"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Fifty Smifty .... You're Hot!

April 5, 1960

Do not count your candles
do not add the years.
Do not spend a single moment
dwelling on your fears.

Do not look unhappy
while gazing in the glass.
Do not begrudge the years
for they will surely pass.

Do not allow the false idea
that youth is all the rage.
Do not forget you’re beautiful
at each and every age.

For when I look into your eyes
this is what I see.
A gift unlike any other
God has given me.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Take A Moment

One of the guys who worked with me passed away suddenly. His name was Kyle Ames. He didn't show up for work on Friday and was found by his sister in his bed. He apparently died in his sleep some time between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Kyle was 37 years old and was born with a heart condition. He was due to go to the Mayo Clinic on March 15th for surgery. His passing comes as a shock to all of us who knew him. He was a great employee and a friend.

He was also a father to a 10 year old daughter named Willow who he was absolutely crazy about. As I gathered his personal effects from his office yesterday, I found numerous cards and notes from her along with various awards she had received in school. I also found the piece which follows.

It made me stop and think of how fragile and temporal our existence is in this world. And how easy it is to get caught up and forget the really important things and people in our lives. Priorities can become so misaligned.

To My Child

Today …

I will step over the laundry, pick you up and take you to the park to play.

I will leave the dishes in the sink and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

I will unplug the telephone, turn off the computer and sit with you in the back yard and blow bubbles.

I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck. I will buy you some when it comes by.

I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up but instead I will live in the moment as you do.

I will let you help me bake cookies and I won’t stand over you while you’re fixing them.

I will take you to McDonalds and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

I will let you splash in the tub and not worry about the water on the floor.

I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

I will snuggle beside you for hours and miss my favorite TV shows.

I will run my fingers through your hair as you say your prayers and humbly thank God for the greatest gift I could ever receive.

I will think of the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, those who are visiting their children’s graves instead of their bedrooms and those who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, all the while trying to hang on as they ask the unanswerable question … why.

Tonight when I tuck you in, I will hold you a little longer, squeeze you a little tighter and be grateful for every moment we have together.

And tomorrow, I’ll do it all again.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


February 13, 2010

Time goes quickly
the years pass by.
You’ve grown to be a little girl
in the blink of an eye.

And today you turn seven
oh my, what a fuss.
Always bringing smiles
to the two of us.

So blow out the candles
cause we just want to say.
We love you Leilani
Happy Birthday!

Love always,
Popeye & Meme

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Hero Says Goodbye

My brother-in-law Billy was a wonderful husband to my sister Karen, a great father to my nephews Jeremy and Zak, a mentor to countless firefighters and a friend to many. He was the reason I became, and remain involved with Team In Training and on December 23, 2009, he finished his fight with cancer.

Aside from God and his family - especially his grandson Hunter – the most important thing in his life were his brothers and sisters in the fire department. The following poem, read at the beginning of each Roanoke City Recruit School, is the unofficial creed of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. Billy wrote it during a live fire training exercise in Roanoke several years ago.

If you want to be a clown,
you’d better be lookin’ for a circus.
If you’re lookin’ for a free ride,
here’s a dollar; call a cab.
If you want to be a “Showman”,
Vegas will welcome you with open arms.
If fulfillment of an ego is high on your
priority list, might I suggest Hollywood.
And if you want to be a millionaire,
by all means, this ain’t for you.
But, if you don’t mind hard work, sweating in

freezing weather, getting back less than half of
what you give, and finding your name at the
bottom of your own priority list,
then stick around!
I believe you could be a FIREFIGHTER

Battalion Chief William “Billy” Obenchain

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Twenty Two

January 12, 1988

Oh, where have they gone
all those precious years.
The times I recall
with laughter and tears.

A moment, an instant
a mere bat of an eye.
From a child to young woman
I accept with a sigh.

The inevitable truth
as our story unfolds.
My cherished memory
of you seven years old.

Eternally grateful
for all of the days.
I’ve been blessed with your love
in so many ways.

And so on this day
another year past.
A new celebration
replacing the last.

Remember I love you
and better my life.
For you were the bonus
when I married my wife.

Happy Birthday BA

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Comes To SW Virginia

That's a 6 foot fence running along the yard
Reilly's confused - had to go shovel out a pee cul-de-sac
The back deck is under here somewhere
The weather gods say 18" or more before she's done - they may just be right
Snowmobile - I think not

Friday, December 18, 2009


I realize this is a bit late but hope it's enjoyable nonetheless

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Suntrust Marathon - Richmond Va

November 14, 2009

My nephew Jay and I
At the start
Refueling at mile 16
At the finish
Bad food

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Running For A Reason

In 2007, I ran my first marathon and it was a huge deal for me.

At that time, I signed on with Team In Training and spent six months preparing. And when my training program took me past my previous mileage threshold of 13.1 miles, every long run thereafter became a voyage into unchartered waters. It was exhilarating and I would eagerly arise hours before day break, don my running gear, bound down the stairs and head out into the darkness. My recovery times were quick and my energy level was full speed ahead. I was living the runner’s high.

Fast forward two years.

