The conversation – like a lot of conversations this past week – had turned to the unprecedented weather news. I was at physical therapy as part of my recovery from shoulder surgery.

Someone brought up Hurricane Irma – one of the strongest hurricanes in recorded history. With another Category 4 storm following her across the Atlantic. Just days after Hurricane Harvey, another historic storm, which dumped the largest rainfall from a single event ever in this country. Not to mention the biggest earthquake in Mexico’s history – that story had just hit the news.

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    Just seeing the pictures from Hurricane Harvey is totally overwhelming. I can't imagine living it.

    "If you're not going to evacuate, write your Social Security number on your arm." If that doesn't say deadly, what does?

    "When the water's filling your house, don't go to the attic unless you've got an ax. Go straight to the roof and wait for help to come."

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      Seasoned reporters were groping for words. And almost giddy about what they were seeing.

      The former commander of the International Space Station - moved beyond his scientific detachment - testified to a sense of "ancient wonder."

      The eyes of a nation were turned skyward this week. In their special eclipse glasses. As God did - as He has done for millennia - His disappearing act with the sun again. A total solar eclipse eclipsed even the usual newsnami from Washington.

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        My bride put the ring on my finger a long time ago. I've never had if off since she put it there.

        Then came the surgery a few weeks ago.

        My first surgery ever. My rotator cuff basically wasn't there, my doctor said, and there was no choice but shoulder surgery.

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          It's been one unwelcome anniversary after another. First Native ministry summer without our beloved Mama Hutch. First Thanksgiving and Christmas without the heart, the hugs, the laughs of our dear Karen ... Mom ... Grandma. Every family members' first birthday without the light of our lives.

          And then, May 16. The day my baby - so vibrant and alive the night before at our grandson's graduation - was suddenly gone.

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            Two words. But a valuable reminder just in time for Mother's Day.

            Recently, I had occasion to stay at my son and daughter-in-law's house while I recovered from a painful injury.

            They set me up with a wonderful little "apartment" in their basement - recliner, remotes (of course), kitchenette. And like all the babies in our family, a night monitor.

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              I've spent a fair amount of time in graveyards.

              Looking for some missing "leaves" on our family tree. There's even a "find a grave" website. Run by some folks who've obviously spent a lot more time in cemeteries than I have!

              And I actually found a lot of ancestors' graves. Which filled in a lot of genealogy blanks.

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                As I sit at my desk, I'm looking at a framed, century-old newspaper on the wall. It's there because I never want to forget the story it tells. And the choice it represents.

                In short, it's the tale of three ships.

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                  I think we all do it at times. We walk past a store window, and we look at more than the merchandise. We look at our own reflection. Or we glance in every convenient mirror.

                  It's just natural - checking yourself out. Wanting to impress, to look good. It's just natural to talk up our wins, our good stuff.

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                    It was my first Valentine's Day without the love of my life since I was 18.

                    I found the Valentine card I sent to her two years ago. In it, I wrote: "I have never loved you more. You never cease to amaze me, amuse me, and captivate me."

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