Monthly Archives: April 2014

man’s best friend

His entire existence
is an utter void of understanding
the comings, goings and absences
of his only love.
To him, no explanation exists.
His only and relentless hope
is in a vague awareness of the
routine of a return.

So on that promise, he remains forever
vigilant and alert for that first familiar
sound or sign that affirms his hope
and turns it into a wildly wagging tail.

Hey buddy, I’m coming home.


In this thousand piece puzzle I call my life, it’s clear that what I’m creating bears no resemblance to the image on the box. Perhaps that’s why it’s been so difficult to piece together.  So, I have learned to stop looking at the picture for guidance to my progress.  Nowadays, I just keep my focus on the remains in the pile before me. Through trial and error, some of the most beautiful portions of my life are in the misfitted pieces. I’ve come to realize that it was never God’s intent for me to create someone else’s image of what my life was supposed to look like but rather be the divinely pieced mosaic of my own creation. So, I will continue to enjoy the challenges along the way until I reach the end.  At 999,  the final piece will be an obvious fit and I will finally enter my rest.

And like a proud father,  God will frame it and hang it in the heavens for everyone to marvel at, because he will have a new artist on staff.

But meanwhile, I will be creating a little masterpiece down here outside the box.

Happy Easter everyone.

I hope you find your finest piece this Easter morning and put together something beautiful in your life.



So, I drank the kool-aid and here’s what happened…

She walked with a cane.

Almost ten blocks to get here and she didn’t have an appointment.

A lobby full of people in similar predicaments waited for this small Filipino woman, nearing 80, who smiled at me like a 30 year old when I called her back to my office.  She’d sat patiently for over an hour hoping to see someone.    Many years alone since her husband passed, her $901 a month is eaten up mostly by $690 in rent, electricity that powers a fan for the hot summer months and a second hand electric blanket for winter warmth. She’d move to a lower rent apartment but she knows nobody and nobody really knows her. But she knows nothing else. This is her normal.

She reads.  Carries a book in a clean fabric sack she calls a purse. She eats very little and showed no notice of my half-eaten sandwich which out of guilt, I tried to camouflage with a stack of files for our interview.  She is a proud woman.

And that smile.

 After two weeks at work here, I drank the kool-aid and died to myself.

I now work at a very small non-profit family resource center in the worst part of Henderson, Nevada.  After all, if your job is to help those who need it most, you’re planted where they are.  And they are.

There is no right person to help her or all those who are still waiting in the lobby.   Not me. Not you. But there is a peculiar gifting here.  The small staff of 9 served 10,000 just like her last year on only 8% of the entire budget where 92% of all donations went where it was needed most.

This is not one of my longer stories.  But it is important.

I wasn’t born yesterday. I’m not an easy target and I can spot a user looking for another handout at short distance.  The staff here are seasoned business people who work hard and long and who know that our reward is certainly not in the modest paycheck but in the experience that changes lives, including our own.

I could care less… but I can’t anymore.

I said it before.  This ain’t work.  This is life.

I drank the kool aid and there’s no going back now.



I quit my job as a janitor yesterday.

Monday morning, I’m back in the saddle, riding a more familiar horse.

My last post, “Why    it rolls downhill” was written and posted less than a week ago.  In it, I’d expressed how my six months cleaning up other people’s messes had taught me quite a lot about humility, thankfulness, finding contentment and how to bloom where you’re planted, even if it’s in manure.

God’s timing is pretty close to perfect.

My roommate of 7 years had the courage to take the step he’s wanted to for a long time and we moved him into his new digs a couple of days ago.  He deserved it.  Not that I was a horrible person to live with, mind you, nor was he. It was just time and I couldn’t be more happy for him.

However, his moving out meant I wouldn’t be able to continue living where I have these seven years on a part time janitor’s salary.  Concurrent with moving him into his apartment, I began making plans for my own move somewhere else.  Where? I didn’t know, but I had begun making a list of my possessions to sell or donate by the end of the month and to began looking for a room to rent somewhere that I could afford.

My sister, Shelly, was and always has been my sounding board. I whined and cried to her about my predicament on the phone a couple times about how I really needed a break in life after all the bad karma.  I’d changed my ways long ago and made a complete about-face in my life and my perspective on it.  Surely, God wouldn’t permit another humiliating blow and had a slightly better plan he could orchestrate.

Well, of course He did.

My boss’ friend, Aaron,  had contacted him about a position that had just come available at his work. Scott, my boss, pumped out an email that morning to the list of members at church.  Intercepting this email as it arrived in my inbox moments before leaving for work, I caught up with him there to inquire about it. He knows  my background as a therapist and teacher. His wife, who also works with him, came alongside and in hearing our conversation, gave me encouragement to look into it.  They both knew the dilemma created by my roommate’s move out.  I made the phone call and was called in for an interview that afternoon.

The position was a custom fit for me and the wage would keep me put in my condo if I was awarded the job.  The second interview two days later also went well.

The morning I received the email offer entitled “Can you start on Monday?” came to me not 30 minutes after my boss had asked if I’d heard anything on the job yet because he had interviews set up with a couple guys within the hour to interview for a new janitor position to help me out with my work since our facility had doubled in size.

“I haven’t heard anything yet, Scott,” I said.

A little frustrated, he explained how much it would help him if he knew whether to hire just one person, a helper for me, or two people–a helper and a replacement for me if I was gonna get this new job.

As I’d begun my day on campus there at work and the email arrived, my text to Scott read:


He had just concluded an interview with a qualified candidate he wanted to hire and as my text went out to him across campus, a radio call from across campus had arrived on my hip: “Scott wants to see you in his office, Don.”

God’s timing is pretty cool as I was able to give my notice and take the qualified candidate directly from my boss’ interview on a training run through the campus. He starts Sunday and Sunday is my last day.  Synchronicity.  Seamless synchronicity.

I never imagined that the writing and posting of my last story less than a week prior about being content where you are, had been one of the steps in which God would answer my urgent need, land me an interview and job back in my desired line of work and meet the corresponding needs of every party involved in the process.

The writing of my last story…

My roommate moving out…

My urgent need to find a cheaper place…

The conversation between Aaron, who will be my new boss, and Scott, who will be my old boss as of Monday…

Scott’s presence of mind to blindly shoot off an email…

My interception of it moments before leaving…

An interview that day…

Scott’s interviewing dilemmas…

The timing of the “you got the job email” and the radio call to me…

The on-the-spot training of the guy who will now replace me…

All synchronized by God in perfect timing.

If you’ve ever found yourself way overdue for a blessing, a break in life or some evidence that your future is, indeed, in the hands of someone much bigger than yourself, keep calm.  Bloom where you are planted at the time and rejoice in the manure.

He knows exactly what everyone needs and can craft a pretty remarkable chain of events to meet them.  It wasn’t just about my need, but those of 7 people in all.

Perhaps countless others up and down the line.

That fact is very clear to me now.