steel, literally freezing us in our tracks. The realization of being lost is such a hopeless surprise that our common sense can be literally stolen away.

When we sat down at our table afterwards, both of our kids began to recount "that one time"... you know, that time at the hardware store with my little girl, when she zigged and we zagged, and 30 seconds later... chaos. Or the incident with my boy, years ago in the grocery store. That memory of being lost is so etched in his mind that he was talking about it like it was yesterday.

But remember, when you were lost, how much greater was that feeling of being found?
Even if you were in trouble and everyone was upset, there were still hugs! And the famous Motherly "body-check", where they spin you around and make sure you still have 10 fingers and 10 toes, and most importantly, shoulders and ears. ;)

Being found is like walking out from the blue-gray, inky shadows into a warm, bathing ray of golden sunlight. Emotions wash over us, great valleys and peaks of them, and we remember being lost...because we were found.

The little boy at the restaurant was found, and he stayed less than half a step away from his family as they were walking out the door to the car. I could hear the big deep sighs as the calm was spreading over him, catching his breath, finding that peace that we so much take for granted, until it is lost.

I recently heard our pastor speaking about this. He said it best in his own words...
"You never forget the experience of being found...Never...You'll never forget the gift of Jesus, if you were a lost person, and you were found... The gift of Jesus is for the humble, the poor and the lost. He didn't come just to teach a better way, or show us how to live, or heal the sick and raise the dead only. He didn't even come to condemn the world...He came as God's gift of salvation...Unwrap the gift of Christ so that you don't forget that He found you when you were lost. You will never forget the gift of Christ."

Monday, January 21, 2008


Driving home from a family get-together this morning I realized just how slick the snow had made the roads. I slowed down to keep control, but in front of me only a minute in time was a family that found that out too late. They'd spun around and flipped several times.

I came up on the accident first, just after it happened, and out of respect to the family I won't write about the details of what followed. A little boy, 5 years old, passed away. A dad and mom and another little boy survived, and my request to any of you that read this is that you pray for them. For that mom to understand this was an accident, and for this dad to be able to be there for his family, to be strong for them, and to have the courage to forgive himself so that he can support them as a father and a husband.

As the first officer pulled up to the scene, another car sailed past me and slammed right into him. We realized right away that none of the oncoming traffic could see what was unfolding, because we were just over a hill. It was just before 9 am rush. We began running towards the traffic, waving down cars and semi-trailers, as they fishtailed and regained control right in front of us. It felt like we ran almost a half mile before we finally got everyone stopped.

I'm not sure yet how to sort it all out. I don't know why God had me there, but I know there was a reason. I was supposed to go with my family to breakfast, and instead at the last second decided to come home to open the shop and let the dog out. My cell phone was completely dead, and my wife's phone had gotten wet and wasn't working, and just as I got on the interstate I had a feeling that something just wasn't right.

We hear of accidents and tragedies, and we're saddened, but we move right on.
Seeing this little boy go home, calling his name and hoping for a response in that stillness made me feel very undeserving of my time here on this Earth. For him to have lived such a short little life...I instantly stood face to face with how fleeting our time here really is.

We are only a breath away from eternity. Only a heartbeat from our frailty. We are not invincible. We do not have all the time. There's not next Christmas to make things right. There's not even today.
Do you understand that?
There is only right now.
This moment.
There is you, and there is a decision that you have to make about your eternity.
And if you don't make that decision, it will still be made for you.

Stop when you read this, will you?
Close your eyes and think about what you might wish you could change if you were to pass away today. Really take a moment out of your busy agenda. Work will be there tomorrow, so will your to-do list and the groceries, the bill, whatever. Let them go for just a minute, and think of what your end might look like.

Are their loose ends? Tie them up.
Does someone need to hear you say you're sorry? Get in touch with them or stand with them toe to toe and apologize.
Does a relationship need to be restored? Begin today by humbling your heart, and open up your arms.
Is there someone that will wish they could have heard you say 'I love you, everyday, no matter what, with all my heart'? Get up and go speak those words from your heart, wherever that may lead you.

Now take all those questions, and put them between two people.
Just between you and Jesus.

What do you need to do?

Do it.

You may not have tomorrow, and someday is never going to come.

This family was just like you and me. On their way home, and one son is already, truly home now. He is surrounded with peace and love and comfort in his Father's arms, and you've been extended that same opportunity.

Seize it.