Jan Would Like A Word

Dearest Rachel – I think I may have mentioned it to you previously, but today’s work on the laundry room – and your closet – have reminded me to remind you that you may need to prepare yourself for when Jan gets up to see you someday. It seems she would like to talk toContinue reading “Jan Would Like A Word”

Rainy Days and Thursdays

Dearest Rachel – I don’t usually write about the weather – compared to all the other things going on in life, it’s a fairly insignificant part of it. Well, maybe insignificant isn’t the right word for it – it’s just there. Some days it’s cold, some days it’s bright and sunny… …and some days it’sContinue reading “Rainy Days and Thursdays”

The Return

Dearest Rachel – So, this morning, I’ll be heading up to Camp Awana to discuss the budget. Scott, Brian and I have been planning to do this for the last two weeks: each time, there’s been a health issue that’s gotten in the way. Given the tenor of the times, I probably don’t have toContinue reading “The Return”

Errands

Dearest Rachel – The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening And I’m not even thinking about the training for the Marathon (or, barring actually committing to it, the continuedContinue reading “Errands”

The Golden Rule, Inverted

Dearest Rachel – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s one of the core tenets of most every major religion, at least in terms of dealing with other people (obviously, not necessarily a basis of salvation, since nobody reaches perfection in this life – and even if they were toContinue reading “The Golden Rule, Inverted”

from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77

I will remember my song in the night;I will meditate with my heart,And my spirit ponders: I will remember the deeds of the Lord;I will certainly remember Your wonders of old.I will meditate on all Your work,And on Your deeds with thanksgiving. Psalm 77:6,11,12, New American Standard Bible (NASB) (v.6 “I will remember my song in the night”) What song will you rememberContinue reading “from Rachel: A Meditation on Psalm 77”

A Question of Motivation

Dearest Rachel – You’ll probably remember, shortly after first setting up the office in the folks’ basement, I started to wonder why it was I was trying to get onto YouTube as an animator… especially when, as I came to discover, I had next to no talent in either art or animation. Did I evenContinue reading “A Question of Motivation”

Left Behind Along the Way

Dearest Rachel – So, last night was the weekly online Bible study with Pastor Joel. And before he begins recording, he always asks a sort of ‘icebreaker’ question. I have to admit, sometimes it strikes me as a little odd, since most of us are regular attendees – both of the study and at churchContinue reading “Left Behind Along the Way”

from Rachel: Spiritual Birthday

“I did so (eleven) years before my biggest sin. I know He forgave my past, present and future sins when I asked Jesus to come into me heart April 22, 1984.” “Thank You God for loving me. Thank You for always making me feel like the apple of Your eye – special and precious. ThankContinue reading “from Rachel: Spiritual Birthday”

Empathy… Suitcase?

Dearest Rachel – The “Empathy Doll Shot” is a trope whose name might be unfamiliar, but when you see it, you know what it’s all about. That item left behind that you, the viewer, would recognize as ‘that thing is supposed to have an owner,’ followed by the realization as to why there is noContinue reading “Empathy… Suitcase?”

Dreams of Disappointment

Dearest Rachel – The other night dear, as I lay sleeping I dreamed I held you in my arms But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken So I hung my head and I cried. Johnny Cash, “You Are My Sunshine” Such an appropriate tune to wake up to, sweetheart, on this third straight AprilContinue reading “Dreams of Disappointment”

Shin Splints, Shoes, Snowfall and Subjects Set Aside

Dearest Rachel – So, it appears that whatever I was struck with yesterday when I attempted to run is referred to as ‘shin splints,’ and they’re a fairly common ailment when you don’t have the ‘right’ shoes. And while I’m not about to argue with more seasoned runners, it’s weird that I’ve never dealt withContinue reading “Shin Splints, Shoes, Snowfall and Subjects Set Aside”

On Pain, Pacemakers and Purpose

Dearest Rachel – I figured I should give you a follow-up on my previous post. Either it stopped raining while I was working on converting our convention and vacation footage, or it never really blew up into a real rain in the first place. By the time I emerged from the basement at about threeContinue reading “On Pain, Pacemakers and Purpose”

