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Archive for the category “Being an Effective Witness”

Straight From The Heart!

I kept watching him from behind the fenced in area as he was on the practice tee.  I saw his name was Larry Mize because the tournament officials had put a name sign in front of where he was hitting his shots.  I’m not sure which iron it was but I’m guessing an eight or nine iron.  He didn’t change his club like some do after a few hits.  He kept hitting with that club searching for perfection.

It was only a day or two before that I was offered tickets to this wonderful event.  It was the Senior PGA Championship and it was at the Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor Michigan.  It was close to an hour from my house which was the perfect halfway point for my friend Alan and I to meet up.  Alan lives about two hours away from me and he was thrilled when I offered him a ticket since neither of us had ever seen professionals play.

Harbor Shores, From the dump to a beautiful place!

Harbor Shores, From the dump to a beautiful place!

It’s amazing that just a few years ago this beautiful course was a dumping ground.  Plant closures in Benton Harbor had left behind environmental ruin.  This land was that ruin.  It was 600 vacant acres bridging St. Joseph and Benton Harbor Michigan.  The site was contaminated by a foundry, steel companies, an old city dump, appliance factories, and an aircraft component manufacturing site.   The results were mercury and radium levels that were very unsafe.  The pollution was so severe that the aircraft manufacturing site was stated by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site, because it was one of the most polluted areas in the nation. In the late 1980’s a commission was formed to find out how businesses and jobs could be brought to the area.  It was determined that this dumping ground would be the center of the rebuilding project.  It took quite a vision to see this polluted dumped on land filled with dangerous poisons being anything else but what it was.

Several companies and organizations worked together and formed Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment which was a nonprofit organization whose mission would be to be the master developer of the project.  Mark Hessemann the managing director for Harbor Shores, used his real estate company to get the project off of the ground.  Hessemann spent seventeen years working for Jack Nicklaus Design, Jack’s company that designs golf courses.  If Jack could be convinced to build a course out of this barren land, the rest of the dominoes would fall into place!

To make a long story short, Jack came and formed a vision of all of the wonderful holes this land would house.  The project involved the removal of 117,000 tons of trash, solid waste, and concrete from the site.  That is the equivalent of a football field stacked up 65 feet high!  “Once you cleared away the trash there was beautiful land underneath”, Hassemann stated.

 Larry Mizelarry mize

So here I was watching Larry Mize hit shot after shot with his iron.  I saw an official and asked him if we could get autographs?  He said that the best place to do that was at the gate where they would have to pass to get on the driving range or leave for the first tee.  Normally people get autographs with a Sharpie pen but all I had was a Bic.  I had bought a program so I’m standing there waiting along with a crowd of people at the gate.  Alan was with me for awhile.  He was anxious to get out on the course while I was content to watch practice or stand waiting for someone to come by.  At last Alan said he would come back in about half an hour.  He was going to watch the actual tournament.  As I was standing there I started talking to people around me.  A lady took the spot to my right and she was carrying a rolled up poster.  She told me she was there to get one signature and I asked her about the poster.  She said that it was a picture of her husband and Tom Watson.  Her husband caddied for Tom Watson years ago and it was a picture of them both together.

It’s kind of funny when you are waiting for someone to come by that could be a professional golfer.  People that had golfing shoes on that weren’t dressed in blue course official shirts were all on the board!  The first guy I asked had the golfing attire on.  Of course you don’t want to embarrass anyone so you pretend you know them.  His signature was easily readable and he commented on the page I had him sign.  I just turned to a page that was titled “They are off and running.”  He liked that and after he left I looked at his signature “Joe Dailey.”  I had heard of a golfer named John Dailey, but not Joe.  Still it was nice of him to be the first to sign my program and he seemed nice.  Later someone signed my program and when he left I looked at the signature.  It was an awful looking bunch of O’s.  His signature looked like “OOOOOOOOOO.”  Now how could anyone figure that out?  A little while later I saw him coming.  He had a violet looking shirt on and his face  tanned through the years in the sun was unmistakable.  It was Tom Watson and he walked in going toward the practice tee.  As expected people started pushing through in front of him.  The official stated later “that area of the line line should have been roped off.”  Once Tom signed those peoples papers that pushed themselves in I was there with my program along with the lady next to me with her poster.  Tom smiled and waived and was on his way.  He probably figured he had signed enough and needed to work on his game.

Tom Watson...When he left the autograph crowd dwindled!

Tom Watson…When he left the autograph crowd dwindled!

After Tom Watson left the crowd at the gate got smaller.  The lady with the poster waited hoping to catch him after he got done hitting his bucket of balls on the driving range.  When he did he left a different way and everyone at the fence was disappointed and quickly left.  Everyone but me it seemed.  I was watching on the tee in front of me last years champion Kohki Idoki.  I watched him hit his balls and he seemed like a machine.  One right after the other right down the middle with his driver.  Every once in awhile he would hit one straight, but not quite as far as the others.  Or he would hit one straight, but not quite as straight.  I guess that is why he was out there.  It seemed that most of the time it was long and straight but those few that were a little shorter or a little more to the side were why he kept hitting.  It’s amazing to me the fine line these players are trying to find and how they can find fault in perfectly good hits in my mind.  They were all searching for that elusive perfection.  I told Idoki’s caddie that I would like him to sign my book and after awhile Idoki turned around and made a writing motion to me like he had a pen in his hand.  He came back by the fence and signed.  His signature was in Japanese and I kidded him by asking if he ever hit a ball that wasn’t straight?  He just smiled and went back to his tee to hit more consistent shots.

I was amazed watching Kohki Idoki last years champion

I was amazed watching Kohki Idoki last years champion!

Just about everyone had left the fenced area after it was clear that Tom Watson wouldn’t be back.  I stood there thinking that there are still some players that may come by.  Suddenly walking at a brisk pace was Larry Mize.  I called out if he could sign one for me and he put his brakes on and swirled in my direction.  To be honest at first I didn’t recognize him.  Although I watched him hitting he had his back to me.  However I finally realized that it was the guy who kept hitting his iron that I had watched and mentioned to him how I saw him practicing over and over with that iron.  It was a quick meeting as he signed with my Bic pen.  I asked him if it wrote OK and he said it was a little light but fine.  That was all and I saw that his signature was very readable and to my surprise he wrote a Bible verse after it!  “Larry Mize Eph2 8:19.”

I watched Idoki some more as I started talking to a friend of his from his country.  I was so impressed with the way Idoki kept practicing shot after shot even though I couldn’t find much wrong with any of them.  The thing that impressed myself and my friend Alan was how these guys practiced their skills.  Alan mentioned that most of them had to be worth millions, yet often after hitting on the practice tee and playing their round they were right back on the practice tee again!  I caught up with Alan and we decided to go to the 18th tee.  Players were paired together and we watched them hit two by two.  There was a delay from the time one pairing hit until the other arrived.  During that time we talked to other fans.  A couple of them were older and we listened to their golf stories from the past.  One guy especially was telling stories about Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, and other well known golfers he had seen in person.  Again it was amazing watching these guys drive the golf ball.  Most were right down the middle with one I remember driving into the long weeds on the right.  We were wondering in his case if his ball was playable, but later we noticed him from a distance hitting in the middle of those weeds.  His ball must have landed on the green because in a little while he was putting and moving to the next hole!

It was some time later that I was reflecting on my autographs.  I showed the autograph of the all O’s to one of the fans next to me and he came up with a name that it had to be.  I forget his name but it was something like “Wooslin” and obviously he emphasized the O’s.  Thumbing through the book again I remembered I had a caddie sign because I liked him when we talked.  I was recording my experience there and I could tell he was honored to sign my book.  Again I passed Larry Mize’s autograph.  His was my favorite because of the Bible verse he applied.  Hmmm  Larry Mize, he won the Masters one year didn’t he?  It wasn’t until I got home that the memory came back to me.  You see I had forgotten who it was that supplied one of my greatest golfing memories.  You might laugh, but it was the shot more than who it was.

The year was 1987 and I am sitting in my living room watching the final round of the Masters Tournament.  That was the year that I had become a first time father.  The big talk was about if Greg Norman could finally win a major?  He was the number one ranked golfer in the world but he couldn’t seem to win the big one.  He had come close many times and this just could be the day for him!  I like to watch golf especially if it is close and every shot means something.  In this case after regulation there was a three way tie.  The three tied were Greg Norman, Seve Balesteros, and Larry Mize.

When there is a tie after regulation they do a sudden death playoff.  Unfortunately for Seve he missed a putt on the first sudden death hole and Greg Norman and Larry were the only ones remaining.  On the second hole Norman hit his second shot on the fringe of the green.  Larry on the other hand hit his far to the right.  He found himself 140 feet from the hole.  Since Norman was closer it was Larry who was up.  I’m sitting there thinking that it will be very hard for Mize to get his ball close to the hole and get down in two.  If he hits it too hard it will keep rolling right into the water.  Norman was almost assured of at least getting up and down and possibly chipping his shot in!  Larry hit his shot.  It went in the air very low for awhile before hitting short of the green and rolling on.  It kept rolling and the crowd noise got louder.  Amazingly it looked like the speed was good as it rolled and rolled.  I couldn’t believe my eyes as I kept watching.  Not only was it a good shot it was going right for the hole and…it went right in!  Larry started running around in the excitement and the crowd noise was unreal!  Finally the crowd settled down and watched Greg Norman, who must have felt jinxed, miss his chip.  Larry Mize had won the 1987 Masters!

