Showing posts from April, 2022

This mom didn’t tell you. She showed you!

It happened in a matter of seconds, but I never forgot it.   It was a summer evening on a country road in northern lower Michigan. A man who owned his own semi-tractor had parked the big rig in the driveway of their home. He and his little boy were standing there, admiring its size and beauty I suppose. From the street you could see the man walk up to the truck, give the tire a kick, then spit. Moments later, the little boy walked up, gave the tire a kick, then spitted on the ground as well.   It was a reminder to me as a parent that, like it or not, we lead by example.   In the many kind and loving condolences that we are receiving in the wake of Marcia’s passing, those people behind bars really get the picture. Typical of the many comments we receive from incarcerated men and women is this quote to Matt : “I trust, that the good in you, you learned from your mom to do the kind of work you do."   As our kids were growing up, they didn’t hear any instructions about being k

Marcia Tjapkes, 1937 – 2022

To say that she was the “wind beneath my wings” would be an understatement. Almost an insult.   While I was the young wannabe “pillar of the community” running a local radio station, traveling around the world with musicians, and serving on a variety of boards, committees and commissions, someone had to keep the home fires burning. Our four wonderful kids and our nine delightful grandchildren are a testament to Marcia’s incredible parenting skills.   Once the kids started growing up and the radio stations were history, Marcia Tjapkes sprouted her own wings. A registered nurse with innate medical skills, she went on to become one of the early certified hospice nurses in our county. She was a natural for that position, and for years provided compassion and assistance to men and women, along with their loved ones, in the final chapters of their lives.   After that she obtained another certification and became the first Parish Nurse in her church. Having earlier served as the church’

On Easter and forgiveness, or lack thereof

Our pastor recently completed a sermon series for Lent on the topic of forgiveness. I’m so happy that I could hear those inspiring messages on Sunday, because in my world, I don’t hear much about forgiveness on weekdays.   When we ask for forgiveness as we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we piously promise God that we, too, will “forgive those who trespass against us.” But when the prayer is over, and real-life situations develop, we seem to forget all about that vow.   -Families and loved ones of crime victims refuse to forgive the perpetrator, arguing that the victim doesn’t get a second chance. Why should that person who committed the crime have such an opportunity?   -Readers and viewers of crime stories in the news express their anger and disgust. “Lock ‘em up and throw away the key,” or, “I’d be the first one to throw the switch” on the electric chair.   -Prosecutors and judges, while ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to resentence those prisoners who received life without paro

There ARE some good prisoner stories! Here's one.

There was something different about Tayrone.   We see promising futures for many Michigan prisoners whom we serve, hoping for a second chance. But HFP CEO Matt Tjapkes saw a brighter spark in this new client of ours.   Tayrone had been involved in an armed robbery at the age of 19. He knew he did wrong, and entered a plea of guilty. A judge gave him 8-20 years. But, a life of crime was not in the cards for Tayrone. No sirree. Once outta there, he was going to get a proper education and make something of himself.   Matt caught that desire in his interaction with the man. Tayrone had set his sights on the University of Michigan. Yep, when he caught a parole, that’s where he wanted to be (Tayrone and a whole lot of other kids. Not everyone just gets accepted at a major university, especially the U of M!).   It was a gamble, one that Matt felt was worth it. He contacted a former HFP board member who, in an earlier life, had been an instructor at the U of M Medical School. Matt simp