For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Parents Always Worry About Their Children

Parents perpetually worry about the health, happiness, and safety of their children. These concerns will begin at birth and last a lifetime.  Do you care more for one child than the other?  No, the attention is identical for each child.

If  one child encounters sickness, it is natural for the mom to wonder if she is at fault.
When Jack Osborne was diagnosed with MS his mom, Sharon Osborne said she wondered if this illness was the result of something she did during pregnancy. 

Sharon Osbourne, Jack’s mother, told Hello! magazine that she blamed herself.
“I keep thinking, ‘What did I do wrong? What did I eat or drink when I was pregnant?' I feel like it’s somehow my fault.”

When health or mental issues arise in children, parents feel guilty.  Did you do all the right things?  Of course you did.   However, there is a  feeling of doubt that the mom is responsible because she carried the child. This is nonsense, but it is hard for the parent to dismiss.

Moms later live through the child's social life.  Many hours were spent talking late into the night when one son had a serious breakup.  The parent hopes to make the child better with words of encouragement and hope for the future.

Another worry for children is safety. Parent's panic if the child is not in sight, or if their whereabouts is not known. I remember sitting on the porch until 4:00 a.m. waiting for one son to arrive home.  There is no sleep or rest until the child returns.

These overall feelings of concern for children is best illustrated with the parable of the lost sheep.  The shepherd maintains the herd of sheep, and if one is missing he cannot rest until that sheep is found.  Parents cannot rest until the child's need is met. My parent's had a responsibility for me and my children.  I  feel the same about my children and their future children. The cycle continues.

The story below is from


The Lost Sheep

Scripture: Matthew 18:12-14 (see also Luke 15:3-10)
12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Meditation: Do you know what it's like to lose your bearings and to be hopelessly adrift in a sea of uncertainty? To be alone, lost, and disoriented without a sense of direction is one of the worst fears we can encounter. What we would give to have a guide who would show us the way to safety and security, the way to home and family. Scripture comforts us with the assurance that God will not rest until we find our way home to him. The scriptures use the image of a shepherd who cares for his sheep to describe what God is like. God promised that he would personally shepherd his people and lead them to safety (Isaiah 40:11). That is why God sent his only begotten son as the Messiah King who would not only restore peace and righteousness to the land, but who would also shepherd and care for his people with love and compassion. Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:11).

What can we learn from the lesson of Jesus' parable about a lost sheep? This parable gives us a glimpse of the heart of a true shepherd, and the joy of a community reunited with its lost members. Shepherds not only had to watch over their sheep by day and by night; they also had to protect them from wolves and lions who preyed upon them, and from dangerous terrain and storms. Shepherds often had large flocks, sometimes numbering in the hundreds or thousands. It was common to inspect and count the sheep at the end of the day. You can imagine the surprise and grief of the shepherd who discovers that one of his sheep is missing! Does he wait until the next day to go looking for it? Or does he ask a neighboring shepherd if he might has seen the stray sheep? No, he goes immediately in search of this lost sheep. Delay for even one night could mean disaster leading to death. Sheep by nature are very social creatures. An isolated sheep can quickly become bewildered, disoriented, and even neurotic. Easy prey for wolves and lions!

The shepherd's grief and anxiety is turned to joy when he finds the lost sheep and restores it to the fold. The shepherd searches until what he has lost is found. His persistence pays off. What was new in Jesus' teaching was the insistence that sinners must be sought out time and time again. How easy to forget and be distracted with other matters while the lost become prey for devouring wolves of the soul. The Apostle Peter reminds us that the "devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). God does not rejoice in the loss of anyone, but desires that we be saved and restored to friendship with him. That is why the whole community of heaven rejoices when one sinner is found and restored to fellowship with God. God is on a rescue mission today to save us from the destructive forces of sin and evil. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, watches over every step we take. Do you listen to his voice and heed his wise counsel? Do you follow the path he has set for you - a path that leads to life rather than death?

"Lord Jesus, nothing escapes your watchful gaze and care. May I always walk in the light of your truth and never stray from your loving presence."

Return to | The Parables of Jesus | Daily Readings & Meditations | Words of Life |
(c) 2001-2007 Don Schwager

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Interview

Best part of the movie "The Interview" was this cute King Cavalier Spaniel puppy.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Max Attack

Gerontology Tips

  • Don't expect to impress the elderly with an expensive car, successful job or fancy house.  
  • Impossible to fool them on anything.  They know everything.
  • They may prefer that all blinds and windows are covered before nightfall.
  •  Information and phrases may be repeated within minutes.
  • Do not be surprised to find a red velvet cupcake hidden in a purse.
  • Do not rule out the possibility of washing unusual items....example:  a nylon purse to remove icing, and it will look better than before.
  • Even if you are driving be prepared to get suggestions for going at a faster speed. 
  • Be flexible in finding compatible products, like hearing aid batteries. 
  • It is possible that they go to bed before 6pm.
  • Elderly folks like their space and tire of you after a few days.
  • Do not consider an insult if they want to cut their visit short, and prefer to leave after one day.
  • They are determined and strong which is the reason they are still alive and kicking.
  • They may have some good advice since they have gone through a long life.
  • Do not expect any sympathy because nothing is a big deal to them at this point.
  • They may not like TV and will care less about DWTS and Real Housewives reality shows.
  • They do enjoy good food and sometimes lots of sweets.
  • Take them out to eat even though it may take two people to get them inside.
  • They may not care for pets, especially ones that are kept in the house.
  • Everything you are buying is too expensive.
  • They may want to drive 10 miles to save 30 cents.
  • Use a pick to restyle bubble permed hair.
  • They may want to eat dinner at 3 or 4pm instead of waiting until at least 6pm.
  • They may not give you a Christmas present if they have not heard from you in a year.
  • This is when you are hoping you have a daughter.  Women tend to be better caregivers than males and you will be this age soon.
  • That expression "the patience of Job" may need that now.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Appreciate their presence because tomorrow is uncertain. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

