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Rite of passage: Ding Dong Jesus
Jan22

Rite of passage: Ding Dong Jesus

I have discovered a new joy: introducing my grandsons to the treats I liked when I was growing up. At 6 years of age, Titus the Honorable is getting a kick out of sampling Poppy’s old-fashioned candy stash. A year ago, I introduced him to Necco Wafers. You may remember this hard candy, which first came out in 1847. It consisted of a roll of 40 wafers that came in an array of eight flavors: lemon, lime, orange, clove, cinnamon,...

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Rite of Passage: He called my name
Jan15

Rite of Passage: He called my name

My days are numbered. How do I know? I bought a calendar last week, and there are numbers on each day. As I have gotten older, I have found myself thinking differently. I used to think a lot about work, getting ahead and how to make more money. I still think about how to make more money, but I find myself thinking more about my family and how I can bless them with whatever time I have left. One of my former students called and...

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Rite of passage: Grins and growth
Jan08

Rite of passage: Grins and growth

If you have read only a few of my articles, you already know that humor is important to me. I had the privilege of growing up with a mom who said and did funny things. Even though she has been with the Lord a long time, people still talk to me about her humor. Humor has a way of leveling the rough spots on the road of life, and laughter is an amazing gift from God. It helps you cope with both sadness and with daily life. Have you ever...

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Rite of passage: Danger!
Jan01

Rite of passage: Danger!

As a child growing up, I mowed our family’s one-acre lawn with a riding lawnmower. I also worked on our neighbor’s farm, driving a tractor while the men piled bales of hay on the wagon behind it. I used a sickle to cut the weeds along the roadside, swinging its razor-sharp blade back and forth in a productive rhythm as I walked along the fence. We used guns to hunt, put worms on fishing hooks and worked with heavy equipment, all on a...

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Rite of passage: A very merry Aqua Velva Christmas!
Dec18

Rite of passage: A very merry Aqua Velva Christmas!

Everyone has certain smells they associate with Christmas: Grandma’s home-baked bread or the scent of a fresh-cut pine tree—or, as in my house, the scent of a newly erected cheap plastic Christmas tree. But for me, the fragrance of Aqua Velva aftershave lotion and Christmas will always be connected. In the early ’70s, I was a student at Hannibal LaGrange College in Hannibal, Mo. I was asked to speak at the University of Illinois,...

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