Yep, I’m A Cat-Dad


I grew up a dog-lover. Dog’s are simple. You love them, and they love you back unconditionally. Some dogs learn tricks, while others are content to pee on the living-room carpet no matter how much time you spend trying to train them. Dogs are loyal to a fault. Once they love you, they love YOU. Everyone else, they just sort of tolerate. Dogs are natural defenders…most of them anyway. I can’t really speak for Chihuaua’s. Dogs understand simple commands such as, “No”, “Stay”, Come ‘ere” and “Stop”. Dogs will sit and wait for you to feed them. And no matter how your day away from home was, your dog always seems to make you feel like the most important person in the world, when you come home.

A cat, on the other hand, is a totally different animal–literally. Cats are temperamental. One minute they want all the love and affection you have to offer and in the next minute, they’re attacking with their teeth and claws. Cats are territorial with everything that doesn’t belong to them. They have no problem with wiping their spit across your laptop screen, placing paw prints all over the giant flat-screen TV, opening the cabinets and cupboards, rummaging through your boxes, and anything else they feel like getting into. Which leads to my next point: they’re not very bright but have lots of attitude. You can tell a cat “No”, and he’s gonna do whatever the heck he wants to do anyway, just to show you who’s really boss. A cat will walk right up to your sandwich and try to take it from you, as if she’s got every right to have it. Cat’s are conditionally affectionate. She hops in your lap, turns on the motor and starts begging for attention. Chances are, her water-bowl is empty. Or, you walk in the door and he starts speaking and figure-eighting through your legs. He’s not really happy to see you. He wants a cat treat, and he’s yelling at you for making him wait so late. How about this? It’s 2:30am. Why in the world is a marathon happening on the hardwood floors downstairs?! Oh! Because those two felines spent the whole day asleep in my chair, that’s why!

Somehow–I’m not quite sure when it happened–I slowly became a cat-dad. Despite their attitudes and general lack of loyalty, they grew on me, and family now includes them. Atticus–that’s gray boy up there–is a true Momma’s boy. Since birth, that kid follows Misty everywhere she goes. He’s genuinely curious of everything and will probably meet an accidental death, because he has to stick his nose into everything. He loves to eat, and tends to think he’s the alpha male by claiming my side of the bed when I’m not around.

Ekko is his sneaky yet timid twin sister. She likes her butt rubbed just above the tail; that’s not weird. She jumps at every sound, and is cautious of every closet door that appears cracked-open. She loves the computer-chair and tends to get into a mood if someone forces her out of it. As you can see from the opening picture, she was staging a protest against me claiming the chair to do homework yesterday. Such a brat.

These two have become my babies. Although they each have unique personalities, they’re an intricate part of my family. I miss not having a dog around, but the two of them keep life pretty interesting without a canine. They’re not built to learn like dogs but that doesn’t mean they’re not as intelligent. They definitely have more attitude to go around, but that just makes for some pretty funny life moments .

So for all the dog-lovers who find themselves inadvertently trading teams, I feel you, dogg. I get it. But give the felines a chance. You just might grow to love them, even if they are sassy, bourgeois, snotty, etc. They really do have love to give, too.

Share you favorite feline-family photos, friends.


Happy Holidays!


Jesus is the reason for the season

Hi family!

Okay, okay…I know. It’s been a few months since my last post. In fact, I’ve had more than a couple of people actually ask whether or not I’d given up on writing altogether. The short answer is “no”. But, the explanation is a bit more involved than that simple answer explains. Let me say that my family and I are doing just fine ; we’re more than fine. We’re truly blessed.


God keeps His promises, and His memory is long. I think I’ve written those words before, but toward the latter part of 2019 these words became reality not only for me, but for my family as well. After years of praying and believing in His word, we got an answer. And I’ll tell you what I learned during the entire process. We praying people spend a lot of time and energy asking God to perform miracles on our behalf. When the time comes that He says “Yes” to your prayers, you absolutely have to be ready to move. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to those who read the Bible because its full of stories displaying God’s answer to prayer and immediately commanding His people to act on His decision. But, when it actually shows up in ever-day life, some of us have a tendency to react in slow motion.

