Monday, January 1, 2018

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It was the countdown week to the birth of our first grandchild. And, as you might expect, there were some of those mother/daughter conversations about what this experience was going to be like. You know, birthing this child that you've carried for nine months. I didn't think I had a lot to contribute, so I kind of bailed on this conversation. And while our daughter was still at home with some of those first contractions, I overheard her mother giving her some insight-the words of the veteran who's been there and knows what's ahead. She said, "Now, you're going to reach a point where you'll feel like you just can't take it anymore. Well, that's when you've got to hang on, honey, because that's when the baby comes."

Friday, December 29, 2017

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When I was at a theme park, I ended up on one of the longest lines they had. It was the line for those little "Grand Prix" racing cars. All of us--I mean all of those kids wanted to get on that little race track and pretend that we, ah no, they were a race car driver. It's fun, but it's fantasy. Oh, there's an accelerator, but your speed is pretty much limited no matter how much you floor it. Oh yeah, there's a steering wheel; you can turn it, but your turning is totally limited to the track they have your car on. Sure, you can hug that wheel and stomp that accelerator, but the sorry truth is this: you don't have control of that thing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

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The snowstorm hit Chicago on a Saturday, and many of the people stranded at Chicago's O'Hare Airport didn't get out of there until Tuesday. That scene was not unique for O'Hare, of course. I've sat in a plane on the runway for three hours just because brief thunderstorms went through. Maybe you've got some travel war stories like that. The fact is, O'Hare Airport is a hub for so many connecting flights to so many places. And because it's in the Midwest, it's near one of the Great Lakes and it can get hit with all kinds of weather, which sometimes shuts down one of the busiest airports in the world. Someone said, "When O'Hare sneezes, the whole airline system gets pneumonia." It's true that when bad weather makes the hub close down, nothing can get to where it needs to be.

Friday, December 15, 2017

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Like most families, Christmastime for us has always been a season of secrets, mysteries and anticipation. And sometimes even a little frustration. Like the year my wife and I decided to build a dollhouse for our daughter and then another year we built a general store for our son. We closed off the basement and we set up our workshop. The sign on the basement door said, "Closed - Christmas Workshop." But, of course, the kids could hear all the construction sounds downstairs, it's driving them nuts! They begged us to tell them what we were working on. But that, of course, would have ruined everything. Even though it left them wondering, we were building something really nice for them. They just couldn't see it until it was done.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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I've checked into many a hotel over the years, but I've never before experienced what I did just a little while back. See, when I arrived, I went to the desk – yes, they had my reservation – and they gave me my room number and my key - so far, we're good - and I went to my room. Then I put the key in the door, opened the door and stopped in my tracks. First hint of trouble was the clothes I saw hanging up on the rack near the door. Then I noticed the TV was on, and there were feet propped on a footrest – feet that were probably attached to someone who was watching that TV. Well, I quickly and quietly closed the door, turned to my associate and said, "What do you know! Someone's in my room!"

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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My childhood church has shown their love for our family in some very special ways, including sending a work crew to actually help make some repairs on our house some years ago - totally unsolicited. Joe was one of those "angels" that God sent. The first challenge for Joe came long before he even got to our house. In fact, it was on the drive out from Chicago. He was sleeping behind the driver's seat in the truck while someone else was driving, and suddenly he was hit with one of his recurring asthma attacks. Now, usually, he's able to get through that real quickly, but this one got a little scary for a while because he had trouble using his inhaler which he carries all the time. Here's what Joe told me. He said, "When you panic, you can't breathe, and I panicked. And you have to breathe to use the inhaler! The only way I can get what will stabilize me is to relax!"

Thursday, November 30, 2017

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A friend of mine attended a semi-pro football game between his team, which was an Arkansas team, and the overwhelming favorites, the team from Tennessee. Actually, the Tennessee team was already playoff-bound, and much to everyone's surprise, the halftime score was Arkansas 55, Tennessee 21. At the end of the third quarter it was still Arkansas 55, Tennessee 21. An upset in the making. Not so fast. Final score – Tennessee 56, Arkansas 55 – a victory won with a touchdown in the last seconds of the game. Another one of those surprising outcomes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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I've had days when my back felt about 20 years older than the rest of my body. Ever had that? Sciatica is what I think the doctor called it. I just called it "sorebacka." I'm grateful I haven't had a bout like that for several years, but I can tell you that when I wake up crooked, I feel like just staying in bed or in any comfortable position I can find. But I got some weird advice. Someone said, "Go for a walk when your back is hurting." Now, let me tell you this, walking is the last thing I feel like doing, but I decided to try it. I walked around our lake, and by the time I returned, the pain had basically gone away. I had to force myself to exercise, but it was exercise that actually made me feel better. Now there's a new scientific study that compared two groups of people with "sorebacka" (wait a minute, oh that's sciatica), one that took it easy and one that exercised. The exercisers reported less pain and more mobility. Now, what you don't feel like doing when you're hurting is what will actually help you stop hurting!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

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You know, sometimes people just overwhelm me with their love and their kindness. Some dear people from the church I grew up in learned about some needs we had in our home for a long time. And well, with the schedule I had, there really wasn't much time to make some of the desperately needed improvements or repairs-not to mention the fact that I (How can we put this?) am constructionally challenged. And with our limited budget, we hadn't been able to pay anyone else to do it either. Well, in this amazing expression of God's love, a work crew from my childhood church came to our house for three intensive days of house transformation. And now we could see all over the house the wonderful results of their labors and their love.

Monday, October 30, 2017

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My wife, Karen, received this lovely family heirloom diamond ring. And she took it to the jeweler so he could look at it with the magic eye that jewelers have. As he looked at it under magnification, he let out a curious "hmmm." He told Karen that the diamond had a fracture in the middle of it, invisible to the naked eye. Which caused Karen to ask how there could be a fracture in the middle. Why didn't it go all the way across the diamond? Mr. Jeweler gave a very interesting explanation. He basically said that while some diamonds are developing, some underground disturbance – maybe a quake or a tremor – causes the diamond to crack. But apparently some diamonds continue to develop anyway. Like the one we had. It was fractured, but it didn't stop growing!

            

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