Woke To Great Awakenings

“Won’t you look down upon me Jesus? You’ve got to help me make a stand…” (1970) “Fire And Rain” Written and Recorded By: James Taylor

Christian history is simply fascinating, to put it mildly. In fact, from Jesus, all the way down through the ions, the historical timeline of the Christian faith is like no other. You don’t have to look behind us too far to find extraordinary happenings of Jesus movements that can raise your hair.

Just since the birth of the American Colonies, the amazing milestones of the church, and its outreach, are well documented, but often tinkered with in a Google search or Wikipedia. For the authentic history, it’s best to rise above the “wokeness” of those with large erasers. Instead, do the research by hitting the old history books before the slanted rewrites began to manipulate factual, documented occurrences concerning Christianity in America.

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Trust me, there is way too much of church history to layout on this post. But I would be remise if I didn’t mention, “The Great Awakening”, and the “Second Great Awakening”. The facts of the faithful in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are astonishing. There are a few names that stick out to me who were used greatly to ignite a faith movement during their times.

George Whitefield (Often spelled, “Whitfield”) He lit a spiritual fire for decades all across Great Britain, and the American Colonies from the 1740’s-1770’s. Benjamin Franklin wrote of Whitfield’s magnetism by use of his voice delivery and the pulpit.

Charles G. Finney. From the 1820’s to the 1870’s, he was the match God used to start a flame known as the “Second Great Awakening”. His works and documents are outstanding. He set out to revive a spiritually sluggish nation, earning the title of “Father of Modern Revivalism”. Not unlike Whitfield, Finney travelled mainly by horseback, drawing crowds ready to stay a few days. Many of the throng would travel far and wide to be under his sermons.

Dwight L. Moody was a shoe salesman in Chicago. He was inspired by the evangelical giants before him like, Charles Finney and George Whitefield. He began small by starting a kid’s ministry and a street ministry that would later be called, “Sunday School”. His sermons of note, some printed and published, are still quoted by many pastors today…if they dare. From the 1850’s to the 1890’s, this salesman turned fiery preacher, aided in evangelizing both America and Great Britain. He also founded the highly successful Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which continues to send out quality trained graduates into the world today.

Billy Sunday was a famous baseball player, turned evangelist. From the 1880’s to 1935, Billy Sunday became widely known as a camp-meeting revivalist, who would spend weeks at a time, preaching in communities all across America. The mother of an old friend of mine came to faith under the preaching of this incredible man.

And of course, Billy Graham who took the torch into our generation until his recent death, reaching more ears across the world than anyone in Christian history.

There are more I could list here, but the trail these evangelists blazed are like wagon train wheel tracks cut into stone. You can follow their tracks, their ripples to this day. If you should look up the Great Awakening movements, you will discover how after a community was lit ablaze by the daily preaching of some of these fire-starters, saloons would close down. Prostitution vanished. Gambling halls were boarded up. Gangsters were converted, or run out of town. Countless people came to realize their need for God’s forgiveness through the saving gift of Jesus. Homeless were fed and housed. Love expanded. Enemies became friends. Churches were built. Schools, orphanages and hospitals were funded and built. Imagine the change in a city like that. Imagine your community altered like that.

Just like in the book of Judges, where the spiritual life among Israel resembled a roller coaster. Up/down, up/down. The anti-God sentiment would rise to the point where everyone’s deeds were always right in their own evaluations. What was once known as “evil” became acceptable, even commonplace. What was once known as righteous was either suppressed, abandoned, or ignored all-together. God’s reply to the spiritually weak nation was to bring calamity, hardships, weather changes, droughts, war, violence, etc. The Israeli’s response was to repent, turn from their ways and acknowledge God, followed by the lifting of the curse with blessings and safety taking its place. Then, the nation would backslide into their wild ways again. This cycle continued for decades. It seemed like they would never learn the consequences of turning their national back to their God.

I am not a prophet. I do not claim to know the future, with the exception of what the scripture tells us. But, I can read the barometer of the nation in which I live. We are spiritually ill, at best. We watch the news and our jaws hit the floor on the outlandish signs of our days. If not for God’s amazing grace toward this culture, we would be finished already. At this point in our history, Sodom and Gomorrah are not too far from here.

Our nation, our world, has endured so much in recent years. So much in the way of manifestations of pure evil are abundant. I know, we don’t like to call it for what it is, but that’s because we belong in the book of Judges. The list is way too long to write here, but nevertheless, the list of our sins grow daily. Our nation is decaying as we play our violin from the balcony.

We call evil things something good and upright. We celebrate wickedness and glamorize it all. We cheer those who attack our children with sexual sins, that is if we don’t slaughter them in the womb first. Forgive me, but we parade and applaud the physical mutilation of our children in the name of choosing gender. We mourn for those who are saddened because certain pronouns are not used to describe an individual due to their gender alterations, gender wishful thinking, and normalizing the ideology. We invite our children to drag queen shows, as well as other drag queen events as tools for indoctrination. Pedophilia, bestiality, and goddess worship are becoming tolerable for many in our country, even in our courts. We have normalized self-worship as we gaze at ourselves on little screens and self-publish our images to the world on social media.

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What are we doing? Where are we going?

We are accepting cultural sewage on our dinner plates everyday because the Woke minority demands we do it, like shepherds prodding sheep. At the same time, we run from the righteousness the Almighty defined for us long ago.

According to Roman and Greek history, not to mention many other geo-political lands, we are way past due for a collapse of our house of cards. God’s nature is HOLY. He has, and will not perpetually endure a rebellious nation which was founded by Him, and held up His banner for well over 200 years.

Yet…there is a modern remnant.

We saw “The Chosen”, a highly successful TV drama series surrounding Jesus and His followers, continue to spike in viewership worldwide. Promos began to run on the movie, “Jesus Revolution” (out now in theaters) depicting the Jesus People movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s, when a conservative pastor, Chuck Smith, (Played by Kelsey Grammer) dared to minister to the hippies of his day. He was trashed by many in the church at that time as sin-on-wheels, and discredited as a nothing burger. Chuck Smith was unjustly ridiculed by his own spiritual sisters and brothers, including some of the churches I grew up in. It was a God-breathed ground zero movement which still rings through our culture today. Coincidence? Take a step back and get the wide-angle lens out.

Suddenly, this nation pulled together a bit in praying for Damar Hamlin, the seriously injured NFL player who died during a tackle on national television. The very public prayers began on the field of play, spreading all across the stadium, and the country. Not long after, rattling of WWIII got louder, mysterious, unexplained UFO’s were shot down, China’s spy balloon allowed to cross our country, signs of the U.S. in sharp decline in so many areas, new COVID resurgence, record breaking drug overdose deaths, etc, Meanwhile, the Grammy Awards highlights Satanic scenes live on stage, vis Sam Smith, to rousing standing ovations and screams of adoration from the audience, all sponsored by Pfizer, your friendly COVID vaccine conglomerate. Again, ask…a coincidence?

Now we see another heavy public movement of faith. It seems spiritual blooms are bursting open.

Asbury University in Kentucky. An average, regularly scheduled service at the campus chapel, ignites into a 24/7 organic praise, prayer, and worship center where individuals came to grips concerning their need for God’s grace, their need for repentance, their need for prayer. The doors had to stay open due to the masses coming to the extraordinary spiritual awakening at ground zero. Before you could keep up, days and nights, nights and days went by. As the word grew, others began to flock to the chapel from outside the campus, the town, the state, and even the nation. Globally, people took flights from other countries to gather at the Asbury University Chapel. So organic, not organized or pre-sold, no event planner involved, the phenomenon lacked famous, well-known preachers or evangelistic experts. No multi-platinum recording artists were invited to boost crowds. Ticketmaster wasn’t needed, or called on. At last count, before the chapel marathon service was ended, over 50,000 people had attended. Just shocking!

Although the chapel location was closed after several non-stop days, the revival continues off-campus. Now many other revival events are popping up all over the nation at various college campuses.

Thousands and thousands from Generation Z are giving their hearts to God, praying, getting on their knees in humility, making decisions for this life and the next. What is more newsworthy, none of this movement is contained inside one denomination. This fresh spiritual breeze blows across denominational lines. That is an occurrence outside of human hands, manmade design. No need to ask who is playing at any of these gatherings. Currently, there is no rock star drawing crowds, no Billy Sunday, no TBN, only The Bright Morning Star, Jesus. The Event Planner is indeed, the Holy Spirit!

Truthfully, this nation is more than ripe for a Great Awakening.

