The Mississippi River flood of 1993 was a tense time if you had a home or a business near the river in St. Louis. That flood had already done unprecedented damage upriver, and St. Louis was holding its breath. The crests on the Missouri River and the Mississippi River were starting to converge just above the city. Several years earlier, St. Louis had invested heavily in a levee. This levee was bigger than they ever thought they would need. They built it thick and 52 feet high, which is many feet above the highest flood crest in the history of the city. Who knew whether the water could get that high? The tension was mounting. The predicted crests were rising over 40 feet and toward the 50-foot mark. Then the moment of truth came. The river crested at incredibly record-high levels but stayed under 50 feet. They were very glad they had built a wall that was strong and high.
When you drive in the New York area, lane switching becomes an art, and you need to see exactly what's around you. That one area you can't see in any of your mirrors becomes pretty critical because it creates a dangerous blind spot. Also, right around the optic nerve in our eyes, there are no rods and cones to produce a visual image giving all of us a blind spot.
There is one sure way to collect a crowd in a youth group meeting. Just walk slowly through the room with a large, flat, white, square box. That means ... pizza! "Show me a big white pizza box, and I will be your follower. I will come running." Have you ever noticed that most pizza boxes are very plain? You really don't notice anything on the box, because the box does not matter. Who spends time admiring the box? That box is attacked to get what is inside!
Safe sex has almost become a national battle cry. We are finally waking up to the fact that sex is out of control in our country, and so we're trying to offer our young people some meaningful guidance, especially in the age of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. Many say to them, "Have safe sex." Nowadays, something married couples had a hard time talking about - condoms - is now on the front counter in the drugstore.
There was one sleek, black '66 Mustang at an antique auto show. It had a flawless exterior and a rich interior. The hood was open so you could look at the horsepower underneath, and sitting on the engine block was a thick book of photos. At the beginning of the photo album, there were "before" pictures of the car. The car started as garbage; the first pictures showed a rusted, wrecked, banged-up Mustang. Throughout the book, you could see how the car was slowly transformed step-by-step. It took months, maybe even years of the owner patiently working to end up with this beautiful classic. When the owner saw that wreck, he saw something others didn't see.
When I was on a mission in England and Ireland, I had a day to spend in the historic English city of York. What a place! Surrounded by a medieval wall, it is dominated by a cathedral that might be second only to Westminster Abbey in London. There was an unusual scene out in front - an artist on his knees, painstakingly working on a chalk drawing on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral. When I moved closer and took a look at it, I saw it was the Mona Lisa. He must have been working on it all day. It was beautifully done. As I went inside a restaurant, I noticed the artist had left. Within minutes, a little boy came up, intentionally ran over the artwork, then stomped back and forth and made footprints all over it. Other kids followed him and did the same thing. They trampled all over an artist's hard work. It hurt to see someone doing that.