More Than I Can Chew

Dearest Rachel – I think I may have lost my mind. You see, it’s that time of year at church, when various groups come and pitch their programs to us, asking for our support, either financially or in terms of participation. Last week, it was Compassion International, which they’re marketing as something for the wholeContinue reading “More Than I Can Chew”

from Rachel: Fact/Fate/Faith Labels

My fact label: I am a “brain surgery survivor” My fate label: I am “scarred, vision-impaired, weaker in both body and mind” My faith label: I am “healed, restored, blessed, protected, loved” My fact label bolsters my faith. “I would like to think I loved God and valued and appreciated life sufficiently for my firstContinue reading “from Rachel: Fact/Fate/Faith Labels”

Is This What Normal Looks Like Now?

Dearest Rachel – Saturday mornings, like everything else, are never going to be the same as they were. That sounds like i’m stating the obvious, but Saturday is when it’s all that much more keenly felt. Even after retiring, I would spend weekdays at the ‘office’ at my folks’ place, so there were plenty ofContinue reading “Is This What Normal Looks Like Now?”

Things I Never Dreamed I’d Do

Dearest Rachel – I’m gonna nudge the fourth wall yet again tonight, as I wait for Chompers to fall asleep, I’m going to mention the fact that any time I talk about the old boy, I seem to get a lot more people actually reading my post. I don’t know why; this whole series ofContinue reading “Things I Never Dreamed I’d Do”

The Ledger

Dearest Rachel – I’ve mentioned this speech before, and I’m sure I’ll mention bits of it in future, but here it is as we first encountered it, for the benefit of those following us: The reason it came to mind today was because (in preparation for Jan’s visit today) I was going through more ofContinue reading “The Ledger”

The Wife of One’s Youth

Dearest, darling Rachel – You know, I will never apologize for bragging on my folks. Over sixty years together, and they are still going strong. To this very day, my Dad never fails to refer to Mom publicly as “the wife of my youth,” with nods to both Proverbs and Malachi, among others. It’s suchContinue reading “The Wife of One’s Youth”

Keeping Up With the DMV

Dearest Rachel – I don’t think you told me about what needed to be done about your car when we left for Camp Awana, and you went on to meet your fate. But then, it wasn’t something that would have needed to be dealt with for several months, and you fully expected to be aroundContinue reading “Keeping Up With the DMV”

Burninatin’

Dearest Rachel – Today’s letter was supposed to be about heading up to Camp Awana for a budget meeting, and my concerns about seeing the place for the first time since the accident. However, one of the guys I was to ride up there with got sick (again, probably just a cold rather than Covid,Continue reading “Burninatin’”

The Temptations of Travel

Dearest Rachel – So at the risk of acknowledging the fourth wall a bit, I’ve been asked where and how I come up with topics to discuss with you every single day (and then some). And it’s a fair question, really. Much as I enjoy the little dopamine hit that tells me “Congratulations! You’re onContinue reading “The Temptations of Travel”

Inside Jokes

Dearest Rachel – Well, that’s one major headache taken care of. I’ve gotten our tax returns back from our preparers, written out the appropriate amounts we owe – both for last year and for this year’s first installment – and will take them to the post office tomorrow and mail them out certified (just asContinue reading “Inside Jokes”

A Full Dog Year

Dearest Rachel – It would seem that another milestone has just slipped past me without notice. Granted, it’s probably because I didn’t think to make the calculation earlier, but I just realized that a week ago, Chompers has survived for seventy-three days since the accident. Based on the generally accepted rule that (apart from theContinue reading “A Full Dog Year”

from Rachel: A Different Perspective

How can you add God’ truth to your truth today? “This to do list is too long. But God is able to give me maximum efficiency if I’ll let Him and be willing to let do” (let go?) “of some items.” “I beg to differ” about circumstances being too much for Him. “Perhaps [they are]Continue reading “from Rachel: A Different Perspective”

Halfway Through the Woods

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes people leave youHalfway through the wood.Others may deceive you.You decide what’s good.You decide alone.But no one is alone. “No One Is Alone” from Into The Woods The song sprang to my head early this morning, as I tried to figure out what Chompers wanted at what even I would consider toContinue reading “Halfway Through the Woods”