Larry Mize came from a Christian family that was pretty active in their church.  His dad was a deacon in the church but as Larry got older he started to drift away.  Growing up in Augusta, Georgia Larry’s dream was always to play there.  That became his goal and number one in his life.  He still believed in God but as he described it was more of an intellectual (in his head) belief because he didn’t have Christ in his heart. “I had him in my head, but he was second to golf unfortunately.”  Larry felt honored that he was able to play at Georgia Tech University.  After three tries at Tour School he felt fortunate to finally get on the PGA Tour!  He married a wonderful girl from Columbus Georgia and felt very content.  He thought that he would make a lot of money and be famous!  He won the Memphis Classic at the age of 24 and things were looking bright!  He didn’t win any other events for the next couple of years but he was very satisfied with the level of his game.  Somehow through his success though there was something missing.  God got his attention at the event of his first born son.  As Larry was sitting in the delivery room holding David, God spoke to him.  “Hey! Golf’s important, It’s the way you make a living, and you need to work hard at it, but the most important thing is to get your life right with Jesus Christ and giving him charge of your life.”

On that day Larry did just that and explained the difference.  “Prior to that moment I believed in God.  I believed in Jesus, but I didn’t do anything about it.  The best way to explain it was it was an intellectual belief.  That day it became a heartfelt belief.  That day I began trusting God and Jesus Christ with my life.”  All of the sudden Larry was motivated.  He wanted to win, not for his glory, but to be able to give God all of the glory!  He wanted to be able to tell people who were waiting for his words after winning a tournament what really was important!

“One of my greatest thrills in golf was winning the Masters and one of the neat things about that was the fact that it gave me the opportunity to share my faith and say, Hey! Christians aren’t these little complacent, wimpy people. Christians are competitive, and I’m competitive. I’m a winner in this world, and I’m very successful–but I still have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And that relationship is the most important thing to me. Living my life for Him and pleasing Him is the most important thing.”

Larry Mize with his caddie on the 7th fairway at Harbor Shores

Larry Mize with his caddie on the 7th fairway at Harbor Shores

Years ago a plan was made for the dumped on polluted land between Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.  This plan was so massive in nature that it took hundreds of people to make it happen.  Specialists were needed in many areas and laborers were needed for the cleanup.  It took everyone doing their part to make this vision happen.  It was obvious from the beginning that something needed to be done with the land.  That was like the head knowledge that Larry talked about.  Unless everyone with their different skills got involved the land would have just sat there as it was.  The heart of the project was the actual labor that it took from all of those people that made the vision a reality!  Likewise when Larry lined up that shot at the Masters God had a plan for him.  When the ball miraculously found the hole the plan was in motion.  Now Larry is carrying out the plan for his life.  For one glorious moment Larry reached perfection.  Yet through the years that followed he was far from perfect.  Larry Mize was not the big winner on the tour he had originally visioned but you won’t hear him complaining.  In fact Larry is happier than he has ever been because he knows that he is doing his part in God’s plan!  As a competitor Larry would like to win every time he plays a tournament, but he knows that in the end it’s not about that at all.

Larry is guided by his faith, and when he signs his autograph, he adds a Scripture verse “I just sign it hoping it’ll encourage somebody and they’ll look it up and it’ll help them in their life,” he said. “Maybe it’ll make them think spiritually and help them in some way.”  Larry found out that winning for the Master is far more important than winning the Master’s.  He knows that although he had a moment of perfection he is far from perfect.  It is only by the grace of God that any of us are saved.  When Larry  shares his faith these days it isn’t cold head knowledge he shares, it comes straight from his heart!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourself-it is the gift of God

II Ephesians 8:19


Trish, A Memory Maker!

I can still see the smile on her face in my mind!  She was at my desk telling me about the upcoming visit of Benson from Africa to her house.  She had been discussing the possibility with family and friends and was sharing their reactions.  It was well meaning comments that seemed to intrigue Trish!  Maybe the thinking was that Trish had not thought of safety first and the possibility of her stepping out in faith turning into a disaster.   “Do you mean that you are going to take in a complete stranger from another country into your house to be around your kids?”  She was telling me her answer as  a smile formed on her face along with a twinkle in her eyes!  “Yes!” was her reply to the questions of doubt!  I could tell that this was a position Trish liked to be in!  This wasn’t the first time she did the unexpected!  If she believed she was doing the right thing she listened to the concerns of others, but eventually did what she thought God wanted!  The smile on her face was a smile of  contentment and puzzlement.  I think she was proud of the fact that she was like she was!  The puzzlement part wasn’t about their reaction as much as her amazement of how once again she was defying logic!

This best captures the smile of amazement that she had!

Of course the safety concerns about Benson ended up a non factor just as Trish’s faith told her it would be.  Benson ended up being a blessing to her and her family and showed them a different way of seeing the world.  He brought to them an education that Trish relished because she was always looking for the behind the scenes view!  I remember her coming in tired one day and explaining to me that she had talked to Benson long into the night.  She gravitated to people who gave her a different perspective that she could embellish too!  For all of the good that Benson did once he was here, it was Trish who orchestrated the whole thing.  It was Trish who did not hesitate when she received the call asking if someone she knew could house Benson for a week.  “He can stay with us!” was her reply almost immediately and completely on her own.  Once Benson was here it was Trish that picked him up at the airport.  It was Trish that made the effort to get to know him and made Benson feel at home!  It was Trish that organized events where Benson could speak to different groups!  We saw Benson and his wonderful ministry up close as again Trish orchestrated a luncheon for our workplace.  Benson had a wonderful testimony but behind the scenes there was Trish making all of it possible!

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Trish worked for quite awhile in our area before we got to know each other.  Usually we’d say hi in the hall or she would be bringing a gift in as part of her job.  She was a fund raiser at the University and I processed gifts.  Naturally we formed an acquaintance but that was all it was.  Then one day a little over two years ago all of that changed.  The subject happened to come up about the Christian poem book that I had written when Trish stopped by the office. Upon seeing the book Trish’s spirits picked up!  Although she never outwardly showed it Trish admitted that she was having a rough day.  I think performing the duties of her position could be an up and down roller coaster ride.  There was a lot of travel involved and she was feeling drained.  She talked some about her position before of fund raising for a church!  I could sense that although she liked a lot about her position at the University it really didn’t fulfill the big question in her life of “What am I supposed to be doing?”   She talked about her missionary trip to Africa and how fulfilling that was!  She told me that she would go back in a heartbeat!  I read her a poem from my book and she was all enthused!  Her wheels were spinning as to how she could help market my book!  She told me as she was leaving how our talk had made her day!  After that day we looked at each other differently.  Usually when we see people in their jobs we associate that person to the job that they are doing.  After that day we both saw the deeper person in each other who happened to be performing a job.

Trish had a heart for missions!

Trish had a heart for missions!

Trish was a deep thinker and that was something we had in common!  I think that as a writer you tend to see things in a different way.  Instead of hiding your emotions you express them in words.  If you really hit the mark you are describing things about an event or experience that nobody really thought about!  Getting people to think not only about the obvious but the other behind the scenes factors is my dream when I write!  Trish was a writer too!  She wrote down her experiences in the form of poems.  Her poems were not usually the rhyming kind.  Hers were more of the deep reflections that were working behind the scenes.  She wrote about experiences in a heartfelt personal feeling way!  It was like here is what you see, but this is what I am feeling as you see me!

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As time went by I shared my website “lightenload” with Trish.  She enjoyed my stories as ten times she left comments!  Her comments almost always included some encouragement or thanks to me along with a message to myself and my other readers!  They were based on her experiences and how she saw the topic from her perspective!  Many times they were very deep and personal comments because Trish was a deep thinker!  One time I  wrote “What Are You Waiting For?” which was a story about anticipating Christmas as kids and how much time we wait for things in life, and how we shouldn’t wait to receive Christ.  Trish responded to this story by showing her true heart!  “I love this Lewis” she stated, “I was thinking about waiting in the grocery store the other day and anyone with fewer items than I had I would let them go in front of me.  I am the same way when it comes to traffic. There are certain things to be patient for and most certainly God opportunities extended to us to act upon.  Keep shining the light!”  Trish showed her sense of humor after a poem I shared called “The Devil Is A Liar”  She said “Amen my friend, He doesn’t come in a red pajama suit with horns and a pitch fork!  He is a bit smarter than that.  I love your posts and thank you.” When I wrote a story called “A candle In The Ice” about my family getting stranded in frigid temperatures for a whole night on a Georgia highway, Trish wrote “I wish I could have been driving then.  I would have picked them up.”  Knowing Trish and her sense for doing the right thing no matter what public opinion was there is no doubt in my mind that she would have!

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Trish was a light in the darkness!

As someone who writes Trish realized how important encouragement was!  Her posts were always thoughtful and always had a little encouragement for me.  She knew how hard it is to put something out there.  She knew that when you put yourself on the line you are inviting trouble along with agreement!  Trish was a great supporter and inspired me with great compliments!  She commented after “Benson’s Lemonade” which was the story of her and Benson, “Thank you Lewis, for using your God given talent to share this story.  Beautifully written and true.”   Another time even though our positions are some of the lowest rated she said “I think you guys have the most important jobs of all of them!”  She was talking about my job and co-workers of processing gifts.  I joked the other day about what she said.  “She lied to us but it made us feel so good!”  Seriously though, I believe that Trish meant it!  She had a different way of looking at things and she saw value in the little things that others didn’t.

