admin on May 18th, 2011


Since my grandson was little, he is now 6, and we would read a book or two at bed time, I would kiss him goodnight and say, “Love you forever and always Tony Boy.  See you in the morning.”  Last night when the books were read, the evening was winding down and quietness had settled in… I kissed him and said, “love you forever and always Tony Boy.”   This time Tony for the first time said, “I love it when you say that grandpa.”  It took me back for a moment.

I have been thinking that must be the way it is with our Heavenly Father.  He tells us over and over He loves us “forever and always”.  Some day we will tell Him “I love it when you say that Father.”  It confirms the bond between us and Him.  Unbreakable bond that is forever and always.  There is no greater love.

“See you in the morning” has always had two meanings for me.  For Tony it is 8 to 9 hours later.  For me it is also the New Day, New Morning when we wake up in the presence of Jesus.   Some day Tony will understand the second meaning.  The most important meaning.  That will be a glorious morning indeed.  The bond of love is never broken.  It lasts forever.

admin on May 4th, 2010

April 24 2010 there was a Boy Scout display in the parking lot North of Mickey Ds and by the Imagination Station. Tony was fascinated by many of the displays. The Sheriff’s Office was well represented with several displays. Tony got to climb up on the rescue boat, the one we see going by our house frequently in the summer to fish someone out of the river. The two Sheriff’s Office Deputies in charge of the boat were really good with the kids. About 15 minutes later Tony bent over the bow of the boat, I was on the good ole solid ground, and said to me, “These guys are really COOL grandpa.” I said, “yup, they are.” and looked over at one of guys. I ask, “Did you hear that?” With a big grin he said, “I sure did.” He had a big grin on his face for a while. Tony debarked and headed to new territory. I have to have speedy shoes on to keep up some days. I wish I could find a pair of those.

Later we were at the cars on display. The people there were young intern or trainee types wearing the Sheriff”s Office shirt and hardware. Tony had bailed out of the armored car where he had been playing for 20 minutes and was standing next to me watching the young group yucking it up. They were loud and horsing around some… with out the horse. All of a sudden he got a scowl on his face and said in a rather loud voice, “Grandpa, those are NOT real cops. Why are they wearing uniforms? They should not do that.” Well that was hard to explain and I was hoping “they” did not hear what he said. We left the area rapidly.

I guess he thought they were not acting the way officers should act. At least not like the COOL guys at the boat. I suppose that comes from trying to instill respect for the uniform of peace officers. The lesson is one each of us needs to remember. If we say we are (fill in the blank) then we had better act the part or we can lead an impressionable young mind astray. So lets be COOL.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

admin on March 25th, 2010

A few weeks ago Tony was standing in the door way and said, “Grandpa?: Yes. “Grandpas need grandkids so they won’t get bored.” He is correct in that assumption since there is not a day that some surprise doesn’t pop up. I won’t be dying from boredom any time soon. I have been retired three years now and boredom is not a problem.

We were checking out at Target the other day and the checker and Tony was having a great conversation. As we were leaving, he turned around and said to the checker, “You are missing a tooth. You know that if you put it under your pillow, you can get some money for it from the tooth fairy.” The checker and the people in line were having a chuckle. Me, I laughed all the way to the car. When we got in the car he was questioning me as to why I was laughing. Oh, I just saw something funny.

Today (03/17/2010) we were in Costco foraging about 2:30. It is a great way to pass some time together. The food tables were set up and we had hit the ravioli stuff a couple of times already. The lady running it said one time she had noticed us coming in since he was in a stroller. Anyway, Tony headed back to get another sample and she was talking to a friend. As I rounded the corner Tony was talking to the friend. She was asking him how old he was. “Four.” At which she said, “You are smarter than my 15 year old.”

Tony is 5 today (3/24) A lot of people know his name. Me? Oh I am just Tony’s grandpa. A few weeks back we were in Sears to visit one of his many “friends”. Tammie was not available at the moment and we were wandering around looking at TVs. A fellow was down on his knees puting together a new display. Tony walked up to him and ask, “Do you know what you are doing?” The guy looked rather surprised and then the two got into a discussion of what tools to use. Tony told him about all the tools he has and what should be used on the job. Along came the usual question people ask Tony. “How old are you?” “I am four.” I heard the guy telling some of his fellow workers about being ask if he know what he was doing. They all had a good laugh together. We found Tammie and Tony got picked up and a BIG hug. Most of the people working in the electronics and appliance department know all about the little boy named Tony Boy. It is interesting to see their faces light up when Tony comes around the corner.

admin on October 13th, 2009

A new chapter began in the Life of Tony Boy in October. His Daddy got out of prison after spending over three and a half years away. Tony was 2 months old when it all began. We kept a picture of his Daddy in the living room and talked to Tony when he ask about the picture. His Daddy and I kept in touch by letter, but that is a different story.

A couple a days after Tony’s Daddy, (TD), arrived back in Twin Falls, we met at the City Park. We were on the Court House side and TD was on the other side. We started walking toward each other and when Tony was about 100 feet away from his Daddy, he started to run. Tony ran and jumped into his arms. I never saw any thing like that before and did not imagine that would be their first meeting. I must admit that there were tears in my eyes. It was as if they had been apart for just a few days.

For the next three hours, the two of them ran, jumped, wrestled around, and just had a lot of fun. It was really great to see them going hand in hand around the park. Me… I sat in my chair and took it easy for a change. If you have read some of the other stuff about Tony you know we spent a lot of time at the park. Several times I heard Tony say, “I love you Daddy.” I found out later that TD got rather misty but he kept it inside. I guess that comes from trying to be tough for the last few years. He did get stabbed 5 times in Boise and was moved to Orofino after that. But that is another story.

It was a little awkward for TD the first few times. How do you handle a rambunctious 4 year old when you haven’t had the experience before? TD was a quick learner. He observed how I handled Tony and used the same methods.

So for a month now we get together several times a week. Sunday we went to lunch at Addison West. Tony was wired and wanted to play. A couple sitting in an adjacent booth apparently observed the goings on and had a bit of fun with Tony when they left. The lady started to leave and turned around and said, “You sure are a cute little boy.” Well I can’t argue with that.

I will add more to this as time goes by. Tony is sitting here wanting to go to the park. Soooo,,, a guess it is time to GO TO THE PARK.

I’m back. Did not make it to the park. Low blood sugar hit and I had to cope with that for a while. We did get to the grocery store later. I was thinking about second chances. In conversation with people over the years I have said, “what is done is done and there is not anything you can do to change it. It is what you do with today and the tomorrows…. that will make a difference.” I wrote a piece called Jail (Redemption)” about the time TD was in jail. Some young folk I have talked to are rather surprised to find old dudes like me can think this way. It all boils down to this. I am just a beggar trying to show another beggar where to find the Bread of Life. I would be in deep yogurt if it were not for redemption.

admin on March 12th, 2009

I was asked to talk on hope so… This was presented March 12, 2009 for a  “Celebrate Recovery” session.


My daughter asked me where I was going this evening. I said I was going to “Celebrate Recover” meeting to give a talk on HOPE.  She asked, “what are you recovering from dad?’  I told her” My name is John and I am a recovering parent.”  She was rather amused.

Hope. When all is going well and the world seems to be heading your direction… you maybe don’t need hope or think about hope very much. If you do it might be rather superficial as in “I hope I get to work on time”. Personally, right now, “I hope I can get through this talk on hope.”

When life puts you through a trial by fire and all seems hopeless in the eyes of man, when all is burned away such as pride, selfishness, lust, ( insert your favorite hang up here)… all that is left is hope and faith. For me pride evaporated. I had and still have a bumper sticker which says “Proud parent of an O’Leary Junior high student.” The bumper sticker has faded into near nothingness now but it is a reminder of what was left for me. Hope and faith were still standing tall. Pride faded into the past and hope refreshes the vision of the future.

Hopes in our past are probably gone or maybe faded like the bumper sticker. We must look for new hope from Jesus’ words and His life. We must base our hope on Him, live in Him, trust in Him and never give up.

Most of my life, I have been the type who could fix things. Then the reality that my youngest daughter was broken and I could not fix her nearly shattered my life. As hard as we may try we can not live someone else’s life for them. Alcohol and drugs had apparently triggered bi-polar tendencies and she went from a straight A student to a total failure in a matter of months. It was very difficult to understand or even accept that this was happening to our family. For some time the guilt factor was rather great. Where did we go wrong? Why is this happening to OUR family?

The next two years spun totally out of control. Counseling and therapy seemed to make the situation worse. I remember saying in one session, “I feel as if she is on the other side of a glass wall. There is a door in the wall but there is no handle on my side to open it. As I pound on the door, she is bleeding to death and she will not or can not open the door and let me in to help her.” I felt helpless and there was little hope. Life as we knew it was slipping away and it would never be the same again.

Skip forward to May 6, 2003. At work, I received a call from a credit card company and they ask, “did you make such and such purchases? No.” They put a stop on all activity on the card. I went home and found my card in my daughter’s room. I told her to get dressed we are going to take a ride. She got some clothes on and we went down to the Sheriff’s office. A couple hours went by as we sat on a bench and waited. Our hearts sank as we watched her taken out of the sheriff’s office in chains to juvenile detention.  

