Posts Tagged ‘dad’

Catching the Invisible

August 14, 2014

This beautiful story, written by Lisa Leshaw of Coram, New York, appeared in the June 2014 issue of Guideposts. It’s a wonderful reminder to make the best of every situation you find yourself in, even—and perhaps especially—when you feel scared and alone. It’s also a reminder that you’re never truly alone, that a loving intelligence is always conspiring on your behalf, and that the more you reach out in love, the lovelier your life becomes.

Trapped in an elevator with a severe case of claustrophobia, she took the opportunity to record her feelings about her father

little-girl-blowing-a-kissOne minute, I was a 31-year-old part-time music teacher. The next, I’d turned into one of my pre-K students, hyperventilating and sobbing uncontrollably, wishing Mom and Dad would come rescue me. That’s what claustrophobia will do to you.

My parents were home on Long Island, though, and I was trapped in an elevator in a Manhattan high-rise. All alone. This was exactly what I’d been afraid of when my best friend asked me to come see her new apartment. Unless I wanted to climb 15 flights of stairs, this metal coffin was my only way up.

So I said a prayer and went for it. I was doing okay…until the elevator car jerked and then came to a halt–between floors. What a cruel trick for God to play on me.

I tried taking deep, cleansing breaths. Feeling faint, I sank to the floor and tucked my head between my knees. Close your eyes, go to your happy place. Maybe because the next day was Father’s Day, I thought back to how Dad comforted me when I was a little girl. “Catch the kiss!” he’d say.

He’d pucker his lips, blow a kiss and laugh as I ran around our living room, grabbing handfuls of air, trying to hold on to the invisible. Had I ever told him what those moments meant to me? I might never get the chance. Not if I suffocated in here…or if the cable (more…)

Honoring Wes Michaels, a Heroic Dad

June 20, 2010

Wes Michaels gave his life to save his daughter

Wes Michaels was taking a rare day off on Thursday, June 17. It was his fifty-eighth birthday so he left Heidi, who is twenty-six and the youngest of his three daughters, in charge of the gas station he owned in Mentor, Minnesota. But when Wes heard there were tornadoes forming in the area, he jumped in his pickup truck and headed to the station to check on Heidi. Sure enough, within minutes, a twister was bearing down on the little station. Wes ordered everyone into the cooler right before impact. As Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Jon Tevlin wrote today, which, fittingly, is Father’s Day:

Michaels was a big man, about 6 feet tall with a broad chest, “a strong man who wasn’t afraid to use his strength,” according to his former boss, Orville Lee. Instinctively, he positioned his body above that of his daughter, and (more…)

Happy Birthday, Erin!

June 2, 2010

Erin on her fourth birthday at Chuck E. Cheese

June 2 is a magical day for me. On this day, thirty-one years ago, my daughter Erin popped out into the world. Whatever I am today, whatever I will be, is because she has graced my life with more love and beauty than I ever dreamed possible. Erin is the greatest gift I could ever give to the world, and it is I who have been showered with blessings in return.

One year ago today, I wrote a post about our tradition of writing an annual birthday letter. There are now (more…)


April 23, 2009

I was fresh out of high school when I wrote a couple of non-autobiographical song lyrics to the tune of Charlie Daniels’ Uneasy Rider. One of those lyrics is called Dad. That was over thirty years ago, and there are some dated references to be sure, but it still holds up pretty well.

The second lyric is called George. I have a soft spot in my heart for these two songs and always wanted to share them with others. This blog gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that. Hope you enjoy them!


Early last week, I caught a ride back to town,
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been around,
And the first place I stopped was my Dad’s corner store.
For some strange reason, I felt out of place,
But he was awfully pleased when he saw my face,
He said, “I’ll be right with you, son, as soon as I’m done sweepin’ the floor.”

I said, “I came all this way to see you again,
And all you can give me is a (more…)

Remembering My Dad

March 7, 2009

It was a privilege to deliver a eulogy for my dad, who died on May 1, 2005 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. I’m glad I had the chance to tell people what a great guy and a great father he was.

I wrote an earlier post about how he cheerfully welcomed all the guests at his own memorial service and provided the entertainment as well. He would have (more…)

Love and Taxes

December 6, 2008



This story about my dad is from my book, Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.


My dad always supported me no matter what. I'm four months old in this photo.

At thirty-four, I was unemployed with a wife and twelve-year-old daughter to support. I didn’t have highly marketable skills and was feeling more desperate by the day. Two months after I lost my job, my tax guy told me I needed to make a $2,500 payment to the IRS in thirty days. I was already heavily in debt and had no idea how I was going to pay that month’s rent, much less the looming IRS bill. I had to repeatedly remind myself to breathe.

A few weeks later, my dad asked me to meet him for lunch. We lived seventy miles apart so we met at a Wendy’s in Monticello, a town halfway in between. We sat down and, without question, without judgment, he (more…)

One More Pitch

August 15, 2008

Eight-year-old Erin and me playing baseball in our front yard

I’ve heard so many men, including some good friends of mine, say that they didn’t spend enough time with their kids while they were growing up because they were so focused on their career. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a tragedy of epic proportions.

One of the things I am proudest of in my life is that I have no regrets about how much time I spent with my daughter, Erin. The many happy times we shared, and the knowledge that she felt—and still feels at 29—unconditionally loved and cherished, is far more valuable than the big bank account I might have had if I had been more focused on making money instead of memories.


Dad Had Alzheimer’s But Was “Still In There”

August 4, 2008

My dad, Kent Bolsta

Three years ago, my first book was published. It was a business book, and I brought it to St. Cloud, Minnesota, to give a copy to my mom. On my way back home to Minneapolis, I stopped at the nursing home to see my dad. He was sitting in the day room in the Alzheimer’s ward, waiting for lunch. Well, that’s not entirely true; he wasn’t waiting for lunch, or waiting for anything for that matter. He was just sitting at a table, slumped in his chair, his mouth hanging open, a vacant look in his eyes.

As usual, he didn’t react when I walked over to him. I sat down and said, “Dad, I wrote a book. See, my name’s on the cover.” He stared blankly ahead. I told him that, all my life, whenever I wrote something I was proud of, that he was the first person I wanted to show it to. And then something amazing happened—he started to cry. Hugging him, I told him that I knew he understood what I was saying, and that that meant the world to me. He cried twice more before I left. Here I thought he had left us long ago, but somehow, some way, he had broken through the barrier of his ravaged mind to let me know that he was still in there, and still proud of me. Three months later, he was gone. (more…)

Transcending Life as a Flowerpot

July 30, 2008

My dad, Kent Bolsta

This is a story from my book, Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World,

On an otherwise ordinary Thursday night, my dad slept in his own bed in his own home for the last time. He didn’t realize it, and never would. He was to spend Friday night—and all the rest of his nights—in a nearby nursing home.

His memory had been failing for at least a decade but it wasn’t until a warm September evening six years before that I truly became alarmed. In my mind, it was the night he veered off the main highway of life and began weaving erratically down Alzheimer’s Avenue.

He had worked on the stats crew for University of Minnesota Gopher football games for forty years, and, as was his custom after home games, he was going to drive the twenty minutes to my townhouse and sleep over rather than drive an additional seventy miles to his home in St. Cloud.

I expected him around midnight; at a quarter to one, the phone rang. He was lost. He was calling from the Hopkins House Hotel just a few miles down the road. I cheerfully told him that all he had to do was head east on Highway 7. He said he didn’t know which way east was, which startled me. I then heard five words that sent a chill up my spine. In a soft, sweet voice, he said, “I’ll (more…)