Life Was SO Much Simpler

Life was so much simpler – when we were less informed.

With the advent of social media and electronic delivery of news, we are instantly aware of things that would have taken hours, days or even months to filter down to us. Life (as we used to know it) moved at a slower and happier pace. Reaction times to news or events barely crawled along. We had to roll out the morning paper or listen to morning radio or TV to hear about national or world events. Things took time to soak in. Once things were known interactions between people happened face to face or voice to voice. Discussions were had around the water cooler or in the break room. We interacted with one another on a person to person level. We were a much more tolerable people because of that. Interactions with friends, co-workers or relatives included every other aspect of life, and not just about the most recent political scandal or salacious affair in Hollywood. We were rounded in our dialogue.

Today the war of words is hateful, spiteful and full of half-truth and innuendo. No longer do we spar or duke things out with multiple rounds to determine the clear winner. Both parties of any argument people now go for the jugular within seconds. We don’t talk things out with honest conversation or debate. We pass judgment immediately based on “clear” lines of distinction. Those differences are usually spelled out with two simple letters – D or R. If you are a D you are labeled immediately as a wacko left-wing commie radical with not an ounce of patriotism in your body. If you find yourself with an R next to your name you are branded as a right-wing extremist bible-thumping gun-toting intolerant hater who thinks refugees should be pushed off of the boat.

In the real world both sides have a handful of people that go to the extreme in their views (left or right). But for the most part our society has a mix of ideas and values that make us land somewhere  between those two dreaded letters. A distinct problem with social media (and instant messaging) is the fact that whoever is the quickest, sharpest and craftiest deliver a stinging message that’s portrayed as pure and honest fact.  The ones who get the most attention are those who yell a quick unverified half-truth, peppered with underlying deceit and deception.

Political correctness has gone amuck. If you dare say anything about race, religion, national origin, sexual preference, or anything that is a social hot point you risk your fortune in a matter of hours. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true or moral. It only matters that you have no right to inject your belief system, especially if it steps on toes of any special interest group. And those “special” groups garner less than 5% of our entire people group.

I consider myself a technical progressive. And that’s a feat for someone my age (early sixties). Many of my peers have only given up their flip phones after the carrier no longer supported their dated technology. I am all for the latest and greatest wireless remote applications that automate everything. I’m waiting for the day that an app can buy, season, cook, and hand feed my food to me (that day is coming!).

But how can we roll back the information age to a saner, kinder and gentler time?

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Scabs and Scars

I’ve personally been met with obstacles and challenges in my life that left me battered, bruised and broken. I bear scars of failure and defeat. Some wounds have been deep and lasting. Some battles I’ve faced seemed to have lasted for a lifetime. Then there are are those really tough events that defined my life, at least for a time.

The human condition gives us all episodes of life where we get punched and slapped and knocked down. It’s just life. Some battles leave you with evidences of your survival. Some skirmishes can leave you with nasty little scabs. Then there are those events that leave indelible marks on your life. Those seem to stay with you. Scars left behind can be reminders of failure and brokenness.

A few years ago I was at crossroads in my life. Failure and despair seemed to haunt me. That thinking seemed to be a new norm for me. I decided one day that I was far better at failure than I was at winning. Let me tell you, that is not a place you want to be. That feeling takes you captive and makes you its slave. It seems there is no escape from that dungeon.

But then I found some really wise counsel, from some very honest and godly men. They didn’t ridicule me, they didn’t shun me. They didn’t try to figure it all out for me. They came along side me in my pain. They prayed with and for me. They hounded me with compassion and care, in an humble yet strong kind of way.

It was a rather odd and new time for me. Men were taught to suck it up, take it on the chin and just deal with it. Don’t show your weakness, don’t display your pain. And whatever you do, do  not tell any other man your weaknesses or failures. If you do, your man card is cancelled permanently. Does anyone know who wrote those rules?

I can honestly say, at this point in my life, that I wear my scars as badges of honor. I know I am a survivor of the rarest kind. I’ve been in the trenches of life and am still here to tell of them. I have a marriage that has stood the test of time. I have folks around me that I’d willingly give it all up for. I’ve seen ugliness and pain yet I smile in spite of it all.

There’s nothing special or gifted about me, yet I’ve found the secret to success in life. It is not about reaching some pinnacle of fame or fortune, or reaching some lofty goal or getting some large reward.

