Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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My wife and I were traveling with our daughter and son-in-law and our two dynamite, at that time, little grandsons. We were in adjoining motel rooms for a couple of days – and that's what occasioned our son-in-law's amusing comparison of our rooms. See, our rooms were basically identical – when we moved in. We moved our stuff into our room. They moved in themselves, their children, their children's world, and some "office on the road" stuff. Well, on our second day, our son-in-law plopped down in a chair in our room and he made this bemused observation, "You know, your room is three times bigger than our room!" Not true. See, our room was the same size. It was just one-third as crowded!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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In my early days of trying to figure out the world of computers, my friends would shake their heads. Sometimes they still do today, because I guess I could be a special challenge in the techy stuff. I mean, in the early days, someone saw me turning off my computer without going through all the steps you're supposed to. I didn't know until they told me that day. Probably my friend was shaking their head as they watched me. He showed me how to bring up on my screen an option called "shutdown". When you activate the shutdown mode, the computer displays a special shutdown screen that stays on while the internal shutdown work is going on. Then, suddenly, your computer is off. Well, when I asked my technically normal friend what shutdown mode was, he gave me a simple answer, knowing my techno-dork limitations. He said, "Your computer is cleaning out a lot of junk that's accumulated in there; any unfinished business from whatever commands it's been given since the last shutdown." Oh, that sounds good to me. Now I never end what I'm doing without going through shutdown mode. Neither should you.

Monday, September 26, 2016

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I don't know if you've ever driven across the United States, but it's something you want to think twice about. I mean, it's a long haul. How about riding a bicycle across the United States? That's what my friend Scott did when he was a college student with a group called Wandering Wheels. That's a lot of wandering! Scott said he was excited about the idea until the day the leaders displayed a map of the whole country on the side of their chuck wagon. It looked, in a word, impossible. But they started on Mission Impossible anyway. Each day, they'd get up and just start riding again. "So he took it a day at a time, then?" No. Scott said when the riding really got tough and his legs were just about to go on strike, he would just aim for that next telephone pole. And pretty soon, he said, that huge map got conquered, one telephone pole at a time.

Monday, September 19, 2016

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When our boys were little, did they work ahead on their homework? No! On their chores? Silly question. On their Christmas lists? Oh yeah! For some strange reason they were able to do some serious advance planning when it came to what they wanted for Christmas. I could expect their carefully prepared Christmas list by Thanksgiving at the latest. Their wishes would be listed in priority order, with what they called "the big one" circled and starred in big print at the top. They didn't want me to miss it. For our oldest son one year, it was this spaceship that was the toy of the year, the toy that parents fight over to get the last one in the toy store. You know? Well, I worked ahead that year. Right around Thanksgiving, I went out and bought that ship before toy wars began at the store. I tucked it away safely in my closet. Now my son reminded me of that thing over and over again during December, maybe nagged would be a more accurate verb. He kept on asking, and that was fine. Of course, I had granted his request as soon as he asked the first time. I just waited till the appropriate time to give it to him.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

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Boy from Illinois moves to East Coast and develops love affair with ocean. The Illinois boy – me. And I would love to sneak away with my wife to the New Jersey Shore and just let the majesty of the ocean kind of mellow out my spirit. One time, we drove down to a nearby Shore point for a Sunday afternoon and the day was a 10. I mean, blue sky, blue ocean, white puffy clouds, warm temperature. (Wish I was a painter.) After a walk on the beach, we sat down on a pier to watch four surfers who were bobbing around in the water nearby. They were in their wet suits, hugging their surfboards, and staring at the swells out there that were trying to grow up and become big waves. It was close to low tide, but that didn't stop them. And were they focused! They didn't talk to each other, they never looked around. They just kept staring at the waves that might be forming. And when one started to build, they turned toward shore, lay down on their board, and started paddling furiously. And as that wave built under them, they stood on that board, and their waiting and watching suddenly turned to the excitement of riding the surf wherever it would take them.

Monday, August 15, 2016

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Our friends have a nice vegetable garden and they wanted it to be nicer. So, they decided to try the Squanto method. You might remember from your American history that Squanto was the Native American who helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them about corn, and especially about how to get it to grow – by burying a dead fish with the seed as fertilizer. Remembering that little secret, our friends brought home a bunch of dead fish from the New Jersey Shore and they buried those fish in their garden with their vegetable seeds. Well, as time wore on, the fish announced their presence to the entire neighborhood – with a horrendous stink! Now, it is possible that no suburban garden has ever smelled so bad. That's the bad news, but the good news is that they were literally overwhelmed with the harvest of vegetables that year! They were hauling it in faster than they could eat it, freeze it, or can it. They called a lot of their friends and begged them to come over and get some vegetables. Yes, the stench was pitiful, but the harvest that came from it was bountiful!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

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Spring is nice. I mean, it means flowers! Spring is not nice. It also can mean floods! One North Dakota town some years ago, saw it coming; the floods, not the flowers. And they decided they weren't just going to sit there and float away. Because of a winter that had produced mountains of snow, they knew where that snow would go when it melted - right into their homes and businesses. So, while the snow was still deep, they started to make an island out of their town. Everyone pitched in to literally build an earthen dike around the town. Yes, they would be an island. Yes, they would be surrounded by a flood. But they made a wall so they would be safe in the middle of it!

Friday, July 29, 2016

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Some people have wall-to-wall carpet. Some people have a wall-to-wall schedule. I think I'm one of those. And it was like that when we took our daughter to college. She and I had just returned from a mission's trip to the Philippines, and I had to be in Chicago Friday to produce radio programs and deliver her to college. It had to be perfectly timed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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Life wasn't easy on the little farm where my wife grew up. The land was hard to farm, the money was pretty hard to come by, and the water was sometimes even harder to come by. In fact, on several occasions, Dad tried to dig a well. Again and again, they dug but they ended up only with dry wells. Thankfully, though, there was this spring not too far away. My wife actually remembers her grandfather hitching up Jack and Betsy – that was two mules, not cousins, and going down to this amazing spring that just gushed horizontally out of the rocks. And with each trip, they'd bring back two large barrels of water.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

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Some years ago, my wife had a very serious case of hepatitis. Later, the specialist told her that the battle for her liver was so acute he could hear the blood rushing to save it; just like Niagara Falls, he said. Thank God, she recovered fully with no trace today of that disease or any of its effects. But it took a while – seven months of bed rest. That was an interesting time for Daddy – suddenly known as Mr. Mom – and for our three children. Thankfully, our church brought dinner to our home almost every night. God bless them! It's a good thing. I mean, if it had been up to me to feed the kids, they probably would have been on the cover of something like World Vision magazine. But tough as it was, my wife said she had so much to praise God for in her recovery from hepatitis. For one thing, no one could really look to her or count on her for seven months. Here's what she said about it. "God gave me the gift of cleansing my schedule!" He had weeded out a lot that she said didn't matter after all and left only what did.

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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