Double Rescue

My cousin in Indiana shared this story April 22nd on Facebook and I had to share it here as well.  I won’t bore you with a long introduction, I’ll just share her words and photo as they are.

Praise God!!!


We recently rescued some horses I had help from a few folks but Gods hand was surely present. I went to the Animal shelter to see if they had the means to transport them or knew of anyone who I could call to get them for me. A man was sitting in the parking lot he had lost his dog and was heartbroken we talked for a few minutes and he said that he had a stock trailer and that he would help me get the horses. A few days later he went and got the horses for me he was very gentle with them and he told me some things to help them get healthy. I asked him about his dog and he said that he had walked the creeks the evening before and he thought that he was going to give up. That evening I went looking for his dog I prayed as I drove up and down the roads and a voice kept telling me that I wasn’t going to find the dog just to go home but I was pig headed and kept looking finally I went home. That was a week ago, today the gentleman came by the house his dog in the front seat. I didn’t get to talk to him I was too late getting outside but my daughter talked to him and this is what he told her… Please tell your Mom that I found my dog all because of her. I found him on my way home from getting the horses on a road I would never have looked on because it was quite a way away from where he disappeared. God put this man in my path at the animal shelter that was closed when it should have been open God put the dog on a road that he shouldn’t be on and God sent me the horses that desperately needed someone to love them and take care of them… God works in mysterious and wonderful ways

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Wise Words

If you haven’t already seen it, my “sister blog” Words of Wisdom, has dozens upon dozens of memorable quotes from my seven year old as she has grown over the past four years.  There is a good chance that you perhaps saw the Words of Wisdom blog first and followed a link there that led you here.  Regardless of your own order of discovery, both have a special purpose or raison d’être., which I tried to spell out in the ABOUT pages of each blog.

Over the past few years from pre-school to kindergarten to first grade, I have seen my younger daughter blossom from reciting and recognizing the ABC’s to reading school reader books and age appropriate library books.  It is amazing to see her reading progress just over the past few months of first grade.

Last week she informed my wife and I that she was picked to do the First Reading at their weekly Mass the following Thursday.  Her teacher sent home the reading with a note asking us to practice it with her in preparation for the Mass.  It definitely contained some words and phonetics that she was not yet familiar with.  It made me recall my own elementary Catholic school days and how it felt to be chosen to do readings at school Masses.  But I attended public school through the second grade, so I never had the opportunity to read at Mass at this young of an age.

With this being her very first experience reading at Mass, both of her parents and big sister arranged to attend the Mass and listen to her.  In a bit of irony, for her first time in public, how appropriate that the First Reading on November 14th was be taken from the Book of Wisdom!  It gives a whole new meaning to the blog Words of Wisdom, devoted to the wise things she says!

The audio portion of the video linked below is not very clear.  This is more a result of the horrible sound system in our church than of the camera microphone or the seven year old.

Praise God!!!

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Disney Diversion

My father’s health has declined a good bit over the past few years in a number of ways.  I wrote about that to some extent in Blazing 80.  Unfortunately, the therapy I mentioned in that blog post was unsuccessful and the feeding tube has become permanent.

In addition to his lung issues, my dad has developed some other health issues, including the onset of dementia.  So when the opportunity presented itself last fall, my wife and I began planning a family vacation to take our two daughters to Disney World. Even before dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, we decided to take my parents with us to Disney World.  Because we love to travel by train, we booked tickets for the whole family to take the train to Florida.  Although it still takes much longer than flying, the train adds another leisurely facet to the vacation experience.

My wife and I each scheduled our work vacations to coincide with our younger daughter’s spring break from kindergarten.  Our 21 year old daughter managed to do the same with her job, but she could not get quite as much time off, so she skipped the train ride and got airline tickets instead to shave a few days off either end of the trip.

We decided to ride the auto train from Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida so that we could have our own car with us while in Florida.  So rather than a 20+ hour car ride from Ohio to Florida, we only had to make a six hour drive from Ohio to Washington D.C. to catch our train.  In order to build in enough lead time we figured we needed to leave my parents’ house no later than 5:00 a.m. to be sure we got to the auto train in time.  So the plan was to arrive at their house as early as possible on Thursday evening, get the entire car packed, and get everyone to bed as early as possible for an early rise on Friday.

