Gaining perspective means maturing as a Christian

I’m from Texas so weather in the teens motivates me to hug a wood stove. But the 27-degree swing from O’Fallon to Forrest City convinced me I was warm as I slid across the Arkansas parking lot.


I forgot what real cold was like even though I spent three years in Alaska, but pumping gas New Year’s morning with the temp at minus-8 was a quick reminder.

I was leaving O’Fallon, Missouri after a holiday visit with friends. The cold was so intense it froze the gas pump number pad making my credit card unusable. I had to go inside to pay, which served to emphasize how much I didn’t want to be outside.

I needed gas again a few hours later in Forrest City, Arkansas where the thermometer read 19. The air felt balmy even though it was still 13 degrees below freezing.

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Restraint is the secret when it comes to angry outbursts

It occurred to me that we adults sometimes do the same thing with our anger, although with words instead of fists.


My 8-year-old son, Sean, let loose a burst of anger today. Some bit of strategy went wrong in his computer game, so he punched his tablet.

The screen broke.

This was not the first time he punched his device, nor was it the first time I talked to him about anger management. It was the first time his outbursts had such permanent repercussions, however.

I used Proverbs 14:29 to discuss the incident with Sean: “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”

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A good attitude can overcome a bad sense of direction

We all sort of looked at each other with a quizzical “whaaaaa” expression on our faces and then had our attention pulled back to the present by the appearance of Santa.


I stood in an intersection taking photos of a Christmas parade, something I have done dozens of times for various news outlets.

But this event marked the first time I ever saw some of the floats go the wrong direction.

It was near the beginning of Malakoff’s annual parade, which had a change to its usual route. I guess the new instructions didn’t reach everyone and the band, the sheriff and a couple of floats missed a turn.

I don’t think anyone watching realized the mistake until the rest of the parade went off in a different direction. We all sort of looked at each other with a quizzical “whaaaaa” expression on our faces and then had our attention pulled back to the present by the appearance of Santa.

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Social media’s death of a thousand cuts

Over the past couple of years, I have had a front-row seat to the public execution of neighborly love.


We inflict upon our neighbors an ancient Chinese torture every time we hit send on a negative post. It is called lingchi, or death by a thousand cuts.

While lingchi was an actual method of slow slicing to cause a lingering death, the phrase “death by a thousand cuts” has come to be known as a lot of small, bad things happening, none of which are fatal themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise. (

That’s what is happening to civility in our culture. It is dying the death of a thousand Facebook posts and tweets.

On social media, people no longer have to be polite or courteous to each other unless they agree on a subject. If they disagree, all bets are off.

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