Psalms of a Modern Guy

I have been reading this month, David’s book of Psalms from the Bible. I have decided to write a few of my own based on my life experience. So using his as a general guide, and substituting my experience for his, I will be posting some of the results throughout this month of October.

Today is his / my, evening prayer.

His is from Psalm 4:1-8. While mine is from 2017:22

Many around me are crying out, “Show me the good in the world,
all I see is destruction and chaos.”
But I, O Lord, see your goodness and mercy all around me.
Your love permeates all your creation.

Yes, evil exists. Yes, destruction abounds
But isn’t that of our own making, Lord?
You continue daily to pour out blessings on us.
On both the wicked and the repentant ones,
More than we deserve.

Many pray to their god of greed, “Give me more, “I Need more.”
When they already have more than they deserve for their wicked ways.
My prayer is for satisfaction.
My happiness is in you, Lord.
My fulfillment in this life
Is doing for others what you have done for me.

I know not if I will arise in the morning to another day of service
Or to an eternal day of Glory,
But know this, O Lord, my desire is to do your will this day!

When I lie down at the end of day, May I go to sleep in peace,
Knowing that you alone, O Lord, have kept me safe this day
In the hollow of your hand.     Amen


Psalm 2017:21

My enemies are increasing, O Lord, my God.
They surround me in a huddle to taunt me.

“Look,” they whisper, “His God is useless to him.”
“He grows faint-hearted. He wavers when facing death.”
“His God can’t save him from his wretched death.”

But you, O Lord, Can deliver me! Not from my inevitable death,
but from the sins that block your face from my view
the sins that cause my faith to falter in time of need!

Be my everlasting strength in times of weakness.
Be the arms that lift me up when I stumble.
Dry the tears of remorse when I have failed you.

Let me lie down in peace
And arise to your victory over my enemies.
Let me not be intimidated or
afraid of the thousands upon thousands
camped around me, plotting to bring me to ruin.

Arise, O Lord, and save me!
For my salvation is in your hands alone.
May your blessings continue to be upon me,
your kid, Don.

Psalm 2017:10-20

God will bless the person that doesn’t waste time listening to idle gossip,
or spreading lies about others.
Neither will they spend time over a cup of coffee or at the keyboard heaping
shame or slander upon others.

He continues to bless those that spend time meditating on His Word,
unlike those whose meditations are on emptiness and self-serving.
Those whose meditations are on God will be as refreshing as shade in the desert
or sparkling water on ice in the heat of the day.

Those who take delight in the foibles of others are quite different.
They are building a life of dry bones and weatherbeaten skin.
They are like a rough draft of an improper document that will be swept into the
Recycle Bin to be Deleted on the Day of Judgement.

The Lord knows and blesses the ways of the righteous,
But the works of the unrighteous will be utterly destroyed.
Psalm of Don 2017:10-20

Flight of The Hawk and Trowel -Prelude

Today I’m posting the prelude to a autobiography written by my father shortly before he was taken to an early grave by cancer. You are invited to read the complete book here.

Within the covers of this book is the fascinating story of a bashful, skinny, high school dropout. Pulled by financial distress into the occupation of his father, he took up the hawk and trowel, the major tools of a plasterer, to help lighten the money worries of his parents. Thus began his apprenticeship of living for others.
From my earliest memories, his was a life of hard work, and caring for the needs of those around him. As a self-educated man his intellectual pursuits carried him easily from Einstein to the Apostle Paul, from the Reader’s Digest to Bio-engineering. He could “rattle your cage” with a good joke or intrigue you with a discourse on Righteousness by Faith. He was an intensely private man who had trouble lying open his innermost feelings, but he became most eloquent with a pen and paper. He journalized his thoughts on the closest paper available ranging from the empty spaces on Church bulletins, used envelopes, brown paper bags, and paper towels to genuine notebook paper. In this biography, started shortly after his early retirement, he wrote and rewrote those experiences of his life that he wished to share with his family. When it became apparent that cancer would surely cut short his work on these pages, it’s completion became one of his driving compulsions, with his last editing being done one week before he died on June 18, 1986.
Throughout this story, the hawk, a tool of his trade, is given the wings of a bird that not only nurtures and feeds him and his family, but also carries him to a life of adventure and travel. At times facing life with all the wild abandon of his winged counterpart.
So, join the family on Dads lap for a view of life through one man’s eyes. Who knows, you may find some of your own genes mirrored herein.

Tribute To A Twelve Year-old Friend and Companion R.I.P. Jolie Jan.1, 2003 – Sept. 9, 2017


My favorite photo is of Jolie trying to hide from me behind a log.

Jolie began her life with us when she was barely 5 weeks old. We were informed of her existence when one of the bus drivers for Evelyn’s Special Needs Preschool classroom came into the room one Friday, to tell her about this batch of puppies that were being given away at one of her stops. She had already selected one, just to rescue it from the filth.
It seems that there were more than a dozen puppies living in an outside pen about six feet in diameter with a too-small igloo-type doghouse. It had been raining for for several days, as is typical in Southwest Washington. She wanted to know if we were interested in getting one. In order to keep the babies up out of the mud and feces, the owners had been sprinkling straw in the pen. They had been doing this for 5 weeks without cleaning the pen.
So, we went over to take a look that afternoon. By the time of our visit to select a pup it was a 3-4 inch wet, matted, soggy, stinky carpet. The puppies were a hyper, happy mass, begging for our attention.