I’ve learned to simply rest in what my God has shown me, in my pain. He’s a trustworthy teacher that takes you to the highest of places of submission and tests you to see if you really do trust him. When I’m shaken and thrown down I know that He still loves and cares about me, especially in my pain. It must seem odd to those around me, but I’ve been blessed beyond measure in some of the darkest places in life. Yet God is good. All the time.

 

State Of The GOP – Part 2

Well time moves on and the race for power and control continues to take the normal twists and turns. Super PACS and media gurus work separately and sometimes in unison to promote the current new favorite darling candidate, regardless of who the base of the party really favors. They try and tell us who we favor, but truth be known we have much different ideas that the candidate of the month club.

Debates continue and they also continue to be a manipulative machine favoring and giving time and credence to candidates who are doing the best in the “so called” polls. Media and money favored candidates are given the most air time for questions. Some candidates are down-right ignored in favor of the ones who might cause the most stir. And the pitting of the candidates continues with the crafty questions and directed rebuttals. People like Ben Carson are basically ignored in favor of higher profile personalities. So the beat goes on.

It seems incredible to me that some would-be presidential candidates hang on for so long when in actual comparison (face to face exchanges) they just don’t do well or perform as hoped. Yet they keep spending money like there is no tomorrow. But I guess it is normally other people’s money from their particular special interest groups that are the promotors and pushing them.

Hopefully the issues of the day are bringing all of us to the place where we ponder the questions like, who do I really trust and respect to hold the highest office the land of all lands? We must start drawing our conclusions and distinctions. It’s time to draw the lines of importance. We must decide who we think is a true and faithful patriot that we can trust our destiny with. Who is it that can muster a nation behind him or herself and lead us to higher ground? Who will honestly and faithfully uphold the constitution of our land? Who best suits the fact that their life will never be the same again and who can  also make us proud to be Americans, again?

Pundits abound. Crazy statements are thrown around like cheap candy in a parade. Shocking truths (and half truths) abound. Truth is hard to find. When truth is spoken it is spun into anything but the truth.

We have some tough days ahead of us. With every passing day we see events that undermine our freedoms and give us concern about our common goals of freedom. The current leadership seems to think they are the supreme and ultimate decision makers for us all. Soon, and very soon, we will see a change as we gain control once again of our constitutional republic. We’ve witnessed historic flagrant abuses of power, but that will end. The winds of change will once again bring us back to the middle.

America has had enough and together we will heartily and loudly restore our republic soon. Sensibilities will prevail and we will again enjoy a sense of comradery, pride and peace as we move our values back to a place of goodwill and statesmanship.

Remiss in Writing. But time for new life.

I’ve been remiss in my writing and posting lately. Many different things jockey for our time. Most of them are worthy things that occupy my time. But there should always be a time to stop and think and reflect and record what’s going on.

I’ve met a ton of people in my life. Growing up I was not as outgoing as you’d think I might have been if you know me now. I guess I had the complex of being the heavy kid. And heavy or fat kids don’t get the greatest of respect at times. So the tendency is to take the back seat and stay in the background as the rest of the pack excels in relationships and life in general can be the norm. Yet even us fat kids were quietly building our lives, even if nobody even realized or cared.

Fast forward to now and I think I’m pretty self assured, even though I am still the “big” guy in the pack. As aging has set in I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter what I look like or how fat I might be. I’ve decided to be a friend even to those I might not know. That doesn’t always work out, but I try and find things in others to talk to them about and find out details of their lives and the things that makes them tick. I’ve found that I find joy in learning of other’s experiences. I try and encourage others on their journey. Life is fleeting and we don’t have a ton of time to live our lives to the full.

I get reflective at times. For some reason the changing of the seasons has a tendency to fuel thoughts. As the natural order of the plant world changes from life to death to life again, so our lives take on the same form. Spring has sprung and death becomes alive again. Former living things that were brown and wilted and gone, are now sprouting forth with tender and green vegetation.  The air is full of fresh air as the plants take a poison gas (carbon monoxide) and turn it into life giving air for all of human kind.

Go and enjoy and soak up God’s creation and be thankful for new life. It is all around us this time of year!

The state of America…a sad social commentary

 

This is a social commentary. If you’re not the type that weighs out information completely before passing judgment, then you should move on, as I will be straightforward and honest and truthful here. 

