Lessons an Acorn and a Devil Dog Taught me about Avoiding a Crash!

I was doing forty eight miles an hour….. Down hill….. on a bicycle.

My wife Diane says that at that speed I am only one acorn away from death. But I was staring at the road.  Looking for any acorns that might put me over the handlebars.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t see the dog. He came out of a driveway at full speed and headed for my ankles with a vicious growl.  A dog can’t run 48 miles an hour……. So what did I do?  I slowed down.

The dog had scared me so bad that I jerked the handle bars and started a violent shimmy in the front wheel of my bike.  As I applied the brakes the shimmy subsided.  But now the dog was gaining on me.  I yelled at the top of my lungs.

That’s when I hit the acorn. I don’t remember falling, but I do remember sliding along the pavement.  I covered my head with my arms and waited for the dog to grab my throat.


I peaked out from between my arms.

The dog was running in the opposite direction with his tail between his legs, yelping like a puppy.  Maybe it was the sound of the crash that scared him.
Personally I think it was the up close sight of me in biking shorts. I would have asked him, but I never saw him again.  Fortunately I had only minor injuries… broken helmet, sore hip, no skin.  I was able to ride my bike home.

So what lessons did I learn from the devil dog?

1.  Never lose your peripheral vision.

As we navigate through life it is easy to develop a tunnel vision that blinds us to everything else going on around us.

Where are your market competitors?
What are the temptations that can throw you off track?
Where are obstacles you must avoid?
What trends are emerging from the bushes?

Keep your eyes open and don’t concentrate on just one thing!!! If I had not been so obsessed with acorns, I guarantee I would have seen the devil dog.

Tunnel vision can also cause us to miss seeing opportunity. Every day God presents us with a myriad of opportunities. If we are obsessed only with acorns and potholes, we might miss the deer standing perfectly still watching us go by.   We might not see the turn that will give us a new beautiful route to our destination.

Here are two other lessons I learned

2.  Always wear skin tight biking pants. It gives your opponents tunnel vision.  It also scares away a lot of bad animals and people.

3.  Slow down. Go at a speed that allows you to see what is around you.  Don’t go any faster than required to keep ahead of the devil dog.

What gives you tunnel vision?   Name your acorn.

Look forward to reading your comments.


  1. My acorn is probably in the area of money, there never seems to be enough, so I develop tunnel vision in that area. I know God will supply all my NEEDS, it’s the Wants that are the challenge! Glad to hear you weren’t seriously hurt in your biking adventure though!

    1. Author

      You got the gist of my blog Janet! The fact that you identified your acorn thrills me. Thanks for your concern too. This happened quite some time ago. I wasn’t hurt badly but I was sore. As you know these stories are always stretched a little to make sure you smile. But it did happen and I am okay!

    1. Author

      Connie, I don’t know if I have ever heard a more encouraging comment. Thank you for taking the time to respond here. Tell you hubby that I will keep painting. Blessings

  2. Hi Ken,

    This was such a great visual reminder for me! Opened up my eyes to how I should be looking at life. Also reminds me of your ‘Fully Alive’ message at Willow recently. I’ve gained a lot of insight from your messages, and I’ve gotten many a sore rib from you creating laughter in my life :O)

    I’m a single-working mom of two teen girls. Recently, I have been so worried that I will not be able to continue to keep taking care of them financially. My rent, and bills are high, and it’s a huge responsibility financially to care for them. I love them dearly, and I pray for God to always provide for us, as we are His children.

    I’ve been so worried, that I won’t be able to keep providing for them, and that we’ll become homeless. I’m terrified of this. Life has gotten so expensive, and it’s hard to keep up. I keep seeing a cliff ahead of me…as my savings slowly dwindles, I’m getting closer to the edge of that cliff…and I fear falling off.

    In doing this…I often lose the perspective of the wonderful life I have right now. I belong to an amazing church (Willow), which helps me to continue to grow as a Christian, and I became a Christian at age 5. I have incredible friends, my health, a wonderful job, the joy of working out, and two great kids…to name a few things.

    When I focus on the ‘acorn’ in my life…the worry…it robs me of the joy I should be experiencing right now! Maybe when I start to worry, I should ask a few of my friends to throw a few acorns at my head, so I can focus on the joys in my life :O)

    I appreciate the inspiration, and the laughter, that you’ve brought into my life. My life is a better place to be…because of you!

