About my Dad

What can you do to cover everything about a loved one when they pass away?  The short answer….You can’t.  You want to celebrate their life as much as possible and share stories with everyone who knew him.  My Dad passed away on October 15th, 2017.   I had the privilege to spend several days with my brothers, sisters and my mom before he passed (all of them are awesome and unique!  I could write an entire story about each of them, LOVE YOU GUYS!).

Over the years, there were many seasons in my Dad’s life.  He was a son and a brother growing up.  By his own acknowledgement, he didn’t have much in the way of money or material things, but he sure did have a lot of stories from this timeframe.  As he grew, he joined the service and served our country in the Army.  By his own words, “this changed my life and helped me grow up”.  As he started on his journey towards adulthood, he became a father and husband.  He had kids (five of them) and I can’t believe he had that many.  He ran three businesses.

First, Jim’s Market. This was previously a small grocery store in the late 60’s, early 70’s.  By coincidence, the store was also owned by a person named Jim, who apparently named the store.  When my parents bought in 1975.  They kept the name and put their own spin on the store.  It started out to be a small grocery store because of my Dad’s previous 20 years working at Kroger.  My Dad quickly found out this was not a store like Kroger rather a small party store (a convenience store by today’s naming).   It carried beer, wine, chips, had a full deli and video games (my personal favorite for a few years).  The store was famous for having Polish sausages (his personal favorite), BBQ chicken, ribs and pork chops.  Oh and those mock chicken legs.  For us kids, we spent many, MANY hours using this special “thing” that formed the mock chicken legs.  The store was a central part of our lives for 10 years. It was a defining part of my life since I was six when they bought it.  They sold when I was 15.   While owning the store, my parents also ran a video game route with 200+ games, this was in the early 80’s.

As my Dad’s life progressed, him and my mom bought a restaurant in Belding Michigan.  This was open for few years and along with having a food-service equipment business, he was the definition of a entrepreneur.   It never ceased to amaze me the confidence my Dad displayed making something special and successful.   He didn’t end up on the cover of a magazine like some do or being a wall street type business.  My Dad was a hometown guy who liked to get to know his customers. He treated them with respect, integrity and could sell about anything to anybody.

And stories, he was probably most famous for his stories.  If you went for a ride in his truck (1999 Ford F350 dually), you would be entertained by his stories.  You talked the entire trip.  Never once can I recall him just pondering about something, regardless if was me, my brothers or sisters, he was humble and could relate to each of us.  Each of kids are different, over the last few days of his life, I realized we have more in common than I first thought.

Later in life, my Dad retired and took up his true passion: farming.  He acquired 40+ acres to farm hay and did he have passion for this…OH MY.   His lifelong friend Cecil was also a farmer.   My Dad put many, many hours of love and passion into making sure the ground was just right.  From putting lime on the right time of the year, to making sure the first or second or even the third cut was the best it could be.  My Dad loved farming.  He took pride in the long hours out in the field, fixing his tractor or painting so things looked right.

My Dad accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior.  Faith was an important thing in his life and he tackled learning all he could about God.  He read several books as we studied in a small group. My Dad was always curious to learn.  By his own humble words, he wasn’t educated, but that was just his own in-security.  From examples in life, there is more than just being book smart.  The last part of his life, he battled cancer with the same positive outlook as he tackled everything else in his life.  There were a lot of bad days, there were a lot of good or so/so days.

During his final days, I was doing my morning devotions and ask the Lord “when” are you going take him home?  The Lord, as he has done so many previous times, painted an absolute stunning picture.  It went something like this:

“Riding his favorite 656 tractor, Red and White shining in the sun, which was setting to the west just over the treeline. My Dad in the field, east side of my brothers house, headed south taking care his hay.   He only had a row or two left before it was time to go home to be with Jesus.  I shared with my family Dad only had a couple of rows left.  After he was done, a very loving person shaved, combed his hair and getting ready to see Jesus.   It was 12:10 PM he went home to glory.  His farming was complete, done with pride, joy and the best it could be”

Over the years, I’ve wrote many poems, including an entire book about his journey with cancer called 33 : About the Letter C It’s available on Amazon either in print or kindle version.   Along with those 33 poems, here are some I found I wanted to share involving my Dad.  Probably my personal favorite is called My Savior Wears Bibs.  It was a project I did with my Dad in 2010. Here are links to them.

