Mommy Says Go

Birthday cake is yummy. It has layers of cake and frosting and tastes delicious with punch. We cut it into pieces, pass each plate carefully, and wait until everyone has a slice. And when Mommy says go, we go.

Dancing is fun. The music is loud, and you can feel the bass in your tummy. Dancing with mommy is even more fun. But when Mommy says stop, we stop.

Hide and seek is challenging. Mommy counts for two whole minutes to one hundred while you hide. Is everyone ready? When Mommy says go, we go.

Hugs are the best. Hugs from Mommy are even better. It is nice to hug mommy. Mommy loves to hug you, probably more than you love to hug her. But when Mommy says stop, we stop.

Bicycles are fast. You can sail down your block on your very own two wheels. Freedom on your bike is a blast. Waiting, waiting, waiting. But when Mommy says go, we go.

Tickles are silly. You and mommy can be very silly. Mommy is a tickle monster. You are a tickle tiger. Tickling mommy is a great way to be funny. But when Mommy says stop, we stop.

The dog loves to go on walks with you and mommy. While you put the collar on the dog, mommy finds the leash in the coat closet. The dog is ready. You and Mommy are ready. And when Mommy says go, we go.

A race car bed is a warm and cozy place to lie down. Mommy is the best at snuggles. Mommy likes snuggling, and so do you. But it’s one hour past your bedtime, so when Mommy says stop, we stop.

TV time is when we get to watch cartoons and play video games. We can’t wait to try our new space adventure. We wait for Mommy to check our homework. And when Mommy says go, we go.

Wrestling until you are out of breath is a blast. I can jump off the couch and land on my feet. Mommy can jump off the floor and land on the couch. You and Mommy take turns as the champion. But when Mommy says stop, we stop.

When mommy and I drive a car, there are two essential skills to master. Each skill has it’s own pedal in the car. Each skill has it’s own color on the traffic light. In cars, green means go, but a stop sign is always red. One skill for driving is knowing when to go. An even more important rule of the road is to know when to stop.

So when Mommy says go, we go if we would like to. But when Mommy says stop, we stop because she has asked us to stop.

When Mommy says go, we go.
And when Mommy says stop, we stop.

When our friends say go, we go.
And when our friend says stop, we stop.

When a boy or girl we like says go, we go.
And when that boy or girl says stop, we stop.

And if you would like to do something, ask if you can go. But if you do not like something, it is always okay to tell anyone to stop.

Now, sometimes you are a cake-hungry, hiding and seeking, bicycle-riding, dog-walking, green gamer.

And sometimes you are a dancing, hugging, tickling, racecar-driving, red wrestler.

Green means lots of things. Red can also be a confusing color. Go means you can decide if you would like to go. But eventually, you’ll always need to stop. Because stop always means stop.

— Rich Williams


Cowboy, Don’t Run Out

Don’t run out of whiskey on Sunday. Don’t drink it all on Saturday night. Don’t finish your beer till Monday, friend everything will be all right

Cowboys they love their cervezas. But liquor is quicker by far. So if you start early round noontime. They don’t drive a horse or a car.

Ladies like fruit in their cocktails. Fellas like ladies just fine. Careful though if she says no sir. That’s where we all draw the line.

I’ll have a Lone star with lime wedge. She’ll have a whiskey that’s neat. I found out that neat just means whiskey. Oh, Lady, I’m pleased we could meet.

So sober up Cowboy on Sunday.

Til Texas allows Sunday sale.

But if your thirsty after service.

You can buy a beer or an ale.

drink up young cowboy on Sunday

But wait til the choir is done

Singing just as I am yessir

You’ll be at the Saloon by one.

(But Cowboy, if you *do* drink all your whiskey…)

Maybe try coffe and orange juice for breakfast.

Perhaps drink a tonic at noon.

Have soda pop with supper.

Monday’s gonna be here soon.


Stories: Mom and Dad


I’ve always had this obsession with wearing shoes that match my activities. It started with river rafting and Tevas and continued with football cleats for artificial and real grass, Jordans for basketball on wood and concrete, and of course, Asics for cross-training and jogging.

