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Dear President Bush, thank you for your tears

To President George W. Bush:

Mr. President, I’m writing to tell you that I watched the eulogy you gave your dad this week, and it hit me hard. I thought you were going to get through it without giving into emotion, but right at the end, grief snuck up on you and did a sucker punch to your gut. The tears came. Read more

Mom didn’t enjoy her last Christmas with all of her kids (and that’s OK)

It was Christmas of 1984, and my mother crammed my three older siblings and me into a compact car and took us to Arkansas to celebrate the holiday. I vaguely remember it — my mother, on the other hand, remembers it quite clearly. Apparently, it was pretty rough.

No doubt, putting one adult, two older teenagers and two small boys into a small car for six hours was a recipe for disaster. One of us — I shall not say who — was behaving horribly and Mom couldn’t seem to get control of the situation. She was exasperated nearly the entire time. Read more

Thanksgiving as a kid — a day without shame

For a period of time in third grade, I cringed when it came time to pay for my lunch — there wasn’t enough money for us to pay for it.

I felt humiliated by getting free lunch. I had seen kids walk up to the lunch lady without handing her any change and I had looked down on them. Now I was one of those kids. Read more

Give Jesus a chance, He will speak into your storm

“What is wrong with you?” my wife asked.

I was cranky, snippy, and easily annoyed – by her, by my daughters, by the universe. I knew why, but I didn’t want to talk about it. Read more

What happened when I said “thank you” to an unpopular cop

One time, I met a D.C. traffic-directing cop in the line at the mall and I remarked how dangerous her job was.

“I mean, people in D.C. drive so crazy,” I said. “You could get killed.”

“Oh no,” she said, “don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for the people in parking enforcement. They get screamed at, spat on, cursed out – you name it. It’s horrible.” Read more

My son needed oxygen — and I needed Jesus

Last Friday night, my two-year-old son had a cold that suddenly started getting worse. He began coughing harder and harder, and eventually, he started wheezing.

I normally would’ve deferred to my wife on something like this, but she was out of town, so I decided to wait it out. When his breathing became progressively shallow, I drove him to the emergency room in the middle of the night. They told me that a virus had provoked a severe asthma attack. Read more

My marriage was tested — and my wife proved who she really was

My brain did it again. I was so frustrated.

I had completed 7 months of a grueling treatment for a neurological disorder that had plagued me for several years. It wasn’t debilitating though. I just had these 20-second episodes where I couldn’t read or write, and sometimes it made it hard for me to speak. Read more

Marriage was the one place I couldn’t hide

It was our second year of marriage and my wife wanted me to cook — or else — and she wanted me to do it with a good attitude. That’s asking a lot. I don’t like cooking as it is, and I sure don’t like cooking when I feel like I’m being forced to do it.

Raquel was pretty sick though, so I felt obligated to do it, rather than check out like I normally did when she was ill. That’s how I ended up standing over a pot of boiling water lowering raw chicken into it with a bad attitude. Read more

I tried to help two hostages escape terrorists — I was surprised to find that it helped

I stared at the TV and fought back tears while watching an interview with American missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham, who were haggard, filthy and appeared to be disoriented. Read more

If you feel distracted in prayer, don’t worry—it’s a good thing

So many times the same frustrating thing happens when I try to pray. “Heavenly Father,“ I say, but almost immediately I get interrupted by my own thoughts. Read more