A Fifteen-year Old Dream Is Born

Almost 15 years ago I wrote a Coffee Stain called Strange Eagle (Coffee Stains celebrated its 18th birthday last month). At the time I felt a “nibble” in my heart that it would be a good idea for a book. Bruce, a Coffee Stains reader, wrote me and said the same thing.

I’ve spent 15 years trying to be a better writer, trying to sustain momentum, incubating and writing the book that developed. The hero changed a bit and became more human. I found out some things about him I didn’t know, and he found some excellent friends to help him (so did I. Thanks to all my readers, grammar experts and infographists who contributed).

Some of Wesagi’s friends are a bit comical, but they’re excellent all the same. Plus, he faced a challenge I didn’t even know he would have.

I thought you might want to read the Coffee Stain that gave him life. If you’re interested in the paperback or the Kindle book, you can find where to order it at the end of the Coffee Stain.

Strange Eagle


Strange Eagle peered through the shimmering darkness to the lake far below.  From his perch on the mountainside he sucked in his breath as he had so many times, reacting to the beauty of the moon reflecting on the dark waters. Tears sprang to his eyes.

His father had called him War Eagle the day of his birth.  The name “Eagle” fit.  His people knew that no warrior fought more bravely than he and no hunter filled the lodges with winter game more than this young man did.

But he was different.  Peculiar. They remembered the day he had stopped a furious Mocking Wind from beating a slave boy they had taken from another tribe.  The two warriors had been near blows when the older men stepped between them.  Mocking Wind took every occasion to ridicule him after that.  Strange Eagle kept silent.

Why would anyone care about a slave?  Especially from another tribe!

Oddest of all, he took very little part in their religious festivals.  He often wandered the forests and mountains alone, thinking.  Even the most famous warriors knew that all sorts of dangers lurked in the woods at night.  Spirits roamed freely.  Who knows? Maybe he was consulting with them…

He was strange all right, this War Eagle. The name stuck.  Strange Eagle.

And he was strange enough not to care.  Something deep inside him was restless.  When he looked into the explosion of stars filling the night sky, he knew that something more than petty spirits or ancestors created all that.  Someone seemed to call him from just beyond the black veil and his heart hungered to know that Someone.

Tonight, as his eyes turned again towards the heavens, something came alive inside.  The moon, the stars, all creation itself seemed to shout to him, excitedly announcing the coming of a King from beyond.  A Judean shepherd heard the same voice more than a thousand years before.  “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Ps. 19:1-4, NIV).

Strange Eagle opened his heart.  Deep, deep inside he knew that this was the One he searched for in all his wandering.  “Take me,” he whispered into the fiery night.  “Take my life.  I’m yours.”

Men said afterwards that Strange Eagle was different, but they liked him all the same.  They couldn’t help it.  He fought to protect them in battle.  He stopped to help them when problems troubled their lives.  He smiled more than a normal person.  He even treated his enemies justly.

Mocking Wind always hated him, but men kept their distance from that rascal.  They noticed that those who followed him always ended up hurting.  On the other hand, Strange Eagle’s smiles seemed to infect his friends.

He was an odd fellow, this Strange Eagle.

Lord, bless us all with your strangeness.

Here’s where you can buy the book: $3.78 for the Kindle version, $9.56 for the paperback (plus postage).  CLICK

After you read it, think to review it on Amazon. Reviews are gold.

Image by James Wheeler from Pixabay



The Man Who Asked the Right Question

A good percentage of those who came to Jesus asking questions were certified gourd-heads. They thought they could ask questions God couldn’t answer.

One fellow, though, was serious. His query and Jesus’ answer, flash like neon signs for those seeking a deeper walk with God.

“One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: ‘Which is most important of all the commandments?’

“Jesus said, ‘The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.’

“The religion scholar said, ‘A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!’

“When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, ‘You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.’” (Mark 12: 28-31)

That’s great and that’s terrible. “…right on the border of God’s kingdom.”

David, are you telling me that I can love God with everything I’ve got and love my neighbor as myself and still not be in God’s eternal Kingdom?

