Archive - August, 2009

Beating a bad day in kindergarten (by Billy Coffey)

I remember two things about my first day of kindergarten.

One was that my teacher was Mrs. Frost and that her name fit perfectly with her personality. So much so that by snack time on that first day I was planning her downfall, by lunch I was imagining my own, and by recess I was praying for the rapture.

Which brings me to the second memory, which is of me uttering that prayer from inside a partially buried tractor tire that was part of the playground equipment. I’d hidden there as the rest of the class lined up after recess, and I planned on staying put until either Jesus came or the school year was over.

Jesus didn’t come of course, but Mrs. Frost did. The subsequent chewing out she gave me remains fresh in my mind even after all these years. Mrs. Frost was not my favorite teacher, which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that I was not her favorite pupil.

I was thinking about all of that two Sundays ago as I tucked my son into bed. It was an important moment, the magnitude of which was not lost on either of us. I may have been pulling the covers over a boy, but what would emerge from them the next day would be a young man. One who would trade worn pajamas and Spongebob for new jeans and a teacher.

Unlike me at his age, my son was looking forward to his first day of school. It was the promise of newness that enchanted him—new clothes, new notebooks and pencils, new people and places. That night would be to him a sort of baptism. He would go to sleep one person and awake another.

As I write this there are two pictures in front of me. One shows him on the front porch just before leaving for school, back straight and chin out, a smiling Alexander the Small out to defeat the world. Because new things are easy. New things are exciting. And our days were meant for conquering.

The second picture was taken just a few hours later. He is slumped in his chair at school, shoulders rounded and chin tucked. His smile is still there, though barely and forced. And his new Lightning McQueen book bag is shoved to the side and all but forgotten.

What happened? Simple. My son had discovered in the span of two hours one of life’s most difficult lessons to learn—not all of our days are meant for conquering. Sometimes the best we can do is survive them.

And he survived. He did not hide in playground equipment and did not get yelled at by his teacher. There was no plotting of anyone’s downfall. In fact, he came home smiling. All because he learned how to turn a bad day upside down.
For instance.

That second picture I was telling you about? The one with the slumped shoulders and the forced smile? That’s rule number one—smile anyway. It might be difficult and it might not look pretty, but sometimes thinking you’re happy will make you so. My experience anyway.

He made friends, too. Fellow castaways on the strange island of Education. Boys and girls who weren’t having such a great day themselves, but who banded together because of it. Which just goes to show that misery may indeed love company, but only so a little happiness can sprout.

And he played. He ran and jumped and colored and stood in the sun. He felt better after that, he told me. I could see why. Playing makes any day a good one, even if it’s really sort of bad.

But most of all? He prayed. Not aloud, and not so anyone would notice. Such things are frowned upon in public schools. Instead, he kept his eyes and ears open, trusting that God would do two things: get him through the day, and get him home.

I’ll always remember my first day of kindergarten, though maybe for the wrong reasons. I hope my son remembers his, too. I know I will. Because he taught me what we’re all supposed to do when our days start out heading north only to take a sudden turn southward.

To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

Revelation Song

I’ll be honest. I searched a dozen or so versions of this song on You Tube. I like this version, but since I learned the song from Jeff and Tamara before I heard the recorded version, I gotta tell you – I like the way we sing it the best. Just a personal preference I suppose. Not to take anything away from this version. It’s really good. In the end, my preference doesn’t matter. We sing to an audience of One. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything, and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
To You, the only wise King


Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything, and I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is power, breath and living water,
such a marvelous mys- tery

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything, and I will adore You

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything, and I will adore You

And just because I big, pink fuzzy heart this song, I wanted to share it with you (again):

Do you know this sandwich needs? A ham sandwich!

Friend and pastor Jeff Hogan alerted me to this new alternative to sandwiches made with carbohydrate laden sandwiches buns. The masterminds at KFC have come up with a solution. Behold the New KFC Double Down Sandwich!:

For the full, in-depth (and amusing) story, check out Rant and Rave’s review of The New KFC Double-down Sandwich!

Now if you will excuse me, watching that video made my left ventricle hurt. I’m gonna go lie down.

