Breaking News/Breaking Heart: July 14, 2017: “Daddy’s Gone”

Hi Friends:

It is with great sadness that I convey the news that our beloved Father went to be with Jesus, yesterday, Friday, July 14, 2017.

Daddy had just turned 93 years old on June 29.

After an extended illness, Daddy passed on, very peacefully, at 11:30 yesterday.
Shortly after 3:30, yesterday, I held the pen as God gave me the words to “Daddy’s Gone.”

Today, I write to all of our friends, everywhere, who have experienced this same grief and sorrow … I can, now, truthfully say, I know exactly the pain and anguish you are going through. As I read the words from the first sentence, above … it begins to “hit me.”

I have written much, and often, about our beloved Mother, who passed away on Valentine’s Day, in 2013. Like so many of you, “writing” about Mama is easy … Writing about Daddy … well … it just isn’t. I think of all the songs about “Mama,” and the few songs written about “Daddy.”

I went to the pages of “Modern Day Psalms,” remembering that I had written about Daddy in those pages. First, I remembered something I wrote about Mama, and I can now say the exact same thing about Daddy:

“Please allow me to comfort and encourage you with these words:
As a parent, when it comes to your children, there are three things you most worry about when they are away from the house, gone with friends, etc. These would be:
1. Where they are.
2. Who they are with.
3. When will you see them again?

Now, as a loving son … when Daddy left us … so much of the pain and agony was taken away, because:
1. I knew where he was.
2. I knew who he was with.
3. I knew that I would see him again.”

I found the introduction to “The Bottomless Sea,” a poem I wrote from the passenger side of my father’s truck, during a trip from Georgia to Arkansas.

Please allow me to share this, from the Introduction:

“As he drove, 45 miles an hour the whole way, we hardly talked. Daddy didn’t talk much as a rule, so I just concentrated on the scenery, the continual stream of cars passing us, all the while hoping he would pick up enough speed to change into fourth gear. I remember thinking that at least we wouldn’t have to slow down if we had to take an exit off of the interstate.

It had been years since I had spent this much time with Daddy, and I will always remember this time of being together. Of thinking what a wonderful man he was, and among many other qualities, he was the most honest man I have ever known. He is the only person I have ever seen who, when finding money (that wasn’t his) in the change slot of a vending machine, puts the money back into the machine. Because of the way Daddy was, when I read the story of how Abraham Lincoln walked several miles to return a borrowed book, I never doubted the story.

How often we forget how blessed we are, just to have parents like I’ve had. To be raised in church, to have had a Godly upbringing, and then when I went off into deep water, God rescuing me, bringing me up out of the bottomless sea.

There is one thing, also, I’d like to mention about my father. It was advice he gave me, during the darkest point in my life. Daddy wasn’t the type of father that you could just “talk to” about problems. Frankly, I was afraid to talk to him for most of my pre-adult life. However, as I look back, at the time I needed it most, he gave me a sentence … one sentence of advice and wisdom … wisdom that I have shared often, in the pages of this volume.

Without going into too much detail, it was a Sunday, immediately after suffering the “Betrayal” of which such works as “It Took a Judas” was based upon.
Here’s what I wrote:

“I drove the 100 miles or so to my Mom and Dad’s house. There was never a time in my life when I needed to see my parents more.

I explained to my Mom … and then … the hard part. The hardest part, ever, was explaining anything to Daddy. I don’t mean that as negative as it may seem. It was just so hard to talk to Daddy, especially when it was an emotionally-charged issue. I knew I had to tell him, somehow. He left the house to go out back to take care of the animals. I joined him, and as we walked across the yard, I feebly attempted to explain to Daddy what was going on …  

He looked at me, and then, stopped. It seemed the world stopped, as well. The look he gave me was one I’ll never forget. It was a look of understanding and compassion. From Daddy! A man of so few words, he then spoke the words that will echo across the generations:

“Well, these things have a way of working out for the better.”

When I was at the very bottom, both my father and Jesus were there for me.”

God gave me the words to “Don’t Weep for Me” on the day my Father-in-Law (the “Vincent” in R.V.R.) was called Home. Now, just hours after Daddy (the “Richard” in R.V.R.) was taken to be with Jesus, I hold the pen as these words, and my tears, flow onto the pages:

Daddy’s Gone

He was the most honest man I ever knew
If you’d known him, you’d thought that, too

He’s always say, “I don’t know”
But you knew that he did
He was Charles Atlas, Jack Lalanne, and Superman
To a whole houseful of kids

Six kids he raised
With the sweat from his brow
You should see how those kids turned out
And where they are now

He didn’t say much, that’s for sure
But, the words he spoke, they will endure

He lived a long life, you see
You’ll never know what his life meant to me

He didn’t talk much
Especially to me
But, when he did
I carry that, as a special memory

The world he left; he didn’t mind
Life’s pain and suffering, he left behind
He’s now with Mama, and dear Sister Sue
And now, he’s waiting, to talk with you

He was rugged, and tough,
And he knew what it meant
When you said, “Life is rough”

He had a soft, tender side
Which only my sisters saw
My wife, Carol, saw that same side
He reminded her of her Grampa

