Be Careful What You Stand On

I thought about calling this post “Slippery Footing.” I think the title I chose fits better.

I’ve had trouble standing lately. Not literally, just figuratively.

About the time I think I know what to expect in my life the unexpected occurs.

When the unexpected happens so many times a fella realizes it’s actually normal for him. At least I do now.

Y’all know about my unexpected unemployment in early October. If you didn’t, you do now. We’re far enough along into November that I can safely say I lived to tell about that event.

Now I have companies calling me while I’m driving for someone else. It never rains but it pours.

The Apainter Paul has work coming in, too. So I’m helping him so he can help me, too.

I hope that’s not too many too’s for y’all. If it is then that’s too bad.

One of the first driving assignments, after my mini-unemployment, I accepted was for a company I hadn’t driven for before. It began as a five day gig. Then it became a one day deal. Then a two day thing before it ended up at three days. I felt like I was stuck in an auction on that one.

“Do I hear five days? No, then can I get one day…how about two. I have two can I get three days? Sold at three days.”

The next week Paul found a lady who had neglected the shrubbery around her houses for too many years. He told me I could work there as long as I wanted to or until it was caught up. I just finished clipping the shrubs around the front house when she came out to pay me for the day. She didn’t want to leave the two dogs alone while she was gone to work. She feared they’d tear the inside of the house up in their panic.

That was rug number two that got yanked out from under me. Three if you count the unemployment spell, which I won’t so don’t.

There was that couple excited about buying the Webster family farm in October. They were scheduled to sign papers November 1. It’s still the Webster family farm the last I heard. That influx of cash sure would have been a welcomed sight to my budget, but it isn’t so it ain’t.

Yet another rug gone.

Paul had a couple of jobs come in almost at once so he asked me to commit to him for the remainder of last week. I already committed to a company for Monday and Tuesday. Then company A called and asked if I could drive to Houston for them on Tuesday. I felt like a ping pong ball in a fierce competition.

I made great progress on the house Paul left me with by the end of Friday. I called The Apainter and asked if I could borrow his taller step ladder and extension pole to finish up on Saturday. He was impressed and said. “Sure thing.”

So I drove by his place, got his stuff and drove home stopping for gas and some groceries now that the previous week’s check was posted into my account. As I was on the final leg of my drive home Paul called…gulp.

“I got to thinking about how work is looking for next week. I’ll be done with the house I’m working on Monday. If you finish your house tomorrow I won’t have anything to do the rest of the week. Can you stop by after church tomorrow and return my ladder so I have it to finish that house you were working on?”

I’ve heard people say they regret things they’ve said occasionally that they wish they hadn’t let slip out of their mouths.

After a few seconds Paul had one question…”Wade, are you still there?”

“Yeah. I’m here. Sure, I can swing by after church tomorrow.”

He didn’t want to know the names I had for him that I left silent in my brain. Since he’s done so many huge favors for me I was grateful prudence won that round.

After I punched the “end call” button on my phone I sent up a prayer complaint.

“You know, God, that first rug being pulled out from under me was bad enough. This has gotten old in hurry. When is this going to stop? Where can I stand that’s safe from these falls?”

He knew I knew the answer to that question before I let it slip out of my noggin.

That rock is Jesus. Ain’t nobody nor nuthin’ going to let me slip off that foundation.

I got a call Saturday afternoon for a possible assignment driving to Shreveport that evening. I took it to shore up my budget constraints.

These unexpected things to me aren’t any big surprise to God. He’s got this all worked out for His glory.

All I have to do is keep standing then putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m in His will even when I fall.

I just have to get back up…and so do you my friend.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Stress is Spelled M-Y L-I-F-E

Thursday I drove from Ft Worth to Amarillo. I’ve done it several times and lived to tell about it. So, what made it so different this time? It was 86 degrees when I left Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning it was 38 degrees.

Being a native Michigander I knew enough to check the forecast before I left. Still having permafrost in my bones from four decades in the frigid winter wonderland I knew well enough to dress in layers when it’s cold.

I didn’t bring a dress, but I did bring extra layers of clothes to add during the night. That north wind still blew right through this Texan’s scrawny body.

