Friday, October 15, 2004

My wife and I have always enjoyed the helicopter of the animal kingdom. Yep, the hummingbird. On our vacation we hung out a hummingbird feeder and we filled it with this sweet red liquid that they love and we sat down on the porch and we sort of swung back and forth, and settled back to watch those cute little guys come to drink. They're not as cute as we thought. No sooner would one land on the feeder and begin to drink, than another hummingbird would swoop down and knock him off. Then another bird would swoop down and knock that bird off. Eventually, we had as many as five hummingbirds at a time hovering and darting around that feeder fighting with each other, dive-bombing each other. When one managed to finally win a spot on the feeder, he couldn't even enjoy what was there; he was so busy looking around for his next attacker. As the provider of all these goodies, I was frustrated. I was irritated. These dumb birds were so busy fighting over it, they couldn't enjoy it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It's always a good idea to lock your luggage when you're flying commercially. It's especially a good idea if you're going out of the country. It's an even better idea if you know where the keys for your suitcase locks are before you lock them! I was packing in a rush for my flight to Mexico, and I had my padlocks ready to go. I couldn't find the keys, however. With only minutes left before I had to leave, we launched this all-out desperate search. We checked drawers we thought we'd seen them in - no keys. We looked in creative places - no keys. I was resigned to leaving with unlocked suitcases - when I zipped my garment bag shut and I found the keys. Someone had been wise enough to attach them to the zipper that we use the lock on - right on the suitcase. What a concept! What I had been looking for everywhere had been right in front of me all along.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Our Native American ministry team has been to reservations all over the country, and we have some special memories from all of them. I'm thinking of one from Arizona and New Mexico, a time we were there. We're always very busy while we're there, but we did have one day off, so we all packed into a van to go see this spectacular canyon. It was approaching dark as we were returning, and we thought, "Let's see, there are two ways back, and we have to get up early tomorrow morning for a meeting." One way was long but it was paved, the other was short but it was unpaved across the mountain. We decided we'd take the short road, even though it was a little bumpy. I started driving, then my wife took over and all of a sudden we felt the van lurching. And she said, "Oh, no! I think we're out of gas. I can't believe it!" Well, someone had mentioned briefly that there was a problem with the fuel gauge before we left, so I glanced at it before we left town, and it said three quarters of a tank. It would have been a good idea to fill up before we left civilization, and as a result, here we sat in the dark because I didn't, on a lonely back road, forty miles from the nearest town and praying like crazy. Thank God, He sent us a Good Samaritan who went forty miles for gas. So Ron, did you learn anything?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

If you live on the East Coast, there's one word that's probably sure to get your attention - hurricane! Now I'll tell you, Hurricane Hugo was one of those mega storms that really got our attention. You could watch the news for several nights before Hugo arrived, and they'd show you this cyclonic circle inching across that weather map toward an uncertain destination. Half a million people were evacuated from Florida to the Carolinas, not knowing where that destructive little circle on the map was going to land. Finally, it became clear that Hugo's 130-mile-an-hour winds were going to slam ashore at Charleston, South Carolina. The challenge for public officials was to convince everyone that it was time to move. The mayor at the time gave a very solemn warning to the people there. He was quoted as saying, "Hugo is a killer. If you stay, you may very well die." Well, that was true then. It's true now.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I am really easily amazed by technology, so I am totally amazed by my wife's camera. She is quite a photographer, by the way. You can take the same camera and get two totally different views just by using two different lenses. For example, we've taken many pictures at football games, and when you put on the wide-angle lens, you can see the entire field through that camera. When you change over to what's called a macro lens, that really magnifies things, you can fill that camera's view with one face in the stands. It amazes me to see how we can go from the big picture to the smallest detail.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A beard really changes people - especially men. You can make a man look older, scruffier, wiser, or more suspicious. A beard does amazing things. Some wives and girlfriends can't wait for the man to grow it. Others can't wait for him to shave it. My friend, Lou, spent much of his life clean-shaven. He also spent many of those same years as an alcoholic. They were terrible years for his wife and daughters. One day, Lou became so desperate that he surrendered the control of his out-of-control life to Jesus Christ. From that moment on, the Savior beat that bottle that had always beaten Lou, and right about then, he started to grow a beard. He's actually had it for several years, but a couple of years ago he decided to shave it one morning. He walked out to his family, and he said, "Hey, what do you think?" His little daughter began to cry. She begged her Daddy to grow his beard back. See, the old face made her think of her old Dad. She was afraid the old Dad was back.

Monday, August 9, 2004

Ever since I was little, I've been fascinated by the American Revolution. I always wanted to see Concord Bridge where it sort of all began. You know, the shot heard round the world? By the time I got there, I had two little boys of my own who weren't fascinated by the American Revolution. I wanted to spend a while at Concord Bridge, you know, imagining those Colonial farmers descending on the bridge and the Red Coats stepping up to the bridge in their rigid formation. Unfortunately, my sons weren't interested in any of that. I tried to tell them the story - well, no progress, you know, this is vacation. Who cares about history? Right? Finally, I had one last idea. I got tri-corn hats for them, and we got some sticks for them to use as muskets, and I made them the Americans and I played the Red Coats. (Well, the Red Coat.) They came charging across one side of Concord Bridge. I went running away from them; I eventually ended up fatally wounded! And when they were done, they said, "Let's do it again, Daddy." Of course - they won! They were interested, but not until they had a part.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Caterpillars are, well, ugly. Butterflies are beautiful! I have known people with butterfly collections. I've never known anyone with a caterpillar collection, actually. My guess is that every caterpillar gets pretty fed up inching along instead of flying. They get fed up with being hairy and ugly instead of being colorful and eye-catching. But, fed up won't do it. The caterpillar actually has to get into this cocoon and get metamorphed. Now, it's a word that we have for that miraculous process. It means changing your form - metamorphosis - right? There's something for you in that cocoon, by the way, especially if you're tired of crawling spiritually or if your spiritual experience gets pretty hairy sometimes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Building a fire is one of those things a man is just supposed to know how to do. I hate to have my fire fail in front of other people frankly, so I can really empathize with my friend Rich who set out to get a fire going one winter that I was with him. He was trying to get this thing going in his fireplace when we were with him one Sunday afternoon. So, of course, he did all the right things. He rolled up the necessary amount of newspaper. He stacked logs with plenty of room for air circulation. Now, he didn't have much kindling. That was the only weakness in his fire. Well, the fire flared, and then it sputtered, and then it smoldered. So real quick, he rolled up two or three tight paper logs, and a newspaper, and that didn't do anything. Then finally, he said, I thought it was kind of strange, but he said, "I've done all I can do. Only God can start it now." We talked for about an hour without a fire, and suddenly this little flame appeared. It grew steadily, it became a really cozy fire, and Rich and I just looked at each other and smiled!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I've been told that during World War II, (which, of course, I don't remember personally), that they gave American soldiers more than bullets just before they went into combat. They also gave them a chocolate bar. It makes sense, when you think about a sugar rush, when they need all the energy they could muster. So, maybe sugar's not all that bad. Of course, if you give it to a man just before he's about to go and lie on the couch for a hour - now that's bad. That's the funny thing about sugar. You eat it, you exercise - it's energy. You eat it and just lie there - it's fat.

            

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