I played racquetball with Trish once.  I had convinced her that she should take advantage of the Rec Center the University provided and she was interested in learning to play racquetball.  Although Trish was a willing student she found that racquetball was a much more difficult sport than she had anticipated.  I taught her how to serve and she delighted in the fact that she could get her serves in!  We played a game we made up where we both worked as a team to see how many times we could hit the ball into the wall without it bouncing twice on the floor.  It turned out that I stayed in the back and got a good workout running down balls while every now and then Trish hit one.  Still Trish’s spirits were high and I heard her say in delight “I like this serving!”  I realize now the attribute that made her successful!  She had a knack of discovering what she could do and following through with that!  She realized that she was just one person and she couldn’t  do everything.  Yet, she knew she could make a difference in what she could do!  The glass was always half full in her eyes!

When I got to really know Trish I was  seeing more of a finished product.  Her triumphs and defeats that happened earlier and shaped who she was at that point were behind her.  Yet she lived for the moment and the day she was in.  Her outlook was on the future and not on past accomplishments.  When she decided to accept a position at another foundation I was shocked.  Yet when she took the time to explain her decision it made perfect sense that she would accept a new challenge.  After she was on the job for a little while she came back to visit.  “They don’t know anything about fund raising”, she said as that smile came on her face.  Maybe they were shocked at the crazy ideas she had for them and the changes she was instigating!

In the last few months Trish seemed to be in her glory!  She thrilled in her role and how she was making a difference!  She was delighted to play checkers, games, or cards with people that had nobody.  She was not happy when someone died that had become her friend but she relished the fact that she had gotten to know them!  I mentioned to her when I saw her a few months ago that she was doing now what was really her.  In true Trish fashion she said “I have no bad words to say about the University.  They were very good to me!”

A comment that she made about the story I wrote called “A Baseball Game and War” really showed an amazing side of Trish!  The story was a deeply emotional one for me about a morning at my cousins and his 18 year old brother wondering if he would be drafted to fight in Vietnam.  Trish wrote a beautiful piece about her father and his experiences there.  It was so pointed and so deep as she shared his attitudes and how they were developed.  How he had buried his friends after explosions and the psychological effects that it had on him.  At the end Trish said something that was very profound and presented the deep thinker that she was!  “I don’t see the world like he does, but I didn’t experience the things that he did.”  Amazingly Trish knew that we all are affected by our experiences and that hers were of a world of hope and love.  Yet she understood that her father had experiences that shaped his view and neither views were wrong.

Most people will look at Trish’s life and say that forty three years was way too young for her to go.  That is the natural human way of looking at death and I understand it completely.  A friend made a very pointed statement to me one time that is so true.  “Lew, we aren’t going to get out of here alive.”  My pastor years ago stated another truth “the moment we start breathing we are starting to die.”  God gives each of us a time here and whatever time he gives it is up to us to make the most out of it!  When Jesus told the parable of the master that left his wealth to his three servants while he was away for a long time the master gave all three different amounts.  In the end he expected each one to take their talents given and make an increase.  Trish in her time here certainly did all that she could do to make her Lord and Savior happy!

Trish made her friends laugh!

Trish made her friends laugh!

When I wrote a story called “A True Friend”, which described the difference between a true friend and a acquaintance friend Trish made this deep in thought comment: “Very well put, I have been through a season or two where the true friends supported me in ways beyond what I can express.  The blessings of a true friend is that we go through seasons and it is a reciprocal relationship.  Cool thing about Jesus, He’s always there no matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, he will take you home and he loves you.   Well it seems that Jesus has taken Trish home just like she said he would.  There are some people that you meet in life that are memorable and some that you forget.  Trish is near the top of that memorable list!  She embraced life with everything that she had!  For her taking a chance was not taking a chance as long as she knew God was leading her!  She was a deep thinker who I will miss greatly for her encouragement and support!  Frozen forever in my mind is the smile on her face that revealed everything that she was feeling behind the scenes!


This was a poem Trish wrote and asked me to review in early January.  For anyone reading my Leaving A Record Behind story where I talked about almost drowning in a swimming pool it seems I would be the last one to know the experience she talked about.  However the depth of her deep thoughts were so unique!  Trish was a beautiful deep person who touched thousands in a wonderful way!

living water


I remember you…
The touch of your
Eyes, body, hands, and soul
I knew the light I saw and felt around you
You knew intuitively my affection for water
The way that I could submerge
And I knew you would never make me surface while I explored
You trusted that I knew the water
You believed I knew when to dive, ride waves, and surface
I trusted my inner world was no threat to you
I often watched you while under water
Looking through the ripples on the surface
What an amazing journey
Somewhere in me, I knew you’d jump in to save me
But I didn’t need saving
It was a magical water dance
I wish all could experience
The dance continues on
Temperatures change
Tides rise and fall
Waves come and there are hidden undertows
But knowing I have you my friend, I will surface
The water dance continues on.

Trish 12/23/2013

A Fish Story

I guess everyone that has ever fished has a story about the fish that got away.  When I was about six years old my fish story happened.  I don’t remember who was all there or what the occasion was.  I’m thinking we might have been in Alabama with relatives down there or it might have been at a local lake with my aunts and uncles.  Anyway things get blurry in my memory and it was a long time ago.  We were all fishing I can tell you that.  I remember that it was a bamboo fishing pole that I had.  Someone baited my hook, probably my mom and I was sitting there with my line in the water.  I think it was my mom who happened to come by and she said “you’ve got one!”  Not knowing what to do I pulled that fishing pole out of the water and way up in the air!  It seems like the fish was like a dark blue color but I didn’t get too good of a look at him.  While my pole was way up in the air apparently the fish jumped off of my hook and back into the water.  It’s funny but I don’t remember anyone else even getting a bite that day.  Still it seemed that everyone had an enjoyable time whether they caught anything or not.


My only other fishing experience was when I was 17 and a camp counselor at Living Waters Camp.  Living Waters was a camp near Cassopolis Michigan where kids would come from all over for a week of camp experience and to learn about God.  Camp Living Waters was surrounded by water and it’s springs produced the freshest water I have ever drank!  Anyway a couple of times I got a fishing rod out and baited my hook with a worm and cast my line into the water.  After sitting in the hot sun for a while both times without any bites I gave up.  The equipment I was using was more sophisticated than the old bamboo pole.  Strange that my equipment was better but something else must have gone awry.

Since my knowledge and experience with fishing is so limited you might wonder why I am even writing a story on the subject!  Well years ago we had a visiting speaker at our church.  His sermon was so memorable because his examples were all about sports!  To a kid who loved sports he got my attention immediately!  I remember he talked about a runner from the past.  This runner was just another runner until he made himself elite.  The story goes that this runner was tired of  his middle of the pack finishes and wanted desperately to win.  The thing that stood out about this guy was not his great ability but his desire.  Although he had great desire and trained as much or more than anyone the results were the same.  Then one day he had an idea.  He decided that he would try to add extra weight to his shoes while training!  At the time there was no scientific way to do this and it was ahead of it’s time thinking.  He added lead weight to the outside of his shoes!  He kept running the same distances in training but now with his special training shoes!  Surprisingly the results were almost immediate as in races his normal track shoes felt so much lighter!  He began to see his name shoot up the leader board in races and eventually he was at the very top!  The message was that if you desire something bad enough you will come up with a way to accomplish your dream.


The speaker then began talking about fishing.  He talked about fishing in general and then compared the average fisherman to the professional one.  The average family might decide to go fishing like mine did years ago.  They might decide to rent a boat or just cast their lines on the shore like we did.  Usually the average person going fishing for the pleasure of the event just take some worms along for bait.  Maybe if they get more advanced they might take along some night crawlers.  Like my experience years ago it isn’t about how many fish you get.  The whole idea of fishing is to get out and do something relaxing in the nice pleasant sun.  It is a chance to get away from the world and get your mind on something besides everyday life.


The thinking of the professional fisherman is far different.  While the leisurely fisherman has time to kill the professional’s time is very precious.  They can’t afford to leisurely play around with their fishing!  If they don’t have success in their attempts professional fishermen lose money.  With this mindset they don’t go about their business with anything but a serious mind.  They are determined to use the best bait at the best locations they can find for what they are looking for!

The speaker pointed out that the professional fisherman has many different lures in his tackle box depending on the type of fish he is going after.  It is amazing to me how scientific fishing can be!  Fish react to colors as well as movement!  Companies specializing in making different fishing lures make millions of dollars every year.  A professional fisherman doesn’t mind paying the price as long as the product works.  They are always looking for the best way to do their job!  They will pay the price for knowledge and tools.  They figure that if they are in the right place with the right tools they will have success!  Choosing bait is so important to catching fish! If  you wanted to Bass fish here is an example. Bass like noise, Spinnerbaits and crankbaits with a good rattle work well!  Also Bass love worms, especially worms that have salt in them. Plastic frogs and lizards work also. Most importantly, if you can figure out what the bass are eating where you are fishing use that knowledge! For example, are there a lot of shad where you fish, crawfish etc. Once you figure out what the bass are naturally feeding on, it’s a matter of finding the right colors, depth and retrieve for that natural look that will trigger the bass bite.