My illustrious illustrator contacted me during my trip north by northwest. Normally that’s a good thing, but this time a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings only added to my stress level after one of the most challenging months of my life…and that’s saying a lot.

The good news is that it sounds like we’re nearing the home stretch on the storybook app that’s been three years in the making so far. The bad news is this came close to derailing it.

We both agreed it sure felt like there were unseen forces at work during this episode to end all episodes.

Prayers are appreciated as I decide how to program this app so it’s the best it can be.

On another front of my life I’m glad I didn’t spend that inheritance money from the sale of the family farm just yet. The folks who were so eager to buy it a few weeks ago have gone AWOL.

They’re scheduled to sign the papers and pay for it on November 1. They had a death in the family. The realtor hasn’t been able to get in touch with them at all. No deposit was collected.

Pray for God’s will here. The realtor has someone else interested if this falls through. Maybe they’ll pay more for it. We’ll see.

I’m counting on living off some of this money while I focus on making the app. It’s all coming together in God’s timing. I’ve just become used to His time clock running a lot slower than the one in my life.

Yeah, it’s frustrating, but I trust God with all my heart, soul and life. He’s always come through for me. Even during this most financially difficult month in my life.

I had an interesting experience Sunday morning at church. Our church puts food baskets together for poor families in our community each November. I handed out reminder cards to folks as they entered the sanctuary.

Having experienced near bare shelves in my own pantry recently I have a special kinship to these needy folks.

I prayed for an extra dose of generosity from our generous congregation this time around.

Most of the people thanked me as they took the card from my hand. They’ll likely respond positively.

Some couples grabbed the church bulletin from the first greeter then got tunnel vision as they almost sprinted past me.

Being a fairly small person to begin with I’ve felt invisible in the past, but this wasn’t what I expected from God’s children on Sunday morning in God’s house of worship.

I admit, I don’t know how much, or what kind of stress they’re facing in their lives right now. They might want to trade Octobers with me in a heartbeat.

I prayed for God to open their eyes to the world around them and for an extra dose of grace as they heard the message from Pastor Chuck.

I can’t change what happened in October. There are some things I definitely wish I could have a do over.

I don’t know when I’ll have all of the ingredients I need to finish Have You Heard of the Herd.

I do know it will all work together in God’s timing for His glory. He promised me that in His word.

If your life feels like a freight train about to crash find a promise in the Bible you can claim for your situation.

Don’t tell me there isn’t one there.

There are 365 “Fear not” statements scattered throughout the sacred text.

That’s one for each day of the year.

Just hold on to any one of those little nuggets.

God is bigger than any problem you face, my friend.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

The 2017 Stonebriar Men’s Retreat Report

I just got back from another relaxing weekend on the banks of Lake Palestine near Flint, Texas. This country bumpkin always needs this time in the country to recharge my batteries.

Unfortunately I had to work Thursday so I couldn’t go out with the advance team for the retreat. Les Fleetwood is a Canadian so I guess an advance retreat team is something from Canadia or something.

My demeanor going into this retreat was different from the previous seven retreats I attended. I was well rested this time.

Clifford seemed excited to drive back out, too. He didn’t complain one little bit. Maybe that’s because I told the guys last year was likely his last retreat.

I think that just proves that my circumstances haven’t changed for the past eight years. God has been good to me all along.

Les informed me that JR Vassar didn’t give him the theme for the retreat until the last minute.

I think that explains why our t-shirts said Pivot on them and JR never used that word in any of the four sessions he taught. That’s my guess anyway.

Or, maybe that’s just another thang from Canadia, eh.

I never know when God will connect me with another one of the guys on these retreats. I spent quite a bit of time with Jim. We roomed together about five years ago.

The four of us who roomed together this go around had a great opening discussion time after the first session. We never got to the questions about the session. Instead, we shared our marital experiences.

We all walked away appreciating women who’ll stick it out no matter what. I know God does, too.

Somehow we got split up after the second session. So I talked with Bob since he didn’t have anybody in his room.

Bob helped with the check-in duties. That’s where we first got introduced.

He shared with me how he met his second wife after the first one died leaving him with two children to raise while he was in the Air Force.

