There's been a run on graveyards these past years. Not because more people are dying, but because more people are connecting the dots in their family tree. There were some TV programs that show famous people pursuing the story of their family's past, and those have fueled an explosion of interest in genealogy research. Just ask the librarians who are welcoming visitors from all over to their newly-enhanced genealogy resources.
Nutmeg was a beautiful young horse with this white blaze on her nose and what looked like white boots on her feet. Her owners learned that her grandmother had actually been a prize-winning jumper. Apparently, Nutmeg had her grandmother's blood; she just kept jumping every fence her owners ever used to try to restrain her. One day, trying to get out of another fence, she broke her leg. The veterinarian told the owners it was the worst break he had ever seen in a horse, and there was no way to save her. She was a horse with such great potential and a very sad ending.
You know how it is after say a week of rain, you start to forget what the sun looks like. We had just been through a week like that, and it was like pouring as I was driving home. And, actually that's what it had been doing the whole week. You didn't even have to listen for the weather forecast; I think they just had it recorded. You knew what it was going to be the next day. Well, I glanced at this office complex of a major insurance company that was along the road on the way home. And what to my wondering eye should appear, but sprinklers! Yeah, all their lawn sprinklers were out and going full blast. Now, what is going on here? I mean, they were watering, drowning a not very thirsty lawn. After a week of torrential rain, the sprinklers were on! They were like saturating what was already saturated.
Americans kind of are trial junkies. I mean, there's like whole TV channels, you know, devoted to watching trials. Many of us are fascinated with high-profile trials that will sometimes headline our news. Legal proceedings seem to grind on for months, if not years, and then there are weeks of hotly contested testimony. Then suddenly it's in the hands of the jury. I've certainly checked the news to see if the verdict was in on some prominent trials. Then, after all those months, it's suddenly over. In a moment, the verdict is in. When the verdict is guilty, there is one more decision to be announced - the penalty. In some terrible cases, the penalty has been death.
Both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush called him one of the American Presidents that they revered the most, and he's right up there with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore - Theodore Roosevelt. He became a national hero, and soon President of the United States after his heroic leadership in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The objective of his unit was to take this strategic Kettle Hill and then San Juan Hill. Ultimately, his troops would have to advance uphill in the face of withering enemy fire. And his soldiers would long remember the order he gave to launch what turned out to be an historic advance. Unlike many military leaders, Teddy Roosevelt did not say, "Charge!" Instead, he shouted, "Follow me!"
During our college years, my wife spent part of a summer as a counselor at a Bible camp that was buried deep in the mountains. I mean like deep in the mountains - deep enough in the mountains that the rattlesnakes are plentiful. One day as she was hiking with her girls through the woods, they all heard what they thought was just a branch or a stick breaking. Until they realized that one of the girls had been struck in the leg by a rattlesnake. Now my wife was someone you wanted to have around you when there was a crisis - really cool head. She ran to the nearby camp and immediately went for the box in the infirmary that said Snake Bite Kit on it. But her heart sank when she opened it; the life-saving kit was empty. Thankfully, they were able to get that girl to a hospital in time to save her life, no thanks to the empty snake bite kit!
First, our kids couldn't feed themselves. Then they slowly began to learn to do it themselves. Right? Yeah. And then they got really good at it. But in those very early days of teaching them to feed themselves, we didn't just hand them this big slab of meat to eat and say, "Go for it kid." Every parent knows the drill: you cut the big piece into bite-size chunks so it's manageable. I got so used to doing it, it was kind of embarrassing when I'd got out to lunch with a businessman and I started cutting up his meat up for him!
She's only four years old, and she wasn't supposed to tell. I was talking to one of my good friends on the phone. His little girl hears me on the radio, so she said, "Daddy, can I talk to him?" So we had a great conversation on the phone. For once I didn't get to say much. And believe it or not, she got on the phone and it was non-stop four-year-old girl talk. And in the course of telling me all about her family, she just blurted out, "And mommy has a baby in her tummy." Well, my friend came back on the phone rather sheepishly and said, "Ron, that's really not public news yet. We just found out! Grandma and grandpa don't even know. It wouldn't be good if you knew before they do. She wasn't going to tell that." I said, "Well, listen; I don't even know what she said. I forget." I just made it a point to forget it. "I'll really be happy when you tell me the news. Does that work?" So, actually, I think that little girl is great. She just can't sit on good news.
Every year they have this annual White House Correspondents Dinner. I don't watch it often, but some years ago I actually did watch it and I was pretty amazed by what I heard. Reporters from all over the world are at this dinner, and the President of the United States is usually there - not always. He usually does an uncharacteristically humorous speech. I've seen several Presidents do that. Well, the President finished and then one of America's most popular comedians was introduced as the night's entertainment. But this man, who is known far more for being suggestive than being spiritual, made this statement: "I've been watching the evening news a lot lately with my Bible opened to the Book of Revelation. And as I'm hearing what's happened in the world, I just go 'check, check, check.'"
If it's spring in America, someone is going to get hit with floods unfortunately. Years ago, I think it was April 1997, North Dakota got hit hard - especially in the area around Grand Forks, North Dakota. One woman who had to flee her home was interviewed by a reporter. She was eating her lunch in a school shelter where hundreds of victims were bivouacked. She must have surprised that reporter when she said, "You know, I feel very fortunate." I mean, after all, what had been her home only a day before was now awash in sewage and fuel. Then she gave her reasons for feeling fortunate. And you often hear this after a disaster. She just said, "My children are all safe. The rest is just stuff."