One Year Ago


From the first breath we take, we are making choices.
Cry. Stop crying.
Obey. Disobey.
Laugh. Don’t laugh.
Turn right. Turn left. Go straight. Back up. Turn around.
Tell the truth. Tell a lie.
Get out of bed. Stay in bed.
Go to work. Stay home.
Stop at a stop sign. Run the stop sign.
Report a crime. Commit a crime.
Eat to live. Live to eat.

Do I need to keep going?
I can if I choose to.

You don’t have to read this.
You have a choice.

The right to choose was given by God.
That’s right.
He told the first man, the one He made in His image, the one He gave a mind – to think, to reason, to weigh the consequences, to make decisions – that he could eat from all the trees of the garden.
Except one.

“Wait,” you say, “you said he had a choice. Sounds to me that his choice was limited.”

Hold on there, buckaroo. He did have a choice.

“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Did you get that? When you eat of that one I told you not to eat from, you will die.

The choice is there.
But, there is a consequence for making a poor choice.

Today, the pro choice movement would have you believe that their choices are limited, but that is not completely true, is it? The choice is not the issue. No one can keep you from choosing something. The real issue is the consequence for making an immoral choice. Just take away the consequence, and everything is fine.

A bit later in the Book of God, “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you may live….”

You don’t have to choose life.
You can choose whatever you want.
If you want to drive to the Rocky Mountains, but you just hate driving through west Texas, so you decide to drive east because it’s so much nicer, with the trees and all, you are not going to get to the Rocky Mountains.
You may enjoy the drive.
You may have a great time during the drive.
But this is not the way to the Rocky Mountains.

Yeah, you can settle.

“It’s not the Rockies, but it’s close enough…”

You can do what you want to do.

I can’t guarantee that you will like where it gets you…

But, it’s not up to me.

It’s your choice.



January 26, 2017

(You’re not listening to me today.)

What do you mean?

(I have been calling you, trying to tell you some stuff, but you are very distracted.)

Well, you know, I have to deal with some things every day. Business, you know. It’s always kinda slow this time of year. I could make you a list.

(Do you forget who I AM?)

No. Of course not. I never forget about you.

(You know my voice. You may be hearing other voices.)

Really? Can you be a little more specific?


You’re looking at me right now, aren’t you?

(I’m always looking at you. You’re my child. I watch everything you do.


That’s a bit intimidating.

(Why? Don’t you watch everything your kids do?)

Well, yeah, but you know I’m 65. Not really a kid.


Okay, I get it. When I act like I can do stuff on my own, that I don’t need you right now, I am acting like a kid. That drives me crazy when my kids do that.

(Why do they do that?)

I don’t know. I’ve got so much experience in this life. I just want to share it so they won’t have to suffer through all the stuff that I did. But they think they know everything already.

(That sounds like someone I know. Was it that bad, the suffering through part?)

Well, yeah, some of it. But, I guess I did learn from it.

(What did you learn?)

Well, one thing, that things may seem really bad for a while, but things change, and I seemed to get through all right.

(Did you do it alone?)


I haven’t forgotten that You were there.

Well, maybe I do forget, sometimes.

(I was there before you knew me. I made you for a purpose, and everything you’ve been through has been part of that purpose. I always loved you. My pleasure in you increases when you include me in your life, when you talk to me. There are a lot of people that I love that don’t even know that I love them.

I would like you to find them.

Tell them.

Show them.

You should know, I really, really love you.

You do make me smile.)

Will you help me find them?

(Open your eyes. Look around. Listen.

They are everywhere.)



(January 22, 2018)

One Year Ago

Life would be so much easier and calmer if…

We didn’t have close friends…

And we didn’t stand around and talk about important stuff.

The trouble with close friends is that they are learning to trust your friendship.

The trouble with standing around and talking is they start to tell you of things that they are going through that makes their life difficult.

You really didn’t know, until they started to unload…

Well, you sort of knew a little bit…

But, sometimes it really hits home…

It may be one thing, like a death in the family.

It could be a situation that stays and stays and brings in new struggles every day.

It may be a piling on, one problem on top of another, and there just isn’t enough strength to handle ONE MORE THING…

And now, you have this burden that you didn’t have before, that clenching in the gut, that sense of helplessness…

It would be so much easier to just play word games on your phone.

Because there is really nothing you can do to remove the burden from them.

You feel so weak and helpless.

But, maybe, that’s not the point…

You may know someone who isn’t weak and helpless.

And He listens to you.

“Two are stronger than one, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken.”



(January 22, 2018)

One Year Ago

Not this guy. Honestly? I don’t know how much adrenaline my body produces, and, if I suddenly need some (fight or flight) I would hate to think I had already used up my supply by forcing the adrenal gland to work just so I could get the thrill.

When I was young, in Garland we had a bicycle hill off Glenbrook Dr. I only went twice. The first time I was probably 13 or 14. There were two hills, a high one and a lower one. I only used the lower one. The second time, I had a 10 speed and I bent the wheel.

The first time I rode the big roller coaster at the State Fair of Texas, I wasn’t driven by the thrill of it all. Actually, I was trying to catch a girl’s attention. I wasn’t afraid, but I didn’t have this need for a new thrill. Though, I did want to look brave for the lady.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the thrills that come along in my life. Who doesn’t like the excitement of a close game, where your team pulls out the victory in the last seconds?

But, jumping out of a plane? Bungee jumping? I really don’t feel the need to force it.
To pursue the thrill.

Last week, when I was talking to a good friend, just days before he left this world, I saw his countenance change, a supernatural calm, a peace, a genuine smile, almost glowing, giving the seventy something face a momentary appearance of the face of a young, untroubled man, who was experiencing joy.

