The surprising virtue of the strongest people you know.

April 25, 2017 | 21 comments

Army Captain, Vietnam War

My father-in-law was a rugged man, a man of duty and honor. He wore Levi jeans and scuffed boots, dirtied from years of chores on the family farm in Iowa. He had no romantic notions about farm life, or about his years as a decorated Army Ranger captain.

There were hard years, really hard years. There were foxholes. And death.

He didn’t talk much about it, and though we wished he would have, we respected his silence.

He simply kept his hand on the barn door, the tractor wheel, and the hymnal on Sunday mornings.

But the image none of us will ever forget is this one: those same calloused hands held dainty teacups. The distinguished Army captain was the most gracious host of tea parties, which he held in honor of his granddaughters.

This is one of the fondest memories that my girls have of their Grandpa Paul. He’d sit cross-legged with them on the porch of his house, under the shade of a giant tree. He’d stir muddy water, and engage in polite conversation, and pretend to eat cookies, which were actually landscaping rocks set upon fragile saucers.

I was always struck by the tenderness and humility of my father-in-law. Looking back on it now, I know that the same core values motivated both his service in the military, and his impromptu tea parties: A deep love of people and of country.

The rest of this story is over on Fox News. Click here to read it. 



Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Kaitlyn Bouchillon. Her post, When You Need to Know the Story Isn’t Over, is both vulnerable and honest. Although her words were posted on what I call Sadder-day, the day between Good Friday and Easter morning, the encouragement is for every day and every in-between season. Find Kaitlyn here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


by | April 25, 2017 | 21 comments


  1. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Gosh, you and Fox News…. praying these words bring grace and kindness your way. What a wonderful memory. (my kids had a Grandpa Paul, too. Best name ever).

    • dukeslee

      We have the fondest memories of Paul. Our girls actually called him “Bop” instead of Grandpa. 🙂

  2. Michele Morin

    Heartwarming story! I love the way our generational bookends bring us together — with smiles and tears.

    • dukeslee

      Thanks, Michele. xo

  3. Anita

    Woot! Woot! Fox News :). You go, girl! I hope that Pedro and I can be that kind of grandparent to our grands!

    • dukeslee

      Oh. I know. The trolls. GRRRRR. Last time I was over at Fox News, I got called this name: “dirtbag of the highest order.” What in the world!?!?!

  4. Gayl Wright

    Such a wonderful, loving story!

  5. Tara L Ulrich

    THIS: “Looking at the photos, I remember a truth about the bravest people I know. They aren’t too afraid to make themselves small. They understand that humility and kindness aren’t signs of weakness, but virtues of the brave.”

  6. Leslie

    Jennifer, I loved this story. I had a father in law like that, too. He was one of the bravest people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Thank you for sharing his story.

  7. Susan

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the story. My grandpa was like that – oh he was a dear. WW1 veteran and one of the finest men I’ve ever known. So blessed he was “mine.”

  8. Liz

    This is a beautiful post and sums up what I know about Veterans in general. Thank you for sharing it here and on Fox News. Blessings!

  9. Rebecca

    “tenderness doesn’t weaken our warrior spirit. It strengthens it.” What a beautiful message for all of us, and a wonderful tribute to your father-in-law!

  10. Lyli Dunbar

    Beautifully written, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing this with us — it’s good to remember that our fierce, grisly warriors are truly tenderhearts at the core. They sacrifice so much for our safety.

    Loved seeing the picture of your girls when they were so young! Precious


  11. Julie Loos

    Loved your story! What great memories your girls will have of their grandpa!

  12. Elizabeth Stewart

    I love this story of your tough and tender father-in-law.

  13. Maree Dee

    Beautiful. I loved this line, “They aren’t too afraid to make themselves small.”

  14. Sherry Thecharmofhome

    How beautiful! Thanks for hosting!



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