He made sure he told me he’ll be praying for my situation before we left. I’m confident he’ll follow through with that.

I picked up trash on my walk back to the campground Saturday afternoon after my annual stroll to some secluded docks in a quiet cove. My mind was deciding what I would pray before dinner that evening.

Knowing the weather forecast I decided to say how much we need to remain grounded in the Bible because each of us is either coming out of a storm, in the midst of one or we’re about to be hit by one that will rock our world.

There were a few rounds of thunder that woke me up that night. Hopefully others remembered what I said when God woke them up, too.

One of the elders approached me a couple of times. He’d heard about my situation and wondered how things were going for me. I told him things are looking up.

Then he wanted to know about my writing later on. I told him about my blog. If you’re reading this thanks for joining me here Rafy.

Les and I had a semi-private meeting that may prove helpful in a couple of fronts in my life. The business venture might help Stonebriar out soon and my writing may get a huge shot in the arm.

That’s all I’m going to say about that for know. Stay tuned for further details as they unfold.

I don’t know if Clifford, the big red van, will be around to help at next year’s retreat or not, but I sure hope I am.

I have no doubt this country bumpkin will still need that quiet time in God’s country yet again.

You’ll know where to find me in twelve months.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

2 Phone Calls

Last Tuesday I had an appointment at the VA hospital in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Those of you who know me well are wondering where this is going since I never served in any branch of the military.

Those of you who don’t know me well now know that I never served in any branch of the military so I must be up to no good here.

This is my blog so just fasten your seatbelt and hold on tight.

Where was I…oh, yeah, heading up to Muskogee.

I had a load of beds for our veterans to use.

I was told I had to be there by 1:30 pm. So I got to work at 7am. Fueled the truck and hit the road. At 8am my cell phone started chirping like a cricket…not too surprising since this starving writer decided that’s the ringtone that fit me the best.

The fella on the other end said he was calling from Muskogee’s VA hospital. He wanted to know how far out I was. I informed him I’d be there about noon if everything went well.

“But, I thought you’d be here at eight.”

I’m thinking, “must be an Okee.”

We ended that conversation with him saying, “Drive safe and get here as quickly as you can.”

That was my plan all along.

I enjoyed the country scenery that morning and was relieved my phone’s GPS agreed with the VA hospital signs in Muskogee.

As I pulled off the last main road I started getting a bit concerned since I was in a residential area.

“Must be an old military post.” I said to myself.

I had to drive on the opposite side of the road more than once to avoid trailer damage from the tree limbs that were hanging too low for a big rig.

“These Okees in Muskogee sure do love their oaks…and maples and all these other trees.” I drew short of cursing anybody out.

This VA hospital looks like it had been there quite a while. I could almost make out the remnants of a mote behind it near the loading docks.

There was room for about two trucks to unload at a time. I was third in line when I arrived.

A good old boy with a full-sized trailer and over-the-road rig was just fixin to pull out as I surveyed the situation.

All I had to do was avoid driving over the bank into the mote-turned-scenic-valley below me and I’d be fine.

The two box trucks backed up to the dock after my good buddy left. I worked my way to where they were waiting so I’d be lined up to the dock before anyone else came along.

It’s good thing I got there before noon since it was almost one when I hit the dock…but not before almost hitting the mote fence.

The thirteen beds I had turned out to be electric motor powered gurneys. That was good since the trailer was uphill to unload it.

All I had to do at this point was unhook the straps and fold the pads that protected the beds on their gurney journey to the VA.

At about the eighth bed the cricket in my pocket got my attention again.

I hit the green “accept call” button and said “Hello.”

The nice lady on the other end asked me if I could be at our church at 6:30.

I did the math in my head as quickly as I could. “I doubt it since I’m in Muskogee now.”

“Where’s Muskogee?”

I thought everybody knew where Muskogee was…maybe only Okees do. “It’s in Oklahoma.”

Even Texans know where the country of Oklahoma is.

We settled on 7:30 for me to be at Stonebriar. That worked.

I knew the person I was talking to was nice because she’s on the committee that decides who the church will help out when they’re in a financial tight spot. That was me alright.

Things were definitely looking up.