No greater man there ever was
I wish I had told him … just because
Just because … we all need to hear
We all need to hear
That someone … somewhere …
Holds us dear

I was afraid of him
I really was
Like standing next to greatness
I really was

Now, he’s gone
And, now, I see
How great he really was
How great he was, to me

My eyes shed a tear
Because greatness stood so near
I wish that I had known him more
I wish that I had written this before

Daddy’s gone
But, not for long
I’ll see him yet again

Finally, he’s alive and well
He now has crossed that Golden Veil
We’ll talk and talk, and talk some more
As we stroll, with Mama, and Susan, on Heaven’s Golden Shore

Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Written the afternoon of July 14, 2017


Modern-Day Psalm Classic: “You’re My Yuletide Carol”

Hi Friends:
Just thought I’d share both the “Full Version” and the
“Christmas Carol” Version of this song, along with the Introductions to both, which I included in the book.

Merry Christmas!

You’re My Yuletide Carol

People find it hard to believe, but it’s true: I wrote this Christmas song before I had ever met Carol. I had spoken with her often on the telephone, but we had never met. The first time we met was at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, when she was visiting Georgia to attend a concert given every year by mutual friends of ours. I’ve often written of how “I just knew” that Carol was the one I was to spend the rest of my life with.

Carol arrived on a Wednesday night, and the concert was Saturday. She helped me make changes to the work, and our friends hurriedly put the music together, and played this as a special song at the concert. I’ve always envisioned this as a new Christmas classic, sung by someone like Tony Bennett.

I got the idea a few days before Christmas, as I was getting ready for Carol’s visit. I was playing a favorite Christmas album (yes, I still play albums), and, from out of nowhere, the phrase “Yuletide Carols” just seemed to freeze in mid-air. So, I grabbed it, and wrote this in advance of Carol’s visit.

I was asked to include the song in this volume, and I hope it shows some variety in my work. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this song with you. I hope you enjoy it. And, again, I remind you that it’s ok to love your wife! And, to say you do.

You’re My Yuletide Carol
(Full Version)

You’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
You’re my Yuletide Carol
I just want you to know

My Christmas wish comes true
As your plane touches down
I can’t wait, my dear
To show you the town
You’ve been so long in the frozen north
The stairs unfold as my holiday bursts forth

And you’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
You’re my Yuletide Carol
And my heart’s all aglow

As I catch my first glimpse of you
At the gate
I know in an instant
That it was worth the wait
As your smile melted the icicles
From around my heart
I just can’t wait
For my holidays to start

My hopes and my dreams
Won’t be dashed through the snow
Cause you’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so

The nights are no more silent
My heart’s all aglow
And you’re my Yuletide Carol
And you’re as lovely as a bow

Oh! The sights that we will see
All over Christmas town
I’m so thankful that in your arms
This Yuletide spirit I’ve found
Your love is enough
To last the year round

So much to see
So much to do
A few days left
And the holidays are through
You’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
So soon you’ll be gone
Just like the snow

Christmas bells are all ringing
And the skies are so clear
A warm fire is burning
As I hold you near
The light in your eyes sparkle
Like the new fallen snow
The season soon over
Where, oh where, did it go?

And you’re my Yuletide Carol
I just want you to know
You’re my Yuletide Carol
Do you really have to go?
You’re my Yuletide Carol
Let’s just stay under the mistletoe

Time goes by so very fast
If only I could make
Something so wonderful last
You’re my Yuletide Carol
Do you really have to go?
You’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
Yes, you’re my Yuletide Carol
And I, yes I, love you so

You’re My Yuletide Carol (Christmas Carol Version)

Remember, the “reason” that Carol had come to Georgia, that December, was to witness the Christmas concert, and, certainly, for no other reason, such as to meet me.

So, in advance of the concert, Carol and I got together and shortened the original, to a “Christmas Carol” version of the song, which was performed on stage that following Saturday night.

I still envision Tony Bennett singing the Christmas Carol version of the song …

It just begs of being sung …

“And you’re my yuletide Carol
And I love you so”

You’re My Yuletide Carol
(Christmas Carol Version)

You’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
You’re my Yuletide Carol
I just want you to know

Christmas bells are all ringing
And the skies are so clear
A warm fire is burning
As I hold you near

The light in your eyes sparkle
Like the new fallen snow
The nights are no more silent
You’ve got my heart all aglow

And you’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
You’re my Yuletide Carol
Let’s just stay
Under the mistletoe

In your arms, this Yuletide
Spirit I’ve found
Your love is enough
To last the year round

Time goes by so very, very fast
If only I could make something
So wonderful last

You’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so
My hopes and my dreams
Won’t be dashed through the snow

And you’re my Yuletide Carol
And I love you so

Merry Christmas!
Richard. Vincent. Rose.



From Modern-Day Psalms for Valentine’s Day: “Don’t Weep for Me: Mama Version”

Don’t Weep For Me (Mama Version)

When I read “Don’t Weep for Me” at a memorial service, I always change the paragraph about military service, to fit the life of the one to whom the service is being given for, always leaving the “bosom of Abraham” reference to close that personalized paragraph.

