Confusion . . . but a Great Save

I am a people-watcher and as such, I have learned something interesting about us as people!  I see it over and over again. That being when we do something that is a bit goofy and then make the discovery that we have been doing something goofy, the first thing we do is look up and check to see if anyone saw what we just did!  It is always funny when eye-contact is established between the one doing the goofy thing and the one who was observing it and saw the moment of recognition as it occurred.

Each time I observe that sort of thing, or catch myself from falling into that snake pit, I’m reminded of what was perhaps my worse experience with this thing.  I had been having some trouble seeing, so I had gone in for an eye exam and was given a Rx for bifocals.  I selected the frames and was told that my new glasses would arrive in about a week and they would call me and schedule an appointment for my fitting.  Good to their word, it all happened as promised. I will forever remember that day I got that first pair of seeing-eye glasses.  During my fitting, I casually looked in the mirror and thought the new glasses really made me look like a pretty smart guy . . . and I liked that.  As I left the TSO office in Portland, which is located in a strip center, and headed to my car, I thought I ought to put my new glasses on and look like a bright fellow. As I walked along I turned to casually look at my reflection in the plate glass window of a neighboring office.  As I looked at my reflection, I was immediately shocked and embarrassed . . . I had not realized that I was doing it, but because of the bifocals and the split vision between the eye pieces, I had suddenly become a high-stepping dude. Just as I made that startling discovery in the reflection of that glass, I noticed a very pretty young woman at a desk in that office . . .  she was sitting there openly chuckling over how goofy I had looked.  I was embarrassed as I made eye contact with her.

This morning I was quite busy, multi-tasking and had the proverbial “many irons in the fire” going on. In the midst of all that . . . with phones ringing, people coming in and out, I needed to print a check from my laptop.  I entered all of the info into QuickBooks and clicked on “print.”  Nothing happened.  I deleted it and reentered it all again clicked on “print.”  Again, nothing happened. Grrr, I did not have time for this nonsense. I picked up the phone to call Courtney at Cimarron Bend to ask her to come over and figure out the problem.  As the phone rang, I put it on speaker and began to do another task.  I looked down and saw the printer cord lying by the counter . . . and busted out laughing!  I immediately terminated the call!!

Whew . . . good grief . . . Courtney would have told that tale on me for years and years!  The truth is that I just might never live it down . . . with all of the young techies I have to put up with. In all honesty, they really don’t need any more ammo on me.


Success . . .

One of my blogs last week concerned the search for a capable and competent manager for two of the apartment complexes in West Texas . . . I am delighted to report success!!  However, it did not happen as I had imagined it would.  Let me explain.

 I had Linda publish a “Help Wanted” ad in the local paper advertising the position and the ad directed that resumes were to be mailed to one of the company’s local Post Office boxes (the one only Linda and I have access to).  There were a few job seekers who responded.  Linda collected and perused the resumes, and then faxed them to me.  I reviewed each one in my office last week and called each person submitting a resume.  I had a brief conversation with each one and scheduled an appointment for either Monday or Tuesday. There was one who I felt was a Stand-Out — just from that brief initial conversation and the strength of her resume.  In fact, I was pretty sure she was the one . . . she certainly seemed to show promise.  However, an hour before the interview, I received a text message from her advising me that her situation had changed since we had talked and she had “a conflicting appointment” that morning, and, thus, would be unable to keep the interview appointment as scheduled.  I was both concerned and a bit offended. However, I took it in stride and like other things in life that I can’t change, I simply moved forward.  I called the others scheduled for later interviews to see if I could fill the gap and make good use of my time.

 To make a long story short, I hired the guy schedule for a later interview.  I am pretty sure that I would have hired the lady who failed to keep the appointment, if things had worked out differently.  This evening I am quite confident that I hired the best person for the job. He is smart, has proved to be a quick learner and has shown himself to possess good people skills and comes with considerable management experience . . . and as an added bonus, he spent a few years in the Air Force and still maintains some of that military bearing and discipline.  I spent a few days training him on company policies, operating procedures, and policies. He did great with all of that. Then I shifted him over to Courtney’s capable guidance at the complex level and she is reporting that he is “Great.” This fellow is going to make a terrific manager and employee!  He is all business . . . and is strong enough to enforce the lease as necessary, yet tender enough to stop for a minute and push a lonely little tike on the swing set. 