I pulled away from the dock with an empty trailer at 1:15pm and headed back south.

For a reason I can’t recall I flipped the switch to shut the cricket chirp off.

I checked my phone at some point in Oklahoma. My brother Mike left a voice message for me from the country of Michigan.

I decided to call him back when I took a break at the Texas welcome center.

The message said someone made an offer on the family farm. The live call said they’re ready to empty their savings and dip into a 401k to get it. They want to move in on November 1.

Even with splitting things six ways things are definitely looking up.

I used to live my life braced for something bad to happen because I saw too many folks fall apart when that news comes. The way my life’s been the past decade I’ve lived my life expecting things to take an upturn at any time.

I think things are finally taking that upturn.

Now I need wisdom to handle the changes that are about to take place.

Your prayers are definitely appreciated.

Keep smiling.   Wade

October 2017 News from a Starving Writer

The good news is I made it through September with my bank account in good standing. The bad news is I don’t know how far into October that standing will stand.

I’m in the throws of Starving Artist Syndrome…or stopped truck driver conundrum…or both. Yeah, both of um.

Either way my bills are looking like they’re eating my lunch at breakfast.

Calling in prayer support. Calling in prayer support.

I do have an escape plan possibly…if I can just get the hatch to open.

Okay. Let me take a deep breath. Now I’m dizzy, too. That didn’t help much.

God’s had me on a pretty strict manna diet for quite a while now. Why is He cutting my calories?

Let me see if I can explain what’s going on without depressing y’all.

The company I drive for primarily hasn’t been paying the company that pays my paycheck. I don’t know why we can’t all just get along, especially when there’s a starving artist stuck in the middle.

The Apainter Paul is going to India for the next two weeks so his work load is diminishing significantly, too, also.

Yikes…I don’t know if y’all aren’t depressed yet but me is.

Okay, another breath…another dizzy spell.

Okay…there’s this business helping local businesses I’ve been attempting to get off the ground. Now that I’m not driving my life away maybe I can get that to fly.

There’s two different nonprofits I offered to give mobile apps to this summer, still waiting to hear back from them.

There’s a woman starting up a business helping seniors who still live at home. She won’t accept the video I made for her to help her out so I can get a good review.

Yikes! I’m so bad at this business thing I can’t even give stuff away. How in the world do I think I can actually sell folks something?

Pounding head against the wall now…another dizzy spell with stars.

Let’s change the subject before I have to pay for a new wall in my apartment.

The writing is showing a bit of a flicker of reviving possibly hopefully.

I couldn’t afford to go to the great big ACFW Conference that was held in my backyard this year. They didn’t have many editors or new agents to meet with anyway so I didn’t lose much sleep over that.

Instead God came through for me at home on my own laptop computer dealy.

One publisher opened up a children’s division and opened up for manuscript submissions. Eek scampered off to that one.

During the conference another small publisher opened up for submissions, too. Eek went there, too, also, along with the other two books Tate dropped.

There’s a bit of a history with that small publisher sorta kinda from the BRMCWC (another writers’ conference).

The two years I drove 1,000 mile to attend there (back when I had a good paying job) there was this guy named Cyle who kept placing in the unpublished competition for almost everything.

Cyle placed second when Eek placed third for the middle grade novel in 2014.

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, so I looked up this Cyle guy on Facebook and friended him.

The agent who started writing prayers on an online group I was in that led to the 100 Prayers of a Writer book said this Cyle was asking her to represent him at the time. She told him he needs to concentrate his writing on one genre. He’s too talented for that. Why do agents do that to us starving artists?

So, what does this Cyle do? He becomes an agent himself…maybe a double agent. I don’t know since he may still be my enemy.

Guess who is a partner in the small publishing company that opened up for submissions? If you answered Cyle you win something from a starving artist. Maybe you can take me to lunch and buy me groceries afterward. I don’t know but it sounds good to me.

They’re looking for children’s books and general fiction. Those I had books ready for.

I sent them my Christmas devotional book, too, also, in hopes that Cyle might know of a publisher looking for such genius writing and represent me to them, too, also, maybe.

Calling in prayer support. Calling in prayer support.

