Friday, November 14, 2003

Recently I met a man from St. Joseph, Missouri, and I surprised him with my trivia knowledge when I said, "Pony Express country, right?" He confirmed my recollection that his town was the beginning of the famous Pony Express. Those guys rode their way right into the history books. They're practically legends of the Old West - riding endless hours through hostile territory, risking their lives to deliver the mail to the West Coast. You probably know that part. What you may not know is how many guys we're talking about here in this legendary operation - just 80 riders, and only one mail delivery was ever lost. How long did the Pony Express run? Only 18 months! It only took a few people a short time to make a great impact!

Monday, November 10, 2003

In every sport, and in every season, there is always that one event that everyone calls "The Big Game." And it is not unusual for real champions to rise to the challenge and put in a powerful performance - so much so that they absolutely cream the other team! But there's also a strange phenomenon that often follows the Big Game - it's called the Big Letdown. It's amazing how a team that has just buried another great team can go into their next game all flat and sloppy. It is not uncommon for the winner of the Big Game to go into that next game - often against a much lesser opponent, and they look terrible - they lose miserably. They literally go right from powerful to pitiful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

I don't expect to be inspired when I eat at McDonald's, but recently I got a little inspiration with my burger and fries. There was this striking poster on the wall. It showed two mountain climbers near the peak of this Alpine mountain, straining to reach the top. But it was the inscription that impressed me most. "Conquest without risk is a triumph without glory."

I had the TV on while I was getting ready to go somewhere, and I caught a snatch of a TV talk show. The host was interviewing a former FBI agent - a man who had successfully infiltrated the Mafia and had been responsible for some major indictments. Now, in his underground life, he was, as you might expect, surrounded by cocaine. The talk show host asked the FBI man, "Did you ever have to use cocaine to maintain your cover?" Good question - after all, his life depended on his fitting in. But he answered that question with a firm "No." The host said, "Then how did you avoid having to use cocaine?" I liked his answer. It might even help you where you're feeling the pressure to fit in.

Monday, October 27, 2003

I used to just be concerned about me or someone I love picking up a virus. Now I have to be concerned about my computer picking up a virus! And more and more of them are infecting various computer systems. Now, if one of those viruses contaminates your computer, it can cause you to lose valuable data. It can even cause your computer to crash. But, thankfully, I have this special software feature that's called a virus scan. When I turn on my computer, basically the virus scan checks to see if any of those destructive little bugs have gotten in, and it warns me if they have. And that's a good thing. You want to get it before it infects everything.

Monday, September 29, 2003

It's one of those hidden natural treasures that not a lot of people know about. They call it Buttermilk Falls. People had told us what a picturesque spot it would be. They didn't tell us about the road you have to drive to see this picturesque spot. We turned off the paved road where our directions said to, and suddenly we found ourselves on a dirt road that was one crater after another. There was no way to miss these gigantic potholes. In fact, one guy in a Volkswagen in front of us just totally disappeared. So, I had to drive about two miles an hour with the kids reminding me that they weren't having much fun. It was really tempting to turn back, but we persevered. And I'm glad we did. We finally reached this magnificent waterfall, cascading down the rock walls of a cliff. There was even a trail where we climbed to the top and got this great view from the top of the waterfall. We loved it! And in spite of the miserable road to it, we went back several times. And it was worth it!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

My wife and I had gone to a friend's house by the New Jersey Shore to start writing a book. For breaks, I wanted to go for walks on the beach, but my wife said she was feeling so fatigued she couldn't find the energy. As we returned home, that fatigue got worse. Then came the severe stomach upset and finally the fever that climbed to 105 degrees. We had no idea that one of mankind's most virulent diseases was taking over her body. It turned out she had hepatitis. We knew she had some terrible symptoms. We didn't know what was causing them, what ultimately almost cost my wife her life.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Sometimes it feels like we're all members of the "New Disease of the Year" Club. Years ago, we all learned about a fearful medical acronym called AIDS. In recent years, Americans have gotten acquainted with maladies such as Lyme disease, or, then West Nile virus. For 2003, the "New Disease of the Year" award went to a medical acronym known as SARS - a highly contagious and potentially dangerous respiratory condition. The fear and the spread of SARS hit places like China and other Asian nations particularly hard, actually curtailing a great deal of travel, tourism, and business. But one country seemed to get a handle on SARS better than the others - Vietnam. Now, although it's one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam was praised by the World Health Organization as the first country to control SARS. The reason for that victory seems relatively uncomplicated, but also uncommon - Vietnamese health officials acknowledged the threat quickly and went to work immediately to contain it. No denial, no cover-up, no hesitation - but prompt action to stop it while it was still small.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Years ago, some friends of mine lived near this industrial area where the mills filled the air with a very distinctive "aroma" -- no, "smell." I mean, it was this sulfur-like odor -- sort of like the smell of rotten eggs. When you first went to that neighborhood, you'd sniff and say, "What's that?" And my friends would say, "What's what?" See, they had lived around that stench for so long that it didn't even register on them anymore!

Monday, June 30, 2003

It was a beautiful morning for a walk. I was on an Indian reservation in Arizona where you don't see much water, so my eyes were drawn immediately to this sparkling little pond down a short little pathway just off the road. The explorer in me, of course, couldn't just walk by, so I started down that little path to enjoy that sun-sparkling water up close. Then, as I approached it, I saw the sign. The only word I really remember was "sewage." Yes, I was about to enthusiastically explore a facility with a sewage pond. You'd be surprised how fast I can retreat when I need to.




Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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