Wednesday, September 15, 2021



“Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.” -Mary H. Waldrip  


I’ve enjoyed an abundance of grandparenting blessings lately.

Our granddaughter Sophie called while we were dealing with Covid to check on us and to wish us a prompt recovery.  She’s out on her own now, quite grownup, so this was self-initiated, not something her mother prompted her to do.  She simply wanted to express her love and concern for us.  It was a treat to hear from her and learn about her current and future plans.  Her brothers Henry and Eli are likewise thoughtful about our needs and concerns.

Our grandson Walker came to visit us a week ago Sunday.  He’s completing an intensive program for learning Italian in preparation for going to Rome as a missionary for our church.  He spoke in church recently and displayed a very mature understanding of the purpose of life and an appreciation for this grand opportunity he has to make a difference in the world.  It is so marvelous when grandchildren grow up and we see they have their heads on straight, given all the craziness in the world today.


This past weekend I visited my four grandchildren who live in Logan, Utah, primarily to attend Matthew’s baptism.  Afterwards, he stood and expressed in his own words his sweet feelings in taking this important step in his life.  I also was able to spend delightful time with his three sisters, Daisy, Penny, and Ella.  It was wonderful to see that all four are growing up to be helpful, caring human beings and beautiful people, both inside and out.

At the moment, no one knows where our grandchildren's individual journeys may take them.  I think their parents are doing a great job helping them use their agency wisely, but the jury is still out.  Even if some make choices that make us scratch our heads, we nevertheless love them and rejoice in our relationships with each one.  They are ours and we're happy that they will be in our lives forever.

As any grandparent knows, the best part of our role is that you can enjoy the fun and happiness of a close relationship with little accountability for how they’re behaving.  With our children, we had to be constantly vigilant to make sure we were bringing them up right.  Not so with the next generation — no micromanagement duties there.  We can actually be pals with them. We can play with them and spoil them. “Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends.” Allan Frome

Someone famously quipped that if they knew how great it was to have grandchildren compared to the labor of raising children, they would have had grandchildren first.  I suspect, however, that it is not the ORDER in which they come, but OUR AGE when they arrive in our lives.  By the time we reach grandparent age, we’ve mellowed and we’ve learned what really matters in life.  We’ve learned to stop sweating the small stuff.  Youngsters are not fundamentally different whether they’re our children or our grandchildren; WE are different.

Yes, there’s something magical about the time we spend with grandchildren.  And there’s also something magical about recognizing who we’ve become by the time we become grandparents. Being with grandchildren allows us to discover how much WE’VE grown since we raised their parents. When we see ourselves reflected in our grandchildren’s eyes, we like who we’ve become. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021



If the Covid-19 virus were a person, he would be a shrewd and deadly enemy.  Beyond his capacity to be spread by people who have no idea they are infectious, and his ability to surreptitiously infect and then maim or kill whoever catches it, one of his most cunning and successful tactics was to explode upon the scene smack in the middle of one of the most contentious and divisive election years ever. 

The result of this uncanny timing was that EVERYTHING that ANYBODY said or did to try to address this horrible plague was doubted, ridiculed, scorned, derided, belittled, questioned, resisted, ignored, bemocked, etc., by someone on either side of the political divide.  The fight OVER the response to the Covid seemed to far overshadow the fight WITH the Covid.  Who knows how we as a country might have fared if we had been working together on this problem?

Thus, when I state that I’m grateful for the vaccine, I fully expect full-throated boos or cheers from whichever side of this contentious issue you might find yourself.  But please hear me out before you either throw me on your shoulders and carry me about the arena (on the one hand) or shove me down and trample me under your feet (on the other hand).  I merely want to share my personal experience.

Let me say right up front that I do not think anyone should be compelled to take the vaccine if they do not wish to.  But I hope more people will choose to do so.  For me, I believe it saved my life.

Marcie’s mother had died of Covid in April 2020 while she was in a nursing home, so we knew of the disease’s sudden and deadly impact.  Because of her death, my wife and I were fully primed to receive the vaccine when it became available.

We were aware that the vaccine might only work about 9 times out of 10, meaning we were protected but not impervious.  We recognized that, due to the speed of the vaccine’s development, there was some risk of a flaw in its structure.  And as the virus mutated and morphed over time, we understood that the vaccine would need to be boosted and tweaked, just as with the flu shot each season. 

Notwithstanding these risks, we signed up for the vaccine as soon as it was available.  I consider the timely arrival of the vaccine to be truly miraculous.  The primary reason was that I have a high-risk precondition, a long-standing lung condition that made any significant threat to my lungs and respiratory system very dangerous for me. 

To explain, about 20 years ago I was mis-diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and treated with a heavy immunosuppressant called methotrexate.  That winter, due to a suppressed immune system, a simple case of bronchitis mushroomed into double pneumonia, double pleurisy, double pleural effusions, and ultimately double open-chest lung surgeries called thoracotomies (the surgeon cuts through the ribs, not the breast bone like an open chest heart surgery).  Those operations were necessary to deal with my twisted, fluid-filled lungs so they could return to their normal position.  Unfortunately, as a result of the scraping, scarring, and healing, my lungs and my pleura ended up being permanently fused together.  (I once heard the medical term for this condition, but I lost it.  If you know it, please tell me again.)  That condition reduces my lung capacity, leaves me short of breath, and makes it so I cannot run or function at high altitude.

Consequently, when the vaccine became available, I was an early adopter. Being vaccinated gave us far more confidence in returning to normal life. After a few months, to be honest, we got a bit casual about the whole Covid thing.  Like many, we were mostly blind to the arrival of the Delta variant.  That was a game-changer, greatly increasing the risk for everyone of catching Covid, including those who are vaccinated. 

Our cavalier attitude was a bad mistake.  About three weeks ago, Marcie and I both caught Covid, probably from a church meeting.  It’s been a difficult ordeal, but fortunately — and we attribute this to our vaccinations — we each had relatively mild cases.  We escaped the critical lung involvement and did not have to go to the hospital.  We isolated at home and cared for each other. The infections did not affect our breathing.   That’s a big deal for me, because if the Covid had gone to my lungs, I believe it could have caused irreparable damage.  We were prescribed steroids, cough suppressants, antibiotics for residual infections, and a handful of other meds, and we made it to the other side in one piece.  Marcie especially had some difficult symptoms, but we were always grateful we could breathe.

I’m no doctor, but my understanding is that usually the Covid virus initially attacks the head and throat areas, because the vaccine creates less residual immunity there.  In an unvaccinated person, the virus then heads for the lungs and respiratory system.  However, when a person is vaccinated, the virus does not get to the chest and the rest of the body because that’s where the vaccine has built up greater immunity.  That explanation seems to fit what we experienced.

I’m happy to report that we have now both tested negative, are feeling much better, and seem to have only a few lingering symptoms, except a tendency to enjoy long naps (although that may be a side-effect of my age and not the Covid).  We’re so thankful for family and friends who have prayed for us and who have monitored our well-being during this time.  We feel very blessed for our recovery, and we’re especially grateful we chose to get the vaccination.  If you’re still on the fence on this issue, I urge you go get vaccinated.  It may just save your life.