When my beloved Mother went to be with Jesus, it was early on Valentine’s Day … February 14, 2013. During the period of mourning that followed, I wanted to re-write “Don’t Weep for Me” in honor of Mama.

I went in and added words that detailed what she most loved in her life: Jesus, and her family.
Mama loved the Psalms; it was her favorite book. I also could not leave out the fact that, when Jesus came and got her, it was Valentine’s Day.

Something else about Valentine’s Day: February 14th is also my mother-in-law’s birthday, who passed away on Good Friday, in 2003. Let’s just say that neither of those days will ever be the same again.

Please allow me to comfort and encourage you with these words:
As a parent, when it comes to your children, there are three things you most worry about when they are away from the house, gone with friends, etc. These would be:
1. Where they are.
2. Who they are with.
3. When will you see them again?

Now, as a loving son … when Mama left us … so much of the pain and agony was taken away, because:
1. I knew where she was.
2. I knew who she was with.
3. I knew that I would see her again.

Don’t Weep For Me
Mama Version

Don’t weep for me
If you could see
What I now see
You would not weep … you would shout “Victory!”

I know that only sadness now you feel
But, you need to know that Heaven is real
If you could only see the streets of gold, the pearly gate
You would not cry, you might even envy my fate

The skies are always sunny, bathed in God’s own light
There is no more rain, no clouds, and no more night
I’ve left behind sickness, heartache, and pain
No more tears, broken dreams; for now, all is gain

For, here, there is no more sorrow, poverty, or lack
I can tell you now-I don’t ever want to go back
Back to the earth, and the trials every day …
No, I’ll take Jesus, and peace … right here I will stay

Don’t weep for me now
You don’t know what you do!
Don’t wish I was there
For if you only knew!

On Thursday, February 14th, at 2:45
It was not that I died, I became alive
I have no more sickness, no more pain
There will be no more clouds, no thunder, no rain

It was no coincidence
That it was Valentine’s Day
When the One I most loved took me away
Waiting for you
Here I will stay
The Lord is my Shepherd-Trust Him today
I fought the good fight
The good race I ran
And now I’ve landed safely
In the bosom of Abraham

For, here in eternity I will forever rest
And walk down these streets with the one called “Blessed”
For I have reached my eternal reward
With the chorus of saints I join in one accord

I don’t have time now to shed just one tear
I can only hope that one day, you too, will be here
My body I’ve left, but why should you grieve?
I’ve traded it all for this new body I’ve received

I’m singing right now, and laughing out loud
If you could see me right now, I know you’d be proud
I trusted in Jesus, and Jesus alone
I traded my hospital bed to sit on God’s throne

There should be only one reason for you all to cry
And that is to not know where you’ll go when you die
For one day you’ll die and you’ll be right here
But, if you’ve trusted in Jesus, you’ll have nothing to fear

I’ll wait, and I’ll wait for you to decide
If you don’t trust Jesus, then I’ll be the one who cried

So, don’t weep for me
You know the gospel is true
Follow its course
Lest, from above, I weep for you

So, just remember, if you start to cry
Instead, just look up at that big, blue sky
I’m looking down to tell you again, just like days gone by,
That “God loves you … and … so do I …”

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Modern Day Psalms: Available at all online book retailers!
Modern Day Psalms:
Available at all online
book retailers!


From “Modern Day PSALMS”: The Eagle Still Flies

The Eagle Still Flies

The fabric of America is woven with the threads of time and patriotism. The fabric can be torn, or burned. But, the pattern that this cloth is made from is courage.”
Originally written on the back of a Wal-Mart Receipt

To fully appreciate the poem, we must go back to the days and months immediately following the events of September 11, 2001. “The Eagle Still Flies” captures the mindset of what Americans, and our friends all over the word, had at that exact moment in time.

Today, I teach students who weren’t even born in 2001. Just as we did in school, as we learned about Pearl Harbor and World War II, events which happened before we were born. What stood out then, and now, is the patriotism which these tragic events would birth across the United States, and the world. As a fan of “Old Time Radio,” I have radio programs from that era which, frankly, would not even be allowed to be broadcast on the airwaves today.

America was attacked. By an enemy who wished to destroy us, and especially, our way of life.
What the enemy did not realize, just as in World War II, was that what was called “a sleeping giant” in the 1940’s, may have been sleeping, but it was still very much alive.

As I write this, we are still at war. Daniel Webster said that “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” It simply can’t be overstated that freedom is not free, nor ever has been. One of my favorite quotes regarding military service is this: “If you don’t stand behind our troops, you are welcome to stand in front of them.”

Years ago, I had the distinct privilege of being elected to be the first vice-president of a regional writers club. The members consisted of individuals who had lived in all parts of the world. At least one of the members did not have a particularly positive view of the United States. After I had shared what was then a newly written “The Eagle Still Flies,” he offered a rebuttal of sorts, and called me a “Patriot.” His tone carried the same negative tone of what it must have sounded like when people began to call the early Disciples of Christ a “Christian.” Well, I am today, as I was that day, proud to carry the banner of “Patriot,” and be associated with others who have carried that same banner. Just as I am proud to carry the banner of Christ, and be associated with those who have, and still, carry His banner.

