Usually I do something small and kind and private to honor my mother on Mother’s Day. But not this year. I’ve got this (underused) blog, so I’m going to broadcast her praises wide and clear.

Born the third of 13-plus children in the mid-1940s in a middle Georgia town, my mother Rebecca was and remains the jewel of the family. She accepted her savior Jesus Christ at a young age and has remained His child for all the decades since, acting as a light for her husband and sons to know what a true Christian is like.

Note that I wrote “husband.” Singular. She’s been married for more than 40 years to just the one. In a modern era in which divorce is all too common, she and he have achieved one of the ultimate status symbols, one that cannot be bought with money but with hard work and great fidelity: The long-term marriage.

I also mentioned “sons.” She bore two, of which I am the first. She loves her boys fiercely but tenderly, with a light touch, lest she grip too tightly and prevent us from flying away to our own destinies.

(I’m reminded of a good movie I saw recently: “Think Like A Man,” in which one of the characters is a little lot bit too closely enmeshed in his mother’s life — and she does not approve of any of her son’s choices for a potential mate.

I am happy to report that my mother does not exhibit any of those problems.)

My mom is a superb cook — this woman can throw down like a judo flip in the kitchen with food that will curl your toes. But she’s so caring about people’s health and wellness that she’s actually backed off from using that aspect of her culinary skills. Instead, she’ll substitute healthier alternatives to the standard ingredients and still make it taste fine — though not as mmmmm-good as the less-nutritious normal recipe.

Wait. Recipe? Rebecca Sampson doesn’t actually use recipes. She just does stuff and makes meals. Seriously, I’ve tried to get measurements from her and she can only give me vague, ballpark figures of what she used in any given dish.

Speaking of a dish, she is one — that is, she’s an attractive woman. Always has been and remains so in her 60s. (She’ll bristle a bit at my saying so, but it’s just true.) People say I look just like my father, which is a good thing, because he’s good-looking. (She chose well.) But my great smile comes straight from Mom.

She smiles a lot, because she’s so full of joy that comes straight from the Lord.

She also has a great gift of prophecy from the Lord. I’m not talking about the usual understanding of prophecy — she can’t see the future. (Although she has had premonitions given to her by God, ranging from the very vague that only became clear in hindsight to a couple of very specific ones.) Rather, she’s a prophet in the sense of “one who declares the word of the Lord.” As such, she’s one I can always trust to give a biblical point of view of matters great and small.

Mom is also very wise in money matters. More than once, she’s given me sound counsel on how to handle my finances, and shown me how to sense a bargain. And every April, this trained accountant can help me untangle the hot mess that is the federal tax code. But thanks to her tutelage, I have to call on her less and less.

Which is a good thing, because as much as I’d like it to be otherwise, she won’t be around here on earth forever. In fact, one of the reasons for this open letter is because she’s heading out of town to help care for my grandma in her twilight years.

But as I opened this piece saying, the other reason is that I want all of you who will ever read this blog to know how I became the great man I am and am still growing to become.

It’s because of Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, Rebecca Sampson. I love you.


Got very sidetracked this weekend, so here’s the beginning of a bit of catch-up.

Day 17-a song that you danced to at your wedding or other event

Never been married. But when I do marry, this song will be played at some point, if I have my say: “Clocks In Sync” by Speech.

It’s all about the hook.

“I don’t know where we’re goin’, but we’re goin’/Where we end up, I don’t know, but that’s OK;
All I know is that we’re goin’ together/And the world will just have to wait;
I don’t know where we’re goin’, but we’re goin’/When I’m with you things is always fine;
I don’t feel so out of place with you/’Cause your clock’s set in sync with mine.”


Day 07- a song that reminds you of your first kiss

So it was Valentine’s Day that college year, and I had it all planned out. I’d put on my best shirt and tie and maybe even some decent-smelling deodorant spray, and I had my nascent dreadlocks as well-groomed as I could get them.

I’d suavely approach her from behind, ask her to come to the hallway outside, and reveal my crush on her and then we’d kiss.

Seriously. This was my plan.


  • There was never a good moment to get her away from the office, and
  • I wasn’t even sure she actually liked me anymore, and
  • I was losing my nerve anyw —
  • — whoops, there it went.

So of course my ridiculous fantasy never happened. This song is the soundtrack of that bit of romance fail.

“Wait, man,” someone’s thinking. “The song that reminds you of your first kiss is about a kiss that never happened? What’s that all about?”

Now it’s many, MANY years later. It’s a little embarrassing…but I’ve still never been kissed.

I know that this is utterly astounding to those who know me. On the surface, I appear to be far too attractive to possibly be so inexperienced in the ways of love and romance.

(Seriously. I know I’m a good-looking guy. Of that I’m quite confident.)

I’ve just never developed a close enough relationship with a lady to earn — or steal — that real kiss.

Part of it has to do with a God-driven vow to preserve my virginity until marriage. You’ve heard of the studies that say abstinence programs don’t work, and that chastity pledges are usually broken? I’m living proof that they can be kept.

Consequently, I have come to rather zealously guard the sanctity of these lips of mine. They won’t touch hers unless there’s something really special going on between us.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll follow other couples’ example and save that first kiss for the altar. Lord knows I’ve heard worse advice and ideas on the subject of romance.

Tomorrow: a tale of when I was a lot bolder with the fairer sex.