Up front I’m telling you I’m an old school thinker. I’m from a generation and time that still understands and adheres to absolute truth. By absolute I mean there are (were) truths in our society at one time that were either good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. Today those historically accepted truths and moral edicts are not only frowned upon as being outdated and arcane, but anyone who accepts, promotes or even condones such traditional truths are labeled as haters and looked upon as prejudiced fools. For new generation thinkers this is one of their absolute truths (go figure?)

 

In the “new age” we find people who no longer look for truth because they don’t even have a definition of truth. And even if they will discuss with you what truth really is, that can change from day to day.  Mainline thinkers nowadays are only looking for supposed happiness. And that quest for personal happiness requires no morays or absolutes. Personal happiness is now defined as anything someone wants or likes to do and brings personal satisfaction. And that satisfaction comes regardless of how absurd or strange an activity or thought might seem to the general population. Those new ideas and activities that promise happiness have no real limits whatsoever in the new society and new world order. To be held back from, or asked to refrain from, something that might seem odd, strange, immoral or wrong is considered wrong in itself (another new absolute?). 

 

“New” thinking REQUIRES (even by law) that our general population accept activities and lifestyles that are contrary to traditional truth, and even contrary to previously accepted religious belief(s). From my own childhood education about democracy, I had one overriding takeaway – We are free to do whatever we want to do UNLESS it impinges or overrides or infringes on someone else’s personal liberty or rights. As a so called “free people” I find it hard to believe that we’ve allowed ourselves to be backed into this corner accepting things (even by law) that override our own personal liberties and personal religious values. This is not what our founders had in mind when they gave us the framework for freedom. As reminder here, one of the things that the new America was attempting to escape was religious intolerance and even oppression from the church of England. 

So America has evolved into a new “demanded tolerance” by the our new national religion. It’s called “secular humanism”.  Theologically secular humanists are actually atheists. But they will deny that and at the same time tell you that the idea of a controlling all powerful deity is absurdity. Absence of a belief in God is “a”theist –  or no god. We can be told this, but with the reasoning mind that our creator gave us, we cannot be fooled.     

I heard a news story recently about a judge in one of the Carolina states who’d been on the bench for 24+ years. He was being required by a new state law to perform marriages for gay and lesbian couples. He refused to do that based on his moral religious values. He’s stepping down from his bench because he refuses to violate his own personal and religious conviction. He was told by a state legislator that all he had to do was simply “accept what the law had now deemed as normal and just do his job”. He scoffed at that admonition. He will undoubtedly be replaced with someone who has no moral conviction.

And now am elected Kentucky County Clerk refuses to issue marriage licences to same sex applicants based on her own Christian convictions . And what did a Federal judge do? He sent her to jail for contempt of court and will not release her until she relents.  

So the next time you hear someone say that America is treading on a slippery slope they are a little slow in their thinking. We’ve actually already slid all the way down into the muck and mire of darkness. But be careful. If you offer a hope of escape you will most likely be labeled, branded, scorned and ridiculed endlessly for being out of touch and lacking compassion and a hater.

I’ve known the words to the song below from my childhood and have it pretty much memorized all the way through.

Here goes….
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.   – Edward Mote 1834
I take comfort, that one day truth WILL prevail as we see the hand of God righteously tear this house down and send us our righteous King Jesus to take His earthly throne.

The Powerful Names of God

 

Most Wednesdays I post to a private FB group of guys I’m part of. I summarize what I’ve gleaned from a weekly video series. The past 6 weeks or so our study has been on the Power of God’s Names by Tony Evan. There are over 80 recorded names for God. In this study we covered the names we hear the most, like Jehovah, Elohim and Jireh and several more. The Final word of the study was the name Emmanuel. Besides the name Jehovah, Emmanuel is the most recognizable name, since it is used a lot at Christmas in verse and song.     

 

The names of God reveal to us the many different attributes of God. Like Mighty Warrior, Everlasting Father, Healer, Redeemer, and the list goes from there. Emmanuel- means “God with Us”.  The “with us” refers to Jesus, the Christ. Each and every name for God is replicated in the person of Jesus. HE embodies each one of the names and attributes fully. He was fully God and also fully man. That’s one of the mysteries of the triune God. God is One in three and three in One. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Whatever we need or desire from God they are all embodied and avail in the God/Man Jesus.  