The example that I mentioned above is just for Bass fishing.  Now multiply that by all the different fish that the professional fisherman might try to fish for and you can see how scientific the process can get!  The casual fisherman doesn’t care about all of the baits and lures.  As a leisurely hobby they won’t spend the money or the time researching what is needed.  They are out for the relaxation of the sport and if they catch a fish now and then all the better!

In Mark 1 verse 17 Jesus called Simon and Andrew who were brothers and fishermen as they were casting their nets into the sea.  “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men”, he stated.  Immediately they left their nets and followed him!  In another instance Jesus called out to some disciples who had spent the night fishing out on the boat.  How is it going?  When they explained that they had been fishing all night with no success he said “Cast your nets on the other side.”  They could have ignored his advice, after all they were the expert fishermen.  However they put their nets on the other side and the Bible said there were so many fish that it broke the nets!  God knew where the fish were just as he knows where the hungry searching souls are!


Just as Jesus called Andrew and Simon to be fishers of men, he calls us to be fishers of men too!  The contrast between fishing for men and fish is that getting caught as a fish is a bad thing, but as a person it is the best thing that can ever happen to them!  We have to ask ourselves what kind of fishermen are we?  Are we the leisurely type who like me at age six played fishing, or have we grown up to the point where we take the great commission that God has called us for very seriously?  Is our hearts desire to do everything possible to lure the lost, or has our fishing become a leisurely lazy time with too many tales of the ones that got away?

Walking The Straight And Narrow

Suddenly with the wind gusting to new heights he went down to one knee.  In that moment he seemed so helpless as something completely out of his control had threatened to destroy his dream.  It was a dream to walk across the Grand Canyon that Nik Wallenda first had as a teenager.  It was an attempted feat that he had dedicated to his great grandfather.

Carla Wallenda, Karl Wallenda, Raymond Chitty, and Richard Guzman (Carla’s husband). Ca. 1965
Great grandfather Karl Willenda was born in Germany in 1905 to an old circus family and began performing at the age of 6.   He answered an ad  in the newspaper while in his teens for a hand balancer with courage.  Through the years Karl would show the world just how courageous he was.  His employer taught him the trade so well that in1922, Karl put together his own act with the help of his brother Herman, Joseph Geiger, and Helen Kreis, a teenager who would eventually become his wife.  The act proved very successful as it toured Europe doing amazing stunts!  In 1928 John Ringling saw them perform in Cuba and was so impressed that he hired them to be part of his Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  The act had it’s start in Madison Square Garden.  The safety net that they used had been lost in transit, so they performed without one.  The crowd gave them a standing ovation for their death defying show.  In Akron Ohio the group all fell off of the wire, but nobody got hurt.  It seemed to the onlookers that the Willenda’s fell so gracefully that they were given a nickname that would stick “The Flying Willendas”. 
In the years to follow Karl developed some extraordinary acts such as the seven person chair pyramid in 1947.  Through the years they continued to entertain the world with their daring feats.  In 1962 tragedy struck.  While attempting the pyramid stunt at the Shrine Circus in Detroit, the front man on the wire lost his balance and the pyramid collapsed.  Three men fell to the ground.  Killed were Richard Faughnan, Wallenda’s son in law; and his nephew Dieter schepp.  Karl injured his pelvis, and his adopted son Mario was paralyzed from the waist down. 

Karl Wallenda

Karl Wallenda

In spite of these setbacks Karl went on.  He continued performing with a smaller group, and doing acts alone.  He repeated the pyramid act in 1963 and 1977.  In 1970 Wallenda crossed the Tallulah Gorge in Georgia on a high wire.   On March 22, 1978 Karl Wallenda fell to his death.  He was attempting to walk between the towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel, 10 stories up.  He was 73.  Karl has several branches of grandchildren still performing regularly today.  They have achieved recognition in the Guiness Book of Records.
Nik Wallenda completed the walk that Karl didn’t on June 4, 2011, with his mother, in honor of Karl.   Last year Nik was the first aerialist to walk directly over Niagara Falls, from the United States to Canada.  He crossed the river’s widest point wearing a safety harness as was required by ABC television.
Last Sunday Nik Wallenda attempted to become the first aerialist to walk directly over the Little Colarado River Gorge.  The event was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.  A 2 inch thick wire was suspended 1500 feet above the river.  Nik would be attempting the walk without a harness or safety net.  The distance was figured to be 1,400 feet between the cliffs.
Nik Wallenda walking over Niiagara Falls

Nik Wallenda walking over Niagara Falls

When I heard about the event that very day I had no intention of watching.  I thought if someone was going to be stupid why should I get involved?  My wife was watching as I went into the computer room to get away.  After a few minutes she called out “you really should come and see this.”  Reluctantly I came in and the sight and sounds were surprising. They had hooked up a microphone to Nik and as he was walking step by little step he was in a deep conversation with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  Each step of the way he was offering praise and worship.  It was like listening in to someone’s deep personal communication with God and it was beautiful!  If you closed your eyes you would have never realized the danger he was in.  He was also in contact with his earthly father who was talking to him through an earpiece encouraging him with every step and warning him of dangers ahead.

Nik Wallenda looks over the 2 inch wire cable he would be risking his life on

Nik Wallenda looks over the 2 inch wire cable he would be risking his life on

Later I watched a replay of the show that led up to the event.  They were showing all of the preparation that went into the engineering that made the walk possible.  It involved drilling into rocks and running that cable through them.  It involved getting the right weight and thickness for the chord.  It involved stretching that chord over the 1,400 feet and making sure it was tight and secure.  The process was facinating because it set the stage for the main event.  Without everything perfectly set up there was no chance that Nik could get across.
So there Nik was on one knee asking God to calm the wind.  He stayed down for just a little while and suddenly he was back up.  He tried to be patient waiting for the tenseness in the line to return.  Carrying a balancing rod he kept putting one foot in front of the other in a perfectly straight line as he praised his God!  The camera sometimes shifted to his feet and I could see the precision of his steps.  Each step was a feel for the rope and then the foot securely finding it. 
Of course most of us watching ask ourselves why?  Why would someone risk everything in a stunt as millions watched.  It didn’t take long as I first saw and heard him up there to possibly understand.  What a testimony he portrayed to millions!  When does someone get a chance to witness to millions at a time?   Psalms 23 states that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me”. There was no doubt that Wallenda felt comfort in God’s hands in the midst of the danger!
As I was thinking about Wallenda’s walk on the 2 inch wire I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7 verses 13 and 14.  “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the road and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.  In the end aren’t we all in a spiritual sense walking Wallenda’s walk in life?  Aren’t we all on a spiritual tight rope with Jesus representing the bridge between us and the Father and all other ways ending in destruction? The good news is that the bridge is engineered perfectly sound for us to cross over without fear!
They showed a long range view and Wallenda was three quarters of the way across.  I could see his little figure with the background of rocks behind him, slowly advancing.  He had taken another knee a ways back and now he was steadily proceeding!  One step in front of the other he was almost home.  When he got within twenty feet of the end he took four fast hops.  The quick change of pace startled me but here he was safely on the other side greeted by his awaiting family!  Maybe that is how life ends for Christians.  Maybe after the toils of life’s burdens we suddenly run to our God and awaiting loved ones as the victorious journey ends!   The first thing that Nik did was walk over and kiss the solid ground he
was now standing on.  Spiritually he was on solid ground all of the time!

Listening As Well As I Hear

Each day at work I turn the oldies station on the radio.  The oldies station probably has fifty songs that they play over and over again.  The oldies are songs I used to listen to in the seventies and some from the eighties.  There is one song I hear every day called “The Living Years”, by Mike & the Mechanics.   The chorus has the words “You can listen as well as you hear.”  The song talks about regrets as the singers dad dies and he never told him how much of an impact he made on his life.  Those words though “You can listen as well as you hear” seems so deep and got me thinking.  First of all I am all about the lyrics in a song.  I can’t truly like a song if I don’t understand the lyrics.  Beat alone doesn’t do it for me.  The song needs to be real with meaning that I can relate to.  So I thought some more about these lyrics “you can listen as well as you hear” and then I thought about my first trip as a student to campus.

"You Can Listen As Well As You Hear" Mike & The Mechanics

You Can Listen As Well As You Hear” Mike & The Mechanics

It was student orientation in the summer of 1975 and new students were expected to spend some time on campus and get accustomed to what life would be like as a student.  I was looking forward to meeting my roommate and making a new friend with someone I had plenty in common with.  After all we both would have college in front of us and probably the same type of experiences leading up to it.  When my roommate finally entered the room one thing struck me, he was blind.  He guided himself with his cane and here I was thinking “we’ll have nothing in common.”  Our backgrounds were totally different growing up, yet having him as a roommate made me both thankful and admiring of him as a person.  His name was Paul and he had been blind since he was three.  There was another guy named Mike who was staying in the room next door.  All three of us got to know each other that night and later Mike left for the bar.  When he got back Mike was pretty well wasted.  I heard Mike’s thick tongue trying to communicate with us.  I heard,  but Paul listened.  “I’m really concerned about Mike”, he confided in me when Mike left the room.  Paul was an amazing guy as so many sightless people are.  He had to memorize the dips, roads and hills of campus while at the same time doing all of the stuff I was doing.  Never once did I hear Paul complain.  He was so focused on where he was and where he was going!  When I was confused on what courses to sign up for it was Paul that guided my thought process!  Paul compensated for his lack of sight with increased emphasis on his other senses.  Paul was an excellent listener!

