My siblings died — and my dad sang this song

The phone rang and my mom answered. She never imagined the horrific news my grandfather was about to share: My dad’s two children from his first marriage had died in a plane crash.  Scottie and Rhonie Rogers (ages 10 and 14) were last seen with their mom and stepdad on July 5, 1981, when they took off in a light airplane en route to Florida for a vacation. The plane never made it there. The newspaper reported that the plane was flying through a thunderstorm when it plunged from 11,000 feet to 4,000 feet. It dropped off the radar and…

A lesson in prayer from kicking my daughter out of the kitchen

It was my daughter Layla’s ninth birthday last week, but if you’d asked her, it was more like her birthday season. Five months ago, Layla not only started talking about what gifts she wanted for her birthday— she began developing a meal plan for the big day (donuts, a Lunchable, and tacos). Layla deemed the day before her birthday, “Birthday Eve.” She went around talking about it to anyone who would listen, including a Target cashier, who thrilled Layla by correctly guessing that she was turning nine.

Watch the Focus on the Family interview with my wife and me

I was a little boy living in the town of Petal, Mississippi, when I first heard the Focus on the Family Broadcast. I heard it at home while we were getting ready for school, driving around in the car, or on a cassette tape my mom had ordered because she was particularly moved by one of the shows. Actually being on the show, which has about seven million listeners every day, was not a prospect I considered. Well, it happened. …

The story of two dads, two boys, and one Father

The other night I had a dream about my dad, who died over two years ago. I was in the fellowship hall of the church we attended when I was a boy, and I (as an adult) called his cell phone number. This was odd because I knew he was dead and wouldn’t answer the phone, but to my pleasant shock, he picked up. “Hey-lo!” Dad said in his twangy Arkansas accent. My heart leapt. I hadn’t talked with him in months — I thought I couldn’t talk to him anymore. “Hey, Dad!” I said, but then I looked up…

A racially tinged comment about my wife — a lesson in forgiveness

I was at a holiday party talking with a friend when I overheard a woman behind me say the name of my wife in a conversation. I naturally started listening in and then realized that the woman, a friendly acquaintance, was talking about Raquel’s ethnicity. “I’ll tell you what,” said the woman snidely with a laugh, “she looks like a Mexican if you ask me!” (Raquel is Puerto Rican).

COVID lockdown: Marriage lessons learned from my wife cutting my hair

“Honey, I really don’t want a COVID-19 hairdo,” I said. “You have to help me out. It’s looking rough.” My wife furrowed her brow and looked at me out of the corner of her eye. “I can’t cut your hair,” she said. But I had no other choice. My barber is out of commission and buzz cuts make me look like I’m 12. That left me at the mercy of Raquel and a pair of unused clippers.

Take a break from COVID coverage — there’s wonderful news in your Father’s eyes

One time when I was about eight years old, I was outside with my dad when I heard a bird chirp a three-note melody: “tweet-tweet-tweet.” I looked over at my dad and said, “That bird’s singing a song,” and then I imitated it with a whistle — “tweet-tweet-tweet.” My dad’s face warmed; he gave a soft, kind smile; and his eyes twinkled.

The vaccines that are keeping the coronavirus out of my marriage

It’s two weeks into the national coronavirus meltdown and I’ve got good news: My wife and I still like each other. That’s remarkable, considering the fact that we’re semi-quarantined and living in a world that’s collapsing around us — not to mention being trapped in a house with three kids who think we’re a couple of vending machines. While we’re just as tired of wringing our over-washed hands as anyone else, we’re still managing to stay happily married. I think it has to do with a few things that have kept us in good spirits so far …

I didn’t want to pray with my wife — then life happened

It was our first year of marriage and Raquel asked the same question she had posed many times before: “Do you want to pray and read some Scripture together tonight?” I said yes, but she knew I didn’t mean it. It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t want to pray with her. We just had mismatched desires for spiritual intimacy. She wanted extended Bible study and prayer, and she wanted it all of the time. I just wanted to get it over with and go to sleep. She wasn’t having it.