This was the turning point of hope. It was going to be a promise of new hope or a train wreck. It all depended on the decisions she would make in changing her life style. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and I hoped it was not an oncoming train. After 20 days of detention and another 30 days house detention, we made a trip to the Walker Center where she would spend the next 30 days. It was not an easy 30 days and there were some very tense moments. About 3 weeks into the 30 days, there were three intense days of family sessions. On the second day of the family sessions at the Walker Center, we were on our way home and for the next two hours, I felt compelled to write this piece. I could not stop writing. It just flowed out of the pen from the interaction with parents and our children.

“My Name is ______.
I am a Dopeless Hope Addict.”

© (7-25-03) John L. Stevens

Life seemed to suck.
The pain seemed so real.
The drugs seemed so easy
To change what I did feel.

At first it seemed to help
To cover up the pain.
But the sucking sound I heard
Was my life, down the drain.

The hole I found myself in
Got deeper by the day.
Hope seemed to fade from me
That help was on the way.

The help I sought and found
Was the “friends” who got me here.
Those who had the pot, the meth,
The drugs and the beer.

The family I once had loved,
Seemed distant from me now.
My love had turned to hate
By the love of drugs somehow.

The hole caved in on me
From a distance I could hear.
“We loved her, Oh so very much”
“We failed her. Somehow my Dear.”

They pulled me from the darkest hole
I, myself, had dug.
And took me into their arms
To rescue me from drug.

The days turned into many weeks.
My head began to clear,
To see the ones who really love me.
My hate was not so near.

A cloud of doubt and guilt rained down
For the things I had done.
Soon love returned to fill my heart
Where once the drugs had won.

Forgiveness came from those who loved,
To me, for the many years.
For the pain and sorrow I had caused
To them, through many tears.

A group of families gathered ’round
With love so great for me.
I soon discovered through the tears
Their abundant love was free.

I felt the love of those who care.
I learned to love again.
To care once more for what I’d lost.
To trust and live within.

When temptation comes to my door
To offer me a high.
Let Love instead answer the knock
And with Serenity say – goodbye!

This story has not ended. It will continue for a life time. Life is about choices we make on a daily basis. It dictates what we will possibly do tomorrow based on what we do today. Life is built on choices. The end of the story will be written when we meet the One who loves us unconditionally. The One who died on the Cross for us.

Love triumphs over adversity when God is in it. In the vernacular of Lola of “Charley and Lola “Never, never, never, ever give up” must be the words to live by. Progress is made even when there are two steps forward and one step back. Thank God for the progress. Hope lives on in the hearts of those who trust Him.

A strange feeling set in during the time she was in detention and a ward of the court. We could sleep at night. We knew she was in a safe place and not running in the drug culture. It meant we would not get a call in the middle of the night to identify her body. It was the first time in a long time we could breathe.

On Father’s Day that year, my daughter wrote me a two page letter, a beautiful letter saying she understood why we did what we did. I treasure this letter. Tough love does not get any tougher. It was very tough on us. Most every night the last few years when I go to bed and she is awake, I hear this little voice as I pass her bed room, “Goodnight Daddy, I love you.” “I love you too, Sweetheart.” It melts my heart every time.

As I lay my head on the pillow my thoughts most every night are, “thank you Father for this day. Thank you for my daughter, thank you for letting us be her parents.” And with that, all is well in the world.

Faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love. Without love there would in all likelihood not be very much faith and hope hanging around. God’s love for us is so great, how can we not give our love to our children and each other, unconditionally, as an extension of His love for us? The story of the prodigal son was ever on my mind. A story of never ending love and hope on the part of the Father.

My hope is in the eternal Jesus who has promised to never leave me or forsake me.

I can not imagine living my life without hope. I can not imagine living without the love of God.

Spring of 2002 unraveled for a friend of mine. His wife got sick, his mother came out to help them and she had heart failure and died in the hospital one floor below where his wife was located. A month later his wife died, he lost his job, a vertebrae in his neck deteriorated, his insurance evaporated. It was Job all over again. We spent many hours of many days trying to make sense of his situation. It seemed pointless. Absolutely hopeless. I can remember a cold fear pouring over me. There was nothing I could do to help him.

I wrote a piece called “Hope for Tomorrow” a couple months later that reflected his loss and my loss when my mother died 1991. Writing is therapy for me. Writing puts on paper a reminder of where I am at that time. The words of this piece points to the loss of a loved one but the thoughts can translate to any loss.

Hope for Tomorrow

© July 2002 John L. Stevens

My heart was so heavy
With sadness and sorrow.
The day was so dark
I could not see tomorrow.
Hope seemed so dim
Through the tears that I cried.
I could not see You Lord
The day that she died.

I remembered Your promise
To be by my side.
For always You’re with me
In You I abide.
In the midst of the darkness
Your hand touched my soul.
You drew me so close
And made me whole.

There are times that I cry
Alone with just me.
When the silence comes crashing
Like a storm-troubled sea.
There are times that I laugh now
When I remember the years.
That we shared together
Through the good times and tears.

The peace oh Lord
The memories You bring.
Fills my life with hope
Make my heart strings sing.
Draw me close to Your side
And lead me gently on.
Give me hope for tomorrow
Till the dark turns to dawn.
Open my heart Lord
Let out the sorrow.
Pour in your spirit
And hope for tomorrow.
I need Your touch Lord
On my heart this hour.
Fill me with Your love
With Your healing power.


I hope these thoughts I have shared with you have been an encouragement to your heart. I hope you will have a renewed resolve to never give up but keep taking baby steps forward as you make your journey with Jesus through this life. Now from the words and wisdom of Lola, “I will never, never, never, ever give up Charley.”

To those who did not go to sleep, thanks for listening.

admin on January 20th, 2009

Jan 20, 2009 Today I am starting a journal for Tony and his grandfather (me).  We replaced a right head lamp in the LHS this afternoon.  Tony held the socket wrench after I removed the assembly and replaced the bulb. He found a bolt on the left side on which the wrench fit.  When the assembly was in place, Tony got to run the wrench and tighten the bolts.  He came in and said, “I fixed your head light Nennie.” Nennie is his aunt and since she drive the car a lot, the car must be her’s.  He was so proud he could help.  He listened well and followed instruction very well. He got in the drivers seat and turned on the lights. Shifted from lower to upper beam… many times.  It worked!   Did it take longer to get the job done? Yes but the rewards will last for a very long time.

It looks like I have not done very well in keeping up this “journal”.

July 2009. I was tired this day and my grandson (4) talked me into sitting on the swing while he played in his dirt pile. Dirt is like gold to him. After a while he said, “Grandpa. Can we go to the park today?” I told him I would think about it. A few minutes later he asked, “Have you thought about it Grandpa?” I answered, “Not yet.” His reply was, “Let me do the thinking for you Grandpa.” At this time he put his hand on his face, got a little concerned look and muttered “think,,, think.” Then he said, “I have thought about it Grandpa and we are going to the park.” I got up from the swing and went in and told his Grandma what he said. Then we went to the park.

Some time earlier in the year we went to Arctic Circle, one of our usual places to eat and play. There were a couple of ladies sitting at the table next to us and Tony recognized one of them from the play group. After a time I noticed one little girl had stripped off her top clothing. I was talking to the mother next to me when I saw this. I said to her, “Tony is going to go home and tell his Grandmother that I took him to a topless restaurant.”

admin on December 24th, 2008

Ice Cream was written for my grandson Tony (Anthony Stevens) as a reminder how I want to be as an influence in his life. There is also an underlying deeper meaning as to our relationship to God. Our Ice Cream (blessings) hits the ground from time to time because of our neglect or possibly no fault of our own, but God is there if we just look up and see Him kneeling to take us in His arms.

It all started on a Sunday morning when my Pastor said, “imagine a little boy standing there with an empty cone in his hand…. and the ice cream is on the ground. The images came flooding in and by the time first service was over, most of it was written. Since I run the sound system I listen to both Sunday morning services. Much of what I have written about has come from a trigger on Sunday morning or something similar. What do you do when YOUR Ice Cream hits the ground?

admin on November 26th, 2008

Chen Li (her Chinese name), originally from a small city in British Columbia, Canada, is now living in a small city in northern China teaching English in a high school. Though she never wanted to be a teacher, Chen Li has fallen in love with her wonderful students and is having a lot of fun teaching them.
In her spare time, Chen Li likes to travel, dance, play badminton, read a good book, or go out for a delicious dinner with her friends.

It is my privilege to host “Chen’s” letters.

Stories from a Chinese Middle School:

China Garden

It was early in my first semester teaching in a Chinese high school, (also my first semester teaching, ever). As a new and inexperienced teacher I was feeling kind of useless. The fact that the ‘foreign teacher English classes’ aren’t taken too seriously at my school didn’t help. Sitting alone in this foreign land, I was often left wondering, ‘why am I here? What am I doing? What do I have to offer?’

I was giving my first test of the semester to one of my classes. There was a girl in the class, sitting near the front by the window, and I saw that she wasn’t doing any work on her test. Sometimes students have a hard time with these tests, but I thought she was one of the smarter students in the class. She looked really upset, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even know her name yet.

Once I collected all the tests back and started marking them, I realized that not only did she not write anything on the test, she didn’t even write her name. Not knowing the answers to the questions is one thing, but not even writing her name, that was another thing all together.

The next day, I asked her to stay after class and talk to me. I asked why she didn’t write the test and she began to explain how she had thought about killing herself the night before the test. She wanted to take some medicine so that she would never wake up. But when she thought about her mother and how upset she would be, she decided against it.