See that house up there? That’s the new Smith-Family home; 996 New York Ave, Lincoln Park, M. 48146. It’s beautifully aged–built in 1950–but it has everything we asked for in a home, plus blessings we didn’t know we needed. The neighbors have gone above and beyond in welcoming our family into the neighborhood. Y’all, we had a married-couple knock on the door to bring a tray of cookies and a “welcome” card! We’ve had neighbors stop by to introduce themselves and tell us about the neighboring neighbors! A few weeks ago, we had an early snow storm. When I went out to shovel the next day, all the neighbors were out, like one big community! It was like Pleasantville in real life around here! For my wife and I, this home is an answer to prayers, and represents a new start for a new season of our lives just in time for the New Year.

The scriptures I keep revisiting center on the times when God prepared the children of Israel to take the promised land, under the command of Joshua. He told them they would inherit a land not their own; they would eat of vineyards they didn’t plant; live in dwellings they didn’t build; enjoy a land flowing with milk and honey. They didn’t do anything to deserve it. It would be a gift to them from God.

It’s what the blessing of our new home feels like. We did nothing to earn the house, and we certainly did nothing to deserve it. As people who know us personally continue to congratulate us on our move, I keep on replying, “It wasn’t us. This was all God.” Some folks understand completely. Others…not so much. Whether you believe or not, we’ve seen first hand what God can do for those He loves. Over the last few months, the move process–while exhausting in some respects–constantly reminded us of God’s promises and His plans. Now that we’ve officially been settled in for a month, I can get back to some of the things I love to do.

Alright, alright, alright…

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I got the bright idea stuck in my head that taking three construction courses on top of a full time construction job, during a move process would all work out just fine. Boy…am I stupid. I can’t remember the last time I was ever this busy! The fall of 2019 saw me enroll for my third consecutive semester at Eastern Michigan University. To try speeding things up a bit (mind you, I did NOT pray about this before I committed to it), I enrolled in three courses, despite the understanding that a major construction project was looming. I took that challenge head on. And, I’ll tell you what. God showed up to bail me out, because I definitely fell behind. Within the first three weeks of the semester, I realized I had taken on more than I could handle. When a man stretches himself thin, something is bound to fall through the cracks.

My grades began to suffer as I tried to get into a groove of juggling the work load and school commitments. But more importantly, my time with God began to take a backseat to the new challenges of what had quickly become my new life. As my God-time waned, I put writing on a back-burner and turned the gas off. I tried to handle the load all by myself. In doing so, I purposely let an assignment (maybe two) slide while I tried robbing Peter, to pay Paul.

But God is patient. He is kind. He is compassionate, and has a sense of humor. He let me bump around juggling the load until I realized I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. By the end of the semester, He had helped me out of a real pickle. I’ve got the grades to prove it.

So, the last few months of 2019 have been an interesting time. Through the challenges of moving permanent addresses, completing another semester of school and rounding out another year in the construction industry, God’s carried my family through it all. And I’m happy to say we’re in a better place and doing just fine. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas celebration this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing with you all in the next decade.

Happy Holidays, friends!

Rest Easy, Son of Krypton…

My cousin Van Alan loved Calvin Ellis. The black Superman of Earth 23 personified the brains and brawn of Mr. Smith.
Last words of affirmation, from my family.

Dear Van,

People turn to terms such as, “Gone too soon,” when someone dear passes away unexpectedly. These days, I tend to believe God knows the day, hour, minute and second of everyone’s appointed time. We all have one. No one is exempt. Death is a guarantee.

And yet it stings anyway, knowing I’ll never receive another message; another movie; another call from you, cuzzo. In retrospect, had I known that three days after sending that last message you would be gone, I most likely would have said something profound; maybe told you how much I looked up to you when we were kids–even if you were a few months behind me. Maybe I would have told you how amazed I was, that you stuck with track and fitness all these years. It’s astounding that at 46, you were still keeping lap-times with the youngsters. Maybe I would have told you how envious I was of your comic-book collection, and how awesome it was that even now we still had a love for all things Super-Hero related.

Van, I never got to tell you that I still have the very first comic you ever introduced me to, when we were twelve years old: “The Doom Patrol”. I’m still holding on to the books of Shazaam!, back when he had a brother and sister. I never told you that, after we saw BATMAN in 1989, I took to the Dark Knight like a kid loves candy. To this day, I’ve got “The Killing Joke” wrapped in plastic, and card-board backing, just like you taught me, all those years ago. That type of care for my books paid off last year, because I actually sold my Amazing Spider-Man 300 issue for a nice chunk of change, just before the movie “Venom” hit theaters.

