The Trailblazer


Honor your father and your mother so that your life will be long on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12, Common English Bible).

Monday we buried my father. Yesterday was his memorial service. I know, for many that is backward but other concerns entered the picture and this plan worked best for all of us.

During his memorial service I shared the poem below. After learning of his death last Friday evening, I woke up early on Saturday morning. The Scripture and thoughts on 2 Corinthians 4 I shared yesterday along with the title, “The Trailblazer” was on my mind, though I knew the two weren’t related except they were both my gifts to my father, through God. As I laid in bed those seeds started to germinate. Cindy drove us to San Antonio Saturday morning. As she drove, I wrote. Below was the result.

He never discovered worlds unknown,
Or searched the depths of the deep blue sea;
Flight was not his lot in life,
But his life blazed a trail for me.

Pages of history won’t show his name,
Fame and fortune for him wouldn’t be;
Songs and holidays won’t carry his name,
But he blazed a trail for me.

He showed me how to be a man,
In him a loving husband I did see;
He taught me how to be a dad,
That’s one way he blazed a trail for me.

Dad tied my shoes and gave me food,
In the yard he often played ball with me;
We shot bows and arrows and looked at rocks,
Yes, my dad blazed a trail for me.

He showed the value of working hard,
A job done right, the world could see;
The bridges he built stand in time,
His hard work blazed a trail for me.

A son and daughter he did raise
A great father we both did see;
He loved us dearly all our lives
My father, blazed a trail for me.

Self-discipline was the rule of the house,
Many frustrations and failures I would see;
To teach me right, his discipline would prevail,
In being a good citizen, he blazed a trail for me.

He lived the Scripture husbands love your wives,
For over sixty years, their love we would see;
Over all my life, the two were one,
Showing a husband’s love, he blazed a trail for me.

A life of service he did live,
Years of Scouting had him in the trees;
Many boys he taught to camp and cook,
In Scouting he blazed a trail for me.

He served his country in time of war,
The Tolavana his ship in the Navy;
They refueled the fleet, keeping them underway,
In the Navy, he blazed a trail for me.

A Christian man my father was,
Living a faith for all to see;
He read the Bible, worshiped and prayed,
In faith, he blazed a trail for me.

Today he’s not here, today he’s gone home,
The great glory of God he does see;
The eternal reward stands before him now,
From now until forever at home in the sky,
Still, he’s blazing a trail for me.

We appreciate your prayers. This has been a hard week. We know God has been with us. Through your prayers, you have been with us as well. You are a blessing to me and my family.

You have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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