We continued to talk for a while about her life, her goals, her dreams. How she was often sad and depressed, how she missed being home in her village, how she had no friends at school and really didn’t like school. But she knew she must study hard in order to get a good job and take care of her family. I did my best to encourage her, and mostly just to listen.

After about an hour, she said, “Thank you. You are the first person that has talked to me.”

I almost started crying when she said that. After being at school for 6 months no one – student or teacher, had really talked to her? Sure her teachers had noticed a drop in her grades on the latest exam scores. But no one had bothered to talk to her, ask her if there was a problem.

Over the next few months Sarah and I wrote letters back and forth. She described her home to me, and was always happy when she got a holiday so she could go home for a few days for a visit.

Meeting Sarah confirmed to me that I was in the right place at the right time. God really does know what He’s doing. If in the year or two of teaching in China the only thing I accomplished was putting a smile on one girl’s face, then it was all worthwhile.

Shangai China

I was in the middle of a lesson about ‘modal verbs’ – exciting, I know. The students know their grammar very well from English class they have with their Chinese teacher, so I was just going over it quickly for practice. I asked them to write a sentence for each verb – should, need, must, might – to demonstrate their understanding of the difference between each one. Then I asked for examples from some of the students:

“I should do my homework everyday.”

“I might go shopping tomorrow.”

Good sentences, nothing surprising. Then I asked Bill for a sentence using ‘need’. He stood up confidently.

“I need to get some girlfriend in the future,” he said with a smile. Everyone in the class was giggling away, and I couldn’t help but laugh myself

“Some girlfriends?” I asked. “You want some girlfriends?”

“Yes,” he said, “2 or 3.”

He sat down. His ideas caught me by surprise. These are such serious students. They’re smart, hardworking, and very respectful. But I probably shouldn’t be surprised. They are 16 year-old boys after all.

admin on October 30th, 2008

Feb. 5, 2001

My Dear Sara,

From the moment the doctor placed you in my arms June 29, 1986, just a few hours after you were born, I fell instantly in love with you. You were so beautiful. As I was gazing into your eyes you were looking at me as if you were studying my face as I was yours. What I felt for you was the same as I had felt five years before. I could not have been more proud of you and loved you more if I had been your biological father. This time I knew how to care for you from the very beginning since I had five years of practice under my belt. It was such an honor to have been chosen to be the one you would call Dad when you started to talk. To be the one to care for you when you were hurting, to share your smiles with the world which would brighten any grouch’s day.

I have thanked God so many times that He allowed me to be your Dad. I had received my dream of another little girl that I could love and watch grow up into a fine young lady. You are almost there and I am so proud of you. I know the teen years can be tough. I was there once and it wasn’t that much fun. The hurts you are feeling, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make them go away but I am so powerless in that department. Dads think they can do everything but now I know that is not true.

From the time you were a baby, in the wee hours of the morning I would find us sitting on the sofa. Actually I was sitting and you were being held by me. I preferred it that way. I would hold you, sing to you, and pray for your birth mother. She made a great sacrifice in giving you to us. She was a teenager who found herself in trouble and did the right thing carrying you nine months instead of ending it. I will be forever grateful to her for this act of courage. Over the years I have prayed for her many, many times. There were not many days that would go by without a prayer for her. I wondered what she was doing at that moment. I know she has a picture of you that she has been carrying with her all these years. That is one thing that she asked for – was a picture. I know her first name is Marie. We honored her in giving her name to you. Sara Marie – a very beautiful name for a beautiful young lady.

When you were bigger I would come in your room while you were asleep, bend over and kiss you, and pray that God would take care of you where I failed as a Dad. Together, with His help, we can overcome this and anything else that life throws across our paths.

I am so thankful you are my daughter.

Love you always Sara,
Your Dad,
aka Father

Jan.13, 2004 It has been almost 3 years now and I am still thankful you are my daughter. We have been through a lot together and I am stronger because of it. My prayer for you Sara is that you continue to grow into the fine young lady you know you can be. You have a lot to offer the world and you can be a great help to others. Love ya Princess.

admin on October 29th, 2008

“I Did It My Way”

by Kristen Stevens

Women have been around since God pulled the rib from Adam’s body. For the last two thousand years women have been on an unequal footing with men. In England in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s, women were expected to know how to dance and how to stitch a sampler, but not much else. The five daughters in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin are so different from one another that each one embodies a specific trait, ideal or undesirable, possessed by the women of that time period. The role of women is shown entirely through women’s eyes. This novel satires the system of hierarchy of inheritance and value placed on women in nineteenth century England. All this is revealed through third person narrative.

The novel’s centerpiece is Elizabeth. She is the heroine. The heroines of that time are always grateful and admiring. Elizabeth challenges this role with every decision she makes. Conforming to all the strictures placed on her sex is just not in her character.

Elizabeth continued her walk alone, crossing field after field…,jumping over stiles and springing over puddles.” Elizabeth continues on by herself. After parting with her sisters, she walks three miles by herself. Females didn’t walk those distances by themselves. When she reaches Netherfield the residents cannot believe that she came alone. “That she should have walked three miles so early in the day, …, and by herself, was …incredible”. Not only did she walk alone, but she got quite dirty. She was tramping through fields and puddle jumping. Well-bred ladies did not “tramp” or wander about with no escort. Elizabeth challenges the expectations of society and her potential suitor with this excursion.

While she never sets foot outside the limits, she toes the line quite often. She is a spontaneous and free spirit. She conforms to the extent so she does not embarrass her family. It is evident in the way she plays the piano. Her sister plays with precision, but it is a mechanical performance with no real emotion. Elizabeth plays with feeling not so much focusing on the notes she hits. Study of music was supposed to show how accomplished a woman was. Elizabeth flouts the norm. social decorum is never breached. The limits are just tested.

Elizabeth is also a good judge of people and their intentions. She sees them for what they really are. People are open books for her, except when she becomes entangled in a personal relationship. She can see Mr. Bingley’s fondness for Jane. Jane says “I did not expect such a compliment”. Elizabeth reveals her insight into Bingley when she replies “Did not you? I did for you…Compliments always take you by surprise, but never me.”. One of the big jokes in the novel is the fact that Elizabeth does not realize that Darcy loves her. She sees the connection between her sister and Bingley, but cannot analyze her own life. She is blind when her “sight” is needed most. She thinks Darcy is too proud. She does not realize he spends time with her because he loves her.

Elizabeth‘s next test of the boundaries is that of refusing Mr. Collins. He proposes and she declines. It is odd because Collins is a well-to-do person. He is above her social circle and her refusing his proposal is unheard of. Women were encouraged to marry as high as possible. Elizabeth just wants to marry for love (i.e. Darcy). Throughout the whole novel the father supports his daughters. His favorite is Elizabeth and it is evident by him allowing her to be independent.

Jane is the oldest daughter. All the inheritance will go to her. Mothers pin all their hopes and dreams on the eldest. That one is supposed to marry well. Jane’s only claim to bending the rules is her desire to marry for love. She is twenty-three and still unmarried. She listens to her mother even when it means she will get sick. She hides her feelings too well. Darcy confesses to Elizabeth that he did not want his friend Bingley to be hurt. “I thought she was indifferent.” She covers her let down very well when Bingley did not propose as she thought he would.

Jane thinks well of everyone. She is unable to have unkind feelings toward anyone. She tries to be the perfect daughter.

Lydia is every parents’ nightmare. She is impetuous, rash, and undisciplined. The first time she leaves home she runs off with a man. Her one act of indiscretion jeopardizes her other sisters’ chances for a good marriage. People think if one daughter is like this, then the rest are just as likely to be as improper. Lydia is sixteen and only a child, so she thinks with a child’s understanding. “What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing.” Those two sentences from the letter she left when she ran off shows her total lack of understanding for what she is doing. She is getting married, not for love, not for boosting her social standing, but because she wants passion in her life. Passion by itself does not ensure a happy marriage. She is a child.

After her “love” is cajoled into marrying her, she returns to her home. She is not contrite about her behavior, but instead “demanded their congratulations”. She treads heavily on her family name. Lydia either cannot see or just doesn’t care how much her demanding hurts her sisters. After she has made her choice, she demands that everybody like and accept it. Most of all Jane must accept it. “She [Elizabeth]…joined…to…see Lydia, with anxious parade, walk up to her mother’s right hand, and…say ‘Ah! Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman.’” The word anxious explains it all. She takes her sister’s place through no merit of her own. The mother supports her by allowing it. She totally forgets she has three more daughters and focuses on this one. That would certainly make anyone feel loved. A person can’t learn what’s wrong (running off to get married then whining about status) if they don’t have consequences (not being allowed at home with rights and privileges of status).

The last two are periphery characters. One is studious and dull, the other is thinking of following on Lydia‘s footsteps. They are the undecided. Will they conform or not?

The great thing about this book is the reader sees their lives from above. I got very involved with Elizabeth. We share the same name and we both don’t like doing what society says just for the sake of being accepted. I got upset with a character (Darcy) and I felt angry when I thought he was a rat. Austen does a great job with making the reader become involved in the book.

admin on October 20th, 2008

It was spring time after a long hard winter in Idaho and my family and I went to Nebraska to visit my folks.  This was more than 20 years ago but in my memory is as if it were yesterday.  I remember this time because when we arrived the weather was warm and my dad was still wearing his long underwear.  He had not been taking very good care of himself and I offered to give him a bath.  The long underwear came off leaving patterns on his skin where the underwear had pressed against his skin for a long time.