We all grieve in our own way, mine is writing.  My brothers and sisters are so gifted in many ways.  My sisters are gifted in painting among many other things.  It’s incredible the talents and how easy they make it look.   My one brother does taxidermy and each of his mounts are amazing, you can tell they are done with pride. My other brother is so gifted in many things, he can craft anything out of metal, build most anything yet is an artist in his own way.  They have so many other gifts not even mentioned, yet I sit here and realize all of us were influenced by my parents.  Each of us got a sprinkle of talents from both Mom and Dad.    As I wrap up, I have shed many tears of joy, celebrating this occasion believing you are in heaven with your Lord and Savior Jesus, one day you’ll meet each of us at the gates welcoming us home into eternity!  Love you Dad.

Love - Your son Steve

About my Dad : My Savior Wears Bibs

Topic 52—My Savior Wears Bibs

Scripture : Mark 10:35–45; John 13:1–20


Wake up in the early morning
To do a task that will brighten your house.

Say a quick prayer asking for guidance,
Asking for safe and efficient work.

After reviewing a given task list,
The work begins on the project—

Nailing pieces of wood to make a deck look almost new again.
Enjoy working with family,

Enjoy talking to friends and getting advice,
Wondering along the way

Was this the right thing to do.
Then I remember, our Savior was a carpenter.

Not only did he shape wood,
He knows how to shape people.

He puts his bibs on to do his work,
Taking a person from one perspective and

Shaping him into something better
To perform his work.

You have to serve,
For it’s been said to be a leader,

You must learn how to first serve others.
Jesus did not come to be worshiped

But to serve others.
To spread God’s word that

The kingdom of heaven is near.
He performed miracles, shared parables.

He washed the feet of others.
The next time you see construction workers,

The next time you see gardeners,
The next time you see a person in bibs,

Realize his job is not fancy.
His job probably isn’t fun.

His job will not bring fame or glory.
As with Jesus, he wore bibs

Doing his work, trying to share God’s love.
Thank you, Jesus, for wearing bibs.


Story Behind the Poem

In the summer of 2010, I worked with my father for two days to fix the steps in front of my house. My wife thought it would cost a lot, but it was only about $150. Everything for those two days worked out perfectly. With my father’s guidance, we straightened up a few foundational posts that were leaning, replaced the steps, fixed the hand railing, and overall made the deck look decent again without spending too much money. As always, my dad knew what to do and figured out what he didn’t.

At the time, I joked with people who did real work, meaning those who worked outside for a living, wear a popular brand of coats and bib overalls to stay warm in the winter. I thought if I published the title with a brand name, I could get in trouble so I chose to use the generic term of bibs. I joke with people that I don’t do real work since I work in an office. I told them one day I’ll have a real job, and then I’ll wear this particular brand of bibs to stay warm during the cold months of the year.

