Monday, December 2, 2002

As the Hutchcraft kids were growing up, we had an interesting system of government in our house. I had one big vote, and theoretically, my one could count more than the other. Theoretically. In reality, that didn't happen too often. One technique our children mastered in our family decision process was very skillful lobbying. For example, the kids (let's say) got wind of the fact that Mom was planning to have casserole for dinner. But they wanted pizza. So they would send our youngest as the sacrificial lamb to ask me about pizza instead. Overruled. Pretty soon, I had two sons in my study asking, with their big sister, of course, managing this campaign behind the scenes down the hall. Again, no pizza. But then they would all three come together, telling me how much all of them wanted pizza. After consulting with Mom, we got pizza.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

If I'm ever on an airplane flight where the flight attendant becomes incapacitated, I think I can do the safety instructions. Yep, I've heard them so many times. Actually, these days, they've pretty much videoized the presentation. I like that part where the little yellow oxygen masks drop down from above your seat in the demonstration. In the video, everyone is wonderfully calm in this simulated oxygen problem - very true-to-life, I'm sure! Anyway, the video shows a mother putting the mask on herself, and then on her little girl. The instructions go like this: "If the cabin pressure drops, get the oxygen to your face first, and then to your child's."

Thursday, November 7, 2002

It's still okay for grownups to read the comics in the newspaper. I mean, sometimes you actually stumble upon one of those "hmmm" kind of insights in a comic strip. Last week I had one of those "hmmm" moments. It was a "Family Circus" cartoon where the Dad and the little boy were in a cemetery looking at Grandpa's gravestone. Pointing to the epitaph on the tombstone, Dad says, "Those two dates are the year Granddad was born and the year he died." Then, pointing to the mark between his grandfather's date of birth and date of death, the little guy says, "That means that little dash between the years is Granddad's lifetime!" Hmmm.

Monday, October 21, 2002

For many months, our ministry team joined thousands of believers around the world in praying for the release of missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. Philippine rebels had kidnapped them from a resort where they were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary and held them for ransom for more than a year. Well, when a Philippine army unit moved in to rescue the hostages, Martin Burnham was killed by a stray bullet and Mrs. Burnham was wounded. For both of them, a terrible ordeal ended in the jungle that night. Gracia went home to America, and Martin went home to heaven. At his memorial service, it was reported that the last thing the couple did before the raid was to pray together. Mr. Burnham told his wife, "We might not leave this jungle alive, but at least we can leave this world serving the Lord with gladness. We can serve Him right here, where we are, and with gladness." Wow!

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I'll never forget the day when I was a little boy when my Dad took me to Riverview, the big amusement park in Chicago. We had a ball until he insisted on taking me - against my serious objections - on "The Bobs." That was Riverview's biggest roller coaster. I had seen the people on the TV commercials screaming like death was near, but he persuaded me to go. And I was not a happy camper. Oh, I didn't scream, I didn't cry. I didn't do anything. I just froze. I gripped the safety bar, I stared straight ahead, I never blinked, I never spoke the entire ride. My Dad was frantically trying to get me to say something, but I just couldn't. It was a long time after before I ever rode a roller coaster again. I was so glad to get off!

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

When we went with our Native American team to Alaska, I probably ate more salmon and learned more about salmon than I had all the rest of my life. One day in the Kodiak area, our host took us out to a swimming area with this charming little waterfall. And I saw a salmon trying to jump up that waterfall to the stream above it. And eventually, he made it. I thought, "Man, that's the gutsiest fish I've ever seen!" Our host explained to us that the salmon was actually heading home - back to where he came from originally. Apparently, after a salmon is spawned, he heads downstream and ultimately out to sea where he spends a lot of his life. But eventually he seems to hear the call - to go back to where he came from, even though it means a rugged upstream swim. Something summons him to fight his way back to where he began.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Your child's social life has officially begun when they get their first invitation to a friend's birthday party. Our kids have been to parties in the party room at fast food restaurants, at pizza places, homes with swimming pools. When our youngest son had his 16th birthday, we knew we'd have a hard time surprising him because he had watched us surprise his brother and his sister on their 16th. But I tricked him into going with me to check out a riding stable several days before his birthday - and that is where we surprised him. So his party was where the horses live. Lots of parties are often made special by the place where they're held.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Wendy was my first real crush. I was 13, and she was beautiful. But I didn't know how to let her know my feelings toward her. So I saved up my allowances and went downtown and spent everything I had on this necklace. I put it in an envelope with a mushy note I wrote, and I nervously handed it to her in study hall. I was really swave, uh, suave at that age. Well, the next day in study hall she walked by my desk and handed me back a familiar looking envelope. Inside was the note and the necklace. I was crushed.

Monday, July 1, 2002

In the house where I grew up, we drank a lot of milk. In the house where my wife grew up, they tried to get her to drink a lot of milk. But there was one glass of milk she had when she was a little girl that sort of ruined milk for her from then on. It had this really bitter taste - and her parents, not knowing how it tasted, forced her to finish drinking it. Well, as Farm Girl explained it to City Boy here, their cows had apparently been eating something called bitterweed - which turns what they produce into something bitter. Just ask my wife.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Our three-year-old grandson was talking with his grandmother on the phone. And all was well. Then he handed the phone over to his Mom and took off across the room to play. Suddenly, Grandma heard him crying in the background. He had tripped over something and actually he had fallen pretty hard. Nothing serious, but he was hurting. Well, he walked back over to Mom and he cried through his tears – “I want to rewind and talk to Grandma!”

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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