Family

Helping Others Transition: A Lesson in Leadership from the High Command

And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’ – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

This sweet-faced boy is my father at 17—the age at which he enlisted in the Navy and went off to boot camp to prepare to serve his country in World War II. Happily, the war ended the month before he was slated to ship out and so, by the age of 19, he was a veteran, back home with his relieved parents, and planning to start college with the aid of the GI bill.

He is now 90, and although his time in the Navy lasted just a few short years, his military experience has had a lasting positive effect on his character and identity. As one of America’s “greatest generation,” he has always viewed his service in the Navy with great pride. His love for both his country and the sea has never died, and he still wears a Navy ballcap as he heads off to the VFW meetings in his retirement community.

My brother recently found this treasure—one of the few letters my father has ever kept. Personally addressed to “My Dear Mr. Nelson”, it was signed by James Forrestal, the wartime Secretary of the Navy, and dated July 1946, the month after received his my honorable discharge.

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Dancing with a Star: A Tribute to My Mom

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

You already know the most important thing about my mom if you read my April 19th post about her recent baptism at the age of 86. Now here is the rest of the story of this crazy fun lady who brought me into this world.

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Let the Circle be Unbroken: The Goodness of the Lord

Psalms 27:13-14:  I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

My mom was 86 years old when she finally decided she’d like to join the rest of her family in believer’s baptism. The timing was perfect: a reunion to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday meant her pastor grandson would be flying in for a visit. I was delighted to learn she’d asked my son Jon to baptize her and he’d agreed.

Jon wanted to be certain she understood the meaning of the step she was about to take, so before the baptism he took her through the relevant Scriptures, carefully and patiently explaining each one. Sitting down on the couch next to her grandson, Mom looked happy as could be and tried her best to follow along with her magnifying glass and large-print Bible. I was flooded with joy as I witnessed this conversation—what a marvelous culmination of years of prayer as both a daughter and a mother!

Mom leaned forward, listening intently and nodding, but when Jon began to read from Acts Chapter 8 about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, she got a puzzled look on her face. She stopped him right there and asked for clarification.

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Making Your Mark

This is what life looks like when I am writing a new Bible study. The process is, by turns, exhilarating, frustrating, grueling, and exciting. What I love most is having a reason to pull together ideas from all my favorite books, to go back and read notes I wrote in margins 30 years ago.

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Advent Meditation on Longings Fulfilled

We don’t always wait in vain. Faith and patience inherit the promise. Sometimes  we get a holy hint of what is to come.

My first and long-awaited grandchild was born in June . Yesterday , as I sat gazing at a photo of her, anticipating her first visit to California for Christmas, I was struck by its great significance. In the picture, Summer Adelle is being proudly held by her great-grandfather. My dad is a crusty old Swede, a sailor whose relationship with strong drink shaped my world. But God does hear

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Nighttime Prayers

Nighttime Prayers: Irene

Today’s guest blogger is my beloved brother, Dr. Ed Nelson. He is a research chemist by profession, but has the soul of a poet and the heart of a servant. He and his wife Janis demonstrate what it means to live a life of love as they selflessly care for their aging parents.

The piece featured below is especially meaningful to me. Many years ago, Irene prayed for the salvation of her daughter’s boyfriend, and then later, his wild -child sister. I am eternally grateful for the role she has played in my life as a spiritual mentor.


Nighttime Prayers

by Ed Nelson

My wife Janis desperately needed a night off, and so I encouraged her to take our daughter Corrie out to a movie. This left me with the job of putting my mother-in-law Irene, afflicted with Alzheimer’s, to bed. I pointed her toward the bathroom where she dutifully went in and brushed her teeth. It was sort of a messy business— I had to help her turn on the electric toothbrush and clean it and turn it off when done. Old age was taking its toll on her mind, and she was becoming less able, less aware, more confused with each passing day. I reminded her to put on her pajamas, and I went to repair her toothbrush.

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