Monthly Archives: July 2013

It’s gotta be the shoes….

“My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they’re going, where they’ve been. I’ve worn lots of shoes, I bet if I think about it real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes.” ~ Forest Gump

I feel a bit like Forest Gump some days.  I have no earthly idea why but I have had shoes on my mind.  There were tennis shoes and those tremendously uncomfortable sunday shoes that your parents always made you wear.  There were Bass weejuns or penny loafers as we called them… and Sperry Top Siders (the dark brown ones with the white soles, not the multitude of colors and styles they have today).There wasn’t a lot of variation in the clothes I wore as a kid.  Blue jeans and tee shirts made up almost my entire wardrobe.  What seemed to really change though over the years were the shoes that you would wear with them.

There were always the knock offs that some of us wore but when I was young the really cool elementary set wore Keds.  You remember the ones with the little blue and red tab on the outside edge up close to the toe.  But as we got a little bit older we had to move on to something slightly more sophisticated… we would wear PF Flyers… the black ones, of course.. the shoe that made you run faster and jump higher.  Or that’s what the ad said anyway.  And you knew that when you got home from the store you just had to check that out.  And there was never any doubt in your mind… you could tell you were faster than your friends.. and you could in fact jump higher.. maybe even a foot or two more.  They had a thin red line that followed the white rubber edge all the way around to the toe.  Next came the king of all tennis shoes… the epitome of coolness… the shoe that everyone had to have… Chuck Taylor Converse.  As the years went by they started making them in suede in red, blue and green.  The original ones they made had such lousy dye in them that they faded onto everyone’s socks.  But even as tennis shoes began to change, there has never been a tennis shoe made that could compete with the original Chuck Taylor shoe for popularity and coolness.

It sounds like all I wore was tennis shoes and that is pretty much right… with a one exception that comes to mind.  In high school, Clark Wallabees with their comfy crepe souls were the shoe of choice.  Those shoes weighed a ton but were the only shoe I would ever wear except for tennis shoes.  Loved them so much I have a pair in my closet today.

Sitting next to those Wallabees is the oldest pair of footwear that I own.  It is a pair of work boots.  We called them brogans back in the day.  I bought this pair of boots the summer I graduated from high school.  I don’t wear them that much any more but I just can’t get rid of them.  They have traveled thousands of miles with me… slogging through swamps… doing work in the yard… cutting and splitting enough wood to provide winter fuel for a thousand years,  The toe of one of them is a little charred.. having spend a few minutes a little too close to a camp fire trying to dry off one evening.  Funny how something as simple as an ugly old pair of boots, tucked away in a back corner of a closet can take you back over years.  I think I need to take them out and put them on just to feel it all again.


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When you receive this…

I have to confess… I didn’t write this.. but it has affected me.. and I hope… and pray that it will add to your life too!

Just another contribution to my journey towards living life on the narrows..


Kelly Adkins

I envy Kevin.   My brother,  Kevin,  thinks God lives under his bed.    At least  that’s what I heard him say one night.    He was  praying out loud in his dark bedroom,  and I stopped to listen.

‘Are you there, God? ‘  he said. ‘Where are you?   Oh,   I see. Under  the bed…’ I  giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room Kevin’s unique  perspectives are often a source of amusement.  But that night  something else lingered long after the humor.

I realized for the  first time the very different world Kevin lives in.   He was  born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties  during labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6-foot-2), there are few  ways in which he is an adult.   He  reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old,  and he always will.

He will probably always believe that God lives  under his bed, that Santa Claus is  the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in  the sky because angels carry them.

I  remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever  dissatisfied with his monotonous life?    Up  before dawn each day,  off to work at a workshop for the disabled,  home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite  macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.    The  only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers  excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn  child.  He  does not seem dissatisfied.

He  lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.  He  wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove  before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our  dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores.

And  Saturdays – oh, the bliss of Saturdays!  That’s the day my Dad  takes Kevin to the airport  to have a soft drink,  watch the planes  land,  and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger  inside.

‘That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go! ‘ Kevin shouts as he  claps his hands.  His  anticipation is so great  he can hardly sleep on Friday  nights.

And so  goes his world of daily rituals  and weekend field  trips.  He  doesn’t know what it means to be discontent..    His  life is simple.   He  will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does  not care what brand of clothing  he wears or what kind of food he  eats.  His needs have always been met,  and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His  hands are diligent.  Kevin is never more happy than when he is working.  When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet,  his heart is completely in it.  He  does not shrink from a job when it is begun,  and he does not leave  a job until it is finished.  When his tasks are done,   Kevin knows how to relax.

He is  not obsessed with his work  or the work of others.  His heart is  pure.  He  still believes everyone tells the truth,  promises must be kept,  and when you are wrong,  you apologize instead of argue.   Free  from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid  to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent,  always sincere.

And he trusts God.   Not  confined by intellectual reasoning,  when he comes to Christ, he  comes as a child.  Kevin seems to know God –  to really be friends  with Him  in a way that is difficult for an ‘educated’ person to  grasp. God is his closest companion.   In my  moments of doubt and frustrations with Christianity,   I envy the  security Kevin has in his simple faith.    It is  then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine  knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.    It is  then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap.     I  am.

My obligations, my fear, my pride,  my circumstances – they all  become disabilities  when I do not trust them to God’s  care.  Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn?   After all,  he has spent his whole life  in that kind of innocence,  praying after dark and soaking up  the goodness and love  of God.

And  one day,  when the mysteries of heaven are opened,  and we are all amazed at how close  God really is to our hearts,  I’ll realize that   God heard the simple prayers  of a boy who believed that  God lived under his bed.   Kevin  won’t be surprised at all!

When  you receive this, say a prayer. Thank God for all. Prayer is  one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot  of rewards.

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