Philippians 2:5-11 is one of my favorite passages in the New Testament. It sums up Jesus Christ very well.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

If you desire anything from God you will find it available to you in his son Jesus. It is not rocket science or brain surgery, but it will send you to heaven and will give your brain the ability for correct thinking. That will lead to a life filled with goodness and wonder. It is very complex in nature and scope byt that’s God’s business. But very simple to claim him as your own. That’s our business.

                                                         
The message in Philippians 2:6-11 has blessed me for 44+ years.

Trying to Understand the Liberal View

I’m trying to understand!
My upbringing in Dallas, Texas was smack dab in the middle of the so-called bible belt of the United States. The Bible belt was and is a microcosm with a diverse mix of cultural values that have been embraced for a number of generations in the south.
My wonderful parents instilled in me a basic understanding of right and wrong. Also instilled in me was a basic respect for authority at every level. I knew instinctively that I would always be subservient to someone, and many times that would be applied to my relationship with an employer or other authority over me that controlled some part of my life. I would be lying if I didn’t say some of the required submission to authority didn’t stick well in my craw and I mumbled about it every chance I could, at times. But the facts remain that I was and still am subject to the authority of greater powers than myself.

 

I think about a lot of different issues just in the course of any day. During our most recent election cycle I was deep in the mire of keeping abreast of every event or newsworthy tidbit related to the election. I listened to a lot of facts about both sides and sifted through the facts and disseminated fact from fiction the best I could, and as carefully as I could.

Although the candidate on the “right” side of the debate was not my first choice, I resigned myself to the realization that he was the better choice of the candidates we were given to vote for. My guy was not as conservative as I would have liked him to be, but he had faith and family values and virtues that I admire and embrace in my own life. But the rest is now history and we know the outcome didn’t appease the conservative voting block of the nation, of which I count myself a part of.

As I’ve surveyed what’s happened in the past few years I’ve learned some invaluable lessons that I didn’t think I would ever be faced to learn. Like the fact that our society has changed. And in my own opinion these changes have happened in rapid succession in recent history, perhaps over the past 10 years. Having lived through the many changes of the 1960’s and the social revolution that took place then, I compare what’s happened in the past several years to the 60’s in some ways, yet in a deeper more drastic and dramatic way.

Until the past decade I didn’t really think of myself as a true conservative, until I realized what a large difference there is in my own values contrasted to the “new” way of thinking about everything. And, dang it, I find myself really as far right as you might be able to swing. This thinking is really deep seated and very dogmatic.

I’ve tried to think about and embrace, in some way, the thinking of those who have turned the apple cart up on its side to include morality, trustworthiness, and the overall view of fiscal matters at every level. I know that in every generation some of the accepted practices and beliefs are altered, toned down or even flat ignored and changed. Some of this is a generational cycle that bucks the norm, but at some point that pendulum swings back in the other direction, at least to some degree.

But from what I’ve observed (and this is open to debate) I think our society has been and continues to make significant changes to what I call the “liberal way”. What troubles me greatly is the fact that there no longer appears to be middle ground. No serious debate occurs between both sides with any negotiable outcome, left or right. It seems that when the majority view (or voting block) leans to the left, there is a complete and utter ignoring of any alternative view or proposition toward the right. In previous generations this was called “stonewalling”. But stonewalling happened so as to prove a point, so that middle ground could be achieved.

The atmosphere of our current age (liberalism) is that “they” will change things to “their” way of thinking and will not compromise or take any part in the “right’s” positions or view. They will not even consider them, whatsoever. If this is really true, we have a serious problem in our society that is not easily remedied. From the view of the right, it appears that we are on a collision course and even though every red flag, bell, whistle or other warning signal is being used, the course of our destinies will not be changed. It is utterly and ignorance of truth.

That is what I see. I would hope that this is only my view of things, but I’m afraid that we are perilously close to a full collapse in our society on every level. Unless the powers in control do not come to some place of discussion and serious debate and concession we will be forced to take a road that will not be a fun or smooth ride. Considering the great and many strides we’ve made as a people in every form of our society might be greatly diminished or destroyed. What Americans love and expect could be gone.

Think through and decide you own convictions. Give future generations a chance to carry on our precious liberties. Speak the truth to those you know and car about. Stand up and be counted. Vote in every election and vote for people who share your values and convictions. Don’t waiver and give up. Stand strong and be counted.