 It Seems to me . . . that when we develop a plan and invest in that plan and then it craters . . . we are disappointed and confused. Yet, if we are alert, we may just discover that God usually has another plan . . . and His plan is always far better!

 I am pretty confident that is what transpired here . . . and I am thankful!  God brought this fellow all the way from Columbus, Ohio, to Snyder, Texas, three weeks ago, and it seems he had been here waiting for me to show up and offer him a position!  I don’t think that is a coincidence at all.  I think this is what is referred to as a divine appointment . . . and I am pretty certain that I know why . . . and what I am supposed to do in the days to come.

 Let’s see what happens!  I do like it when a plan comes together . . . I really like it when the Father’s plan comes together and I am permitted to be included in it!

 As Forrest Gump said: “That is just one less thang.”



Happy Birthday . . . Abigayle Grace Melton!!!

Abi is 2 years old today!  She is a perfect little girl . . . and is happy all of the time. That is not just an old Pappy braggin’ either.  No one is around her for long without commenting on how happy, agreeable, and pleasant she is . . .

 Abi and her big sister, Ali, have stolen my heart . . . they have also stolen Sandy’s heart. They came in our lives at the perfect time!

 I am going to West . . . for a birthday party!!!  An 8-hour drive is no big deal for something and someone so special.  Hey, I also get to take them to dinner tomorrow night.


Looking for Help . . .

I am faced with a significant struggle/challenge this week . . . I am in West Texas trying to hire and train a new apartment manager.  This is no easy feat.

 The requirements for the position are:

 . . . must be almost an accountant and pretty much able to prepare a federal tax return;

 . . . must have great people skills;

 . . . must have a strong work ethic;

 . . . possess true integrity, honesty, and solid character;  

 . . . personal strength to withstand criticism . . . and gossip . . . as you enforce the lease;

 . . . the patience to deal with government bureaucrats who know very little about the rental assistance program . . . but always insist on . . . “Being in charge”; and

 . . . must be pretty darn smart . . . and recognize dishonesty . . . because some will insist on being dishonest about their circumstances . . . thinking they can get a better deal.

 After satisfying those requirements, then one must be willing to work for low wages in a booming oil-field economy . . . All the while knowing that you will surely get 2:00 a.m. telephone calls in which the caller will say, “My water heater is leaking and has flooded my apartment” or “My neighbor’s dog is barking.”

Anyone want a job?


A Unique Story of Survival . . .

I suppose there are a million, if not more, spin-off stories related to 9/11 and the tragedy of that event.  Just considering all of the folks who were affected and the families who lost loved ones, there would have to be so very many stories.  I hear some from time-to-time, just as you do.  I recently learned of one such story which I thought was pretty cool.  It is the story of a tree . . .  a tree that has been named: “The Survivor Tree.”

Now, before I tell the story of the tree, let me explain a personal position about tree plantings.  In my elderly apartment communities, my staff and I oftentimes have the sad event of a resident passing away.  More times than I can count through the years, I have had folks come forward . . . seeking permission to “plant a tree” at one of the properties; the tree to be there “in memory” of someone who has passed on.  I always try to personally meet with the person or group and offer my condolences on the loss, but to also remind the requesters that the lease contract prohibits such plantings by residents, or the families of former residents.  I generally try to offer them a suggestion of an alternate planting site.  The simple truth is that if I permitted folks to plant a “memory tree” on my property, I would be allowing them, and others, both an interest in . . . and access to  . . the tree, for many years to come.  Just consider, in the 40 years I have been in business, there would now be several forests and my folks could only trim a tree after a battle with someone . . . someone who had no other interest in our property other than a tree planted for their dear, departed relative.  Moreover, I personally don’t see much benefit to having such a tree . . . planted on someone else’s private property; and I totally reject any notion that it somehow attracts the deceased individual’s attention from another life . . . back toward that tree.  Truth be told, I think such thinking is simply nuts, and I grow weary of even hearing such suggestions!