The Hebrews left Egypt through the Red Sea without getting swamped. Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo walked into the furnace without getting so much as a hair singed.

Is it asking too much for a starving artist to come out of this fiasco I call my life honoring God in all I do?

That’s always been my goal.

It always will be.

All I know is I feel like I’m facing a giant with a sheer cliff mountain behind him standing in my way of getting to where I need to be.

Giants and mountains ain’t nothin to God. I do know that.

I’ll get there in God’s timing.

I’ll see you on the other side, my friend, too, also.

Keep smiling.   Wade

Jury Duty…YIKES

The yellow postcard came in the mail a few weeks ago. I received them before so I’m kinda used to them now.

“You are summoned to appear for jury duty.”

It’s been a few years since I went. I’ve never been selected to actually sit on a jury and hear a real-life trial in person and have to decide the fate of somebody I’ve never met.

Now you know why I put YIKES in the title.

I’ve been called for jury duty in many locations I’ve lived in. I learn something new at each one. I feel like a veteran jury duty person now.

I sat in the big room with everyone else who got a yellow postcard the same day I did. We waited and watched the video about jury duty. They added some funny clips from some movies to keep us awake.

Then they called out some names to go out and follow a nice bailiff somewhere in the courthouse.

My name was called out on the second set of names. A few years ago my name never even got mentioned so they let me go home before noon.

I went with the group to courtroom 4. They seated us in the order our names were called in.

From previous experiences I knew my seat was one of the hot seats.

Lawyers from each side ask questions to get a feel for who they want or don’t want to hear this trial. Each one gets to say who they don’t want. I was in the second row of two and a half rows.

One person in the first row made the cut. Five of us from the second row heard our names called to sit on the jury. Gulp

Fortunately this wasn’t a life or death case. We had to decide which of the young parents was beating up on the other. A daughter was caught between them.

The ex-husband was accused of hitting her in several ways the day after Christmas.

The ex-wife was bringing these charges against him. He claimed she had the anger problem.

From the opening statements from the lawyers it was obvious somebody was lying. That was our decision to make.

The young woman took the stand and gave us a blow by blow of what she claimed occurred.

A very nicely dressed woman brought a piece of paper in and handed it to the ex-wife’s lawyer’s assistant.

Shortly after that her lawyer asked to approach the bench. We were an hour into the trial and were told we’d likely take a break every hour or so.

We were told to go to the back room and wait.

We sat in silence for another hour because we were told we couldn’t even talk about the case amongst ourselves.

When we were finally escorted back into the courtroom the state’s lawyer stood up and told the judge the charges were being dismissed.

We filed back to the back room followed by the judge. He told us this was the quickest case he had ever heard.

Apparently the young woman was involved in another case that was about to cross over into this one and make it a real mess for her.

We were thanked by the judge and told our jury duty status was fulfilled for the next two years at least.

Truth is a funny animal sometimes. It has a way of rearing its head when you least expect it to sometimes.

I have a quaint little hobby of mine I probably shouldn’t get involved in, but it’s kind of enlightening.

I answer some of those spam emails where somebody is calling out for help to accept a large sum of money before they die of some terrible disease.

I send the bare essential information to keep the spam scam going for as long as possible.

It’s amazing how the death bed turns into a visit request or the person is in another country for some reason.

I prefer to stay bound to the truth in my life. The facts are much easier to remember that way.

Of course being adopted by the one who claims to be the Truth is the best place anyone can be grounded.

If more folks found the rest they need in Jesus then there wouldn’t be all this mess in life.

Families would get along better. People would look for ways to help each other rather than trying to take something from someone else.

All I can do is tell as many people about Jesus and the love He offers and the truth that sets men free.

What they do with that truth is up to them.

Help me get the word out.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Another legend went Home this week, Stan Toussaint

One advantage of attending Stonebriar Community Church is the chance to rub shoulders with some remarkable individuals. Many of them are associated with Dallas Theological Seminary.

One disadvantage of this advantage is feeling a deeper loss when they’re called Home to be with the Lord. Stanley D. Toussaint is now in the presence of Jesus.

Dr. Toussaint suffered a stroke a few months back. The long-term effects left him unable to speak. When something like that occurs to one of God’s saints who depended on his voice for ministry it makes you ask God, “why?”