That was thrilling.

Countless times in my life since that day in 1978 when everything changed, I have felt that thrill, a sense of the God that I love, parting the curtains of eternity, and drawing near to me.

A sense of feeling the pleasure of God over me.

Just because He loves me.




January 20, 2017

Believers in the infinite, invisible God have to remind themselves that they are not in control of the world, but, that they belong to the One who is.

The world seems to be a tortured, confused place, where right is called wrong, and wrong is called right, where normal becomes abnormal, and abnormal, normal.

Our (believers’) dilemma seems to rise from the problems that we encounter when we forget our purpose in belonging to the One True God.

Let your light shine before men….

Be in the world, not of the world….

Broad is the road that leads to destruction, narrow the road that leads to life….

Remember what true life is….

If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father….

Unless you have been born again, you cannot see God’s kingdom….

If you forget about the invisible world, you will find despair….

Lift up your eyes and remember where your help comes from….

Trust in the One True God with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding….

As you remember to acknowledge Him in everything under the sun, He will direct your paths….

This Life is good….

Follow the One who gave it….

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭11:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬



(JANUARY 20, 2018)

We’ve all sung that song. So mournful.

Fearing it as it comes, hating it when it gets here, wishing for relief, for it to finally go away.

I just want it to be easy. Right?

We long for those good days, try to hold on to them as long as we can, looking for the next one when they are gone.

Because…when they leave it just hurts…so bad.

I was watching a show tonight with Wendy. The main character had always wanted to surf as a kid, never got the hang of it, had some pretty bad experiences in his memories as a result.

So, when something bad happened in his family’s life as an adult, he moved his family to a dead end town, to the beach, to try to surf again.

He just couldn’t get it, couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t get it.

Until…someone told him, “It’s your head…”

“You mean, it’s psychological?” he asked.

“No. When you try to stand up, you are looking down at your feet. You’re losing your center of gravity. Look out, at the scenery, at the waves, at me…”

We were made to feel.

To experience.

To taste.

Not just pleasantness.


The reason fear is so destructive…it causes us to flee. We miss the experience when we are trying to escape it.

We focus inward.

We are looking at our feet.

This life we have been given is full of richness.

You cannot surf on a calm lake.

The waves that crash and roar, the cancer, the accidents, the emotional turmoils, financial losses, death of loved ones, these waves are the energy of life.

When Jesus’ disciples thought they were going to die on a boat, in a storm, they found Jesus asleep in the back of the boat.

“Where is your faith? Why are you afraid? You are looking at your feet. Stand up, look around you….





My young friend, C, has been watching me clean his chimney for 7 or 8 years now.

When he was 6, I told him, “C, if it’s okay with your mom and dad, when you are 10 I’ll teach you how to clean the chimney.”

Last year, he turned 10, but when I cleaned the chimney, they had had to go somewhere, so I couldn’t teach him.

This year, his mom sent me a text: “Time to clean the chimney.”

I told her the day and the time I would come.

“Thank you for answering! Yes, Monday at 9 works great! C is 11 and is remembering that you told him that you’d teach him. Are you truly ok with that? If so, what kink of shoes should he wear?”

They have a metal roof, and the initial step onto the roof always makes me a little bit nervous.

“Slip resistant soles,” I answered.

When I arrived at the house, my mind had gone through all the scenarios of C slipping and sliding off the roof.

His younger brother, W, met me at the truck.

“Mr. Randy, can I help you carry some stuff in?”

I loaded him down.

Then C came out, wearing his brand new work boots.

“I tested them against several others, and I think these would be the best.”

I wasn’t sure.

I handed him some stuff to carry in.

I said hi to mom, chatted a bit.

“C, forgot that you had told him that you would teach him. I had to remind him, “ she told me.

I walked around the house, found a much safer ascent location, where, even if he (or I) slipped, we wouldn’t leave the roof.

Now, I could teach him.

I showed him, once at the roof line, how to safely step onto the roof.

He followed me up the ladder, followed my directions perfectly, took a few steps, then scooted the rest of the way to the top on his butt.

“My shoes feel like they are slipping a little bit, but they are slipping real slow, so it’s okay.”

I smiled. “You’re doing great!”

When he got too the top, he looked around. “THIS IS SO COOL! I’ve never been on the roof before! THIS IS SO COOL!”

I was removing the cap of the chimney, carefully explaining every step. He was watching every move, commenting and questioning to show that he understood.

Now, I scooted off to the side, handed him the first rod with a brush, and said, “Now, stick that brush down the chimney, move it up and down about 8 times, move your hand up a section, 8 times up and down.”

I watched him count the strokes.

“This way, we clean every section on the chimney, all the way down. Now, take this next rod, screw it to the other, and do the same thing again. Then this rod, and this rod.”

He followed all instructions, finished sweeping the flue, disconnected all the rods. I put the cover back on the chimney.

“I am a little bit nervous about going down, though,” C said. I love his honesty.

I could tell he was nervous about going up, but he did it.

That is courage.

“I understand,” I said, “that is hard for a lot of grown men. I will show you how. You’ve got nothing to worry about…you did great on the chimney, by the way.”

W was sitting on the rail of the deck, watching every move. “Mr. Randy, in two years will you teach me how to clean a chimney?’

“W, are you nine?”

“No, I’m 8. You told C that you would teach him when he was 10…I’ll be 10 in two years.” Smiling….

“Okay, W, I guess I will.”

“Now, C, put your left foot against my foot,” (I braced it at the edge of the roof) “take my hand with your left hand, stand up and place your right foot on the second rung of the ladder.”

Done… and done. C was safely on the ground.

Future competitor in the chimney cleaning business?

Maybe so…maybe so.