My former Pastor and dear friend, Charles Fake, lost his wife, Wanda, some years back.  Wanda was a special lady and faithfully loved and served First Baptist Church–Rockport for many years.  The Church elected to honor Wanda’s memory in two ways at the new Church facility:

  1. Named the lovely, formally-completed choir room in her honor (she directed the choir for years); and
  2. Established a lovely flower garden and bird bath/water fall in her memory (she was an avid gardener)

I like and respect both of those things, but I also know that there is nothing magical about the garden.  As I walk past the flower garden, I am reminded of the dear lady and it reminds me to pray for her husband and her family.  Its presence honors both her memory and her family.  I am never in the area of the choir room, so I rarely think about that.

The story related to 9/11 concerns a pear tree . . . a small pear tree whose trunk was discovered as it was pulled from the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center site following the 2001 attack.  The tree is now referred to as “The Survivor Tree” and serves as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth. At the time of its recovery, it was 8’ tall, badly burned, and had only a single, living branch.  The tree had originally been planted there in the 1970’s.

In November, 2001, the tree was removed and delivered by the City of New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation to the Arthur Ross nursery, in the Bronx, for care, where the tree was later replanted in that area.  The tree began showing signs of new life in the spring of 2002.  In March, 2010, while still under the care of the Bronx nursery, the tree was replanted again, after having been uprooted in a storm.  Then, in December 2010, the 30’ tall tree was successfully relocated to the original site of the World Trade Center as part of the memorial, where it proudly stands today . . . as a testimony of survival and overcoming!  Like the old Timex ads, “. . . it had taken a lickin’ and just kept on tickin’ . . . !”

A cool part of the story is that cuttings from the tree have been given to the following areas:

  1. A small town in Washington state where 43 residents perished in a mud slide;
  2. Foot Hood, Texas, the site of a mass-murder committed by a mentally-ill Muslin radical; and
  3. Gulfport, Mississippi, following Hurricane Katrina which caused such devastation.

 It Seems to me . . . that tree and its story both certainly serve as a living reminder . . . in fact it stands as a testimony of resilience . . . survival . . . re-birth . . . overcoming . . . all things which are both necessary and available in the life experience.  That great Saint of old, John the Beloved, spoke of this struggle and survival in I John 4:4, where he said, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

I am teaching the Bible book of Hebrews in Sunday school this quarter.  Hebrews is a declaration that God had revealed Himself to His creation throughout human history.  It describes how He did that in various and sundry ways, all through the ancient times.  But for the past 2,000 years, God’s greatest revelation comes in the person of his son, Jesus, who He continues to reveal to seekers . . . even today.  The ability to experience re-birth, survival, and “overcoming” about which John wrote . . . are all made available to frail humans in the person of Jesus Christ . . . For those of us who have a personal relationship with him, we already have the victory . . . and we, too, are survivors, and our lives are to stand as a testimony of that truth!


I don’t believe I know one single individual who can’t readily recall where he or she was about 8:00 a.m. on September 11, 2001.  It is simply indelibly imprinted in our minds. I woke up about 7:00 am on that morning . . . that morning that would impact our Nation for many years to come, and probably has forever changed our relationship with most of the Nations in the Middle East.  My first thought of the day was about my two brothers, Pete and Billy (aka Billo).  They share that birthdate.  I wondered about them; said a prayer for them and their families. I wondered where they were and what they were doing.

