Life Savers

One of my favorite stories my parents used to tell me is the time my dad took my mom ‘sparking’ on a date.  Being the science nerd he is (I’m proud to say my geekiness is inherited) he took her up into the mountains, popped a wintergreen Life Saver into his mouth and proceeded to bite down on it in order to give off tiny flashes of light.  Romantic, right?

If you’ve never tried this, you really should.  It’s one of those amazing things that happen in everyday life.  It’s a process called triboluminescence.  Light is emitted when you compress a crystal.  It happens when you strike two quartz crystals together or when tiny sugar crystals in a Life Saver grind against one another.

I think triboluminescence represents what happens in each of our lives.  We go along, content with the way things are and not really focused on the things of eternity.  But then something happens that puts some pressure on us.  It could be something large or it could be a million tiny things that simply add together.  Either way we can react the way a crystal does, by giving off light.  We can choose to allow the stresses to strip away all the stuff that doesn’t really matter so that we can focus on what is truly important.

When this happens it not only benefits us, but the light we give off helps to point others in the right direction as well.  When I see others pull through difficulties it strengthens me and gives me hope.

So when things get rough grab a wintergreen Life Saver and remember that things happen for a reason.  The Lord will not only help us to survive, but to shine.


Now that school has begun it seems that there is a little extra tension in our home.  The new school year brings with it a lot of excitement, but it also brings early mornings, new schedules and an added measure of frustration.  Unfortunately, this means that our kids tend to bicker over silly things.

It makes me want to pull out this coin.  It’s a ten cent piece from Peru.  The date is 1880 and Peru was in the middle of the War of the Pacific.  The war was fought between Chile and Peru (who was allied with Bolivia).  It lasted four years and was fought on land and sea and ended in the occupation of Lima and guerilla warfare.

After years of fighting, Chile prevailed.  Peru and Bolivia lost several provinces, including the entire coast of Bolivia.  Over 13,000 people were killed and another 16,000 injured.  The war has shaped relations in the region for the past century.

What was the war fought over?  Bat droppings… large deposits of guano.

Life is too short to argue over the small things, whether they be guano or who’s turn it is to take the dog out.

It’s one of those lessons I’m trying to teach my kids, although I should probably learn the lesson myself first.