There are hard days. Days where I fight to keep my composure. Fighting back tears in the cereal aisle and loosing. Headaches.

There are good days, days where I completely forget.

There are nights - like tonight which are long. Evenings which persist.

It was confirmed on Monday. But we knew earlier than that.

Holly knew.

My beautiful wife in pain, in pain and sobbing. And not sobbing in pain but because of what the pain meant.

"For sale: baby shoes - never worn."

I am weary, wrung out, limp. I am angry, I am loud. I am comforted.

I hold Holly while she cries.

Holly holds me.

Life is precious.

God is good.

Life is hard.

God is good.

Life is very hard.

God is good.

God is sufficient.


Confusing grace . . .

It's Saturday, and first autumnal morning of the season. The cool will burn off in a few hours, but right now I can wear a hoody, I can sit on the porch, drink coffee and think.

So much to think about.

So much to remember, so much to not forget. So much I need to remind myself of, lest I forget.

Let me better explain.

A busy week - Monday I was effectively laid off. Was given the "After Tuesday, there will most likely be no work till December" talk. Tuesday I made a very large purchase.
Wednesday I procrastinated, cleaned, folded, washed, vacuumed - anything but re-enter the that madness which is job hunting. All typical Neil behavior.

Till Thursday.

Thursday I had planned on going down to the coffee house down the street, and spending 8+ hours hunting. Engineer@neiljeffers.com was all ready to start sending out resumes.

But that's not what I did.

Instead I was asked to come to an interview.

Thursday afternoon I was offered a job.

Better pay, better hours, benefits.

Project Management.

Travel to China.

Educational opportunities.

I asked for the weekend to think about it.

And I find that I'm thinking most about Deuteronomy 8.

For those of you who don't know Deuteronomy 8 here it is.

I spent several long months in 2009 and 2010 looking for work. Boeing had just laid off 0ver 10,000 people.

The first time you go thru the hardest thing you've gone thru it seems huge, the desert seems the driest, the distance the seems the farthest - and it is - cause it's all you know.

There are things you know cause someone has told you and then things you know because they have happened to you.

In those few months of searching I found that work is not a right. You can be able, experienced, and willing. You can apply and apply and apply, you can shake hands, look people in the eye, sit in lobbies, wear your suit. Apply and apply and apply.

Interview and interview and interview.

And nothing happens.

Then one day everything happens and you find you've got a job.

What am I doing a horrible job of trying to say?

God provides.

Manna in the desert, AND overflowing harvests in bountiful lands.

God provides.

The trap I tend to fall into is confusing grace with merit.

And that's what I've been reflecting upon today.



So . . . it's been a while.

It's been to long.

Much to long.

I could try to fill you in.  I could try to tell all of the stories, but where to start?

It's been a long year.  It's been a long project.

Built a custom 150 ton press.  Designed it from the ground up.  Managed a fair portion of the production.  Oversaw the programming.  Tested, and retested.  Back to the drawing board again and again.

Stumped vendors - stumped engineers on two coasts and in Japan. 

Learned hydraulics.  Learned pneumatics.

Learned how to read ladder logic, and program PLC's.

Learned how to make lists.

Learned chains.

Learned how to design welding patterns.

Learned how little sleep I need.

And all of that is surface stuff.  All of that is non-story.

Holly . . . . .

. . . . now there is a story for you.



I want to write something meaningful.  I want to write something worth reading.


I want to write something real.  I want to share what I’m learning, only what am I learning?




And so I type something – and before I get to far I begin to see what I really want is you to think well of me, I want to sound deep, and well read. But without sounding like I’m trying to impress. 

Like a journal you leave about - hoping that someone will read it.


At times I am the man who reads a just so he can book so he can quote it later, vs the man who reads a book and is moved by the content therein.

A sentence, a phrase moves him.  He reads, and rereads.  He thinks.  He examines his life and his choices.



I remember being that man.  The man who read and was moved. 



That man is so busy.






And that saddens him.  Beauty not observed is beauty unknown. 


To see a sunrise, eat a breakfast, listen to a song, do my chores, to smell the hay – and to miss the beauty in them. 


But then I come home – I come home and kick my sodden shoes into a corner.  I pour a bowl of corn chex and and listen.


I listen to Jaymay, Palomar, Wayne Grudem, Sea Wolf, Working Poor, and Kris Gruen. 


And I fold my laundry, and I write – and I erase, and I think.  And I hear that music – not the music that is playing, but the echoes of a greater and grander song, the echoes mixing with a growing, groaning chorus. 


And all is good.  All is hard.  All is grace.


















u u u u u

Spent my evening trying to process enough of life to post a meaningful blog.  Only to be interrupted by Sadie.

Sadie getting out.

Sadie finding a skunk.

Neil moving doghouse.

Sadie getting out.

Sadie making lots of noise.

Neil turning up his music, trying not to breath deeply, while cursing the idiocy of the lower orders.

Sadie cornering a porcupine.

Neil being very temped to let Sadie learn her lesson.




Neil imagining the quite evenings, and peaceful mornings he could enjoy without this menace.

Neil realizing that an encounter with porcupine would most likely not prove fatal.




So rather than listen to a dog whimper all night, Neil with the aid of a long pole dispatched the porcupine. Found the hole in the fence.  Sewed it shut with baling wire.


Glared at Sadie.




and another evening gone . . . . sigh