Donny's Ramblings

Thoughts from Duffy's Tavern


I’m sitting at Duffy’s Tavern in Chico, California, reminiscing on the events of my life while sipping a margarita and listening to Frank Sinatra on the Jukebox. I’ve fed that jukebox full of music for the next hour. The playlist includes Frankie, Prince, and several selections from the Grease soundtrack.

Beautiful, I tell ya. I love this music.

Some Christians might be tempted to ask why I’m hanging out in a bar and sipping a margarita. There is no answer for those who would ask. I just felt like writing here. I love Chico, and Duffy’s Tavern is a Chico icon.

There are 7 other people here at the moment, each engrossed in conversation with those who came with them.

None have complained about Sinatra.

As for the margaritas:
My constant readers, Jesus did not turn water into kool-aid. Alcohol consumption isn’t up for discussion, so don’t bother.

This afternoon after church (each of us in a separate church), Wendy and I had lunch with our son at the new Chili’s restaurant by the Chico Mall. We accomplished something today. See, we’ve been doing quite a bit of arguing over a pretty serious issue we’ve both had to face, and we’ve been facing it for what seems an eternity. Today I think we made progress. She’s an amazing woman, I’ll tell ya. I really love and appreciate her so much. If only I’d done so when we were married…

But speaking of progress, I’m very happy to have come to a “truce” with Belinda’s new boyfriend. A few days ago, the two of us talked on the phone, man to man, as we should have done quite some time ago. Here’s to hoping we’ll stop ripping into each other with insults on public internet message boards, as well as in conversations with mutual acquaintances. Mark used to be a friend of mine. Speaking with him on the phone made me kinda miss that friendship (just a little). I don’t think we’ll be sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya together anytime soon, but at least we’ve made some progress and have hopefully put the petty bickering in our past.

…which really makes me happy. Because the hatred I harbored for Mark was eating me alive. It was way out of hand. It was definitely preventing me from moving forward and pursuing a closer relationship with my Creator. I don’t want to go into any details, but the conversation we had was a healing experience for me. At one time I really loved Mark’s friendship. He can be a very funny, charismatic man. I hope I can focus on those positives from here on out. That sure would make life better.

And that’s all I have to say about that…


When I think of God, I can’t help but think of my relationship with Caden. There really isn’t anything my beautiful son could ever do to make me love him any less.

In my mind, I can’t fathom ever loving anyone or anything more than I love my son. He is my life. When he hurts, I hurt. When something negatively affects his life, I’m nearly driven out of my mind with pain. I’m not being dramatic. I’d die for that little boy.

The other day I was at Wendy’s house with Caden. Wendy was out of town. Caden and I had a wonderful time together, bantering about lots of things that are important to 7 year old little boys. At one point he wanted to go outside and ride his bike with his friend Isaiah. I had a few things to do in the house before I could go out and watch him pedal around, laughing his head off with that angelic laugh he has. I let him go ahead of me.

5 minutes later I left the house to go watch him play. His hands were scraped and his knee was bloody. He was in pain.

Can I tell you how that affected me?

Even though he was fine, I had to fight to keep from crying. There was my precious little boy with blood dripping down his leg. He’d been riding around and his front tire had gone off the pavement and onto the gravel. That caused him to lose control of his bike and scrape his leg up pretty good. Although the injury was minor, everything inside of me cried out to run to him, hold him in my arms, and do whatever I could to make the pain go away.

He wasn’t crying. He’s a tough little guy.

I kept my emotions under control and acted like it wasn’t all that big a deal. I told him in a matter-of-fact tone that we should probably clean his wounds. He agreed. We went inside, where HE instructed ME on how MOMMY would clean and bandage his wound. That in itself made my heart attempt to leap through my chest. My little boy loves his mommy so much, and every word that comes out of her mouth, every routine she has for doing things her own way… well, that’s the way things should be in Caden’s mind.

I love that, so much (perhaps the day will come when I’ll tell you about how he wants to grow up to be a soldier, guarding his mommy’s door).

So after using Bactine instead of Neosporin (because mommy does it that way so it has to be better) Caden was back outside riding like a mad man on his “fire bike” with Isaiah.

And I was watching.

And cringing.

