Monthly Archives: August 2009

Those Summer Nights

I admit it.  I don’t like summer.  Well, summer temperatures, at least.  It wasn’t always this way; I used to love the heat.

Not anymore.

When the temperature sails past 100 with a smirk, I gaze longingly at my fireplace and pray for fall and winter.

But that would be wishing away the year, wouldn’t it?  As much as I can’t wait to pull out my sweaters and breathe crisp, cool air, I also want to enjoy today…not just endure it.

So, in an effort to enjoy the present, I’ll play a little mind game.  Do you ever try reverse psychology on yourself? Well, we’re going to try it now, so put out your imaginary psychologist’s shingle and hang your diploma on the wall next to mine.  I’m going to list some things that I do like about summer in order to take focus off of the life-sapping heat.

I like…

Leaves on the trees and plants in full bloomWatermelon

Cookouts with friends and family

The Fourth of July

Home-grown tomatoes and other edibles

The local farmers’ market

Twinkling stars in the summer night sky

Driving at night with the windows down and the radio on

Road trips

So, what about you?  What do you like about summer?


I’m not into most reality shows.  Really. To me time spent following immunity challenges and rose ceremonies could be better spent with other stuff – no offense if you’re into these shows.

Every once in a while, though, something catches my eye. This week my eye spied a show othe_colonyn Discovery Channel named “The Colony.” No, it’s not about pre-revoluntionary America or about bees.

It asks “What if?” about a specific scenario: a post-catastrophic Los Angeles…a region ravaged and broken…few humans left in an unrecognizable, new third-world reality in the middle of one of the world’s former powerhouses. A less-morbid version of Lord of the Flies. Thankfully we’re spared elimination votes and hokey challenge games that plague other shows.

Ten strangers must band together for survival in a cavernous warehouse with scarce resources, overcoming constant challenges. Where will water come from? Will we be secure tonight? Can we make it through without killing each other?

The rag-tag group finds itself filled with diverse faces and backgrounds, from a young Tampa doctor to an older Croatian communism refugee-turned-engineer. More or less necessity forges hasty bonds.

Now, two thoughts struck me as I started watching.  First, as I took in the bleak images my heart ached to remember that this isn’t “What if?” for millions of precious people day after every torturous day, scraping together an existence.  We’re so insulated here and that’s easy to forget other swaths of the world. This isn’t a far-fetched scenario just for TV.

Second, no matter how real the show’s producers made the particpants’ new world, there must have always been a kernel of unreality in the back of their mind. Sure, the whole thing must’ve felt scary-real most of the time.  But each could remember, when necessary, that should true danger threaten, help would arrive.

Those acknowledged, this show’s premise has reeled me in.  It’s fascinating to witness the painful birth of a tiny society from the ground up.  Food is scavanged. Need attracts ingenuity like a magnet…clever devices and solutions sprout up as collaboration gains momentum. Threats from outside the group quiet internal squabbling for a moment and galvanize unity a little more.

By the end of this last episode, a participant has filled most of a blank wall with hieroglyphs of the group’s “history” and progress, and a Partnershipcode of cooperation has been created by consensus won by harsh experience.

And it’s inevitable that the thought drifts in: How would I react in this situation?

Thinking about all of this reminds me of this reality: humans are created to rely on each other. I can’t always do it on my own, as much as I want to sometimes. Whether for a short time or a lifetime, the need for each other is woven into the fiber of our souls.

It’s a God-given trait; even God Himself is three-in-one. How amazing it is that this interdependence shows up in every corner of the world despite an individual’s beliefs.  Things are far from perfect in any community– groups often fight and splinter–but I smile at this glimpse of God’s design that no society can fully resist.

The Little Things

It started with the shaking noise. Swish, swish, swish.  Forever is how the waiting felt as I reached up and gripped the edges of the counter top, standing as close as I dared while my mom worked at the gas stove.

Then…magic.  I heard the sizzle and smelled the heavenly aroma of popcorn and salt. Pop!  …Pop pop pop pop! The foil top ballooned and steam escaped like a popcorn volcano. Soon we munched happily, but the making of it was always the best part.

Jiffy PopYes, I’m talking about Jiffy Pop popcorn.

It was one of my favorite memories from the growing-up years.  We only had Jiffy Pop when we took family trips to the mountains of northern New Mexico, so it was quite a treat.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the littlest things stick with you, creating triggers of those happy times?  And you can’t predict what they will be; often it’s the tiniest, random things or moments that find their way into permanent residence in your heart. To this day I make a point of continuing the Jiffy Pop tradition any time my family goes camping.

What are some of the little things you remember that bring warm memories to mind?