Monday, July 28, 2008

Wind Out of My Sails

I was trying to explain to Maddy why no, she COULDN’T go to Build-a-Bear Workshop and get some new clothes and accessories for her koala. The last thing she needs is more “stuff,” I told her.

“We’re going on vacation in northern Minnesota for a whole week, and you’re going to have that huge, blue lake and deep, green forest to play in, and all the wildlife you can imagine, and the Northern Lights, and toasting marshmallows, and going fishing . . . who needs more toys, when you get to go to a LAKE?”

Maddy eyed me shrewdly, trying to make a case for her "need" for new toys:

“Aw, a lake’s just a hole with water in it.”

Nice try. Didn’t work, though I thought about letting her get some cute jammies and shorts outfits from Build-a-Bear Workshop that would fit a REAL Minnesota black bear, if she REALLY wants more excitement in her play time.


PRAYER REQUEST: Saw an old friend in church who has lost both his mother and his father to very difficult health problems in less than a year, plus has had all the stress of having to organize and sell off all their worldly possessions, comfort his wife and children, stay employed (!), and just manage an incredible amount of stress. Lord, touch Bill with Your mercy and rest, grant him comfort and peace, and make sure he knows that his parents are with You, waiting for the day that they’ll be reunited. (Psalm 9:9)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Or Whomever

At a local industrial plant, an employee mentioned that there were no restrooms in one of the buildings on the campus. People had to walk across a muddy industrial yard to get to the other building to find facilities.

I suggested that they put up good, old-fashioned outhouses, with a big half-moon on the front. Of course, they’d have to put “MEN” on one, and “WOMEN” on the other.

Based on the crazy happenings in our neighboring Colorado, they’d have to have a third one, titled:



PRAYER REQUEST: A friend’s hard-working, creative and adorable adult son in another state is suffering a mysterious malady in the morning. He has diarrhea and vomiting every morning until about 11 a.m. He has been checked for allergies, and all they found was a sensitivity to dust mites. The parents are shipping him one of those pricey, but effective, mattress covers, and pillow covers, too, to try to stop his symptoms. He wants to go on to graduate school but couldn’t succeed if nearly half his day is eaten up with this illness. He’s a young man who has dedicated his life to God and is about as faithful as anyone in his generation. Heal him, Lord, so that he can continue to do great things for You. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sense About Sixteen Cents

Sheesh. A student in Great Britain has been charged $1,600 in bank fees and interest after her account went overdrawn by sixteen cents:

There may be more to the story; the bank says the overdrafts have dated back to last September. But still. . . .

I think banks should pay us customers for maintaining UNDER-drafts consistently over the years, never even coming close to Point Zero or below. Don’t you?


PRAYER REQUEST: There’s a teenager whose parents are having marital difficulties. She thinks she’d rather move with her dad to another city and go to a different school for her senior year. But he’s the irresponsible one in the marriage, and not a good role model at this time. Lord, that would be a big mistake to uproot herself away from her more stable parent and extended family, and have to make all new friends and adjust to a whole new school, wouldn’t it? Only You are sovereign and only You can see the future. We pray that You will help this family see it the way You do, and keep her with her mom. Use this crisis as a teaching tool about maturity and following through, for this precious young lady. Deliver them, Father. (Psalm 3:8)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Social Calendar For the Older Set

I attended the funeral of a family friend the other day and sat next to my mother. She’s at that age where she goes to a lot of funerals. In fact, she was going to hang out at the church after the 1 p.m. funeral, because she was supposed to help serve in the kitchen at another funeral at 4 p.m.

Her term for this cracked me up:



PRAYER REQUEST: Father, there are a couple of familiar names in the obituaries right now, especially the mother of my wonderful old boss, Bob. Funerals are sad, but it’s sweet to see children honoring their parent’s memory with well-planned, touching ceremonies. Be with Bob and other grieving people at this tender time, as they say their earthly goodbyes to loved ones, in preparation for heavenly hellos some day. Help us remember that You’re the one who makes the preparations for us, coming and going! (Exodus 13:8)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grass-ias For the Smile

An advertising slogan on a passing truck made me smile. It was pulling a trailer fuller of lawn mowers and equipment, and made this bold claim:



PRAYER REQUEST: Thank You, Lord, for a certain someone’s 100% “clear” doctor’s visit today, 15 months post-cancer surgery. We asked You to watch over her, and You have. Oh, Jesus, it’s so good to be able to trust You, now and always. (Psalm 37:3-5)

Monday, July 21, 2008

When Odd Is Cute
Met a nice young man from Michigan over the weekend. We were discussing weird things that younger siblings say and do.

He contributed this:

Any time a couple would kiss on a TV show, his little sister would say loudly:

“What a wonderful species!”