If you are reading this as an unchurched person, one who isn’t into Jesus, or the Bible in general, try not to analyze this moment in history too much. In your position, the word, “Revival” may be foreign to you, or you may know it only as a description concerning a resurgence of retro music, entertainment, fashion, or structural design. Spiritual revival didn’t start at Asbury Chapel, it starts in the single, individual heart. I hope and pray the revival ignites this writer’s heart.

God said it in scripture, so we would know the formula. He promised if we move closer to Him, He would move closer to us. Our land needs to be healed.

Find out the difference between Woke and Awake, in fuel for the race.

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping, and mourning; And tear your heart and not merely your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in mercy And relenting of catastrophe. ” Joel 2:12-13 (NAS)


Who Has The Key?

“The keys to the vaults of Heaven
May be buried somewhere in a prayer.
The keys to the vaults of Heaven
May be heavy or lighter than air.”
(1999) “Vaults Of Heaven”, From the musical, “Whistle Down The Wind” Composers: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman. Also recorded by: Tom Jones

It was June, 2021. I was in Buffalo, NY for my middle daughter’s wedding. Staying with me, for a couple of days in an Airbnb in the city, were four other loved ones. My oldest daughter, Tabitha, her daughter, Skylar, my youngest daughter, D’Anna, along with her fiancé, Nik.

It was in an older neighborhood, laced with quaint frame houses. We were treated to a nice understated two story home. The second floor housed regular leasing tenants, while the first floor was a nice Airbnb layout with a beautiful front sunroom deck in a cedar interior. Built like a rowhouse, it had three bedrooms, but just one bathroom in the hallway. (That was a bit of a squeeze for the five of us.) Nevertheless, it was a very charming place, and so suited to our needs for a wedding weekend. The only complaint I would have registered, if I were going to, would’ve been the fact that the owner gave us only one key. Yes, one key between the five of us. To make matters worse, we only had one rent-a-car at first. After the first few hours, Nik decided he would rent a car to ease the schedule. Smart kid.

As you can imagine, we all didn’t go to the same places, at the same time. Nik and D’Anna wanted to visit Niagara Falls just outside of Buffalo, while Tabitha and Skylar wanted to shop, and I, the old man, just wanted to relax in order to push away the jetlag. Also, I was going to sing at the reception and needed to find a time to rehearse with the band.

And if that wasn’t enough ingredients for a collective headache, the three girls were in the wedding party and needed to pick up their gowns, go to a bachelorette party, get dolled up for a rehearsal dinner, etc… There was a lot to cram into 2.5 days. In other words, we all had our schedules. Of course, this meant some of us were coming back to the house at different times for different reasons. Still, we only had one key. You can see the frustrating issue.

Wedding day had arrived. We were all so very busy with shower schedules, ironing of clothing, breakfast plans. Every inch of the large dinning table was made into a hair and make-up salon. Curling irons, as well as, blow-dryers were all over the place. It’s a wonder we didn’t blow a fuse.

The wedding was at noon, down on the banks of the Niagara, very close to the famous U.S./Canadian Peace Bridge. The drive there is about 15 minutes, or less. As you can expect, it was a very busy morning for us all. My daughter, and bride, Megan, had someone from the wedding party pick the girls up as they needed to be there early to assist in the bride’s prep. Nik took his rental not long after, leaving me with…the ONLY KEY. Yes, I was the last one out the door, as planned, and nervous as all get-out (as we say in Texas). Being the Father of the bride, I assumed the role would come with rattled nerves, and it certainly does.

About an hour before vow-time, I was carrying all that I needed for the event, including…the ONLY KEY. The front door was the type which had to be locked from the outside as you leave. So, after you shut the door, you locked it up tight with…the ONLY KEY. That’s what I did. Juggling a briefcase full of music, while carrying my jacket in the other arm, as well as, the rent-a-car keys in my right pants pocket, I quickly shoved…the ONLY KEY into my left pants pocket.

Over twelve hours later, after a wild music filled reception with dancing, food, toasts, and the greatest rock musicians in western NY, we five left in separately all with dreams of getting out of the wedding clothes and crashing hard at the Airbnb.

I arrived first with a full bladder while dragging my feet. Exhaustion doesn’t come close to the state I was in. It was very dark. I have Glaucoma. For me, darkness has a velvet blackness to it without a good light. Only a dim overhead porch lamp gave some glow on the door. That was just the beginning of trouble.

As I shuffled up to the steps, I reached into my left pants pocket and found nothing. The right pocket only had the rent-a-car keys. I checked my shirt pocket, my jacket pockets, my shoes, my briefcase, and did not find…the ONLY KEY! I literally sat down on the steps of the porch scratching my noggin in the dark. My brain had to work hard to do a rewind to the morning exit out of the house. Firstly, I reassured myself that I was indeed the last one out of the house that morning. I also reassured myself that no one asked me for the key after I arrived at the venue. Methodically, I went through the film in my head where I locked up, stuck the key in my left pants pocket while taking out the car keys from the right pocket and got in the car, which was parked across the street. Nothing made any sense. Why did I not have…the ONLY KEY?

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Nik showed up with Skylar. After telling them of my embarrassing situation, he suggested that we search the walkway, sidewalk, street, the curb, etc. Nik and Skylar began to scan the area after I mentioned how my vision can’t make out objects in darkened places. As we looked like fools on a scavenger hunt after midnight, I called the girls to warn them of the problem. They were on their way as someone was dropping them off. Tabitha asked Nik to go over the interior of my car with a fine tooth comb, with zero results. I don’t think the kids were too happy with me. We were all so tired.

As the girls arrived, I was on the phone with the owner, who lived some 30 miles away. Bless her heart, she was gracious, even at 12:40am on a Sunday morning. About an hour later, she rescued us with another key…the other key we should’ve had to start with, but I’ll move on.

After we were collapsing inside the house, Nik walked up to me holding…the ONLY KEY!

I blurted out in astonishment, “Where on earth did you find it?”

There was a mail slot next to the front door where mail was dropped into a mudroom where you take off your shoes before entering the front room. Just beneath the mail slot, as Nik was taking off his boots, he moved a pair of shoes already placed there and found…the ONLY KEY on the floor under the shoes.

Not only do I have Glaucoma, I also suffer from neuropathy, mainly targeting the shins and feet, but a bit in my fingers. I can only surmise, in my hastiness, my fingers didn’t feel the…ONLY KEY slip out of my grasp as I made the attempt to pocket the…ONLY KEY. Some very good Samaritan tenant, from the second floor, must have spotted it on the walkway, or the porch steps, and tossed it in the mail slot. I cannot tell you how relieved I was. It also saved us from a hefty fee for a lost key.

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Have you ever been there? You thought you had a key to such and such, or so in so, but when the keyhole was there, you lacked what it took to get on the other side of that door. I’m not thinking so much about a car door, a gate, or a storage unit, but rather moments of love, life, or longings. One might feel the lacking of the key of acceptance. Some of those airtight doors can be a frustration. If you’re like me, you can recall a few.

Maybe there have been times when a loved one passed away, and you sat in the memorial service watching the slide presentation of the once lively person enjoying their days from the past, and you wondered. It’s natural to wonder about, “what’s next”. The wisest question surrounds the time spelled out in the dashes on the obit with the dates of birth and death. How short is the dash between, let’s say, 1960 and 2023. “Joe Blow, 1971-2023”. The dash is most important. It’s there where we decide our eternity. There’s a reason why the dash is so short. Scripture states that life is just a vapor, a puff of smoke, a wispy cloud.

Why wonder? Why not “KNOW”? There is only one key, and you do not possess it. In fact, you never possessed it. Be a thinking person, not one who is blown around by the most popular thought of the day in a very darkened culture with severe spiritual Glaucoma.

Photo by Asiama Junior on Pexels.com

There is only One Who holds the key to your eternal door. “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door” is a start. Look into it. Your dash is very short.

Spoiler alert: Jesus, the One Who holds the ONLY KEY, is also the only doorway. In fact, He has the master key to gain entrance to eternal life.

Know more about hearing the key lift the latch by diving headlong into fuel for the race.

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “’Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.'” – Revelation 1:17-18 (NAS)


“And when one of us is gone, And one of us is left to carry on, Then remembering will have to do, Our memories alone will get us through. Think about the days of me and you. You and me against the world.” ( 1974) “You And Me Against The World” Recorded By: Helen Reddy Composers: Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams

Happy birthday to my mom, Carolyn Atherton-Brown!

The two of us in 1962.

February 1st turned her page to 79 years of age. I have written about her story in the past, about how she was only 15 when she was date raped. She was barely 16 when she chose to have me. Yes, I interrupted her life, her growth, her education. In spite of me, she forged ahead like a freight train.

