The First Week of 2018 was Eventful

2017 went out with a blast and 2018 came in with a blast of cold air plus some interesting things I never saw coming.

On New Years Eve I accepted a driving assignment to Corpus Christi, Texas. It began at 9:30 PM. That all seemed innocent enough and it was.

The tractor I was given was the first non-diesel fueled rig I had ever driven. It runs on compressed natural gas. They drive exactly the same from the driver’s seat but put out much less air pollution with somewhat less power.

By the time I picked up my load of mail I headed south. Since the tanks on the CNG rig are fairly small I had to find a special gas station for that specific fuel.

After I parked at the pump I called the dispatcher so he could walk me through connecting the right hose on the appropriate nozzle. Yeah, there’s more to it than simply pumping liquid into a tank.

The clock must have struck midnight while I was talking to dispatch because fireworks started going off all around me. It was that or a small war broke out. Fortunately it turned out to be fireworks.

Come to find out I had the wrong card to pay for fuel there so I had to drive to Waco and go through the steps all over again…this time without fanfare, just a fresh layer of ice on the ground.

The rest of the trip to Corpus went off without incident. So far so good.

After my ten hour law abiding layover I got the company car I was assigned to drive back to Dallas…no, I don’t know why I didn’t drive the big rig back. I just do what I’m told…or I do my best to do it at least.

Two things struck me as odd when I put my stuff in said car. One tire was soft and the gas gauge was on empty.

According to an app on my phone there was a truckstop less than fifteen miles away. I figured I could take care of both things at the same stop…at least that’s what I thought would happen.

The truckstop ended up being twenty three miles away. No problem, I made it there and gassed up after some cashier guided prompts to accept the card I had.

With a full tank of gas I knew I needed to drive to the diesel pumps for the air hose to fill up the soft tire before I drove home…yeah, right. That’s when things got interesting.

I started the car, put it in gear and began to drive away…then it stalled never to start again. Then all the lights on the fairly new truckstop went completely dark. Cue the Twilight Zone theme music.

To add to my dilemma the power outlet in the car didn’t work so I couldn’t charge my phone that was now on four percent battery life.

I knew I could call dispatch, but wasn’t sure how many more calls after that. Fortunately it made quite a few calls on one percent charge.

I noticed we had the first full moon of the year above me. The second full moon will be on the 31st of January. That makes it a blue moon. You know how often that happens…that’s right, once in a blue moon. Now you know where that phrase comes from.

Aren’t you glad you read this far so far?

The towtruck driver went past the dark truckstop before he found me just after eleven o’clock. Shortly after he parked in front of me he got out and introduced himself to me. Then all the lights at the truckstop came back on. Cue the Mission Impossible theme music.

Me and the car were taken back to the motel I started out at just before midnight so dispatch could decide what to do with both of us. I went back to the room I slept in before I left and went back to sleep. The car slept in the parking lot.

One dispatcher said the next driver was scheduled to head back that evening. It ended up being two o’clock Wednesday morning. I spent all day Tuesday at the motel looking for something to do.

I found it in one of my bags of stuff I need for traveling. Until Shiloh Comes is a book a writer friend sent me over two years ago. Apparently Shiloh had come at last so I could read the book, finally. I’m glad I did. A review will show up here soon.

When I opened my motel door at two o’clock the other driver was exiting his room across the hall from me. He said he slept about four hours. I knew I didn’t need much sleep before we left, but he did.

On one point I felt good knowing I wasn’t the only human who struggles with sleeping during the day. But then I sent up a prayer for him to stay awake to get us home in one piece. My prayer was answered in the affirmative, just barely.

We fueled up just past San Antonio. I found a comfortable position and slept through Austin, which as slow as Austin traffic normally is it’s no big deal…never mind.

As I was getting my bearings I realize why I woke up. The truck was making some familiar awkward movements from side to side. My chauffeur was fidgeting in his seat.

We made it to a rest area before he lost consciousness. Cue the lullaby music.

After the wheels on the truck were going round and round again my phone chirped. It was someone from a different temp agency. I filled out an application for them online before I left on this run. She asked if I could get to their office before three o’clock. I prayed that I could. That prayer was answered in the affirmative, just barely.

Once back in Dallas I filled in all the appropriate paperwork to get paid as much as I can for this fiasco of an assignment.

I drove home with enough time to change my clothes and check my mail, nothing more. Fortunately my next assignment paid for my meals for the next two and a half days.

Knowing what was coming I made sure I drank plenty of liquids on my drive to the new temp agency. After filling out more paperwork I went to give my specimen to see if I would pass my drug test. I prayed I would, especially since I didn’t have time to study.