PRAYER REQUEST: High praise to the Lord Who Hears, because our prayers have helped our dear friend Joan revive. She was on a ventilator in Kansas City, and last week, the situation was grim. The family was given a choice: either transfer her to a nursing home where she’d live out her life on the machine, or the hospital would find a way to help her pass away peacefully. Both options were bad, so the family prayed . . . the medical team tried one last-ditch effort . . . and it worked. As of this morning, Joan has been breathing on her own and doing well for nearly two full days. We thank You and praise You, Jesus, for making that family wise enough to depend on You. (Proverbs 22:4)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Diet Shorthand: Ain’t It the Trut’?

Did you ever notice: the Roman numerals for forty (40) are XL.


PRAYER REQUEST: There’s a neat lady named Junette, from Fatima, Portugal, who often sends interesting pro-Christian emails to a friend of mine, who forwards them to me. She has just been diagnosed with lymphoma and is readying herself for therapy. Her friend has asked for daily prayer for Junette. Lord, we all know about the “beautiful lady” that the three shepherds saw at Fatima. May Junette – a beautiful lady in her own right – feel the power, protection, comfort and healing of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and may she defeat this disease for His glory. Grant her unfailing courage and a firm hope. (2 Thessalonians 2:16,17)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So There, to the Golf Busybodies

Went to a funeral yesterday for a darling family friend, Don, who died in his mid-80s, and left a wide swath of loving, appreciative friends and admirers. My favorite funeral speaker was Don’s friend of seven decades, a gentle pediatrician who broke down and cried a few times during his remembrance. I think he is either the father or the uncle of the Omaha-born, world-famous emo musician, Conor Oberst. Now we know where Conor gets his emo!

But the funniest story came from a golf buddy. He said that, one time during a friendly game that wasn’t for prize money or anything, Don kind of whiffed trying to get the ball out of a sandtrap. In mock rage, to delight his playing partners, he reached down, grabbed the ball, and THREW it toward the flag. They all laughed.

But here came a golf cart up from behind them. They had seen what Don did, and they didn’t like it. They were the golf equivalents of Pharisees and Sadducees. “You can’t do that!” one of them shouted.

Sticking your nose into another foursome’s business is just as bad golf etiquette as what Don did. And they were sooooo self-righteous. So Don decided to have a little fun:

“The %#*@(% I can’t!” he retorted.

“Oh, no, you can’t! That’s against the rules!”

In reply, what did Don do? He made a sideways swipe with his foot, and pushed the ball another 20 feet toward the hole.

Now, THAT’S style.


PRAYER REQUEST: Father, thank You for the commendable life of Don, and thank You for guiding him to help dozens or probably hundreds of people financially, legally, and health-wise. He mentored employees, abused women, alcoholics, boys from troubled homes, and served You in so many other ways. He loved his work and was so enthusiastic about the good causes he supported and building up the community. May his example spread in the lives of those who attended his funeral and recognized what a great guy he was. Make us more like You, too, just like Don was. (Ecclesiastes 5:18,19)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Plug Bug

Follow-up to Sunday’s story about a speedboat owner who forgot to put the plug in his boat and nearly sank it:

Our air conditioning was on the fritz, so the fix-it guy came over. Afterwards, we chatted. Turns out he loves to fish and has been to many of the same lakes we have.

Also turns out that one time, this sailor with decades of experience was so excited to get to one particular hotspot, where his brother-in-law had caught 16 walleye the day before, that he and his friend got their boat launched and then in their haste and excitement, turned their attention to other preparations for the fishing expedition.

After a few minutes, a crotchety old local yokel who was fishing for carp (yuck!) on shore drily called over to him:

“Didja put the plug in?”

“Well, yes, I think I did.”

“I think you didn’t.”

He whipped around, and his boat was half-sunk. Not only that, but it was a rural boat launch with gravel underneath, and his truck didn’t have four-wheel drive, so even though he scrambled fast enough to get the water-laden boat up onto the trailer, the truck couldn’t get a purchase on that gravel to haul it up on land so that it could drain.

Finally, the old codger offered HIS four-wheel drive truck. So he hitched his truck to their truck, which was hitched to their soggy boat, and eventually, they got ‘er done.

After all that, when they finally got out on the lake for the day of fishing, guess how many they caught?

You’ve got it: ZERO!

Fishing: it’s just like that. But we agreed: A good day at work is still not as good as a bad day of fishing.