Carolyn Atherton (Mom) at 13!!!

That event did so much harm, which for her entire life, continues to exhibit the ripples from that personal ground zero. Even after two suicide attempts, somehow, someway, God pulled her through it all to my day of birth.

The two of us in 1962

In her small town culture in that day and time, she was urged to marry my bio father, which only lasted two years. Two years of vile abuse, violence, and adultery with countless women was simply torture for her. She remarried again when I was five years of age, but that marriage only lasted four years. Beyond those short years, she raised me on her own as a single, hardworking mom during the 60’s and 70’s. Those days were brutal for both of us.

The two of us 1965 (Scratched photo)

The two of us 1975 (I was 15)

In October of 2021, I went into rescue mode. At that time I realized she could no longer take care of herself. Living alone was to be no more. My wife and I made the decision to be her caregivers in our home. It has not been easy, even though my family has a long line of caregiving over the decades. I have seen it up close since I was old enough to understand it.

Yes, February 1st is her birthday, but she was unaware. I had to tell her of her special day. A few months ago, she was diagnosed with Lewy Bodies Disease. It’s under the dementia umbrella. It resembles both a bit of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Since she has been living with us, her condition has noticeably declined mentally and physically.

Knowing our time is growing short, I wanted to once again treat her to something I promised her when I was just a little kid. I wanted to do a cookout for her on my grill from our backyard patio. Hamburgers have always been her favorite, and so easy to do on the grill over mesquite wood. However, wintry weather kicked in with sleet and ice, freezing my chef’s hat. But, we will just delay the Texas BBQ feast. On that day, I will fire up the grill in tears, knowing it will probably be the last time I grill for her birthday due to the gravity of her condition. We know we will be forced to move her to a care center where she can be more properly cared for.

My memories of her, to be frank, are not always pleasant. The happy days were certainly a part of our story. Multiple times in my life she has had my back. Although strictly legalistic in her faith, she made sure I knew God from a very early age, but a stranger to grace. Many good memories can be, and must be, unearthed as I get older. Yet, there were very difficult times in our lives, including poverty along with hard disruptions in her career. In most of the churches we attended, this 20something divorced girl was called by, “Mrs”, not by her first name. It was always hurtful for her. So much for true fellowship and love.

My grandmother, Opal Atherton and my mom – 1965.

As a kid I was also unaware of her injured mental, emotional condition which can be traced way back to that horrible rape event in August of 1959. The irony of the crime of that night, when I was conceived, reached through the years to injure me as a young boy. Although she loved me, she also was incredibly harsh in various ways. In fact, looking back, I can testify solidly that she abused me at times in violent ways, as well as, psychological renderings. Yet, as a man of Jesus, I had to understand how an injured, hurting person can, and will, inflict their pain on others they love. Choosing to recall the sweet times doesn’t always have to be a struggle.

Many years ago, I had to confront my own deep-seated anger, leading me to ask God to help me rise above the painful memories and forgive my mother. I had forgiven my bio father long ago after we met, but delayed offering forgiveness to my mom out of pure resentment. Often, even today, I find myself revisiting that snare over the past. Still, I must always overcome the trap within, and ask God to repaint my soul of soreness with a coat of His special brand of varnish. This is what I must cling to for the remainder of my days.

She no longer remembers, but the Helen Reddy song, “You And Me Against The World” was a hit on our radio when I was just about to turn 14. During that time I never would have fathomed the bitterness, and the sweetness, of an ironic line in the very last chorus…

“And when one of us is gone, and one of us is left to carry on, then remembering will have to do…

Today, I am the only one who remembers.

Carolyn Atherton-Brown 2023

Choosing a better way has instructions in fuel for the race.

“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you…” – Deuteronomy 5:16a

Where The Road Leads

“So goodbye yellow brick road,
Where the dogs of society howl…
Oh, I’ve finally decided my future lies,
Beyond the yellow brick road.”
(1973) “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” Recorded By: Elton John Composed By: Elton John and Bernard Taupin

Isn’t it funny, how we don’t exactly know where the road we are on ends, or what detours may be in store, until we get over the next hill for a good visual?

Such was the case, some 22 years ago, one hot west Texas day for me, the weary traveler. Grab your popcorn.

I was planning on a 2.5 hour drive (one way), west of Dallas, Texas, to be with family for a relative’s memorial service. The drive out there displays a change in landscapes, cactus, hills, and red sandy soil.

I was doing an afternoon drive-time radio show at 90.9 KCBI at the time, in Arlington, Texas, halfway between Dallas and Ft Worth. It was to be a busy day. The funeral was planned as a morning service, and my show in the Arlington studio started at 3pm. What was even more complicated was the fact that my producer had scheduled the multi award-winning recording artist, Natalie Grant to be live in studio with me that day.

Photo By: Dean Dixon Natalie Grant

Although this was early in her solo career, she had several hits out by that time, and I was looking forward to chatting with her about her life and what was around the next bend. But, I almost didn’t make it.

I needed to be at the service in west Texas. It had been a long while since visiting with my dad’s side of the family there, not to mention I wanted to pay my respects to a very dear uncle who fought through many speed bumps in his life and yet, was a champion to the very end. So, I looked at the map (This was before Google Maps and GPS was offered to for the everyday person.), and carefully back-timed the journey, along with figuring the average length of a small town memorial service. After putting numbers together, considering I couldn’t stay for the family luncheon, or the graveside service, I put away the calculator with confidence I could accomplish such a journey, and still keep my commitment to my producer and Natalie, and her record label.

The trip there from my north Dallas home was uneventful. It was a familiar journey. All went well.

The state highway and interstate system is just like most states when driving across rural areas. There would be lots of winding curves, hills and valleys, and small towns where if you blink you would miss them. Then, from time to time, there would be getting behind a farmer’s tractor slowly on his way to the next pasture. Nevertheless, the clock and I remained friends. I arrived in plenty of time prior to the service and met up with many family members.

With about three hours prior to my radio show, I said my goodbyes, and headed east for the lengthy drive to the studio. However, because my destination was the radio station in Arlington, I was unfamiliar with the trek from point A to point B. It seemed uncomplicated enough, I just never travelled this particular route.

Because I left the service without eating lunch with the family, I became a bit hungry on the way. Thinking I could hold out until I reached the studio, my stomach started to complain. Looking at the fuel gauge, I would soon need to stop to top off the tank.

Over the river and through the woods, I spotted a small mom & pop gas station with a convenient store attached. Well, I was hungry, and it was indeed, convenient. After filling up the gas tank, monitoring my watch every few minutes, I decided to grab some food items I could nibble on while driving. It’s been many years ago, but if memory serves me right, I grabbed a stick of beef jerky, a Hostess cupcake, and a diet Coke. (Nutrition was out the window with my need for speed.)

Have you ever tried starting your car, along with putting on your seatbelt, while opening a soft-drink bottle and a stick of jerky all at the same time? It’s not easy, at least not that day.

As soon as I could open up the food items for easy access on the center console, I got my wheels quickly pushing the white rock gravel out from beneath the tread and off I went from the gas pump toward the driveway out to the highway…or so I thought.

About 20-30 yards of a white gravel lot separated the fuel pump and the highway pavement. I sped-up toward the exit of the gas station property, anxious to get back on the road toward Arlington. When I think back on the 20-30 yard jaunt across the lot, I most likely was focused more on wrestling with a difficult wrapper keeping me from a thick slice of smoked beef jerky. I quickly approached the pavement of the shoulder of the highway when to my surprise, I ran out of both white gravel and anticipated pavement. When my destination came into full view, like a NASCAR driver, I worked the brake as quickly as I could, even pumping the brake as I slid over the loose gravel. Why? Because I made the mistake of not paying attention to exactly how the gas station was orientated to the highway. In my shock, I was driving rather quickly toward an edge of the gravel lot to a steep embankment down into a fork of the Brazos River, which was some 20-30 feet down to a shallow rocky bottom stream. When I came to a timely full stop, I threw it in park and just sat there reminding myself to inhale and exhale. There was no guardrail, no fence, no warning sign, or directive indicator whatsoever. Other than an air pump for tires, there was no warning of a drop-off at the edge of the gravel lot. If it had been a nighttime visit to this location, they would’ve had MY memorial service the following week. As I slowly got my bearings and put it in reverse, I could see my front tires were probably 6 feet from the edge. As you can imagine, I was sweating bullets.

