My Tender Son (sonnet for my youngest)

Matt eating ice creamA tender son my loins begot
Yet peers said, “Raise him rough.
If he’s to see his chosen lot
You must make him tough.”
So on such poor advice I tried
To be rough with my child,
But found it my own heart belied
T’ward my gift so young and mild.
I found their ways too brutish so
I tried soft love instead,
I championed his every move
And poured belief upon his head,
He makes me proud it seems each turning of the Sun,
I’m proudest that my tender son is still my tender son.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013


My Rugged Son (sonnet for my firstborn)

Marc cutting up as a boy-2A rugged son my loins begot.
My peers said, “Break him now,
Or you’ll regret it come the months
When you’re standing brow to brow.”
So I thrashed him ’til ’twas I who cried,
Then I reasoned deep within the why,
If God had given him a warrior’s might
Should I then set to make him meek and mild.
So I endeavored to train him then to be,
my rugged child with warlike traits,
the man only God looking forth could see,
one day His grace and love would make.
I’m proud of him now grown, and yet my rugged child,
He’s a man among men, a gentle man…unless he’s unduly riled.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Being Dad at Bedtime

Backpack Toys version of Teddy Ruxpin

Backpack Toys version of Teddy Ruxpin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“My friend, my friend, that’s what you are to me.”
Father and toddler sang their bedtime song.
“My friend, my friend, ’cause I love you, and you love me”
Teddy Ruxpin’s song brought a bedtime calm
to the highly energetic child.
Mother and brother only made him more frantic,
Grandma and others tried also their antics
with the highly energetic child.
But when Dad went in and they sang their song
Peace soon prevailed and sleep would come on
for the highly energetic child.
That child would go on to be a grown man
But he’d never forget that song with his ‘friend’
when a highly energetic child.
So when life’s pressure would grow to a frenz’
He’d remember that song and sing it again
like the highly energetic child.
Matt at 3.5He’d remember his Dad and that’s when he knew
his ‘friend’ always remembered him too,
his highly energetic child.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Matt is now a graduate student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA in the English PHD program. We remain the best of ‘friends’ and he still calls me when he is in a situation where he needs to ‘calm down’ quickly. I am most proud to be his Dad!

Matt in tuxedo

What A Dad Is There For

wpid-IMG_20121227_145552.jpgWhen his bike chain slipped off its gears,
When his hair grew past his ears,
When he had to face his fears,
That’s what Dad was there for.

When his arm was broken, twice?
Then his leg much later in life,
Facing bills with children and a wife,
That’s what Dad was there for.

Now a dad can’t fix everything
that a life lived full can bring,
But to keep his son from losing heart,
that’s what Dad is there for.

Sometimes wisdom, sometimes belief,
sometimes just space apart,
A good dad will give only what his son needs,
That’s what Dad is there for.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Happy Father’s Day to my son, Marc, who cherishes his two little girls as I have always cherished being the father of my two sons.

IT’S THINNERING (When My Youngest Was Three)

thundercloud #1

thundercloud #1 (Photo credit: Giyu (Velvia))

“It’s thinnering, it’s thinnering!”
Cried the child running in with fright.
“It’s thinnering, it’s thinnering!”
Leaping up to his father’s side.
“It’s thinnering, it’s thinnering!”
“Shhh, child…you’ll be alright.”
Thunder is not so scary
when Dad is holding you tight.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

Mother’s Southern Table


Oliver J and Euna Mae Sansbury, my wonderful loving parents

Mother’s table was one of the hubs around which the rest of our household turned. Although Dad always sat at the head seat and said the prayer of grace at mealtime, the dining table was always Mom’s domain. Three or more times a day Mom’s table was the center of our universe. At her table we ate meals and in between meals had snacks, did homework, played board and card games, and helped in food and meal preparations. Sometimes we visited with siblings or guests over a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea or soda; and many times sitting at her table we received some of the best counseling life affords from Mom or Dad.

