I first noticed it one day when I was mowing the lawn-a little dent in the ground. Over a few weeks, that little dent became a growing sinkhole. The ground was literally collapsing. I asked a neighbor, who was an amateur "sinkholeologist" what caused this phenomenon. He told me it was the drought of rainfall that we'd been having. He said an underground spring had probably dried up. And that dried up the ground, and the roots above it-and my yard went boom.
Look, a lot of toys come and go with this year's fads. But there are a few classic toys that just keep showing up in generation after generation-like Play-Doh, for example. I mean, who hasn't either owned some Play-Doh or bought some for a child or tried to get it out of the carpet? I mean, look, it's great stuff! You take it out of its' can and it's in the shape of the can it came in. But that changes quickly, depending on what you want to make of it. You can make that colored clay round like a ball, or you can make it into a pancake, or you can make it into two or three objects with different shapes. Play-Doh just takes on whatever shape you want it to be.
We have some wonderful Native American friends in the Northwest, and during one of our reservation outreaches, they honored us by inviting us to stay in their home. We had a great stay, but I did have to learn a custom that was new to me. When you walk in their front door, you are greeted with a pile of shoes. Now, in many Native American homes in that area, it's expected that your shoes won't make it past the door. Which makes you think about what socks you're going to wear that day for sure; probably not the ones that look like Swiss cheese. Actually, to come into the house with your shoes on is to really dishonor your hosts. And anyone who has had to sweep or vacuum the trail left behind by dirty shoes knows it's not just about honor. It really makes sense to not track dirt into a clean house!
Mr. Mom! That's what I became when my wife, Karen, was sick with a serious case of Hepatitis some years ago. She was confined to bed for a few months, actually, and we all realized as never before of course the difference that she made in our lives. Now, one little visible evidence of that was our kitchen sink, which seemed to take on a life of its own during those months. Oh yeah, we continued to do our usual good job of getting dishes dirty, but somehow no one was getting around to getting them clean! I remember going into the kitchen for what should have been a simple exercise - getting a drink of water, right? How hard is that? Well, fat chance! I looked everywhere for a glass. Oh, there were plenty of glasses - dirty ones in the sink. I mean a clean glass – not to be found. It was a frustrating search. I was searching for something clean to use and I couldn't find anything.
If you've got a tie that's gone out of style, hang onto it. It will probably be back in style eventually and you can be cool again. In fact, a lot of clothes are in, then out, then eventually back in again. But it's not just clothes - it can happen to toys, too. Like that classic toy - the yo-yo! They were popular when I was a kid! But I heard that yo-yo's, you know, have made a comeback in the past. In this age of computers and high-tech video games, you know what? Kids are still interested in that little round toy at the end of the string. It's great. And you learn the same old tricks: "walk the dog" and "around the world". I feel like I'm in a time warp! I never could master all that fancy stuff. But there was always one thing I could count on with my trusty yo-yo. When it got to the end of the string, it always started coming back to me! Unless, of course, it wasn't attached; which case it kept on going.
When you live in the Northeastern U. S. like we did, you usually pack up your shorts and T-shirts about November and file them under "See you in April." But it was January, and that's a big winter month where we were living and people were suddenly all over the place in their shorts and their summer clothes. It was 74 degrees! We figured either our calendar or our thermometer were wacky, but they both were right. It was a great experience - June in January. Unfortunately, the weather fooled the bushes and flowers in our yard. They felt the warm temperature and said, "Ooo, this feels good. Must be spring. Time to wake up!" Sure enough, the buds started appearing all over our yard. But I wanted to yell at them, "Not yet, guys! This isn't going to last! It's too soon! It's an ambush! This isn't going to work!" Unfortunately, I don't speak "Plant" fluently. And when the inevitable freezing temperatures returned, those poor early-bloomers were in for a terrible shock.
When you think of being a tourist in Hawaii, you think about fabulous beaches, luaus, enchanted islands-fun stuff. My first visit to Hawaii was on a stopover from a mission to Singapore and I saw some of the fun stuff. But there's one thing to see in Hawaii that isn't very happy – Pearl Harbor. It was really touching for me to stand at the USS Arizona Memorial in the middle of Pearl Harbor, right over the wreckage of one of the ships sunk by Japanese bombers that awful December morning. Entombed inside that ship are hundreds of American servicemen who went down with her. How could such a total surprise attack have happened? Actually that's been debated by historians for a long time. But one reason the attack was so tragically successful was this-it came at 7:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning-in a place where everyone felt pretty safe...and at a time when everyone's guard was down.
You may not be able to tell it over the radio, but I'm not a very big guy. Oh, I'm big inside. But outside, I'm more of like a Volkswagen than a semi. Which makes it amazing that both my sons ended up playing line in football. That's usually where they put the monsters. But we used to joke that the linemen wore their IQs on their jerseys - you know, like 75. But it was brawn more than brains they needed anyway to either hold the line while their opponents were trying to move them or to break through those gorillas on the other side of the line. There are just a few simple instructions that every coach wants every lineman to learn and live by. In fact, our guys heard this one all the time, "Keep your feet moving. No matter what." Even if it feels like you're going nowhere. Even if you're getting hammered. Even if you think it's doing no good. As long as you keep driving, as long as you keep your feet moving, you're making a difference. There is an alternative. It's called getting knocked down maybe by one of those gorillas on the other side.
The first time I heard someone talking about an invisible airplane, my reaction was, "I don't think so." But, in a sense, there is such a thing. Not exactly an airplane that people can't see-but it's an airplane radar can't see. It's called the "Stealth" bomber. Of course, if a bomber is headed for you, you want to know it. And radar has always been what alerted defenders to that bomber. But the "Stealth" is able to come in under the range of radar-and invade air space undetected-and do damage it might never have been able to do if it had been detected. Nobody realizes they're in danger until it's too late.
If you're a little kid and there's a big tree, it's there for you to climb, right? At least that's the way my wife Karen approached it when she was a little girl on the farm. They had this big maple tree - BIG maple tree! It took three people to get their arms all the way around the trunk. Well, little Karen started to climb that old maple one day, working her way through those big, thick old branches near the bottom. She got almost to the top when she suddenly realized something - the branches at the top are a lot skinnier than the branches at the bottom. Suddenly she was out on a very slim limb, on the verge of falling. That's when she started yelling for help - which, thankfully, her father provided. Karen found out in that old maple tree that the risks of falling are a lot greater at the top than they are at the bottom.