Original Spoken Introduction to “The Eagle Still Flies”

I’d like to share with you the original introduction, which I would dramatically read before the poem. Keep in mind that this was first presented while the memories of the terrorist attacks on our country were still fresh in our minds. This is the original copy transcript:

2 Corinthians 3:17 says that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
When I see the word, “liberty” or “freedom” I see Jesus’ name written all over it.
Thomas Paine said, in 1776, that “The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind.”

On September 11, 2001, evil called …
Interesting … 911 …
And, an entire nation answered.

We went from a nation known for rock ‘n roll
To take pride in Plymouth Rock, and “Let’s roll!”

We went from a place know as “Ground Zero”
To a place known as “Ground Hero.”

Let the word go forth
Through time and space
The United States of America is the center of peace and strength
Tranquility base is here
The eagle has landed
And the eagle still flies
Under star spangled skies

And, now …
A new patriotic poem for America …
“The Eagle Still Flies (Under Star Spangled Skies) …”

The Eagle Still Flies
A New Anthem for America

The sun came up this morning
Over a land still brave and free
Its borders still strong and standing
Against all tyranny

It seems just yesterday, I remember so well
As the morning dew slept on the towers that fell
The skies were so clear, the sunlight so bright
But evil’s conscience couldn’t sleep
And was awake through the night

Everyone can recall when they first heard the news
No one was sure how much more we would lose
Then, through the ashes, the smoke, and the flame
We realized this country would never be the same

The towers left standing
Are the towers within
The twin towers of liberty and freedom, my friend
Perched on top of these towers, the eagle will rise
To bring peace and justice to the world’s crying eyes

And the eagle still flies
Under star-spangled skies
And we still trust in God
But we won’t spare the rod
And we still say the pledge
Faith and courage
Give us the edge
And the eagle will soar
‘Cause we’re free evermore
From the hills to the shore
Yes! We’re free evermore

The eagle still flies under star-spangled skies
And our hope never dies
‘Cause the eagle still flies
Nations will rise
Buildings will fall
But there’s still one nation standing
That will answer the call
And we won’t run and hide
In our flag we still take pride
‘Cause freedom will win
Liberty we’ll defend

Through the smoke, through the fire
The wings of justice fly higher
Over canyon and tundra and treetops and sand
The fires of freedom’s victory have been fanned

From the streets on our soil
To lands across the sea
On freedom’s wings we will ride
For the whole world to see
The strength, the power, of liberty

And the eagle still flies
Under star spangled skies
And we still trust in God
But we won’t spare the rod
And we still say the pledge
Faith and courage give us the edge

And the eagle will soar
‘Cause we’re free evermore
From the hills to the shore
Yes! We’re free evermore

The eagle still flies
Under star spangled skies
And our hope never dies
‘Cause the eagle still flies
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Modern Day Psalms: Available at all online book retailers!


9/11: 14 Years Later and “The Eagle Still Flies”

Our High School Library features a large-screen television, so today, September 11, I set the channel to a news channel, in
order for students to see today’s coverage of the “9/11” observances held around the country … And, for these young people to “see what we saw” and experienced 14 years ago … An opportunity to see recorded history of the most significant event
in many of our lives …

The Library is a busy place, and I couldn’t watch much TV, but I did see clips from around the United States from today’s
observances …

As I write this now, I am thinking that, not once, did I see a news clip of a recording that was actually made on that day
of days, that Tuesday, 14 years ago … When we all remember where we were, what we were doing, “when we first heard the
news.” Since I don’t usually watch network news, there may have been clips from that day on other channels, or maybe
tonight, as the networks look back.

However, I was able to witness reactions from those in the Library, throughout the day, who shared their rememberances of
that day with students, and with me. One teacher tried to explain what happened on that day to a student who was only 2
years old at the time … The emotion in her voice … as she looked at me … and, then looked away … is something I just
can’t get out of my mind. It was the emotion of that day … the emotions of that day that we all felt … the emotion, what
we felt, that, even as I write this now, and remember her description, just hours ago, of how everyone turned on the TV
after the first Tower was hit … and then … on live television … the second Tower … As she explained to a young man,
only 2 years old at the time, about the emotions that day, what she felt, what we all felt … well, I had to turn away,

It’s been a long time since my writing brought tears to my own eyes … but, now, writing this, thinking about this lady,
explaining to someone who really “wasn’t there,” how we felt on that day … well … Now, I have to get up and walk around
a bit …

Today, as I watched news reports of the observances, I did see many quotes from that day, and the days immediately
thereafter. One of the quotes referred to the events of Pearl Harbor, in comparision. As I stood by, listening to this
Teacher explaining the emotions of September 11, 2001, for reasons I can’t explain, I mentioned Pearl Harbor, because I knew
that this student must have known about “that day.” So often, I’ve spoken of the great surge of patriotism which struck
America after 9/11, which I have, myself, often compared to the national patriotism shown immediately after Pearl Harbor. He
knew about Pearl Harbor. So, I went there … explaining that the morning after Pearl Harbor, there were lines outside of
the Military recruiting stations, stretching for blocks … This lady told of her own family, all of the brothers, in line,
waiting for the opportunity to “sign up” to join in the fight. Only the Father, there in line with his sons and many other
relatives, was not allowed to join.