While the rest of the family and visiting family were talking in the living room, Dad spent some time soaking and getting the winter’s accumulation off.  He was rather pink when all done.  I noticed that his toe nails had grown long and down under, it could not have been very comfortable.  After getting him dressed in clean cloths we went into the living room.  I prepared a wash basin of water to soak dad’s feet some more and  got out my trusty nail clippers.

At some point in the 30 – 45 minute process all the conversation going on around me disappeared in the background and I was left with the feeling of being at the feet of Jesus and washing His feet. It was one of those moments in life that defines something in your life that you haven’t noticed before.  Even now, I can sit and reflect on this moment, which happens many times throughout a year, and imagine Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.  It is difficult to describe in words the emotions of this brief time in my life.  It had a profound effect on how I looked at those around me.  The opportunities were there all along.  I just had to open my eyes and “see” what God placed before me.  We see what we want to see most of the time.   Some place along the line, life changed from being “about me” to being “about Him”.  It was so liberating and freeing in my spirit.

Did anyone in the room realize what I was experiencing?  No.  This was something that was between my Lord and I and for a long time I kept it to myself.  If I remember right, the day I relayed this moment to my wife, she had tears in her eyes.  Maybe you have experienced moments that could inspire someone to be open in their walk with God.  Tell them.  You will be glad you did.

admin on October 1st, 2008

May 18, 2001
Wayne M. Williams Sr. slipped the bonds of life and is now in the arms of Jesus.

For death is just a change of address.  We go to a place of freedom.  A place that is free of pain, free of sorrow, free of doubt, free of uncertainty.

Saturday night, Dad Williams moved from Denver Street in Turner, where he left behind the earthly possessions,  to Jesus street in Heaven where there was a room prepared and waiting. Jesus said that He would go and prepare a place for us that we may be there also.   To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, “Wayne has run the race, he has fought a good fight, and now he has crossed the finish line.

Wayne’s father, Harrison Williams, raised his family to know God.  His Father started school for the first time when he was 16 and had a total of 23 months of school.  He had a deep desire for knowledge that he passed along to his children.

He was a self educated man.  He studied Greek and Latin. He knew the Bible from cover to cover.  He preached the word of God in Texas to any and all and did so until the day he died.

He had God’s promise that his children would come to know the Lord.

Well, it took some time for Wayne to come back to his Godly heritage.  But come back … he did.

This poem I am about to read captures Wayne’s spiritual journey.  The love of God and the price Jesus paid on the cross captured his heart.

The theme of the music Wayne wrote and sang had to do with the Cross.   The title is “Arms of Love”

Arms of Love
(Love Divine)
I was lost in sin from doing my will,
My need was great, impossible to fill.
Then someone told me of Your love divine,
How You came to earth to save mankind.

I called Your name Lord, not knowing the cross.
Would You be there, for me – the lost?
Would I be worthy to call Your name?
The deeds I had done, had caused You shame.
You were there, oh Lord, waiting for me,
With arms open wide for all to see.
You lifted me up from my deep, dark sin,
And gave me peace, such peace, within.

I sought Your touch for the love I’d missed
From the times of doing, what I thought best.
I sought Your presence to receive Your love,
And found such joy, God’s gift from above.
Your love covered me, in all my need,
I saw the cross where You did bleed.
I felt Your love growing deep within.
Your touch cleansed me from where I’d been.

You cleansed my soul from inside to out
By Your love divine, I have no doubt.
Your love surrounds me, all my days,
As I walk with You, learn your ways.
In desperation I had reached for you,
Oh love divine, I found You so true.
So find Him now, oh dear one I pray,
Give Him your life, do it today.

He is waiting for you, with arms of Love,
The precious gift, from God above.
There is grace and mercy, waiting for you,
With love and forgiveness to see you through.
Lord, I call your name, now knowing the Cross
You are always there, for me – the lost.
You make me worthy to call Your name,
So the deeds I do, won’t cause You shame.
John Stevens 2-13-2000

Sometimes we can carry around a lot of baggage in life that is totally unnecessary.  We can harbor resentments of things long forgotten.   We can let the opportunities for knowing the Savior slip through our fingers like sand.

If we wait until we feel we are good enough to meet Jesus, to take Him as our Savior, we will not make it. We will be lost.   He wants us just as we are with all the warts of life, problems, fears and doubts that life can bring.  For you see, it is never too late to seek the face of Jesus and give Him our lives as we transition from this state of the flesh (which as I get older is not so great) to the state of the spirit. Even when life is mostly over we can place our life and trust in His hands and it will be secure.  Even when we know Jesus, when we feel we are not close to Him at times, we can have the assurance, that blessed assurance,  that He is always near, ever present, holding our hand, leading us to our destination. For without a doubt, according to Romans 8:38-39 “Jesus is our eternal security”. Nothing can separate us from Him.

I have known Wayne for over 35 years, nearly 34 years as his son-in-law. He has always been a man of high integrity and honesty.   He has been the best father in law a man could have. Anna already knows this.  She is the best mother-in-law a guy can have.   Over the years Wayne and I have talked for hours and days at a time about various subjects.  I have seen him grow in his walk with God.  Some may have thought he was a little unorthodox but his heart was right and his love of spiritual things was evident.

At Christmas times when my family would visit for a week… when everyone had gone to bed…. in the wee hours of the morning, he would be strumming his guitar and singing hymns.  I could hear him in the quiet of the night.  It was a comfort to me to know that the Lord was on his mind. That he sang of God’s Love.  That he knew of God’s love.

It has been a great privilege to know Wayne and listen to the stories he had to tell about WWII when he was an MP and many other stories throughout his life.  I never ceased to enjoy the stories… just as I enjoyed hearing the stories over and over from my father who got his new address in 1996.  My Father came to know Jesus in his late sixties.  He knew and rejected accepting the Lord as his Savior until one Sunday morning in church, he walked down and knelt at an alter and said, “it is time”.

My father and dad Williams saw each other only once many years ago at Christmas time.  It was fun to watch them talk and reminisce about the old times.  Now they both live on the same street – for there is only one street name there….  Jesus Street.

Dad Williams had a lot of questions about life.  About things in the Bible mostly, for he studied the word.  Many times he asked me questions year after year. I apparently did not get any smarter from year to year because we went over it again and again.   Now he can get the answers he always was trying to figure out.

He will be missed by his family and friends.  I believe his angel came and escorted him into God’s presence.  Home at last.  The angels are rejoicing in Heaven today because another one made it home.

(This was delivered at my father-in-law’s funeral. He was rough on the exterior but on the inside… kind, gentle, loving man.  I am a better man because of knowing him. )

admin on October 1st, 2008

April 17, 2008   (it has been 7 years since I stood here)

Anna Bell Williams

It is morning in Heaven for Anna and the angels rejoice.

I have known two great women in my life time.  The one who raised me and guided my life to become the person I am today and the one who allowed me to marry her daughter who helped me get over my backward ways.

There has not been a mother-in-law joke that ever fit my mother-in-law, Anna.  She has been a sweetheart to me for more than 40 years.  I particularly liked Anna’s attitude toward me; you see,  my wife said her mother thought I could walk on water.  Well, I most definitely can not accomplish that feat, of course, but I was not going to tell her that.   There were times I did good just to keep from drowning from time to time.

Anna has always been a caring, giving lady.  When she saw a need in someone’s life, she would give assistance in what ever form was needed.  When her neighbor and friend became terminally ill, she spent many hours, days and months taking care of her, making her last hours tolerable.  In the process Anna led her to a relationship with Jesus.  This is just one example of how she spent her life.

She became a surrogate mother to a young lady who was dying of cancer and was there for her when she died.

She was there for her sister, running errands and helping around the house, just doing what ever was necessary to lift her spirit.  There are numerous stories, I am sure, many of you have, as you remember her life and how she influenced your life in some way.  Success in life can be, and should be, measured by the difference you make in another’s life as you pass through this short time we have on this earth.  She was very successful in life.

One thing I noticed over the years, Anna was always on the go.  She only had one gear and that was “fast forward”. The only time she was “in park” was when she was asleep.   She loved to go to the coast.  Just mention going to the coast and she was out the door and ready to go.  Well, maybe not quite that extreme,  but close.

It was difficult for her the last few years to accept slowing down.  And even more difficult, accepting help instead of giving help.  The last time we sat at the kitchen table having a cup  of coffee, she talked about how hard it was to not be able to do the things she wanted to do.  We got a little misty together that time.

Over the years I have written a number of pieces which I gathered together and gave her a copy.  That morning she said there was one piece she read over and over when ever she was down in her spirit.  She said the words restored her spirit every time.  I never found out which piece that was but I was deeply touched and honored that she found the words a source of inspiration.

She has run the race and finished the course.  The long night is over and a new morning has dawned for her where no pain or sorrow will ever again touch her body and spirit.

To paraphrase a small piece I wrote about what my life has been and I hope will be: and I believe she experienced as well—goes like this
Here she stood as the evening of life drew near
She tried to follow the paths found dear
Paths of love and honor,  from examples she did see
From those before her, that she strove to be.

Here she stood, asking, “did I make the right choice?
Did I follow the loud or the still small voice?”
Now, she understands the power of love.
It’s the power given by our God above.

Here she stood to survey her life today.
She began and ended, on the edge of the day.
The choices she made, Jesus was always near
His Grace and Mercy has brought her here.