As always – Sorry/You’re welcome.

Squirrels, coffee and brownie in a cup

I was shocked and appauled at how few tweets I had this week. Mostly because even though I was on the computer quite a bit, I was actually working – like doing real worky stuff. Strange sensation, I gotta tell ya. I was however, sucked back into the twitter on several occassions, tried to leave, and then got sucked back in again. Okay, okay…I’m making excuses. It’s just too much fun sometimes! Besides, one of my tweets actually inspired @redclaydiaries to write a very touching blog post about squirrels and coffee. So there you go.

Also? Helen is back. So YAY!

Also? I still hate snarky anonymous comments. BOO!

And @rachellegardner – I’m sure brownie in a cup is wonderful. Just seems like a whole lot of trouble for not very much chocolatey deliciousness. Simmer down, girl.

The best (or not) of me on the twitter:

@beckfromfrogandtoad Oh….Canada. Cursed metric system!

@beckfromfrogandtoad I still can’t believe it’s 10 anywhere! It’s like 90 hundred degrees here with 200% humidity.

RT @beckfromfrogandtoad: It is 10 out this morning. TEN. G’bye, summer. //TEN? Get out!

RT @tremendousnews: I spent the last 19 minutes trying to find William Hung on Twitter. Yes. That’s where I am in life. There.

RT @muchl8r: Not awake. Driving to work. Must be like those flying dreams. Admitedly though, i always fall in those. . .//Be careful!

@Helenatrandom Yeeeaahhh…I bet you have a few emails.

@Helenatrandom Are you back?

Just to tell you, I’m in a FOUL MOOD! And I will be ranting incessantly about it on my blog tomorrow. Grrrrr!

RT @unmarketing: There are people in this world that deserve your emotions, and those that don’t. Choose the former to focus on. //YESH!

@marni71 Where else? SCL

Those who can, do. Those who cannot leave snarky , unconstructive anonymous comments of other people’s blogs.

@marni71 Oh, dang…Sorry to hear that. (In reply to: @katdish No…it’s chili-bowl-ish. With curls. Gettin’ the visual?)

@marni71 I keep forgetting how thick your hair is. So is it Rosanne Rosana Danna-ish?

@PeterPollock Expect an email blast shortly…

Okay people! I SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET TO WORK! Stop distracting me!

@RachelleGardner Except maybe the virtues of store bought cakes or brownies in a cup.

@RachelleGardner Oooo! It’s on like donkey kong! But I REALLY hope we never have anything to argue about. (In response to: @katdish Do you get feisty when someone argues with you? Cuz I’ll take you on, girl. Bring it.)

@billycoffey Yes. You are correct. (In response to: @katdish No. Because that’s pretty pointless, isn’t it?)

@Brian_Russell Brian, I never start anything. People just like to pick on me…(sheepish look)

@gyoung9751 You agree with Mr. Coffey? Hmph!

@billycoffey Are you arguing with me? (In response to: @katdish Experience has taught me otherwise.)

RT @br8kthru: @katdish womenfolk: your arms are just as capable of taking out the trash- do it once in a while. :)//Oooo! I’m telling!

Menfolk: The uterus is not a homing device. Find your own car keys.

But before I go…a public service announcement:

Okay. Gotta get off the twitter. Got some work to do.

RT @simonleung: “I’ve been hanging around Chinese people so much lately… I forgot I’m Vietnamese!” – Aimee Vo (@aimeevo)

Oh, shameless self promotion, how I love thee…

RT @ProfessionalOne: There are over 200,000,000 Blogs//But not nearly as many worth reading. Mine, for instance…

@katdish Or to the Walmarts.

@RachelleGardner I wonder that every time I go to the book store.

RT @RachelleGardner: evr get frustrated trying 2 get a book deal, & then wonder y so many BAD books get published?

Great interview: @TheBonnieGray interviews @billycoffey. No, really…it’s very good. Would I lie to you?

RT @redclaydiaries: New blog post, inspired by @katdish. I’m sorry/You’re welcome.

@shrinkingcamel There’s no “I” in TEAM, but there is ME.

