Tag Archives: daughters

Things I Learned Before, During, and After My Daughter’s Surgery

The Surgery

This post was Katie-approved.

On Friday my middle daughter, Katie, underwent surgery to have her gallbladder removed. We appreciated all your prayers and well-wishes.

This morning (Saturday), as I sit here typing, Katie is across the room utilizing the recliner that was supposed to bring me joy and comfort after my rotator cuff surgery – it didn’t. I’m glad it’s helping her.

Hopefully and prayerfully…and please continue to pray for her…Katie will be up and going much better by tomorrow. However, I have my concerns.

Things I Learned

Katie is as unique as they come; there’s no one like her. She is uber sweet, persistently positive, the sunshine in a dark room, and the one person for whom saying “It’s my pleasure” when serving customers at Chick-fil-A is not good enough…she says, “It’s my sincerest pleasure!”

But Katie is also the least pain-tolerant person I know, and she hates needles with a passing-out passion. Therefore, anyone who gives her pain, or allows pain to persist, is likely to be served something other than chicken.

So, in bullet-pointed fashion, here are some things I learned on the way to the hospital, before Katie’s surgery, during Katie’s surgery, and after Katie’s surgery, including the first day of recovery.

On the way to the hospital…

  • Maintaining a positive attitude is a good thing.
  • Maintaining unrealistic expectations is a bad thing.
  • Doctors and hospitals are always running behind, so it’s no use stressing; you’re gonna be late to check in – laugh about it.
  • Make sure you bring a gender-appropriate bag in which you will be responsible for lugging around 25 pounds of clothing, books, snacks, and phone chargers while moving from room to room. A grown, masculine man can grow weary of “nice purse” comments when the virtual suitcase in which the items are packed is pink.

At the hospital…

  • If you’re going to make use of the free valet parking, make sure all your important items are secure or on your person before giving your keys to a guy with questionable hygiene.
  • It is possible for a nurse to think you’re a different patient, take you to the wrong room, prep you for a different surgery, all before asking if your name is the same as on the chart she’s looking at. Instead of having her gallbladder removed, Katie almost got a colonoscopy!


  • Pray a lot, then just trust God to handle everything.
  • Remember that sweet smile; it may be a while before it comes back.
  • Don’t say “goodbye” as they wheel you away to be cut on.
  • Boyfriends have a tendency to hog the visitation time.

During Surgery – the Waiting Time

  • Bring your own food to nibble on, or else take out a loan to eat.
  • One must take the initiative to make new pots of coffee in the waiting room – the staff doesn’t care to drink tar.
  • Taking a book to read is a great thing, but be prepared for distractions… like worthless morning shows blaring on the waiting-room television, or visitors who don’t understand that one of the reasons you went along with the whole surgery thing is that you knew it would give you a couple of hours to get some guilt-free reading done.
  • Hosptial Wi-Fi is crappy.

Post-Surgery Recovery

  • Those intolerant to pain are nearly impossible to comfort.
  • Uber-sweet, godly little girls who are intolerant to pain may surprise those in the room with their intimate knowledge of vulgarity.
  • Dad visitation privilages trump boyfriend visitation privileges.

First Day of Recovery

  • Calories don’t matter when making breakfast – at least for the ones NOT recovering.
  • Whiny, pain-intolerant people can get on your nerves, but you have to love them anyway – just keep giving them pain pills.
  • All it takes is one abdominal surgery to make an opinionated young woman reevaluate her beliefs on birth control and her desire to have children.
  • My first grandchild from Katie will probably be Chinese or Korean.

Again, thanks for your prayers and well-wishes. If nothing else, I learned a few things.



Filed under current events, General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

When My Daughters Cry

I am a Christian.

I’m also a father.

Sometimes I’m called “dad,” while other times it’s “daddy.”

And, I don’t like it when my daughters cry.

If you want to find out how spiritual I truly am at any given moment, just make my little girls cry. On the one hand you may discover that I have complete control of my tongue; that I’m able to “be angry and sin not”(Eph. 4:26); or that I’ve mastered the discipline of taking all things to God in prayer before I act.

On the other hand, I may disappoint you.

Sanctification is a process.

I’m not always nice.

I’m not always quick to forgive.

Sometimes I forget to Whom vengeance belongs (Rom. 12:19).

Sometimes I fail to take all thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5), leaving a few violent ones to bounce around in my head.

