jolson

jeff olson

counselor. writer. outdoorsman. US.

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an innocent man

On April 15, 1865, family, physicians, and government officials crowded around the bedside of US President Abraham Lincoln. He was unconscious and close to death from an assassin’s fatal bullet. After Lincoln took his last breath, those keeping vigil stood in silence. Shock and sadness left them... read more »

you’re in good hands

Sometime back in the 1950s, the Allstate Insurance Company’s marketing group was struggling to come up with a slogan for the company’s first major national advertising campaign. As the team was ready to quit after an empty day of brainstorming, sales executive Davis Ellis remembered a reassuring... read more »

into the light

One of the hardest things about getting ready in the morning is picking out my socks. Are they blue or black? Because I’m color-blind, those two colors look the same to me in the dim morning light! So what I typically do is take them out into the kitchen and compare them under some bright... read more »

rules and grace

Students in a Christian elementary school lined up at the lunch table to get their food. At the head of the table was a pile of apples. A teacher made the following note and posted it on the apple tray: “Take only ONE. God is watching.” At the end of the table, next to a large tray of chocolate... read more »

rainbows and remembering

The sight of a rainbow can trigger many thoughts. Spotting one might conjure up fairy tales of leprechauns and pots teeming with gold. In real life, however, rainbows do point to important things. For instance, mariners have long known that rainbows can be used to predict the weather. Generally... read more »

what counts

The other day I was teasing a male colleague about the look of his lunch bag. The bag featured striped pastel colors with what appeared to be daisies around the edges. As we walked into the lunch room I said, “Dude, you’re gonna need to get a more masculine-looking bag before someone beats you... read more »

stuff of legends

The 2012 film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit tells the story of a band of dwarves seeking to recapture their lost mountain kingdom from an evil dragon. As Thorin, the dwarf king, lays out his plan to reclaim the long-lost kingdom, an older dwarf named Balin speaks the following... read more »

finishing well

Finishing well. It’s an idea we typically reserve for those approaching the last few years of life. But as a wise, older man (now with Jesus) once pointed out to me, finishing well is not simply for the elderly. In fact, it’s the choices we make now—years before we say our final... read more »

give what you have

Last year, a few foreign exchange college students from Saudi Arabia celebrated Christmas with our family. When they arrived, they told us they had never experienced a Christmas in the US and were looking forward to it with great anticipation. When it came time to exchange gifts, we carefully... read more »

asking for wisdom

The value of gold and silver has soared over the past few years. These precious metals have historically been celebrated as extremely valuable. But long ago, young King Solomon wrote, “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom . . . For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better... read more »
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