I wish I would’ve spoken with you about God. I would’ve wanted you to know about what He did for me; how He brought Misty and the kids into my life; how He changed my actions without making me a prude. I still love 80’s and 90’s music, same as you did. I still watch Marvel and DC movies, just like you. But, I guess I just figured we had time. I knew the day would come when I would get back down to Florida to visit, and that would be our time to talk about Him–about Jesus–the ultimate Super Hero. But I waited too late. And now, you’re gone.

I hope to see you again, in the company of the Lord, family and good friends long gone. I hope, one day we’ll be able to run together: no bad knees; no respiratory setbacks. Just clean air; the Light of the Lord shining on our glorified faces and the wind at our backs. I’m praying for the family down south and those of us up north, who will miss your smile.

I’m a bit late on Calvin Ellis, and the stories of Earth 23. Maybe in honor of you, I’ll look into his story. Maybe I’ll see what the black Superman really meant to you. And just maybe, I’ll see a bit of you in him. Rest easy, son of krpyton. You will be missed.

~ For VanDiesel 2019 ~

Don’t Go Back


Romans 6:1-2 (CEV)–“What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning?”

Yesterday, I read an interesting post written by an extremely talented young lady concerning the portrayal of modern-day Christianity in mainstream television. While I don’t watch the show, I was intrigued by the subject.

(Check out her post here: “Woke Christianity & The Bachelorette“)

Our culture is moving at such a fast pace, it’s amazing we’re able to keep up with the ever-changing tide. Fads come and go at the speed of the internet. And everywhere we look, Christianity is being attacked as some sort of outdated, dogmatic religion with no real place in today’s super-sophisticated society. The culture attempts to “tolerate” our faith by changing some of its doctrines a little bit each day. On the surface, it seems to be working, because we now have a generation of young and old “believers” who try to walk with one foot touching the gospel and the other foot touching the soils of the world’s culture.

What’s more, this behavior is justified (by those straddlers) by using God’s word in error. They say things…let me bring it home for a minute…we say things like,

“I can do whatever I want to do; God still loves me.”

“I’ll just do it once more. Jesus will forgive me when I pray about it tomorrow.”

“God understands I still mess up, so He’ll forgive me for this later.”

We can’t accept the free gift of undeserved grace and then turn around and trample it, by continuing to live in our sinful nature that Jesus paid for in the first place! That’s like being freed from a life of drug addiction, only to keep going back to the addiction under the false belief that every time you return to the clinic, you’ll be freed permanently.

Look, we all have baggage, and my bags may be heavier (for me) than yours are for you. When God frees us from the burdens of those bags, we’re truly free. We don’t need to go back and pick them up; carrying them with the false notion of, “Jesus will help me put them down again”. Yeah…He might. But why pick them up again?

When the woman–caught in adultery–looked up to find no one but Jesus standing over her, she was freed in that moment. But Jesus made it clear to her, “Go, and sin no more.”

Once God frees you from your “it”, leave it behind for good. Don’t go back.

Faith of a Mustard Seed

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “

There is an old saying, that I am about to butcher I’m sure. It goes a little something like this:

“In every family, there is a black sheep.”

That statement is supposed to be taken in the context of that one kid in every family who consistently drives the parents bananas with the questionable life choices said kid chooses faithfully. Watching the child grow up, is like watching a train barrel down the tracks headed straight at a solid wall. Apparently the conductor’s view is block, preventing a clear line of sight. Instead of yanking the breaks and stopping, she actually speeds up. As a spectator to the impending disaster, you feel helpless.

And there it is. I said it out loud (or maybe I just wrote it out loud). I feel helpless. You see, Misty and I have a couple of those “sheep” in the family. It’s hard to watch your children purposely choose paths that will lead to the same mistakes you’ve made in the past. It’s especially hard when you’ve warned them of the dangers, but they choose the paths anyway. It’s like they actually think they have secret information that will completely change the outcome of their foolish decisions.

Sometimes I look up in the sky–I mean literally–and ask God, “Are you seeing this?! What are you doing up there?! Is this our fault?”