At the End of the Day

Dearest Rachel – I’ve never been much for making friends, especially once we got married. After all, I thought, I had you, my best friend in the whole world. What more could I possibly need or want? Now, you had your friends, both old ones that came up to the area at around the sameContinue reading “At the End of the Day”

The Joy of Introductions

Dearest Rachel – At the risk of leaning hard against the fourth wall, I’m fully aware that you will never read a word of these letters; they are, rather, a way for me to memorialize you before the potential world that is the internet. Would that everyone had met you while you still walked theContinue reading “The Joy of Introductions”

I Understand the Cherry Tree

Dearest Rachel – Well, it’s another sign of spring these days, when the plant life starts to show off their blossoms and colors for the new season. It’s kind of ironic, that. While you looked forward to the idea of gardening once we bought ourselves a house (with your parents’ assistance: I remember well howContinue reading “I Understand the Cherry Tree”

Postpone-Mints

Dearest Rachel – So I came home early today from the ‘office’ (actually, I wasn’t at the office all that long today, since I was meeting Pastor Scott for lunch. It still takes some getting used to meeting him as a peer and friend, rather than in a pastor-to-congregant basis), because Jan warned me sheContinue reading “Postpone-Mints”

Preserved Recordings

Dearest Rachel – It’s really quite strange, some of the documentation you left behind. Now, I understand that you weren’t the kind to throw out anything, but it has surprised me as to what papers you kept closest to you, the stuff you (apparently) considered to be important. Such as voicemail messages. Occasionally, you wouldContinue reading “Preserved Recordings”

All the Responsibility, None of the Joy

Dearest Rachel – You’ve probably noticed by now the fact that the tags “dog” and “complaint” appear to go hand in hand on my letters to you. I know how much you wanted me to appreciate your love of dogs, but you just couldn’t manage; the best you ever managed to get from me wasContinue reading “All the Responsibility, None of the Joy”

Convention Season

Dearest Rachel – Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve booked a room at the Marriott Coralville for the AnimeIowa weekend. Without your help. All by myself. Yeah… all by myself. All… by… myself. I remember you watching the feed on Twitch last year when AnimeCentral did its virtual convention. You were sobbing as youContinue reading “Convention Season”

Ghost in the Machine

Dearest Rachel – Jan can be a real hoot sometimes (and in so doing, she manages to take the most bitter edge off of everything we’ve been finding as we go through the house). Her happy dance when she finds hidden money – and there’s been a lot of it scattered throughout the place; you’veContinue reading “Ghost in the Machine”

What, Me Worry? What, Me Weep?

Dearest Rachel – The weird thing about this pandemic epoch we’ve been stuck in is that I actually manage to have my own personal trademark “look,” just like you did by wearing all purple. And it took less than a year to do it. Of course, part of that is because I’m always wearing theContinue reading “What, Me Worry? What, Me Weep?”

Happy. ________. Birthday.

Dearest Rachel – You of all people know I never liked birthdays as an adult. When you’re a kid, the day revolves around you. The day is supposed to go perfectly, and you’re supposed to get everything you want for your birthday. All your friends show up, and together you celebrate with them the takingContinue reading “Happy. ________. Birthday.”

The Great Reward

Dearest Rachel – So I’d been working downstairs in the office this morning, going through all manner of paperwork (you know, I thought we’d let your insurance lapse once the house was paid off – evidently not), including reconciliations of the church’s bank statements for the past month. Couldn’t stay much longer, though – withContinue reading “The Great Reward”

Where’s Allen Funt When You Need Him?

Dearest Rachel – Since starting this blog, I have for some time wanted to address how Daniel and I (well, maybe I shouldn’t claim to speak for Daniel on this, but still) have been dealing with losing you when compared to the ‘textbook’ process outlined by the late Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. You probably would remember itContinue reading “Where’s Allen Funt When You Need Him?”

The Things We Find

Dearest Rachel – Another day of cleaning the house today, honey Thought we might curve around the wall and dig out the television pedestal (and stash a pile of VHS tapes and DVDs in the process), but it seems Jan would rather we excavate the dining room table instead. Actually, that probably makes more sense.Continue reading “The Things We Find”