RT @tylerstanton: Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things. #wisdompearls

Okay peeps! Gotta get some shut eye. 6AM comes pretty early. Sometimes as early as 6AM. G’night!

I realize that @redclaydiaries is probably asleep, but I needed to share this with her:

@becca_homefront Well, just between you and me – she’s a bit gassy.

That’s one strange kid. Must take after her father…

8yo daughter informed me she did not have chocolate milk at school because she is 1/2 lactose intolerant. What does that even mean?

@WinLiannefield What are struggles in life if not blog fodder?

Could the BE anymore paperwork to fill out for my kid’s school? Not that I’m complaining. But I totally am…

Fixing what’s broken by @billycoffey (There – HAPPY now?)

@billycoffey What’s that?….Mmm, hmm. Thought so…

@billycoffey Maybe I’m working on something for someone else. And maybe I’ll just stop doing that. How’s that work for ya? (In response to: I have to post on @katdish’s blog because she won’t get off Twitter. Fixing what’s broken:

@katdish Oooo! Heading over there…beware the wrath of @katdish cowardly Anonymous!

RT @prodigaljohn: A hateful blog comment with no name deserves a response with no words. (Or a “badger gram” but badgers are hard to mail)

RT @annalisa2: “Don’t write down to your readers. The ones dumber than you can’t read.”//BA HA HA! Good one.

@br8kthru You’re welcome. Now go read my blog…

Just had 2 Ginkgo Bilobas with a low carb monster chaser. Bring it, Foo!

@redclaydiaries Yes. Perhaps the George Costanza approach to life is fitting…

@JeanneDamoff I would think you would be a literary agent’s dream come true.

@marni71 Let me put it this way – if they had a debate team in the 3rd grade, my daughter would be president of it.

RT @unmarketing: Hey you, ya the one that just tagged me in a Facebook note just so I’d read it. You’re a jackass.//Ah, honesty! Refreshing.

How not to suck as a Leader by @shrinkingcamel (who sucks at linking his blog posts)

RT @shrinkingcamel: The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist. //HA! Brilliant!

@HerbieGookins This much I know is true…(In reply to: @katdish My dorkiness knows no bounds.)

@HerbieGookins You are so cool in your dorkiness.

@BridgetChumbley Barely. I boxed up all her Barbies in a fit of rage. But she’s okay with it.

RT @marni71: @br8kthru don’t listen to the haters…not everyone can rawk the sweater vests.//And stripes to boot!

RT @br8kthru: @PeterPollock you better zip it, Peter! You’re just jealous of my nerdy machismo //Just tell me you’re not wearing plaid pants

@br8kthru Alaskan beer in Texas chili? Dunno about that…

@pwilson Man card violation pending…(In response to: Stopping for a green tea frappucino on my way back to the 6pm @crosspoint_tv. It’s my latest addiction.)

Gotta go buy some beer. No – for chili.

@shrinkingcamel Now you’re talking…2:47 PM Aug 23rd from TweetDeck in reply to shrinkingcamel (In response to: OMGhost! I will hunt down wireless in this God-forsaken beach town. //Or, I will steal my wife’s precious i-phone)

@shrinkingcamel You’re posting for me this week! How are you going to respond to your adoring fans? (In response to: The only prob- no – internet – access — HE-L-P — M-EE (gasp)

RT @jewda4: R dog freaks out whenever I make an elephant noise. Only a long car trip could provide such valuable & entertaining information.

Typically have 10 to 12 kiddos at church. Today 26. At a church plant, there’s only so much planning you can do. God brings who he brings.

Son starts junior high tomorrow. Who me? Nervous? Um, yes.

@Brian_Russell Rock, indeed.

I’m sass talking @weightwhat via direct messaging! Mwha ha ha!

My daugther’s room is an unmitigated disaster from her slumber party last night. I mean IT. IS. BAD

RT @AlexGoodall: Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist. //Okay, that’s just funny right there

@prodigaljohn HEY! The snuggie is my signature giveaway! Oh…whatever!

@billycoffey Ooo! Market a cologne called “new book”. Like “the beach” from Kramer.

@muchl8r Aren’t you following Gangsta Steph?