I want to “walk worthy” of my calling (Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10; 1 Th. 2:12), but sometimes I trip.

You see, I’m a Christian, and a father,

But sometimes I’m just a dad.

And I don’t like it when my daughters cry.



Filed under Christian Living, Life Lessons, Parenting

Girls, Take My Advice

What I’m Not

I know it may offend some of you, but I need to get this out in the open right from the start – I am not a woman, nor do I feel like one…and I don’t want to.

I am very happy to be a man – one born that way – with no desires to experience female-related problems. Those males who do desire to “feel like a woman” seem to want to avoid those problems, too. For example, I rarely hear it reported that a sex-change operation will promise one the glorious ability to experience menstruation, heat flashes, mood swings, or endometriosis; that doesn’t appear to be a selling point.

And now that I think about it, should I ever – which I won’t – decide to become a “female,” I tend to think multi-tasking and “women’s intuition” wouldn’t magically appear with the removal of my guy parts and the injection of estrogen. So, if I couldn’t have those two advantages, why become someone who has to worry about hair, makeup, heels, fabric combinations, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, and if you think what I just said was stereotypical and sexist, it might have been. And if it was, then why is it that men who say they want to become women can’t become women in the masculine context in which they were born? In other words, why is it that Bruce Jenner had to turn into the stereotypical vision of what a “woman” is “supposed” to look like? Why couldn’t he, and every other trans, stay the way they were instead of trying to fit into the box of the stereotype? There’s MUCH more that I could say on this issue, but I will digress.

What I Am

Like I said, I know I am not a woman, and I don’t want to be. And because I am not a woman, it might be hard for me to understand …scratch that… it’s nearly impossible for me to understand how women think. However, I do have some valuable insight based on years of experience with women; therefore, you might find it beneficial.

You see, even thought I am not an estrogen-producing sis-female (to be PC for once), I have lived a long time with a bunch of them. But what’s more important than what I don’t understand is what I DO understand, and that is the mind of a man.

I am a man… a red-blooded, stereotypical, gun-toting, testosterone-producing (no shots needed), stand-up-peeing kind of guy. I have a one-track mind, can compartmentalize like you wouldn’t believe, and love the smell of gunpowder in the morning.

What’s more, I am a faithful husband, a spiritual leader, and a father to three wonderful girls. That’s what I bring to the table today.

My Advice

My daughters (at least the two younger ones) are eventually going to find husbands, one probably sooner than the other. The advice I would like to leave with not only them, but all of you other girls out there, is what to look for in a man you will marry. Take it from me – a man – I know the difference between a good one and a not-right-now-put-him-back-on-the-shelf one.

10 Words of Advice to Girls Who Are Searching

  1. Know your own worth.
  2. Don’t settle.
  3. Find a man who loves God more than you. Matthew 6:33
  4. Life is like a trip through the Atlanta airport – even the smallest of baggage gets heavy after a while.
  5. Never, ever assume the man you meet will become the man you want. Ain’t gonna happen.
  6. Accept nothing less than a spiritual/moral leader you can respect; if he looks up to you more than you look up to him, ditch him.
  7. It’s better to be single than smothered, abused, and/or controlled.
  8. Know who you are, what you are, and Who’s you are, then find a man who accepts and compliments (yes, I used that word) all you desire to be.
  9. If he doesn’t honor and respect his or YOUR parents, then he will most likely never be the kind of parent worth respecting – and he might not live long (Matthew 15:4; Ephesians 6:2-3).
  10. Lastly, make sure you like his family, and he likes yours… and that your family likes him, too. Marriage is meant to grow family, not destroy it.

Look, you don’t have to agree with any of my advice, but it comes from years of experience and professional observation. You have a choice in the matters of love, so don’t let someone sweep you off your feet without first doing your homework.

When you let the wrong man sweep you off your feet, you’re likely to fall from arms that can’t hold you. 


Filed under Christian Maturity, Defining Marriage, General Observations, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Hair Today, Grace Tomorrow


You have probably heard it said before, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. At least that’s a common saying when it comes to parenting. Of course, there are sometimes when the battle chooses you, but for the most part, we can decide which battle should take priority. When it comes to my daughter getting her hair cut, well, I’ve decided that is a battle I am willing to invest few resources.

The other day my youngest, Haley, came to me and told me that she wanted to have her hair cut – and I mean CUT! I must admit, the idea of my beautiful little girl having her pretty hair scissored from her head made me sad. On the other hand, I was not as mournfully brokenhearted as Katie, Haley’s older sister. But, when she explained to me why she wanted it cut, and what she wanted it to look like, I just said, “OK, whatever makes you happy.”