Today, and I am sorry I had forgotten about this, but, in the Library, today, I heard about “The Sullivan Brothers” of World II. This was done in front of a crowd, so, as a result of today’s news coverage, we learned their story, and I’ll share this
now, from
“The story of the Sullivan brothers is one of patriotism and tragedy. Albert, Francis, George, Joseph, and Madison Sullivan
of Waterloo, Iowa enlisted together in the Navy on January 3rd, 1942. The brothers insisted on serving on the same ship, and
were assigned to the light cruiser U.S.S. Juneau. On the way to Guadalcanal the Juneau and several other ships were attacked
(known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal). Japanese torpedoes hit the Juneau hit multiple times, eventually sinking her on
November 13th, 1942. Survivors of the Juneau say that four of the brothers died immediately with the first torpedo hit,
while the fifth brother, George, died five days later from his wounds, exposure, exhaustion, and possibly a shark attack.”

Today, in the Library, a young man walked up to the Circulation Desk, and, pointing to the television, explained to me that
the news was about 9/11 … He lived in an apartment building … right across from the World Trade Center … He would have
been much too young to remember much, but, I must have seen that same apartment building in my visit to Ground Zero …

I heard another story today, in the Library. A Teacher, telling of the events-and especially the emotions, what we were all
feeling that day-told of a couple, whose son was graduating from the Military (I won’t mention the location) in South
Carolina. Set to gratuate from the Military on September 11. I just happen to personally know this couple, so the events
that follow I can actually visualize. They, from here in Northern New Hampshire, drove to Manchester, to catch their flight
to South Carolina. This was September 11, 2001. When they arrived at the airport, they were informed that all flights had
been cancelled, as all air traffic was ordered down. Remember that? Remember the emotions? This couple, and I know very well
the father, was not going to miss their son’s graduation. They drove back home … got the truck … and, loaded up all the
survival gear and supplies (I’ll leave it there) they could pack … and, headed to South Carolina. The description of how
the Military base, how it was so surrounded by tanks, etc., etc., was, just the day before, unimagianable.

Living in Connecticut at the time, I knew many people who “had people” in the Towers on that day. In my book, Modern Day  Psalms, I write about the events of that day, how the jets from Boston may have even flown over our home, and my feelings as
I drove home, my van covered in American flags, a proud member of the Presidential Prayer Team (a charter member), and how I
kept exclaiming, “We’re at war!” “We’re at war!” as I drove down Highway 84.

I remember President Bush addressing the nation … as his voice was nearly drowned out by the sound of military aircraft
circling … Remember that?

After writing “The Eagle Still Flies” as “A New Anthem for America,” I have been comforted and encourgaged by letters I’ve
received from many, including President Bush, the Mayor of New York, and so many others.

Today, I was proud, and touched, by a fellow teacher, who, after the Pledge of Allegiance (Yes! We stand and say the Pledge
of Allegiance at our High School!), gave an essay on why this day is important … whether we “were there” or not …

I can’t explain this, but I am, now, reminded of a story from the life of President Reagan, and I remember hearing this from
him, personally. After the assination attempt (remember that?), as he was being wheeled in to surgury, and, meeting the
operating surgeon, President Reagan looked up at him and said, “I hope you’re Republican.” The doctor’s response was this:
“Today, Mr. President, we are all Republican.”

I remember the emotions of September 11, 2001. I remember how I felt. I remember how we felt.
On that day … we were all “Americans.”

I had intended to only share with you my “New Anthem for America-The Eagle Still Flies.”
I wrote this, this day, September 11, 2015.

I’ll share the Anthem, and it’s introduction next time.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.




From Modern-Day Psalms: “I Dreamed About Mama Last Night”

I Dreamed About Mama Last Night

“I dreamed about Mama last night
Now I know what a saint looks like.”

This was written exactly as I remembered it.
It was less than two months after Mama had gone to be with Jesus, when I had the dream described here. It was so clear … so vivid …
The dream seemed so real. I woke up, ran to the office, and started to write down what I had seen. The dream started with all of us kids in church … and, then, a familiar voice echoed through the pews …

All she wanted for us kids was for us to serve the Lord … she was such an example …I have said it so many times, and I have heard so many people say it, and I’ll write it now:

“She was the closest thing to an angel ever placed on earth.”

I Dreamed About Mama Last Night

I dreamed about Mama last night
It’s been two months; No, wait! Not quite
It seems like so long ago
Then again, it seems just yesterday
When we saw her go

In my dream, I was in church
I was sitting in the front row
That should have been my first clue
That I was dreaming, you know

Oh, I was raised in church
Together, all six of us kids
Like stair steps in a single row
When the doors were open, we were all there
All of us listening intently
Some of us rocking to and fro

One day, we’ll all be back together in Heaven
I’m so glad about that right now
We can say thanks to Mama
She showed us the truth, the way, and how!

