Well, I'm happy to report to you that I have no personal problem with the paparazzi. Those celebrity photographers have been very respectful of my privacy. In fact, they could care less about anything I do. But, in reality, these freelance celebrity photographers have been the object of some bigtime criticism - most vehemently after their pursuit of Princess Diana may have contributed to the circumstances of her tragic death. Their prying lenses seem to be everywhere, trying to capture a picture of someone famous doing something outrageous, something sensational, something lurid. And, unfortunately, the personal lifestyles of a lot of people provide those kinds of things to shoot. Of course, when it comes to our lives, we want privacy - no intrusive cameras capturing moments we would rather not have everyone know about. There aren't many people, frankly, who could afford to have a camera capturing everything they do.

Curtis and his Great Puppy Adventure. That was the lunchtime talk around our office when one of our team members became the proud owner of eight new puppies - thanks to his trusty dog, Sister. Each day seemed to bring a new episode - especially as Curtis would compare the way of the puppy with the ways of people. He told us one day about trying to replenish their food. His intention was to load up their container with lots of good things. But they made it very difficult. The puppies were too busy fighting over two little pieces that were left in the container.

When we're driving somewhere for vacation, my travel philosophy is very simple and very male. The purpose of the trip is to be there, why waste unnecessary time getting there. So we drive some long stretches and we have gas, rest, and food stops down to a well timed drill. But, during the busy vacation seasons there is a down side to this and it comes at the end of when your body's saying, "Put me down, now!" Now since I don't know exactly how far we will be able to make it, I can't make a motel reservation. So, I get off where there are some choice of reasonable motels and I drive in hoping I can be horizontal within say 15 minutes. "No Chance," I hate words like these. "Sorry, We're Full." Or those dreaded words, "No Vacancy." Or the slightly more comforting sign, "Sorry." They all mean the same thing - no room, I'm not getting in.

You think you've had a bad day recently. Let me tell you about a bad day. It's the summer of '97, you're a cosmonaut on Russia's space station Mir. While you've been there you've already had to battle a fire on board. Then a supply ship runs into you in a docking procedure and you lose 40 percent of your power. You've already had your fill of bad days for one mission. But then, one day the central computer on the space station suddenly shuts down and suddenly you are tumbling through space in what reporters call "chaotic flight." As you know, I'm not making any of this up! The day that computer failed, it threw those cosmonauts into a particularly dangerous situation. That space station is solar-powered and all of a sudden, as one reporter put it, it lost its orientation to the sun. Which means you don't have the power to meet the demands of your flight and worst case your life is in jeopardy. Why? All because, as CBS News said, Mir turned it back on the sun.

There is nothing quite so exciting as an exciting night at America's busiest airport - O'Hare. My goal was relatively simple - get on my plane and fly home. Easier said then done. The radar had suddenly gone down that night and there was only one runway open. I was frustrated because I could not get out of the airport. But pity those poor people up there who couldn't land. At least I could go outside and walk around. That's tougher when you're up there in the sky. We could see the lights of those planes and they could see the lights of Chicago down below. They were almost there, they could see their destination, but they weren't on the ground. Some circled so long they eventually had to be diverted to another destination that they didn't want to go to. Oh, the frustration of being almost there, but not there.

Dino and Nanette are dear Navajo friends of ours and now they're Mr. and Mrs.! How we wanted to be at that wedding because these are two very special friends, two very special Native American Christian leaders. We couldn't be, but our son, who lives near where the wedding was in New Mexico, called that afternoon and described the wedding to us, as well as any man can describe a wedding. I choked up when I heard about their wedding vows. Dino made his vows to Nanette on bended knee. Nanette made her vows to Dino and then handed him a beautiful Navajo blanket. But this was not just any blanket. It had belonged to her father who died several years ago and it represented a relationship and memories that she treasures. This blanket was Nanette's father's love gift to her. And in this moment of commitment now, she was handing her new husband this most precious treasure from her most precious person. In a sense, she was handing him her heart.

Our receptionist Carol has nice flowers in her office. Well, they're sort of flowers. It looks like a beautiful bouquet. And the other day when I walked into her office, I sniffed and said, "What's that smell, Carol? Is that flowers?" It was so nice to be greeted with this wonderful, spring-like aroma. She didn't answer me. She just reached into the top drawer in her desk and pulled out this air spray. "I sprayed it on the flowers," she told me. By now you know the truth about Carol's lovely flowers. Tthey look like they're alive, they smell like they're alive, but they're not alive!

When my friends tell me they get a headache, they don't get much sympathy. I usually just tell them that pain always attacks at the weakest point. They really appreciate that! Actually, we all have our favorite headache remedy - one or two of this pill or that and we wait for the relief as those pills race through our system. I know they do - I saw it on a commercial once. But maybe you remember a twisted act of individual terrorism that happened a few years ago, it turned relief into tragedy. Someone had managed to put poison in some pain relief capsules - there was a sudden series of deaths from some people who took this particular brand. I remember reading, for example, about a flight attendant who arrived home after a trip with a serious headache. She reached for a couple pain relief capsules. I'm sure she thought they would make her feel better soon. Instead, she died from them.

If you want to make friends fast at an airport sometime, stand there with a big "welcome home" banner. Recently, we were contacted by a young woman who has been a part of our Native American work in the past - and who is going through a time of severe struggle right now. She really wants to turn things around and asked us if she could come and spend some recovery time with our Team in New Jersey. We had been praying for her, so we were wide open to her coming. Well, we scrambled to find a way to get an airplane ticket for her . . . and then decided to try and let her know we still think she's special- with a special airport welcome. We got some colorful helium balloons and a bright welcome home banner - and five of us stationed ourselves at the end of the concourse she was scheduled to come in on. It was really funny to watch the reactions of the pretty expressionless arriving passengers - they laughed, they waved, they thanked us as if this welcome party was for them. It was fun - until we saw the last flight attendant coming down the concourse with no other passengers coming behind her. The person we had come to welcome - never came.

The occasion was a city-wide art contest. They were told to paint paintings entitled "Peace." While the judges were understandably attracted to this beautiful pastural scene that a local painter had painted. It was a green pasture. It was the puffy white clouds and the beautiful blue sky and a little boy going by with a fishing pole over his shoulder and a quiet brook and some birds. That got second place. First place - well, the picture was of an angry, stormy day at the sea shore as the ocean was beating against the cliffs and the cliffs were stark and dark because of the darkness of the storm. The sky in this painting was angry and black, green and purple. You had to look twice to figure out what in world this had to do with peace. But if you looked halfway up the cliff these little baby birds were nestled underneath the wing of their mother, and they were sleeping totally oblivious to the storm that was howling all around them. Now it's the Christmas season. It's suppose to be about peace; but, if you feel the holiday pressure like I do, seems more like a storm, a stress which leads us into those birds.

            

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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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