That prayer was answered in the affirmative. I start on Monday with a company that will have direct deposit and insurance. I kicked myself for not switching sooner. It is what it is so I shall go on from here.

I prayed my next to last paycheck would arrive in the mail on Saturday. That prayer was answered in the negative.

You know who your true friends are by how they respond to your dire situation, not by how they treat you during the good times. I know I have at least one great friend. He knows who he is. Thank you.

Saturday was a good day of rest and exercise. Sunday showed some potentially interesting promise on another front in my life that I may share later.

Somehow this is all working together for God’s good in my life. I don’t need to make sense of it as it happens. I just need to keep trusting that God is in control of it all.

One step at a time is all He expects from me. That’s good, since that’s about all I can muster some days.

I pray you see God in every circumstance in your life, too.

That’s a prayer I hope He answers in the affirmative.

Keep smiling.   Wade

The Last Week of 2017 was Interesting

Here we are again. Another calendar needs to be replaced because it is all used up. I can relate. I just hope I’m not replaced, too.

My 2017 was filled with challenges, heartbreak and sadness balanced by laughter, creativity and friendship.

As I was seeing my rear view of the past twelve months slip away I began setting a new course 2018.

My business venture has been growing too much grass around its tires. It’s high time I took it out for a drive to see what it’ll do.

I plugged in a new item I invested in that will help local businesses with websites stay current with Google’s latest algorithm for being compliant, which means they’ll be happy to show folks to your website when they’re searching for what you have to offer.

I sent out some emails letting some businesses know what I have that will help them. The week between Christmas and New Years is probably the absolute worst time to do such a thing, but I feel like I need to do something different or I will go insane.

So far nobody has either read my emails, or they don’t believe I can help them.

I had Christmas Eve off to put the finishing touches on this program thing. Christmas Day I spent the afternoon with the Apainter Paul’s family. Some other friends from church stopped by. We played a fun game and visited. I had a blast.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday finding business owners who need what I have to help them with and sent them my brilliant email letting them know how much I’m trying to help them.

I went to bed Wednesday night knowing I had to drive the next two days delivering windows in west Texas.

As my body was winding down and relaxing my phone dinged.

I have a few friends in various parts of the world who prefer Facebook Messenger for contact. I’ve been waiting for my Kentucky friend to call and talk about the rough times she and her family are having. It wasn’t her.

It was my Ugangan daughter, Ruth. She’s in her early twenties and comes to me for advice occasionally. That’s why I consider her my ‘daughter.’

Her church spends three days in prayer and fasting for three days near the end of the year. She wanted to know how they could pray for me.

Not only is Ruth my unofficial unadopted daughter she’s my spiritual sister, too…and a prayer warrior. Yeah, she’s dangerous that way.

So here I am in this space between consciousness, unconsciousness and subconsciousness needing to come up with my most pressing desire for a group of prayer warriors to storm the throneroom of God on my behalf for from the other side of the world.

That’s a dangerous place to place a creative individual into.

In less than two minutes I texted her back that I want a breakthrough in my life in several areas. I mentioned that God knows the details and left it at that.

The next day I realized I came up with my word for 2018…breakthrough.

Every year for the past three or more New Year’s Eves I’ve wondered where I’ll be in twelve months. Every New Year’s Eve I’m still struggling in my old 700 square foot apartment with barely any money in the bank and Clifford, the big red van, is another year older.

My love life has been struggling to find a new breath of fresh air.

My driving job is becoming more of a challenge than I wish it was.

My writing has been stalled on many fronts for quite a while now.

On a good note my walk with God has never been stronger. Struggling should do that for folks but not if you feel God has to “bless” you if you’re His child.

God is blessing me, just not in the traditional way of most people’s definition of blessing. I appreciate His way of looking at things better now.

I’ll let y’all know that there’s a movement underfoot that will likely get things moving in a positive direction for most, if not all, fronts in my life.

I’ll still have to drive through the night sometimes. Hopefully not many more times. I think a new company name will be appearing on my paychecks soon. Please pray for guidance for me there.

There’s been a possible first contact with a lady friend that could lead somewhere. Perhaps just a better friendship, maybe more. Pray for God’s will there.

The writing is bound to move at some time. The illustrator for the storybook app has been under attack lately again. Prayers for God’s intervention for Dyann and her family are greatly appreciated.

It has always appeared that things are in place for my breakthrough to occur for quite awhile now. With enough folks praying for such to happen for me in 2018 I think this might be the year I stop being so invisible.