But, now, back to my dream
There I was, on the front row
Listening to our Pastor
Our Pastor from that time long ago

He looked as he had looked
When we were all together
There in that row
So real the pictures now seem
From a time so cherished
From a garden from which I would grow

I was listening to Pastor
Even making notes
When, behind me, from the center pew
Came a voice
A voice I loved
I voice I so well knew
I turned and I looked
And saw Mama sitting there
She was reading from Matthew
Her voice filled the church air

I know what you’re thinking
Was there something special that she wanted to share?
She was just doing what she always did
Being an example, hoping one day you’d be there

Is there a special message she wanted to impart?
Read your Bible
Stay in church
That is the start

And, I think that was the message
The message was her life
As a mother, a child of her Lord
The way she lived as a wife

Think about it
Don’t be sad
She lived the gospel
There’s just nothing to add

Stay in church
Read your Bible
Something to impart?
Begin reading about Jesus in Matthew
That’ll be a good start

I dreamed about Mama last night
Now I know what a saint looks like

I dreamed about Mama last night
Now I know how someone looks
After they’ve fought
The good fight

I dreamed about Mama last night
She wasn’t just alright
She was more than alright

Let me close by just adding
That Mama would want you to have what she had
So that, one day
You’ll get
What she has right now
And, she’s right, there’s nothing more to say
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

“I Dreamed About Mama Last Night”
One of THE “Praise Songs and Love Messages from “Modern-Day PSALMS” Available Now!
Modern-Day Psalms


Not Resolution, but Revelation

Simply put, what we need for today, every day, this time of year, every time of year:

We don’t need a New Year’s Resolution … what we need is a New Revelation … of Who Jesus Is, what He has done for us, and what He continues to do for us …

A New Revelation of Who Jesus Is, What He Is, and what we are “In Him.” And, how we need Him … every moment, of every day, of every year …

My old formula is still true:
Pray More
Study More
= Be More (Like Jesus)

Jesus still holds the future … Jesus still holds my future … Jesus still holds your future.
Let us also not forget, perhaps even more importantly … Jesus still holds the present.

I wanted to share with you something that would tell the story of Jesus, past, present, and future, and, most importantly, our part in it. So, I turned to Modern-Day Psalms, to hear the story of Jesus, and my part, your part, our part, in that story.

Every day, I pray that I would see others the way that Jesus does … and, that I would see myself … the way Jesus does … it seems He’s had His eye on us … for ever …

Please enjoy “He Saw All the Way to Me,” with an edited version of the introduction from the book:

He Saw All the Way to Me

This is an example of what Christian writing is, and should do. It tells the story of Jesus. Why and how He came, what happened to Him, and why it matters to me, and to you. Jesus is at the center; in fact, He is what the whole story, the gospel, is about … How he came to earth to save me … and you. And, as God always seems to be saying, “You’ve heard the gospel … You know it’s true … Now, what are you going to do about it?”

He Saw All the Way to Me

He came not from Bethlehem
He came from before time began
The infant Jesus just barely opened His eyes
And all eternity came into view
Enriched by a baby’s cries
As the baby’s eyes opened
And peered past the hay and the straw
It wasn’t just the shadows
Dancing off the walls that He saw
There, in the manger, He could see
From Nazareth, to Galilee
To Jerusalem, to Calvary
He could see … even then …
He could see … all the way … to me

Inside that feed trough, a manger
God Himself lay curled
His mother, Mary
May have rocked the cradle
But, inside, were the hands
That made, and ruled, the world

“I must be about my Father’s business”
He would, even as a youth, say
By age twelve, He was teaching the teachers
And showing the way
That family business that He spoke of
Wasn’t carpentry
That business that He spoke of
Was you, and me

He was now thirty years old
A man without food or rest
That’s when Satan took notice
And put Him to the test
Satan took Jesus all the way up
To the highest mountain peak
And said, “It’s all yours
If you’ll just fall at my feet”
When Jesus looked down
All the world He could see
When Jesus looked down
He could see
He could see … all the way … to me

His vision was clear
It never grew dim
And, He knew that one day
I’d be looking up to Him
It was the first time that Jesus
Ever looked down on anyone
He saw me believing
Believing in God’s only son

He would call several dozen
Only one dozen would stay
And, because of those twelve
We are here today

But, they took Him, and they killed Him
For political gain
He was nailed to a cross
After much torture and pain
It would make no difference how much
His followers screamed and cried
God’s plan for salvation, through the perfect Lamb
Would not be denied

His beaten, bruised body
Was held aloft for all to see
And, somehow, through the blood and the nails
Jesus still held His grip on eternity
Before He gave up the ghost, He opened His eyes
For one more “look and see”
He looked down past the soldiers
And, from the cross, He could see
He could see … all the way … to me

It had been three days since Jesus had died
When the angels appeared at the Lamb’s tomb side
Jesus, the Savior, was rising from the dead
It was all happening just like He said

With the stone rolled away
Jesus stepped out from the grave
Not just with power over death
But, with power to save
As Jesus took that first step
Having solved death’s mystery
He looked out from the tomb
And He could see
He could see … all the way … to me

His disciples were around Him
As He told them he had to leave
Even though He had just blessed them
Their souls began to grieve
Then, all at once, He began to rise
His feet leaving the ground