About my Dad : Connection

Poem 61 : Connection

Scripture : Titus 1


A connection is two things joining together
A power cord plugged into an outlet
A light bulb and a socket
Your hand into a baseball glove
It can also be a hammer and a nail
An ax splitting wood
A child hugging his mother or father
Men and women getting married
We tend to be busy as humans
We go about our days doing things
Going from one activity to another
Not thinking too far into the future
For we don’t know how many days we have
Nor do we stop to think when things are going along
We take our days and nights for granted
The good Lord has nature in a rhythm
Our lives connect in certain ways to this pattern
We don’t stop to think much about it
Something happens in our lives
An event of some sorts that makes you think
If this person moves away or is gone
What will happen, how will it impact our connection
You reflect a moment and realize they are special
Not everyone impacts a person like this, there are a few though
You realize time with people is short
Earlier in life, things just happen
You take it for granted they’ll be around forever
Then one day, either a child grows up
A parent or grandparent grows old
They depart either by moving or passing on
Each connection is unique and serves a purpose
A spiritual connection is different
Unlike the examples mentioned above
This can’t be seen as easily
Humans like to see and experience things
The Holy Spirit joins us on our journey when we accept Christ
A spiritual connection between us and God is made
It’s the most important connection we can make
When we accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit connection is made
He is there every moment of the day helping
God’s word is written on our hearts
The Holy Spirit helps complete the connection
God wants all of us to make a connection with Him
He loved us so much, he gave us free will
We get to choose if a connection is made with him
The connection with God is most important
Cherish your earthly connections while they are still here
Enjoy every moment, every opportunity to connect
Before long, they could change or go away
The connection with God is eternal
We were made to have a relationship with him
Even in our fallen world, God made a way
Some connections are more of a struggle than others
The important ones are worth keeping
Have you or know of someone who hasn’t connected to God
Pray for this person, tell them about your connection to the Father
One day in heaven, this person will thank you
They’ll be glad they made a connection with the Father, through Christ Jesus


Story Behind the Poem

For those with kids, a connection, a bond is made that can’t be explained except for “it’s there.” One moment they are growing up, barely being able to care for themselves, the next moment they are entering school, the next they are as tall as you are, they get their driver’s license. When they depart home for short trips, the connection you made when they were young can be broken if something happens. I experienced this feeling of fear when my youngest son got his driver’s license. It made me realize, my oldest was overseas serving our country, my middle son moved out and bought his own home. The connections made were changing before my very eyes. Along with this life change, my father has been battling cancer.

The connection I had with my dad was special. I respected and thought there was no person better when I was a kid. He owned his own business, could do practically anything, there was nothing too big for him. He was my idol as a kid. I was proud he was my dad. Every time I did something exciting, I wanted to tell him. His encouraging words made a connection, a positive one that helped complete whatever I was doing at the time.

My connection with God has been similar, as I write this story, it brings tears to my eyes. Special connections should be enjoyed. A relationship with God is eternal, please make sure you tell everyone about your relationship with God. If you are reading this and don’t know God, ask someone you know who is spiritual and believes in God to have them tell you how their connection with God is. The moral of this story is enjoy whatever connections you have, however long you have before the connection is broken.

About my Dad : Isolation

Poem 32 : Isolation

Scripture : Ezekiel 3:26


Our entire being is made to worship
We thrive when being around other believers
Our soul jumps for joy when worshipping
Our spirits are filled with hope, love and joy
There are moments in life where we need separation
There are moments in life between you and God
The isolation brings peace in the middle of the storm
The isolation brings clarity to the moment
Clarification God uses to remind you of his love
There is an eternal view we are reminded of
It’s not easy to face
It’s not easy to comprehend
There are some challenges in life that bring isolation
The enemy tries to have us doubt
There could be physical and/or emotional pain involved
It’s hard to be like this, but it happens
God is there through all of it
Isolation is a tough feeling to overcome
I’m not sure there is a right answer to deal with it
Past moments in life crop up providing perspective
All I can muster to suggest, hang onto these moments
God will help you through the storm
Each situation is different
Each challenge will test your will
May you lean on God more than ever in these moments
Remember his word, draw strength from it

Story Behind the Poem

I chose Ezekiel 3:26 for the theme verse. According to the story, Ezekiel was “made silent” for seven years. He couldn’t speak and was trapped at home. In my own life, in unsettled times, I draw on stories from the Bible I can relate to my own situation. Regarding isolation, imagine what Ezekiel felt when God did this.