Those words keep coming back in my mind “you can listen as well as you hear.”  I have to ask myself if that is true?  I can say that sometimes I am a good listener.  Other times for one reason or another distractions get in the way.  If I am in the middle of watching a sporting event and especially if it is coming down to the final minutes of a close game, people have found that I’m not listening to the outside world very well.  You see most of the time it isn’t that people have a lack of hearing problem, they have a lack of listening problem.  Hearing comes naturally as the noise does something to your ear and you realize someone is talking or some other noise is going on.  Listening is something that we decide to do.  When we listen we let the words go into our brain and we think about and interpret what was said or heard and how it effects us. 

In Matthew chapter 13 starting with verse 3 Jesus told a parable saying “A sower went out to sow and as he sowed some seed fell along the path and the birds came and devoured them.  Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched, and since they had no root they withered away.  Other seeds fell upon thorns and the thorns grew and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  You may wonder how this parable relates to the listening delema I sometimes have?  Our choices can be compared to the ground where the seeds land.  If we choose to hear the word but not listen it is like the seed landing on hard ground and not getting properly rooted.  Those seeds will soon die as they were not planted properly within us.  The seeds that landed in fertile soil are like our choice to not only hear the message but to listen to it and let it penetrate and grow in our hearts! 

In horse racing you will see the horses with blinders on.  Blinders help the horse concentrate only on what is ahead of them.  There is no reason for the horse to get distracted with the blinders on.  He can concentrate on moving forward without losing focus.

The songwriter indirectly brings up the point that we won’t live forever in this life. In the song he had regrets that he didn’t say some of the things to his father that he felt in his heart.  Now his father is gone and it is too late to tell him.  He sadly states that “I wish I would have told him, in the living years.”  I think most of us have this same type of regret, I know I do.  Maybe you have some of the same types of guilt feelings too.  God understands our guilt and he is there to lovingly forgive us.  We can’t go back, but we can improve with God’s help!  Be careful with your words because words are powerful.  They can encourage or discourage.  They can lift people up or bring them down.  Going forward make sure you tell people how much they mean to you in the living years, I know I will!  Take time to listen and understand without letting the disagreements become bigger than the many points you agree on.  Showing your love and letting your loved ones know how you feel will save feeling regret later.  Show that loved one how much they mean to you not only by your words, but your actions too!

From a spiritual side, with God’s help let us soften our spiritual soil.  Let us make the choice to be  spiritual listeners instead of just spiritual hearers.  Let us be like the blind kid Paul, who compensated for his lack of sight by being extra sensitive in other areas.  We too lack sight in the spiritual realm.  We don’t physically see God but we can hear him if we listen closely.  Like the race horses we need to make sure our spiritual blinders are in place because then we can focus completely on God’s voice without distractions.  When we let his seed penetrate into our minds and being, it will change us as the spiritual root goes deep into our hearts!  Only then can we truly say that we are listening as well as we hear!

A Giant Throwing Starfish (The Blind Side)

There was a kids book called “The Giant” that I was facinated with when I was first learning to read!  I checked that same book out numerous times from our school library.  It was about a kid who was a Giant in the world.  It was illustrated with his enormous pictures doing enormous things!  He was relating how it felt as the ocean was his bath tub and the ships were his toys.  He sat there and played with the ships for hours and if he got bored he might stand up and catch an airplane just for his amusement.  The story ends when he wakes up from his “Giant” dream. 

A Giant Doesn't Have to be big I learned!

A Giant Doesn’t Have to be big I learned!

I have learned since that “Giants” don’t have to be big in stature.  The movie “The Blind Side” was a big box office hit and it was based on a true story!  Leigh Anne Tuohy was a well off mother of two.  Her family spotted Michael Oher, a giant of a kid, walking down the road on a cold rainy night with just shorts and a T-shirt on.  She offered Michael a ride and he reluctantly accepted.  Little did she know that Michael’s father had been murdered and his mother was a drug addict.  All she saw was a big kid who seemed to be walking around aimlessly.  Everyone seemed to always pass him by without question or hesitation.  Leigh Anne was not like most people.  She wondered why and because she did the relationship with Michael began to grow. 



Michael eventually was invited to make his home in their house.  At first he was offered to spend the night with them.  He was so withdrawn that Leigh Anne had a very hard time getting anything out of him.  It seemed that Michael was hurt so much in life that he kept everything inside.  It took someone like Leigh Anne to get him to open up.  Everyone called Michael “Big Mike.”  Since that was what everyone called him Leigh Anne called him that too.  As she was trying to have him open up to the world and her in particular she asked “Big Mike, is there anything I should know about you?  After hesitating in his usual way he said something very unexpectedly that she didn’t know.  “I don’t like to be called Big Mike.”  “OK”, she said, as she was thrilled with that piece of knowledge, “from now on we will call you Michael!”

For a while Michael slept on their couch downstairs.  One day Leigh Anne announced to Michael that he was going to have his own room.  “The $8,000 dollar couch is getting worn out,” she said in mock disbelief.   She showed him the bed she had purchased for him.  It was much more expensive because it had to be larger to support him.  She also bought him a dresser and had the room just so.  Michael looked at her in that quiet unassuming way he had.  “Is this all mine?”, he asked.  “Yes”, she affirmed, “it is all yours!”   “I never had one of these before,” he went on.  “You mean a room?”, she wondered.  “No, a bed”, he answered.  It was almost too much for her not to break down as she quickly said “Well, you have one now” , wished him goodnight and hurriedly left the room before she lost it completely.

Michael was behind accademically but his grades slowly started to improve.  Because of his massive size the football coach just knew that he would be dominant on the field.  When Michael’s grades improved enough for him to play the coach was anxious to see him take over.  Michael was wired differently than the coach liked however.  He was not a natural battler like some of the smaller kids were.  When Michael was sixteen and came to the Tuoy’s house he heard the story of Ferdinand the Bull for the first time.  The story must have been like looking in the mirror because the same traits Ferdinand had Michael did also.  Ferdinand the bull was the biggest bull in the field.  While the other bulls locked horns and battled for toughness supremecy Ferdinand was content to lay under a cork tree and smell the flowers.  Day after day Ferdinand layed under this tree happy as can be.  One day the people from the bull fights were looking for a ferocios bull that would make a great show.  They visited the bull yard one day and it just so happened that a bee stung Ferdinand and he was in agony.  He was hurting so badly that he started running and smashed over everything in his way including the other bulls.  The men from the bull fighting show chose Ferdinand over all of the other bulls.  When it came time for the show to start and Ferdinand was let into the arena, instead of charging he contently walked out and smelled a flower that was in the ring.  When it was apparent that there was no fight in him they reluctantly took him back to the bull yard.  He found his favorite tree and was content the rest of his days smelling the flowers.  Michael was also content with life and how things were turning out for him.  He was not an aggressive kid and smelling the flowers to him was like enjoying a lot of things in life besides football.

Ferdinand The Bull

Ferdinand The Bull

Leigh Anne Tuohy knew what button to push.  She had found out months before that Michael was in the lower percentiles in almost every subject.  One that he was at 95% however was protection.  In Michael’s life he had learned to be protective of the ones that he loved and would not let them get hurt.  Leigh Anne used this strength for his advantage on the football field.  She had him envision that the Quarterback and Runningbacks were like his adopted brother and herself.  He was to protect them so that none of the opposition could hurt them.  From that time on Michael turned into an unstoppable force.  He went straight up the radar screen of colleges throughout the land.  He ended up at Mississippi and played so well he became a pro and plays today for the Baltimore Ravens.  Michael’s story had a happy ending and it can be attributed to the moral of another story that follows.

A wise man was walking toward the ocean.  From a distance he saw a figure that appeared to be dancing.  As he got closer he saw that it was a boy.  The boy was not dancing at all but throwing something into the water.  As the wise man got closer he saw that the boy was throwing starfish one by one that had been washed up onto the beach.  As the hot summer sun beat down on the beached starfish they would surely die if left on the beach.  The wise man called out to the boy “There are thousands of them out here, you are wasting your time because you cannot possibly save them all.”  The boy answered back as he threw one back into the water “well I saved that one.”

 Well, I saved that one!

God calls each of us to do what we can.  He does not expect you or I to save the world.  What he does call us to do however is to meet needs.  There is a saying that is widespread called WWJD or What would Jesus do?  I think in this case Jesus would have done exactly what Leigh Anne did.  While others saw Michael and passed on the other side of the road, Leigh Anne didn’t.  She wondered why and offered a helping hand.  In short she saw a need and step by step went in the direction of filling that need.

The movie was called “Blind Side” because Michael ended up playing the position in football of protecting the Quarterback’s blind side.  A right handed Quarterback has his back to the Right Defensive End.  It is Michael’s job to block that Defensive End who is attempting to hit the Quarterback unexpectedly while he is most vulnerable.  The fact is however that all of us have a blind side.  We don’t know what the future holds or what troubles will come our way.  We do have someone who will protect us from all harm if we trust in him!  If we walk in the will of God he gives back far more than we could ever give!  When it was mentioned to Leigh Anne by some of her well to do friends as to how she was changing Michael’s life, she was quick to point out that “you are wrong, he is changing our lives!”  Leigh Anne realized that by getting involved they entered  into the will of God and by giving to a kid that needed them so much, they had opened themselves up to Gods blessings and peace as he gave back to them in a multitude of ways!