Without a minivan, we knew it would be a cramped car ride with the back seat occupied by two adults and a six year old in a car seat, plus whatever extra items we needed for the trip that could not be packed in the trunk.  Dad’s breathing machines would also occupy space equivalent to a small suitcase.  It concerned me enough that I made a special solo trip down to my parents’ house the week before our vacation — just to pack up the trunk and back seat to see how much (if any) wiggle room we had.  I expected a tight fit.  It was even tighter than I imagined!  To generate more room, we planned to move the car seat from the right side window to the center of the back seat and allow my parents to each sit on either side.  During the week in between the dry run and the real deal, my wife and I bought a booster car seat to use in place of the regular seat.  Problem solved!

The day for our departure came and we got to Grandma’s at about 7:00 in the evening.  After a quick dinner, I began packing up the car — just as I had planned it the week before!  This suitcase in the trunk facing THIS way; that suitcase on one edge facing THAT way; one of my dad’s medical devices on top of another one in the left nook behind the wheel well, etc.  Everything fitting together like a puzzle.  But when it came time to put in the new car seat, we discovered for the very first time that the base was too wide to fit in between the two seat belt sockets on either side so that there was no way to secure it in the center of the back seat of our car.

We talked about adjusting the back seat arrangements, but I didn’t like the idea of EITHER of my parents sitting in the middle in back from both a comfort and a safety standpoint.  My dad even talked about staying home by himself instead!  Ultimately, we measured the car seat and the clearance between the two seat belt sockets, and decided to take a trip to the local Wal-Mart to see if we could find a seat with a narrower base.  By this time, it was already past 9:00 (my intended bed time), but there were no other better options.

We left the six year old with Grandma and Pop and my wife and I drove out to Wal-Mart.  Once at the store, we started walking toward the area where car seats are displayed.  I put on the brakes, thinking we might need a shopping cart. So I went back out to get one while my wife continued on to the car seats.  As I pushed a shopping cart back down the aisle a few moments later, I saw my wife laughing/smiling as she was stopped and talking to someone.  My wife did not grow up in my hometown, which is over three hours away from her hometown where we currently live.  There are literally only a handful of people there that she could know.

As I took a few more steps, I then saw the broad smile on my cousin Lori’s face.  She and her husband, Jeff, were doing some late evening shopping for Easter.  You know that feeling you get when you are out in public and you see someone who looks like someone you know, but it really just resembles the person and is not him or her?  You know it can’t be who you think it is, because either you or they are out of town and not where you would expect to see him/her.  Lori thought that she recognized my wife from a distance, but obviously did not see me with her (since I had gone back for the shopping cart).  She thought it unusual to see Linda in Steubenville late on a Thursday evening.  But she still approached her and once they made close eye contact each recognized the other right away.

So the four of us ended up chatting for probably 20 minutes or more in the main aisle of WalMart.  We talked about our trip to Disney the next day, they discussed their son’s upcoming high school graduation, we each gave updates on our parents’ conditions, and  generally had a good time catching up.  When it was all said and done, I probably ended up getting to bed around midnight, but the surprise catch-up meeting with my cousin and her husband was well worth it!  Had we taken the time in advance to check the width of the seat belt sockets to the booster seat (we did find another perfect fit on the Wal-Mart trip), we would have never had that chance meeting.

And Disney World was a fabulous trip — the very first visit for ALL of us other than Linda who went with her mom and sisters when she was 10.

Praise God!!!

Waiting for the Bus

Waiting for the Bus

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Random Radio

In my transition from high school to college and then to law school, my tastes in music and radio changed.  I always will be a child of the 70’s and 80’s and I will always love the music from my days as a young boy and young adult.  I still sometimes break out Wild Cherry playing that funky music (a band from my hometown area and still remember meeting one of the band members who I think had a son or nephew or other young relative in the other 1st grade classroom when I was at Stark School), and I have all of the 80’s 1-hit wonders in my collection.