Now she kneels in His presence, the race is run
His grace sustained her, the journey is done.
He brought her through, the dusk, the night
To a brand new day, what a wonderful sight.
We rejoice with you Anna.  You are home now.  You are in his presence now.

Goodnight sweet lady.  See you in the morning.

admin on October 1st, 2008

The Boy, the Marine, the Man

©4-13-03 JL Stevens
The boy left home to become a Marine.
He trained with the best you’ve ever seen.
There were times early on he longed for home
But with the family of Marines he was not alone.

The boy, who left home became a man.
To protect the freedom of this great land.
He put his heart and soul to become the best.
To become a Marine, He was put to the test.

He went to Iraq to free the ‘people of tears’.
From the oppression suffered thirty some years.
He served with bravery in face of fire.
With fear in his heart, but with freedom’s desire.

The Marine, the man, comes home again.
To his family and friends who prayed for him.
He left a boy, just months ago.
He returned a man, a Marine, with freedom in tow.

Foot note:

This was written one Sunday morning as I was looking at a picture of a young Marine standing at the ship railing with his special rifle at ready. He was going over to Iraq for his first tour. He has since completed 2 tours in Iraq. His father is proud of him and so am I. He and his small group went through many firefights. All came back alive.

admin on July 10th, 2008

When Mom died in June of 1991 Dad was rather lost, like the rest of us. I started writing little letters in big print so he could read them. He would not talk on the phone so this was the only way to make contact. I found out later that he carried them around in his bib overall pocket and pulled them out from time to time. Occasionally they would get washed and when Sharon let me know I would run off another copy and mail it. It became a means for me to remember the past and help Dad at the same time. My kids loved to hear stories of when I was a kid so I would recycle the stories between the kids and Dad. Now as I read them it is a reminder of things that have become a little fuzzy over the years, also a reminder that I need to fill in the gaps of the stories and leave them for my kids before it is too late. So here it is, such as it is, if you are interested.

Letters to Dad

Nov. 14, 1991

Dear Dad,
Your grandkiddies, as you call them,
send you a big hug from Idaho. Sara is
five and in Kindergarten this year and
doing very well. Kristen is in the forth
grade and made the Honor Roll list the
first quarter of the year. We are very
proud of both of our girls.

Do you remember when toward late
afternoon you and I would get in the car
and “Drive around the block” as you
always said? We would go up to Cliff’s
and go east for a mile then down past
Cleo Mae house and on back home. I
remember you would stop at the junk
piles and I would find neat stuff, like
wheels from old toys, that I could make
into my toys. I think of those times often.
It was very enjoyable.

I will be writing to you in the BIG PRINT
so you can read it easier.

It is snowing lightly here today. Supposed
to be nasty weather for a while.

Bye for now.



Dec. 3, 1991

Dear Dad,

Just a note to say we love you. I miss very
much talking to Mom on the phone and
having you play Red Wing on your harmonica.

I remember quite often when I was very
young, 4 or 5, and we would go out to the
field to change the water or something.
The sand burrs would be so thick and you
would pick me up on your back. I would
put my feet into your back pockets and
away we would go.

These are the things childhood memories
are supposed to be made of. Kristen and
Sara love to hear the stories about when I
was a kid and what you and I did
together. I try with them to build the
memories that they can tell their kids.
Thanks Dad for a good childhood.

Bye for now.
Kristen and Sara send you a kiss and a

Your son, John


Jan. 12, 1992

Dear Dad,

We went to Oregon for Christmas and
had very good traveling weather. Do you
remember when you and Mom went with
us once to Oregon at Christmas and
there were apples still hanging on the
tree by the Williams house? We made
apple pie from the apples that you
picked. Turned out to be pretty good pie.
There weren’t any apple on the tree this
year. I thought of you picking the apples
and bringing them into the kitchen in
your hat if I remember right.

We have had some pretty good times
together. I was thinking the other day
about a picture that I took of you about
12 years ago. It captured you as I will
always remember you. If I can locate it in
all the stuff, I would like to get it blown
up and submit it to the art section at the
Twin Falls County Fair this year.

I hope this finds you feeling well. I love
you Dad. Kristen and Sara send you a
kiss and a hug.

Oh yes, I would like for you and Tracy to
sit down sometime and talk about when
you were a kid and record it on tape. I
would like to put your remembrances
down on paper.

Bye for now.

Your son, John


Feb. 11, 1992

Dear Dad,

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Spring is on the way and soon you will be
85. Just a spring chicken, right? I hope I
can get around as well as you do by the
time I am 85.

Thanks for the letter. I will keep it for a
very long time. It is the first letter I have
received from my Father in 48 years.

Talked to Ed the other day. He said he
talked to you on the phone and that you
were wearing your hearing aids and
glasses. Great! Mom would be proud of

Talked to a guy last week who is
president of the John Deer tractor group
here. He invited me to bring my “M”
John Deer to the County Fair and
participate in the tractor pull contest.
Might just do that.

Well the page is filling up using these big
letters but if it makes it easier to read it is
worth it.

Bye for now Dad, I love you. Pennye,
Kristen and Sara send their love too.

Your son, John
April 13, 1992


Though the years have past and you are now
85, you are still the same as when I was a
child. The memories of going with you to the
field, when you were “riding the ditch”,
surveying in a lateral, loading up the turkeys
in the old Ford truck and taking them to the
“Hoppers” – is just as if it were yesterday. I
think you playing Red Wing on the harp. I
remember when during the looong cold
winters we would play checkers. You would
always beat me. I learned to play a good game.

Not much has changed except we are both
much older now. The values you did not speak
but lived out in front of me has helped make
me what I am today. I pray that I will be a
good example before my children to help them
on their way through life.

On your 85th birthday, I want to wish you a
Happy Birthday and thank you for being my


April 13, 1992


June 10, 1992

Dear Dad,

I hope this finds you well. The Stevens
family in Twin Falls Idaho is having a
busy summer. Kristen just finished the
fourth grade and was on the Honor Roll
for the entire year. Sara will now be a
big First Grader next year.

The other day we went out to eat and
Kristen had chicken and noodles. She
said, “This tastes just like Grandma
Nellie’s noodles.” I hope they can keep
these memories fresh and remember all
the good times we had back in Nebraska.
It is difficult to accept that things have
changed and will never be the same again.
We miss the weekly phone calls to Nebraska.

It is clouding up and we might get rain
this week. It is very dry around here.
Some of the canals will be cut off in July.

Bye for now.

Your Son John

Love you Dad. I think of you often.


June 22, 1992

Dear Dad,

Hope you had a good “HAPPY PAPPY”
day. This note is to wish you a late

I was thinking the other day about the
times you would take me roller skating
out at the fair ground on Sunday
afternoons. I really enjoyed those times. I
remember how you could give a little hop
and skate backwards. For me staying on
my feet was a challenge.

Sara will be 6 years old June 29. Seems
like yesterday when she was born. Time
has a way of passing very quickly.

Love you lots Dad. The family sends their
love too.

Bye for now.


Aug. 11, 1992

Dear Dad,

Just a note to let you know that your
Idaho family love you. It was good to talk
to you for a minute or two the other day.
I miss the harmonica playing you would
do over the phone.

We are all well even though the place
was covered with smoke from all the
forest fires last week. It got a little hard
on the lungs at times but the smoke has
moved on now. Probably went over

Talked to brother Ed the other day. He
had just returned from from Nebraska.
Ed said you looked good for 85.

Bye for now.



Sept. 10, 1992

Dear Dad,

I am sending a copy of what Mom sent
me a few years ago of what she
remembered about growing up. I wish I
had more. How about sitting down with
Tracy and Sharon and telling them some
of the things you remember about
growing up? They can record it and I will
put it on paper. I would really like that.

We are ok here in Idaho. Summer had
disappeared and it is school time again.
Kristen is in the 5th grade and Sara is in
the 1st grade. The family went to the
County Fair today for the second time.
One day is enough for me.

I think of you often and love you Dad.
Thinking of the good times we had
together while I was growing up always
makes me happy. You and Mom raised
four pretty good kids.
God Bless you Dad. We love you from

Bye for now.



Oct. 11, 1992

Dear Dad,

We are fine out in Idaho. We are having
beautiful fall weather. It has not frozen
enough to get our tomato plants yet.

Kristen and Sara are doing very well in
school. They brought home their mid
term report cards and are getting A’s
and a B or two.

Remember when we would go out in the
corn field and pick the corn by hand? I
would drive the tractor and you and Ed
and Wayne picked the corn and threw it
in the trailer. You guys kept warm from
the work and I was freezing on the
tractor. Before that we used the horses
named Brownie and – was it Blackie?
The one that kept getting out up north by
the ditch was Brownie. He figured out
how to open the gate.

I remember the times that you were
hauling cane or sorghum from the field
east of Mercers and I would ride behind
the wagon on my sled.

I had a very good childhood really.
Thanks for being my Dad.

God Bless you Dad. We love you from

Bye for now.



Nov. 10, 1992

Dear Dad,

It is snowy here and cold. I have a hole in
the back of the house I must get sealed up
to keep the cold out. We are redoing this
part for the kitchen.

Kristen and Sara made the Honor Roll
this quarter in school. Kristen’s teacher
said he wished he had a whole room full
of Kristens to teach.

Sorry the phone connection was so bad
when I called the other day. It was good
to here you say “hello hello….” any way.
Glad you are feeling better.