We took turns holding her and decided that she was “the one.”Jolie_Baby01-2003






“We and Thee make
a family of three”










After watching the group with our daughter and granddaughter for several minutes they made their selection quickly. They decided they needed to rescue two of them.
We however, had to be more careful, because of our advanced age, we thought that we would have to get one that wasn’t quite so active as the mass. There was one little quiet girl pup that was hanging back from the others that captured our attention.





We set her down and she responded with an unusual vocalization that we had never hearJolie_PuppySignatureSpeech-2003d from a dog before.







Sort of “Awwh-lo-w-oh.” Sort of like our “Hello-o-o.” Little did we know that this would become her lifetime, trademark greeting with human friends, both old and new.

I had my phone handy at this first meeting and captured her vocalizing, for she was very insistent with it, repeating it whenever we got close to her. I think that this greeting was what really captured our hearts.
We told the owners that we would take her when she would be ready to leave her mamma at 9 weeks. After we got back home, we started having second thoughts. Not about keeping her, but about leaving her there in that squalor for another 4 weeks.
On Sunday, all we went back to plead for our puppies release sooner, fearing that they might die an early death. They relented and we took the three puppies home to a long bath, for they all smelled like poop! It took a bath every day for three days to get her smelling good.






Bath time was a fun time from the very beginning. She loved water.














Jolie’s birth mother was purebred Black Lab, from a long line of Seeing Eye dogs.














They told us that the father was a Great Pyrenees-Old English Sheepdog mix.








But, to me he looked like a fine, Old English Sheepdog, but the spawn of their cavorting covered a wide range of looks. Two were rather shorthaired, white Pynrees, One had the wirehair of a Russian Elkhound, and one looked like a black and white St. Bernard weighing more than 160 lbs. Jolie’s long white hair was in long ringlets when we let it grow out.
Jolie did not have the fine undercoat of her known brothers, so she did not go through the typical seasonal shedding. Occasionally we would find some white hairs around the house or in the cars. But, upon closer examination they usually turned out to be those of Evelyn.
Although we never found ANY black hair on Jolie, she did have large patches of black skin on her back and belly that could be easily seen through her thin hair when she was dripping wet. And in her last couple of years she developed freckles on her pink patches of skin.

Throughout her lifetime she was so often mistaken for a Goldendoodle, that Evelyn wanted to hang a sign around her neck reading, “I am NOT one of those Designer Dogs.”

On Monday we picked up some worming medication, which she ate with no problem. The next 3 stools were solid packs of dead worms. The following week we witnessed a transformation of character. She went from being docile and languid, to exuberance.

For the next 4-5 years it was like she was living on crack… and always on the run.








Good, dirty dogs….. SIT!


















In going to school with me for the first few months of her life, she readily made friends with just about everyone she met.











Her favorite brother, Chucky, grew up to be the largest.







At two years of age we started taking her to obedience school to get some of her impulsiveness irradiated. She was a good listener and obedient… until she would see a cat, rabbit or strange dog. The first two she would immediately chase without warning. Other dogs she evidently checked at a distance to determined whether they would would submit to her being “Top Bitch,” If not, she would attempt to subdue them.

It wasn’t until the last 3 years or so of her life that I learned, pretty well, how to anticipate her reactions to other dogs by her demeanor on the leash and could avert a dogfight. But sometimes she would surprise me and take on a dog that seemed to me to be friendly.

Living next door to two of her brothers, she never lacked for playmates anytime we were in Yacolt. In their ruff and tumble play, she ALWAYS came out the dirtiest





Typical Dirty Puppy Look with a bathing hose on standby.






The Stick Bit Team charging down the hill in Yacolt.

She was about one year old, and close to 80 lbs, when Evelyn retired and we hit the road, working around the country doing camp hosting and other small jobs.
One of the places we stopped at was Butterfield Ranch and RV Park. We loved the place and spent two winters hosting there, and spent a lot of time exploring the area. It was there that she developed the life-long routine of a morning, noon and evening potty walk. She would NEVER urinate or poop in her own space, whether it be on a rope or in her fenced yard.

She was very clean in her personal habits… except for her penchant for finding rotting roadkill or fresh manure to roll in, but more on that later.

Also, her memory for places she had visited was a constant source of amazement to us. More on that later, also.


Sadness in Heaven and Earth

This week I attended a pathos-filled event at our school. Hardly anyone was aware of its unfolding. In fact, I only had about a 2 hour notice to get ready for it. Only a few of our faculty attended, because it took place during school hours.

The 15 year-old grand daughter of one of our part-time maintenance personnel gave birth at 7 months to a stillborn baby earlier this week and its internment was in the little half-acre cemetery on the school property.

The death of anyone brings tears to my old eyes, but the death of a little one whose smiles have not graced the light of day is especially gut-wrenching. This little one will not, in this lifetime, be able to take its first steps, or bring laughter to its parents. He will not be able to make his parents proud with his progression into adulthood. The world will be lacking the God-given skills and talent that this man-in-the-making would have been contributing.

I mourned as his parents knelt at the open grave and grieved, I could do no other. May God bring peace to the parents and extended family as they continue to mourn this great loss. By seeking God’s salvation they have the promise of seeing this child alive again. God Bless!