Dear God

dear-godHey, it never hurts to ask.

“When you bear one another’s burdens, you fulfill the law of Christ.” ~Galatians 6:2

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Love is Like That

Both of my kids were unexpected gifts. Nevertheless, when my first child arrived I fell instantly in love with her.

So much so that I was afraid I could never love another child as much. I needn’t have worried. When Beth arrived I fell so in love with her that I was afraid it would eclipse my love for Mandy.

Happy-Fathers-Day-Images-6Instead, my love doubled. That’s love’s curious economy: the more we love, the more we have to give.

Years later, my mom told me that I too had been an unexpected gift and that my dad had reacted precisely the same way.

“Ah, yes,” I thought. “Love is like that.”

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Father’s Dud?

Tomorrow is Father’s Day in my country, and I realize not everyone has had the kind of warm, wise, loving daddykins they can wax sentimental over.


If that’s a little too close for comfort, I pray you’ve reconciled with your imperfect dad, or will (hey, Luke did). Or if he’s no longer around, that you will in your heart. But perhaps even more importantly, I pray you’ll find, or have found, worthy stand-ins, people to help show you “how to be” in this broken, beautiful world.

“(It’s) hard to see the light now, just don’t let it go.
Things will come out right now, we can make it so.
Someone is on your side, no one is alone.”

~Stephen Sondheim

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My Father’s Apple Trees


(See video below)

My dad (lower right hand corner) was a compact kid whose four big sisters called him “Wee Willy.” But he was a scrapper. Bigger and tougher inside than out.

At 15, he forged his parent’s signature and joined the Marines, never finishing 10th grade, so he could whoop Hitler’s ass. Or Tojo’s. Or whoever’s ass needed whooping.  Instead, fresh out of boot camp, he explained carefully to a bluto of a sailor why the Marines were superior to the Navy. And the sailor respectfully disagreed. With a beer bottle. On Dad’s jawbone.

Dad spent the next three months in a military hospital. With his jaw wired shut, sucking chocolate malts through a straw. During which time both Germany and Japan surrendered. So, no, Dad never saw action. But he never lost his love for chocolate malts.

Or my mom.

And then I came along.

Dad loved us with a fierceness that would’ve made Hitler and Tojo tremble. And he would’ve whooped their asses if they’d tried to hurt us.

By the time I was 5, I realized this. And so I wanted to give him a gift. Just from me.

I’ve told this story again and again over the years because I think it makes a terrific metaphor for the “What can you give a God who has everything?” question. But before it was a metaphor it was simply a true story. About my dad. So some years back, while on staff at a church in Cincinnati, Ohio, I made this little video as a belated gift to my father, because, well…

I love you, Dad.

Here’s the video:


P.S. Churches and Drama groups, My Father’s Apple Trees is also a available as both a Father’s Day and a non-Father’s Day monologue.

Click here to download the script!

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Kids Explain the World

Drawing by Mandy, 4 and a half, attached note recorded this conversation, BETH, 3, Why are there SPIDERS, MANDY, sagely, Because in the old days they only had spiders for PETS

When my daughter Amanda was 4 1/2, she drew the above illustration of American pioneer life. Her sister Beth, age 3, asked her why the pioneer girl was crying and why there were spiders in the covered wagon. Mandy patiently explained that the pioneer girl was crying because, “In those days all they had was spiders for pets.”

Where do kids get these things?

Here are a few other real children’s explanations:

Pregnancy: “That’s what happens when you share your toothbrush. I’m never sharing my toothbrush. Ever!”

Puberty: “During puberty a boy says goodbye to his childhood and enters adultery.”

The difference between Mommies and Daddies: “Mommies don’t have a penis, they have a brain.” ~Amber, 3

The Lord’s Prayer (as reported by their Sunday School teacher):

“Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name.” (Reece, 3)

“Forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.” (Evan, 4)

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email.” (Caitlin, 3)

The 9th Commandment: “Thou shall not take the covers off thy neighbor’s wife.” ~Susie



The End



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The Wishing Map 120

Is there anything more agonizing than being helpless to save someone you love?

Mitch Teemley

Wishing pix-Title-(framed)

Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.

The Wishing Map

Chapter Twenty-Three: Return to Rennou (Continued)

Previously: B’frona began telling Gina about the changes that occurred in her dragon whelp “Puff” after she’d abandoned him.

⇔ ⇔ ⇔

“At the end of the second week, Boof’s (Puff’s) mournful song came to an end and he began to show signs of strength. Some said it was a ‘new miracle.’

“It was not. He grew hostile, lashing his tail at all who came near. He breathed a great flame at an elder who brought him shrennel. And always he continued to grow. He was already the size of a horse. Five weeks after your betrayal—”

“B’frona—” said Sh’renn.

“No! I call it what it was—what it is.” He breathed in, caging his anger. “I slept in a merchant’s stall near the Great…

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5 Years Ago Today

Wonder Dead

After struggling to stay alive, the original Hostess Brands, originators of the modern mass-produced, pre-packaged treat, gave up the ghost in 2012 (even the preservatives they put in their snacks couldn’t keep them alive). And America mourned the loss of Wonder Bread, Hostess Cupcakes, Snowballs, and, of course, the ultimate health food, Twinkies.

I sketched the above cartoon as a tribute of sorts.

My generation, the first to enjoy these delights, was also the first to shout, “Wait, this isn’t food, it’s plastic!” when it was revealed that Twinkies can sit unchanged on a shelf for decades without breaking down. But by now, humans had acquired a taste for plastic, so…

Five years ago on this date, a resurrected Hostess Brands began baking manufacturing Twinkies again. So, um, here’s to the snack that lasts longer than those who consume it!

To infinity and beyond!


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