My current (accelerated) marathon training program thrust me to the 16 mile mark in six short weeks. It has forced me to run up Mill Mountain repeatedly and to go to the track for 800 meter interval workouts.

The long runs jumped from 16 to 18 to 20 miles in the bat of an eye and the so called easy runs are now 7 to 8 miles in distance. I no longer eagerly get up full of anticipation. Instead, this time I find myself dragging my tired bones from the comfort of the warm sheets, struggling to lace up my shoes and descending the steps carefully, one at a time. Then I reluctantly force myself out of the door into the pitch black abyss of the start of another day for my morning run.

At this point in the training, I am now two weeks away from the start of the Richmond Suntrust Marathon and I have yet to recover one iota. On the contrary, fatigue has taken up full time residency within the confines of my being and instead of experiencing the runner’s high, I feel I am plagued with a runner’s hangover.

I’m freakin’ exhausted.

So why, you may ask, am I doing this?

It’s a fair question and one I’ve asked myself a lot lately (particularly last Sunday while struggling to complete a 22 mile run). What is it that makes an otherwise reasonably sane person decide to do this?

One might argue it’s a false belief in the fantasy that doing so will somehow slow down life’s continually ticking clock along with the never ending aging process. That by pushing oneself to the point of collapse, will in some way earn one a token which might be redeemed for a tiny slice of one’s youth.

But believe me, after 22 miles I’m way over that reason.

Instead when asked the question, why do you run so many miles, I think the best answer I can possibly give anyone is to share the following quote from a friend in Michigan. For her words truly embody the reason I and thousands of others endure this insanity.

Tim, as someone who has lived with multiple myeloma for 15 years, I owe my life to you & others who are giving in any way they can to help find treatments. 15 years ago, they said I had 3 years . . . today, I walked 7 miles.

Keep runnin'!

Team In Training - the reason speaks for itself.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ben & Garrett's Wedding Day

My daughter-in-law, Mrs. Garrett Brooks Lawhorn with my grand daughter Leilani

My son Benjamin Aaron Lawhorn with my grand daughter Leilani

A few photos from The Kyle House

Me and my lovely bride of 9 1/2 years

What a knockout!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Today Is The Day

My son Ben and is bride to be Garrett, will become husband and wife today!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

Still Stupid After All These Years

Saturday saw the Dawgs fall to Oklahoma State; East Carolina squeak by Appalachian State and the Crimson Tide roll over the Hokies like a rogue wave pounds the unsuspecting vessel. It also marked yet another occasion for me to face the fact I have failed to learn many of life’s lessons and am therefore apparently, doomed to repeat them.

Perhaps it was the week of Mondays just completed or maybe it was merely fatigue which caused me to miss the neon like warning signs as we arrived at Jeff’s for the in-house tail gate party in anticipation of the Hokie / Tide season opener. Whatever the reason, miss them (or perhaps more accurately, ignore them) I did.

At first all was going smoothly as greetings and introductions were made. The house was filling with people, many of whom were friends from work and so with a glass of wine in hand I remained in the kitchen engaged in conversation while Beth set off with Lisa to take a look at their house and as she is prone to do, rearrange some of the furniture.

After a few moments, the aroma of Jeff’s signature ribs and wings wafting from the dining room drew me in like a burka draws the Taliban and as I filled my plate, I caught a glimpse of him over in the corner of the room, sizing up the crowd and taking it all in.

I momentarily froze; my head swimming with memories of previous encounters. You see, there is history between us; some seemingly good but in fact, all very bad. For you see, he is the type who pretends to be your friend, your comrade in arms, but in reality, he’s a self-serving, narcissistic bastard who will cut you to the quick and leave you to wallow in the depths of your own despair. Consequently, aside from a cursory nod of the head, I paid him no mind.

Ah but what I failed to remember is that he is patient; willing to bide his time and await his opportunity to strike. His modus operandi is well known to me – or should be – for over the years, we have together, played this game many times and the results are always the same.

Carefully avoiding any further eye contact, my plate and I left the room and for awhile, I felt safe; perhaps too safe, for I began to relax. I began to feel confident in my ability to avoid whatever trap may lie in wait. I began to feel secure. Consequently I let the wine flow as the Hokies faltered. And when the wine was no more, Arthur Guinness’ black elixir filled and then refilled my glass.

And all the while, I was being watched, evaluated and ultimately played.

Then with the hour growing late and the clock winding down, he made his move. Suddenly I found myself back in the dining room, cornered with no way out. And then without warning, he pounced leaving me reeling like an amateur in the ring with Ali; outclassed, out gunned and out cold.

Through the haze that was my vision I looked upward and slurred, “Damn you to hell. Never again, never again.”

With his trademark golden glint, he smiled and replied, “Nos vamos, mi amigo. Nos vamos.”

His name: José Cuervo

Consequently Sunday morning’s run was one of the longest; most brutally gut wrenching 6 miles I’ve ever run.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Semper Paratus

August 4, 2009

219 years of Service

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Team In Training

In 2007, I ran my first marathon. At that time I had two goals: the first was to run the Marine Corp marathon in honor of my son, a former Marine. The second was to do so with Team In Training in honor of my brother-in-law who has battled lymphoma for over 8 years.

