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It was sometime in the mid to late fifties— that idyllic time between the Korean War and the turbulent sixties. I was in the barn on our farm home in Southeast Missouri with my father. He was trying to milk a cow whose calf was stillborn and whose udder was swelling painfully from the abundant milk not being used. She was a young, fearful heifer who had never been milked and was no doubt painfully aware in some way that animals understand but cannot communicate, that her calf was gone. She was afraid of us and probably in extreme pain, and the last thing she wanted was for somebody to milk her. She didn’t understand what Dad was trying to do and she did everything she could to prevent him from doing it, including kicking wickedly with her hind feet.

Dad was suffering from some of the licks she had gotten in and was about as angry as you could get. Some of the words I heard him say that day were not appropriate for a Christian to say and I was surprised to hear them. Dad had become a Christian just a few years before and I didn’t think he talked like that any more. I was, to say the least, a little bit shocked.

After more than an hour or so he got her milked enough that she was out of danger and finally got her to accept another calf he had purchased at the sale barn to replace the calf that had died. It was a tense, action packed morning, but it was finally over and came to what appeared to be (and later proved to be) a satisfactory conclusion. And then the most amazing thing happened.

My father, who has never been a particularly articulate man, apologized to me for the language he had used. Rather awkwardly and stumbling a little with his words, he said something like this. “Rick, I know I said some things this morning that a Christian shouldn’t say. I lost my temper and used words I’m ashamed of. I’m sorry you had to hear it. I hope you know it's not right for a Christian to talk like that. I’m trying to live a Christian life and I’m doing the best I can, but sometimes I fail pretty bad.”

I don’t remember if I answered Dad or responded in any way to his apology. I think I was too dumbfounded to speak. I also don’t remember any of the bad words he used. I know he didn’t use God’s name in vain, but they were words he did not think appropriate for a Christian. What I do remember vividly was the humility of my father and the honor he showed me by his apology. There were times when that memory helped me ask my children to forgive my shortcomings. It was much easier for me because I had his example. Dad saw himself as a failure that day, but I’m convinced his heavenly Father was justifiably proud, as was I, that this fledgling Christian was growing into a genuine man of God and helping me along in the process.

I don’t remember ever again hearing my Dad use inappropriate language. Apologizing may or may not have helped him, but I know it was life-changing for me and helped me be a better father.

Quite often the things my heavenly Father teaches me have come through my earthly father. Thanks, Dad. We were blessed to be your children.

Rick is a Minister, Church Planter, Author, & Speaker. He has three published books and several unpublished manuscripts. You can connect with him on his blog at https://myviewfromtannercreek.blogspot.com.

I never learned to use cookbooks. I own several and rarely crack one open. But I do like the pictures. I admire people who can work from these recipe collections. I learned my culinary skills from my first-generation Sicilian father.

In our home, my mother worked and my father (Papa) stayed home minding the house and kids. This was in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, long before many men and women broke from traditional roles of homemaker and breadwinner. It was not a choice. Papa retired in his early forties from a service-connected disability sustained during his Army days in WWII. My mother worked outside of our home.

Because Papa was limited in physical activity, and my mother wasn’t home much, completion of household chores fell to my sisters and me. My two siblings preferred mowing the lawn, cleaning house, gardening and doing laundry. Me? I lived to be in the kitchen, at the side of my father, cooking the recipes of his homeland as well as learning some of his original delicacies.

Standing at the stove, on a three-legged stool until the age of twelve, and learning the secrets his family brought from Sicily, was where you would find me most days. I was intrigued at Papa’s ability to put ingredients together by instinct and then stand back to let his magic work in simmering pots. He couldn’t use cookbooks, even though he owned a few. He said he did like the pictures though.

Papa taught me to smell the cooking concoctions, taste frequently and add ingredients (especially spices) conservatively. When I asked how he knew we reached the desired result he smiled and said, “You’ll know by the taste, little one.”

That is how I cook today. I admit I don’t enjoy the success my Papa had in the meal-making department. Sometimes what I make is a hit and sometimes well… not so good. I believe despite my diligence at attempting to imitate Papa’s creations, I simply don’t have his talent. I am happy, however, to report Papa’s cooking gifts did not disappear when he died at age fifty-six from his war wounds. They passed over me but landed squarely in the soul of my son, who has become a chef. My only kiddo enjoys experimenting with new recipes while perfecting old family treasures. He never uses cookbooks. He owns several because he likes the pictures.

