Friday, December 28, 2018

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When our daughter and son-in-law became parents the first time, they also became an aunt and uncle. Their niece was a little younger than their first son, but you can imagine that both sets of parents enjoyed swapping stories about their first child. For example, he would set out a toy or a puzzle on the floor. He'd select one of us adults as his designated playmate. It sounds like this - now, he called me "Dada" because he couldn't say "Granddad" - he would go, "Dada pay." That's "play" for those requiring translation. And he patted the floor exactly where he wanted me to sit and "pay." Apparently, their niece was issuing similar invitations to the adults in her world, like her Daddy, for example. He was moving around the living room doing whatever, and she would look up at him with big eyes and asks a simple question, "Papa down?" She really wanted her father to come to her level. And he did.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

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My friend, Bill, was talking to me about his son's expectations. He called them microwave expectations. Bill was in his early 50s, and his son Ken had been married for about a year, and his son wanted everything fast-like a microwave. Bill said, "I can't believe it. They want all this stuff immediately! They've been married one year and they want a home, they want furniture, and they want a new car. They want in a year what it took us 20 years to get!" That's not unusual; the child expects more than the father had.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

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Maybe it's a guy thing. Maybe it's just a Ron thing. But I hate to waste time or waste effort. You know? Here's what that it looks like when I've just returned from the grocery store to restock our empty refrigerator and shelves. I basically look like a mule – yeah, with bags all over my body, carried on almost every appendage. I don't want to make any more trips to the car than absolutely necessary, oh no, no! So I'm willing to try whatever calisthenics, to tolerate whatever overload will enable me to get everything in the house in one trip. This approach has been known to have its problems. Sometimes I drop a bag or two or one of them rips open; thus, making more work. And I've got this shoulder. Yeah, wrecked it pretty well. You think it might be traceable to carrying too much too many times?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

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One Christmas, a friend gave us one of the most unique ornaments I'd ever seen. As soon as you see it, you think how beautifully and exquisitely this glass decoration is painted. But what's amazing is that none of that artwork is on the outside of the ornament. It's been painted entirely on the inside! For centuries, I guess the Chinese have perfected this "inside painting." Through a small opening in that ornament, the artist repeatedly inserts a miniature brush to paint the artwork. Of course, the process is painstaking and time consuming. It takes two days just to paint one ornament, but the result is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind miniature masterpiece.

Monday, December 24, 2018

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It was World War I. It was Christmas Eve. The German and British soldiers were dug in just hundreds of yards apart. But it turned out to be much more than just another tense and violent night on the battlefield. There had been so many of those. It actually began when one German soldier began singing "Silent Night" from his trench. Pretty soon he was joined in German by many more of his fellow soldiers. Amazingly, the voices of hundreds of British soldiers began to join in the carol from their trenches, sung in two languages - same carol. Now that has to have been a moment those soldiers never forgot. Just think, opposing armies singing "Sleep in heavenly peace" in the middle of a battlefield.

Friday, December 21, 2018

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It's the king of all the classic TV Christmas specials: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" of course. We know those familiar scenes of Charlie Brown sadly looking for the meaning of Christmas, Snoopy's Christmas decorations on his doghouse, Lucy's Christmas pageant, Charlie's pitiful little Christmas tree, and Linus' appearance on center stage to answer Charlie's question about what it all means. Linus quotes straight from Luke's account of Jesus' birth. Those are all things we know about that special. What I just learned recently is contained in an interview with one of the co-creators of that show. When Charlie Brown creator, Charles Schulz, first suggested including the mention of Jesus in the special, he met with some pretty serious objections from the network. They almost tubed the project because they feared they wouldn't be able to sell advertising on a show that talked about Jesus. You know what Charles Schulz did? He stood his ground and he simply said, "If we don't do it, who will? We're going to do it." The rest is history.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

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This is crazy. Suddenly I'm all excited about a plant. I can't remember ever taking care of a plant in my life. That was always my wife's department. But this Christmas I actually ordered a special plant, and it's getting my special care because of what it represents to me about Christmas. And about the "long winter" that began the day the love of my life was suddenly gone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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It's the Christmas season, and everywhere you go these days you see those brown trucks-it's UPS running everywhere, delivering Christmas surprises to people. Those UPS drivers work really hard this time of year. I mean, they get a lot of long hours to get everything where it's supposed to be in time for Christmas. I expect they sleep pretty well at night. Even though they have a big job, at least they don't have to go out and buy all those packages. Their job is just to deliver what someone else has paid for.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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"Avalanche." "Tsunami." "A cultural watershed moment." "A day of reckoning." Those are just some of the words the news used to describe the increasingly relentless accusations of sexual misconduct by powerful men. That quake has been shaking cultural epicenters of this country from Hollywood to corporate boardrooms to state capitals to the halls of Washington D.C.. And most observers believe this is only the tip of an iceberg.

The blizzard of revelations is new. Men using power to exploit someone sexually; sadly, that's not new. From athletes to politicians, from bosses to clergy sometimes. Tiger Woods outed an abuser's rationale when he went public with his extramarital relationships. He simply said, "Normal rules didn't apply...I felt like I was entitled."

Monday, December 17, 2018

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When you stand at the edge of the overlook, gazing across at the mighty Niagara Falls, listening to its liquid thunder, you can't help but be impressed with its majestic beauty and its tremendous power. But that's as close as I want to get. A person who somehow fell into those churning waters would have little chance of survival; maybe no chance. That didn't seem to bother the famous tightrope walker known as the Great Blondin. No, back in 1859, he made history. He crossed the gorge of the Niagara River on a tightrope. At one point, he executed a back somersault. His next tightrope trip across the Falls, Blondin crossed on a bicycle, he walked across blindfolded, then he pushed a wheelbarrow, and he cooked an omelet in the center. He made the trip with his hands and feet manacled at one point. Then came his ultimate performance. He announced he would carry a man across the Falls on his back. Most of the folks believed he could do it. No one wanted to be the one who went on his back, though, except his manager who climbed on the back of the Great Blondin, and to the amazement of all who watched, he arrived safely on the other side.

            

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