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In Times of Darkness

It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain. ~ Empty Garden, Elton John “It’s not fair, Dad.” Emily must have repeated that at least four times. “It’s not fair.” She’s right. Eight short months ago, we were in Great Lakes, Illinois watching as Shianne Soles and my daughter stood at attention with hundreds of other men and women, presented their flags and became sailors in the United States Navy — teenagers promising to protect and defend the Constitution as part of the most powerful fleet on earth. Today, Shianne is gone — the victim of a horrific double-murder suicide and Emily is lost for words. It’s a devastating victory for darkness. Before she was laid to rest, Shianne’s …

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The Girl Who Runs Toward Danger

When you’re soaring through the air, I will be your solid ground. Take every chance you dare, I’ll still be there, when you come back down. ~ Nickel Creek It’s funny, but I knew my daughter would serve in the military before she did. After four years of watching her compete in high school JROTC competitions, I honestly couldn’t picture her in a dorm room studying economics. But she insisted throughout her senior year that she was done with camouflage, early morning workouts, inspections and obstacle courses. I listened to her reasoning and I offered a few of my own thoughts but ultimately, I knew she would have to decide the course of her life. Her mother and I would …

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Old Friends

You can’t make old friends. ~ Ben Rector I never had any friends later on, like the ones I had when I was twelve…Jesus, does anyone? Fade to black. Roll the credits. That was the final scene in the classic, coming-of-age film, “Stand By Me.” Childhood friendships; there’s just something about them. It’s the kind of friend you can go years without seeing and pick up exactly where you left off. It’s rare, and I have three. Last year, on a perfect spring day, my buddy from high school and I went to Boston and saw the Sox and Tigers play in historic Fenway Park. He traveled there from Texas. I flew in from Tennessee. Together, we walked those hallowed …

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What Are You Listening To?

The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. ~ Richard Bach My father-in-law requested I speak at his funeral. I had never done that before and it terrified me. I pictured myself in a sharp dark suit with all eyes on me, and I got nothing. How do you sum up a 95-year old World War II veteran’s life in a few minutes? Should I be funny? What if I screw up and say something stupid? So, before I wrote a single word, I asked Donald Miller, an author and CEO of StoryBrand for advice. He thought for a moment, and then he said something I won’t forget. “Remember that funerals are for the living,” he began. “I think …

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Your Assist

A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things. ~ Jim Rohn I know a guy who can dribble a basketball better than any single human being I’ve ever seen. Seriously. He’s so good that NBA players come to him for instruction. When I was younger, I would say to him, “Man, I’d give anything to dribble like you.” He’d smirk at me like he knew something I didn’t. He did. Jason has spent a lifetime dribbling. When he was a boy, he woke up at dawn and he dribbled. He went to the neighborhood courts in the afternoon and he dribbled. He’d walk a half-mile home for lunch, dribbling. He’d return and play until …