In college, I took a tennis PE class and loved Tennis. I still play with my dad sometimes and have since I can remember in my childhood. At the time, I was jobless, eating ramen and donating plasma so I could afford new guitars and amplifiers to feed my rock and roll habit. I waited tables at a local crab shack and probably met my wife around this same time.

I went to my folks’ house one day complaining about wanting to play tennis, but just having running shoes and turning my ankles in my PE class. I told mom I needed shoes for tennis, even though my mom and dad were always perfectly happy to wear any kind of shoes to do most activities. She seemed to understand.

They’ve always budgeted using cash envelopes and actually had a shoe budget. I didn’t know the details of their cash system, just that haircuts, clothes, and whatnot came out of this cashbox budget. Mom went and got her shoe envelope, which had more than one pay period’s worth of cash in it. She wanted me to have it to buy new shoes.

She gave me the whole envelope. All the cash in it. I didn’t really count it, but I knew it was a lot to her. And probably would do the trick. Turns out, a lot of money on shoes for my mom was $35. I was kind of disappointed that I still couldn’t afford shoes, but equally awed by the gesture, that Mom gave me dad’s and her entire shoe budget for the last couple of months.

Regardless, my tennis class was that afternoon, so I headed to the shop where I’d picked up my racquet at a pretty hefty savings, so I had high hopes. Maybe I could pick up something vintage, anything flat really, something good for a court that wouldn’t roll my ankles. I remember parking in the lot and looking at the money, wondering if I should even go in.

I walked in with a purpose: See if name brand shoes for $35 was even a thing, and proceed. I went straight for the Wilson Pro Staff, the Nikes, the Reeboks, and the Adidas. The Stan Smiths were even twice what I had for a pretty simple vintage shoe. I knew my dad always wore those, but they were leather and felt hot to me. I walked over to the tennis section, defeated, and realized that I’d be putting my ankles at risk, yet again today, wearing jogging shoes on the tennis court.

I don’t remember how I came across the Prince shoes. I think that was the brand. These were definitely tennis shoes because as far as I know, Prince just makes tennis stuff, they prefer to be known as the Tennis Brand formerly known as Prince, though. If I remember right, I shared my predicament with a salesperson and next thing I know, they were showing me these $125 Prince shoes, in all white on white. Not my favorite color combo, but dang, sweetness, and expensive sweetness at that.

They’d been sitting for a while, though, not selling as well as the Nikes and Reeboks, and eventually marked down to half price, which was about $62. That news was neither here nor there for me, as I literally just had the $35 my mom had given me. Not a penny more. But somehow that weekday morning (which was coincidentally a good time to shop at retail places) I had walked into a clearance sticker extravaganza.

75% off. $32. Right at $35 with taxes. Literally shocked. How had my mom managed to turn $35 into $125? I don’t know. I never asked. I put my runners in the box and walked out of the store with them on after I checked out. Those shoes were comfortable and supportive as you would expect from hundred plus name brand shoes and I wore them out.

So mom gave me her shoe budget. She and my dad went without new shoes for a few months, and looking back, I should have dealt with it, I probably shouldn’t have taken their money. I could have just worn the shoes I had. But then and there, it was important to me. And my mom gave me 100% and more of what she had, because she loved me. Believe it or not I’m pretty good at tennis. Assuming I have the right shoes.


So as an adult and parent, I’ve developed this rule. If you’re known for having a bad temper, that joke where you act mad about something isn’t really funny, if I can’t tell and you occasionally do actually get mad like that. My dad, however, was the master of this gag, and it never got old, because he rarely got mad, at least in front of me.

Third Eye Blind is a nineties band that is not important to my dad and only vaguely important to me. OLGA was the online guitar archive that would tell you how to play any song on the guitar. Distortion is a type of electric guitar pedal that makes the guitar louder and basically, fuzzy. Kurt Cobain famously used distortion to indicate a change in the song and an emotional increase, but he’s not in Third Eye Blind.

I liked this song called “how’s it gonna be” by Third Eye Blind. I still love that song, actually. And here’s why.

I was playing my guitar one night, on a Saturday, probably at about three in the morning. I’m pretty sure my dad was probably preaching the next morning, you know, about six hours from me playing my guitar at full volume in my room that shared an air duct with my parents’ master.

