I Love to Tell This Story!

I heard that one out of every five children born into the world was Chinese. Sure enough, our fifth child was Chinese. Likewise number six.

When our two Chinese daughters were young, I often told them a bedtime story, a story based on reality with a little imagination thrown in.

It was the narrative of how they came into our family through adoption. Although they came to us two years apart, I blended their stories into one for easier telling.

Through repetition the story developed until it became a book, The Long Ride. This book is now yours, for free!

Their story has often brought tears to my eyes—just to think that two lost orphans now call me “Daddy!” Share in my joy as you read this book. Read it to the kids in your life. Reflect on the deeper spiritual parallel of adoption into the family of God.

Get Your Free Copy & Help Me Spread the Joy!

Choose the version for your device(s):

  • .pdf for ALL digital devices:
    Price: $0.00
  • .mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps:
    Price: $0.00
  • .ibook for all Apple devices:
    Price: $0.00

Now, can you do me a favor and use one of the share buttons below to let your friends know about this book?

Posted in Adoption

A Rose Looks Gray at Midnight

Our hearts ached for this little orphan. She had been a candidate for adoption, but her papers had been returned to Beijing. She might spend the rest of her gray existence in the orphanage, and finally, on the street. It would be a short life.

She needed a home, a family, and surgery for a ventricular septal defect. She was 2 years old, and the operation should have been performed in infancy to prevent lung damage.

Already in our mid-50s, my wife and I weren’t getting any younger ourselves.

Jan and I knew it was unconventional to target a specific Chinese orphan, probably even a foolish fantasy, yet we had to try. Because China was reorganizing the adoption process at the time, all adoptions from China had ceased. Our adoption agency was honest with us. The director even said, “Don’t count on it.”

When China finally approved her adoption we knew that we were witnessing a miracle. But when it came time for us to travel, we were told that now we couldn’t have her after all. There was a glitch on the other side of the world—a technicality that made her adoption by anyone unlikely.

In all, it took 16 months of waiting, praying, the dedication of Holt International Children’s Services—and a miracle from an unexpected source. Finally we made that long trek to the far side of the world to rendezvous with our new daughter. In new suits and fresh haircuts, the little girl and her traveling companions resembled astronauts stepping out into another world.

With a new name, our Helene was 3 years old by the time she came home. The next day we visited the cardiologist. He suggested we delay the operation for a few months, until Helene could adjust to her new life.

Jan always tucked our two girls into bed, but on the evening before surgery, Helene lay her head on my shoulder and fell asleep. She knew something momentous was about to happen. I sensed her telling me, “Daddy, I’m afraid, but I’m going to trust you because I know you love me.”

We arrived at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas early in the morning on April Fool’s Day. Dr. Nikaido sutured one hole, put a Dacron patch over another, and carved away the muscle build-up that had actually constricted the blood flow in what turned out to be another miracle: Helene would not need a lung transplant.

The words from a popular country song came to mind. “A rose looks gray at midnight, but the flame is just asleep,” sang Johnny Cash. When the doctor wheeled our child out of the operating room she no longer appeared dull and pale. She was pink as a rose in the morning sun. Our foolish dream had come true.

As Helene’s English improved she commented about her surgery: “I used to have a hole in my heart,” she said, “but now I have a whole heart.” Later, I overheard her singing, “With my whole heart, Lord, let me love you with my whole heart.”

A whole heart and a trusting, thankful heart.

(Holt International Children’s Services first published this story as “Whole Heart” in their magazine in 2007).


Posted in Adoption

Who’s the Richest Child in the World?

The three-year-old orphan came to us with nothing but the clothes on her back and a pair of red sneakers, new but smelling strongly of mothballs. She couldn’t run away, and finally decided to trust us, reluctantly.

We gave her riches beyond her wildest imagination. We gave her a rubber ball, and the next morning we presented her with a hand mirror. The third day’s gift was a rubber ducky. Each time she scampered off to the far corner of the hotel room with her treasures where nobody would snatch them away from her. For the first time in her life, she had all the marbles.

When we gave her a picture book, she wanted to look only at pictures of the ball, the hand mirror and the ducky—the extent of her strange, new, expanding world.

Arriving home in the United States, our newly adopted daughter, now named Helene, began to awaken to the beauty all around her. Meeting her two sisters with long lush hair, she stroked her own fresh burr haircut and expressed her desire for beautiful long tresses. Her artistry began to emerge as she hung ribbons and beads from her head, her neck, her ears. Her newfound riches amazed her. At the table, she left no scrap uneaten. Watermelon—after she ate the red part, she just kept on eating right through the green part.

But it was the dresses that overwhelmed her. One morning Helene stood in front of her closet for an hour. She was staring at the row of hand-me-down dresses. All beautiful. Not knowing which one to put on, she finally emerged from the bedroom wearing five dresses—one on top of the other. She must have thought she was the richest child in the world!

