Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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Well, with a whole lot of people who want to be President of the United States in an upcoming election, I was looking back at something that happened years ago. Actually it was the 1996 election, and a very interesting issue arose. It was called character. At least the Republicans tried to make that the issue of the campaign - the President's character. They thought they had enough troubling questions about the Democratic leadership that character questions could help turn the tide in the race. Well, to the surprise of many commentators, it was not an issue that many Americans consider decisive. In fact, during the campaign, here is what a front page article in a major news paper had to say about the "Character Counts Campaign". They said, "The message voters are sending back is that they don't care." Interesting! I think that's true many times when there's a fall in church leadership, or when there's a problem with a presidential or congressional candidate, or a governor candidate. Voters kind of go, "It's the performance that gets our vote, not character." Well, not everyone votes that way.

Friday, August 28, 2015

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Each winter certain parts of America get hammered, of course, with monster snow storms. And when it's our turn, we all have stories about how we survived the winter of whatever year.

But no one has a story like a Norwegian explorer Børge Ousland. I never met him, so I hope I got it right. But for 64 days he saw little more than white. He was the first person to cross the continent of Antarctica alone and unaided. It took him 64 days to cover a frozen 1,675 miles. He actually harnessed Antarctica's fierce winds by strapping himself to a parachute-like sail. Get this! And with the winds in his favor, he could ski as much as 140 miles a day. All the while, he towed a sled carrying more than 300 pounds of supplies; enduring monotony and temperatures that dipped under 40 below.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

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Some people get a lot of recognition at their high school graduation. I got a lot of recognition at my graduation practice. We were out on this athletic field. I still remember it was a beautiful June day. We were lined up in alphabetical order like we would be at commencement. Now, the idea is to march up to the platform in step to the familiar strains of the traditional graduation march "Pomp and Circumstance."

Monday, August 24, 2015

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We had lived in that same town for almost twenty years. So I could drive around town blindfolded. And, sometimes, I would act like it. Well, there was the day when I suddenly realized how casual I was cruising the streets close to home - too casual. You know, when you're in an unfamiliar situation you put both hands on the wheel, all eyes and ears, you're intent, you're focused. But, "Hey, these streets, I've driven here a thousand times!" So you just sort of go on auto pilot. Frankly, you know, there were times I didn't pay much attention. Well, for some reason, one of those National Safety Council factoids popped on the TV screen in my brain one day. It said, "The vast majority of accidents take place within a few miles of home." Well that's interesting! It's when you feel the safest that you're really in the greatest danger of all.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

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There's a spot in Vermont that our family has loved to visit for years. And God introduced us to some wonderful friends who made it possible for us to stay at the place they own. Even to get there is beautiful! First, we drive through the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. And then we enter the Champlain Valley of Vermont. And as we're leaving the one range of mountains we're looking at the next range; the scenic green mountains of Vermont.

Monday, August 17, 2015

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Senior year in college! Somehow our son had maneuvered himself into a coveted on-campus house for his senior year. The guys had their stuff and their whole universe there. Not necessarily an orderly universe. He told me that one day he and several other guys were talking about a student leader who was a friend of theirs. Let's call him Marty. Now, think of the atmosphere of college guys in a room together. Yeah, well our son was reviewing some of the dumb things (at least in his opinion) that Marty had done in his leadership choices.

Monday, August 10, 2015

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If you've ever seen a total eclipse of the moon, you'd have to agree it's pretty amazing! The moon - the great light of the night - suddenly starts to disappear. That big old moon darkens little by little until finally there appears to be no more moon. But don't panic! The moon has no light of its own of course. It's just light reflected from the sun. So, when something comes between the moon and its light source, something like a little tennis ball called earth, the moon just goes dark.

Friday, July 31, 2015

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I remember one time years ago when our area had a garbage strike. (It's not a great memory!) The garbage piled up in our garage while the sanitation folks figured out their deal, and it took a while. And it took awhile to get the smell out of our garage.

Friday, June 26, 2015

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There was this county fair my wife convinced me we needed to go to, and I got to see a different world for this old city boy! It was a 4x4 pull, where people in all kinds of four-wheel drive vehicles were competing. The challenge? To pull this massive sled as far as possible. The first event featured standard, unmodified pickup trucks. All the drivers were male except one. Well, the engines roared for about an hour as one truck after another revved and pulled and strained and finally slowed down until it could go no further.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

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Back in the 1990s, the United Nations announced the appointment of a new Secretary General. His name was Kofi Annan. He was a highly respected African diplomat. And as the spotlight shifted to this new Secretary General, well, the reporters wanted to learn more about his life, including what I found to be an enlightening story that he told from his childhood.

            

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