He taught the largest adult fellowship at Stonebriar. It’s called Marathon because it’s made up of mostly elderly folks. Their marathon called life is nearing the end. Stan crossed his finish line…or has he?

Dr. Toussaint has been teaching at DTS since 1960, longer than I’ve been alive. One of his early students was a young marine named Charles Swindoll…he’s now our senior pastor.

Click on the image below and watch the video with it. I’m sure you’ll recognize some names of other students like David Jeremiah and Irwin Lutzer. You see, Stan’s impact is still going out today even though he’s been silenced.

Stan Toussaint filled the pulpit several times for Pastor Chuck. He usually told us he was from Hinckley, Minnesota. “Where men are men, pansies are flowers and the women are all above average.”

He never used notes for his message. His points were usually five to match the number of fingers on his hand. “I know a sermon is supposed to have only three points,” he would quip, “but, I know you’re super intelligent people so I’m using five points today.”

As you’ll see in the video Stan was a gentle man, and a gentleman.

I had the privilege of shaking his hand one Sunday morning during Church. When I told him I was from Michigan he mentioned that he spoke at the Maranatha Conference Center before.

When I told him I was there a couple of years ago for a writer’s conference he paid special attention to that and asked me what I write. That’s the kind of man I want to be when I grow up, always noticing others.

The Marathon class shrunk after Stan could no longer teach. He’s leaving some mighty big shoes to fill.

Polio at a early age left Stan unable to run a marathon. Toward the end he could barely walk, but he kept at it just to please the Lord.

The Marathon class will carry on. There will never be another Stan Toussaint to teach it. It may never reach the number of attendees it once had. The core group of folks there will always remember Stan.

I don’t know if anyone will write anything like this after I’ve gone Home to be with the Lord or not.

I’m pretty sure I’m impacting a few lives in my life.

The only real accolade I’m reaching for is the same sentence I’m sure Stan heard when he saw Jesus face to face. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!”

Stanley D. Toussaint (1928-2017)

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Lessons from the Toddler Whisperer

Another summer with the toddlers has closed for the Toddler Whisperer. Since I never had children of my own I get my grandfather fix during the summer months. More firsts were encountered. More lessons learned by this old man.

God directly answered one of my emails at the very beginning of the summer. When I entered room C119 I quickly discovered there were ONLY 6 cardboard blocks in the entire room. A toddler whisperer can’t possibly effectively toddle whisper with only six blocks…especially when some of those were bent.

So I sent an email to the lady in charge of the kiddo department at my church. She quickly sent in a requisition for more cardboard blocks. When I showed up to whisper the following Sunday I was met with astonishment before I ever got to C119. Somebody donated some blocks during the week…before the requisitioned ones could get there.

It just goes to show that prayer takes on many forms. When we don’t know what to ask the Spirit groans for us. When God’s kiddos need blocks they’re going to get there quicker than a toddler can knock them down. Trust me…that’s pretty fast.

I shared a few posts back about becoming a toddler magnet one Sunday when one of the boys ran straight to me rather than welcome the hug from one of the women volunteering then. Well, the following Sunday I was transferred to a different room with younger toddlers. The exact same thing happened to me there.

I know for a fact I had never seen the second boy. Apparently grandfather fixes work both ways. Some people need to have a grandfather figure in their life too.

They say we’re all built with a God-shaped hole in us that only God can fill. People try every sort of substitute only to be disappointed. Well, little kids need someone with skin on to fill in for God until they understand how to regain that all-important personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

It’s quite on honor to fill in for God at such a crucial part of a person’s development. I don’t take that lightly.

A third first surprised me to no end. Toward the end of the time together we go to a different room with other rooms of kiddos for story and singing time. It’s called JAM time. JAM stands for Jesus And Me. After then we come back to our room and play until the parents come to claim their toddler. No, we haven’t had one kiddo left unclaimed…yet.

Well, one Sunday I began stacking blocks…as usual. Laughter soon began as the blocks fell repeatedly. My arms were getting tired from trying to stay ahead of the falling.

