SFPNN Special Edition – 05/19/06For Fathers 2006

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Howdy Folks!

Since we’re going to be on summer vacation when Father’s Day arrives in just a few weeks, we’re providing you with the Special Edition for Fathers today!  Hope you enjoy it and that you’ll make a point of understanding the blessings your own father gave you.  Make sure to tell him thanks!

— Jeanette

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Thanks to author Joseph Walker, for not only contributing this story, but for being the best Dad he can be!

by Joseph Walker

Speaking of home run records – and we have been, haven't we? – this seems like a good time to modestly mention mine.  In 14 years of organized ball (three years of Little League, one year of junior high baseball and 10 years of church league softball – which, come to think of it, only barely qualifies as “organized”) I hit a grand total of – Ta-Dahhh! – no home runs.

That’s right: zero.  Zippo.  Zilch.  Nada.

Not exactly Ruthian.  Or, for that matter, Aaronian or even Bondsian.  But at least my record won’t be broken.  Tied, perhaps, but never broken.

The thing is, I sort of looked like a home run hitter.  I was usually the tallest and heaviest kid on the field.  Whenever I came to the plate against a team for the first time, the outfielders would take a step or two back.  Then I'd hit a weak little dribbler to the pitcher, or more often, I'd strike out.  By the end of the game, I'd come to the plate and the outfielders would sprawl out on the grass.  Or they would start jogging to the bench.

The problem was, I was afraid of the ball.  No, that isn't quite right.  I was terrified.  Every time an opposing pitcher sent the ol’ heater my way, I wouldn't just step into the proverbial bucket, I would dive in and pull it over my head for protection (here's a tip for you kids reading at home: it's kind of hard to hit home runs from the prone position).

Which is why I’m impressed with anyone who can hit a home run in any league. I don't really understand how you take a round bat and hit a little round ball that moves around like it's doing the samba while it's hurtling toward you at 95 miles per hour.  To be able to launch that ball into orbit -- again and again and again -- is an extraordinary accomplishment and a tribute to hard work, dedication, a little luck and the wonders of modern chemistry.

But there is more to be celebrated here than athletic prowess.  As much as I enjoy watching gifted athletes perform (and yes, I know I’m ignoring the whole steroid issue here – that’s another subject for another column), I can't really relate to what it takes to be able to do what they do.  But I can relate to the concept of talented people doing what they do better than anyone else has ever done it before.  And I can be inspired by their superlative performances to greater heights of achievement in the things that I do.

I'll never hit a baseball as hard or as far as Barry Bonds, but maybe I can be the Barry Bonds of fatherhood – at least as far as my children are concerned.  I can be as focused on what's going on in their lives as Barry Bonds at the plate.  I can swing at their problems like Barry Bonds going after a fastball, and I can be patient with their mistakes like Barry Bonds waiting for the right pitch to hit.  And when I make mistakes as a father . . . well, once in a while Barry Bonds strikes out, too.  But then he comes back in his next at bat and smacks one into McCovey Cove.  I can be a father like that (uh, not the “smacking” part; the “comes back” part).

Or I can be the Albert Pujols of employees (hard-working, determined, relentless, enthusiastic), the Chipper Jones of husbands (dependable, faithful, loyal, solid) or the Derek Jeter of friends (lively, exciting, fun, energetic).

You won't see any slow-motion highlights of my late-night conversations with my teenagers on “SportsCenter.”  Nobody is going to offer me a megabucks contract for being there for a friend.  And the only thing you'll see in the newspapers about my work is . . . well, my work.  I may not set any highly publicized records for my efforts in the things that I do every day that are important to me and to my loved ones, but I'm pretty sure I can at least beat my personal best.

And when it comes right down to it, that's the only record that really matters.

— © Joseph Walker

For more ValueSpeak, please visit http://www.sfpnn.com/joseph_walker1.htm

E-mail Joseph at: valuespeak@msn.com 

Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com.


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— Thanks to author, Joan Wester Anderson for this selection.

By Joan Wester

When Thomas Stevens was 22, he had a serious accident.  He fell toward a window, and put his arms out to break the fall.  Instead, his left arm went through the glass and he severed most of its tendons and arteries.  His then-girlfriend, Sarah, had the presence of mind to make a tourniquet out of her blouse, tie it around his arm and call an ambulance.  “Oddly,” Thomas says, “I was somehow calm during all of this.  Even though I heard the EMT telling Sarah that he didn’t think I would make it to the hospital, I still felt well taken care of.”

