It's been a blessing of my ministry that I've had so many kind offers through the years to travel to speak. But it's something I've fought, too. Everything sounds wonderful, but I can't live on the road--not with a family at home. I know there have been times that I've disappointed people, but that's better than disappointing Diane or the kids. At times I wonder, Isn't it funny at all the plane tickets that are purchased to take one minister from point A to point B, and another minister from B to C, and still another from C to A. Have you ever wondered what it might be like if we just quit doing that and used the money to help support missions or to feed and house the poor? Traveling is enticing. It's the easy stuff, really. You get to talk to people whom you don't have to live in relationship with. And they aren't people who listen to you all the time so they tend to be more affirming. (No complaints here--it's just human nature to take people around you for granted. Unfortunately, I do this, too.) But there are some times I've been VERY thankful for all the kind invitations I've turned down. Like when Megan died . . . and when Matt graduated . . . and when we celebrated our 25th anniversary (5/03) . . . and on the morning of 1/17 when we were waiting to see if Chris would wake up and respond to people. At all of those times (and many others!), I've been very thankful that for every invitation I accepted I turned many others down. Really, I shouldn't sound so darn heroic. I love being home. I love being with Diane, with Chris (and formerly with Matt and Megan), with my friends, with my church. I'm fortunate that I've had sane people around me--including my assistant, Gina--to help me remember that joy. - - - - Winterfest. To be honest, Chris really didn't want to go. He didn't know anything about it. And neither did I for that matter. I've never been. But I've heard good things about it. And the best part would be a weekend to bond with the youth group from Highland--especially in Chris's first year in the group (6th grade). It's been one of a hundred things I've rolled around in my mind. "Why did I tell him we wanted him to go?" Also, why did he have to be in that car? Why on a clear, uncrowded day on I-20? (Even as a constant worrier, I didn't think anything about it because it's such a straight shot from the Metroplex to Abilene . . . good weather . . . ten cars traveling together.) But, you know what? It does no good to second guess. There's no point in asking why I insisted that he go. He went. What happened happened. Isn't that true of much of life? Second-guessing is such a popular game. But at the end of the day, you have to deal with life as it has unfolded. We had a fairly good report yesterday. We waiting a long time to see the neurosurgeon, but weren't even close to getting in. If we stayed longer, we would have missed the main appointment (with the BONE GUY), so we said, "Sorry, but we've come from Abilene and we can't miss this other appointment." We really like the orthopedic surgeon. He took some more x-rays and gave another good long-term report. But what we found out is that what HE meant by short-term and what Chris and I were thinking he meant by short-term were two different things. Translation: no baseball this year. I know, I know: it could have been so much worse. But to a kid who loves to pitch, this was not good news. We came right back to reality, of course, when we stopped by the Bourlands on the way home just to hug their necks. These are incredibly sweet people right down in the gutter of grief. We know the feeling all too well.