Photo by Frank K on Pexels.com

Over the winding paths of my life, I can honestly say, life can be very much like that experience. Isn’t it true? There will be times when you are rolling along just fine when suddenly you find yourself headed smack into a brick wall, a curb you didn’t see, or a cliff’s edge. Don’t fool yourself, they all don’t always come with warning signs, or road reflectors, or rails to guard you from gravity taking over. And isn’t it true that often times situations like this are delivered by way of being distracted somehow? Something else that entices, something else outside of yourself which tickles one or more of your five senses. Then, without much warning at all, another unnoticed reality is on an intercept course where you can’t put the brakes on quickly enough. Exercising caution at all times is wise, on the road, in a parking garage, as well as, the road of life.

Only you know what that is in your life. Only you know when this has shocked your steps forward. Only you know what to guard against. You and God, the One Who sees all things before you and after you. He knows each of our roads are different.

In case you were wondering, I got to the studio on time, with about 30 minutes to spare, even before Natalie showed up. It was our first time to work together, but would have the pleasure of working with her again a few times later in our careers. When I told her what had happened on my way to the radio station, her jaw hit the floor. She said the Lord had His hand on me, even when we’re unaware. She was right.

When needing to know where the pitfalls are in your road, locate the map in fuel for the race.

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29: 11-12 (Amplified Bible)

Choosing…A Powerful Act

“Let freedom ring.
May the love of freedom always ring.
It has brought us this far.
It proclaims who we are.
And together we sing, let freedom ring
.” – “Let Freedom Ring” Recorded By: Barry Manilow

We, the American public, stand on rather solid, large shoulders. On America’s Election Day, we remember.

“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate” – Thomas Jefferson

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato

“Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” – Susan B. Anthony

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” – Abraham Lincoln

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” – JFK

“The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls.” – Peggy Noonan

 “We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“(It is) indispensably necessary to save our country from ruin.… I give my assent to the Constitution in full confidence .” – John Handcock

“There are elections in which everyone knows that ‘the people have spoken’ but they don’t always know exactly what the people have said. This November’s election was different. Not only did the people speak, they spoke clearly.” – Kay Baily Hutchison

I write this on the Saturday prior to America’s midterm Election Day, 2022. Obviously, not knowing the election results at this time, I am confident that the citizens of this nation will rise up and speak their will at the polls. No doubt, there will be some run-offs, and ballot counting controversies, as well as, some states (those who allow such struggles and drama) unable to tally all the returns in a 24 hour block of time. In the end, we can pray all projections will be fair, without fraud, and timely.

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No matter the party affiliation, or whims of political debate, most Americans want what they feel is the best for the country during the days at the ballot box. If I were to mention a hue of caution, it would be my hope in relying on this great nation to vote from the heart, and not the talking heads. With the swirl of lies spewed out from various political players (starting at the very top), the media, and the candidates themselves, one can certainly drown in misinformation, or tunnel vision. Misinformation was the original trap in Eden, and tunnel vision is very much what snaps the trap over the neck of the mouse.

We have seen the polls showing the list of concerns the nation faces in this election cycle. Topping the list tends to be, economics, crime, public school curriculum, immigration (border control). It’s shocking to me to find some other residual topics ranking top of mind for some before personal financial, or physical survival. A great example would be to choose homelessness, or whether or not one can afford sufficient food and fuel for themselves, or their families, over late term abortion rights from Washington vs the voting decision of each individual state. To me, this reeks of not having a clear view of national neglect, allowing America to sink into a weak, needy nation.

The founding fathers were very clear on this point. In order for a people to have rights, the people must have a majority electoral system where the people choose for themselves collectively. Election Day is for the will of the people, not the few, or the selected, the elite, or the loudest. The puppet masters, holding their strings, who sit in their ivory towers can only watch and weep. WE THE PEOPLE rule here!

Election is not a new thing. In a mysterious fashion, God Himself elects His own. Volumes have been written about this unexplainable phenomenon in which only The Great I AM fully understands, but for now, we can only acknowledge that it is true, alongside freewill. The billions who have come to faith in Jesus can only be humbled by the thought that they were chosen before the foundation of the world. Again, it’s a complex truth coming directly from God’s infinite mind and heart. We know this because it was placed in scripture so we would get a taste of His love for fallen humanity. Still, “Whosoever will may come” is written in red.

Choosing is a very powerful act, indeed.

It is a bold statement of truth to say if one does not vote, that one has surrendered. And that’s not America.

Come and find your name on God’s ballot in fuel for the race.

“You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and you should bear fruit, and your fruit should remain, so that whatever you might ask the Father in My name, He may give you. “ – Jesus – John 15:16 (Berean Literal Bible)

Life Is…

“In the circle of life,
It’s the wheel of fortune.
It’s the leap of faith.
It’s the band of hope,
‘Til we find our place.
On the path unwinding, yeah.
In the circle, the circle of life.”
(1994) “Circle Of Life” From Disney’s, The Lion King. Recorded By: Elton John Written By: Elton John & Tim Rice

Look around. We see the results everywhere. Our culture tends to scream it out. Childhood abuse, in various forms, can cause even the brightest souls to spin off course, or knocked into another orbit than intended. Early trauma in a child’s life can deliver a lens through which the injured views the future by way of a fogged scrim. Often this skewed vision can last until death, or to the doorstep of an intervention of some kind giving opportunity for an adjustment.

A brilliant young man, Reginald Kenneth Dwight was such an injured person. His childhood experiences drove him headlong into a life of debauchery, self-destruction, horrific tantrums, and hopelessness. Reginald became a severe addict. His addictive behavior was manifested in numerous ways. He became addicted to all things material, shopping, sexual addictions, sour relationships, abusive actions toward lovers, alcohol consumption, drug abuse (cocaine being the pet), out-of-control financial spending, gross hording of collectibles, eating disorders, and so much more. When it came to substance abuse, he became so addicted that he was in the all-you-can-consume-buffet-line. If there was more cocaine in the building, his nose found found it until it was all gone. Once he started, he couldn’t stop.

Relationships, good relationships, were seemingly avoided as a young man. Although he found himself engaged to a young lady, a woman who was abusive in word, in deed, and violent at times, he was presented with a solution to his troubled relationship. He listened to a close friend who was gay, and decided that he himself might be gay. Although it went against all he was raised with, he made the decision to try the gay lifestyle as he continued to run away from his past. The next morning they came with a truck to take him home, while she went her own way. His decisive choice threw him into a never ending line of gay lovers, some of which he never knew their names.

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Many years later, he fell in love with…a woman. Nobody close to him believed it could happen, but it did. For reasons a bit unclear, they married. However, his lifestyle, and all that goes with it, had become so amalgamized with his daily life, and the destructive choices he made, ended the marriage some four years later. He, and his wife, both truly loved one another. They both still honor one another to this very day. They vowed to never discuss publicly the intimate details of their marriage, however the fly in the ointment was fairly evident.

As hard as it is to wrap your head around the following, it still must be mentioned here. Always looking for love, and always looking to satisfy his sexual addictions, he would pick up men like some pick up stray dogs. He would use them sexually for a few days, weeks, or possibly up to six months, then drop them by way of a friend slipping the rejected man an airplane ticket home. In the end, he admits to having hundreds of these types of relationships.

He never contracted AIDS, but many of his lovers and friends did. In fact, Reginald lost numerous friends to AIDS, drugs, accidents and suicide. In fact, he attempted to end his life at least three times with intension. Other times, he almost lost his life without any attempts due to cancer and rare infections. Still, his non-stop raving appetite for drugs and alcohol could’ve been his demise at any time throughout the fuzzy decades of abuse.

In 1978, on a rainy, dreary Sunday morning in one of his homes in England, he rose from his bed in deep depression. Actually, he had been in depression for many years as he tried, but failed to self-medicate. But on this day, it seemed much darker to him. Once again, he morbidly felt he was on the edge of death, even visualizing floating away from his body toward space itself, burning up the fuse up there alone. His steps from the bed to the doorway competed heavily with a massive hangover from the night before. As he made his way through the spacious home, he left Reginald Kenneth Dwight behind like a cold bathrobe and , as he did each day, slipped into his Elton John character as he made his stumbling way to the piano bench.

Photo: From – Me: Elton John from, Macmillan Publishing. Photographed By: Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.

