Monday, November 26, 2007

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I had to stop at a convenience store one Halloween night. I was not "trick or treating." I was just trying to pay for the gas I put in my car. That's when I saw this interesting sign they had posted; it was a sign I had never seen anywhere else before. It simply said, "Please remove your mask before you enter." I wasn't wearing one. For one unhappy moment, I did remember what they used to tell me in school long after Halloween, "Hey, Halloween's over, Ron! Take off your mask." I wasn't wearing one then either. But the sign was no joke. Obviously, they didn't want someone to try to pull off a Halloween heist, wearing a mask that would conceal their identity from the security cameras. I didn't see anyone in the store that night with a mask.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

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Each winter, certain parts of America get hammered with monster snowstorms. And when it's our turn, we all have stories about how we survived the winter of whatever year it is. Well, no one's got a story like a Norwegian explorer named Boerge Ousland. For 64 days, he saw little more than white. He recently became the first person to ever cross the continent of Antarctica alone and unaided. It took him 64 days to cover those frozen 1,675 miles. He harnessed Antarctica's fierce winds by strapping himself to this parachute-like sail. With the winds in his favor, he could ski as much as 140 miles a day. All the while, he's towing a sled carrying about 400 pounds of supplies, enduring monotony and even temperatures that dipped to 40 degrees below zero. After his incredible journey, Ousland talked about the huge mental challenge of facing seemingly endless fields of snow. But here's how he did it, in his own words, "It's so big and so far - you have to keep concentrating on the near future and make every day a victory." Wow!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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When five-year-old Jeremy started school, it was more than he bargained for. It was the second morning of his kindergarten experience. Mom got Jeremy up and started helping him get ready. Then came his question, "Do I have to go back?" Oops! He wasn't counting on an encore. His rationale, "Well, I already went yesterday." His mother told us, "I didn't have the heart to tell him there's 12 more years of this!" Well, he went off to day two, of year one, of twelve more years!

Friday, November 9, 2007

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All eyes are on the mountain - the volcano nearby, that is. Our friends' daughter is a missionary, living in a city that sits in the middle of several volcanoes. And one of them is showing some of those Mt. St. Helen's-type symptoms - the bulging and the boiling that suggests a possible eruption in the near future. Scientists are predicting that could very well happen. So living anywhere near that boiling mountain is, to say the least, pretty nerve-wracking.

Monday, November 5, 2007

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Our three-year-old granddaughter has big eyes, a big smile, and a backpack to match. She's loaded her little red backpack with every book that she can jam in there. And being a firstborn, she must, of course, carry it all by herself - which she was trying to do the other day when it became clear to Daddy that she was really straining with that load. He saw again how determined she can be. (Determined actually is a grandparent's word. Parents call it stubborn.) He suggested she remove a few books and lighten the load, and that idea was a total non-starter. Then she tried taking another step. That's when she started to take off her backpack, and she said with a sigh, "Here, Daddy. I can't carry it anymore." Her Daddy gladly took it and asked, "How's that, honey?" Her answer melted her father's heart, "All better, Daddy. All better."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

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One of the cities that symbolizes for me the charm of the Old South is Charleston, South Carolina. When you go down to the harbor and hire a carriage ride to go to the old part of the city, you feel like you're suddenly back in "Gone With the Wind" or something. Those antebellum houses and mansions are classic. I thought it was great that this historic part of the city had been so well preserved over the years, until the carriage driver told me what really happened. These old buildings had actually deteriorated terribly over the years and the area had become pretty shabby until some people took an interest in financing a renewal.

According to our driver, they only had a limited amount of money, so they decided to invest it in one building. Now the owner used those funds to convert this dilapidated old building into a historic masterpiece. You say, "Well, that's only one building. What about the neighborhood?" Well, the fellow next door was so inspired by what had happened to the neighboring property, he decided to find somebody to restore his building. Then the next neighbor did the same thing, and then the next neighbor, until finally the entire neighborhood was finally transformed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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The phone rang in my study. I thought my wife was asleep in the other end of the house. Even though I was really preoccupied with what I was writing, I answered the phone so it wouldn't disturb her. A guy named Mike said hello and he started explaining his special offer related to satellite TV. I wasn't interested, and I tried to tell him that. He just kept talking. I was just starting to tell him no a little more forcefully when I heard a little giggle on the phone. My wife was awake and she had picked up the extension. That's when I woke up! I was talking to a recording. Feeling stupid now! Click.

Monday, September 17, 2007

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For a while, it seemed like it was just a head cold. But suddenly my wife's chest started to hurt, and a serious almost uncontrollable cough developed, and minor activity even made it hard to breathe. I had suggested she see a doctor earlier in the week, but she's about as good at taking those suggestions as I am. But eventually she got so miserable, she called for an appointment. "You've got pneumonia, girl!" That's what the doctor said after the chest x-ray. Sure enough, there was this dark stuff, camping out in her lung, causing all this trouble.

Friday, September 14, 2007

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Amid all the amusement and theme parks clustered in Orlando, Florida, there's one that is pretty distinctive. It's a Holy Land theme park that attempts to bring some of the scenes and the stories of the Bible to life. Our daughter and son-in-law were there not long ago with our two grandsons. And the kids, who are pretty up on their Bible stories, really enjoyed walking through those stories and meeting some of the characters (actually, people portraying some of those characters). The one that impressed our then two-year-old grandson the most was Jesus. A man portraying Jesus stood in the middle of the small crowd and He spoke some of the very stories He told in the Bible. But then came the moment our little guy will not soon forget. Jesus came over and picked Him up, just like Jesus did with the children when He was here. The next day Mom and our little guy were talking about his upcoming third birthday party, and suddenly out of the blue, he said, "I want Jesus at my birthday party."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

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Recently, I spoke for a large youth conference at one of the East Coast's most popular vacation spots: Ocean City, Maryland. The boardwalk, the hotels, the restaurants, the amusements seem to stretch for miles. My friend told me he's been coming to Ocean City since the 1970s, when most of what I was seeing wasn't there. Not that many folks used to come to Ocean City. I asked my friend what changed that. "Oh, the bridge," he said. The building of what is called the Bay Bridge opened up this beautiful spot to many people who had never experienced it before.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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