September 1, 2021

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A friend of mine and his son love to take off backpacking along the beautiful river they've got near their house. And they've learned some interesting "tricks of the trade," I guess, to make sure they have clean water to drink without the weight of having to carry water with them all the time. They take iodine pills with them on their hikes. Apparently, they can collect some water from the river, dissolve iodine in it, and the water comes out clean. But then who would want to drink it? Iodine-flavored water? I don't know. It's not exactly the taste sensation that's sweeping the nation, right? But that's where the Kool-Aid comes in! Yeah, they put in some Kool-Aid and It actually makes that bitter water sweet. Or so they tell me!

August 16, 2021

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I was on one of those early-morning airplane flights that's packed with business people. And as we landed that morning, we had one of those "two for the price of one" landings. We bumped and jumped along the runway as we landed. A lot of fun! And suddenly that commanded the attention of all us passengers who are usually numb from frequent travel. I thought, "I wonder what the flight attendant's going to say? I mean, this wasn't in any way a routine landing." Well, the attendant simply got on the sound system and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, now that I have your attention, I'd like to make a few announcements..." Man, did they have our attention!

August 6, 2021

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Not long after we moved to this area, we had a chance to explore a beautiful cave that really has some breathtaking views. Most of the caves you tour in America were discovered some time in the 1800s. Not this one. It was just discovered in 1969. Actually it was discovered because of a giant sinkhole that opened up. Some adventurous young men decided to crawl down into that sinkhole and see where it led. The cave guide showed us the little hole in the rocks that they crawled through and then out into this huge room, decorated with spectacular rock formations. I don't suppose the big lights and sidewalks and the railings were there when they first looked in, but they must have been amazed at what they saw, and what millions have been able to discover because they did. And it was all because of a sinkhole.

August 2, 2021

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Well every once in a while, that remote in my hand will take me to an educational place on television. I remember one night that I saw something with a very curious title. It was about "good things hurricanes do." Yeah. Now, we've seen plenty of the bad things hurricanes do, I was intrigued to hear about the good ones. This feature told about these Australian pine trees that somehow had taken root in a place in Florida. It hosted attractive plants which attracted a lot of beautiful birds and small animals. And the pines grew and got tall (which is something I don't know much about personally!), but they created this canopy over the plants they got so tall, and that blocked out the sun. And what had been this thriving gorgeous plant and animal life area became a stretch of sterile underbrush...until the hurricane hit. The storm literally snapped those trees in two. And the sun is back. The area is now a beautiful park with pools, greenery, flowers, herons, and lots of interesting wildlife. But it took a hurricane.

July 29, 2021

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We were driving across the state of Kansas, and I was reminded again of what a panoramic view you have there no matter which way you look. Those plains just seem to stretch as far as the eye can see, and your eye can see just about everything - not many hills or mountains to hide in. If you know that terrain, you can understand how quickly an unobstructed wind can carry a fire across that prairie, destroying everything in its path. A Kansas farmer told us that at the first sight of smoke, every farmer and rancher who can see it leaps into action; some in pickup trucks that are loaded with tanks of water, others with tractors and farm equipment. They're all determined to stop that fire before it really gets started.

July 5, 2021

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Some years ago, my wife and I were at this couples' party at church, and they played a game that is sort of like that old TV show, "Let's Make a Deal." Everybody brought some "white elephant" gifts - they didn't bring white elephants but that's something you really wanted to get rid of. Of course, all these castaway gifts were nicely wrapped so no one knew what was inside. Then one person (maybe you've done this) has to go to the gift pile, pick one, and they open it. From that point on, each person has a choice when they go to the middle: take one of those unopened treasures, or give one of those unopened gifts in exchange for something that's already been opened that looks good to you - something that you know you want. Now, at this particular party, there was one particular object - this hand-carved lamp stand - that everybody wanted. It was one of the few things of value really. And it didn't matter what lengths a person went to in order to conceal that lamp stand, the next trader inevitably would remember where it was and they'd go for it. Actually, the dealing got pretty animated, in fact, I'd say almost dangerous at times. Everybody was up for grabs, except for one person - the woman who had opened the first gift. See, she remembered the rules of the game - that since the first person didn't get to make a trade, they get to make the last trade of the game. Through all the turmoil, she knew who was going home with that lamp stand all along!

June 30, 2021

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Every wedding has its special challenges. Our friend Candace's was no exception, like getting the people in the wedding to the wedding. The groom's family, including the best man, had to come from Sweden. And it just so happened that the week of the wedding was part of the longest stretch of winter cold and a deadly covering of ice in 100 years. Literally, our whole region was glazed over with three layers of freeze, and it made even taking a step treacherous, let alone driving a vehicle. And there wasn't a trace of thawing. Well, it was a battle. I mean, storms closed the major airports around us. But after many hours of travel and waiting, the groom's family finally got a flight to an airport about four hours away from us. Then came a long and treacherous drive for the groom, to and from the airport. Oh, and the fun was only beginning when they arrived in town, because then just walking to or from your car was risking life and limb. But Friday night, right on schedule, with the entire starting cast, according to plan, the wedding happened.

June 18, 2021

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I saw this precious sight at the airport. There were a hundred bleary-eyed travelers waiting for luggage at the carousel. Maybe you've been one of those. That wasn't the precious sight I saw; nothing precious about that. But I heard this little exclamation behind me. It was a little boy barely old enough to be walking, and he was standing next to his Daddy. Now, his Dad had apparently just returned from a business trip, and next to him on the floor was his big old briefcase. Well, the little guy, using all his strength, fully extending his body is trying to push his Dad's big briefcase. The briefcase was just about bigger than the little boy was. There was no way he could pick it up, but he was trying; pushing and pulling with everything he had. It was something I'm sure his father could handle easily, but the little guy? He was just too weak to push it.

June 4, 2021

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With the population of our family increasing with the arrival of each new grandchild, our ability to accommodate everybody was shrinking. So we added a couple of rooms that really have served us well in some memorable family get-togethers. But we had to correct one thing. As we looked at the staircase that a lot of little legs (like mine) would be climbing, we didn't like the sharp edges we saw on one of the boards that was along and at the top of the staircase. We had to take care of those before someone got hurt on them.

May 13, 2021

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One of the great names for Jesus in the Bible is the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah." When noted author, C. S. Lewis, created a character to be his Christ-figure in his "Chronicles of Narnia" fantasies, he introduced us to Aslan, the lion-king of Narnia. In Lewis' enchanting books, Narnia is a land where the animals speak, where the forces of evil are strong, and where Aslan, though only seen on rare occasions, is the dominant figure. Lucy is one of the children whose transported to Narnia. In one of the later books in the Chronicles, Lucy is finally reunited with the lion-king, Aslan. I'll let C. S. Lewis take it from here: "'Welcome child,' he said. Lucy said, 'Aslan, you're bigger.' And he answered, 'That is because you are older, little one.' 'Oh, not because you are?' Lucy said. 'Oh, I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.'"

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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