It’s not that I want to be famous. I’m too comfortable being invisible. God needs folks to know who I am so they’ll listen to me, read my stuff and hear about His Son Jesus to further his kingdom, not mine.

That’s the cross I’m called to bear for Him in the next phase of my life.

That’s what I get for praying for Him to use me anyway He wants to.

I pray you stretch out of your comfort zone to be better used by God this year, too.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

My Month as Santa’s Helper

December 2017 will go down as the month I got to live out a life goal. I spent this past month helping Santa deliver cards, letters and packages between Dallas and Lubbock. So, I guess I can check this off my bucket list.

As of the writing of this post I still have a week to go, but since I can’t think of anything else to write I’ll give you a glimpse of what I experienced.

Since every drive has been done during daylight hours, 90% of the time anyway, I think I’m getting back into a normal sleep pattern. That means I’m becoming normal again.

I remember telling folks when I was a teenager that I never wanted to be considered normal. Now it feels good to be able to say I’m getting back there.

Anybody who knows me will be glad to hear I don’t expect to stay anywhere close to normal for long. I’ll be Wade again before you know it.

It took half a month to get my budget caught up to the comfortable level, but it’s there. Now let’s see how long it stays there.

It does feel good to be able to give some money to an orphanage in Uganda and pay for a family’s lunch after church yesterday.

I truly do enjoy being generous. I don’t know why God won’t keep me at a level where I can maintain this giving lifestyle.

As far as wildlife goes I’ve seen starlings, grackles, crows, ravens, black vultures, turkey vultures and turkey turkeys…an ascending size for black birds.

One of the tom turkeys was even strutting to get the attention of one of his hen friends. I guess he wanted his friend with a benefit or something.

White tail deer are out this time of year. The bucks are still sporting their antlers. There was one nice 8 point buck with a harem of does. I think he thinks he’s a elk or something. He definitely had things going his way that day.

Some critters bring a song to my mind, not always a song I want stuck in my mind either.

Prairie dogs always make me think of the movie Caddy Shack. “I’m all right” pops into my mind when I see them out eating whatever they eat.

Road runners have the same effect on me. You can tell how old I am when that theme song starts running through my mind when I spot one of them.

Meadow larks are in abundance along my route. No, the Globetrotter song doesn’t pop into my mind when I see them. I guess Meadowlark Lemon wasn’t as much of an influence on me as a cartoon bird.

I saw a covey of quail one day. Unfortunately two of them got too far out into the road as I spooked them up. I hope the one survived. The one that hit between my side mirror and driver’s door got the crap scared out of him in the least. That’s the smudge that was left on the window as a reminder of our encounter.

I’ll never forget the horses I saw running one day. There’s a ranch that raises them. As I drove by last Wednesday there was a field of them running somewhere. That was a glorious sight to behold. I wished I had my phone/camera/video thingy running to record that event, but, alas. I only have that recollection in my noggin.

Just think of dozens of horses running just for the joy of running. What brings God’s joy to you?

Taking the northern route to Lubbock brings me through some fabulous canyons. My favorite rest stop has a red dirt canyon on both sides of the road. I feel like I landed on Mars when I stop there, which I do as often as possible.

The spot is called the narrows because the canyon on the north side of the road eventually empties into the Mississippi River. The canyon on the south side of the road drains into the Gulf of Mexico. That’s what the plaque at the rest stop says.

Indians have been using the same trail for centuries before TX-114 was built.

I fully expected to experience some bad winter weather this month. So far the roads have been dry.

There was an ice storm scare for the second week. Fortunately it stayed south of my route. I hope the last three trips are as event free.

The window company needs me the two weeks after Christmas and New Years Day. After that I’m back to waiting for the phone to ring for my next job assignment.

I know God knows what’s in store for me then.

He hasn’t let me down yet. I’m sure He won’t start now.

Stay safe out there my friend.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I lived out a dream last week

Have you ever had one of those dreams you wish you never had? You know what I mean…someone is chasing you and you can’t move your legs…or a T-Rex is about to eat you alive. Yeah, you want to erase it from your memory but you can’t.

Being poor has it’s pitfalls. Driving an old vehicle has challenges of another level.

Last Thursday I checked my tires before I left work. I often do this after driving on a flat tire several years ago and ruining it.

Sure enough the back right tire was low. Since I was at work there was a shop with mechanics around to fix company trucks and trailers.

I decided to drive around and simply air up said low tire so I could drive home.

I quickly discovered an air hose outside the shop ready for drivers to use. Great, something finally goes right in my life…I thought.

Some air went in my tire for about two seconds then stopped. I stuck my head inside and got the attention of a mechanic. They assured me the air was on.