A friend and his spouse were going through a challenging time dealing with cancer. They were separated due to the situation and dealing with treatment and other things.

This story also reminds me of my parents and when my dad was dealing with cancer. There were times they would go weeks being at home not being around others, due to the lowered immune system.

This can being create an isolated feeling. A boring routine with quiet time that gives a person time to reflect, which I can only guess is not a peaceful time, rather feelings of “why,” “how come” and “I don’t want to deal with this.”

God has gifted me to write my feelings in such a way I can hopefully share with others, they can use poems like this when they are feeling down or isolated to bring some hope and perspective in their lives.

About my Dad : Storm

Poem 27 : Storm

Scripture : Matthew 14:22-36


They come in many shapes and sizes
No two are alike
People with lots of education try to predict them
They are right only so often
Lots of technology tries to help us be more accurate
Even then, it’s only slightly better
With all the experience, predictions and technology
Nothing can slow them down or stop altogether
In bad storms, we are advised to take shelter
These shelters help shield the worst
Anything in its path is consumed
Many times, total destruction is the result
In life, storms are much like the weather
We can prepare, we can educate ourselves
Sooner or later we all face them
Something that seems too big to comprehend
We are not sure about making it
Concern, fear and uncertainty show up
These feelings consume our every thought
In the eye of the storm, a temporary calm happens
We’ve weathered the storm, a brief reprieve
A small still voice reminds us He is there
Through every challenge, every worry
He will not leave or forsake us
The next time a storm hits your life
Remember Jesus and what he did for us
Where two or more meets, he is there
He can bring calm like an eye of the storm
Thank you, Jesus, for being there always
Bringing yourself and heavens armies to protect us


Story Behind the Poem

A friend from church was having surgery. It was rather involved and the insurance wasn’t cooperating. In pursuit to have the best place perform the procedure, the insurance wasn’t being helpful. This can only add anxiety, worry to the situation. Instead of focused 100% on the situation, a distraction presented itself in the middle of the storm.

I was reading a book that described an example how God can protect us from the enemy. Imagine being surrounded by a circle of angels protecting and blessing us. The enemy couldn’t proceed through the protection to try to inflict doubt, concern or worry. I prayed that image for my friend. May God use these words to bless them.

Additionally, our pastor was doing a sermon on the power of words. I was encouraged by the scripture examples our pastor used. It brought me back to when my kids were growing up. I didn’t know how I was going to make it at times, life was depressing. Then my Dad and Mom had encouraging words. Watching your kids grow up and realize you are their parents, your words can help encourage whatever storm they might be facing, big or small. Jesus’s example in Matthew 14, where he walks on water and has the power to ‘calm’ the seas demonstrates He can calm any storm in our lives. Positive words can calm storms in your loved ones lives.

About my Dad : Trust

This is from my second book called Remember the Nails : 40 Days doing something uncomfortable on purpose.

Day 34—Trust

Scripture : Exodus 20:16, Luke 16:10, Proverbs 11:3, Romans 12:3, 1 Timothy 1:19, Proverbs 12:5


Trusting a little is easy
Not revealing the whole truth is easy

Easy becomes safe
People like safe

Safe is comforting to the soul
People feel good when they are safe

When people are uncomfortable
They don’t trust much

They revert to methods to become comfortable again
Some spend their whole life looking for trust

Once trust is broken
It is real hard to get that back

There are many ways to break someone’s trust
One of the ways is to lie

Not telling the whole truth is lying
How can you trust someone really

If they don’t tell the whole truth
When you are not around

They tell the other parts they were holding inside
To a group of others who in turn spread gossip

Once gossip starts, the hearts true deceit can be revealed
Gossip is one of the true enemies of trust

People like to talk,
Gossip is one way to make conversation

Honest conversation is sometimes hard to do
As people form attitudes and opinions

When this happens, people have to really examine their heart
They need to look at their inner self

They need to remember who to trust
Men and Women will let you down.