Usually when the parents arrive the whole world stops and the little toddle legs carry that small person to the door as quickly as humanly possible…not this Sunday. This boy heard his dad’s voice and he started crying. I told you a toddler whisperer can’t possibly effectively whisper without cardboard blocks.

It made me wonder how many people are going to do that exact same thing when the rapture occurs. How many folks will be so caught up in their life on this planet that they don’t want to leave it?

Now me…I’ve experienced so much heart ache and loss I can’t wait to go Home to be with the Lord.

But, who among us will yearn for another month to complete that degree they worked so hard for? How much of a loss will somebody feel when they were so close to making their first million dollars? A woman held her purity til her marriage night only to be taken to heaven the day before her wedding. Will she regret her life here then?

Will there be crying while we’re being lifted off this planet because of unfulfilled dreams here?

I hope not, but I don’t know. I never thought I’d see a boy cry when his dad came to pick him up neither.

How about you? What will your attitude be when you hear that trumpet blast?

Are you so earthly minded that you’re no heavenly good?

Or, are you so working for the kingdom that you can’t wait for it to begin?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make money, or completing a degree or staying sexually pure. There’s everything right about those endeavors if you have God’s will for you in the front of your mind and heart.

Building a strong family is also important. But, if you’re doing it for your legacy on earth you’re missing the bigger and more important picture of everything.

If you look back and see your family wondering what happened to you as you ascend to heaven during the rapture you will be crying and regretting you missed it all.

It’s not too late to do the right thing.

Pray for wisdom and clarity about your daily life.

Ask God to become preeminent in all you think and do.

Focus on meeting His agenda in building His kingdom by leading your family and friends to Christ before it’s too late.

You won’t care how long your bucket list is when you see Jesus face to face.

I know I won’t anyway.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I Think My Identical Twin is Charlie Brown

I’ve heard it said that everybody has an identical twin somewhere in the world. The longer I live the more I’m convinced my twin’s name is Charlie Brown.

Apparently Charles Schultz watched my life story when he came up with the idea for this fictional character. If he didn’t he sure could have.

You remember Charlie’s friend Lucy? She’s the one who would hold her finger on a football and egg poor Charlie to kick the ball. Then Lucy would yank the ball away at the last second. Charlie was putting so much effort into kicking the ball as far as he could he always ended up on his back.

That’s been my business efforts thus far. I had one guy who was all gung ho about having me create a logo for his young business. He told me what he was looking for. Nothing too complicated for my simple mind to grasp. He offered to pay half up front. I told him to give me a couple of hours to see what I could come up with.

Two hours later I made what he was looking for. I felt good about finally getting this thing off the ground. I shot him an email with the logo attached…nothing. I called him…no answer. I messaged him through the link we met up with…still no response. I sent up a prayer. “Okay, God. Did you kill this guy off in those two hours I was working for him?”

A couple of months later I called again…he answered. He remembered me then said they decided to go a different direction. He didn’t even know the direction I was taking them in. So there I am lying on my back.

Charlie liked to fly kites for fun. The only problem was every time he sent a kite up it inevitably got caught up in a tree. I literally had this happen to me in college during spring break…but that’s another story.

That’s been my writing history. I have a few different books in various genres. I’ve spent several years going to conferences in many parts of the country looking for an agent or publisher who might be interested in what I wrote…cricket chirps is all I get.

So I decided to self publish with a company that gave me a great price to get it done…only to have them go out of business before they printed my copies I paid for. Pesky trees anyway.

Charles Schultz decided to give our friend a bit of a love interest eventually. Do you remember who it was? That red-headed girl was the only thing she was known as if my memory serves me right…which it sometimes does.

I have some advice for poor Charlie. Leave those red heads alone! Wife number one was one…she left after too many failed expectations and such. So I asked God to bring someone else along who He wants me with. You guessed it…another red-headed woman.

Just like our friend Charlie it takes alot of nerve for me to ask a lady out…especially when I’ve been rejected by the love of my life recently. Nothing like having someone rip a scab off a wound before it has time to completely heal.

The difference between Charlie Brown and me is that he’s a cartoon character. He never gets a chance to grow up and change. Me…I have no choice but to grow up and change.