No, God wants us to love like that. The problem is: who always loves God passionately and who consistently loves his neighbor like he loves himself? Continue reading

Two Horrible Wrecks Avoided

A friend of mine, Christophe, had every little boy’s dream job–he drove trains through the beautiful Alsatian region of France.

I say, “dream job,” but I’m not sure that’s what every little boy dreams of doing these days. Judging from my grandkids, they probably dream of killing three-headed monsters in space castles. It’s good work if you can get it.

One night, as Christophe piloted his speeding train through the countryside, the train’s headlight illuminated something on the track ahead. He reacted speedily and halted his fast-moving monster just yards before it ran over a desperate young man who stood on the tracks.

The man had planned his suicide and my friend was to be the unknowing executioner. But, Christophe was awake at his post and his quick reaction saved a man’s life. We hear about engineers impaired by drugs and alcohol who cause wrecks and many people die.

But, one man owes his life to the fact that Christophe was alert and doing his best.

We Owe Our Life

Someone else saved you and me from an eternal train wreck. Continue reading

Three Transformations For a US Marine

imagejpeg_0The stern-faced magistrate stared at eighteen-year old Josh Lee in his closed- quarters room. With all the charges the young man faced, the Texarkana, Texas judge could have put him in prison for several years.

The future looked bleak. Of course, the past hadn’t been pretty either.

His mother married the man who became his stepfather when Josh was two. The man was an alcoholic and used drugs.

“The only way my dad knew how to act was physical. It went from a spanking here and there, to every day when I was little.” Later the abuse came from blows from broomsticks and electrical cords. Josh still carries some of those scars today.

It left him with a lot of questions. “Why would someone adopt me and treat me this way? Why doesn’t my mother stop this?”

As he got older his anger erupted in drugs, violence and crime. “By the time I was 15, I was on the streets and started doing drugs really bad,” he says.

Although his grades had been excellent, he lost all motivation in that direction. At the beginning of the 10th grade he was arrested for the first time on drug charges. He was kicked out of school in Texas, but allowed to go back his senior year.

At home the situation worsened. He wasn’t there often and when he was the violence level of the fights with his father escalated. “My dad, he was a rough guy,” he says simply.

But the judge offered an alternative that day in court: he could enlist in the US Marines. The choice was easy. Best of all, his record was erased.

Transformation #1—The Marines

He left home with the insult of his father stinging him. “The last words I heard my dad say to me were, ‘I’ll see you in a few weeks because you always screw everything up.’”

Once in the Marines, he could have continued in the direction he was going, but strangely they revolutionized his life. He excelled. Continue reading

Meadowlark Lemon—the Clown Prince of Basketball … and Preacher!


23917795042_b314e01440_zGod powerfully made his dreams come true.

One day an eleven-year old boy watched wide-eyed in a movie house, as a basketball team–the Harlem Globetrotters–performed things on the big screen with a basketball that set him to dreaming.

Meadow George Lemon III was going to be a Harlem Globetrotter when he grew up.

A child’s dream? Yes, but this one came true beyond his wildest imagination. The Website of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts writes of the man who became famous as “Meadowlark” Lemon”:

“Few athletes in any sport have impacted their sport on a worldwide level more than Meadowlark Lemon. Perhaps the most well-known and beloved member of the Harlem Globetrotters, Lemon played in more than 16,000 games – 7,500 consecutively – for the Globetrotters in a career that began in 1954 and lasted until 1978. Known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball,” Lemon’s favored “can’t miss” halfcourt hookshot and comedic routines entertained millions of fans in more than 70 countries around the globe.”

The little boy had grown up to play basketball in front of popes, presidents and kings. He died in December of 2015 after becoming one of the most recognizable sports personalities in the world. (Watch Meadowlark play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMuy8QrXhZU)

Lemon was born in 1932 in Wilmington, North Carolina, and attended Williston Industrial School, graduating in 1952.

Meadow, who lengthened his name to Meadowlark after joining the Globetrotters — didn’t have money for a basketball when he was young. So he so he made a hoop in the backyard with a coat hanger attaching an onion sack for the basket.

He made began his “career” shooting an empty Carnation milk can in place of a basketball. Continue reading