My schedule had me packing up and driving to the Stagecoach Inn in Salado to meet my friend Sox Johnson.  I was scheduled to do a seminar for his Association on the 12th and 13th.  Our plan was to have dinner with a few of the participants that evening in the Stagecoach Inn’s famous dining room. I looked forward to both things.  As I got my morning cup of coffee and sat in my chair, I flipped on the TV and immediately saw a large commercial airliner fly into a skyscraper, and explode.  As I looked on, I honestly believed it was some Hollywood production promoting an upcoming movie, or perhaps a movie trailer.  I turned the volume up and was shocked to learn that our nation was actually under attack at that very moment and it was being televised . . . real time!!  My thoughts immediately turned to my loved ones and I began to fret over them and wonder to where this attack might extend.  I prayed for my country . . . I prayed for my family’s safety . . . I prayed for the poor souls inside those smoking towers . . . and I just sat there and wept.  

The news reported that President Bush was visiting an elementary school in Florida at the time of the attack. Vice-President, Dick Cheney, was in D.C., escorted to the White House Command Center, and took action in the absence of the President.  His first act was to issue an Executive Order grounding all air traffic all across the Nation. That was a brilliant call, and we will never know how many lives were saved by his quick action. I later learned that my friend, Walter, was in a remote hunting camp in Alaska and would be required to wait several days to be picked up by his brush pilot. The official word being reported was that a gang of Muslim radical disciples of one Osama Bin Ladin had high-jacked a number of airliners out of Boston Logan and was flying them into various predetermined targets across the country.  Two of those planes flew into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and another crashed into a remote farm-site in Pennsylvania.  No one is certain what other targets there might have been, since all airlines were forced to go to the nearest airport and land.  I read a number of reports that there were several other planes involved, but the terrorists simply de-boarded the plane on which they were on and immediately left the airport.  I also read that there was a plane destined for San Antonio but was grounded in the Kansas City area.           

As the Nation was in total disbelief and struggled to understand what had happened . . . why it had happened . . . how it had happened . . . and wrestled with our shocking discovery that there actually were mean people out there who literally hated us and wanted to destroy us.  It was a time of confusion, horror, anxiety, and uncertainty . . . and much of that remains like a shadow . . . all these years later.   I recall telling my dinner companions that night that I was unsure what had happened or why, but I sensed that something huge had occurred . . . and that we as a people were on the verge of losing part of what made us a great country . . . our personal rights and liberties . . . guaranteed to us by our Constitution!  I told them there would be changes in our right to go where we wanted, when we wanted, and we would experience restrictions in our travels.   Then, soon after, things really got crazy . . . a series of anthrax letters began showing up in mailboxes in D. C.; suddenly our nation was placed on a permanent war footing . . . in a war against “terrorists.”   Soon after that, we found ourselves invading Iraq and Afghanistan.  Then we learned that we would be “protected” by the extension of secrecy doctrines such as the Patriot Act.  The truth is that public fear allowed a huge roll-back of our domestic rights and liberties.   

I don’t know if is right or wrong concerning our rights and liberties . . . but I do know that America is different than she was prior to the events of 9/11 . . . we lost something very special, and I fear that we won’t ever recapture it again.  Today, we live with the reality of knowing two truths full-well:    (1) That we can be attacked, and Americans can be killed on our own soil . . . in spite of our great military power; and   (2)  There is a very dangerous group of mean, angry, and extremely dangerous people out there . . . and they are dedicated to the notion of killing us.  It seems to me . . . these angry, violent radicals have the will to destroy us . . . and they are working tirelessly seeking to develop the ability to accompany their will.   We never talk much about it, but each year as the month of September approaches, we tragically and quietly wonder . . . “Will something else happen?”   We are seeing more and more evidence of increasing tensions with this frightful enemy, all the while it seems our government is determined to down-play the threats.  I remember how sadly Benghazi was handled and our officials died while pleading with the White House for military support.   It is just a rotten situation . . . we have the ability to destroy them . . . we frankly lack the will to do so.  They, on the other hand, have the will to destroy us and they have demonstrated that several times . . . they just haven’t yet found a way to do that, but they are on the hunt for it.  The issue is that we need to find the will before they find the ability . . . and all the while Iran is building a nuke and openly declaring their desire is destruction and murder.  