@redclaydiaries And you’re an authority on gangstas?

@MichaelHyatt Or the estrogen… (In response to: The Woman of Faith conference has just begun. You can’t imagine the energy in this room!)

@muchl8r Fo shizzle.

@muchl8r Vato to you to. What’s Vato?

And yes, I know it’s Saturday. But you’re not the boss of me.

#ff @muchl8r because he embraces his grumpiness. It works for him.

#ff Follow @asilannax Because she ate a cupcake with a Q-tip.

#ff @shrinkingcamel because he’s really not a camel.

@asilannax You ate a cupcake with a Q-tip? Okay, that’s just weird…

RT @asilannax: I 8 a cupcake w/ a Q-Tip. y? b/c I’m cute & quirky, that’s y! Actual reason: I might B slightly mentally disturbed.

Follow Friday: @chrissulli Because he really needs to step up his twitter game.

As always – Sorry/You’re welcome.

Pardon me while I rant incessantly (Dear Anonymous)

I need to apologize right off the bat for this post because frankly, I’m pissed off. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, I don’t need to tell you how I feel about snarky anonymous commenters. Frankly, I think they’re cowards. Leaving a snarky anonymous comment is akin to leaving a burning bag of dog crap on someone’s front door, ringing the doorbell and running away to hide and snicker behind the bushes while you watch your unsuspecting victim stomp all over the crap you left.

I know I have a fair amount of readers who found their way over here from other blogs and from Twitter. But the vast majority of my readers are readers and fellow commenters on Jon Acuff’s site Stuff Christians Like.

I consider Jon a friend. He has been incredibly generous to his readers and has helped build an online community that is worldwide. Jon Acuff is the reason I started blogging in the first place. (Please don’t send him hate mail, I think he’s had a hard week already). A few months ago, Jon scored a book deal based on his blog, and it seems that ever since then (or maybe it’s just me), the anonymous comments have gone from bad to worse. I’ve seen some doosies on there, but yesterday’s comment section just left me speechless. (No small feat, I can assure you.)

But rather than addressing this (word that rhymes with koosh tag) on Jon’s site, I thought I would address it here instead of drawing more attention to their comment. Because, let’s face it – isn’t what these gutless wonders are looking for anyway? Attention? I could tell you what the post was about, but that’s really not the point. If you want to read it, feel free to do so – it’s really good. The following was not the only nasty comment he got, and I suspect the other one might be from the same author, but here’s the one that set me off:

Anonymous said…

I bet there are other things on your list Jonathan that you wouldn’t dare confess. Come on . Ecstasy is your big confession? Please. Enough of this false humility and empty confessions. The REAL power is when we admit how depraved we Christians actually are. Jonathan I am tired of your meaningless masturbatory banter. Yes we think you are a good writer. Is that what you are looking for? I think you should rename your blog THINGS CHRISTIANS HATE because it is becoming something I really hate. Stop preaching on facebook please.

August 26, 2009 10:33 AM

REALLY ANONYMOUS? Who peed in your corn flakes yesterday morning? And incidentally, if you hate SCL so much, then why not just stop reading it? At least have the common decency to write the man a private email instead of spewing your gutless diatribe for all the world to see. Oh, but wait…that would mean you would actually have to have an ounce of courage in you, which clearly – you do not.


And yes, I realize that by writing this post I’m stooping to their level, but at least you know from whom these words are coming from. Besides, that’s just how I roll sometimes…

End of rant…carry on.

27 Things to Do Before You Die (by Bradley J. Moore)

Corporate executive Bradley J. Moore, aka @shrinkingcamel is today’s guest blogger. Here’s a bit from his “official” bio:

Business executive Bradley J. Moore writes with raw honesty and biting humor about the challenges of connecting spiritual Christian life with career and family life. His writing is featured at several online magazines including HighCalling, InsideWork, SalesGravy and BlogCritics. He has also been featured in the prestigious business magazine, The Conference Board Review.