I walked back out and finished airing up my low tire with no explanation of why it stopped initially.

I did find a small nail in the tread so I decided to finally use that extra thing I bought when I purchased those tires where the nice guys at the tire shop will fix that type of thing for free for me.

I decided to drive about half way home before I found the same tire shop franchise I bought my now injured tire from just to be in a safer neighborhood.

I drove into the shop’s lot about 4:30. The guy I talked to came out and checked the tread depth on said tire.

“You’re in luck. You have 3/32nds on this tire. Any lower and we couldn’t do anything for you. I’ll have one of the guys right on it.”

We went in and checked my account. He continued his conversation. “You have 62,000 miles on those 50,000 mile warranty tires.”

I knew it had been a while since I bought them. I had no idea it was that long ago. Good thing I drive carefully.

A few minutes later one of the technicians drove Clifford, the big red van, into the shop.

I sat down and read a newspaper article about the fuss made when the President said Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And here I thought that was established back in 1948.

Soon another behind the counter guy got my attention. “I have bad news…we found two nails right next to each other in that tire. I don’t know how that happened but we can’t patch that. Besides, there isn’t enough tread left on that tire for us to work on it anyway.”

I explained that the first guy said there was just enough tread…and why wouldn’t one patch cover both nail holes?

“It’s not our call. There’s a something from some agency stopping us from doing anything in this instance.”

Obviously I didn’t understand what exactly was going on here.

I came up with what I thought would be a good solution to get me back on the road. “Can you put my spare tire on for me?”

“Yeah, we can do that.”

I watched the techs lower my spare…but them they put it back in place without replacing the nailed tire.

The second behind the counter guy sheepishly came back to me ready to duck behind the counter if the blood vessels in my neck rose back up, I guess.

“We can’t use that spare. It’s dated 2006. We can’t install any tire over ten years old. There’s too much of a chance it will blow out.”

I didn’t even know there was a date on a tire. I just wanted to beat the rush-hour traffic, but I knew that was too late already.

Since I didn’t have enough money for even a used “new” spare they filled the tire with extra air and sent me on my way at 5:30. The half hour drive home took another hour.

I couldn’t put into words what I felt while it occurred, but I figured it out later.

I felt like I was in a dream but I knew it was only going to get worse and I was already awake.

I got home 1 1/2 hours later than I could have with an additional nail in my tire than I thought I left work with.

Oh yeah, some days are just like that for me.

Now I make sure that tire is parked with the nails on the bottom so it leaks more slowly…or less fastly anyway.

I haven’t worried much since then since that day had enough trouble for over a week. Isn’t that the point Jesus made to His followers. It works for me.

I don’t listen to the radio much these days. I turned it on to hear a song with the exact message for me.

“This world is not my home. I don’t belong here.”

I’m so glad there’s coming a time where nothing wears out, time doesn’t matter and worries are a thing of the past.

Until then I’ll just keep carrying the cross designated for me…even if that means putting up with little nails and senseless regulations.

Keep smiling.   Wade

The Holidays are Hard

A writer’s life is fraught with challenges. Like properly using the word fraught in a sentence to lead off a blog post.

If God chooses you to write for His glory don’t expect an easy life.

If your life was cozy before your call it will be turned upside down after your call.

The reason for this is because you need to experience many aspects of life in order to write about them.

Here are just a few examples from my own life.

While I was going through my divorce I realized I experienced rejection on par with what God feels when someone rejects His gift of salvation. He grieves over that.

The unexpected loss of a job will test your resolve and prove where your trust is. I leaned heavily on God at that time. Answers didn’t come, but my faith grew.

I observe things differently than I did before. While I’m helping care for toddlers on Sunday mornings I see how they respond and how we all react to life similarly.

The reason I bring this topic up now is that I find myself in a funk.

I’ve been through funks before, especially while living through those extremely long winters in Michigan growing up.

Some holiday seasons are more difficult than others.

This year’s season is proving a challenge so far and we’ve only gone through Thanksgiving.

Part of my challenge is a personal setback in the romance department.

By taking the chance of reaching out to a certain woman I seem to have totally blown it to the point that she unfriended me on Facebook and does her best to avoid contact with me even when we’re in the same room.

It’s not that we were very close before this, but these barricades are too reminiscent of my pre-divorce experience.

Oh how I wish life came with a ‘do over’ button.

I’ve used the phase “I’m by myself a lot, but I’m never alone.”

It refers to the fact that Jesus is always with me, even when nobody is around.