Your account in the credit union is about
$34,000 now.

I was just thinking back when we were
cultivating corn with that “crazy wheel
cultivator”. The one that you drove the
tractor and I rode on the cultivator and
used the foot pedals to steer it down the
rows. I remember sometimes it cleaned
out some of the corn row. Cultivator
blight, right? It was kind of hard to keep
straight. Those were the days.

I keep remembering little bits of things
while growing up. Sometime I will put
them all together for my kids to read
about the “good ole days”.

God Bless you Dad. We love you from

Bye for now.


Dec. 17, 1992

Dear Dad,

The snow has fallen and the kids stayed
home from school today. The wind is now
blowing so it will begin drifting the road
shut. Besides that the whole family is sick
with a cold.

We are putting together a Christmas gift
to you but it won’t be ready for
Christmas. It is something that you can
watch over and over if you want. So
Merry Christmas for now.

Last night was the kids’ school Christmas
program. Kristen started playing the
flute this fall and played with a group for
the first time this week. She did very well
and I got it on video.

Time to get this in the mail. Love you
Bye for now.

Kristen and Sara send you a kiss and a
Your son, John


Jan. 11, 1993

Dear Dad,

We have a lot of snow on the ground
now. I was telling the family about the
winter of 49 where the snow covered the
door and you had to scoop the snow into
the house to dig a tunnel out then haul
the snow out through the tunnel. That
was a 15 foot drift wasn’t it? It sure
looked big to this 6 year old. Then the
plane flew over the house for a few days
until we could get out and signal an OK.
Those were the days! What I do not
remember is how you took care of the
cows and stuff during this time. I
remember being sick and Wayne took the
horse and rode into Broadwater to get
oranges and something else. The big
white dog we had went along and was hit
by a car. Wayne had to use a fence post
to finish him off. I remember feeling very
sad about the old dog.
We haven’t had this much snow in 8

I trust you are feeling well. Our prayers
are with you all.
Bye for now. Love you Dad
The family send a BIG Hi!!!!

Your son, John


Feb. 9, 1993

Dear Dad,

When the kids go to bed they say “Tell us
a story about when you were a kid on the
farm”. So I tell them things that I write
to you and a LOT that I don’t write to
you. The other day going to school we
were talking about one of the first snow
falls we had this year. I spun the van
around in circles in the parking lot and
they thought that was GREAT fun. Then
I told them about the time that their
Grandpa cut some circles in the Kelly
School yard and hit a pole with the back
fender. Do you remember that? I
remember Mom bringing it up every now
and then. Then there was the time you
got a little close to the guard posts along
the highway just west of Broadwater and
ripped the spare tire and bracket off the
old Jeep. Of course none of US ever did
anything like that. HA.

It is good to remember back and tell the
kids about the things we did “in the old
days”. They find it hard to believe there
was no TV and I walked through rattle
snake country to go to the neighbors to
play. It WAS a good time for me and I
had a GOOD Dad to help me grow up.
Thanks again Dad. You and Mom did a
very good job on us four kids. Sometimes
we don’t show it often enough but I for
one thank you and LOVE you.

Soon you will have another birthday.
Before you know it you will be 90. I
should be so lucky.

I trust you are feeling well. Our prayers
are with you all. Bye for now. Love you
The family send a BIG Hi!!!!

Your son, John


Mar. 9, 1993

Dear Dad,
Time has a way of disappearing so
rapidly. I was going to write you a note
two weeks ago and now here we are.

It looks like spring is just about to arrive.
I am ready for it. I’ll bet you are ready to
get out side and do something. Do you
miss not farming? I think often about the
farm and the things we used to do. The
kids always ask for stories about being on
the farm. I tell them about raising a
garden, rattlesnakes, floods, the BIG
ONE in 49, anything that comes to mind.

The family went to Sun Valley about 70
miles north of here Sat. with Kristen’s
Girl Scout troop for a day of ice skating.
Pennye used the VCR and played back
their falls and no falls. It reminded me of
the times you would get your old clamp-
on skates on a cut a figure on the ice. I
never was very good at it. You could hop
up and turn around. I couldn’t stay of
my back side and head. I still have a big
dent in the back of my head from the last
time I tried. Nearly killed me. So much
for that.

Next month you will have another
birthday. 86 years! Before you know it
you will be 90.

I paid your insurance for another year
I trust you are feeling well. Our prayers
are with you all. Bye for now. Love you Dad
The family send a BIG HUG !!!! The kids
still talk about Grandma chicken and
noodles and how much they enjoyed
eating them. So did I. I will miss that.

Your son, John


Mar. 25, 1993

Dear Dad,

We were having very nice weather for a
few days this week but now it is rainy
and cold again. This morning there was
an earthquake south of Portland, OR.
Pennye called her Mom in Salem and it
rattled their house a bit. Everyone was all

Crops will be going in pretty soon.
Remember that “crazy wheeled”
cultivator we used on corn? You drove
the tractor and I had to “drive” the
cultivator with the foot pedals. I
remember a few times when the thing
had a mind of it’s own and “cultivator
blight” set in. I was happy when we
didn’t use that thing any more.

I was telling the kids about the old cow
that pushed her way through the fences.
You were not there that day when I sent
my dog out to chase her back in. My dog
chased her around and around until she
finally crashed through the fence where
she went through. I had to take the fence
stretcher and stuff and repair a section
of fence. But it was worth it. She did not
get out anymore.

The kids want a “tell me something that
happened to you on the farm when you
were a kid, Dad” story every night. It is
getting hard to recall new material. I
guess I will have to start re-cycling the

It won’t be long now and you will have
another birthday. 68!

Our prayers are with you all. Bye for
now. Love you Dad. The family send a

Your son, John


_April 12, 1993

Dear Dad,

Well, you made another year – 68 now.

Your family in Twin Falls, Idaho wish
you another GOOD year.

Kristen and Sara made it on the Honor
Roll at school again. Sara started taking
piano lessons and is taking to it like a
duck to water. She will practice until she
has it perfect. She has a good ear for
timing and pitch. Kristen is playing
classical music now. I now know why you
and Mom always wanted me to play my
guitar when I was home. It is VERY nice
to sit and enjoy the music your kids
make. Probably the same reason I like
hearing you play the harmonica. Never
get tired of it. Like the stories you would
tell. I could hear them over and over and
still enjoy them. Ever now and then, you
would add something just a little bit
more. How I miss that.

Time is short this time so will say bye for
now. This was supposed to have been
mailed last Friday. Ran out of time.

Our prayers are with you all. Love you
Dad. The family send a BIG HUG!

Your son, John


April 23, 1993

Dear Dad,

_Hope you had a good Birthday – 86. Now
shoot for 87.

Found this guy in my computer. Sort of
reminded me of what you might think if
you got a tie for your birthday. “What
do I do with this?”

All is well on the Western Frontier
(Idaho). I will be going to some training
in California the first week in June. The
family gets to go along. We will stop over
and visit brother Ed going or coming

It has been raining here. Farmers are
having fun getting the crops planted.
Peas and beets should have been in

Do you remember using the old walking
plow to plow the garden spot east of the
house? That was kind of fun running
that thing. I liked to run the old slip too.
Those days are gone and only exist in
memories. I was telling Kristen last night
about raising sheep while in high school.
Taking care of the lambs and bottle
feeding some of them. The kids enjoy
listening to the stories. Puts them right to
sleep. Ha.

Bye for now. Our prayers are with you
all. Love you Dad. The family send a BIG

Your son, John


May 10, 1993

Dear Dad,

Just a note to let you know we are all ok.
Time creeped up on me this time and do
not have much time to write.

Looking at the weather maps, looks like
you all had some bad weather in
Nebraska. We have had a fair amount of
rain last week but this week looks to be
sunny. Farmers are busy out in the fields
while it is dry.

We had two mothers in church last
Sunday that were both 93. If you are not
careful you might catch up with them.

Bye for now. Our prayers are with you
all. Love you Dad. The family send a BIG

Your son, John


June 11, 1993

Dear Dad,

My how time flies. It is June already and
I am three months behind. I was sent to
San Jose, CA last week for training on
computers. The family and Pennye’s
Mom went with me. They had fun while I
worked. We went back up the coast on I5
to Salem and left the family there for two
weeks. On the 19th I will go retrieve

Talked to Brother ED two weeks ago. Did
not get to see him on our way through
Reno as they were out of town. Maybe
next time.

The hay is down around here and has
been rained on many times. Will not be
worth much. I just remembered how we
mowed the hay with the old horse
mower. I would ride the back seat and
raise the bar on the corners. I remember
my bottom being itchy from all the
vibration of the mower. We raked the
stuff with a buck rake or side delivery
rake. The GOOD OLD DAYS. Do not
recall our hay getting rained on much. I
do remember trapping gophers in the
alfalfa. The water would disappear down
those hole for ever.

Hope this find you feeling well. Now that
summer is here and you have good
walking weather, it nice to be out side.

Bye for now. Our prayers are with you
all. Love you Dad. The family send a BIG

Oh yes. Two weeks ago I was in the VW
garage when the foreman had a heart
attack. I was elected to do CPR on him
until the emergency team arrived. They
say I and the other guy helping saved his
life. Isn’t that something? I never
thought I would use the training in CPR.
One never knows.

Your son, John


July 12, 1993

Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day a little late. I don’t
know how time gets by me so fast. I
haven’t been feeling so good for 6 weeks.
Always tired. I think I am picking back
up now.