When someone lets you down, it’s hard to trust
Trust is a fragile thing

Through trials and tribulations trust can be formed and strengthened
When you find a small group to share your life with

Trust can be nurtured and bonds can be made
Trust, Honesty, Integrity are foundational aspects of a relationship

So remember when around people, trust isn’t necessarily earned from the start
As when accepting Jesus as your savior

You know you want something different
Learning to unlearn your old ways and trust him takes time

Like accepting others in a group
Trust will come as long as you examine your own hearts intentions

Don’t be afraid to be honest, as long as it’s to build up, not to tear down
This is where a person can really start to trust


Story Behind the Poem

I was spending the weekend with my family and through various conversations and prayer for our small group. The word TRUST came to my heart and also (love). I prayed for guidance and how to start the small group. I saw the side of my Dad had a couple things on his heart, along with mine. Judgment came very swiftly. It was funny God trusted me enough to download the poems he had gifted me with. One of the key words I hadn’t written about was TRUST. I was inspired by God and he let me borrow someone’s internet long enough to download the poems and hit one page worth of key scripture on the word trust. I examined my own heart, I struggle with focusing on a negative of a person and it just festers. Other crutches I continue to hold onto the baggage for whatever reason I can’t explain.

About my Dad – Waves

This poem is from my third book called One Reason : 21 Days to a new Beginning!

Day 18 – The Waves

Scripture : Mark 4:35-41,Matthew 8:23-27,Luke 8:22-25


Waves are rhythm to the oceans
They have continual motion

Some are big, some are small
Some are long, some are tall

They carry energy to shape things
They are constant and never-ending

Life is like a wave
With pressure from outside factors

It forms a shape and constantly moves
Until its hits land

It makes a mark and disappears
Another wave right behind does the same thing

Not quite the same way
But with similar force

Over time, wave after wave
Things are shaped and molded

Waves are used to describe things in our lives
“Are we on the same wavelength?”

If we are, things seem to go smoothly
If we are not, things tend to crumble

Much like when waves pound a coastline
Over time, it is shaped and eroded away

There is something left, not like the original
There are times when different waves impact people

They challenge us, they change our lives
Some seem so big, we can’t ride them out

We have to become like the thrill seekers
Who want to ride the next big wave

Big wave after big wave
And still stay on top of the board of life

God will be there every step of the way
Providing balance and strength

We might not understand at first
It’s scary riding the Big wave

We have a constant feeling we are going to fall off
We don’t think about succeeding

Fear grips us so tightly
We don’t think about anything else

Although it might be larger than we are used to
And when the one wave ends, another wave will be right behind it

Seeking God’s glory is the ultimate wave
It starts small and grows

When it hits land, we need to hold on
The enemy will try to keep us down

He will instill fear and doubt
God wants us to grab the board, run back out into the water

Seek another wave, and “get on the same wavelength” as Him
Each stage of life is like a wave

We get going and sometimes get knocked off
We pick up ourselves, get back up and try again

The enemy is as persistent as waves are to a shoreline
He’ll try to shape us to his likening, which is opposite of God’s

We need to put our faith in riding God’s wave
There will be many over time, but one thing is for sure

God’s waves and wavelength are two things we want to be on
Looking at it from an eternal view, you’ll be glad you did

Hang on tight while riding the surfboard of life
One day we’ll finish riding

To walk into Glory and hang with God
Forever and ever!


Story Behind the Poem

On the last day of vacation, just before we were ready to head home, I looked out the window and noticed the waves. Almost instantly, I knew the good Lord wanted to use waves as a story.  The day before, I found out my Dad was going in for his first cancer treatment. I knew it was going to cause a new wave of anxiety. For my Dad, it’s another wave to ride.  After reading about waves and how they worked, I realized how we used the words “waves” and “wavelength” to describe things in our lives.