But in my early 20’s I began a transition away from those genres.  I didn’t STOP listening to 70’s and 80’s, but I broadened my listening horizons to include acoustic guitar and contemporary piano.  Some of my favorites quickly became Phil Keaggy, Will Ackerman, and Michael Hedges on the guitar end; and pianists Michael Jones, George Winston, and probably most of all: Jim Brickman.

In just a few short years, my already extensive CD collection almost doubled in size with these and other artists from the Windham Hill and Narada record labels and a few other similar labels.

In that same time frame — during law school and the years that followed, I made the major transition in my radio listening habits.  Probably because I had no cable T.V. subscription and very poor reception on my 13″ rabbit ear television, I turned to the radio as my primary source for news and entertainment.  I switched from being an almost exclusive FM music radio listener to predominantly following talk radio.

Over the past 15 years — 98% of the time — my radio dial has been tuned into one of four places: AM talk radio, NPR radio shows (one of my early favorites was Echoes which played my new-found favorite acoustic piano and guitar), sports talk radio, or Catholic radio.  In my estimation, about 2% of my radio time is tuned in to local or regional FM radio where current pop music or classic rock rules the airways.  I sometimes give it a listen when the mood strikes me, or more often — when control over the radio dial is in the hands of someone else.

When I started dating my wife, (one month after having seen Jim preform live at the Sandusky State Theatre) I influenced her to listen to a few of my Brickman CD’s and we soon fell in love together while listening to him. Our first dance together as husband and wife at our wedding reception was to Jim’s song Love of My Life.

More than six years later, our lives feel more hectic and stressed with the demands of a five year old at home and the typical stresses and struggles of a 20 year old newly out on her own, but still very much a part of our lives.  The difficulties in scheduling a regular date night far outnumber the opportunities. But when we took our five year old trick-or-treating in her local surrogate grandparents’ neighborhood a few weeks ago, they cheerfully asked when they would again be able to keep her overnight for a visit.  I put that comment into my “brain pocket” but didn’t expect to have any plans in the near future to make use of that offer.

Two weeks ago Wednesday, I was at my office going about my regular day.  In the front office reception area, we have a radio tuned in to the local FM music station.  I was only out there for 15 seconds to pull something off of the front printer before scurrying back to my office.  While out there, I heard the final 10 seconds of an advertisement for a show on November 19 in a Tiffin, Ohio theater.

Jim Brickman was coming to town for a Saturday evening show in Tiffin — about 45 minutes away from Sandusky.  I never listen to this particular radio station other than during my occasional exposure at the office or when it is played in other local establishments.

A quick communication and call back confirmed an overnight baby-sitter and a recent small bundle of money saved from online survey earnings paid for two tickets without denting the tightly stretched budget.

I hadn’t heard the radio ad before or since that one occasion.  Had my random trip to the front office printer been 30 seconds sooner OR later — I would have missed the advertisement completely.  And because the theater is not IN town and I rarely go to Jim Brickman’s site to view his tour schedule, my chances of hearing about this concert some other way were quite limited — virtually non-existent.  That GodIncidence of hitting the front office at just the right time to hear that Jim was playing nearby allowed me to enjoy Jim’s music LIVE with my wife for the very first time.

It was a fabulous show and a very nice way to spend an evening with the Love of My Life. The audience got to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jim (who turned the big 5-0 today). We were also entertained by Jim’s long time friend and vocalist Anne Cochran and newcomer, former NFL tight end Ben Utecht. The big guy with the sparkly SuperBowl ring can sing!

Praise God!!!


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New Beginnings

When I started this blog in 2008, I envisioned it would be a place where I shared my ongoing  experiences that there are No Coincidences with God (which I later referred to as “God-Incidences” after hearing that term from a friend).  I’d had quite a few of these experiences prior to initiating the blog — some more profound than others.  But as it turned out, I failed to keep my eyes open and keep myself as aware as I could have.  I still believe that God-Incidences happen to each of us every single day — there are just so many that slip by while we remain oblivious – our attention focused on other worries and concerns.  I found myself no longer tuning in to my own God-Incidences on a regular basis, so my blog posts ended rather abruptly in the summer of 2009.