When I read “The Giant” book in elementary school, I pictured myself as “The Giant.”  I envisioned what it would be like to play with ships in the ocean and to catch airplanes if I got bored.  Through the years I learned that who most people thought of as “Giants” are just “Giants” in their dreams.  The real “Giants” are people like Leigh Anne Tuohy.  These are normal looking people that don’t sit around playing in the ocean like the “Dream Giant” in the book did, but walk along the beach, positioned to be useful.  They are opened to God’s leading and desire to be his hands and feet while they are here.  Leigh Anne didn’t start out as a “Giant” because nobody does.  She turned into a “Giant” because she didn’t walk away from the starfish on the beach.  Instead, she picked one up and helped it live again.  It turned out that his name was Michael!

That Monster Machine Is A Wizard!

I don’t think there is anything I enjoy more than just sitting on the couch watching a basketball game with my son!  No matter what NBA or college team we are watching he seems to always know the names and tendencies of the players.  Usually I sit there with a smile on my face as we both find interesting things to talk about concerning the game.  It is always back and forth as one of us comes up with something and the other adds to it!  It doesn’t have to be specifically about the game either.  Sometimes it may be a comment about how that player looks like someone else or anything  that strikes us about what we see as funny!   Usually it is a running commentary that keeps a smile on each others face as we enjoy the game together.  Sometimes one of us makes an odd comment out of the blue and the other will say “I was thinking the same thing!”  So many times one will make a point and a minute or two later the color analyst for the game will make the same point!  When that happens it usually creates additional fun filled commentary as he or I will say “I just said that!”

My son uses descriptions of players after seeing plays that they were amazing in!  I have found myself stealing some of his phrases because they seem so appropriate!  For instance a player like Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies seems to find a way to put the ball in the basket.  When they throw the ball near the basket to him and he converts my son may say “What a machine!”  A machine in his basketball praise terminology is typically what all machines should be.  You give it a job and it does the job!  It may not be the most flashy thing you see but it is a thing of beauty how consistently the job gets done!  He touches the ball and invariably the ball goes in the basket in his creative yet effecient way!  What a machine

What a machine!

We have a printer at work that is sometimes “what a machine!”  Other times it is “what’s wrong with that machine?”   Most of the time it is “what a machine!”  You ask it to print a report and it will efficiently print the report be it one or two hundred pages.  However, there is one report that my co-worker has to run each month that this machine can’t seem to handle.  She may run this report of maybe two hundred pages and the printer will spit out one page.  Maybe fifteen seconds later it may produce another page.  Because of the inefficiency of  this printer she has been forced to print on her smaller printer.  Although the little printer is not designed for large printing orders it plows ahead and does the job that the big printer for some reason won’t do.  Before this printer we had another printer designed to do big jobs.  With this machine you were never quite sure what you would get.  Sometimes it would run a big report without a hitch.  Other times a paper jam would occur and out of necessity we had to become experts on how to unjam the printer.  Frustratingly many times after unjamming the printer and re-ordering the job the same problem would occur.  This was a big machine built for huge results and yet we got to the point that we were afraid to ask it to do anything because of it’s past failures.

The Detroit Pistons have a young player named Andre Drummond.  Andre Drummond is 6’10 and weighs 270 pounds!  Besides being big he has incredible athletic ability!  It seems like he has springs in his legs as he can elevate so high, which is unusual for someone as big as he is!  Besides his jumping skills he has a determination about him.  We’ve seen him somehow get a rebound when he seemed completely out of the play.  We’ve seen him stationed around the free throw line when the rebound goes up and somehow slice through and over players and tip the ball before securing it!  My son will invariably say “What a monster!”  A monster in his praise definition is someone who is almost alien in their abilities!  In other words they stand out so much that they are literally leaps and bounds better than the opposition.  They get balls that nobody thought they could get and they forcefully block the opponents intentions with their unrelentless energy!  Their abilities and desire stand out so much it’s almost like they are super human!

What a monster!

What a monster!

When James Harden of the Houston Rockets zigs and zags all the way down the court dribbling the ball between and around would be defenders and ultimately laying the ball in the basket my son may excitedly say “What a wizard!”  I asked him the other day what he meant by the phrase?  He told me that it is when someone is so amazing that you can’t figure out how they are doing it!  It reminds me of a magic act as the magician pulls out forty things from his hat including a rabbit and your sitting there saying “How did he do that?”  What makes James Harden’s act so special is there are no “magic tricks” involved.  He does it with skill at such a high level that you shake your head in amazement.  As my son states “What a wizard!”

What a wizard!

What a wizard!

I always like it when the star of the game gets interviewed when the game is over and right away before a question is asked they give praise where praise is due!  “I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because without Him I am nothing!”  I know there are many who don’t like this statement and think they are using the situation as pushing religion.   What they are saying though is whatever I am or will become it is all because of God.  He created me and gave me certain abilities and I just want to use my abilities for His glory!  My son describes attributes in players very efficiently with just a phrase, but there is an old hymn that’s words describe how totally impossible it is to fully describe God’s love.  The hymn is called “The Love of God” and some of the lyrics follow:  Could we with ink the ocean fill, and with the sky a parchment make, were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. What a beautiful way to say that the sky isn’t big enough for describing his love and if the ocean was all ink it would run dry from the task!

Ocean Sky

Unlike God’s love though, our talents can be explained normally in brief sentences.  We have a copier in our mail room that’s awesomeness can be explained briefly too.  It can run hundreds of copies at a time, do two sided copies, staple documents, and scan items.  I’m sure I left out many other functions this impressive machine does.  It very rarely fails and when it does it is usually when the user accidentally runs something through that doesn’t belong, such as a paper clip.  You could say that this machine is  “What a monster, What a machine, and What a wizard” all rolled up into one!  In our lives we should strive to be as efficient and amazing as this machine.  We can only become like that through the power of God.  We should strive first to be an efficient machine when God calls us.  When He asks us to do something we can’t get jammed up with distractions or do only one of the things He asks, leaving the others undone.  If we do that, He will find someone else to do the job we were perfectly equipped to do!  God is looking for people He can count on, not ones who frustrate because they don’t obey His orders.  Let me  strive to be “What a machine.”  I know that with His strength following “What a machine!” will be “What a monster” and “What a wizard!”  These things will follow if I’m listening to Him and doing what He wants!

As I become this monster and machine God wants me to be, people will take notice and praise the wizard-like results they are seeing!  When they do it is imperative that I let them know that “I am just a vessel for God’s use and I want to give all of the praise and glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who created me and makes all things that I do possible!”  When God looks down and views us, I hope He has a smile on His face and our actions are pleasing and amazing!  Through His power I pray that He sees us doing wizard-like things!   Much like how my son admiringly has his own language for greatness, I hope however he expresses it, that God is pleased with what He views as He looks down.  I pray that He states with excitement to others watching words meaning “What a machine!” or “What a monster!”  Much like a kid whose parents are proud of their accomplishments, I’d like to bring joy to my Heavenly Father! I’d like to look up to heaven and thank the one who makes everything that I am or do or ever desire to do possible!  Maybe with my quill I can write my praise of Him on the parchment before the sky fills up or the ocean of ink runs dry!

The Hummingbird Inn

Hummingbird Inn

Ron told me on the phone as we were making our reservations that he and Sherry were high school sweethearts!  In a world that encourages change it is nice to see commitment.  It is nice to hear about people thats love at a young age has grown stronger through the years.  Ron and Sherry have been married for over forty years and started The Hummingbird Inn eight years ago.  Ron was in construction and the house was constructed on a mountain surrounded by a breathtaking view about twenty years ago!  They have had the idea for a long time that this would make a perfect bed and breakfast place.  After the kids got older their dream became a reality!

Ron and Shery Bell

Ron and Sherry Bell

I don’t remember exactly how many weddings he told me they had each year but the total was in the hundreds! What a beautiful start to a marriage this venue is as you can literally see for miles and miles!  With each one the hope is that they will be as happy as Ron and Sherry, and that the breathtaking view that is seen from their beautiful home may be a sign of endless possibilites of their future together!

Hummingbird inn weddings

We were amazed that the roads were so narrow as we were driving to the Hummingbird Inn.  Not only narrow but winding hills with no guard rails.  It wasn’t a road that you wanted to drive if you were drowsy.  Falling asleep on that road could send your car tumbling down the mountain.  When attempting to make the drive to Branson from The Hummingbird Inn we got turned around.  I was amazed that when I finally spotted someone to ask directions of, he told me that if we continued going south either road would get us there.  It was like the old Yogi Berra line when describing how to get to his house, “when you come to a fork in the road take it.”  This was not the case when driving to The Hummingbird Inn.  One missed little turn could send you miles out of the way with no option of turning around.  The whole scenerio makes me think of the verses in the Bible about the narrow and wide gates.  “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

Ron told me that in about a week the hummingbirds would be coming back.  He had prepared by buying forty pounds of sugar.  Mixing the sugar with water in their feeder is a very time consuming  job.  It is a job however that is done with love, the same love that their human guests get as they are welcomed into their lovely home. The hummingbirds and guests have found a nice home at Ron and Sherry’s place!  It is up in the mountains about 14 miles from Branson Missouri.  People from miles and miles away travel to leave the hustle and bustle of life for a couple of days to a week.

