Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Remember those classic Alka-Seltzer commercials - the two tablets dropping into a glass of water to the tune of "plop, plop, fizz, fizz"? Usually they showed someone eating something disagreeable just before bedtime. Right? And someone who could only be rescued from terminal indigestion with a "plop, plop, fizz, fizz." Several years ago I met someone who knew the agony of late night stomach revolt. Terry works in the theater on Broadway in New York. He told me many show people just can't eat before they go on, so they're starved by the time the show is over and they get cleaned up. It's around midnight then. And Terry said they would go out together for a big dinner and shortly thereafter head home for their night's sleep and their night's wrestling match with what they had just eaten. Eating's nice - if it's followed by digestion!

Thursday, July 7, 2005

I had just finished speaking for a Christian leaders' gathering that was part of the countdown to a Franklin Graham Festival. The setup team there was in their early days of working together on this massive mobilization. The team leader thought it would be a good idea to get his team together for a few minutes after the meeting ended, and he invited me to join them. Then he handed me a cluster of helium balloons tied together. Suddenly, I felt like I'd gone from speaker to like circus clown. And, you know, I've read Winnie the Pooh stories to our kids enough that I couldn't help picturing Pooh Bear being carried into the sky by just such a bunch of balloons. After all, I'm not much bigger than Pooh Bear. But in spite of my trivial imaginings, the team leader there had a holy purpose for having me stand there with those balloons. He asked his team members to spread out around the room. They ended up widely separated. He asked them to get as close to me and my balloons as they could. Within moments, those workers, who had been so scattered, were shoulder to shoulder in a clump around me.

Monday, July 4, 2005

The love of Mary Ann's life, Tom, was coming for a visit. He lived in another state, so those visits were really special. He was due to arrive Friday night or Saturday sometime, and Mary Ann's room had been declared a federal disaster area. Finally, on Thursday afternoon, she decided she'd better get busy trying to recover her room. It was in pretty embarrassing condition. You know sometimes you have to make things messier in the process of getting them put away or thrown away. Mary Ann's room was at that point on Friday morning when the phone rang. It was Tom. He was calling to say he loved her and that he was looking forward to seeing her soon. That was all the incentive she needed to finish the job. Unfortunately, she didn't get that opportunity. Tom had called from downstairs. He had arrived earlier than Mary Ann expected. So in he walked and there she stood, dressed in her "grubbies," hair matted on her forehead, surrounded by an indescribable mess!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Little Jessica suddenly became America's child the day she fell down that narrow shaft in a backyard in Texas. Here was a toddler, wedged nearly upside down, in a shaft far too narrow for a man to navigate, and unable to help herself in any way. It didn't take long for the press to descend on that little hole in the ground to cover this valiant effort to try to save little Jessica's life. Pretty soon countless people across the country and around the world were rooting and praying for her life. I was one of them. At first, there appeared to be no way out of this deadly situation, but the rescuers weren't giving up. They began to build a wider shaft parallel to the one Jessica was trapped in. She'd been in there for nearly three days when a rescuer finally went down that new shaft and through the tunnel they had dug to Jessica. Minutes later - a scene many of us will never forget. In the glare of the press's massive lights, a battered but breathing little girl emerged from that hole with her arms tightly around her rescuer.

Monday, May 23, 2005

My son bought an old Mustang when he was in high school (not the kind with four legs. I mean the kind with four wheels). He used money he got from selling some of his valuable baseball card collection. Some years later, he wanted to sell it and put the proceeds into the work that he is doing with Native Americans. He was home for a little while and that's where the Mustang was, so he put an ad in the paper about it. First day - no calls. Second day - no calls. He wasn't expecting a line at the door exactly, but he thought he'd get a little more response than that. Then he found out why the phone was silent. He checked the ad and found that the paper had goofed and published a phone number that was a wrong number. But what a difference that one number made! When we dialed the number in the paper, there never was any answer. And since it takes a couple of days to change the error, the wrong number made more encore appearances in the paper. You gotta feel bad for some guy who's looking in the paper, sees a car he wants at a price he likes, and dials the magic number that cannot possibly reach the person who has what he's interested in.

Friday, May 13, 2005

When my wife gets a headache I tease her that pain always attacks at the weakest point. What a sensitive guy I am! Actually, a while back she was having headaches every day and burning eyes and stinging eyes. And she attributed it to the long hours that she was working. She barely even noticed that her vision was slowly becoming worse. Well, after some time went by, she did take some time to see the optometrist and he said, "Lady, you need glasses!" That was the day her eyes stopped burning, the headaches stopped, and the road signs suddenly cleared up. She only had one regret. She said, "Why did I wait so long?"

Friday, May 6, 2005

She must have been scared to death. She wasn't a public speaker, but that day she agreed to speak to 70,000 people in a football stadium in the Northwest. It was the last day of Billy Graham's Crusade in her city. And he had asked her to read a letter she'd received from her son. It was the end of the first Gulf War, and the troops were coming home; except for a relatively few American soldiers who weren't coming home and her son was one of them. He had died in a helicopter crash on the last day of the war. He had written a letter to his mother and given it to a good friend with instructions to mail it only if he was killed. Now she shared that letter with the masses in that stadium, knowing that her son still had something to say by way of what he had written. His letter said: "Mom, if you're reading this letter, it means I didn't make it. But that's OK, Mom. Because now, for the first time, I'm smarter than you are! Because Mom, I've seen heaven. I've seen Jesus!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

It was early last February, and we had just gotten several inches of snow - that wet, heavy kind. As you probably know, February is about the time that cabin fever starts to set in for those of us who have something called winter, and we're really ready for the cold to be over. Well, it isn't at that point; usually for a few more weeks. But I saw something so amazing that day of the February snow that I went for my camera to take pictures of it. On the south side of our shed, I saw something just barely peaking out from the snow. It was the shoots of our yellow daffodils! I brushed off the snow and I captured it on film - the promise of a coming spring in the middle of a very wintry day!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lots and lots of marble steps - that's one thing I remember from our family trip to Washington D.C. when the kids were little. In fact, our youngest was about two years old the first time we went there. In fact, he told me at that time that he was very interested in seeing the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government firsthand. Oh, but those steps! Have you ever been to the U.S. Capitol building or the Lincoln Memorial? You may remember feeling new feelings in your legs by the time you reached the top. Imagine our little guy. He looked up at those stairs and he knew there was no way with those short little legs. So was he stuck at the bottom with no hope of reaching the top of the steps? Hey, wait a minute. That's not true. He had me! And I had one of those child carriers on my back which he got in. And he made it where he never could have gone himself, because someone bigger carried him.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

You can have some say in what seat you get on an airplane. In fact, I usually reserve the kind of seat I want in advance. But you don't have any say in who your neighbors will be. Like the children who were in the seat behind me on one flight. My first clue that it was going to be an interesting flight was their squealing and crying before we ever took off. Mom just didn't seem to have her young daughter and her younger son under control, but she was trying. As we took off, I heard her tell her daughter loudly, "Don't squeeze your brother's head!" That sounded like a reasonable request to me. Then she gave a reason, "You know he's got a fever and he keeps throwing up!" Oh, great! For some strange reason, I instinctively ducked. The way I figured it, a straight trajectory would carry anything that came from that boy's mouth right to my head. I looked at the passenger next to me and we both just kind of shrugged and bent our heads down. Well, nothing terribly gross happened, but all during the flight, I kept thinking about those flu germs flying all around me and I hoped I'd taken enough Vitamin C that morning!

            

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