November 17, 2020

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It was an amazing exhibit - the Titanic exhibit. At that time it had been in a lot of museums in the United States. Actually, what they did was they re-created the Titanic's grand staircase, they got a simulation of one of the ship's cabins, they had artifacts that were retrieved right from the watery grave around the Titanic. And as you enter the exhibit, they would give you this ticket with the name of one of the ship's passengers or crewmen on it. I was one of the crewmen. At the end of the tour there was this large wall. They had two lists of names; a long list and a relatively short list. Next to each name was one of four designations: first class, second class, third class, and crew. But no matter what your class, your name ultimately appeared on one of those two lists, which were under one of two headings: "Saved"..."Lost."

November 16, 2020

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A basketful of eggs and a four-year-old girl. Got any ideas how this might turn out? The little girl was my wife. This little scene played out on the basement stairs of the church her family attended. Her Dad said, "Honey, you should hold Daddy's hand." He wasn't too sure about either his daughter or the eggs she was carrying. As she grabbed onto the stair railing with one hand and gripped the handle of the basket with the other hand, she said, "I'm okay, Daddy." (These are first-borns. Yeah, I know about this.) In an instant, she was tumbling down the steps, head over heels. She had some minor "boo-boos." The eggs - prematurely scrambled.

November 13, 2020

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When disaster as massive as the December 2004 tsunami hits our planet, you know there are going to be dramatic stories coming from it for years to come; the stories of people who survived, and those who didn't. There was this Austrian man who was enjoying a day at the beach in Thailand when he saw the water suddenly being sucked out to sea, virtually emptying the shore right in front of him. He recently had seen a show on the Discovery Channel about tsunamis, and as a result, he knew what was coming next. As he ran up the beach, he yelled as loud as he could, "Run for your life!" knowing full well that in seconds the full fury of a tsunami would hit anyone who was on that beach. He said he remembers one German lady in her beach chair who said, "I think I'll just sit here and watch." He said to the reporter interviewing him, "She didn't move." Then as he hung his head, he choked and he said, "She's dead."

November 9, 2020

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Everyone in our family knows if Dad gets in a checkout line at a store, be sure you pick another line. My line always seems to be the wrong one, the long one, no matter how good a choice it seemed at the time I picked it. The cash register blows up or the one lady who was in line in front of me goes into labor or something. You know? But there's one blissfully happy moment for me when I'm in a slow checkout line - when they open a new checkout line near me. You can be sure I will do my best to start that line.

November 5, 2020

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"China's Lost Girls" - that's what they called the National Geographic special that described China's "one child per family" law that had led, at the time, the abandonment of countless baby girls. But the special went on to describe the growing number of American families who wanted one of those little girls, who otherwise would spend her whole life in an orphanage. That came to life some years ago when some close friends started down that year-long process of bringing together an abandoned little girl with an American family. Finally, that long wait was over, and they were on a plane to China. When they got to their hotel room, there was an empty crib. It wasn't empty the next night. No, they were taken to the adoption center where this precious little girl they were adopting was placed in their arms, and that night she fell asleep in her new father's arms. As the family welcomed them at the airport back home, this girl, who only days before had belonged nowhere, was - and always would be - enveloped in love.

November 3, 2020

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In 1963, the United States Supreme Court outlawed prayer in America's public schools. One of the plaintiffs in that case was America's best-known and most visible atheist at the time, Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Over the years, she was a vocal proponent of atheism and an aggressive campaigner against religion in public life. Then one day she vanished, leaving her sports car in an airport parking lot and $500,000 missing from the American Atheists Association bank account. The Internal Revenue Service seized Mrs. O'Hair's home to pay her creditors and some back taxes, and one of the items at auction was her diaries. And one entry said, "The whole idiotic hopelessness of human relations descends upon me. Tonight, I cried and cried, but even then feeling nothing." Then I was really struck by four words that Madalyn Murray O'Hair reportedly wrote at least half a dozen times over the years, "Somebody, somewhere, love me."

October 30, 2020

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"Made you look!" That's a classic line from when we were kids. As we're driving through some of this continent's steep mountain ranges, we've seen a sign that's guaranteed to make me look. You usually see it on a long drive down a steep mountain. The sign says, "Runaway truck ramp ahead." Of course I immediately look in my rear view mirror for some reason. If some big old semi with failed brakes is barreling down the mountain, about to run me over, I would like to be the first to know! I'm not sure what I'd do about it, but at least I'd like a moment for my whole life to flash before me. Those ramps are long emergency ramps, usually covered with something like sand that will help a truck grind to a halt. Now, if you've ever smelled the hot rubber of overworked brakes on a mountain, and you probably have (I have), you know that providing a way to stop runaway trucks is really a good idea. And they must be needed. I hate to say this, but I often see fresh truck tracks in that sand!

October 26, 2020

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When you live and work on a remote Indian reservation, as our sons did for a number of years, you get good at shopping without going anywhere. Because anywhere is so far away! Our sons got to be very skilled Internet shoppers. They found gifts there I didn't even know existed. They found bargains I was jealous of. Sometimes, I would watch over their shoulder, and I've gotten kind of good at it these days. But I'd see them bid on an item that was being auctioned on the Internet. They're pretty good at knowing what it's going to take to own what was being auctioned. For all the little tricks of the trade, there seemed to be one decisive bottom line. Everyone knows that it belongs to the one who bids the most. Right?

October 22, 2020

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Most of us had some classes in high school where we sat there and grumbled, "When am I ever going to use this stuff?" Right? In some cases, we really have ended up using what Miss Pringle taught us. In other cases, we were right about never using it. There's one class I've benefited from almost every day of my life, including even today. Yeah, I had a typing class. Oh yeah, it was "old school." I started out with what they called a Selectric typewriter. Younger listeners are asking, "Selectric? What's that?" It's a typewriter. Never mind. I'll take you for a tour of the museum. But, you know, today it's a computer keyboard. And when I have a lot of writing to do, which I usually do, it's a good thing I learned to type those many years ago. And, you know what? My wife told me that I was one of the fastest typists that she knew. With the amount of work I have to get done in a day, do I have a choice?

October 20, 2020

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It's an amazing true story from the history of the Cree Indians of western Canada. Through many courageous exploits, a young man named Maskepetoon became known as the bravest warrior in the tribe. One day a man came to Maskepetoon's camp talking about peace - something his tribe had never known because of that relentless bloodshed between his Cree tribe and their longtime enemies, the Blackfoot. But this man with a black book called the Bible introduced this warrior to the Creator of all. The missionary told him of how the Creator God's Son defeated the Evil Manitou, the Enemy of all. He climbed to the top of a hill and gave His life on a cross as a peace offering. That meant peace could be restored between the Creator of all and the people He had made.

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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