Bloom Where You Are Planted

This blog was created March 11, 2015. The contents of this blog contain correspondence between Chuckwa Don Crabtree and Gina Gillispie.

Although the two have never met, they became friends via mail when Gina, editor of an online news site, first reported Chuckwa's story.

When Gina saw his arrest photo, there was something that tugged at her to believe this person had a story to tell.

She mailed her first letter September 7, 2012 and they have been writing ever since.

After several years, Chuckwa decided he wanted to begin to tell his life story and send a message of hope to those who still have choices to make...his goal is to spend his time doing good things and good work right where he is....

Chuckwa has bloom where he is planted.

The posts that you will read will be a mix of old letters, stories about his everyday life in the James V. Allred Unit in Iowa Park, Texas and stories from his boyhood growing up along the creek in Palo Pinto County, Texas.

He signs his letters...."The Callisburg Kid"

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I pulled up the blog stuff and was looking it over.  I ran across something here on the 2 of 12 under the picture of me and my borther with our chaps on that I would like to make some changes to

It says here that I got married.....and wanted to get away from problems that brewed up over the years with my dad due to his drinking.

I don't want to hurt my dad in any way.  He's an extremely good man and has worked hard to overcome his own troubled existence. 

Daddy never had anything but the best intentions for me and still does to this day.  He will be 68 in July and still gets up each day for work to help the family survive.

This man loves me very much and vise-versa and it hurts me to even thing about possibly causing him any undue heartache.

He always had our best interest in  mind.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Thank you for the story ma'am.  It's a definite sad story but I also works to help me realize that things could always be worse. 

Like I said earlier, it's hard to see outside of this box sometimes.  But if I take a minute to think, it's easy to see, I really have little to complain about.

Like you said, I have family that love me, I can still help others, and I've got a few good friends. 

Thank you for the encouragement and the kind words.  It'll be greater later.

"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


So...I wanted to let the last post sink in a little bit. 

Have you ever in your life imagined such a tragedy as what happened to Jonathan McComb?  In all this time I cannot get his story out of my mind.

It gives me so much peace...his dream...
"Daddy, you made it, we didn't, Jesus picked us up at the river."


One man who lost everything...tragically

One man who squandered everything...tragically

Who does God love the most?

Luke 15:11-32New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Son

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


A Texas man who lost his wife and two young children when the house they were staying at was swept away by the floodwaters, speaks for the first time about what happened. CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Months have passed since the deadly floods in Wimberley, Texas, but not a day goes by that Jonathan McComb doesn't think about them. McComb lost his wife, two young children, and several close friends when their house was swept away by the floodwaters.

He was the only one who made it out alive. McComb has spent the six months since the flood recovering and paying homage to the friends and family he lost. He said his first dream about his family since he lost them was vivid. They were in a pastoral paradise when his daughter ran up to him. "She said, 'We didn't make it, Daddy. You did. We got picked up by a man in the river — and it was Jesus. And we are in Heaven.' And I woke up immediately and I looked for them and knew they weren't there, and tried to get back in that dream.

That was a big dream for me. I pray to have that dream every night before I go to bed." McComb and his dog, Maggie, are all that's left of his family. "Just me and her now... A lot of good memories", said Jonathan McComb. Five months ago, McComb, his wife Laura, his six-year-old son Andrew, and four-year-old daughter Leighton were staying in a riverside home in Wimberley, Texas, for the 2015 Memorial Day weekend with two other families. Like so much else, the home — with nine people inside — was swept away by a wall of water that came down the Blanco River. As they huddled in the moving structure, Jonathan says he never lost faith. "I prayed quite a bit going down the river," he said. "Even as we were together, we prayed, and by myself, I prayed."

The terrifying scene in the dark of night got worse when their floating house hit a bridge and then began to fall apart. The wrenching moments that followed are now his private pain. McComb will only pick up the story much further downstream, where he continued — in more ways than one — with his struggle to be the lone survivor. "At one point underwater, I just said, 'I am done,'" McComb told us. "I said, 'Take me home, I am going to Heaven,' and I just went limp underwater." Somehow, he held on. Badly battered, with broken ribs and a collapsed lung, McComb made it to a beach, scaled a cliff, and reached a house. "Where I got out was either 9 or 12 miles down the river," he said. McComb was cared for by a kind stranger there. The stranger later placed a stone marker at the spot where McComb made it, and dedicated it to his family.

Over the last several months, McComb has gathered a lot of frames and set out on a mission at home to memorialize all the life his loved ones lived, captured in pictures. In addition to putting up photos, McComb has kept his kids' rooms as they were, left their backpacks hanging on the wall, and maintained their play table as happily messy as it was when it was the domain of his children. A stone marker placed at the spot where Jonathan McComb made it to safety is dedicated to his family that did not make it. (Photo: WFAA) "It keeps the memory alive," McComb said. "I don't know what I would do without the memories. That's what pushes me along the most, I guess." He still wears his wedding ring. And he happily picks out landmarks all over Corpus Christi that remind him of cherished family time. Others keep the memories alive, too.