To be totally honest with y’all…I’m getting tired of using that line in my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with God through Jesus Christ for any woman on this earth.

It’s just that I really would like someone with skin on to share my life with.

Even God said it isn’t good for a man to be alone. So why am I still in His waiting room this time?

Going back to my writing life needing experiences to draw from I see something playing out here for me.

Being born the middle of seven children I never experienced being an orphan before now.

Both of my parents are dead. My wife left me. We never had children. All of my siblings live over 1,000 miles away.

I have some good friends but apparently no great friend I can turn to at the drop of a hat.

I never expected this, but it’s here.

There are folks at church I talk to. That’s been enough.

I have one friend I share a meal with occasionally. Those times are precious to me.

I work with another friend sometimes. This month I’ll be driving too steady for that to continue.

This has all led to my current funk and hopefully a divine writing prompt.

I’ve received story ideas, poems and song lyrics while driving.

I have good drive time this month to let my mind wonder and be open to the Spirit’s leading for any of the above to occur.

I’m reaching out asking for prayers to make this funk a fruitful experience for me.

Nothing better than a funky fruit to set a guy’s attitude right side up again.

I know all of this is going to work for good to make me more like Christ.

He knew personal betrayal, abandonment and rejection firsthand, too.

He even anguished over being separated from His Father for a time.

I guess He experienced a divine funk for me and you.

Jesus was the divine orphan for three days so we can be adopted into God’s family.

He overcame and conquered. He’ll help me do the same, especially with the prayer support of my spiritual siblings here.

Thank you in advance for lifting me up in prayer.

And thank you for letting me open my heart and bleed on my blog here.

It’s good therapy for a writer.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

December 1, 2017 Newsletter/blog post

Hey y’all.

Yeah, it’s that time of crazy time of year for me, too…even though there’s just one of me.

I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my regular blog schedule. It’s kinda hard to think of something to write when you don’t have time to even think, let alone think of anything to blog about, or there’s too much to blog about that I don’t have time to do it right. Right?

It’s okay. I just took a deep breath. I’m good for now.

How’s that saying go? “The more things change the more things stay the same.”

Yeah, I have that hamster on the spinning wheel thing going on…or maybe it’s that one step forward two steps back phenomenon.

All I know for sure is I’m still driving my life away…and not necessarily in the fast lane, if you catch my drift. On second thought, don’t drive next to me or I just might drift into your vehicle. Yeah, that’s definitely bad luck…for both of us me thinks.

Whew! I just had a bad flashback. Let’s move on.

On the good news front I have a set schedule dedicated route that will take me up to Christmas. I get to help Santa deliver packages and letters between Dallas and Lubbock.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I drive to Lubbock. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I drive back home with a night in a nice motel in Lubbock to sleep in.

And guess what…over 90% of the driving is during daylight hours. If I was up to it I’d do a backflip or something to celebrate no through the night drives for four weeks in a row. I might start to remember what it’s like to be like normal folks again.

Do y’all know what you’re missing by not being on the roads at two o’clock in the morning? You’re right…not much.

And even better yet…I found a shortcut that’s mostly in the country. I can let my mind wonder and not worry about it ever coming back again.

If my ship comes in during the month of December this will be what I’d like to retire from driving with.

With my track record I’ll still be stuck in a truck stop when my ship comes in. All right, I just slapped myself hard for that one.

Rumors have it those folks who were interested in buying the Webster family farm on November first are back after a death in their family. We’re not holding our breath on anything. Just waiting for them to show us the money and sign on the dotted line.

I received an email from the nice folks at The Upper Room Devotional. They’re going to publish one of the devo’s I wrote next December. And they want to actually pay me for it!

I just pinched myself. Ouch! That smarts…even thought it’s not too smart.

No, $30 doesn’t count as a boat making landfall, but it’s heading in the right direction for a change.

Speaking of ships…keep praying Noah’s ark sails again. I can hear the herd approaching. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.

The sails on my business venture just might be catching a breeze soon. I have a mobile app I’ve been wanting to make for a nonprofit organization coming close to becoming a reality. I’m doing it for free for them, but it should get the word out about what I’m trying to do. I consider it a first fruits offering to God. Prayers appreciated.

I may have come across something else that will help small business owners keep in front of some of Google’s changes that are being implemented as we speak…even though I’m typing this and you’re reading it separately.

You know what I mean…I hope.

Okay…I can’t think of nothing else happening in my dull life for now so I’ll go back to keeping my wheel spinning…or the 18 wheels going round and round, or something maybe.

If you’re living vicariously through me you can go back to your wheel spinning, too.

Keep smiling.   Wade

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