Friday, January 13, 2006

Some years ago, there was this movie called "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." Someday my kids are going to make a movie about some of the great ideas I've had on our summer vacations. They'll call it "Dad's Excruciating Adventures." Like the day I woke everyone up at 3:00 A.M. to get the view from the top of the mountain. We were vacationing in Maine. And I had read that if you were at the top of Cadillac Mountain at daybreak, you would be one of the first Americans to see the sunrise that day. And how could we miss that thrill? Right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

If you're looking for a great real estate deal, don't go looking in the metropolitan New York area. Housing in the metro New York area is just really expensive. When people from another part of the country start looking at home prices there, they usually get a paralyzing case of sticker shock. When our friend Rachel and her husband moved to the New York area to serve the Lord, they went through that cost-of-living trauma. Rachel was talking one day to my wife about this and it led her to tell about a minor, but particularly irritating, frustration she had with their house. It was about that pipe in the corner of the dining room! Rachel said, "I have wallpapered the room. I have tried everything to get that dumb pipe to blend in, but nothing works! It's ugly!" Then she paused for a moment and she said, "You know, I told God I'd live in a grass hut in Africa if He called me to, and I meant it! Why can't I live in a house with an ugly pipe in New Jersey?" Then Rachel answered her own question. "I know why." The diagnosis that followed might provide an x-ray of what's going on in you!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

My friend John has a sick little boy on his hands. His son was only about three and he was having some serious respiratory problems. The little guy often woke up in the middle of the night gurgling and finding it hard to breathe. That's scary at any age and even scarier at three. During that siege, John stepped up to serious "daddying." Unbeknownst to little David, he set up a camp just outside the boy's door. Whenever David would cry out, John was there in a moment to help. Night after night, those frightened cries came out of the dark. And night after night, a father was there by the side of his frightened son. Well, little David was no dummy. He finally figured out how his Dad was getting there so quickly. He was right outside the door. So David just got out of bed, went out in the hall, and snuggled up next to his father. That was the end of the fearful cries in the night. He had found the best place to be when you're scared.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I was scheduled to speak at a winter retreat in Pennsylvania and I had to drive from New Jersey, and that day winter decided that it was time to do some serious wintering like heavy snow. And it just kept on coming. I knew this could be an exciting drive. Well, actually, it turned out to be much easier than I expected. I got out into this mess on Interstate 80 and I had really low visibility, I had blinding snow, and the road filling up quickly. Of course I was muttering, "Why couldn't they cancel this retreat? Then I thought of a better idea than complaining, like praying maybe? And wouldn't you know, that's when I saw the snowplow in front of me. Well, I got my little car right in behind Mr. Snowplow and I traveled on a clear road most of the way to the retreat! I just drove where the snowplow had already been! That way you're a lot less likely to end up in a ditch!

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Some friends of ours are involved in a ministry whose offices are out in the country. The setting is beautiful and far enough out that it even has some interesting four-legged neighbors. Like the mountain lion several workers and neighbors have spotted. There's not supposed to be a mountain lion in their area, but someone forgot to tell the mountain lion. I understand this has caused the folks who work there - especially if they're around after dark - to be just a little more vigilant when they're coming or going from their car. Personally, I think it's better for the person to see the lion before the lion sees the person.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

There is a spot in Vermont that our family has loved to visit for years. And God has introduced us to some wonderful friends who make it possible for us to stay at the place they own. Even the trip up there is beautiful! First, we drive through the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, then we head into the Champlain Valley of Vermont. As we're leaving the one range of mountains, we're looking at the next range - the scenic Green Mountains of Vermont. The inn we stay at is in the valley between the two. So, when we arrive, we look West at those mountains we have just been through, and East at those mountains we plan to explore tomorrow. It's a great place to be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No matter how big you expect the Grand Canyon to be, it's bigger. And when our family has had the privilege to visit there, we've all been impressed with this awesome, divine masterpiece. One big problem there though has been our boys, because they think they're part mountain goat. Of course, mountain goats cannot read the signs that tell you to stay behind the fences. Apparently, our boys can't read them either. They always had this irresistible urge to venture out as far as possible on those rocks that overlook the canyon. Of course, one false step, and it's all over -- actually, you're all over. All our lectures about going too far for safety's sake made a lot more sense the morning after we had stopped at one particular overlook. The morning paper reported that on the same afternoon we had been there, two young men went to that same overlook and one never came back. He ended up dead at the bottom of the canyon. The reason? He got too close to the edge.

Friday, July 1, 2005

It was supposed to be a one-hour fishing trip off the coast of South Carolina. For 17-year-old Josh and his 15-year-old friend Troy, it turned out to be a six-day nightmare at sea. When they set out on their little 14-foot Sunfish, they didn't know about the small craft warnings in that area. Within hours, the fierce winds had pulled them out to sea - to a point 111 miles north - well outside of the Coast Guard's search area. They fought to stay alive by eating raw jellyfish and gargling sea water. They were severely sunburned, exhausted and dehydrated. After 48 hours, the Coast Guard announced they were suspending their search and moving from a rescue operation to a recovery operation. But there was this uncle who refused to concede the boys were dead. He's a police officer, and he thinks rescue. After studying the weather and the currents, he concluded that they might be as far as the area where they actually were found. He made sure that fishing vessels in the area were alerted to be looking for the boys. And as they were praying that God would either take them home or take them to heaven, some fishermen spotted them - and saved them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Eight wedding showers in a month! Six hundred guests scheduled to be at the wedding where 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen would attend the bride and groom. Four days before the wedding, the bride went missing after she went out for a jog. The American news channels were dominated by the all-out search and investigation into the case of the vanishing bride, and now we know what happened. The bride turned up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, claiming she had been kidnapped; a story which she later changed to tell the real story of what happened. She said that the stress leading up to her wedding had given her cold feet, and she just kept running with those cold feet. In retrospect, I'm sure folks must be saying, "Girl, why didn't you just tell someone what you were feeling?" Instead she ran from her family, her community, her wedding, and even from the truth. Tens of thousands of dollars and countless man-hours were spent looking for her. Now she faced the additional stress of negative national notoriety and even the possibility of legal or financial penalties. Running solved nothing. It never does.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Our planes were in the air." That's what the Air Force briefing officer told us as we had the privilege of touring a major American defense command facility. He was talking about a day during the Cold War when, unbeknownst to most Americans, World War III may have almost begun. America's warning systems had indicated clearly that Russian planes were in the air and headed for the United States. In those days when nuclear war was our greatest fear and a real possibility, the orders were given to get our planes in the air. Those planes were headed for the Soviet Union with the capability of starting a nuclear war. Thankfully, the trackers discovered in time what sent out what turned out to be an erroneous message about the Russian planes - one defective computer chip. Now that's a close call.

            

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