On the Precipice of Change –

On the Precipice of Change
     As we ponder our future this week we try and envision what our world might look like 6 months from now and beyond, we can’t help but think back about when life was more idyllic. When we were a people of wonder and hope and had dreams for our kids and grandkids that surpassed our own lives growing up in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s.
     As a free people we just hope in the vision of a future that is bigger and better that that of previous times. I’ve personally witnessed an erosion of the American dream in the past number of years as society has changed and watched as values have changed. Change is always a needed thing if we are to be innovators and idea people, but some of the changes that have taken place have taken a toll on those of us who baby boomers as we’ve watched with interest in how American business has evolved into a purely profit machine that could care less in the people who make it happen, namely it’s workforce.
    How many people do you know who have had a diminished standard of living in the past 10 years? Who is it in your family that has experienced being “down sized” without a job and left to fend for themselves in a sour economy? We all know someone whose had to deal with aging and at the same time see whatever nest egg they had evaporate just trying to keep the lights on. And the back side of that is that they there has been no “light at the end of the tunnel” in many respects.
    As Americans we have a proud heritage of independence and resolve. We’ve always taken the lemons we’ve been given and made not only lemonade, but we’ve taken those sour fruits and made things like Super Duper Frothy Delicious Lemon Fruit Ta-Ta or some similar concoction. That’s just who we are as a people. We are innovators and entrepreneurs at our core. That’s why we’ve been the best at what we do. We know what’s good and what works.  That’s why immigrants flock here, isn’t it. They want a piece of the large wonderful pie that we call America. Can’t blame them, can you?
    I am hoping for change. And the change I’m hoping for is that we can once again be released as a people to innovate once again. That through collective creative genius we can unleash Americans to re-build America. And when we do that we all get a piece of the action.
    So as we look forward, I hope that we all realize that we really can re-fire the engines of America. If we as a people will untie the hands of business and let capitalism and innovation do what it does best, we will see a spirit of cooperation and excitement that we’ve not experienced in a long time. Don’t you think it’s high time we got back to the American we all knew and loved? Wouldn’t you like to be excited again about the future our great nation? America has been asleep, not dead. It’s been imprisoned, but not with a life sentence.
It is my earnest hope and prayer that life will once again resemble the America I once knew. And I hope that starts before it is too late to change.

November 2nd, 1973

The day it all began for us
Today we celebrate 38 years of marriage.  Wow, has time flown! Seems like only a couple of months ago that we celebrated 25 years.
We were so young and innocent. But that’s not so bad. We, together, lost our innocence as life happened. And boy did it happen. I could dwell for hours tell about what we’ve “gone through” together. Admittedly, life was tough for way too many years. But life has a way of being that way. Some parts of our lives are brought about by choices we make. Others might be “chance” or “circumstance”. Or are they really?
Details are not important, but the big picture is important. The woman that God brought into my life and the person she was and is today is the important part of the big picture. She is my rock and my joy at the end of the day, everyday. She deserves much more than I’ve been able to provide her. She is my crown and my joy. She is a Proverbs 31 woman. (look it up).
When we joined our hearts and lives together  (even at our teen ages!) we made the commitment to each other that the “D” word would never be in our vocabulary. We were and still are committed to each other. All in. Sewed up. Sealed and delivered. Anything other than a complete life together would never be acceptable. …for better or for worse.
Having said that, there have been issues and events in our 38 years that have tried desperately to destroy us and the life we have. But the commitment we made and the love that we share transcend “issues” , “challenges” and time.  I must tell you that the basis of our love and commitment began on the foundation of commitment to our faith in God. He has been the one that has given us everything we have together. And that list is a long one.
Somewhere along the way we picked up 3 munchkins. What can you really say about your children in a public forum? I will attempt it since I am not ashamed. And the reason is because what I tell you about each of them is a good story. They are each one in their own ways, amazing adults full of faith, creativity and joyous life. We cherish each one. They have been a cosmic glue that God gave to help hold us all altogether. And to add joy to fullness, we have a daughter-in-law and son-in-law that we adore and consider them our own.
Now for some icing on this cake. Grandkids!!! Our quiver of  blessing grew this summer  with the addition of 2 little princesses. Verbal explanation about what these little girls mean to me (us) cannot expressed. All I can say is “wow” I (we) love these little gifts from heaven.
Life’s road has leveled out for us a bit. There are still bumps in the lane, but we take them as they come. Surely there will be more obstacles as we grow old, but we’ll take each day  we have and attempt to live our lives “to the full”.  We laugh a lot now. And when we do cry, they are worthy tears.    
So for those of you who are not yet married, don’t fall prey to society telling you it doesn’t work. And when you give it a go make the commitment ahead of time to stay the course. Finish the race. The rewards greatly outweigh the risks. Commit your marriage and life to our great God. He will see you through it all. We owe it all to Him.  
Doll, I love the life we have together. It is getting sweeter all the time. Let’s try for 38 more years!       
Love,
JWH (Jimmy)