When I began, I felt I knew what TNT was all about: complete a marathon and raise some money for a good cause. But as my involvement deepened, so did my understanding and appreciation of not only the organization’s purpose, but also what it meant to be a part of such a noble mission.

At the pasta party on the night before the race, I was truly humbled by the appreciation shown to those of us who had trained and raised money. I was emotional as I listened to the guest speaker tell her story of survival and I was extremely proud to be a part of something so incredibly special.

It was and remains one of the more meaningful and rewarding experiences of my life so when I decided to do another marathon, I knew I wanted to once again be a part of TNT. I considered the New York Marathon but quite frankly in the current economic climate, I was too intimidated by the fund raising minimum. So I decided on Richmond and even though it wasn’t a TNT event I contacted Elliot Smith, the Campaign Coordinator for the Virginia chapter and asked if I could still raise money. He set up a donation site for me and I started training.

People often ask me, “How can you run that many miles”.

I think the best answer I could possibly give anyone is to share the following quote from a friend in Michigan who made a donation to my fund raising campaign. For her words truly embody the reason I and thousands of others, do what we do.

"Tim, as someone who has lived with multiple myeloma for 15 years, I owe my life to you & others who are giving in any way they can to help find treatments. 15 years ago, they said I had 3 years . . . today, I walked 7 miles. Keep runnin'!"

If you would like to make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please click here and thank you for your support.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Twenty Seven

July 18, 1982

another year older
another stop along the way.
another time to remember
a very special day.

another cake to savor
another song to sing.
another time to tell you
how much joy you bring.

another celebration
another candle to add.
another proud moment
for your dear old dad.

I love you

happy birthday

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Only A Number

For wine & cheese ... age counts.
For you ... it doesn't matter.

When we were younger
milestones to reach.
Very special birthdays
with lessons to teach.

Thirteen and sixteen
both deserve stars.
For emotional drama
and piloting cars.

And eighteen and twenty one
follow in a blink.
Allowing us to vote
and legally drink.

But then something happens
the word becomes dirty.
As each passing birthday
brings us closer to thirty.

The excitement then fades
as the years they fly by.
With the Big Four – O
on the horizon looming nigh.

But it passes too
and soon fifty awaits.
Making us leery
of our annual dates.

But do not despair
for I love you my dear.
On this day of celebration
of your forty ninth year.

And always remember
it’s YOU the day is for.
For age is but a number
and absolutely nothing more.

Happy Birthday Beth!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Her First Half Marathon

ING Georgia Half Marathon
Atlanta, GA
Finishing Time: 01:41:34
Pace: 7:44

Congratulations Beth Anne!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Twenty Eight

March 22, 1981

Awakening today
my thoughts in the past.
Reliving the years
all passing too fast.

Asking the questions
the answers I know.
What happened to time,
where did it go?

From a blue eyed baby
to a man full grown.
Childhood and adolescence
are but moments on loan.

So now looking back
to these memories on file.
This Father is blessed
with a tear and a smile.

Happy Birthday Ben

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Wife, My Partner, My Best Friend

The writing is on the wall ... and it's written in indelible ink.

Friday, February 13, 2009


February 13, 2003

There’s something very special about a grandchild they say
it lies deep within awaiting the day.
Till your child’s very child a life so brand new
gazes into your eyes and coos, I choose you.

Then you watch as she grows and begins to explore
soon crawling, then running all across the floor.
Becoming more daring with each passing day
watching and learning with so much to say.

The time passes quickly in a flash and a whirl
and soon the tiny baby is a darling little girl.
Whose smile is a flower always in bloom
like a light in the dark filling up every room.

Her bear hugs and kisses right the world’s wrongs
replacing your troubles with nursery rhyme songs.
And a voice so sweet when calling your name
“I love you Popeye, let’s play a game!”

So Happy Birthday my angel, I’ll never forget
that moment in time when we first met.
For six years ago from Heaven above
with but one single look, I fell in love.

I love you Lei Lei.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Sample of Stephen's Work


To see more of Stephen's amazing work, click here.

Monday, January 12, 2009


January 12, 1988

At seven years young
you opened the door.
Your too long gown
gently dragging the floor.

Looking up at me
so quiet and unsure.
With questioning eyes
and innocence pure.

"Who might you be"
your unspoken word.
"Are you a good person"
I silently heard.

A humble beginning
yet this moment I knew.
A special connection
born for me and for you.

From Raggles to Reindeer
and Catholic school.
Or emergency rooms
til well after two.

And those teenage years
all fraught with drama.
Of a rusted out truck
oh my God, what a trauma.

Then off to Georgia
a new chapter began.
The Red and the Black
and a Bulldog fan.

Now another milestone
you've grown and come far.
At last you can legally
drink in the bar.

And as the years passed
I've watched as you grew.
Gracefully dealing
with all that you do.

Hoping you remember
when life seems unfair.
Nothing can break
the bond which we share.

Happy Birthday Beth Anne!