It was a rare occasion when he would write a song without his co-writing partner, Bernie Taupin. Bernie was the lyricist, and Elton was the music composer. However, something often came over him to write a song on his own, without the lyrical assistance of Bernie. This particular, dark morning, was one of them. Still in a cloudy haze from what lingered in his bloodstream, a haunting melody reverberated in his mind. He began to plink it out note by note, chord by chord. As usual, it was beautiful to the ear. At first, he had no thought as to a lyric as he was only playing the instrumental bubbling up from within. The song itself came rather quickly to the keyboard, as was the norm for Elton’s gargantuan talent, but soon a line wormed its way through the notes and the fog of the morning. Like a tape loop, it rotated in his mind over and over again. Being in such a depressive, hungover state, with a sense of great loss, he wasn’t expecting a lyric to make its presence known. Yet, there it was, out of nowhere, loud and clear. Elton began to match it with the chord structure, repeating it verbally like a thick continual scroll. Unlike past lyrical adventures in the composition of songs, this line was the only line that displayed itself to him that morning. It was a short lyric, but a massive, hard-hitting domino of a line not to be lost or forgotten. It read like this…

“Life…isn’t everything.”

Now, say what you will about the validity, or the absurdity of such a line, but there are times when one can be inspired by something in the air? Something outside of one’s self? A spiritual connection? A spirit tested? A spirit not tested? Which ever way you believe it to be, this did happen while the melody was being formed in his music room that day. It’s a sad state of affairs when an individual, who is worth north of $500 million dollars, held such a lack of darkness and hope.

He loved the song so much that he wanted to release it. His intension was to title it, “Life isn’t Everything”. In studio, he simply sings the line very softly, repeating the line several times, toward the end of the instrumental. If you should bring it up on YouTube, you will find it to be a stirring, daunting piece, mixed with an edge of a feeling of floating away without care. Businesswise, the song did well on the UK charts, but poorly in the US. Still, if you heard it you might recognize the recording.

Guy Burchett was a 17 year old who ran messages and errands for Elton’s production company. He was a local lad who was always available, hard working, and dependable. Guy was a year younger than I. Knowing how I loved EJ’s music, I can see how eager he was to work for the musician. Elton was notified the following day of Guy’s unfortunate sudden death due to a motorcycle accident. As the information came down, as it turned out, the young man’s life had been snuffed out at the same time Elton was constructing the song on that Sunday morning. Grieved, he made the choice to honor his young friend by entitling the new song, “Song For Guy”.

I am not here to be Elton’s judge. I am not here to bash Elton’s lifestyle. I am not here to denounce Elton’s decisions in life. Because I view things through a biblical point of view, I know that for the grace of God go I. I know I have a tendency to feed on addictive trappings. God granted us freewill. I cannot blame my DNA heritage, or any particular generation in my bloodline, although it would seem easy to do so. Scripture makes it clear that I am responsible for my own decisions, whether to try for the bait in the traps, or not. In Elton’s autobiography, Me: Elton John, he admits falling hook, line, and sinker for cocaine at the very first snort. It can happen.

Still, the single line whispered into his brain on that drizzly Sunday morning in 1978 is so profound…and yet, so wrong. “Life isn’t everything”.

I will assume here that there was a Mr. and Mrs. Burchett who grieved painstakingly at the news of their son’s tragic death on the road. Although we don’t know them, I will assume they might have said, in their grief, “Oh, no!” Or maybe, “No, not my precious son!” Or possibly, “Our boy meant the world to us.” Grief is indeed the penalty of loving. More than likely, Guy’s life meant everything to his parents, in fact, to anyone who loved Guy.

Allowing for Sir Elton’s possible meaning, as he wrote the lyric which pounded into his head, the expression may have been a statement of eternal hope after this life is over. In that respect, it’s true. Life, in the here and now, isn’t everything. Life here is only temporary. Scripture aligns it like a puff of a vapor in the air, or a blade of grass that comes and goes with the seasons. Of course, in Elton’s state of loss, depression, while reeling from the aftermath of a night of debauchery, he might have been thinking death is more valuable. After all, it must be the relief of all that stains us, all that pains us, all that shakes us.

Here, I am pushed to disagree with one of my favorite musicians.

How valuable and distinctive is life?

Life isn’t just a four letter word on a board game by Hasbro. Life isn’t just a name on a Quaker Oats cereal box. Life is a gift, issued to each living thing. However, life for the human was issued in the most intimate way. Unlike the cow, the tree, the worm, humanity first took a breath when The great I Am, The Creator ordained the inhale by placing His own mouth over the nostrils and blew the breath of life into the first human. In other words, God Himself crouched down to the lifeless body of His creation and performed mouth-to-mouth, and that action caused life to occur in the new man. Life is issued. It is a gift. Just ask anyone who has had a near-death experience and lived to tell about it. Moreover, ask anyone who was lifeless due to an illness, or accident, and was reignited. I am one of those people. Life is a gift. Life is a stone thrown into a motionless pond, activating ripples upon impact. If you are alive, you have an impact on others around you. Yet, the One who gave life, also removes the breath.

Let us resolve to mention another truth concerning Elton’s lyric. As stated before, life isn’t everything, in that it is temporary. Just ask Guy Burchett. Oh, that’s right, you can’t ask him. Guy left his body at the age of 17 in 1978 during a tragic motorcycle crash. Guy, the person of Guy, left his body to enter eternity. Holy scripture is clear, there is more to this life. It may seem like a candle in the wind, but when the wick burns away, our flame carries on. Jesus spoke about the afterlife often, and the place(s) of the afterlife. God controls the final exits, and the doors entered. In scope, this life is only a blink of an eye compared to eternity. There is a second life, and a second death for some. I didn’t make that up, it’s spelled out in the ancient scrolls.

Although Elton is weird and wonderful, his book is brutally honest, so much so, it can be a very difficult read. Trust me, there were times at the end of a chapter I wanted to take a shower.

The man, the soul, Reginald, found himself removing his electric boots and entered a 12 step program. He learned much about his mistakes, his substance abuse, and even his old ruthless ways with those around him. He has gone back to many he has wronged to apologize for past behaviors. Sobriety has been his norm for many years now, and helps others who need to enter treatment. His view toward life softened much through the following years, even to the point of pouring himself into charities, and forming the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised over $450 million in AIDS research and medical treatment around the world. Through his circumstances in life, he has been forced to a more pliable heart. Even at this elder stage of his life, who knows where it might direct him.

As for Elton’s 1978 view of a throw-away life, he has changed his camera angle. In his book, on the very last page, he writes something so vastly opposite of his 1978 lyric. After suffering from cancer, and a devastating infection he contracted while on tour in South America which almost took his life, he writes:

“In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I’d prayed: ‘please don’t let me die, please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer.’ In a strange way, it felt like the time I spent recuperating was the answer to my prayers…It was like being shown a different life.” – Elton John, Excerpt taken from, Me: Elton John, Macmillan Publishing

He knows you wouldn’t mind if he put it down into words, how wonderful life is.

The true circle of life, and life’s destination, is in black and white in fuel for the race.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.” – Jesus From John 3:16-17 (NAS)

91 Years Of Love

“When you feel cold, I’ll warm you.
And when you feel you can’t go on, I’ll come and hold you.
It’s you and me forever…”
(1975) “Sara Smile” Recorded By: Hall & Oates Composers: Daryl Hall & John Oates

He was raised on farmland. Born around 1869ish+/-. His family, and the children which came later, toiled as sharecroppers, working the crops of other landowners. They travelled from county to county, wherever the work was available. The Tapp family were not educated folk, but they were the salt of the earth, a redneck clan, who knew the backbreaking job of picking cotton, corn, potatoes, and okra from dawn to dusk. If he owned a suit, it was strictly for church on Sundays. His hands were rough and weathered, yet his handsome face endured the Texas sun. He would grow up knowing the horse and wagon days of travel, until he was well into his 30’s when he saw his first horseless carriage.

At some point, date unknown as the family didn’t tend to keep records, he married a girl named, Molly. Later they were blessed with at least five boys, and two daughters, a true gift for a farm-working family. He was my Great-Great Granddaddy Tapp.

One of the daughters was my Great Grandmother, Ella Tapp-Swindell. She was born in 1901. As expected, she learned the trade of farming, along with her many siblings. However, while she was 6, 7, or 8 years old, Molly grew ill and became an invalid. Ella had to quit school and help take care of household duties, raising her siblings, along with learning to be a caregiver to her disabled mother. She married a handsome man of all trades, and talented musician named, Cluade Swindell. Ella was a “Get-Up-And-Get-It-Done” gal who passed the same attitude on to her daughter and son. The siblings were a fine duo out in the sharecropping fields from the time they could start walking. That daughter was my grandmother, Opal Swindell-Atherton. If you are a regular reader of my blog, than you have been introduced well to Opal Atherton in past posts.

