"Most of us detest mosquito bites," Steve Playl writes. "Have you ever heard someone say, 'You know, one of my favorite things is to be covered with mosquitoes.' Didn't think so."
The 240-plus years since the Declaration of Independence, punctuated by the Civil War, prompt Steve Playl to take stock of America's future.
At a revival tent near Fort Bragg, N.C., James Fred Johnston became prepared for the bitterly cold day in North Korea when he joined the ranks of those who have given their lives for their country.
Steve Playl reflects on a poignant inscription in the cemetery at Quaker Gap Baptist Church. "Words on tombstones not only are a warning," he writes, "but also a simple reminder of our humanity."
At a Smoky Mountains theme park, Steve Playl and others join in worship at its small church house. "Most of us didn't know most of the rest of us," he writes, "but we soon began to bond in our common faith in Christ."
Steve Playl recounts the unexpected joy his wife experienced in holding her newborn on Christmas Day.
Steve Playl, going forward from Thanksgiving, describes an ongoing awe of "The Creator; His Creatures; and all of His Creation."
Steve Playl marvels at a 7-year-old grandson's knack for setting up a model train set, without help from an adult or reading the instructions. He ponders what Christians might learn from the young boy's passion
When he was 8 years old, Steve Playl baptized his coonhound. As a young boy, he reflects, "I was more concerned about Red than many church members seem to be about their friends and neighbors and family members."
Steve Playl recaps his chase of Sophie, a boxer puppy who darted from the backyard and seemed to be saying as he was in pursuit, "This is so much fun. Can we do it all afternoon?"