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.

Full disclosure here. I'm not the guy you want to call when you need a guy to do a job with a hammer.

But I do know the fundamentals. A hammer can be used to build something - or to tear it down. Either way, what a hammer hits can't possibly stay the same.

Christmas Eve at our house is anything but a "Silent Night." How about "Family Circus"?

Each year brings a lot of high-energy, high-decibel giving and opening of gifts. One year, somewhere in the flying wrapping paper, was one overwhelmed two-year-old. Quietly dazed amid the happy din.

There was one person who noticed. Grandma. Of course.

It was just days before Christmas. A drunk driver suddenly veered into our lane and totaled our car - with our whole family inside. Thank God, we were all okay. Our car? Junkyard.

Then there was the Christmas my sons and I decided to try out the NFL football one had just gotten as a gift. Great fun - until Mr. Klutz here caught one on the end of his finger. My finger? Broken. The emergency room folks gave me a Christmas gift. A splint.

I think my pastor spoke for millions of Americans on this first Sunday after Election Day. He simply said, "I'm exhausted." Beyond the battle fatigue, there's a wide - and passionate - range of emotions. From celebrating to grieving, from anticipation to anger, from relief to fear, from hope to hurt. With the political battlefield strewn with damaged relationships, raw emotions, finger-pointing, conflicting passions - and lots of uncertainty.

I've always loved the hymn "Amazing Grace." Now I'm living it.

When a song or a favorite food or an old voicemail slams me with the still inconceivable reality that she won't be back. Or when I'm in the living room where the love of my life and I shared so much. Her touches are everywhere. Her laughter is in the walls. Her absence is overwhelming. She's been gone a month now.

I've done my whole adult life with my Karen, the only woman I've ever needed.

Suddenly, I have to figure out how to do the rest of my life without her.

Sunday night, we sat in the bleachers at our local football stadium and watched our grandson graduate from high school. As valedictorian. Giving a faith-filled valedictory speech.

Monday afternoon, she was gone. Wrapped in a huddle of sobs with our three adult children, I choked out, "It hurts so bad." It really does.

Unbelievable. It's time for another graduation season! And, wow, has the world changed since I was the one "commencing."

But the commencement ceremony itself? Not so much. Same sweat-a-lot robes. Same funny, flat hats with that annoying tassel. And the same lofty "we will change the world...follow your dream" speeches. Inspired by the view from the top of Mount High School.

If I wanted a picture that screams "Easter!" this year, I'd go to Death Valley. Which suddenly looks like "Life Valley."

Because of the "superbloom"! Millions of super-sized, glorious flowers have exploded in one of the driest places on earth. It's the lowest point in the U.S. with an average of two inches of rain a year.

But this year it's a sea of purple and pink blossoms. And the blazing yellow of what they call "desert gold."

Our grandson loves to take home souvenirs from visits to our house. Rocks. Shiny rocks. Colorful rocks.

So why not a rock tumbler for him for Christmas? Today, it's running full speed ahead. Tumbling rocks. For three weeks! For goodness sake, how long does it take to turn a blah rock into a beautiful rock?

            

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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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