Once at the hospital Thomas kissed Sarah (“I did think I might not make it out of the hospital”) and was rushed into Emergency surgery.  He had lost so much blood that he could not have anesthesia so he was in a unique position of watching everything that went on.  It was apparent that the operating team was working feverishly to reconnect all the arteries and tendons.  Something else also held Tom’s attention.  “During the surgery, a rather small nurse with dark brown, almost black hair and green eyes held my right hand and just kind of stood beside me,” he says.  Apparently, this was the nurse’s only job, that, and offering encouragement to Thomas.  “She told me on multiple occasions that I had to fight because there was so much left for me to do,” he recalls.

Once in recovery, Tom’s family gathered, along with the physician who had performed the surgery.  He asked to speak to Tom alone for a moment, so everyone else left the room.  “Tom, you lost so much blood that you should have died,” the doctor began. “You’ve been given a second chance at life now, and you need to make the most of it.” Tom asked for details of the surgery, and what kind of rehabilitation he would need to regain the use of his hand.

 The doctor looked at Tom sadly.  “Son, you’re never going to regain any feeling in that hand---and you’re going to need extensive therapy to even be able to use it.” 

 Tom was shocked.  He was so young, and this was a bitter blow.  Almost immediately, he thought of the dark-haired nurse who’d held his hand during surgery and spoken so encouragingly to him.  “Could I see her?” he asked the doctor.

The physician looked puzzled.  “I don’t know who you’re talking about” he said to Tom.

“Small and dark-haired..she held my hand…”  Tom tried to explain, but the doctor was shaking his head.

“There wasn’t any nurse in the room at all.  Just me and the other surgeon.”   Then Tom understood.  The nurse had been right.  There were many more things he had to do with his life, and God would give him the grace to do it all.

Today, Thomas has not only completely regained the use of his hand, but is married and the father of three small children.  He has also been serving for the past six years in the Air Force, with no complications to his hand.  “I do have a scar,” he says.  “It is about 8 by 6 inches, and is in the form of a cross on the bottom of my left forearm.”  It’s a daily reminder that God did give Thomas a second chance---and he plans to make the most of it.

    Copyrighted 2006.  For more stories of God’s love, visit the WhereAngelsWalk website at www.joanwanderson.com

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— Thanks to author, Barbara J. Ervin-Weymouth this contribution to our Special Edition for Fathers

day in heaven
By Barbara J. Ervin-Weymouth

I hope they celebrate Father's Day in Heaven Cause if there ever was a special Daddy, it was you!


I remember not being able to wait for you to come home from work.  Sometimes you were gone before I awoke and returned after I was asleep in my bed. 


I remember crawling out of bed when I heard your voice, running and jumping into your arms, and smelling the fresh scent of pine.  You always had that big old grin, when I would say, “I missed you, Daddy”.


Then you would give me a big old squeeze and sit down and hold me on your knee.  You would bounce me a couple times and ask me, “how was your day?” Then you would hold me tight against your chest and say, “I missed you too, honey”.


During all my growing years I never had any fears, for I knew you would always be there for Momma and me.  You were my tower of strength, you were the invincible one!  Whenever I was in need, you were always there for me!


And as I grew into womanhood, you were there still.  When I gave birth to my son, you were there to drive me to the hospital, you lovingly kissed me on the cheek and said, “Honey, I can't help you with this one”, but you did more than you will ever know.  And when my husband left us without even a goodbye, you became Grandpa and Daddy to my son, “Your Little Bud”.


You couldn’t have been prouder!  You were his father figure, mentor and friend.  I will be forever grateful to you, for you filled in the gap, the one his father left. God saw that he had a daddy after all, a fine male role model to call, his Grandpa.


As you grew older and your health began to fail, you still wanted to know that your Bud was okay.  It hurt us to see your once strong body growing frail.  Ravaged by the thief called, “Parkinson’s Disease”.  God called you home from your suffering when Bud was only fifteen, and then he called Momma eight months after losing you.


It was a very dark time in my life, saying good-bye to both my towers of strength, my hero and my heroine; my two best friends.  I thought my life would surely end! 


God must have given me the strength of steel, for without Him I could not of healed and dealt with such loss.  My family foundation had crumbled under my feet.  But the Lord sought not to allow defeat!


For I went ahead and pursued a career, providing for my son, taking care of our old family home even improving upon it.  I raised my son to grow into a fine example of a man.  Daddy, if you’re looking down, you can see that he has grown to be the father; you would have hoped he would be.


So, if they’re celebrating Father's Day in Heaven, I hope there’s something extra special there for you, for my exceptional Father and friend.  I love you and miss you and till we meet again, keep a song in your heart and a smile on your lips.  Happy Father's Day!


— © Barbara J. Ervin-Weymouth, June 19, 2004, All Rights Reserved

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