That, coupled with a really poor blogging interface on my server, kept me from making the regular posts that I had originally hoped for.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have limited my comments to only those times when I recognized a profound God-Incident.  God-Incidences are only one small part of sharing the presence of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

After setting up a new blogging interface and porting over the older stuff, I’ve decided to expand my focus.  Utilizing blog categories, I can still showcase the God-Incidences as they filter in among the other events and occurrences which are equally strong testaments to His presence in my life and in our world.  Truthfully speaking, this blog is probably more for my own spiritual growth and reflection — something that I sometimes overlook in the daily grind and often fail to work on the way that I should — than it is for anyone who accidentally stumbles across this site.  If I generate any followers along the way who get any sort of inspiration from my observations, that is just icing on the proverbial cake.

I hope to resume this blog and post on a more consistent basis.  I plan to expand beyond God-Incidences, but still keep it tied to my personal awareness and relationship with Father, Son, & Spirit.  I don’t intend to write about the mundane experiences of everyday life just to get in regular updates.  I have to hold something back for Facebook and Twitter!

So as I explained it above, I felt compelled to write about my date earlier this month. . .

A few weeks ago, I went on a “date” with my four year old daughter.  I had nothing planned other than getting something to eat and then ‘killing some time’ while her mother hosted her group of bible study ladies at our house on that particular week.  Because our house is very small with only one central area that the other rooms all extend from, an active and talkative four year can be a pretty significant distraction when she feels that she must “perform” in front of any house guests.  So I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to take her on mini-dates every few weeks for a couple of hours when the bible study rotation comes to our home.

On this particular day, I just decided to let it happen as it happened.  After eating dinner, without a plan — I found myself just driving down the road with my backseat chatterbox interrogating me on what we were going to do on our date.  We ended up near the location where I asked her mom to marry me.

Sheldon Marsh is a small wildlife preserve in Huron, Ohio and a great place to walk with only your thoughts to keep you occupied.  I have yet to go there and not experience God in all His Glory in the beauty of His creation.  We decided to go there for a nature walk date.  This time, I had much more than my thoughts to keep me occupied — I had a little chatterbox that barely stopped to take a breath the entire time.  At one point I even asked her if she had a string in her back and politely suggested that she stop pulling it.  Of course the reference completely escaped her, but she still thought it was quite funny that I suggest she had a pull string in her back.

I didn’t experience a specific God-Incidence at the time, but I had a wonderful time with an inquisitive four year old sharing a Daddy-Daughter moment.  Her amazement at the frogs, turtles, birds, and dragonflies was such a fresh look at the beautiful things God gave us to delight our senses.  The sights, sounds, and smells were such a relaxing break from the struggles temporarily left behind.

Now I suppose I could force a God-Incidence to this story if I felt I really had to.  It wasn’t a God-Incident of that particular moment, but actually one of nearly seven years ago.  My wife and I had no reason to know at the time that the very day I chose to propose in September of 2004 at Sheldon Marsh would be exactly two years before our daughter’s birth.  I was able to share that God-Incidence with my daughter on our “date” — that mommy and daddy got engaged on her birthday in the very spot where we were then standing.  She didn’t quite grasp the significance.  Instead, I think it just got her thinking about the fact that she has a birthday coming up!

I hope she had fun on our date.  I know that I certainly did!


Since my younger daughter was the focus of this post, I would be remiss if I did not plug her Words of Wisdom pages that always get a chuckle out of me.  In the few years that this blog was on hiatus, I’ve tracked some of her quips and giggles to share on that site.  Two of her more recent comments (Talk to the Animals and Thunkin Thunkin) came straight from our date at Sheldon Marsh.  The photos below also came from our date.  Unfortunately, my cell phone camera doesn’t have zoom capability, so this was the best I was able to get.  These are two of the frogs and one of the cranes that we saw on our date.  They are each roughly centered in the respective frames.


Praise God!!!

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