Well, I just hit the 50 year mark. I called
it the half century mark, the kids think
WOW! Started wearing bifocal glasses so
I have finally arrived – don’t know where

The wagon train is coming through here
tracing the Oregon Trail. Today they will
be at the Stricker Ranch south of here a
few miles. Same trail that Meeker took
some time back.

Sara turned 7 years June 29. Now a big
second grader. Kristen will be 12 on
Sept. 3. Kristen went to church camp
early this morning for a week. Before we
know it, they will be grown and gone. I
know how you and Mom must have felt
every time the kids would be home and
half to leave again.

I miss Mom a lot and always will. You
and Mom did a pretty good job of raising
4 kids. Times were pretty hard some
times but we always managed some how.
Thanks again for all you have given to us

Bye for now.

The Family sends their love. Love you

Your son, John


Aug 11, 1993

Dear Dad,

Can’t believe how the time is flying. It
seems like a week ago that I sent the last
letter. I am working hard on the kitchen
getting the cabinets put in. They have
been setting around for over a year,
waiting. Finally getting some energy back
to do the work.

I remember when I was in my teens that
you could out work me any day.
Remember when we would stack hay
with Amateis Farmhand? You on the
stack and me on the tractor. We made
quite a good team. I could get the bales
on the Farmhand such that you had very
few bales to move. Our hay was loose if I
remember right and Ameteis’ was baled.
I enjoyed doing the work and looked
forward to it.

Talked to Brother Ed the other day and
he said you need some checks.

Are you out running foot races these
days? I trust this finds you feeling well.

Bye for now.

The Family sends their love. Kristen will
be going to Girl Scout camp next week.
She is now as tall a her mother.

Love you Dad.

Your son, John


Sept. 14, 1993

Dear Dad,

Summer is almost gone. I am NOT ready
for winter again. Did not have time to
enjoy summer yet. Here, we really didn’t
have much summer. It started out cool
and rainy and stayed that way until late
July. The beans really look sad. Some
fields didn’t even close the rows.

I put in for a job in Seattle, WA a while
back. They called and interviewed me
Sept. 7. I think all went very well. I
should know some time this week or first
part of next week. Kind of makes me
nervous. Haven’t done anything like this
for 26 years. That is how long we have
been in Idaho. Pennye’s Mother will be
happy since it would be a three hour
drive away instead of 10 or 11 hours. The
job is 2 blocks away from the University
of Washington so maybe I could take
some courses in computer over the next 5

Went to the County Fair last week. They
had a bunch of old engines set up and
running. Some were belted to grinders
and other things. Reminded me of the
time when I was rather small and you
had a field of “something” south of the
house. A BIG tractor was running a
thrasher and a bunch of men were
pitching shocks into it. I remember those
BIG stacks of straw. The machines had
just come from Joe’s place. Mom fixed
lots of fried chicken, mashed potatoes
and gravy. Mom had some barrels or
something with boards across them so
the men could sit down and eat. I can
taste that fried chicken NOW. It was

Sure miss Mom’s fried chicken. In the
early years when Pennye and I would
come for a visit, Mom always had some
chicken in the freezer to fry. I miss those
big noodles and chicken that Mom
always make too. Can’t seem to find any
noodles that tasted that good any where

_The Family sends their love. The Kids
are in school – Kristen in the 6th
_grade and Sara in the 2nd grade.

Bye for now.
Love you Dad.

Your son, John

Soon you will be out raking all those
leaves that fall off the trees.


Oct. 8, 1993

Dear Dad,

Well, I did not get the job in Seattle. I
was well qualified but they had someone
there in mind already. Family is a little
disappointed, maybe next time.

I am sending Kristen’s and Sara’s school
pictures. They have grown up a lot in the
last two years. Kristen is taller than
Pennye now and only twelve. She is
taking ballet dance and really likes it.
The other night the kids had to have a
“Tell me a story when you were a kid on
the farm” story. I thought of the time
when you bought shocks of cane or
something in a field way over east. We
had to go in the pasture north of the
ditch and over to the fence half mile east
and then to the field. You had an old
two wheel trailer and I would tie my little
red wagon on the back and ride there.
When the wagon was loaded I sometime
rode on top of the load on the way back
home. Funny how you remember things
like this that you haven’t thought of in
years. I had a great time growing up.
Things were sometimes hard but never
bad. I remember the time, I thing it was
49, that you got your finger in the fan
belt of the car. And the times it was sooo
cold you would put corn cobs in a scoop
shovel, light them on fire and put them
under the car or tractor to warm up the
oil so the engine would turn over. And of
course the times the engine caught on
fire. Some times the only thing that would
start was the old Jeep. Great fun.

Have to get back to work. The Family
sends their love. Bye for now. Love you

Your son, John


Oct. 12, 1993

Dear Dad,

Not much has happened since the 8th.
Had to take Kristen in to the doctor and
get some medicine. She is getting over
chest congestion but still can not go out

I was thinking the other day about the
time we had just left the house and was
driving down to the hill south. Brother
Ed was coming up the road and our car
had NO BRAKES. We coasted pass him
a couple hundred yards. Ed backed up
and said something about “dropping a
rock to” slow us down and cutting a hole
in the floor so you could drag your feet to
slow down. I can’t believe we escaped
running into thing while the car had no

I remember the time Ed was teaching
Mom to drive. One of the many attempts
to teach Mom to drive. She came around
the corner at the hill south of the farm
and the Raleigh Man was coming around
the corner too. Some one ended up off
the road climbing the hill. A few days
later the Raleigh Man died of a heart
attack. We always kidded Mom that she
must have scared him to death. She
would always say, “Oh you!” I told that
to my kids some time back. They thought
it was funny.

It is hard to believe winter is just around
the corner. I did not get to enjoy summer
yet. It was cold most of the time this
summer. Did take the kids fishing
though. Sara had her pole laying on the
dock. Suddenly it took off over toward
the edge of the dock. I jumped up
grabbed it as it was sinking about a foot
under the water. What ever it was, it
broke the line. We had already lost one
pole in that area the year before.

The Family sends their love as always.
Bye for now. Love you Dad.

Your son, John


Oct 12, 1993

Dear Sharon And Tracy

All is well on the Western Frontier. How is the Eastern Frontier
getting along? Have to start gearing up for a long, hard winter.
Winters are depressing to me sometimes. Sort of get cabin fever.
Always happy to see spring coming around the corner.

Tracy, when you compliment a women, it is better to say “You look
like the breath of Spring” than “You look like the end of a long, hard
winter”. The last one leaves something to be desired. Haven’t figured
what yet, but time will tell.

Hunting season is upon us out here. A guy ask me the other day if I
hunt. I told him, “No I shop. Just go down to the store and buy what I
want. That way I don’t have to hang the leftovers on the wall.” He
looked at me kind of funny and chuckled on the way out the door. I
get to use that line several times a year.

Bye for now,



Nov. 10, 1993

Dear Dad,

Are you all fattened up for the winter?
Sort of like the bears, put it on then take
a good long nap.

It is supposed to snow this weekend. We
are scheduled to go to Utah this weekend
with the kids for a quiz meet on Genesis.
May have to cancel it and stay home. I do
not want to run the risk of having an
accident. Would not want a meet on the
beginning to be the end of us.

Was telling the kids at bed time about
the coon we had when I was a kid. First
time they both fell asleep before I
finished. The next night Kristen fell
asleep and Sara stayed awake to the end.
The third night they both stayed awake
to the finish. Now that I am practiced in
telling that story, I will write it down for
the future.

Reminds me. You used to tell me stories
about stuff sometimes over and over, but I
never got tired of hearing them. Every
now and then something new would be
introduced. Sort of like my kids. They
want to here the same stuff over and over.

The 80 Buick is out of working order
now. This summer I went to Oregon and
brought back Pennye’s little sister’s old
69 Volkswagen that she got when she
graduated form high school. Well, I
worked it over on a Sunday afternoon
and I am now driving it to work. The
kids ride to school in it and think they
are “riding in style” since no one else has
one. It will be Kristen’s to drive when she
is ready.

Time is running out. Must get this in the
mail because tomorrow is a holiday.

The Family sends their love as always.
Bye for now. Love you Dad.

Your son, John


Nov. 26, 1993

Dear Dad,

It is COLD here the day after Turkey
Day. It was -4 this morning. I know that
is warm compared to Nebraska weather,
but I can’t take the cold like I use to.

The four of us had a turkey dinner and
became uncomfortable from eating too
much. Then we played some games the
kids liked. Kristen wanted to take me on
playing checkers. I told her about when I
was a boy and the long winters with NO
TV. I said, “Don’t expect to win playing
checkers cause I will not let you win. You
have to earn it. When my Dad taught me
to play checkers, he won almost all the
time for years. But as I gained
experience, I started winning more often.
Soon I was winning most of the time
after a number of years.” Remember
our checker playing days? You played a
good game and taught me to think, which
was a valuable tool even today. Then I
remember Brother Ed coming home
from Korea where he was checker
champ. He just had to play me a game.
He won the first game and I took the
next two games. Then he said, “Let’s
make it three out of five”. I won those
too. End of checker game. So you had
taught me well. Thanks Dad.

I have all the letters I have written to you
in my computer. Some day I will take all
the “remember when” things and write
down more for each one so my kids will
know what I and their Grandpa did
together. They love to here stories about
“the old days”. Come to think of it, so
do I.