Okay…whatever. I just think he’s a hoot! I’m not quite sure how he found my blog, but he was kind enough to do a write up of me on The High Calling Blogs back in June of this year, so I totally owed him a solid. I’m not sure this constitutes that, but here’s Brad:

From time to time I will indulge myself in the tacky genre of self-help-leadership-development books. Usually I skim through the pages quickly to see if I can find one or two ideas of substance that might come in handy later on, perhaps some catchy quote I can rip off to make me sound smart and sophisticated at an upcoming business conference cocktail reception. I’ve discovered that if you want to appear smart in business, you really only have to be about five minutes ahead of everyone else with any given category of information. And since most people do not like to read, this is not so hard.

Recently I was paging through one of these books, and I came across an exercise under an inconspicuous little heading that said, “27 Thing to Do Before You Die.” This struck me as irresistibly intriguing, even though it was really just more of your standard-fare motivational crap. But this particular author appeared to be a bit more ambitious than most. Usually you will hear your friends and relatives talk about the one or two things they want to do before they die. Not three. Not five, not even ten. But this book was asking for twenty seven. Isn’t that being greedy?

This exercise was way too tempting to pass up, especially given my recent bouts with a mid-life existential crisis. “This will be fun AND fulfilling!” I told myself. So off I went to my writing corner, busily scrawling out a list of what would surely become a multitude of interesting and exciting dreams that were so reflective of my dynamic and magnetic personality.

Numbers one through five were easy. They were all the things I complain about anyway that I am either currently working on, or those nagging ideas that for some reason I have never managed to get around to. Like, getting a book published, for instance. Which should only be a matter of time, since my Blog has so handily dominated the “Business-Inspirational-Memoir-Humorist” genre that is so popular with publishers these days. And also there is the simple pleasure of taking my wife to an opera production at the Met. That is simply a matter of purchasing the tickets and saving the date. No big deal. Or, how about becoming a CEO? I’ve managed to make it to the senior officer/executive post for several years, but have not yet taken the Chief role (Oh, but just you wait!). Then there are all those European travel plans with the family that keep falling by the wayside. I’m just waiting for value of the dollar to rise against the Euro, I keep telling my wife.

Six through ten were not so hard either, especially after I gave myself permission to just let go and dream big, even if I didn’t think it was really ever possible. The Family Lodge in the Adirondacks? Check. The enviable art collection? Check. The ocean-side vacation home? Absolutely. And yes, I WILL speak fluent German before I die. How hard could that be, if I just put my mind to it?

The ideas stopped flowing so freely after #11, so I decided to enlist my wife in the exercise. Not that she would be able to tell me what I wanted to do before I die (although she does seem to know me better than I know myself sometimes), but maybe hearing her own views on the subject would further stimulate mine. So, we turned on some opera music, poured a couple glasses of Merlot and started cooking Chicken Cacciatore. That always seems to get the juices flowing.

As we traded dreams and ideas, I sheepishly began to notice how materialistic and ego-driven many of the previous items on my death-to-do list were. Humbled and repentant, I began to focus on generating more meaningful, spiritual priorities – opportunities where I could give back, which of course should have been at the top of the list to begin with. I may not be the most spiritually pure Christian, but at least I am honest (in other words, I still did not change the order of my list). Maybe it’s the Merlot talking, but here comes the week-long spiritual retreat at the monastery at number thirteen. I have a friend who does this regularly and I always find myself jealous (spiritual jealousy- is that a sin?). Next, I thought about the many missions and service trips that I have conveniently avoided for all these years, fervently sending on my daughters as proxy. Next time, it will be me.

There. That felt better.

By the time I reached number seventeen, I was so spiritually pumped up that I found myself creating the very admirable but pathetically generic goal of “Inspiring people to live better lives.” (But I really do mean it.)

Number 18 was “Get a cat.” I am currently prevented from fulfilling that particular dream because my wife and daughter are allergic. If I’m the one dying, then I should get my cat.

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. Eighteen. I have nine more to go. And I don’t want to flake out by just adding new countries to the list of destinations I’d like to travel to.

I didn’t think this exercise would be so challenging. What does that say about me? Maybe I’m just too comfortable with where I’m at right now. Perhaps I don’t have enough vision. Or, maybe this was just another tacky and ridiculous motivational exercise meant to sell a book that tells us we are capable of far more than we will ever be able to realistically achieve in life.