Opal was born in 1921. While in Jr. High School in Wolfe City, Texas, she met a wild auburn-headed country boy named, Martin “Lucky” Atherton. He was new to the area, having moved from Oklahoma. When their eyes met, it was love, real love. Blinded by love, they never dated others. They were married when she was 17 years old. The life of sharecropping was over for her, as Lucky, her new husband, was a sharp mechanic. They were blessed to add two boys and one girl to their home. Their daughter, the baby of the family, would be my mom, Carolyn Atherton-Brown. She was born in 1944.

Again, if you have read my story from my other posts, you already know the tragic details of how I arrived in 1960.

As soon as my mom and I were able to travel, we made a quick drive from Greenville, Texas to Cash, Texas, a tiny farming community just a few miles away from where I was born. There, we visited my G-G-Granddaddy Tapp, along with my G-Grandmother Swindell on the Tapp family farm. The camera was loaded and ready for the photo below. Five generations in one shot. As you can see I was very casual about the entire event.

Photo: Five Generation Picture – June 1960

Many have told me they have never seen a five generation photo. I guess a four generation shot is more common. To have a five generation shot is just simply a gift from God. So, as you can imagine, when the time arrived in my life to obtain yet another five generation shot, I couldn’t wait to get the camera ready. Below is my grandmother, Opal, my mom, Carolyn, me, my daughter, Tabitha, and my granddaughter, Skylar. I love the way my Grandmother Atherton is looking at Skylar here, with yet another 90 years between them.

Photo: Five year generation picture – June 2016

Beyond the rarity of such a photo, as treasured as it is, might be what it represents. For me, it’s a reminder of the love and care which took place from generation to generation. We choose to love because love is exactly that, a choice. Care is a natural by-product of authentic love. When I review the stories told, going back 91 years, I can see this chain of love, like links from one person to the next, holding them all together, weaving a fabric of common admiration, loyalty, and valor. For those who have such a legacy, it is priceless.

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Scripture tells us that there is One who is closer than a brother. At the same time, the Author of such a passage also has revealed Himself as Father, Brother, even Grandfather, in certain aspects. In fact, and I must be careful here, He is even described as Mother because of His tenderness, intimate care-giver, personal supplier, and nurturer, as in El Shaddai, meaning All Sufficient One, IE: “The God Who is more than enough”. He IS our great Relative from generations past.

There are links of generational love to discover in fuel for the race.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” – Isaiah 49:15-16a (NIV)

Rights And Lefts

“People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one.
And we’ve only just begun.
Think I’m gonna have a son.
He will be like she and me, as free as a dove,
Conceived in love.
Sun is gonna shine above.”
(1970) “Danny’s Song” (Even Though We Ain’t Got Money) Composer: Kenny Loggins

It was an unanticipated event. Unexpected, you might say.

1968 was a landmark year for Danny, and his girlfriend, Sheila. It wasn’t their first choice, or their second. Yet, God had other plans. When the news came from the doctor that Sheila was expecting, the sky didn’t fall. The earth didn’t stop revolving. The stars continued their sparkle. In their case, the two were very much in love, even though unmarried, it didn’t matter. A new dynamic had surrounded the two young people, which changed their navigation in life. Danny was so pumped about the idea, that he wrote a letter to his younger brother about his circumstances and the new developments. It was THAT letter which made up much of Kenny Loggins’ lyrics of the very famous song, most remember as, “Even Though We Ain’t Got Money”. (Anne Murray would also release it in 1973. It became a huge hit with her offering of the song.)

One might say, “Sure, but they were in love. They were a couple. Abortion was illegal, and not an option for an unmarried couple in 1968.” Yes, it’s true. Danny and Sheila were in love, choosing pre-marital sex in their relationship. True, abortion wasn’t available legally at the moment, if that was a choice Sheila wanted to make. But, what if the opposite were true. What if Danny and Sheila were not serious lovers of the heart and soul? What if they lost their sexual composer on a date out on a moonlit beach without planning a long-lasting future? I’ll go further than that. What if Danny was over aggressive in the sexual heat of the moment, and a date rape occurred? (This is how I was conceived in 1959.) Now, let’s take all of those hypothetical questions, and add a hard question from the fabric of reality check. Ready?

Would the baby inside Sheila’s warm, nourishing, and protective uterus, suddenly changed into a glob of tissue, a tumor, or an intrusive bio-matter of a cyst if the love didn’t exist? The honest answer hits us in the face like a Boston Cream Pie. No, the baby would not suddenly transform into a knot of fat and gristle. In fact, Sheila and Danny’s baby is about 53 years old this year. You know why? Because when he was conceived inside Sheila, there was nothing, nada, zero, to be added to his DNA to make him a newborn baby boy nine months later. Everything he needed to grow into a 8 pound baby, who would seek a nipple even before birth, was already there in the beginning of the union of the egg and the sperm. There would be no need for a fairy to come along with a shaker of pixie dust to anoint his expanding cranium to complete the make-up of humanity. Unless a horrible deadly health issue invaded his body, or an abortionist’s steel bladed tool attacked his limbs and head from outside the protective womb, he would be a 53 year old man by 2022. Danny and Sheila’s love for one another had nothing to do with his development and growth. Danny and Sheila could’ve broken up before his birth, and not one piece of his DNA, his structure, his brain, his heart, would be subtracted to make him less human.

Nov 1987 – Tabitha, my first, and me without any sleep.

Roe V Wade was overturned in the U. S. Supreme Court a few days ago. They call it, “The Supreme Court” because that is the institution’s nature. The nine justices who are honored to have a chair in the highest court in the nation, are vigorously screened, reviewed, researched, and grilled prior to a vote of approval on Capitol Hill. These individuals, are seated as justices in the high court partially due to their individual swearing oaths to uphold and protect the constitution of the United States, not holding to their personal choices, whims, or outside influences and payola. Integrity is not just a word, but rather a code inside the decisions of weighing the written laws of the land with the constitution as the standard by which they are to write legal decisions. They vow NOT to wear blue or red robes, but black ones. There is to be no evidence of political bias, not even a hint, seen in their documents. Yet, that is exactly what happened in 1973 when Row V Wade was debated and decided using ideology from the left. It simply was not a case for the Supreme Court. Simply put, the constitution could not deliver such rulings on if abortion is to be legalized in all 50 states. Abortion ENDS human life. It keeps a nephew of Kenny Loggins from being a 53 year old man, with a career, a family, a contributing citizen of the United States. The constitution will not defend ending a child’s life, in or outside the uterus, or in some cases, the actual birth canal, (Partial Birth Abortion.

(Keep in mind, the recent decision from the Supreme Court simply puts the abortion issue back in the individual states where the voters decide on the local levels.) It’s freedom, it’s liberty at its best! Abortion is a procedure that will be kept, or denied by the citizens who go to the ballot box in each state. In other words, Uncle Sam doesn’t keep babies from the abortionist tools, or provides the facility where the remains of babies are sold to research facilities, or the bio dumpsters. Only WE THE PEOPLE, the Texans, the Floridians, the Alaskans, the New Yorkers, will make that choice for our own states. No liberty is lost!

Assumptions can murder. The lies spread about the Court’s decision began immediately from the left, for those who refuse to look at the law, the constitution, or the case involved which brought it to the floor, in order to bolster deceit in the minds of such. There are those in Washington who toss fabrications professionally in order to keep their political power, just for the chess pieces who would rather wallow in emotion, instead of reality. Unfortunately, this is how people get killed, property gets torched, and wars can ignite. The wisest will resist kneejerk reactions and research what they read, or hear. Verification is essential to discovering the truth of matters.

Even technology, normally worshipped by many, has progressed to the point where we now have no excuse to understand when life actually begins in the womb. Not long ago, we had no way to prove it scientifically. Too often, science is only praised if it fits the narrative of weak-minded ideologues. Medical advancements, and digital computerized 3D imaging can now “boldly go where one one has gone before.” When one chooses to let go of their spray painted signs of protest, their masks, and their hoodies, and look up the videos and pictures of the growing child in the uterus, a truth pie arrives for the face. However, most want their ideology to last, therefore staying ignorant is bliss. Shameful, really.

Photo by Cleyder Duque on Pexels.com

We have learned, through incredible medical technology, the heartbeat of the unborn child is “detected” at six weeks after conception. The heart is developing prior to that, but the “detection” of the actual beat can be heard and seen at six weeks. That’s two heartbeats inside Sheila, the pre-birth infant’s heart, and her heart. Tragically, there are now videos showing the growing baby pushing back away from the abortionist’s blade, or vacuum tube for the brain, as it approaches the infant’s body. We now have video of the reaction of the baby as it shakes in pain when the chemical begins to burn the skin during a chemical abortion. One former abortion nurse reported how the screams of the baby can be heard in some procedures, including when the child is dying “outside” the birth canal. We wouldn’t do that to puppies! Am I right? We spend millions on saving the seals in the artic from being clubbed to death for their coats. We spend the same on saving sea turtles when hatched in the sands of beaches. Why do we nod and look away when we slaughter human babies approaching birth? Enough said.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

During my sophomore year in high school, my girlfriend’s name was Sheila. (No, not Danny’s Sheila.) Shortly after we broke up, she became pregnant during a first date with her next boyfriend. The news was hard, but I was proud of her when she made the choice to carry him full term. She named him, Barry. She raised him. He is now 44 years old. I just had the honor of meeting him at his grandparent’s memorial service last week. He has a wife and two children of his own now. A fine, happy man.