And she is. Think about it. She now lives in a home with her own family, with assurance that we won’t (and can’t) un-adopt her. She receives unconditional love, and enjoys the freedom to run, and play, and be a little girl. She has a new name, and a document hanging on the wall declares that she possesses citizenship in her new country. All this, and Heaven, too! She has discovered the Bible’s promises of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

If my kids are rich, what does that make me? Sometimes when I kiss them goodnight, I remind my two adopted daughters that some people think they’re rich because they have lots of money. “But I’m the richest man in the world, because I have you.”

(Holt International Children’s Services first published this story as “The Wealth of Family” in their magazine in 2007).

Posted in Adoption


It started when I was trashing a perfectly good toy car to add to my miniature McSwine farm.

“No, no, no, Dad!” protested my son Brent. “Don’t just take pictures of your miniature stuff. Tell the story!”

Duh. Of course. That’s how “McSwine Flu—the Movie” came about. And that’s how a classic 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe ended up as a chicken coop at the Texas State Fair. A first-place winner in the adult scale models category!















TELL US ABOUT YOUR HOBBY. How do you plan to share it with others? Scroll down to “Leave a Reply.”



Posted in Big News about Small Stuff

Lessons from a ’67 Mustang

1967 Mustang Don RegierI grew up in a Chevy family. Second-hand Chevys. When Jan and I had the opportunity to buy our first new car, I broke the pattern and decided to buy a new Ford Mustang. “Could we go look at the Chevys one more time?” my Dad pleaded. But I was hooked. And so began a love affair . . .

Posted in Cars I've loved

How to Total a Model Car.

Iron Pump 5505. 300 pxDecker McSwine hasn’t totally totalled his classic ’40 Ford coupe. Not yet. He’s working on it incrementally. But here’s a start.




Boiling Water 5487.300 px1. Put a rock or hard object into a sauce pan. Heat the water to boiling.

2. Push the car into the rock. Don’t hold it there too long. We want bent plastic, not melted plastic. This method will wreck only the plastic parts.


1949.50 Fords160329-0001.300 pxHere’s a totally plastic ’49 Ford that I totaled fifty years ago. Too bad I didn’t know about Rust-all.

The gold shag carpet is proof that I wrecked this car back in 1966.


Posted in How-to

Stealing hubcaps

Well, not really stealing, but I caught your attention, didn’t I? In this video post I’ll show you how…

Posted in How-to

It’s a Truck! . . . It’s a Car! . . .

It’s a new 1936 Chevy that my parents received as an engagement present! That business coupe had only one seat, but when our family outgrew it, Daddy created a perch out of the package panel and an old cushion that he pushed in through the trunk. So my brother and I rode sideways from the Kansas farm to my uncle and aunt’s wedding in North Dakota. I borrowed a match book from one of the motels, and when I lit a match along the way I burned my finger. Daddy said, “Somebody’s burning stubble around here.”

That car served our family well, but it also performed all the duties of a farm truck. That’s why it took on the aroma of freshly-ground cattle feed. After he filled up the trunk and the interior with feed bags, Daddy would stack more bags on the front fenders. The headlights kept the bags from falling off in case of a sudden stop.

Everything changed on the day when Daddy drove onto the farm in a brand new 1948 International farm truck. Memories wash over me when I think of that truck. I catch a whiff of fresh maroon paint. Between my bare toes I feel the squish of a truck load of newly-harvested wheat. I taste the wheat kernels that turned into chewing gum.

When my brother and I rode on the 16’ flat bed we sat safely behind the cab. But when our family drove the five miles to church in town, we all crowded into the cab of the International. The truck was too big for the church parking lot, so we parallel-parked down the street by the hospital.

In those days we figured out how to make things work, even if it meant using the car as a truck or using the truck as a car.

By Janice Harder Regier with Don Regier


Our 1936 ChevyJan with the ’36 coupe in 1963

Our 1948 InternationalThe ’48 International in the ’70’s

Posted in Nostalgia

Fifty Years Ago at This Moment

August 23, 1965Fifty years ago today at 3:30pm CDT, Jan and I arrived in Dallas, not even knowing where to find Dallas Seminary. We took a wild guess, hung a left on Commerce Street, and ended up 2 blocks from Swiss Avenue.

We met Joel Andrus, second year student, on the steps of Mosher Library. He graciously took us home for supper, and we probably gave Joel and Donna our hacking cough.

Stayed 2 or 3 nights at the Lawnview Motel on Thornton Fwy (sign is still there, $6/couple at that time), and found hair in the bed. Rented #306 in the Gaylord Apartments for $45 plus $12/month for electricity to run our window unit which we bought for $40 from Millionaire on Ross.

Tuition was $10/hr, and we got down to our last $10 before Jan got her Texas Cosmetologist’s license.

We are so grateful for God’s hand in bringing us here to DTS. It changed our lives. And that’s what I want to tell new students at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Posted in Nostalgia

How to Shave Off Your Beard

Don’t waste your wonderful beard asset. Shave it off in stages and become somebody else. Look at my transformation . . . from bad . . . to worse     . . . to worst!

Posted in How-to

Get Prodigal Pig Updates

* indicates required