Yellow ribbons still cling to trees in Corpus Christi in remembrance of the local families lost in the Wimberley floods, including members of the McComb family and their close friends in the Carey and Charba families. As bad as his personal loss was, Jonathan says the tragedy has brought about a remarkable showing of positivity and togetherness that goes far beyond his local community. "I am just humbled by all the love and support from everybody, and all the humanity," McComb said. There have been thousands of people who have been involved: search and recovery volunteers, the people who've offered meals, those who have prayed unceasingly, and the friends and perfect strangers who have reached out from around the world to offer uplifting messages that are still pouring in. Jonathan McComb's children's backpacks sit undisturbed. Jonathan McComb's children's backpacks sit undisturbed.

Jonathan McComb sees those messages when he logs on to his wife's Facebook page. She was clearly loved. "I have sat there before thinking it was 30 minutes," McComb said, "and two-and-a-half hours later, I'm still sitting there, crying and struggling to read the screen through my tears." He says there have been plenty of tears or sorrow; but many tears of joy, too. Some steadfast volunteers are still looking for his daughter and still looking for the body of six-year-old William Charba. The volunteers still looking have a special place in the hearts of the families involved. "We can't thank you enough," McComb said. He waits for the remaining bodies to be found, so all involved can get closure.

Until then, he takes comfort that, like his wife and son, his young daughter was a good Christian, "And whether she is laid to rest in the river somewhere or in a coffin, I know where she is at the end... and that's Heaven." He also prays regularly that those still missing will be found.

Friday, April 1, 2016


If you have lived life at all you have more than likely received news that you could have lived without...
  • the divorce is final
  • the baby has health issues
  • the cancer is back
  • the job is over
  • my child has been killed
In Chuckwa's case...his devastating news is that all hope has been dashed... hope of obtaining a new hearing to plead his case and perhaps have the chance to plead guilty to manslaughter versus capital murder.  No nice letter, no kind doctor, no...just words on a card...
denied... without written order

I must say that when I heard the audio clip from Judge Smith, I was a little taken back by the finality of it all.  There was a part of me that thought Chuckwa might really get a break.  I really worried about what would happen when he found out.  I worried that I might actually have to be the one to tell him.  I worried.  What will this terrible news do to the morale of a man who already lives with little.

read below...

"well, guess what?  Let me tell you.  I got notice from the Court of Appeals this morning that my writ was denied.  I don't know for sure what it means that it was "denied without written order" but that's what it says on the card.  So it's on to the next step.  I already got my stuff out and am ready to go to work.  I got to go through everything and get it all sorted out and organized for this next step.  And I've got some studying to do on it.  This is all new to me.  I started to let the news get me down and to just say forget all this stuff, but that feeling went away pretty soon.  I can't give up.  That's not a winning attitude.  I've got all the time in the world to work on it so that is what I am about to get busy on."

I have often wondered what I would do in the instance of having nothing left like Job.  Would I have the will to continue..the faith to endure?  Do you know someone who has lost it all?  I do.  And I believe that the world if full of sympathetic people because some of these things have ALMOST happened to them.  They have almost happened to me and almost is enough to tear you up!

Job 1:13-22
When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God  and said:
“We bring nothing at birth; we take nothing with us at death.
The Lord alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the Lord!”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Amos 5:24
but let justice roll on like a river
righteosness like a never failing stream

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


District Attorney Barrett Dye is being sworn in as
he takes the place of prosecutor David Scott who passed away suddenly at the young age of 53.
Dye will be leaving the position at the end of his term and the new DA will take over the new trial 
one is granted to Chuckwa

Joe Meraz is the only candidate to file for a place and will become the new District Attorney

In the March primary, a new District Judge was elected to replace retiring Judge William Smith.  Smith has served as judge for Hansford, Ochiltree and Hutchinson County for 20 + years

Judge William D. Smith

After attending a forum where Brancheau and his opponent spoke in a forum, I was won over by one single comment Brancheau made and it was this...

I have been asked how I can defend a murderer when I know they are guilty and my answer is this...everyone in our country has a right to a fair trial and yes it might be hard to defend a bad person, but when I find myself in that position, I fight for the law...I fight to defend what is right and true and so my effort is spent in defending the law.

I am extremely intrigued with what will happen in this case.  It could be one of a few scenarios, including that a new hearing will be denied and "that will be that".  But if Chuckwa is granted a new hearing, he will be appointed a new defense attorney, and all the others will be new as well.  

In no way has Chuckwa ever implied his innocence and in no way have I every written a word to him that conveyed I accepted that he took the life of another man.  It is a very strange position to be in when one finds one's self able to carry on a human connection with someone who has done something bad.  I believe we all have that capacity in our core...most all of us are capable of forgiveness.  And forgiveness is not mine to grant to Chuckwa, but I am able to see a side to this case that perhaps, he indeed, did not receive justice....12 of his peers may get the opportunity to decide.

The decision might make a difference in 20 years or 40 years...