Jesus ascended toward Heaven
As they stood, gasping, all around
But, just before He disappeared into a cloud
Jesus took a moment to look down
From His vantage point, high in the sky
So far above hill and tree
He enjoyed the view
As Jesus could see
He could see … all the way … to me

Jesus came from glory
Starting in swaddling clothes
I may not understand it
But that is the way He chose
Please understand that we could not go to where He was
So, he had to come to where we were

Now, I look back, and consider just why
Jesus would keep looking at me
From the manger to the sky
There is only one reason
That He kept looking at me, and at you
And that is to see what me
And you, would do
There is but one reason
That He keeps looking at you
And that is to see
If you’ll make the right choice, too

Modern-Day Psalms


From Modern-Day Psalms: “In Praise of Pastor’s Wife”

In Praise of Pastor’s Wife

Now that I had gotten the words for the Pastor and Assistant Pastor, what about the Pastor’s wife? After all, besides my Mother (who’s best friend was a Pastor’s wife), the most Godly women I had ever known were Pastor’s wives. Plus, from our online businesses, we were always being asked if we had something for the Pastor’s wife.

For 16 years, after writing “Why, Pastor, Why,” I had never, not even once, been given anything that even resembled something to write for the Pastor’s wife. When I talked with my brother about this, he told me, “If God wants you to write it, He’ll give it to you.”

How great is God?
Remember, there is nothing He can’t do, and there’s nothing too hard for Him. Then, from “out of the blue,” totally out of nowhere, God began to give me the words for something to honor the Pastor’s wife. He started to give me the pieces of the puzzle.

There I was, so worried that I couldn’t write anything for the Pastor’s wife … I had no feeling to write anything for over 16 years … and, how great is God?
When He had finished, I had five pages of legal pad paper full of notes he gave me!
You don’t think God honors the Pastor’s wife?
He gives me two separate works to honor them!

One was “Letter to Pastor’s Wife,” also featured in this volume.
Here is the poem, written in praise of, and to honor, the Pastor’s wife.

In Praise of Pastor’s Wife

It seems every day, you’ve had to wear a different hat
And the last thing you’d want is a pat on the back
You’ve stood so tall, with Jesus and our Pastor both at your side
You have fulfilled every role, as friend, wife, mother, and bride
You and your husband are the models of one accord
And that’s just one of many reasons you are so loved and adored
Serving us as unto the Lord
You have given us more than we could ever deserve
You have been the most cherished role model of all
By showing us how best to answer God’s call
You have personally been there in good times, great times, and bad
You have been the mother many have wished for, or never had
You made a decision a long time ago
A decision to allow others around you to grow
The kindness and love you have shown
Is the best living example of the Word we have ever known
You have given your life to be a Pastor’s wife
The Pastor’s wife you chose to be
The image of the Bride of Christ
You’ll always be to me
What you mean to this church, and to each and every life
We are so thankful that you chose Jesus, and to be our Pastor’s wife
You just want to be a blessing, and, that you have been
If the Pastor, or us, had to choose, we’d both choose you again
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

In Praise of Pastors Wife“In Praise of Pastor’s Wife” is available as a special
Presentation Plaque-Personalized!
Only at Pastor Appreciation Gifts!



From Modern-Day Psalms: “Letter to Assistant Pastor”

Letter to Assistant Pastor

It had been several years since I had held the pen for
“Why, Pastor, Why.”

God had given me the idea for something just as significant for the Assistant Pastor, and I had kept the first words tucked away in a drawer. In the back of my mind, for years and years, I knew that, after writing “Why, Pastor, Why,” the natural next step would be to write something for the Assistant Pastor. I just didn’t get all of the words until sixteen years later. Yes, sixteen years. “Why, Pastor, Why” had kept us so busy, that I didn’t have the time, or inclination, to get back to something for the Assistant Pastor.

God gave me the words to “Letter to Assistant Pastor” in a variety of different locations, over those sixteen years, so I wrote the words on just as varied types of paper. I had some notes written on note cards, “sticky notes,” memo pads, and note pads. Yes, it took sixteen years to sit down and put them all together. Then, it was time.

What God gave me was not a poem, as with “Why, Pastor, Why.” I didn’t know “why” until the very end. The work to honor Assistant Pastors was not even a poem. It was a letter. I wrote the letter, written from the Pastor to the Assistant Pastor, and then … I got the ending. The ending that surprised even me! All these years, I just didn’t know. You’ll have to read the “Letter” to find out what I am talking about.

Haven’t we all known such wonderful Assistant Pastors? The words fit those I have been so blessed to have known. And, I hope those you have known.

In this volume, we have included the original “Letter to Assistant Pastor,” in its entirety, just as it was given to me, and then, we include the condensed version, in order to make it available as a plaque or print presentation.

Here’s a new quote God gave me, just for the Assistant Pastor:

“Jesus needs an Assistant Pastor. And, so does the Pastor.”

Letter to Assistant Pastor
Full Version

My Dear, Faithful, and Beloved Assistant Pastor:

For a long time now, you have knowingly, and willingly, stayed in the shadows, out of the spotlight. You have faithfully served me, while staying under my shadow. You have never complained about me getting “top billing.” In fact, you seemed to always take extra joy when I was exalted, when I was praised. Even for work that you had done. You always made sure that my name, not yours, was mentioned; that I got the credit.