And hating yet loving every minute as he rode almost-out-of-control over speed bumps while looking over his shoulder wondering if daddy saw that and had recognized just how cool it was. And can there be anything more AWESOME than a long skid mark left on the pavement, dad?


God feels the same about his children. There’s nothing any of us could ever do to make HIM love US any less.



Does God observe us playing our beautiful little childish games, cringing when we are almost-out-of-control, trying hard not to cry when we hurt ourselves, and nursing us with spiritual “Bactine” when we do so?

Does he bandage our wounds and send us back out to play with Isaiah, watching from the sidewalk and loving us so much it literally hurts?


Click any photo to enlarge:
Within Minutes of Birth On the Plane Caden the Ring Bearer Flowers for Mommy

14 thoughts on “Thoughts from Duffy's Tavern

  1. How very touching. You truely are a parent.

  2. I don’t think it’s a mistake that He is called our Heavenly Father.

    And I’m glad you’re trying to get past things with Mark. The bitterness you harbored was only hurting you.

    Grace be with you friend.

  3. Like the stream-of-consciousness. You’re right … the alcohol bit is not up for discussion. Few things better than a good drink with a good friend.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Powerful stuff, Donny. It’s truly touching to see how much you love your son. I’m also really glad to hear that you’ve started the healing process with Mark. As you well know, hatred will eat us alive if we don’t deal with it properly.

    I hope that you continue to cherish your son, especially as he moves into his teens. Bring him up with a strong foundation in the Lord, and he will turn out to be a strong man, just like his daddy.

    God has blessed you, my friend.

  5. I feel like that when I’m around my friends’ kids. I can’t even imagine how it will feel when we have our own!

  6. awesome entry, Donny.

    Thanks for that 🙂

  7. That is so beautiful what you wrote about Caden.
    Not long ago I saw my littlest granddaughter get hurt when a dog knocked over her stroller and she fell face down on the pavement! So I can relate to how you felt seeing your little guy get hurt.
    Glad things are better with Mark. Communication almost always helps.
    God bless you!

  8. “Does God observe us playing our beautiful little childish games, cringing when we are almost-out-of-control, trying hard not to cry when we hurt ourselves, and nursing us with spiritual “Bactine” when we do so?”

    Of course not, because there is no god! 🙂

  9. Yeah, that is how God loves us. He picks us up and loves us even when we feel a really crappy about your selfs. He loves us when our knees are bruised from falling off the bike of life. He loves even when it is self inflicted. That is part of turning our lives over to the care of God.

    The Confessions of a Porn Addict

  10. Great post, Donny.

    While my wife and I were still in the hospital after she gave birth to our daughter, a friend told me something I’ll never forget. The whole experience of labor and delivery had turned me into a blubbering idiot. I couldn’t talk about my daughter without crying tears of joy. The love I had (and still have) for her was so intense. I echo your sentiments about not being able to love anything as much as I love my daughter. I think that’s how God programmed us. The love a father has for his child is amazing. Well, I was discussing this, and my friend says, “Kinda puts John 3:16 in perspective, doesn’t it?” That statement blew my mind. Growing up in church, everyone knows that verse and can recite it at the drop of a hat. But to truly understand it takes having a child. Think of the feeling we have for our children. The willingness to die for them, to protect them, to care for their every need. Remember that God was Christ’s father. The love the God had for his son was and is very similar to the love we have for our children. Yet God “so loved the world that he sent his only son” to die for the sins of man. I could not and would not to that to my child. I can’t imagine loving anything more than my daughter that I would be willing to sacrifice her for. I would instantly lay down my life for my child, but to lay her life down for someone else…no way.

    I will never look at that verse the same way again.

  11. a great entry Donny! It’s beautiful how you love Caden, and how you express that love. It’s truly amazing to know that God loves us infinitely more than we are even capable of loving our own kids.

  12. Donny, I get all squeshy inside reading something like that. Being a parent- feeling everything your child go’s through…yea. it’s the closest thing we can get to how God must feel. It is a miricle to just be able to feel like that. “Peace Be With You” ……——–

  13. Hey Donny,

    ahhh, the Christian drinking issue…I’ve been riding that fence for years! I’m glad to hear that God is healing relationships in your life.

    You have such a gift for writing bro…your story about Caden and it’s application to how the Father loves us was perfect. It moved me. I need to be reminded of these truths daily!

  14. Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.

    I Thess 1.2-5, Message

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