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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Our children got together and gave us a special gift for a recent milestone wedding anniversary - a couple of nights in the beautiful place where we honeymooned years ago. Part of their gift was a picturesque, horse-drawn carriage ride through some of the area's beautiful scenery. At one point, our carriage was headed up a relatively steep hill and another carriage was starting down that hill, full of people. It had to be a real workout for the horses. Our driver pointed out something that I found intriguing. He said, "Notice that the driver is holding the brake on as they come down the hill. That's to keep the horses from bearing a load that's too heavy for them to bear. With the driver holding the brake, they still feel like they're on level ground."

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

I had the cutest little guy join me on my hike. I was out in the country exploring the trail that wound along the creek. First I just saw this little flash of black and white fur toddling along through the grass, not far from me. He was heading in the same direction I was. I told you he was cute; he was all black except for a nice white stripe all the way down his back, a big bushy tail, a cute little almost kitten-like face. I had been joined by a skunk! Two problems: one little spray and nobody would get near me for the next week. Secondly, it was daytime and skunks are nocturnal animals. If they're out in the daytime it can mean they have rabies! So, what did I do? Go pet him because he was so cute? No! Try to scare him off? I'm not suicidal! I did the only thing a guy with any brains would do, I walked quickly in the other direction and I didn't have to bury my clothes!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

There are some decent, even values-oriented things on television for children these days. But, as you know very well, there's a lot of garbage, too. And in between those two extremes, there are shows that are mostly good but have some words scattered in them that little ears shouldn't be hearing - or big ears, for that matter. Along comes a service called TV Guardian - which automatically replaces a naughty word with a nice word, thus removing what could be bad for your child. Occasionally, the replacements are actually a little amusing. Like the word "sex" for example. The new word is "hugs." Which gets a little interesting when someone asks, "So what will be the hugs of your baby?" But I do think TV Guardian is a pretty good idea.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

I was teaching at a training school for people entering youth ministry when I learned about a call home that must have been heartbreaking for the dad who made it. The school was three weeks long, and dad had already been gone for over two weeks. He was seriously missing his wife and two-year-old son, and they were missing him. After waiting patiently in the long line that formed every day after classes at the lobby pay phone, he finally got to talk to his wife. When he asked how his son was doing, she said, "Not too well, honey. Yesterday he came up to me and said, 'Mommy, is Daddy dead?'" Ouch!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

As each of our kids has fallen in love, I have had what sounded like a strange piece of advice for them. I've said, "Make sure you make a good 200-year choice." Needless to say, that's been greeted with an expression that says, "You doin' okay, Dad?" It turns out none of our kids expects to ever celebrate their 200th wedding anniversary. But that's not what I'm talking about anyway. I'm talking about the impact the choice of a mate will have for a long, long time - along with a lot of other family choices.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Over the years we've lived near the ocean, and we were blessed to have a friend who was a veteran sailor. He'd been sailing the East Coast since he was a boy. And he was generous enough to allow us to go sailing with him sometimes and to watch a master at work. I tried to apply for "first mate," but he always said, "Don't call us, we'll call you." Which he never did. But I was a grateful, and I was a curious passenger. He told me some great stories of sailing adventures. He showed us how to do some of what he did, and he related times that he had seen one sailboat after another fall over as they were unprepared for a shift in the wind. You don't have to be a seasoned seaman to understand a fundamental law of a successful voyage: It's the set of the sail, not the force of the gale, that determines the way you go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Senior year in college - somehow our son had maneuvered himself into a coveted on-campus house for his senior lodging. About a dozen guys set up their own little universe there (not necessarily an orderly universe, of course). He told me that one day he and several other guys were talking about a student leader who was a friend of theirs. We'll call him Marty. And in the "talk, then think" atmosphere of college guys in a room, our son was reviewing some of the dumb things (that was his opinion) Marty had done in his leadership choices. As he was finishing this little barbecue, someone drifted into the room from the kitchen - the room right next door. It was, of course, Marty with his cup of coffee in his hand. He'd been right next door making himself some coffee - no doubt listening to this critical review of his leadership. He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. Our son felt about an inch tall when he realized who he had been hurting.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Onions taste great on your hamburger. And they keep tasting long after the burger is a memory. Garlic tastes great on your pizza. But it will be there for you for the rest of the night. In fact, the onions and garlic will be there, not only for you, but for anybody who gets close to you - which won't be very many. Many teenagers have discovered the interesting aftermath of a scrumptious hot fudge sundae or a chocolate bar - acne appearing tomorrow morning on center face. The chocolate was great - briefly. The acne is ugly - not briefly. And what about that ancient wisdom "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips." Those super-size fries or that creamy milk shake will taste wonderful - briefly. And possibly enlarge your body for months or years to come! Here is Science for the Simple, just in case you haven't figured this out already: What you eat affects you later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

For those of us who have traveled many summers with our Native American outreach team, it will always be remembered as the Night of the Bat. I was with a team of about 35 young Native Americans on a reservation in the Northwest. Most of us were staying in tents or teepees, and a few girls were sleeping in the dining hall. A few of us were in that hall wrapping up for the night, and suddenly a bat somehow got in the room and began doing aerial laps around the room. The reactions were priceless. The girls crawled into their sleeping bags, they covered up, and they screamed like "wolf man" was on the loose. There, huddled in one corner, was this mound of moving, screaming sleeping bags. And the rest of the camp was waking up fast. Everyone was running toward the dining hall to see what awful terror had invaded.

Meanwhile, the bat continued to dart and fly and dive around that room. Some of the guys tried to intercept the bat by throwing bath towels in the air. Needless to say, that was totally ineffective. One team leader was wildly swinging a mop handle in the air. It’s great exercise, but the bat soared on, continuing to terrorize the girls in the room. Except for my wife - Ozark Mountain Woman! She watched that bat make a couple of circuits around the room, she raised a broom above her head, and she took one mighty swing - bam! Direct hit! The dazed bat was taken outside in one of those useless bath towels. And the next morning, one of our Native leaders conducted a brief ceremony to honor my wife with an Indian name - Kills With One Swing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Some people get a lot of recognition at their high school graduation. I got a lot of recognition at my graduation practice. We were out on the athletic field one beautiful June day, lined up in the alphabetical order that we would be in at commencement. Now the idea is: listen to the familiar strains of that traditional graduation march, "Pomp and Circumstance," and march up to the platform in step with the music. Sounds easy enough. Sure, I was listening to the same music as everyone else, but I just had my own original cadence. So, all I can remember from that commencement rehearsal is the faculty coordinator yelling, "Hutchcraft! Will you please get in step!"

                

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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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