PRAYER REQUEST: (Yesterday’s prayer for Karen was answered with a resounding and relief-filled YES! No further surgery or major fussing required to manage her condition. Thank You, Jesus!) Today’s prayer focus is a precious son named Trevor who had heart problems as a baby. Now he has to have an "ultra-3D MRI" of his heart and aorta on Wednesday, August 13th. He is such a delight to his parents, Father, that we know You take delight in him, too. Lord, we will climb inside Your heart, and perch there for the next month, as we pray Trevor and his wife and parents through the many feelings and emotions they will be going through until this big test. We pray for the best possible outcome of the test, and peace of mind and tears of joy for all, in Jesus’ Name, because He is the source of all peace and joy. (Psalm 37:4)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Staying Abreast of Health-Care Challenges

A friend with a well-developed sense of humor and a not-so-developed bustline was arranging for her mammogram. They set a date. The appointment secretary asked all the required questions:

"Have you had any breast surgeries?"


"Any problems with your breasts?"

Fleeting thoughts of how she could never qualify to be a Playboy bunny came to mind, but she bit her tongue, and said, "No."

"Can you get around?"

That was too much.

"Oh, yes. I am flat-chested, so I can get around quite well with no interference from my breasts."

A moment of shocked silence, and then the secretary’s professional demeanor dissolved into laughter. "I HAVE to ask that so we know that you can stand up for the test."

If not, what do they provide? Size Double D crutches?!?


PRAYER REQUEST: A friend’s friend, Karen, must undergo a cardiac catheterization today. Father, thank You for the amazing medical technology You have taught us to create, to provide for such a time as this. We lift up Karen and her medical team for Your mercy and compassion, and pray for the easiest outcome, that won’t require further surgery or medication. May she be an obedient patient and be free of all worry and dread. Thank You for blessing us with the privilege of praying for one another, and may Karen feel our support and encouragement now and always. (Isaiah 30:18)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sing them a Puppabye

This guy could rent out to bleary-eyed parents of newborns:

PRAYER REQUEST: Blessings and honor to the brave fellow who got up in front of church yesterday and told about his 20-year struggle with pornography. Jesus helped him win, with a late-night, supernatural visitation, and a simple question: choose, now, whether to keep on sinning, or follow Me. He chose to give it up, and now he’s helping others do the same. He was nervous and tearful, but what guts it took to overcome the shame and embarrassment of going public. We pray it did a ton of good, and that he will be blessed by finding out about people who decided to follow his lead. It’s hard to believe, but the stats indicate that as many as 50% of men, and over 25% of women, are hooked on porn. Lord, we know it is Your will to free these captives, and You’re aching to be gracious to them. Let each of us help someone who’s trapped in that vicious addiction. (Isaiah 30:18)

Monday, July 07, 2008

It’s Not So Dumb to Be Dense

With the price of gas, any thoughts of a leisurely Sunday drive go out the car window. Who can afford mileage without purpose?

Forget going downtown to see what’s up, too. It’s a long way away. A round-trip costs $10!

Comes now a Wall Street Journal headline that sums it up:

With Gas Over $4, Cities Explore
Whether It’s Smart to Be Dense

The story is about Sacramento, Calif., where city planning is attempting to inspire clustered development of housing and jobs to cut down on commuter time, traffic jams, energy use and pollution. Instead of a downtown core with dependent suburbs radiating outward, there’ll be lots of mini-downtowns all over an urban area. Lots of pockets of dense development is thought to be better than one big, highly developed downtown and lots of spacious housing all around it.

It’s plenty controversial: the rule of thumb out there is to have an average of 10 housing units per acre. Ouch! We live on three! The idea also is to offer streetcar systems and bike paths sufficient to make individual cars unnecessary. Yow! Don’t want to go there, and doubt many other Americans would, either.

But the idea is to cut down on the sprawling suburbs, encourage the use of bicycles and public transit, and congregate office parks, shops and restaurants near neighborhoods. Saving time and money, and helping the environment: maybe going denser isn’t so dumb.


PRAYER REQUEST: Saw the engagement picture of a dear friend of our daughter’s in the paper yesterday. Lord, bless Jenny and Chris, who love You very much. Be in that engagement and marriage, as long as they both shall live! (Ephesians 5:31)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Where Do They Come Up With These?

I was leaning down to kiss Maddy goodnight, moments after taking a tall swig on my gotta-stay-up-late-tonight coffee mug.

She made a face. Must’ve been my breath.

“AWAY WITH YOUR FILTH!” she commanded.

Think what we could save on the military! The kid could clear terrorists out of an entire country with one toothpaste-scented breath.


PRAYER REQUEST: It’s hard to see Your perfect timing in the death at age 50 or so of one of my college friends. Karen succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, leaving a husband and children. Lord, reassure them that what You have for her in heaven is beyond our wildest dreams down here. Bring them to Your lap, comfort them, and teach them of Your never-failing goodness, even in a tragedy like this. (1 Corinthians 2:9)