What I learned from Watching The Lion King a Bajillion Times with My Daughter

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Remember Who You Are

We raised our oldest daughter, Megan, in the dark ages of the early 90s. This was a time before flat screen TVs and DVD players in cars. It was awful, I tell you!

And home was no better. The TV was massive and weighed a ton and we still used VHS tapes and our old VCR. One of the first things Megan learned to do was toddle over to the TV, click “stop,” “rewind,” and “play” on the VCR and watch The Lion King over and over again.

Continue reading

We Do Not Lose Heart

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

One of These Things is NOT Like the Others

I said in my sermon Sunday that I had permission to share this photo, but I’m probably pushing my luck now!

This picture was taken two summers ago as we rode The Voyage roller coaster at Holiday World. Connor grabbed my hand and dragged me to the line. Trish went along because she was convinced he’d chicken out at the top.

It was one of those rare occasions when Trish was wrong. Seriously, they don’t happen very often.

In fact, this was one time when daddy absolutely was NOT going to leave!

We Despaired of Life Itself

As I stated in the sermon, I don’t think that smile on Connor’s face is just about the roller coaster. I believe it’s because he knows his daddy is sitting next to him. More importantly, he knows that just because things are dark and chaotic at the moment, that doesn’t mean daddy’s going to get off the ride and abandon him.

Sunday we took a serious look at Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. In this passage he reflects on a time in Ephesus when he was so overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty that he didn’t think he could go on living.

He wrote, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” If any of you told me that, we would have a serious talk about what you might be contemplating. We dare not minimize the pain Paul was feeling.

And yet, on the other side of such a great despair, Paul found hope. Later in the same letter he wrote, We do not lose heart. . . For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). You don’t come to a place where you can call your struggles “light and momentary affliction” without first feeling despair and finding hope.

I think this is a very important message for everyone who has ever been on the dark and scary ride of life and felt they didn’t have their Heavenly Father to cling to. When the darkness hits, remember your Father is right beside you.


Just a Small-Town Wind Farmer

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Note: The debate is raging in my hometown about the viability of wind energy in our small community. Rather than enter the debate, I present this as my own perspective. This is something I wrote up several years ago after viewing a large wind farm outside of Bloomington, Illinois.

I have to admit, it’s impressive, but the view was a little bittersweet. You see, my father was a wind farmer in the great tradition of the old family wind farm. I remember how hard he would work making wind. Some days you’d see the grimace on his face and the intensity in his furrowed brow as he worked up a little breeze. He’d wipe the sweat from his forehead after squeezing out just the smallest bit of wind.

Of course, other times you’d see the expression of pure joy as he would harvest an entire gale-force blow (usually after a big meal). With a sigh of relief–knowing he had done his job well–he’d let out a whoop and say, “How about that one, boy!?!?”

It’s true. We were all very impressed.

Yes, my dad was the epitome of the old fashioned wind farmer. Not only did he make wind for others, but for his own family as well. There were many cold winter nights when all we had to keep us warm was the hot breeze Dad had just produced.

And of course, like any farm, there was plenty for us kids to do. There was no time to sit around playing video games…when dad was in the mood to get a crop out he’d clear the room! He also involved many of us in the wind production. I can’t tell you how many times I myself was given the task of pulling his finger.

Riley Hammond, wind farmer

Riley Hammond, wind farmer

But times change and the day of the old family wind farm is all but gone. Heartless suits in big business and the government produce more wind in a single day than my dad could work up all year. Still, there are nights when I get a little sentimental and with my kids gathered around me I show them how we used to make wind back in the old days. To be honest with you, it always brings a tear to my eye…and to theirs too.