The business is showing hopeful signs of taking flight. It might be as far as the Kitty Hawk’s first flight, but it will be positive progress. From there the sky’s the limit.

I have another self publishing company calling me about reprinting my 100 Prayers of a Writer book. They say they’re interested in showing it off at the world’s book fair or something like that. We’ll talk further about it Monday morning.

I was sent a lead for my middle-grade book, Eek’s Gifts. It’s a Christian publisher expanding into youth and children’s books. Oh yeah, I’m excited about this prospect.

As far as my love life is concerned…well, let’s just say I’m taking it easy for now. I kept berating myself for not talking to the red-head every Monday for too long. It sure looked like God was giving me indications He wants us together. I kept telling myself “if God wants us together it will happen. Just give it time.”

Well if God wants us together then He needs to let red know about His plan, too. Until then I’m waiting for God to send the next woman to rip that scab off. Ouch!

Seriously, I’m just doing the best I can to delight myself in the Lord. It’s up to Him to give me the desires He wants me to have.

I’m simply doing the best I can, one day at a time, to follow His leading.

That’s all He expects of any of us.

Let’s keep putting one foot in front of the other my friends…to the glory of God.

Keep smiling.   Wade

A Legend Went Home Last Month

Ray was introduced to me by Jim.

Jim was recently widowed. I knew him and his deceased wife from the adult fellowship I attend. He’s in his seventies.

Ray met Jim in another adult fellowship Jim had moved to try to move on from his loss. Ray was a diminutive gentle man in his nineties.

When the three of us went out to lunch together we spanned quite a few years…50’s, 70’s, and 90’s.

The common bond of Jesus drew us to Stonebriar Community Church. The fact we were all without our wives pulled us that much closer.

Jim faded from the scene as he struggled to fit in. I still see him from time to time.

Ray and I often sat next to each other during the second service. He would give me updates about the airplane he was building. I guess a little old guy needs something to pass the time of day with. He completed that project last fall.

Another mutual friend informed me Ray was in the hospital a couple of months ago. He recovered fine from that.

Since I’m volunteering with the toddlers during second service I hadn’t seen Ray in a while. The mutual friend told me last Sunday Ray went home to be with his Lord the previous week.

Two of his daughters were with him as he slipped into Glory. Ray opened his eyes wide right at the end. One of his daughters asked him what he was seeing. His arms lifted off the bed before his body went limp for the last time.

Ray was being escorted Home at last. I have no doubt he heard Jesus tell him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” the next second of his existence.

Ray served his Lord well as a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He was one of those gifted linguists that learned a native tribe’s language by living with them. Then he would develop an alphabet so he could invent a written language for these folks.

From there Ray translated the Bible into this new written word. Ray did this TWICE IN FORTY YEARS.

That’s when he became a legend in my mind.

The second time Ray had to buy a boat because that was the only way they could access the island those people lived on. Indonesia is like that.

With a lack of modern entertainment Ray could be found fixing something. That would endear him to the native folks. Eight children proved there were other means of entertainment that didn’t require modern conveniences.

Ray likely met some of the people who were introduced to Jesus from his work. I’m sure more will follow.

My writing might surpass Ray’s quantity of saved souls someday. Maybe not. That’s not really important.

God doesn’t keep score on such matters. He gives each of as an assignment to carry out.

Ray did the best he could to fulfill his mission. I must now give it my best, too…and so must you.

You probably won’t travel outside of the country you’re in now. I might not either. We don’t have to to be effective for God’s kingdom.

Do your best to touch the folks you come in contact with. Your neighbors may not see another Jesus in their lifetime.

They do know you’re a follower of Jesus Christ…don’t they?

If not then begin there. Live different from your culture if it doesn’t adhere to Jesus’s teachings. Don’t jamb Jesus down their throats. That isn’t very effective.

Show them the peace Jesus offers during your trials. They’ll come to you wanting to know your secret. I’ll give you a hint…Jesus shouldn’t be your secret. He needs to be made known for everyone who asks.

Sometimes translating the Bible doesn’t require a written language. Living it out is often more of a challenge, but that’s our assignment, my friend.

Let’s pray for each other to be better examples of Jesus.

I’ll see you later.   Wade