I have had other close friends who chose abortion due to events of unexpected pregnancy. One dear friend had three performed in her 20’s. One woman I worked with had…12, yes, 12 in her lifetime. My ex-wife had two abortions prior to our relationship. During my radio career, I have interviewed many involved in the abortion field, crisis pregnancy center directors, doctors, nurses, and the women who have had the procedure who claimed they were marked for life. The stories were consistent. It seems there is damage to the very soul of the woman involved, while the abortionist, gladly pockets her money and shows her the door. Trust me, I know the pain, the fear, the damage, the psychological monkey on the back concerning this deadly decision. There are choices, choices for avoiding killing the girl, or boy dependent on the mother for survival, for the mother of right choices.

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God, whether one acknowledges Him, or not, will be one’s judge. He, not me, will be the final Court of Supremacy. With that said, if one is angered by the overturning of Roe, upset by the Court’s decision, marching and rioting due to the outcome of judicial debated, one must ask of oneself a question, if not in denial. The question is, why are you disjointed over the fact that millions of babies will live? Why are you enraged over the fact that YOU, and your neighbors on the local level, get the freedom to choose if infants are to be slaughtered in your state? What causes the outrage, the insanity of inward collapse knowing more babies will survive the tongs and blade?

Those in the camp of outrage over this decision by the highest court in the land are doing so under the lie of “women’s rights”. Some, “women’s health”. While others would march under the umbrella of, “A woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body.” In such thoughts, the idea is to place SELF as #1. If honest, they cannot argue the fact of priority placement. It’s the idea of “convenience” to stamp out a child’s life in order to not accept responsibility for one’s actions, to avoid putting a child first before self, or to avoid disruption of daily status quo. Tattoo your baby. Dye the infant’s hair purple and green. Pierce the child’s ear and nose. But there is no right given by God, nor the constitution of these United States, to kill the baby entrusted to you, especially to satisfy your personal notions.

2001-D’Anna, my youngest daughter. She was going to be premature with under developed lungs. The possibility of a disabled baby was very much real. After 24 hours in a incubator in ICU, she was breathing on her own. Yes, weaker lungs than her sisters, but a true flower in my garden.

God gives life, even if the mother is avoiding Him in life. He states in scripture, He is the “Lifegiver”. The rights given to a woman, and man, are given from above, so says our founding father’s documents. How can one, “pursue happiness” if that one has suffered the blades of an abortionist in the sanctuary of the womb? We do not have the right to kill children. We have the right to aid them, keep them healthy, nurture them, but not to end life. We should hold up the standard to have the right to do what we want with our own bodies…but we do not have the right to destroy the body of another who does not share her organs, her spirit, her soul. The woman in the clinic’s stirrups, isn’t there to abort herself, to end her life, to rid herself of a limb, or an eye, or a foot, or a cancer…she is there to rip apart another person’s living body. Dare to educate yourself by watching the videos that are now available.

Date raped at 15, my mom made the choice to carry me to term. However, depression from the sexual attack almost destroyed her, even to the point of two attempts at suicide, she survived by God’s amazing grace…and that’s why I can write to you today.

Danny and Sheila had a baby boy named, Colin in 1969. When he wrote to his brother, Kenny Loggins, Colin had already been born. Danny and Sheila did marry soon after, even though they ain’t got money.

On this road of LIFE, there will be unanticipated issues. Yet, LIFE needs fuel for the race.

” I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,” – Deuteronomy 30:19 (English Standard Version)

A Door Propped

“Someone’s knockin’ at the door. Somebody’s ringin’ the bell…” (1976) “Let ‘Em In” Recorded By: Paul McCartney & Wings Composers: Paul & Linda McCartney

The phone rang. I saw on the ID that it was my eldest daughter, Tabitha. It was an early morning, about 6am, so I wondered why she would be calling so early. Of course, right away, one conjures up a trauma, or an emergency where I might be needed. After her typical hello, and how are you, I quickly learned of her horrid situation.

“Dad, we have a plumbing problem.”

She knows me better than that. I do not have talents on that side of my brain. After asking a couple of questions, she described the issue. It seems her family wakes up to dry toilets. Each morning, they have to flush their toilets to fill the bowls up again. Basically, she wanted to know if I had ever experienced this phenomenon before in any house or apartment from my past. After making a joke about heavier gravity in her neighborhood, and aliens abducting H2O for experimental purposes, she began to brainstorm for herself.

A few days later, my phone “dings” with a text message. It was from Tabitha. It was a simple, short and sweet text, with a photo. It simply read,

“I caught the alien overnight taking toilet water samples.”

Meet Bear, a beloved Great Pyrenees. He is relatively new to the family, and still a huge puppy. With a giant head, much like a polar bear, he somehow finds a way to get his head in the toilet whenever he gets thirsty overnight. Oh, the joys of being a dog.

Much laughter came from my end that day. Naturally, I called her with the news that most dog owners, including myself, have had such potty mouths in our family. She insisted on keeping him in the house overnight. My remedy was to simply form the routine of closing the bathroom doors at bedtime. This worked well, until my son-in-law left the bathroom door slightly ajar one night. Well, if you’re a dog owner, you know that if a door is not shut completely, they will nudge a way in. Bear may be a puppy, but he is no fool. He wants that fresh, cool water from the bowl of porcelain.

I guess if a family isn’t particular of what their dog consumes, I will assume an open bathroom door is a gateway for liquid pleasures for a dry tongue. In time, the dog owner just gets adjusted to the sounds of lapping coming from the open doors of invitation. A hard, decisive choice is in order.

Since Thanksgiving last year, I have had my dementia stricken mom living with us. Her favorite pastime is watching television. It’s no wonder. For about 15 years she lived without a working TV in her house. She missed it greatly. She always loved the one-eyed monster ever since her parents obtained a TV in 1957. A true transition from radio. However, television programming has changed over the years. During the last few months I have come to realize my own desensitizing of audio/visual content in my own living room.

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For as long as I can recall, I have always been very protective when it came to my mom. As an only child with a single mom, I am sure it came to me easily.

Without any sense of planning, I found I suddenly was far more keen to the content coming out of the speakers, and the visuals flung at us viewers through the flat digital screen. Whatever it is inside me which automatically wants to hold up a shield in front of my mom, as well as my kids when they were growing up, it is activated greatly way too often now. As we are watching selected programming, I find I am more aware of what the producers and writers present on certain shows. Off we go then to something more benign to the ears and eyes. Today, I realize older programming, from a few decades back, tends to be the better choice for my mom. Obviously, there are exceptions to the more recent productions, but it’s a learning curve of “parental guidance”. So for her viewing hours it’s, The Waltons, Little House On The Prairie, Andy Griffith, Bonanza, Touched By An Angel, etc.

Unfortunately, even the national newscasts are often too liberal with language, or even the captions, “You voted for that !@#*>%!, you sorry, >^@!**!”. Don’t you just love how they don’t mind bleeping out the majority of the words, but they feel the need to spell it out with “***t”, or “you stupid ***ch”? Often times, the words aren’t bleeped. I mean, really. Why have we stooped so low in this culture to air out profanities as if we were all sailors on the high seas engaged in battle? Why is it, you can’t eat a dinner as you watch the 5 o’clock news without being blasted with vulgarities? We once believed in the edit buttons in this country. Not so much anymore. Just who gave permission to assault us all with airing out vulgarity? Even now, it’s tough to find a next door neighbor who can tame his/her mouth over the fence line.

The visuals are not much better. Tell me, if you can, why is it we must see the actual footage of a victim on the street being murdered, beaten, stabbed, shot, etc? The news item might come with a verbal warning, “We warn you. The following clip may be disturbing.” How does the image of seeing someone being slaughter enhance my life? How does seeing a image of a video of a blurred out woman being raped in the subway increase my knowledge of what happened that day? Intelligent viewers know what the act of rape is. How does a news clip of the rantings of a disturbed individual, laced with verbally violent F-bombs and finger shooting, (because he/she has lost the ability of self-control), enriches my day, or gives me better understanding of the story? Can you tell me? There was a producer behind a desk which made that decision. Possibly some news editor was persuaded to leave in as much gore and vulgarity as the FCC allows to sensationalize the story that much more.

