Coming Soon: New Project #PeopleOfDFW

Over the last few years I’ve felt that as a society we’ve begun to listen and understand the people around us less. I’ve wanted to do something about it for a while.

I started Ubering 6 weeks ago. Since then I’ve been hearing every day from the people who live in the Dallas Fort Worth area. DFW we call it, or The Metroplex. Sometimes they are people passing through, on holiday, a family reunion or at a convention. Sometimes they were born and raised in the city. Sometimes they moved here because of a job.

They are all great stories of people we pass in the street week in and week out.

I will now post at least one story about one person’s life. Consider it my contribution to listening and understanding.

Some stories are long.

Some are short.

Some are mere descriptions.

Some are photographs.

All are art.

All will bare the hashtag, #PeopleOfDFW.

Names may be changed to protect privacy.

If you live in this great metroplex I encourage you to share your own experiences. Stories you’ve heard, stories of people you’ve met. Stories you’ve lived out yourself. Use #PeopleOfDFW to add to our human tapestry.

As I’ve met the people of DFW I’ve felt the creative energy that has made this one of the fastest growing places in America. I’ve felt the warmth and humanity that welcomed me.

While you wait for the series here’s a Haiku they inspired.

“Beautiful people

Traversing beneath blue sky

Pause and say hello”


Family History – The Marriage Of Harold And Annie

I promised my great aunt Ruth that I would transcribe Harold and Annie’s marriage certificate. So here it is. I originally sent off for this record 5 or 6 years ago so I’m happy to finally put it in blog format.

Date: 1911

Marriage Solemnized at: St. Paul’s Church, Cwmtillery in the Parish of Abertillery, in the county of Monmouth.

Number: 136

When Married: July 31st 1911

Name and Surname: Harold Griffiths.

Age: 19

Condition: Bachelor

Rank Or Profession: Collier

Residence At Time Of Marriage: 55 Powell Street, Abertillery

Father’s Name And Surname: Thomas Griffiths

Rank Or Profession Of Father: Collier

Name And Surname: Annie Simpkins

Age: 19

Condition: Spinster

Rank Or Profession: Blank

Residence At Time Of Marriage: 11 Earl Street, Abertillery

Father’s Name And Surname: John Simpkins

Rank Or Profession Of Father: Collier

Married in the Church Of St. Paul according to the rites and ceremonies of the established church

on after Banns by me.

This marriage was solemnized between us, Harold Griffiths, Annie Simpkins, in the presence of James John Simpkins, Emma James.

D.O Loyd Williams Officiating Priest.


There’s a couple of things to note about the information in this marriage certificate.

1. Cwmtillery had the church of St Paul was not opened for worship until 1891, so it was relatively new at the time of the wedding.

2. Cwmtillery was considered a very beautiful place before the coal mining industry became the prominent player in the local economy. According to Wikipedia and local sources there were 4 explosions within the mine its self. The mines closed in the late 1900’s and the town is quickly reverting back to a place of beauty.

3. At present I am not sure if the two witnesses James John Simpkins and Emma James are both family members. James John could be Annie’s father also listed as John Simpkins in this certificate. He could also be a brother, I need to do a little research. The 1901 census shows a Jas John Simpkins as Annie’s brother. It’s possible Jas is James. Annie’s mother was named Elizabeth, so Emma could be a wife of a sibling or a friend.

4. The ages on this marriage certificate are 19 for both. However, I currently have Harold born in 94 and Annie born in 96. The 1901 census has Harold’s age as about 6 so I am fairly confident he was born around 94. Annie Simpkins is also listed as 16 in the 1911 census. This would make them 17 and 15/16 respectively. Until the Age of Marriage Act in 1929 the age of marriage for males was 14 and for females was 12. Either I have their birth dates wrong, or they lied about their age on the marriage certificate.


— As always, the rest of my family history research can be found at

Why We Should Stay Out Of Vice President Pence’s Marriage

I’ll keep this brief. News broke yesterday that Vice President Pence will not eat alone with another woman who isn’t his wife.  To many left wing leaning constituents and journalists this is crazy radical news. Forgive me for calling hypocrite on this. They and others have spent the last year arguing that President Trump lacks character and explaining how horrified they are of his treatment of women. (I would argue rightfully so.)  Now they criticize a man about how he chooses to conduct his marriage.

The same journalists have argued for a long time that we should stay out of other people’s marriages. We can’t spend most of our time arguing for more character and then be appalled when we see a different kind of character materialize in the man who is VP. Criticize his politics, argue about why he flip flopped on free trade, supported Trump or what he believes about school choice. But criticizing the way he conducts himself with his wife, particularly when he does so in an effort to protect his marriage, this just seems ludicrous to me.