The hummingbirds travel for miles and miles to come back to a place that they love!  We were told that their hummingbirds migrate to South America in the winter.  Truly amazing that a little bird that is hardly bigger than a wasp can travel that kind of distance!


As I was sitting by the window having the wonderful breakfasts that the Inn specialized in, I could see the beautiful view from the mountain.  I could see for miles and miles.  Sometime we will come back when the hummingbirds are there. In the backyard of the Inn they thrive!  Ron and Sharon always have their food prepared just like their guests inside!  It will be so delightful to see the hummingbirds enjoying their stay while eating my breakfast enjoying mine!

Sometimes the hummingbirds lose their way when they are at the Hummingbird Inn.  Ron told me that occassionally one might accidentily fly into the house.  There is a lot of room in the house but the hummingbird’s will end up hovering by the ceiling.  Not knowing what to do they become like deer in the headlights and freeze.  We were told that the only way to show them the door is to use a broom.  Usually in all of the excitement the birds will drop down to the floor as they become too tired to go any further.  As Ron told us they are almost in a surrender state as they seem to say “go ahead and eat me.”  Of course when they are on the floor they can easily be picked up and transported outside again!  Once outside Ron shared that it is amazing how re-energized they become as they feel the freshness that freedom has to offer!


The contrast is truly amazing!  The little hummingbird can fly thousands of miles and yet when scared by a broom in a closed unfamiliar environment they become totally exhausted and ready to give up.  Just like the hummingbird, (some of the littlest of God’s creation), we are the same way.  Sometimes we get trapped in life and lose our way.  When we give up and let God take over he lovingly sets us free!  “Look at the birds in the air”, Jesus told the gathering.  “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”  “Are you not much more valuable than they?”  He was telling the people not to worry.  His message was that their heavenly Father would take care of them!  Ron and Sherry care deeply for their guests (both people and hummingbirds) Much like God shows his love for us, they open up their home for travelers near and far.  All roads do not lead to the Hummingbird Inn, but thousands of people and hummingbirds alike will attest that when The Hummingbird Inn is found it feels like home!


The Diamond Image

There I sat in the front row of the Jim Stafford Theatre in Branson Missouri with tears flowing down my face.  Oh yes, when something  or someone touches me in a special way I might cry.  I don’t think there is anything unmanly about that at all.  I might also laugh, clap my hands, or stomp my foot.  This particular show had me doing all of the above!  The mark of a good entertainer, writer, movie, or book to me is can they move me emotionally?  Make me laugh, cry, dance, get upset or whatever.  Somehow move me in some way.  I don’t want to just sit there feeling unaffected.  The show that was moving me so much was done by one man only Keith Allynn. His show is called “The Diamond Image”, in which he impersonates Neil Diamond. 

Keith Allynn as Neil Diamond

Keith Allynn as Neil Diamond

I have always liked Neil Diamond!  In fact I have many of his albums from back in the day.  Neil Diamond’s voice is the purest singing voice I know!  Match that with lyrics (that he also wrote) and which I can relate to and understand and you have a rare combination!  When I first found out about Keith and read his reviews I wanted to go to his show!

We went over to the Jim Stafford Theatre and they were having a sale on Joey I.L.O. tickets (2 for 1) that day.  Joey I.L.O. was highly recommended by someone I had talked to in Branson as being a clean comic that was very funny!  We ended up buying I.L.O. tickets that day!  The I.L.O. show was on Wednesday at 2 pm.  Keith’s show played in the mornings at 10:30.  Joey I.L.O. is very funny!  He had me laughing so hard!  Again, the mark of a good entertainer, writer, book, etc.  move me emotionally, which he did!  Keith helped out in Joey’s show too!  Keith played Lou Costello (the straight man) in Joey’s rendition of “Who’s On First.”  It was a nice giving thing that he did and you could see that they had developed a special friendship!  Both were sharing the same theatre and both were determined to help each others success!  Joey had Keith come out and do a Neil Diamond song as a preview to his show.  Keith sang “I’m A Believer”, the old Monkee’s song that Neil Diamond actually wrote!  After that Joey asked for two volunteers to compete for tickets to Keith’s show.  My wife  won our tickets and we decided to go to the Friday morning show (just before we left for home.)

When we got out of Joey’s show it was raining really hard.  Standing by the door deliberating on whether to make a run for it or not we noticed that Keith was right behind us looking out the window too.  Here we were standing there just the three of us and we talked to him.  Keith impressed me as being a totally down to earth guy!  From his humble, quiet, yet friendly dispostion it was hard to believe he was actually a veteran performer.  He answered my questions about his show telling me that it was a story.  Not only does he sing the songs but he puts it in perspective of what Neil was thinking when he wrote them.  Having a personal audience with him for that short time was so cool!  Seeing how he humbly and personally answered our questions was so refreshing!  There was nothing in him that put him on a higher level.  In his attitude I saw that he was doing a job much like we do our jobs every day.  His job happened to be in entertainment.

Looking back this may have been my favorite vacation ever!  Ironically we had no idea we were going to Branson.  I was going to have a week off from work and was looking for a place to go online. One day I shared with a friend what I had in mind.  We have enjoyed staying at Bed and Breakfast’s in the past and I was looking at South or North Carolina.  My friend asked me if I ever thought about Branson Missouri?  Checking Bed and Breakfast’s in Branson we found one that caught our eye!  Even the name of it “The Hummingbird Inn”, was so appealing!  It was a beautiful place nestled in the mountains with a breathtaking view!  Factored in of course was the shows we could see for entertainment and we made our reservations.  I don’t think I ever looked forward to a trip so much!  They say that the anticipation of a get away is almost as good as the trip itself!  I have to agree because I couldn’t wait to go!

We had a wonderful time at the Hummingbird Inn.  We found loving owners who made us feel right at home.  We delighted in the breathtaking view as we looked down from a mountain!  We enjoyed all of the amenities the place provided including a delicious big breakfast every morning!  The Hummingbird Inn is about 14 miles from Branson.  It is just far enough to feel apart from all of the commercial aspects of the city while being close enough to see the big shows that they have!

We saw four different shows while we were there.  The first show was one I ordered tickets for while in Michigan.  It was put on by Barry Williams (Greg on the Brady Bunch) who along with a team of very talented singers and dancers put together a tribute to the 70’s music show.  The next show was the Joey I.L.O. show.  He uses the initials I.L.O. instead of the actual spelling because the actual spelling he told us is a mafia name.  Joey’s mom and dad were both clowns and the poster that we had him sign is him in normal attire except for his feet which were emerged in clown shoes.  In the background is a family picture with all of them in clown makeup!  On Thursday night, the only night show we attended, we saw a family called the Haygoods!  What a talented group they were!  It seems each one could play three or four instruments and the only girl in the group being able to play six if I remember correctly.  It was five brothers and one sister and they were marvelous!  It was my favorite of the performances up to that point.  Then the last morning after we hurriedly packed our things and left The Hummingbird Inn for Branson for the final time we saw something very very special!


Keith Allynn looks just like Neil Diamond did in his prime!  In fact there is a post card with both of their pictures and they look just alike!  We got there maybe fifteen minutes early but it was not too early for Keith as he was talking to the audience.  By the time we were seated we had missed probably half of his pre concert talk.  It seems that Keith is gracious enough to come out and answer questions the audience has.   He answered all of the questions in detail, even more personal questions about his personal health issue ADHD that he suffers from.  The little talk is beneficial as it would be very hard for him normally to perform in front of crowds, but knowing that he is performing for “friends” helps him immensely!  Finally he told us to give him a couple of minutes to get ready and the show would start!

It was so cool the way the show opens!  There is a big screen with Neil Diamond singing “Soolaiman” and he sings the lyrics “Come she come say, Ride on the night, Sun becomes day, Day shall provide ” and then the introduction from the public address system “A Diamond Image by Keith Allynn”, and without missing a beat Keith appears in the spotlight.  “Soo Soolaiman, Soolai Soolai Soolaiman”, he sings in a voice that is the exact of Neil Diamond!  I’m sitting there watching this quiet unassuming guy I had talked to a couple of days before and it is hard to believe he is the same guy!  The appearance is the same but the stage presence and boldness that takes charge of the audience is all there!  If I didn’t know any better I would think I was at a Neil Diamond concert!

As much as Keith gave us perspective on the songs and life of Neil Diamond he was also giving us a great perspective of his own life.  You see Keith was an Elvis impersonator for fourteen years.  He jokes that he did Elvis almost as long as Elvis did Elvis.  He was rated in the top ten Elvis impersonators in the world.  That he said would buy you a cheap cup of coffee.  He met a young woman who he would fall deeply in love with. Knowing that she loved Neil Diamond he sang the only song he knew in Neils voice over the phone to her.  It was a song from “The Jazz Singer” entitled “Hello Again.”  He noticed it got really quiet on the other end of the phone.  “Was it that bad?”, he said when he was finished.  “No, it was beautiful!”, she said through tears.   Later she became his wife and that song became theirs!  She had a dream and it was almost like she got struck with lightening.  She told Keith about it.  “I think”, she said “that you should do a tribute to Neil Diamond.”  Keith admitted that he sometimes goes in his own direction, so he started a tribute to Elvis Presley.  As time passed his wife told him again “I think you should do a tribute to Neil Diamond.”  So he started a comedy act featuring all of the impressions he could do.  He has over sixty voices he can impersonate including Kermit the Frog.  He did a quick Kermit and when he got a reaction he summerized “I do Neil Diamond and it is silent, but Kermit the Frog gets applause!”  Needless to say he has taken his wifes good advice and his Neil Diamond Tribute  show is fantastic!