It should come as no surprise that my child is my go-to guy when I want to try something new in the cooking arena. He is always obliging, patient and cheerful about sharing what he has learned. He often talks me through new cooking adventures over the phone. Not long ago, I wanted to make a Tzatziki sauce to go with some lamb chops. My son told me what to buy. When I called for a one-on-one with Chef, he was happy to walk me through the process, telling me what ingredients to add. When I asked how much dill to put into the mixture, he said, “That’s easy, Mama. You’ll know by the taste.”

Laura Padgett is a multi-published, multi-award winning writer and dancer. She is a Christ follower who published her first book, "Dolores, Like the River" in 2013, telling of her conversion to Christianity and the mentor who taught her how to walk a spirit-filled life with Christ. She writes a blog "Livin' What You're Given" that can be found on her website lauralpadgett.com. Her new collection of short stories about life-changing Jesus moments will be out in Summer 2018 and will be announced on her website and FB author page www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer.

Growing up, my Dad has always been there for me. With every big dream I've had he's been there to support me and encourage me in any way possible.

I always thought that my parent's were the strongest people in the world. My Dad especially, who I would help out in the yard during the summer. I never knew how one guy could do that much work.

Last year was a very hard year on our family. My Dad lost his own father, my Granddad, and his uncle only a few months apart. I didn't let myself grieve properly because for once I wanted to support my Dad and be strong for him. When I had a problem I kept it to myself. When I was struggling, or stressed I tried to deal with it on my own. I cried at my Granddad's funeral and didn't allow myself to cry afterwards because I didn't want anyone to worry about me. My Dad had enough on his plate as it was.

In the summer, I had just completed my third year of university. My marks weren't the greatest, which added to the stress I already had. On top of that, I was working two jobs. One full-time, and one part-time on weekends. I was trying to not only put money away for my rent during the school year, but also put aside money for lessons I wanted to take the following summer. My full-time job was new, and close to what I want to do as my career. It was amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better job. My part-time job was something that I had been doing for three years every summer. They had not been very sympathetic when my uncle passed away, and continued to "punish" me for missing a shift that I never confirmed I was doing, because I spent the night with my family at the hospital. My new manager was cruel towards me, despite the fact that I had always been on time to work, went above and beyond when serving customers and stayed positive and calm during stressful situations. They made my part-time job much harder than it needed to be.

I went to write a test one weekend in July and failed. I was confident that I would do well. There was no doubt in my mind that I would do poorly...and I did. I started hyperventilating in the car when my Dad picked me up. We sat and talked in the kitchen afterwards and I told him how I felt like I couldn't fix anything. I was trying my hardest to be strong for everyone else, but I was letting myself go through everything on my own. It was the first time that my Dad revealed to me that he wasn't strong all of the time. He said that he always felt like he had to fix everything, that it was his job to take care of the people he loved, and that there are things in our lives that we can't control...those things we can't fix ourselves.

My Dad and I normally don't have those kind of conversations...but that is a day I will never forget. My Dad got me to calm down, he helped me work through how I was feeling, and sort out the mess I'd created in my head. He helped me realize that I can't fix everything, and that it's okay to not be okay all the time. He offered to find me professional help if I felt I needed it...just someone to vent to. I could tell it wasn't something he was comfortable discussing with me but he did. He opened up to me when I was in a very bad place. I don't know how to thank him for that.

I've always felt that I've been blessed with an amazing family. My Mom wasn't as lucky, and grew up without her Dad. She's always told us how lucky we are to have a Dad that loves us so much.

I'm thankful for my Dad every single day. I don't think I could thank God enough for blessing me with such a wonderful man as my Dad. He goes above and beyond when I need him...whether it's something big or small. I hope to be like that for my own children in the future.

R is a young story teller with a vivid imagination. For the majority of their blossoming career as a writer they have been creating novels for young adults. More recently however, R has begun to create humorous children’s picture books directed towards children ages 0 to 8. As a young author and a book lover R believes, “There is a good book out there for everyone. It's just that some haven’t been written yet. orionwriter.wordpress.com/