Erosion of a society has reactions. The tearing down of a society creates cause and effect. Our children and grandchildren pay in the end. We, the people, shut God out, deny the power of His Spirit and His laws, ignoring His benefits. We, the people, have left the door open, an invitation to air out in public, what was once taboo, hidden in the darkness, and held back due to honor, respect, and love for others. We, the people, have said yes to the potty mouth. Whether in ignorance, or intentional, we, the people, have left a door ajar for smut from the enemy of humanity. We, the people, have applauded the board rooms of the studios in Hollywood to be filled with individuals who push the envelope, nudge open the door to the porcelain bowl as much as allowed…for now. Agendas, self-rebellion, and lack of true love for others, stirs this poisonous stew while serving it up to a public who claims to approve with their shrinking dollars.

After a beautiful day of elementary school graduation ceremonies, and award presentations to deserving students, a good natured teacher at Robb Elementary School, for whatever reason, propped open the back door of the school in Uvalde Texas . Harmless act, really. No matter the reason, the propped open door was the breech in school security in which the murderous 18 year old took advantage of that fateful day leaving 21 dead, most were under 11 years old.

At this time, the investigators are continuing their work. For now, we do know, this twisted mind of mush, bent on shooting his grandmother in the face, then slaughtering innocence at the school he once attended as a child, was deep into digital war games where you kill people to rack up high scores in very realistic simulations. Honestly, these types of video games should be restricted to military training. For a mentally disturbed young person, this can be a deadly concoction. This is the trend, this form of entertainment, are seen in almost every mass shooting from young men turned monsters. If a young person, especially a mentally ill young person, has an addictive personality, digital killing software sours and desensitizes the soul. This boy from Uvalde, Texas, found an invitation through an open door, not just at Robb Elementary, but way before in cyberspace.

Equally, a young mind of mush, in upstate New York, found an open door to a contaminated porcelain bowl of choice in recent weeks. As he drank from the filth fed to him from “true” white supremacy doctrine online. Like a fool, he marinated in this toilet water of lies day and night. Influenced by the enemy of humanity, he was indoctrinated into a deformed worldview which always leads to destruction in one slant or another. The door to this particular latrine of hate, put a ring through his nose and pulled him into viewing mainly black people and Jews as slime to be slaughtered before they replace the white race. This is an ancient evil designed to destroy the very souls of men and women. It is murderous before a finger touches a trigger, before the long drive to Buffalo, NY takes place, before he aimed at a sweet, loving elderly African American woman as one of his first victims in the parking lot of Tops Grocery Store.

Some politicians immediately want to ban specific guns, or guns all together. Did you know more murders occur using a hammer as a tool than guns? It’s true. Will we ban hammers? Will we ban knives, swords, propane tanks, Chevys used to mow down pedestrians?

The better question might be, the obvious…where are the parents???? Better yet, where are parental controls in the home? Where is the guidance? The indoctrinations take time, seductive hours. WAKE UP, PARENTS! Your child is YOUR responsibility! If you are not computer, or cyber savvy, you know someone who is that can review what your child is watching on screen. FIND OUT! If something odd is being said on a social media platform that looks deviant and harmful, report it! There are 19 dead children in Uvalde, Texas who needed someone close to this teenager to monitor him. What a shame, in the aftermath of such mass killings, for a parent to say, “I’m shocked. He was always so quiet. He was a real loner. Spent lots of time online in his room, not bothering anybody.” WAKE UP!

Yes, like Bear, the White Pyrenees, we, the people, are being slowly seduced through the open door toward a bowl of porcelain, This was not meant for us. God raised up this nation to refuse corruption, sin, and the slippery slope of ancient civilizations who are no more.

A spring of living water spews from fuel for the race.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Paul from Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

The Shelf

“Well, I heard some people talkin’ just the other day, and they said you were gonna put me on a shelf…” (1974) “Already Gone” Recorded By: Eagles Composers: Jack Tempchin & Robb Strandlund.

Although it’s becoming more difficult to save up for college, or trade schools, still a goal for higher education. These days, during the controversies of objections in the curriculum in our public school systems, many parents are hunting for appropriate private schools of education where dark indoctrination isn’t priority. There are many among us who soak in higher education from the streets, and hands-on experience in the real world of industry.

Recently, I have been taught well by a 10×10, non-climate controlled storage unit, on the outskirts of Greenville, Texas.

Many months ago I wrote about my mom’s dementia, forcing a drastic change in her life, and ours. She came to live with us during the final week of November last year. With the alteration of daily life, came the painstaking job of chipping away at cleaning out her old storage unit. She’s been paying monthly for it since the late 90’s. (At that time, $25 /month, now $110/month.) I have been taking the 60 mile drive off/on a few times a month to battle the forest of boxes stacked inside. Below is a picture of my progress when I got to a halfway point. When first diving into the operation, the boxes were from floor to about six feet high, with no path to walk.

When I moved back to Texas, from Buffalo, NY in Aug of 2008, I also added a small few to her cardboard mound, but only to be a temporary pitstop. Yeah, right.

Choking back the collective dust, I have been very careful to open each box, sorting my way through the contents. My mom is a hoarder. She has an issue with throwing anything away. She even saves up gently-used fast food napkins. (Sure, read that again.) You just never know when you’re going to run out, right? With that said, I plow through each and every box, wading through old hotel soap bars, combs and brushes from the 1950’s, and individually wrapped saltine crackers from various restaurants from the last few decades. In about 30% of each box I will discover simple trash…yes, garbage. Trash, in the form of fast food plastic forks and spoons, wadded up paper lunch sacks, discarded Cracker Jack prizes, etc. Trust me, I get challenged when I am sore, hot, and exhausted. I need duct tape for my mouth sometimes.

This cleaning out experience has also taught me well in other areas. If you don’t give up, keep digging through old bank statements, junk mail, and grocery store coupons from 1969, because the bottom of the box can bring forth true treasures.

I found a beautiful blue, blown-glass paperweight, baseball-size, I gave her from a high school choir tour to Colorado Springs. We visited a glass shop where I watched the artist create the glass spectacle.

I was so elated to find my granddad’s Navy pin from WWII.

(I need to clean and clip my fingernails.)

I recovered two ladies dress hats from the days of yore. To this day we do not know if they belonged to my grandmother, or great-grandmother. Either way, they are keepsakes now.

Among the gobs and gobs of photos being rescued, I found about 25 pics from a photo shoot I did for talent agencies going way back to October of 1979. I was 19 at the time.

Remember those shirts?

On the heartbreaking side, I have discovered items that maybe should’ve stayed buried in the warped vortex of boxes. I found the dog tags and collar of my beloved childhood dog, Tickey. She considered him to be another son. He was a treasure. Alone, in that 10×10 aluminum shed, I shook his tags on his collar just to hear the jingle-jangle from my mental dust. It made me smile.

Tickey in 1968.

She had stored tons of letters she had received. Many from old friends, and family, who have gone to be with God. Reading them, it gives me the sense of their spirit, as if they stuck them in the mail just yesterday. Enclosed in one of the boxes, a bundle of letters I had written to her, sharing my sorrows, disappointments and pains during harsh days in my past. In her current condition, I feel most of these would not be appropriate for consumption.

If I don’t stop here, I will go on and on concerning my storage unit adventures.

Yes, I am finding the shelf is indeed a great teacher. A true time capsule. The learning continues.

As for my stuff, I am dedicated to only saving items of family history, documents of family importance, and snapshots which tell my kids and grandkids what was truly golden to me, and to those who came before me. A storage unit can truly speak of who you are…or were. The treasures of the heart, we drag from shelf to shelf, paints a picture of our identity for others who will come after us. One box from my past, reminded me of sins I have had to deal with. Like Jesus does, I tossed it behind me, never to haunt my eyes again.

The shelf has taught me that no matter how important some item can be, it can, and will, be forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. Some things are meant to be forgotten.

A lesson from the shelf also comes to me in the form of understanding that some “things” which may seem urgent today, may be trivial tomorrow.


Yet, on the spiritual side, it’s gratifying to know, to “store” in your heart, the fact that God Himself never puts YOU on a shelf. In God’s economy, you will never find yourself “put away” in a tin box somewhere, away from His sight, away from His mind. The One Who created dust never has to brush away the settling dust off of those He loves….which includes you.

Unlock the true forgotten treasures just waiting in fuel for the race.

“…I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29 (NAS)