This is why people are so fed up with the media. They want the media to focus on policy, on reporting without an agenda. They don’t want it to focus on a man who obviously loves the woman he chose to marry and is doing his best to protect it in the way he believes is most effective. We may not have the same boundaries. We may not live the same way. We may not see temptation as he sees temptation. Letting him choose to live his own personal life the way he wants to is called tolerance. Tolerance isn’t for just one people group, it’s for many.

To refuse the man tolerance is called judging.

I would not be surprised to hear most the people criticizing him for his life style decisions have also spent much of their life calling for people not to judge.

Let’s try it for once.

Who Really Knows How To Parent?

I read a fascinating article today.  In summary, it covers parenting decisions over nap time in nordic countries.

The basic premise of the Swedes, “A little fresh air never hurt anyone” happens to be something I heartily agree with.

But I’m sure having toddlers nap in sub freezing temperatures is controversial in America.

Anyone approaching being a parent these days has to face an avalanche of judgment. If  they don’t read it themselves they will surely hear about study after study and book after book of the ‘best way’ to do it.

The reality is that every child is different and every family is different. A baby’s personality and temperament are as unique as you and I.

What I’ve discovered is that routine is important because it breeds safety, but what that routine is can change from baby to baby. How you feed them, change them and put them to sleep is up to you.

Just as along as it works.

What are some things that have worked for you and your children? I would love to hear about them.

It’s 6am And She Won’t Sleep


Heather had been up half the night, either because of my coughing, or Elianna coughing. At 6am I rolled out of bed, congested, with my wife asking if I could rock Elianna. Sure, I thought, no problem.

We don’t normally have this problem at 6 am. For a few days Elianna had been sick so she needed a little more help calming down when she woke up spluttering from coughs, sneezes and her own congestion.

Let me also be clear – I’m aware 6am is easy compared to 2am, or 3.

As I walked into the room she sat cross legged, one pacifier in her mouth and the other two in her hands. The first trick which came to mind was to lay her back on her side and leave. It didn’t work. So I picked her up and rocked her. She cried for 20 minutes, which is nothing compared to some children, but a lot for this one while she’s being rocked.

It bothered me a little but then she quieted down and I found myself praying softly as her gaze became distant and her eyelids began to droop. This is one of my favorite times and as she gets older they are becoming fewer and further in between.

It made me think back to the first few months when I rocked and bounced her while she screamed and we couldn’t figure out what was upsetting her. Back then I was desperate for Elianna to fall asleep and give the household some rest. I remember waking in the morning barely able to function but I also remember my doctor’s sweet advice. “Value those nights that you’re awake at 2am, before long you’ll look back and realize you shouldn’t have wished them away. They’re precious.”

I remember thinking – they could have been precious if she hadn’t been crying.

Now there is not as much time for prayer as she lies in my arms, or before bed as she drifts to sleep. Already there is not as much reliance on me as a father helping to bring her peace and calm. She’s mostly learned to self soothe and that’s a good thing. My hope is that I made the most of these times and will make most of these times in the future. Even if they are few.

I’m certain my whispered prayers and silent songs have, and will, make a difference.

You Can Go But Be Back Soon


I’ve been part of many missions trips, and I live the best part of 1 ocean, 1 continent and another half continent away from my parents. I’m used to leaving.

This time is different.

It’s not bad, it’s just different.

There’s something about leaving a 14 month behind that tugs at the heart strings a little more firmly.

Last night I had a dream and I was thankful for it. In the dream I was able to pray first with Heather and then with my daughter. When I awoke I remembered the dreams and the prayers very clearly. I count this a blessing from God. It gave me a lot of peace.

When my daughter awoke this morning she walked out of her bedroom carrying a book. She loves books but rarely does this. The book was entitled “The best daddy of all.” I smiled and said another “thank you” to God.

It led me to a greater understanding of military families. I don’t know how a father can say goodbye for 6 months to serve his country and essentially protect me. If you’re in a military family I thank you. 11 days is difficult enough.

Purpose helps immensely. I’m going to train people who change lives in Kenya. It’s worth while, it’s life changing and I fully believe it’s eternal. Eternal work. Eternally impacting.

I know others travel a lot more than I, but I don’t think this in anyway reduces this feeling I am experiencing of leaving. It’s a good thing. As my friend Bill reminded me on facebook, “They’re the best reasons for you to to be sure to come home safely.”

The words of my pastor have also been in my mind all day. “You’re not the ultimate provider for your family, your heavenly father is.” I believe that, and although I’m sad to go, I’m happy to know it’s only 11 days and my family is in safe hands.