Tough Week…..Tender Family

…..Well my reflective and sentimental mind awakened me again very early for the second Friday morning in a row. Last week I was up early reflecting on my Mom’s life and passing and remembering what she did for me and I shared many of those thoughts at her memorial service. But today it is about Jeff.
I could not fall back to sleep as my mind was reeling with thoughts and memories of Jeff Thompson and family. I knew that I had to get up and jot down my thoughts or I would not be able to remember them or I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep completely.
So here goes, from a restless mind.
Could this family possibly have started with a Toga party? Not 100% sure if that is correct but I think I recall Jeff telling our Tuesday morning guys when we were all telling about how we met our wives. DeeAn, if this is not true I apologize! We all have our unique stories of how we met our spouses, huh? Some are just more amusing than others.
When I first met Jeff his family was still in what I would call the “fledgling stage”. His kids were still pretty young. And Amy (the youngest) was a very young duckling and cute as pie. They were all small, innocent wide eyed and cute.
Just so you’ll know what kind of folks I’m talking about, this portion of the Thompson clan began with a special needs child. Families with special needs kids have challenges that most of us will never face. It takes people of true compassion and care to intentionally have a child with many needs. And then to add five more gifts to their quiver makes this story even more special.
Jeff was a learner and observer. He watched how others were parenting their kids and was always curious about how to deal with the challenges of raising kids, especially once they reached the dreaded teenage status. For those of us a little further along in that process, we gave Jeff what advice we could and then we would all pray together for God’s direction and the grace to be the kind of husbands and dads that our families needed.
I remember a few extra special times where Jeff was doing things for or with his kids. Like when he went to church camp for a week. Reports were that he was the kid that was very close to being kicked out of camp for speeding on a golf cart around campus and “other things”. He was just one of the kids. But he wanted to be with his kids any time he could. So he went to pre-teen camp.
Then there was the time of the surprise gift of two four wheelers that were hidden in my garage until Christmas morning when I delivered them for Jeff to his driveway. The looks on those kids’ faces were something. And the excitement Jeff had was equal.
I recall a Colorado trip when the family van broke down and it took almost a week to get parts for repair. They turned that potentially bad experience into a memory, as they sort of camped out in that little town and even went to the local church there that week.
Jeff intentionally took his kids individually on trips to wherever that child wanted to go. I guess living in a large family, you can at times get lost in the shuffle. Well that is not the case here. He planned for inclusion and always made it fun and directed to that child. From NASCAR to Mexico to Mid America Mall to rescuing dogs or rescuing friends, he always included his kids and taught them by example.
Besides Jeff’s wife and kids that he cherished, he loved dearly his mom, his sisters and their extended families and had many funny stories to go along with them all. I could extract some hush money from them, I’m sure!
There were others that Jeff considered family as well, like Andrew and Lori Spurgeon. He opened up his home and his life to their family and supported every international mission effort they were involved in with compassion and care. He very much respected Andrew’s spiritual wisdom, squeaky laughter and his love of rutabagas. Go figure.
From my view Jeff keyed on strengths, not weaknesses with respect to his family. He always told them he was proud of them and affirmed them every chance he got. He taught them hospitality, by on many occasions having groups into their home for meetings or welcomed anyone into his home.
I could go on for much longer but I will end this now. These are not just random thoughts, but reflections screaming to be released from my feeble mind.
Jeff was not a superman. He had feet of clay. He was broken at times and deeply remorseful for any errant thoughts or actions. And he knew he was forgiven by and relied fully on God’s mercy and grace to keep going.
This wild and crazy guy poured out his life into his family.