In any case, the Chicken Cacciatore we made that night was delicious.

Check out more of Brad’s in depth spiritual and and corporate musings over at Shrinking the Camel, including such deep, thought provoking topics as How not to Suck as a Leader.

How to write a letter that gets you noticed (but not necessarily in a good way)

My brain is fried. There. I said it. I was actually going to do another Duma Key post, but I’m not feeling it. So instead, I thought I would do what I usually do when I’m scrambling for an idea – Post something stupid.

“Letters from a Nut” is just that. It is a collection of letters that were actually written and mailed to an assortment of companies, individuals and heads of state. It is rumored that Ted L. Nancy is actually Jerry Seinfeld, but this has never been proven in a court of law. Without further adieu, the following is one such letter and the corresponding reply:

January, 13, 1996

Dear University of Texas,

I was told to write to you about confirming my Feb 21, 1996 speaking engagement at your college. Let me introduce myself. I am an 8 feet 3 inches tall and perform as Topps the Slender Giant. I have been with the circus for half a century. I talk at schools and conventions (limited to these two only) about my circus experiences. (Will not talk about the kitchen incident). I performed for over eight years as Topps the Shoeless Giant. Two years as Topps the Heavy Giant. One year as Topps the Stumbling Giant. I will talk about that. I was with European, Bahamian, and Canadian circuses. I have performed before the King of Tonga, His Majesty King Taufa’Ahu Tupou IV. And I have Palace stationary. Some people call me a Lou Rawls look alike.

I speak against the perils of bad living; Navy living. Cigar shop living. I am open about all my experiences. I hold nothing back. In this talk you hear a frank and candid account of the circus and carnival life, as sick as it is. I think I am an education for students and teachers, and all alike. It is a 90 minute talk followed by questions on what it was like to be a circus performer, a giant, very thin, very heavy, a marijuana addict, conjugal visits, an alcoholic (Schnapps), and a telemarketer. The talk is very entertaining, sprinkled with colorful recollections. There are no expletives! I do make one (1) foul gesture, but only as part of a story.

Please write and let me know if the Feb 21 date is confirmed, as I was told. I also need to know about publicity. Thanks you very much. My mailing address is 560 No. Moorpark Rd. #236, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360


Ted L. Nancy
Topps the Slender Giant


Public Relations
6900 North Loop, 1604 West
San Antonio, TX 78247

The University of Texas San Antonio

January 22, 1996

Ted L. Nancy
560 No. Moorpark Rd. #236
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Dear Mr. Nancy:

I am writing in response to the letter I received from you on January 19, 1996, which requested confirmation for a performance by Tops the Slender Giant on the UTSA campus on February 21, 1996. The Student Activities Office of UTSA never contracted for this program, and does not confirm the engagement at our University.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at (210) 555-4160.

Thank you,

Brenda Bellamy
Programs Coordinator


So there you have it. Who says this blog isn’t educational?
Sorry/You’re Welcome.

And speaking of educational (gotta love a good segue), my new blogger buddy Bonnie Gray is posting a really great interview with Billy Coffey today over at Faith Barista. She’s quite the interviewer, and Billy is quite the interviewee. You should check it out. But just to tell you, that woman REALLY likes coffee!

Fixing what’s broken (by Billy Coffey)

“Dad, can you fix this?”

My son holds out his favorite toy, a super-duper Buzz Lightyear action figure complete with spring-loaded missile and nine (count them, nine) preprogrammed phrases. He strategically places himself between me and the baseball game on television, brazenly demanding immediate attention. I am normally left alone during Yankee games. Not because I require it—I do not—but because I tend to get a tad…involved.

“What’s wrong with it, bud?” I ask, keeping one eye on him and the other on the thing of beauty that is Robinson Cano’s swing.

“Dunno,” he answers. He turns his Buzz around, flips a switch and turns a knob, and shrugs.

Both eyes are on him now. My son is confused and dejected. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with his toy. All he knows is that it’s not what it’s supposed to be.

“Sure I can fix it,” I answer him. “No problem.”