It Seems to me . . . that we have lost much of our confidence as Americans . . . and I know that my precious little granddaughters, Ali and Abi, are living in a troubled moment in history.  I also know that I won’t always be around to protect them . . . that troubles me and makes me sad . . . I hate it, but I do know that there are some hard times ahead . . . I hope that it does not begin today.  Where ever you are today, God Bless you and your family and may He keep you safe. 

National Teddy Bear Day . . .

As I worked out in the pool this morning, I had my Sirius/XM radio set on the 60’s station blaring out great music. The morning DeeJay, Flash, has a call-in line open and lots of folks call in to chat, or to request a particular song.  One lady called in and with a very country voice (much worse than Dolly Parton), asked him to play Elvis’ “Teddy Bear” song . . . and declared that today is National Teddy Bear Day!  I thought to myself that I needed to get on that!  Sandy and I have two special girls who just so happen to love teddy bears!  In fact, their Aunt Courtney took them to a special factory—Build-a-Bear—where they built their own bears some time back, as I understand it.

 I assessed the situation, and realized that Nana was preoccupied at school and I don’t do well with on-line purchases.  Then, I thought about Aunty being in Waco, so I texted Aunt Courtney asking “can you loan me some money and do me a favor?”  Of course, she is always most gracious about such things.  I told her the situation and she sprang into action.  In a bit I got a text back from her saying, “Mission Accomplished.”  She is a magician with such stuff.

 A couple of hours later, Nana and I each received a text from Sarah which included this photo of the girls with their bears, along with words of thanks.

  It seems to me . . . that I have discovered one of the sweetest things in life . . . that being the privilege of being Pappy of two precious girls!  The truth is that I delight in being their Pappy.  I love to make them smile . . . that makes me really happy!  Hey, I love those sweet little girls.  I wish I could see them every day . . .

 Happy National Teddy Bear Day!



Happy 350th Birthday — New York City!

Photo: New York City–2010

In the 1992 American film, The Scent of a Woman, the irascible, blind, retired military officer, Lt. Colonel, Frank Slade, standing in front of the Waldorf says to young, Charlie Simms, that New York City “is the center of all things civilized.”  I am not certain that he was correct in that bold declaration, but I readily agree that New York City is, indeed, a really cool place.  I love the vastness of it . . . I love the energy . . . I love the excitement . . . I love the facade it holds up . . . I love how it is projected as the center of all things financial, fashion, cultural, and entertainment . . . of this great nation.

 I vividly remember the first time I traveled to New York City to do a seminar.  The seminar was to be held at a large uptown hotel.  As I de-boarded the plane at JFK and entered the terminal following the crowd to baggage, I encountered a man wearing black livery, holding a cardboard sign with my name etched on it.  He was the hotel’s limo-driver and he had been dispatched to pick me up.  Wow . . . my first time in New York City . . . and my first time in an honest-to-goodness limo.  As I rode to the hotel, with this fellow thinking I was someone important, I saw the excitement of the City and thought, “This is what happens to common people when they have a God-given talent and get a bit of recognition . . . they begin to think they are somebody and get puffed up.”  I realized that it was dangerous stuff, but there was really no need to have worried; when I got back home to Beeville, Texas, I was quickly reminded that I am just a simple South Texas guy.

 The seminar went well, and the folks seemed to like my Texas drawl and laid-back Southern style and humor.  I enjoyed them also. Every afternoon, I changed out of my dress clothes into casual clothes and hit the streets.  I was fascinated at the comings and goings . . . the street scenes, the street vendors, entertainers, hustlers, panhandlers . . . each with their own agenda.  I walked through Times Square . . . and I will always remember my immediate thought as I walked up and spied the street sign identifying the most famous street in the world . . . BROADWAY . . . as I looked up at that sign, I recalled the words of the Master, “Broad is the Way . . . that leads to destruction.”  As I turned and began walking up that street, the things I saw, in open daylight, verified the Master’s point.