You have worked all hours of the day and night to make sure that my goals were met. You would make sure that all of the congratulations, the reward, went to me. If you did not succeed, you would never mention my name in a negative way. You would take the blame. The only time my name was mentioned was to praise me for being with you every step of the way, for giving you encouragement to keep the faith. Your faith in me never faltered.

Even in despair, you would talk openly about how I was now helping you back up from failure, and how I was the one who would give you the help and encouragement to keep trying. You’ve wept, you’ve cried, wondering why I haven’t done more. Then, you realized that, many times, my plan was not to change the church-it was to change you.

You have made so many sacrifices of yourself, and your family, in order to serve me, and my family. I know that there were times you thought, “Let someone else clean it up, pick it up, get here 45 minutes before service, take the offering, give up days off, and give up family vacations for camp or conference.” But, you never said it.

Whatever trial you were going through, you never, ever, lost your faith in me. You were never afraid to come to me for help, or advice. And, even if, in your heart, you did not always agree with my suggestions, you always followed them. Sometimes, even blindly, always trusting that I had what was best for you in mind. You may have questioned, or not fully understood my judgment, but you never argued with my decisions.

Many times, I have asked you to speak for me, in my place. Many of those times, when you faithfully “stood in” for me, it was very difficult for you. I know that so many of those times when you stood behind the pulpit in my place, you were going through trials of your own. It took great courage and faith to deliver a message that you would find out, later, was really meant for you.

I know my shadow is large. But, even if you had to keep moving, your only desire was to make sure you stayed underneath it. I’ve known that, all along, some people have thought that you’ve stayed covered, even suffocated. Please know that you, and your dreams, haven’t been smothered. They’ve been covered. With prayer and protection.

When life was at its toughest, you’ve felt like that shadow had overtaken you. It had. It was my shadow. That’s why, when things were at their worst, you felt my presence so strongly. You felt that I was so near. It’s because I was.
I haven’t held you back.
I’ve held you up.

You’re right. You have been living in someone’s shadow, the whole time. My shadow.
Remember that you are not his assistant. You are my assistant.
You are not working for him.
You are working for me.

Thank you for your praise, your thanksgiving, your dedication, your faithfulness, your patience, and your life.

Signed, with eternal love,

Modern-Day Psalms available everywhere online!

letter to assistant pastor

Letter to Assistant Pastor is available as a special
Presentation Plaque-Personalized!
Only at Pastor Appreciation Gifts!


From Modern-Day Psalms: “Why, Pastor, Why”

Why, Pastor, Why

 “The reason, Pastor, that you mean so much to me
Is that when I look at you
It’s Jesus that I see”

 “Why, Pastor, Why” is a poem specifically purposed to uplift and encourage Pastors. While it is written to show love and appreciation, it also answers the basic question every Pastor must address-both in times of joy and in those moments of despair and discouragement:

 “Why has God chosen me for this office?”

 During his Sunday night sermon, “Pastor Dan” used himself as an example to illustrate the awesome grace and mercy of God. He humbly acknowledged he did not know, nor could he understand, why God had reached down to save him, or why God had entrusted him with the anointed task of ministry.

 Later that night, as I pondered my Pastor’s “Why?” the Lord answered the question for me, giving me the poem, “Why, Pastor, Why.” He further revealed that His answer applied not only to Pastor Dan, but to all Pastors. Then, He directed me to reach all Pastors with this simple message. 

 “The office of Pastor is the highest office in the land.
For, the people choose the president. God chooses the Pastor.”

 Many times, I have heard the startling statistics of the number of Pastors who are leaving the ministry. We as Christians can forget how we were, before the Lord “called us out.” We forget how much He has done for us, and how many lives we have affected through our faith. How much greater the burden must be for these men and women who devote their lives to the Gospel. They must “keep on keeping on!” Not just for themselves, but for the lives they touch. The call is not just for them, but for their flock.

 I firmly believe that God wishes to give this message of encouragement to all pastors, and their congregations, world-wide.

 “The greatest gift God gives the local church is their Pastor.”

Why, Pastor, Why

As I see you standing there behind the pulpit
Reading from God’s Word
I think back to all those wonderful, blessed sermons
From you that I’ve heard
No, there’s no secret why God brought you out
Oh! The many times your joy has made me shout!
You see, Pastor, there was a reason that God saved your soul
Because He knew that serving Him with all your heart
Would be your life’s goal
You see, Pastor, there was a reason that it was you
That God chose
Not your good looks, perfect hair, and stylish clothes
No, Pastor, the reason that God reached down His hand
and saved you
Let there be no doubt!
The reason God chose you
Is because He knew
How you would turn out!
The reason, Pastor, that you mean so much to me
Is that when I look at you
It’s Jesus that I see
For in your footsteps I so gratefully trod
Because I know that in following you
I am following God
Why, Pastor, Why“Why Pastor, Why” From Pastor Appreciation Gifts!
Modern-Day Psalms“Why, Pastor, Why”
Just one of the Modern-Day Psalms