Dad bursts in the door. It’s three AM mind you and he says to me, “How many times have I told you? Make sure and practice your guitar!” Then he smiled and walked back to his room presumably to try to go back to sleep. The gag doesn’t get old if you’re typically slow to anger.

So one day, I’m learning “how’s it going to be” on OLGA, which typically had pretty formal charts and really laughing, because right before the bridge to “how’s it going to be” in parenthesis, there was a playing suggestion: “Hit the distortion, man!” Oh, that cracked me up, and I immediately hunted down my guitar playing pops to share the novel silliness with. It’s mostly an acoustic guitar song, which makes that “Hit the distortion, man!” line so funny.

So fast forward, I’m hanging out with my dad in our living room. Maybe a few weeks or months after that little joke. And “How’s It Going To Be” starts playing on the radio. I loved that song at the time, and said something like, “I know how to play this song on guitar” to my dad, who kind of smiled and began to listen.

First verse. Chorus. Second verse. Chorus. Then this feedback happens and…

“Hit the distortion, man!” my Dad yells. I fell out of my chair laughing. I had totally forgotten that bit, but I never would again because that one line spelled it out for me. My dad was remembering and processing the words I was saying. He was interested in things I was interested in that he normally didn’t care about, but he cared about me.

So now that song makes me think of him. And as we get older, sometimes, “I wonder how’s it going to be when it goes down? How’s it going to be when you’re not around? How’s it going to be when you don’t know me anymore? How’s it going to be, How’s it going to be?”

Hit the distortion, man.


Grab ‘em by the Values and Convictions

“If we abandon our founding core values, the world will suffer for it. With all respect, this election isn’t about you. It certainly isn’t about me. It is about our kids and grandkids…It is about values, and truth, and greatness, and hope…Vote for the candidates who will best uphold your values and convictions.” — Dr. James Dobson

Value: Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Fact: “Did you use the word smart? So you said you went to Delaware State, but you forgot the name of your college. You didn’t go to Delaware State. You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word smart with me…Because you know what? There’s nothing smart about you, Joe. 47 years you’ve done nothing.” — Last week

Value: Romans 13:6-7 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.


2016 Taxes paid: $750

2016 Net worth: $3.7 Billion

Source: NY Times

Value: First Corinthians 6:12–13 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

Fact: “I moved on her, and I failed, I did try and [expletive deleted] her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily….I moved on her like a [expletive deleted]. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet… when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….Grab ‘em by the [expletive deleted]. You can do anything.” — 2005

Value: First Corinthians 6:19–20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Fact: “The C.D.C. is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So it’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it. They suggested for a period of time, but this is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.” — April 3

Value: Luke 20:46–47 Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.


Question: Favorite Bible verse?

Answer: “Because to me that’s very personal…You know, when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal so I don’t want to get into verses. The Bible means a lot to me but I don’t want to get into specifics…I think it’s just incredible, the whole Bible is incredible.” — 2015


Value: Proverbs 28 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.3A ruler who oppresses the pooris like a driving rain that leaves no crops.4Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked,but those who heed it resist them.5Evildoers do not understand what is right,but those who seek the Lordunderstand it fully.6Better the poor whose walk is blamelessthan the rich whose ways are perverse.7A discerning son heeds instruction,but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.8Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the pooramasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.9If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,even their prayers are detestable.10Whoever leads the upright along an evil pathwill fall into their own trap,but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.11The rich are wise in their own eyes;one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.12When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.13Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.14Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.15Like a roaring lion or a charging bearis a wicked ruler over a helpless people.16A tyrannical ruler practices extortion,but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.17Anyone tormented by the guilt of murderwill seek refuge in the grave;let no one hold them back.18The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.19Those who work their land will have abundant food,but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.20A faithful person will be richly blessed,but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.21To show partiality is not good—yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.22The stingy are eager to get richand are unaware that poverty awaits them.23Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favorrather than one who has a flattering tongue.24Whoever robs their father or motherand says, “It’s not wrong,”is partner to one who destroys.25The greedy stir up conflict,but those who trust in the Lordwill prosper.26Those who trust in themselves are fools,but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.27Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.28When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding;but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

Fact: My child will have a name-calling, adulterous, stealing, Godless role model for his formative years of 8–12 or (God forbid) a democrat. Remember, Donald Trump is just as bad for the Republican Party as he is for our country and our world.