 Today, September 8, 2014, New York City celebrates its 350th Birthday.  The City was incorporated as the Dutch city, New Amsterdam, on February, 1653.  Then on this date in 1664, the English captured the City and renamed it New York, after the Duke of York.

 The City has many, many landmarks: Wall Street . . . Times Square . . . Broadway . . . the Empire State . . . the Statute of Liberty . . . the American Stock Exchange . . . the Brooklyn Bridge . . . Carnegie Hall . . . Central Park . . . the Chrysler Building . . . the Church of the Ascension . . . the Duke Ellington House . . . Founder’s Hall . . . Governor’s Island . . . Grand Central Station . . . Holland Tunnel . . . New York Cotton Exchange . . . New York Stock Exchange . . . Rockefeller Center . . . Union Square . . . Madison Square Gardens . . . Yankee Stadium . . . Shea Stadium . . . Giants Stadium . . . Fifth Avenue . . . The World Trade Center . . . United Nations Headquarters . . . 9/11 Memorial . . . Metropolitan Museum of Arts . . . Ellis Island . . . Macy’s . . . Chinatown . . . Metlife (formerly PanAm building) . . . St. Patrick’s Cathedral . . . Coney Island . . . Little Italy . . . the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel . . . Battery Park . . . the Lincoln Center . . . Trump Tower . . . World Financial Center . . . Brooklyn Heights . . . Manhattan . . . US Customs House . . . George Washington Bridge . . . Ford Foundation Building . . .and the list just goes on and on.

 In the days prior to Cell phones, the typical, uptown New York City hotel had a vast lobby which included a large bank of pay phones . . . as many as 100.  One could just walk a path in and around those phone banks . . . and hear ever language in the world being spoken as City visitors were doing business, making deals in excited and hushed voices . . .

 New York City is an exciting place; and I do love it.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Big Apple.

 If you have never visited that wonderful/exciting place . . . do yourself a favor and go spend a few days there.  See a Broadway play . . . Sandy, Dorothy, Courtney, and Chris recommend The Jersey Boys . . . enjoy a great meal and a night on the town . . . eat a Coney-Island hotdog and walk through Central Park . . . have a beautiful new suite tailor-made while there . . . I can recommend a great tailor in Chinatown . . . just go live the life for a few days!!

 In a few days, I will post a blog concerning the tragic attack on New York City on 9/11, as the sad anniversary approaches of what those evil, confused people did on that sad day.



So many goofy Opinions and Comments . . .

Scrolling through the news feed on Face Book recently, I came upon a photo of a large shark lying dead on the dock in Port Aransas, as a happy and proud fisherman stood posing for the photograph with his boat tied to the dock in the background.  That dude was going to be showing off with that photo all the days of his life!!

I guarantee you that happy dude did not have a clue what he was about to unleash on Face Book! In a short period of time there were a large number of comments under the photo . . . and the vast majority of those comments expressed horror that this vile, wicked, and evil man had “murdered that magnificent and noble creature” . . . and other such comments.  As I read a few of those comments, I became confused and had to go back and look at the photo again to verify.  As I did so, I thought to myself, “What did I miss?  I was certain that was a danged old shark on that dock . . .”  My second look verified that sure enough, it was, indeed, a danged old shark on that dock!!!  When I first looked at the dock photo, I simply wondered how in the heck they had managed to get that big fish out of the water and onto the dock.

As I reexamined the photo, I wondered, “Where is that magnificent creature . . . that noble creature” . . . which those silly people were lamenting over?  It just made me laugh . . . what a bunch of nuts!  Well, I chuckled until the thought came to me that they are all around me . . . they get to vote too!  Now, it isn’t funny . . .

What on earth were they squawking about? . . . That is exactly what men do with sharks . . . what they have always done with sharks . . . what they will always do with sharks!  We catch them, haul them in, and hang them up, take a few photos and then cut the nasty old scavenger up with a hacksaw . . . and share the meat with anybody . . . everybody on the dock.

