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Johnny Jones, 9 January 2002

Did you realize 2002 is a palindrome, the same, backwards and forwards. The next time that will happen, in 2112, most of us probably won't be around to enjoy it.

But we're certainly enjoyed ithis holiday.

It started with a bang; Chip's last day of work we went to pick up Bryan and his roommate, Sridhar Lavu, from the airport. But we didn't come straight home. We had planned his coming-home day to coincide with opening night for Fellowship of the Ring. Thirty minutes before the movie started wasn't soon enough for us to get to sit together, or even to get very good seats. But we got to see the movie, which was pretty faithful to Tolkien's view of good and evil, of the sovereignty of God, of an humble person's ability to be used for a great task.

After that, it's been pretty low-key. We' watched our family slides and played games, and even seen a couple of videos. We've worked together and hiked and walked and prayed. We took Lavu to see Elephant Rocks and Meramec Springs, Dillard Mill and Council Bluff Lake.

But for the most part, we've been home-centered. Amy was putting cherished items in her scrapbook; Bryan was finishing his thesis. I showed our family my thesis, which I blew the dust off; it hasn't been opened for many years.

And I found another book, a red book as I was putting my thesis away : US News and World Reports' The Complete Family Financial Record Book.

What was that?

When I looked inside, I saw that the empty pages were filled with my old "Parents' Corners" from The Quad County Star. It was my mother's way of preserving my writings. Along with articles about our children's science fair or spelling bees was a Christian poem or two; she always loved saving those kinds of poems. I remember one of her favorites was about a mother who, through life's difficulties, brought her children to know the Lord.

I think that was her goal and her desire. And she accomplished it. All four of us are Christians, and most of our families are, too.

The red hard-bound financial planner is a treasure to me. I smile when I see the carefully clipped columns, and "Save" in her handwriting at the top of some of them, when I see a picture of Bryan blown up and taped in.

Mama's could have used a scrap book, and it wouldn't have had "Investments" at the top of pages where my articles are preserved.

But I can't argue with her heart. None of us ever could; she was the sweetest person I've ever known. And I can't even argue with her method. In that book are some articles and stories I don't have filed elsewhere. I plan to share some of them with you in future weeks.

In the meantime, I ask the Lord's blessing on you and on yours as you live each day, a gift of His love.