Friday, August 9, 2002

Our family of five voted - and the vote was four to one. I lost. The issue was whether or not we would get a pet. Since I had grown up an apartment boy, the only pet I ever had was some cockroaches. But I went along with the vote, and we started down Pet Avenue with the purchase of a gerbil. And I really took a liking to him. But there's something a little strange about those furry little guys. If you could interview a gerbil about, like, what he was anticipating for today's activities, he might say, "The same as yesterday and the day before that." If you asked, "Well, what's that?" he would answer, "The wheel." And so Gerbil climbs on his wheel and starts running. Come back later, he's still running on the wheel. I guess they don't realize what's happening: lots and lots of activity - and absolutely no progress.

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Our son had just arrived in the southwestern United States to begin his work with Native Americans. In fact, his supervisor in his non-profit work was a Native American. And our son was eager to show that he was coming with a servant spirit, you know. He had a tremendous opportunity to do just that. His supervisor needed his help in cleaning out a septic system. The job began with just our son's hands having to work in that sewage. But the job got more and more involved - and so did his body. Before he was finished, he was in that septic sewage up to his waist! Needless to say, he never felt more disgusting in his life. And then came the shower - that long, wonderful, heavenly shower! Now, he said he'd never been that dirty, and it had never felt better to be clean!

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

The more opportunity I have had to spend time with our Native American friends, the more fascinated I have become with eagles. See, where I lived in New Jersey, the only eagles we see are the ones from Philadelphia that the New York Giants play in football. But spending time on reservations, we have seen a lot of eagles and learned a lot about them. Of course, the big show is watching an eagle soar through the sky. But sometimes you have to wait a while before he does. See, the eagle may just sit there for quite a while. He's actually waiting until he feels the wind that he needs to ride on. Eagles have this amazing instinct to sense the current and go with it. And they won't move until they sense that wind that will carry them to the clouds.

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Several years ago, we took a delegation of teenagers to a youth conference at the Jersey Shore. Our friend Jamie was one of the counselors. One evening she left the meeting early to check on one of the kids from our group. She started walking down the Boardwalk when she heard this cry for help from the water down below. She ran down to the beach, and she realized that a girl was out there in that dark ocean about to drown. So Jamie yelled for others to come, and she pulled off her shoes and she jumped into the water. She knew this was a life-or-death situation, and she said, "I just had to do something." Pretty soon a couple of men jumped in to help and together they were able to rescue that young woman. And Jamie realized the real reason she had been out on the Boardwalk that night. Much to her surprise, she had been placed there to save a life!

Monday, August 5, 2002

There's one kind of mail from the bank that nobody wants to get - you know, that notice that you've overdrawn your checking account! Especially when they sock you with a penalty for it. It can happen because you've been traveling or unusually busy, or you know, kind of cutting things pretty close financially, or just because you inadvertently wrote some checks before your recent deposit has cleared. You can't try to buy or pay before the money is there to cover it, or you'll just end up paying for that.

Friday, August 2, 2002

When Mitch visited Honduras, he left a mark no one there will ever forget. We're talking, of course, about Hurricane Mitch, a Category 4 storm that hammered Honduras in November of '98. Whole villages disappeared as dams broke and mudslides buried everything in sight. At least 10,000 people died from Mitch's assault. And then came the battle for the survivors. Food and clothing and medicine and all kinds of emergency supplies poured into Honduras. But there was a problem: most of the infrastructure of the country was destroyed. Roads were gone. Bridges were gone. So, on one side you have starving people; on the other side, there were trucks loaded with what they needed to survive. But without a bridge, how do you get them together?

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Over the years, one of my areas of giftedness has been in the area of sleeping. Well, you know, the Bible says to do whatever you do with all your heart, and I think that certainly applies to sleeping. Right? I'd give our kids a time to be in, but I didn't always remain conscious that long. And they could ring the doorbell because they forgot their key, they could stomp upstairs, they could stomp over our bed, for that matter, and I would barely stir. Oh, but not my wife. Oh, no, no! There's something about the way many mothers are wired. They sleep real light - if at all - until everybody's home safe. It's a mother thing. They just can't rest until all the kids are in.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

My regular routine doesn't allow me as much exercise as I'd like. So when we get a few days away, I enjoy picking up the pace a little with some biking or hiking that I don't usually get to do. Of course, I can usually feel that I haven't been doing it enough. The next morning I'm hurting in places I didn't even know I had places. I remember one time we were away at the shore, and I did this sunrise jog on the beach. I felt so healthy - and so beat. I was pounding back on the sand, all tired and sweaty and out of breath, thinking about walking the rest of the way. Suddenly, I saw my wife in the distance. And suddenly my motivation was back! I picked up my pace like an Olympian. Now I had almost reached her when I saw what she had written in huge letters in the sand, "I love you, Ron." Oh! What a happy ending to a long, hard run!

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

OK, I couldn't put it off any longer - we had to move the piano. Now, in spite of my Arnold Schwarzenaegger-build (this is radio; you'll never know), I decided it wouldn't be a good idea to move that monster alone. In fact, I remember my dad needed surgery after he helped move a piano once! So the time we moved the piano was determined by one thing: what time could some guys be there to help? As we eased that piano slowly down the front steps, I was so thankful for those other guys. I had my hands full just carrying my corner! This was something that was obviously never meant to be carried alone.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Somewhere back in the deep storage of your brain files, you probably remember him from World History class: the emperor Charlemagne. I always thought it was "Charley Magney" until my teacher corrected me. Actually, Charlemagne was the most powerful European ruler of the Middle Ages, leading a people called the Franks to rule most of Europe. Under his rule, many people got baptized into the Church. It was pretty much expected of his soldiers, for example. In fact, they would go down to the river en masse and take the plunge. But one source reports that there was one thing that was a bit unusual about the baptisms of those soldiers. When they would go under the water, they would hold one hand out of the water with their sword in that hand. They didn't want that hand baptized. That was the one they wanted to be free to use to kill whoever they needed to kill.

            

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