Gee, that is actually the very reason why the City, the State, or some local political subdivision purchased and installed that big, expensive, electric lifting devise onto the dock . . . to lift those big rascals out of the water!  In fact, Port A wants many of those photos distributed . . . they are great for tourism!

It has been going on ever since man first began using boats and fishing . . . and nothing really changes . . . I mean . . .

. . . The sun continues to rise in the morning and sets in the evening;

. . . Babies continue to be born daily;

. . . People continue to find things to laugh about; and

. . . News sources continue to report from time-to-time that a shark attack has occurred.

Yet, no respected, knowledgeable, or recognized source involved with studying the oceans of the earth have decreed that there is a shortage of sharks, or that they are somehow endangered.  So, my question is simply, “What’s the problem?”

It seems to me . . . that there is a whole lot of “goofy” going on . . . and a whole lot of folks are offering unqualified opinions and comments relative to subjects about which they know very little.  But I suppose that has been going on for a long time.

In fact, I would bet there were many varied and goofy opinions voiced about the subjects of . . . “Rain” . . . a vessel being referred to an “Ark” . . . an old preacher man called Noah . . . as well as his legal right to put animals on that goofy looking vessel.  Then . . . it began to rain, and none of those opinions meant anything!   I would also wager that a bunch of those opinionated folks experienced a serious change of mind . . . and they did so really quickly!


Resumes . . .

A Resume is (as defined by Wikipedia) is “a document used by persons to present their background and skills.  Resumes can be used for a variety of reasons, but most often they are used to secure new employment.  A typical resume contains a summary of relevant job experience and education . . . “

Sandy chuckled and awed as she read Grace’s Resume.  After a bit she called out from the study, “Honey, I am forwarding an e-mail with Grace’s resume.”  I was like, “Well, duh, ok” . . . I was in another room so she could not read the noninterest in my body language.  Sandy is forever a school teacher and concerned about her students.  I assumed she was promoting one of her students for a part-time job with the Management firm.  

Mid-morning, after I finished with coffee, phone calls, opening mail, etc., I turned to my computer and opened my e-mail.  Sure enough . . . there was the e-mail from Sandy entitled, “Gracie’s Resume.”  I clicked on it and as I began to read it, I suddenly got a big lump in my throat and before I was finished reading it, I was crying—and also chucking at the same time! The best resume I have ever read . . . by far!!  I would be honored to give the author a position in my firm.  She is made of the right stuff . . . to be a great asset to any firm.  Moreover, I genuinely love this girl, and I have never even met her. 

Let me explain:

Sandy’s cousin, Michael is Gracie’s dad; he and his family live in California.  Michael’s mom is our Aunt Gaynell.  When Gracie was born we were all so happy for Aunt Gaynell . . . who was now also Grandma.  That is great stuff . . . and something you can get excited about for folks you love.  Because you love them . . . and they are happy, it naturally makes you happy, too.  It is just one of those things the Apostle Paul tried to explain to the goofy and confused Corinthians.

I remember vividly the day Gaynell called Sandy and shared the tragic news that precious little Gracie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor . . . as a toddler.  It just broke my heart and I filed it away in my mind as perhaps the saddest thing I had ever heard in my life.  I vowed in that instant that I would be a constant and faithful prayer warrior for that precious child.  I have faithfully, often, and regularly banged on Heaven’s gate and put Gracie’s name and situation before Jesus, the emancipator of all humanity, the Hero of Heaven, the great physician, and the true source of love, grace, and peace throughout the entire universe . . . and I asked Him to place His loving hand on her and heal her . . . instantly . . . totally . . . and completely!

I get word on her from time to time, and I am pleased that she is growing up and developing. I continue to pray for her and plead for her healing.  Here is her resume . . . just as I received it:

Note to Gracie: You prepared a terrific resume.  I have always been a huge fan of yours, and now even more so.  If the barriers of distance and age prevent me from hiring you now, perhaps we can arrange a summer internship sometime in the future?  That would make me happy.

Warmest personal regards,

Cousin Johnny