And it isn’t a problem. I know what’s wrong with is toy. And I can make it what it’s supposed to be, too. All I need is a screwdriver, some batteries, and a little time.

He takes a seat beside me on the couch and fidgets. I think it’s because the Yankees have just stranded two runners on base, but I’m wrong. No, he just wants to play. Not iin a few minutes or a little while. Now.

“Hurry up, Daddy,” he says.

“Hang on,” I answer, prying the cover off the battery compartment.

More fidgeting. Then, “Daddy?”


“I don’t think you know what you’re doing.”

I raise my head and offer a look that is half question and half amusement.

“Why’s that?” I asked him.

“Because you’re taking too long. If you knew how to fix it, you’d hurry up.” He sighs and adds, “I’d be playing by now.”

“Just wait and see,” I tell him. “I’ll have it fixed in a minute.”

But my son can’t wait and so doesn’t see. “Never mind,” he says. “I’ll just go fix it myself.” He grabs the Buzz Lightyear from my hand and trudges off to his room carrying it upside down by the right foot.

I shake my head in a fatherly way. Kids are so impatient nowadays, I think to myself. I know what he’ll do. He’ll go back to his room and play with his Buzz Lightyear for a while, substituting the real sounds of laser blasts and Tim Allen’s voice with his own paltry imitations. He’ll flip switches and turn knobs and pretend everything’s working just fine, but it won’t last long. He won’t have the patience for that, either.

I know this because as my son, he carries around inside of himself bits and pieces of me. He has my smile, my eyes, my skin. And there are the deeper things too, like a common desire to put people at ease and a constant craving for ice cream.

And also to be impatient. With everything.

“Father,” I often say to God, “can you fix this? Fix this problem or this situation. Fix this life. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, I just know it’s broken.”

“Sure I can fix it,” God answers. “No problem.”

And it isn’t a problem. God knows what’s wrong. And more, He can fix it. All he needs is a little grace, a little mercy, and a little time.

So I’ll sit beside Him for a while and watch. But then I start to fidget.

“Hurry,” I say.

“Hang on,” He answers.

I fidget more. Time passes, and I begin to wonder if He really knows what He’s doing. If He did, I’d be better by now. I tell him so.

“Wait and see,” He says.

But I can’t wait. And because I can’t wait, I don’t see.

“I’ll just fix it myself,” I finally say. I take my problem back and trudge off, pretending that everything is just fine.

That’s how it is with my son and me. And with me and God, too. But I know this: my son will be back. Imagination can carry one only so far. Pretending is great, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. He’ll realize that fixing what’s broken is worth the wait. Especially when he knows he can’t fix it on his own.

And it’s for those very reasons that God knows I’ll be back, too.

To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

Also, for you writerly types in search of an agent, check out this article by Billy on Guide to Literary Agents: How I got my agent.


Happy Sunday everyone! We’ve been singing this song for the past little while at C3’s worship gatherings. I really love it, and I wanted to share it with you. Hope it blesses you as it has me.

You are the source of the life
I can’t be left behind
No one else will do
I will take hold of You

I need You Jesus
To come to my rescue
Where else can I go
There’s no other name by
Which I am saved
Capture me with grace
I will follow You

This world has nothing for me
I will follow You
This world has nothing for me
I will follow You

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

-Psalm 18:1-2

These Small Hours (Repost – sort of)

I posted this video back in May of this year. I loved the song then and I still do. Life is full of peaks and valleys for all of us, but God never intended for us to struggle through by ourselves. For that I am so very grateful. If you’re in a valley right now, hang in there.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. – Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)

I get overwhelmed by life sometimes; by all the “things to do” that never seem to all get done, the day to day grind, trying to live up to a standard I will never achieve. And while I am incredibly, inexplicably fortunate in so many ways, still there are disappointments; things that “could have been” that never will be. But I am beginning to truly understand that life is more about the moments, the small hours. And when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I remember all the small hours, where my heart resides.

Little Wonders
Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you
And i don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to
We’ll get by,
It’s the heart that really matters in the end

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But i can not forget
The way i feel right now

In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours, still remain,
Still remain
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain


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