The Family sends their love. Bye for now.
Love you Dad.

Your son, John


Dec 10, 1993

Well it is about Christmas time again. Also time to be sick or get
sick, which is sort of a circular thing is seems. We are in varying
stages of wellness or sickness – depends on how you look at it. Idaho
is getting hit pretty hard right now. I haven’t felt too well this week so
this is going to be short.

We had our annual employees Christmas dinner today at noon. Some
very good grits were served. Pennye came out and chewed on a piece
of turkey with me. Problem with this is trying to stay awake in the
afternoon with the sun coming in the window where my chair is
located. Had to get up and go see if any leftovers were available for
the munching. Found a piece of cake that was still in the conference
room. I must remember to take the pan home this evening.

Hope this find you all feeling OK. Have a very Merry Christmas with
the extra green.

Me and mine wish you Happy Holidays.

Love you,

John & Pennye
and Kristen and Sara

Almost forgot. We have a 69 VW bug now that came from Pennye’s
little sister. It was her graduation present 8 or 9 years ago. The kids
think this is the greatest thing going. I will fix it up and give it a new
paint job in the next few years. Kristen can hardly wait to drive it. I
let them steer when we are going to school. BIG stuff.


Jan. 4 10, 1994

Dear Dad,

I trust you had a good holiday at
Christmas. The weather was very nice
when we traveled to Oregon at
Christmas. I took the opportunity to just
do nothing and read a couple of books.
Time seems to slip by fast any more.

We will be coming back this spring or
summer. Probably about the same time
that brother Ed will be coming back.

I started this letter on the 4th. So shall
hurry and take it to the Post Office.

The Family sends their love. The kids are
working hard in school. Bye for now.
Love you Dad.

John & Pennye
Kristen & Sara


Feb. 11, 1994

Dear Dad,

We finally had a snow storm that put the breaks on in
Idaho. All the schools are closed and the kids are
happy. The Lab is closed but I made it to work anyway.
There are cars and trucks off the road everywhere.
Great fun!!! I am supposed to go to Portland Oregon
next week but I think I might just stay home. I do not
like driving on bad roads any more. This is the first
snow storm we have had this winter and probably the

I remember the winter of ’49 where the snow was 12 to
15 feet deep in front of the house. You brought the
scoop shovels in the house before hand and when the
snow and wind stopped, I remember you opened the
door and scooped the snow into the house until there
was a tunnel to the outside, then hauled all the snow out
through the tunnel. The airplanes flew over the place
ever so often until we emerged to signal that we were
ok. Don’t remember how the cattle faired during this
time. Were they in the barn or what?

I do remember that a passenger train was stranded east
of Alliance for most of a week. I remember Wayne
going on horse back to Broadwater to get something
because I was sick. The big white dog we had was hit
by a car and Wayne had to take a fence post and put
him out of his misery.

You remember in 50 or 51 when you went to a John
Deer Show at Broadwater and you won the drawing?
A model John Deer “A” tractor. I still have that
tractor. A little thin on the rubber tires but still ok. I
was a happy kid when you gave it to me.

Well better get this in the mail. The family sends their
love. Love you Dad. Soon spring will be here and time
to walk about. We will be coming back to Nebraska
this summer.

Bye for now,



Mar. 11, 1994

Dear Dad,

Since the last time, we drove the van to Portland. I stayed
with the kids in the hotel and Pennye stayed with her
brother and mother at her brother’s place. By Friday I was
not feeling very well. It seems that when I eat something
high in sugar it affects me in strange ways. Had a bunch of
tests done. Found out that my heart is ok but I am
hypoglycimic, can not handle sugar any more. Isn’t that
great? Better that the heart problems first expected. It has
been really hectic around here the last few weeks.

I will need the Nebraska Tax forms to get your taxes
figured for last year. Must get to moving on ours and yours
very soon.

The weather has been nice here for the most part.
Yesterday it rained a little and it looks like a little more
today. But winter is almost over. I really enjoy spring and
seeing things beginning to grow. I think back to the time
you would be plowing the field or planting corn with the
lister. The smell of the fresh turned ground and kangaroo
rats running around. My dog would run him self ragged
catching them. Those are good days to remember. If it got
a little hot we would go take a nap in the tree row. I had a
special tree that I could climb almost to the top.

The family sends their love. Kristen took Honorable
Mention at Portland playing the piano. There were 360
participant in music. Eight got a blue ribbon and eight
received Superior and the piano group. She also received
a Superior Rating in piano and Very Good in her science
project in Nampa, ID last week. Sara and her little friend
got a Superior Rating in their dance routine in Nampa also.

Love you Dad.

Bye for now,



Apr.. 11, 1994

Dear Dad,

Tax time is upon us and I must work hard this week. The
process should only take five or six hours.

Now that you are eight seven (87) years old, do you have
any words of wisdom? Like the old gent that said, “If I
had known I was going to live so long I would have taken
better care of myself.” It is hard to believe that I am
almost 51. It seems like yesterday when I left home to go
to college. Remember when there were breaks and I
would come home and work on the tractors and stuff so
you could get the planting done before I finished the
school year? I enjoyed working the farm.

It has been cold and rainy here most of last week. But
not as bad as Nebraska from what I see on TV. I am
ready for some warm.

Kristen played the piano for the first time in church
yesterday. She did very well. Kristen and Sara will sing
a song next Sunday in church. Kristen has been
practicing “Red River Valley” to record on tape for you.
Maybe we should just put every thing together on tape
and send it.

Have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Hope you have a big cake
and icecream. Eat one for me.

The family sends their love. Love you Dad.

Bye for now,



June 10, 1994

Dear Dad,

I hope this finds you feeling better. It is no fun to be in a
hospital. You work on getting better – you hear?

Pennye left for Oregon the 7th. Her Mother had a
double heart bypass on Wed. and seems to be doing OK.
Pennye stayed the night last night at the hospital with
her mother. She will be gone probably all next week also.
The kids and I are keeping up the home front. It gets a
little hectic at times but we are doing OK.

Pennye will be having surgery July 7. That will take two
or three weeks to recover I suppose. We are having a fun

I think occasionally about the time when I was seven.
Mom fell and was in the Dalton hospital for a while. I
remember going up to the second floor and East facing
room and sitting on the bed for a while. It was a
lonesome time for me until Mom got home. Some things
you never get over. Missing talking to people. I still want
to call Mom on the phone now and then. We will all
meet again some day in Heaven. I am praying for you
Dad that all is well with you.

Got to go pick up the kids. Kristen got invited to go
swimming this afternoon. I have a wedding rehearsal to
run the sound for tonight and tomorrow.

The family sends their love. Love you Dad.
Bye for now,



July 21, 1994

Dear Dad,

Pennye got back from Oregon where her mother had
heart bypass surgery. Her Mother is doing fairly well but
not up to speed yet.

Pennye had surgery on the 6th of July. I have been busy
taking care of the kids and her. This week returned to
work full time with a lot of stuff stacked up waiting for
me. I had a bug or something most of the week. Did not
feel well for a few days.

I was just thinking of the times we would go to the
diversion where the water went into Browns Creek. How
you would drive posts and build things to divert water
into the ditch. How the big CAT would push up a dam
across the river. I had a lot of fun going with you. I
remember when a storm would come up and you would
rush up to the spillway and remove some boards so the
ditch would not over flow and break. You did a very
good job riding ditch. I remember when I was very
young and you were called a ditch rider. I envisioned
that some how you made the car straddle the ditch to ride
it. Then the first time I went with you all you did was
ride along side of the ditch. I thought that
was very strange.

I enjoy remembering the old times. They were good
times for this kid. Thanks again for being my Dad.

I am sorry about you having to be in Heritage of
Bridgeport. I wish I could be there for you. I think of
you often and pray that you can be happy there.

The family sends their love. Sara and Kristen played
their last ball games this week. They had a good time.

Love you Dad.
Bye for now,


Aug. 5, 1994
Dear Dad,

Pennye finally got ALL the stitches out yesterday. She
still is leaking some at the seams but coming along OK.

The kids start school in three weeks. Where has summer

Aug. 8
Got side tracked some place. Called and talked to Tracey
Saturday. He said you are not happy at Heritage. Also
talked to one of the staff there. She said you may need to
have an operation if the infection does not go away. I
wish I could be there to help you through this time. How
about moving to Idaho?

Brother Ed will be back in Nebraska the end of this

I was just thinking about the times we would get into the
car and “ride around the block”. Always something
interesting to see. It would be nice to go for rides again
and enjoy the cool of the evening and see the rabbits and
birds and all the livestock along the way. When times get
a little hard to take I think back on all the good times a
had growing up. Some how it tends to put things back in

Must get this sent today. I hope you are in better spirits.
The family sends their love.

Love you Dad.

Bye for now and we are praying for you.


Oct. 5, 1994

Dear Dad,

Time has flown by. Kristen is much
taller than her Mother now. She will be
looking me in the eye before long. She is
a big 13 years old now. We have a
teenager in the house. The other day we
took the 69 VW Beetle to a parking lot
and she jumped into the driver seat. She
did very well driving around and
shifting. She will be a good driver when
she is 16.

I remember driving the tractors when I
was about 11 years old. You and Ed and
Wayne would pick corn into baskets by
hand and throw it into the wagon behind
the tractor. It was so cold that I just
about froze. You guys kept warm
working but I got very cold.

Bye for now.