So I’m sitting there and tears are rolling down my cheeks because of the song he was singing called “The Story of My Life”  It is a simple song like Neil’s usually are with deep meaning.  This song just hit me in such a powerful way.  The lyrics go like this…”the story of my life, it’s very plain to read,  It starts the day you came and ends the day you leave”  “The story of my life, begins and ends with you, the names are still the same, and the story is still the truth”  I was alone, you found me waiting and made me your own, I was afraid, that somehow I could not be the man that you wanted of me”, ‘You’re the story of my life, and every word is true, each chapter sings your name, each page begins with you”  “It’s the story of our times, and never letting go, If I die today, I wanted you to know.”

Keith mentioned that Neil Diamond once said “everyone could find their own song within the vast variety of his songs through the years.”  Keith said that the song that fits him was a recent one for Neil(written in 2008)  The song that he picked out tells me what I need to know about his beliefs!  It was a way that he could witness to us within the framework of his show.  It was a way for him to show us his true heart.  The song and lyrics follow!  Pretty Amazing Grace

“Pretty amazing grace, is what you showed me, pretty amazing grace, that’s who you are,  I was an empty vessel, you filled me up inside, and with amazing grace you restored my pride.”

“Pretty amazing grace, is how you saved me, and with amazing grace restored my heart, love in the midst of chaos, calm in the heat of war, showed with amazing grace what love was for.”

“Pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing, pretty amazing!”

I think it is truly astonishing that of all of Neil Diamond’s songs the man who has studied his life and movements and voice so much chose this one as his song!  It shows of the depth of his understanding of Neil.  In Neil’s own life it is remarkable that he would write such a spiritual song only five years ago, long after all of his other hits.  Yet this particular song must have deep meaning to Neil at the present time!

As I think back to being mesmorized by Keith’s abilities in his replication of Neil Diamond another thought occurred to me!  Keith can impersonate over sixty people!  Keith impersonated Elvis for 14 years.  Keith has an act where he looks, sounds, and moves exactly like Neil Diamond in his prime.  Yet the Keith that I saw had another side.  It was a quiet, peaceful, humble, respectful, and loving side.  Keith was attired in a  sparkly vest  when he did the show.  Sometimes while singing he would go behind a wall for a second and come out with a different colored vest on.  It happened about four different times!  One time he told us it was an illusion!  Just as his vest changed numerous times, there must have been a time when Keith had a change in his own life!  Keith can do over sixty impersonations and you can say that each one is an illusion, not the real him. I marvel at the talent level it takes for him to convincingly imitate so many people so perfectly!  Yet the imitation  he does of his Lord without even realizing it, in his own personal, quiet, humble way is the real him! It is truly the best imitation he does!  Pretty Amazing!

Click below for a beautiful rendition of “Pretty Amazing Grace!”

Driving Me Crazy With Your Horn

There he was looking tired and wet!

There he was looking tired and wet!

Bob Weiner was driving his car from Orlando Florida to his home in Gainsville (about a 2 hour drive) in February years ago.  It was a cold rainy day unlike what it is supposed to be in Florida.  Suddenly he saw a young man dressed in a light jacket and drenched by the rain hitchhiking.  His jacket was way too thin to keep him warm.  Bob was about to pass him by when he heard the voice of the Lord say “pick him up.”  Looking around the nice clean seats of his new car, Bob knew what he had to do.  The young man lost his composure as he started on his journey with Bob.  After a couple of minutes he told Bob about a conversation he had with God.  He  had been out in the cold rain for six or seven hours hitchhiking without any success.  Finally he called out to God for the first time in his life.  “God, if you are there let the next car pick me up because if it doesn’t I’m going to throw myself in front of the second car and end it all.  The reason he was crying uncontrollably was that Bob’s car was the next car!

This little story illustrates where our mind should be as we are driving.  We should be living in a spirit of love and driving that way too, opened to what God is telling us!  When we are living in that kind of loving union there is no room for driving faults we all get into.  What is it about driving a car that can cause us all to be perfect?  As our perception of being perfect increases the reality of the situation is just the opposite.  I have seen the nicest christian people turn from Dr. Jeckyll to Mr. Hyde as soon as they get behind the wheel!  All of the sudden attitudes change into “it’s all about me”  and anyone getting in the way is the enemy.

My dad believed in getting to his destinations early and I always thought he took it to the extreme.  I was never one to want to get somewhere a half an hour early.  My method has always been to try to get there on time and not before.  I have to admit though that planning to get to places early would solve most of the driving rage I sometimes have felt.  I know that when I am running late every little annoyance of slow drivers ahead of me are magnified. 

They showed a film when I first took drivers training years ago.  I think it was called Mr. Smith’s rules of driving or something like that.  Anyway when Mr. Smith would like something someone did or when he saw them he would give as he called it “a friendly toot of the horn.”   We laughed at the time thinking he was going way overboard, but wouldn’t it be nice if people used their horn in a friendly way?  In fact the very sound of the horn especially when held down is very blunt and rude.  It expresses the anger that the driver is feeling to another driver.  Is this act necessary?  Some might answer that the other driver is doing something wrong and needs to know about it bluntly.  I wonder who made us the policemen of  the road and who transformed us to perfect beings?  I also know that when someone honks at me in those situations it makes me feel upset.  Their act raises my blood pressure and hurts me.  It might make me feel hate back in return which is not a good thing to spread.  All of these years later I think Mr. Smith and dad were on to something!

I read in a book one time about how Japanese driving is completely different to ours in the use of their horns.  I read that they use their horn in a positive way!  For example if someone walks in front of them they blow their horn to let the person know that they see them.  Honk honk, I see you!  I have a feeling it isn’t a blaring honk either.  Probably just a toot to say I see you, you are safe.  They are using their horn out of love where here we use it out of hate.  When people blare their horn it usually means “you are an idiot, get off of the road.”  I realize that there are exceptions and sometimes it is necessary to use the horn.  Still, Mr. Smith’s friendly toot of the horn seems so much nicer than the blare some people think it is necessary to create. 

I see you!

I see you!

I remember a scene just after my daughter died.  We went into a store because life keeps going even after ours had stopped.  As we were walking through the store we noticed more than usual the people that had kids.  They were being normal with kind words to them or disciplining them in the store.  We could only think to ourselves “if they only knew.”  It was like we were in a bad dream that we had lost interest in. The same kind of feeling hit a friend of mine who had lost her mother.  She had felt so detatched and yet life went on.  She needed to go to the store for something and was sure she probably messed up in driving or normal activities because she was so far out of it.

Years ago I was looking to recruit other people into a business I was doing.  It was a business in financial services and we were trying to build our own team in the organization.  A friend of our family told me about this guy Jim that would be perfect.  Jim was a real go getter who was great in business and he was highly reccommended!  When I showed up for our appointment it didn’t seem that anyone was home.  After a long pause I heard the door slowly open.  I could tell that Jim, who opened the door and the person I was supposed to see, had been crying.  His eyes were still watery and swollen as if he couldn’t hide what he was feeling.  It was a very ackward situation as I was upbeat about my business and yet Jim was so down and in no condition to talk.  He left me shaking my head as he quickly said he wasn’t interested and shut the door abruptly.  I dismissed the incident as a timing thing and the fact that Jim was obviously going through some issues.  Two days later I found out that Jim had killed himself.

I wonder if Jim tried to get out of the house in his state of depression?  If he did he probably wouldn’t be driving at his best.  Someone would invariably blare their horn at him because they had their own agenda that he interfered with.  I’m not saying that it happened because I don’t know.  All I’m saying is that we may be spreading hate instead of love when we get behind the wheel.  By not being loving we could be shoving a guy like Jim into a deeper depressed state.

Just like in our daily walk our christian life and example does not go on pause when we get behind the wheel.  Do onto others and be slow to anger still apply!  Love your neighbor and love your enemies are rules to follow whether driving or not!

If I ever designed a car I would have the horn with a friendly sound.  It would be impossible to blare it at someone.  It would sound more like a pleasant tone that people would notice but wouldn’t feel hated.  Saying this I realize that it is the person behind the wheel that controls the horn.  Mr. Smith was right in his theory that a friendly toot of the horn works just fine and sends a nice message of love.

Just like what the young hitchhiker was experiencing that Bob picked up years ago, we don’t know what people driving our roads are going through.  Maybe someone just found out they had cancer or the car in front of us has someone in it that is contemplating killing themselves.  Maybe the person in front of us is like me and lost someone they loved so dearly.  Whatever the reason to whatever they are doing,  we should treat them with love.  We should be slow to anger like the Bible talks about.  The other person needs a show of love instead of hate.  Perhaps we should pray before driving, not only for a safe trip, but to be a blessing to all that we see! 

Like my dad would say “start early and give yourself plenty of time.”  They used to have commercials about driving and the slogan “Watch out for the other guy.”  This slogan is appropriate in our christian walk too.  Not only should we watch out for what unexpected moves they make, but we should also watch out for them as people.  Treating them with love will never be the wrong thing to do!  Mumbling under our breath about their abnormal driving isn’t being loving.  Being patient, slow to anger and quick to forgive is!

Lord, help me to be a blessing to my fellow drivers who may have troubles I don’t know about!

I need to watch out for you as a person when driving!

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