It was almost Thanksgiving as I arrived at my mom's home.  We drove around the neighborhood to see where friends used to live.  Hundreds of trees had been cut down due to the drought and there were stacks of limbs that lay dead on the ground.  I looked forward to meeting an old friend at the neighborhood bistro where the menu is named after familiar phrases understood only by area residents.

The next day we met John at the airport.  We took my mom to lunch and thought it would be a great opportunity to take her for a visit with her best friend Dorothy.  Dorothy lived in her own home, but had fallen in August and hit her head.  Her legs could not hold her after the fall and she has been struggling to improve.  After a brief stay at the hospital she was moved to a local nursing home.

The nursing home looked pleasant from the outside and the foyer looked attractive and beautifully decorated.  As we approached the reception area we were directed to Dorothy's hallway.  When we got to the room it was  stark and uninviting.  I noticed the shower down the hall that said "in use".  Dorothy was no where to be found and we were told to go to the cafeteria.  The path to the cafeteria  led us through a sea of listless people.  There were rows of wheelchairs and  unattended residents with empty stares.  We found Dorothy having lunch and she insisted that we go to the main lobby where we could be more comfortable.

The Ring
Dorothy has a positive attitude as she told us she was thankful to be there and lived one day at a time.  However, we were shocked to find that the living conditions seemed more like a prison.  We heard about the staff and how she had learned to work the system.  One of the staff had gotten angry with her and had put all her things very high so that she could not reach them.  Her roommate kept her awake all night talking and moaning.  While Dorothy had a  favorable prognosis everyone else appeared  to have a more serious condition.  She explained how she could not upset the staff or there would be consequences. We quickly surmised that  we would not want a relative living there.  The staff  was laughing and talking as the patients were left unattended.  One woman wanted to see the TV but no one would come to her assistance except for us.  The patients have no phones and can only talk when one of the staff is present at the nurses' station.  Of course they do not want anyone to tell their family that they are trapped in a poorly managed institution.  The manager seemed to ignore the staff as they giggled and pretended the patients did not exist.

After we left I was thankful that my mom was not at this place and hoped that she would never encounter this lack of care. It was very sad but sweet as Dorothy struggled to stand.  The two friends hugged one another and said goodbye.

We were able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my mom's niece Joanne.  Joanne is one of the few living relatives left in my mom's life and she enjoyed seeing family and friends. 

Happy Birthday John
As we got ready to go back home my mom brought out several rings.  One of them was my dad's wedding band that was removed before the burial.  She had been wearing his ring but wanted to give it to me if I would wear it.  Of course I will wear and cherish the little gold band. 

John did numerous improvements to my mom's home during the visit.  He gives unselfishly and is a wonderful and dedicated son, grandson, and brother.  Love to John on his Birthday.  We are lucky to have him in our lives.

The video is by Jeremy Crady who is an aspiring country western singer/songwriter, and friend of John and the family.

Love to James who was missed and had his first LA Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I recently set up a #Twitter account with a free email account. I use Facebook, but I rarely post. Some of my FB friends are what I would rudely call Facebook whores, posting every few hours. Introverted people like myself post less so as not to inconvenience their friends or bring too much attention to themselves.

Twitter is a different social media. It's more comfortable because I only have a few followers that know me. Randomly, I write what I'm thinking. One of my first posts got chosen by @Dallas_Picks editor's choice for a restaurant, #Bluefish. They probably thought I was joking when I said "I prefer restaurants with cooked food". The following Bluefish visit I thought I would gag on one of the popular #HappyHour appetizers. My other tweets that have been favorited are from the  reality show "The People's Couch".  I have no idea if these people that comment are actor's or just people like the rest of us.  If they are looking at my tweets they are not in the Kevin Costner category.

My hobby watching #Bravo reality shows has initiated tweets that revolve around the popular reality shows like the Real Housewives of New Jersey #RHONJ. I am not sure the purpose of Twitter is to be in the neighborhood with random strangers and celebrities. I have one follower who is a Twitter guru, and will help you become popular for a small fee. I must look like a pathetic user to him. The few others following me must be lost souls. Not sure if I will continue this social media because my tweets seem to be spiraling into a black hole never to be uttered again. However, as soon as I figure out where I belong in the #Twitter  community I will let you know. I need to start over with an alias that confuses everyone.....@_Hefnersnewplaymate