Tuesday, July 1, 2003

It was a great day for a high school football game - and I was on the sidelines, helping out our local team. Meanwhile, my 12-year-old son was playing a pickup game of football on a nearby field. I was surprised to see him heading my way, holding his arm, and then, obviously wincing with pain. He'd been tackled and had fallen on his arm. It was so badly broken that the bone was protruding from his skin. So we rushed him to the emergency room where I had some of the more agonizing moments of my life, as I watched the doctor struggle to set my son's multiple fracture. I'll tell you, he was a tough boy, but he was in great and obvious agony. It might as well have been me the doctor was working on.

Monday, June 23, 2003

The military has an interesting way of describing various combat operations. For example, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, they talked about how they were "preparing the battlefield." That means relentless bombing of enemy forces. Most of us were amazed at how quickly the Coalition ground forces were able to move through areas that had been defended by some of Saddam Hussein's best divisions. But those units had been, as the military says, "degraded" by relentless bombing. By the time the ground forces went in, the battle had largely been decided by those pilots who had "prepared the battlefield."

Well,

Friday, August 30, 2002

I couldn't help but overhear the conversation across the aisle on this recent airplane flight. The man was dropping profanity about, oh, every third word or so; he even mentioned God quite a few times. He stopped only to work on his meal. Apparently, he needed some cream for his coffee, so he demanded the flight attendant get some with his usual colorful language. While he was waiting, he finally let his fellow passenger do a little talking. He asked him, "Well, what do you do for a living?" And his neighbor said, "Oh, I'm a minister," at which point the flight attendant returned with the cream. My profane neighbor across the aisle looked up at the attendant with the most angelic expression and said, "Oh, God bless you." Suddenly, the real guy disappeared, and this religious guy showed up!

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Recently my sister-in-law introduced me to a tasty new addition to my usual breakfast menu - these great English crumpets. Low fat, great taste. Now I'm hooked. In fact, I decided I had to go get myself more of them. I learned from her that there's only one local store that carries them so I made my way to this super-supermarket - one I was unfamiliar with. I went to where I figured something in the English muffin/bagel category would be: the bread section, right? No crumpets. I tried the bakery section. Failure again. I looked in every aisle that I could logically expect to find something from the breakfast bread family. Zippo! I finally tried something really radical. I asked someone who worked there. He said, "They're in dairy." Dairy? Well, I guess these things are supposed to be refrigerated. And dairy is where I found them! But it had been a long search.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Because we've spent so much time on Indian reservations the last few years, the story of one little Native American boy is especially meaningful to me. He lived with his Mom in a little hut on a reservation in the Southwest. His dad had died, and that meant the boy had to take responsibility for their sheep at a pretty young age. One day, this missionary passed through their village and explained to the little boy how Jesus Christ died for him and wanted to be his Shepherd. And that day this little shepherd invited Jesus into his heart.

As the missionary was about to leave, he asked the boy if he could teach him a Bible verse. The boy said, "I don't think I can remember it." But the missionary gave him just five simple words from the Bible to remember. "The Lord is my Shepherd." But the missionary taught him a little trick for remembering it. He said, "Use the fingers of your right hand to help you remember 'The - Lord - is - my - Shepherd.' And when you get to the fourth word, wrap your left hand around the fourth finger of your right hand. 'The Lord is MY Shepherd.'" Well, the boy remembered it - really remembered it - as the missionary would learn when he returned one year later.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

When we moved to New York City, one of the first landmarks I wanted to see was the Statue of Liberty. A guide actually told me an amazing fact about that lady in the harbor. From that first day in the late 1800s when her light was first lit up, right up to that moment he saw her, the lamp of liberty has never gone out. Even when everybody else's lights went out - like, say in the daytime, for example - Lady Liberty has always had her light shining. During World War II, all of New York City was under a blackout for security reasons, but they kept this little 60-watt light bulb glowing in liberty's torch. And the night all the lights went out in New York because of a power blackout, the light still stayed on because it's powered by electricity from across the river in New Jersey! As wave after wave of immigrants sailed into New York Harbor, they'd strain for a first look at that Statue, the symbol of the freedom that they had risked so much to find. And whenever they arrived, they saw the light of liberty. It was always, always on.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

I was about nine years old when my parents took me to meet Paul Bunyan. Actually it was this giant statue of that legendary lumberjack seated on this huge chair. My dad went to the ticket booth, paid for us, and then I went through the turnstile and into Paul's big yard. And there he was in his red plaid shirt and a little log cabin at his feet that showed how huge he was. And then came the heart attack. Suddenly this big voice boomed out for everybody to hear, "Hello, Ronnie." Man, for one of those rare moments in my life, I was ... I was totally speechless! How could I know that the ticket guy had asked my father my name and then relayed it to a man in that little log cabin - a man with a very big microphone. I was just amazed that someone that big actually knew me!

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Several years ago, we took a delegation of teenagers to a youth conference at the Jersey Shore. Our friend Jamie was one of the counselors. One evening she left the meeting early to check on one of the kids from our group. She started walking down the Boardwalk when she heard this cry for help from the water down below. She ran down to the beach, and she realized that a girl was out there in that dark ocean about to drown. So Jamie yelled for others to come, and she pulled off her shoes and she jumped into the water. She knew this was a life-or-death situation, and she said, "I just had to do something." Pretty soon a couple of men jumped in to help and together they were able to rescue that young woman. And Jamie realized the real reason she had been out on the Boardwalk that night. Much to her surprise, she had been placed there to save a life!

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Over the years, one of my areas of giftedness has been in the area of sleeping. Well, you know, the Bible says to do whatever you do with all your heart, and I think that certainly applies to sleeping. Right? I'd give our kids a time to be in, but I didn't always remain conscious that long. And they could ring the doorbell because they forgot their key, they could stomp upstairs, they could stomp over our bed, for that matter, and I would barely stir. Oh, but not my wife. Oh, no, no! There's something about the way many mothers are wired. They sleep real light - if at all - until everybody's home safe. It's a mother thing. They just can't rest until all the kids are in.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

When you're a senior in a conservatory of music, your final college exam isn't about essay questions, reading reports, or true-or-false questions. It's about performing. And when our son-in-law was completing his college music major, that meant the pressure of his senior piano recital. Seated at a grand piano that night, all decked out in his tux, he dazzled the audience with his performances of sacred music and classical music and popular music - even original music he had written. Afterwards, there was a long line of people standing in line to congratulate him. Interestingly enough, not one person congratulated the piano!

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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