Yeah, I know; I know. It’s rude. Don’t tempt God. Don’t question His motives. I get it. I really do. But I still struggle with trusting His plans, when my kids are doing truly stupid stuff. Sometimes my faith doesn’t feel as if it’s as big as a mustard seed; and that’s a problem! Have you seen the size of a mustard seed? Just take a glance at the picture up there! Luke 17:6 tells me all I need is for my faith to figuratively be that size, and I could literally uproot a tree. So, if I can’t pray my kids into better life choices, maybe my faith is broken. That sounds like logic, right? Nope. That sounds like a bunch of egotistical false-religion jiberish. And yet, I have to fight the urge to believe in it.

Parenting isn’t easy, and just because your kids grow into young adults doesn’t make parenting any easier than it already wasn’t. In fact, as they grow older, their bad decisions grow bolder and bigger. Watching them make mistakes becomes an exercise in faith training, for real. Seriously, my wife and I came to the realization a long time ago, that we cannot direct their steps. We don’t have the power to do it. Sure, we can take ’em to church, but we can’t force them to develope a relationship with Jesus. We can tell them of the dangers of the night life, but we can’t force them to lock themselves away after a certain hour. We can give them the ole, “Choose-your-friends-wisely” speech, but we can’t force them to stay away from certain people. Ultimately, we parents have no power over the lives of our children.

But we have the power of prayer, and we have faith in God. I believe in Romans 8:28, I believe God has a plan for my kids and I believe He keeps His promises. They may not come to pass in my time-frame, but He never lies and He’s always faithful. So, in the times that I feel like my faith is weak–especially concerning my hard-headed kids–I try to remember God’s word and I try to remember that He can be trusted.

Faith is a constant exercise. Don’t think that the folks who appear to have it altogether really do. They struggle with faith, too. Their struggles may be on a different level than yours, but make no mistake; the struggle is just as real. It’s hard to look beyond the circumstances you see, but that’s where faith grows. Right there in that space between what you can see with your eyes, and what you believe will come to pass in your heart, that’s where faith grows.

Two Seconds From Forever

Fire in the Sky

At first glance, I thought the light falling from the sky was some sort of optical illusion brought on by a combination of my in-flight meal laboriously digesting in my belly, and the double-shot of night-time cold medicine I’d gulped down just before the dinner. The sky outside my window suddenly transformed from the darkening purple of a typical mid-west twilight, to a beautiful albeit terrifying burnt orange. I watched the clouds at fifty thousand feet part like waves split by a speedboat, as an enormous fireball cut through the earth’s atmosphere, plummeting toward the ground far below my flight. For a moment, I was lost for the words to comprehend–let alone describe–what I was witnessing.

“The end of everything as we know it,” the stranger seated next to me muttered; his voice calm like a lazy stream.

“What do you mean,” I asked absently, watching the fireball streak through the low ceiling of storm-clouds. “What was that?”

“That, my friend, was World-War-Three begun. They actually pushed the button.”

My heart imploded. I stopped breathing, and my dinner lurched up my esophagus. “It can’t be. We’re America! No one attacks us! I’m not re–”

‘Not ready’ is what I wanted to say, but never spoke another word on that side of life’s veil. The flash was blinding, deafening and silent.

Thoughts at Twilight


When I was a kid, my dreams were often filled with visions of cartoon characters of my favorite shows, make-believe adventures with my closest friends and my brother, fantasies of strange creatures and the ever familiar flying experience. I looked forward to sleep in my youth. Sure I had to contend with nightmares every once in awhile but, by and large, my dreams were a place of happiness.

As I grew up, life became complicated by my life-choices. Along the way, I think I lost that childhood innocence of dreaming. Oh I still dreamed, but the visions took on a materialistic turn. Where fantastic creatures and unbelievable companions once reigned, now desires for fancy houses, beautiful cars, stacks of money piles and 24/7 parties took over. The world’s influences rearranged then corrupted my fantasies.

Lately, I miss the innocence of those fantastic dreams. Part of the beauty of writing Paraclete’s Promise, was the return to that make-believe world; bringing outlandish adventures to life through Timothy’s dreams was like revisiting an old friend. The cares of adulting, the pressures of professional performance; the worries of debt all seemed to melt away while journeying with Timothy. The dreams were once again whimsical and fun; frightening but wonderful at the same time. And I always seemed to awaken refreshed. Ready to take on a new day.

I think it’s time to revisit those dreams again. Set aside the worries and cares of the world for just a few hours of reality, in exchange for the timeless journeys of the fantastic. I want to remember what it’s like to dream amazing stories, and wake ready to share them with the world.

I think a story’s coming…