However, since we are talking “battles,” don’t think “whatever makes you happy” will always be my response – no sir! Like I said, there are some battles worth fighting, it’s just that this one was not it. I mean, should she have come to me and asked if she could get her hair nearly shaved off and spiked and colored purple? Uhh, no. That wouldn’t have happened. And should she have come to me and asked for a tongue stud, or a tramp stamp… you get the picture… NO! And I would fight those battles.

Believe me, there are FAR more battles worth waging on behalf of our children, far more than ones over how short their hair should be!

But all Haley wanted was to have her pretty hair cut and styled shorter…and I wanted her to be happy…and there was really nothing wrong with what she was wanting to do. It was just hair – it can grow back.


But here’s the thing, folks. Should my little Haley gone out and done something that made me angry, something of which I would have strongly disapproved, would that have changed the fact that she is my daughter?

NO! Absolutely not!

If Haley had gone and got that tattoo on her back, or the nose ring, or the spiked hair…or far worse…yes, I still would have loved her, even though, as her dad, I would have been ticked. I would have been disappointed for my own reasons, but I wouldn’t have kicked her out of the house; she’s my daughter.

And that’s the thing about real grace. God loves us enough to let us live, even if our life choices prove to be out of step with the norm, or not what others would like. We are not talking about sin, but individual choices and decisions of life, where there is no real right or wrong, just the opportunity to offend or hurt. God’s grace allows us to be ourselves, within his boundaries, because He actually DOES want us to be happy.

Thankfully, though, when the choices of a believer DO cross the line and become sin, our Heavenly Father may be quick to discipline us, but He never stops loving us…we are family…we are His children.

So, the hair may be gone today, but grace isn’t.

How It Happened – In Pictures


Here is Haley, hair intact, with the Follicle Vampire about to strike.

Here is Haley, hair intact, with the Follicle Vampire about to strike.


I had to keep reminding myself it could grow back. On the other hand, I could make a wig out of that!


The finished product: A selfie-worthy cut on a beautiful daughter.





Filed under grace, legalism, Parenting, Relationships and Family

My Daughter’s Updated List (the “Arachnilist”)

Adding to the List

Not long ago I shared a list which one of my beautiful daughters sent to me. It was a list describing the qualities that must be present in the man who might be interested in relating with her.

Click HERE to read the previous post.

This morning she texted me a “sub-list” to the previous list, and I think it is worth sharing. If some young man does strike her fancy, he’d better not be a pajama boy.

“You know that list that I made for my qualifications for a special male friend??? Well the sub-list is as follows:

1. Cleans up after the dog.

2. Washes the dishes.

3. Cleans out the fridge.

4. Rids all windows of spiders.

spider-facts5. Rids house of spiders.

6. Rids garage of spiders.

7. Rids shed of spiders.

8. Comes to my aid when he does not fully complete his assignment of ridding said places of said eight-legged creature, regardless of the time or what he is tasking himself with upon the call.”

I’ve got a feeling she must have had a Monday-morning run-in with a dorm-dwelling arachnid. Notice both the spider and the list have eight points.

Sounds Familiar!

So, to sum up both lists, the guy must be a godly Christian who cooks, cleans, rubs feet, and kills spiders.  Seems she might be looking for a bi-vocational super-spiritual minister who’s done everything from restaurant work to pest control.

Hah! Isn’t that sweet? She wants a man just like her daddy! 😉

Except I hate rubbing feet. Just saying.


Filed under Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family

My Daughter’s List

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to get my daughter hitched. However, if you are a young man who can live up to Katie’s high standards, then let’s talk.

And believe me, we will talk first.

A few days ago my daughter Katie (age 20, not far from 21) sent me an email containing a list of what she wanted in a man. Unbelievably, even though she is now a senior at Bryan College, has a beautiful voice, is a fantastic photographer, and bubbles with a personality as lovely as her looks, she still has no marital prospects. Crazy, right?

What’s wrong with you guys??

Do you have, and can you do all the following?