Not only did our family home life revolve around Mother’s table, much of the entertaining of guests to our home happened around it as well. We lived in a nice home with a formal Living Room and a family room referred to as The Den both of which were well used when our large family with spouses, children and grandchildren all gathered for large family celebrations, especially as the members of the family aged and the family grew. Almost always these family gatherings included special guests such as pastors and/or parents and family members of some of the siblings’ spouses.

Those large family meals were the hallmark of our mother’s love and zest for family life. Our mother was a wonderful lady who loved to cook and raised six daughters who also loved to cook. Had Mom been born upper class she would have been the consummate American ‘Southern Belle’. In our eyes she was. She took great delight in hosting family and guests at her table to a sumptuous meal of traditional southern cuisine with the help of her daughters and daughters-in law.

That’s right, Southern Cuisine, southern fried chicken, potato salad, butter beans, field peas, corn, squash, turnip greens or collards, and corn bread. Most meals also included one or more meats such as ham, turkey, roast beef, BBQ or fish. Salads of various types were usually available along with pumpkin pies, pecan pies and any number of cakes, pies or other desserts that lined the counter in Mom’s kitchen.

Those elaborate meals that might seem like a banquet to others was a regular affair when we were growing up. Most Sundays Mom hosted such a meal and especially on holidays and those days special in on our family’s calendar. It was never unusual for us to have 25-40 present at those gatherings counting the guests and children who were always treated royally and served first at our gatherings. The only people present because of invitations were church related guests such as pastors and their families and sometimes a visiting evangelist, and the family members of spouses. Mom insisted that her children and grandchildren and their families never needed an invitation to her home or table for meals.

Because of such a tradition around our mother’s table a horrific void came into our lives when our mother passed away in the fall of 1995 due to a heart related illness. Our Dad continued to live another 14 years until 2009 and insisted we carry on the tradition of our family gatherings as a way of remembering our Mother, Euna Mae Gilley Sansbury. And that we did until his death.


10 Sansbury Siblings, the unconditional love of our Mom and Dad continues

Many of us have now moved miles away and have families and traditional gatherings of our own. My sisters who still live near each other plan meals and gathering somewhat regularly and all of us who can still gather. At least twice a year we make great efforts to meet together as a family around a large meal and remember the wonderful parents who raised us with so much love around Mother’s southern table.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013

~Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and to all remembering their sweet mothers; and especially to all my six wonderful sisters who are great mothers to their own families and still mother their brothers every chance they get.

People Will Be People

Can you hear me now

Can you hear me now (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would like to share a brief encounter at my ‘preaching place.’ As some of you who have read my ‘About‘ remarks know I am a Christian pastor and preacher by profession. I don’t endeavor to either hide or promote that on this blog. I follow and enjoy posts on many blogs from varied backgrounds and beliefs. Some are spiritual and inspiration in nature, others I enjoy purely for the poetry and writing. I come to this quiet place that I’ve created in my thoughts and now in cyberspace for reflection, personal consolation, and sometimes purely for escape from the audacity of other people in my local world.

Back to my recent encounter. A lady who deemed herself quite spiritual came-a-visiting due to an invitation by regular attendees at our church. She returned for a late afternoon worship time. After only having heard me speak twice for a combined total of about 60 minutes she felt a need to speak with me immediately at the conclusion of late afternoon worship. Her opening statement to me was that she felt a need to talk with me because I “left too much out!”

This was a new one on me. In my thirty plus years of preaching I have been accused many times of “putting too much in” and being long winded at times. This was the first time ever I have been criticized for ‘leaving too much out.” The dear lady then asked if she could order me an expositor’s edition bible from her favorite tele-evangelist. Of course I politely told her I would gladly accept such a gift.

Instead of feeling anger at this dear lady’s critique of my preaching I was most amused. Her criticism of my “leaving too much out” was offered concerning a message I had titled “The Essence of the Gospel” with the closing point being “The Simplicity of the Gospel of Christ.” Dictionaries define ‘Essence‘ as ‘the most important or defining characteristic of something.’ Simplicity is defined as ‘the state or instance of being simple or free from complexities and intricacies.’ Maybe I should offer to buy my new found friend a dictionary or maybe a hearing aid.

-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013