  1. katie-before-the-banquet-at-bryanHas a heart that wants to serve God in every way and serves to refine my heart for Christ
  2. Patient
  3. Respectful to all people and animals
  4. Wants to honor my family
  5. Respects and honors my body
  6. Has a love for children
  7. Lives a healthy lifestyle and encourages me to do the same
  8. Will be respectful of my dietary requirements
  9. Has a strong work ethic with a reasonable plan for life
  10. Will willingly give quality massages (primarily on feet and neck) upon request and out of self will

If you are interested in becoming my son-in-law, you’ll figure out how to get in touch with me. Then, if I think you might possibly make her happy, I’ll forward the info. She has the final word, though.

Any takers?

Oh! I do have a badge (so I have connections), and I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment. Just FYI.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.


Filed under Life/Death, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Happy 16th Birthday, Haley!

Sweet Sixteen

Today (July 28th) my youngest daughter, Haley, turns sixteen. I am so happy for her, but it does make me feel old.

Haley has always been the serious one, the only baby in the family who would look at the photographer trying to make her laugh and say with an expression, “Are you serious?” No joke, if you were to look back at all of our girls’ baby pictures, Haley is the only one who very rarely smiled. Thankfully, she got the smile to working.


But Haley is not longer a baby  – she’s sixteen. That’s 16. That’s driver’s license age. That’s the same age as Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles (although I have no idea how old Molly was when it was filmed). Am I ready for my serious little baby girl to ride around with a 20-something in his daddy’s Rolls Royce?

Uhmm… No. I’m not.

The Birth Announcement

Do you want to know how I first heard about Haley? Sure you do, or you’d quit reading.

Sixteen years ago I was working in Hopkinsville, Kentucky at Fuqua-Hinton Funeral Home, while my wife and other two daughters were still in Chattanooga. My wife had been trying to find a way to tell me she was expecting, but could never track me down. Finally, I was stopped by an older, Lurch-like funeral home worker as I was coming out of my office.

“Anthony, I need to tell you something… You need to sit down.”

“What’s going on?” I asked with a little curiosity.

Looking down at me with little expression and with a matter-of-fact tone he said, “You’re wife called. She’s pregnant. You’re going to have a baby.”

Yeah, that’s how I found out.

The Wildcat

July 4th at the park.

July 4th at the park.

In case you didn’t get it, Haley was born in Kentucky, so that makes her a Wildcat. Now, she is not a big Kentucky Wildcat fan, or anything, but the name fits, that’s for sure.

Haley is anything but placid. Haley is as matter-of-fact as the funeral home where I worked, always serious, even when she’s having fun. But Haley is no one to be trifled with; she’s a gun-loving, knife-wielding, fish-catching, John Deere-riding kind of girl with an a hankering for action.

Haley loves to dress up with an elegance that rivals Grace Kelly, but give her half-a-chance and she’ll get down and dirty picking weeds out of mulch and hauling rock with a wheelbarrow. As a matter of fact, she’s a little entrepreneur: she’s started her own little business called “Hard-Work’n Southern Girl.”

Doing the hard work, like her grandpa and great-granddaddy before her.

Doing the hard work, like her grandpa and great-granddaddy before her.


But if there is anything about Haley that makes me most proud is her boldness; Haley is fearless when it comes to approaching people. This trait can be especially useful when trying to sell a box full of my books to total strangers. Haley has no problem walking up to someone and offering them a flyer, asking them to buy a book, or walking up to a total stranger in need of help and offering hers.

Haley helping after stormWhen a storm comes through our community and blows down trees that block the road, Haley is the first to look for ways to help a neighbor…even when the neighbor looks a little scary and has a chainsaw (my wife took the picture – she stayed in the car while Haley got out and helped).

But it’s when she is bold about her faith in Jesus…when she walks up to a stranger and invites him to church… when she’s waiting in line somewhere and finds a reason to offer them one of my business cards and says, “You should come hear my dad preach”… when she wants to help out in the projects where the children of drug dealers need Bibles…

When she’s taken life’s tragedies and her own brokenness as an opportunity to make things right for others who’ve also been wounded and hurt…

When she reaches out to the unloved, the unlovely, the friendless, and the forgotten…because that’s what Jesus would do…

THAT is what makes me the proudest dad in the world.

November, 2015

Volleyball Banquet, November 2015

Happy birthday, Haley! I love you!!

Celebrating the b-day at Summit @ Bryan College. We brought roses :-) Katie, is on the right.

Celebrating the b-day at Summit @ Bryan College. We brought roses 🙂 Katie, is on the right. Can you pick out Sean McDowell in the upper left corner?


Filed under Parenting, Relationships and Family