    God bless you :O)


  3. At 4am I have nothing intelligent to contribute. I am, however, howling with laughter … and for this I thank you.

    Speaking of focus, I better get my recycling out to the road. Missed the last 3 pick-ups. (:op)

    1. Okay Terry, You have a lot of intelligent things to say. I am still waiting to see you at a performance. Come to the taping of our theater release show in Grand Rapids.

  4. Two years ago, my acorns in my life (money and pride) destroyed our business. But God was still with my wife and I and now our goals are on the Lord.

    But we find it interesting how larger, fresh acorns keep popping up…in greater numbers! It tells me that acorns are always in your life, renewing themselves every year in their season.

    But when you stay focused on the Lord, the tunnel vision goes away, you see the truly important things in life, and therefore, the acorns, although large in number and size, become irrelevant, and are either avoided or crushed.

    Devil dogs? Scary as they are, they never have a chance! Throw them a biscuit or a tennis ball and watch them become your best friend!

    1. David, I loved your comment and the insights you shared. We all have to keep refocusing on the most important person. Sometimes I get cross eyed.

  5. As a young lad raised in the bush I lost more than my fair share of skin and blood from being separated from my bike at the most inopportune times. As a kid I may never have heard of the word acorn but I had a lot of experience at what a bike, high speed and a loose gravel road could do to elevate your pain level. Upon reflection, maybe I should have come to Christ a lot sooner, after there was certainly no shortage of times when I used His name, sadly more as an expletive rather than respectful.
    Now, many, many years later my push bike has turned into life, and my gravel road, despite turning into a 6 lane super highway, is still gravel. I guess you might say, the acorn, now a big burly parent, is only too willing to send its young into the path which I call life.
    My unforgivness, towards myself, would be my greatest gravel road/acorn, however I have become quite skilled at ‘dumping’ my woes on His shoulders. Not surprisingly the things I used to worry about work out for the better without any stress from me and I now live life a lot more stress free.
    I do have a bone to pick with you, when are you coming downunder to Australia? We like your DVDs but would also like to see you live.

    1. You soon will have no bone to pick with me. We are planning a tour of Australia next fall. Keep watching the website for development. Thanks for your comment.

      1. You little beauty, please tell me how to convince you to come to Glass House Mountains.

  6. Boy did I need to read that today! In a way acorns are us being selfish. You/we are focusing so much on what that acorn can do to YOU/us (or has done) and you can be mad, embarrassed, frustrated, betrayed,especially if you feel that acorn is someone doing something to make you feel that way. Because we have developed tunnel vision to that situation, we are not viewing the wonderful beautiful things about that person/situation. Most important thing, WEAR THE HELMET (GOD)!

    1. Author

      There is scripture on that you know!!! “Put on the helmet of Salvation” Thanks for the comment.

  7. Reading the comments I want to add. We’ve just moved to Ohio, (where I got to see you in person). In my front yard is a oak tree that has dropped a lot of acorns this year. Since I have moved into our new house I have had soooo many acorns in my life that I have been gone more than home dealing with issues. I did not have time to rake the acorns up. All winter long there have been deer, squirrels,etc cleaning up the acorns for me, and the site is beautiful watching the wild life cleaning up my acorns for me. God is so AMAZING~cleaning up MY acorns for me! Thanks for the stories.

  8. Pingback: A Video of the Devil Dog Hill Minus the Devil Dog

  9. Ken, I’ve been riding bikes all my life and your assessment of vision while riding is so true. I have the privilege of living in Italy at the moment with a 4,500 ft climb to a ski resort about 20 miles from my apartment. The climb is amazing, the ride down is a roller coaster. I would say that I am in control about half the time. The rest of the time I thank God that I can breathe while focusing on finding the smooth parts in the road. I wish I could write a description of it all out here. In all the riding I’ve learned the rewards in life and riding correlate. Hard work leads to times of joy (the descents that bring your heart into your throat). That whole acorn thing is true too, if you think you’re going to crash you already have (it’s all mental).

    1. Author

      Man did you make me want to come to Italy. That’s the kind of riding we do in Colorado. I love riding the passed. It’s the traffic that scares me. They go too slow. Thank you for this comment. Maybe we can ride together someday.

    2. Author

      BTW did you watch the video of the rode this happened on? It is posted right next to the story. I like it a little more curvy than this.

  10. I’m a writer (the unpaid, unpublished kind) so, I suppose my acorn would be whatever I happen to be working on at the moment. It can be helpful at times, because it helps me to enter the world I’m creating, but the loss of peripheral vision can be problematic if I forget something important.

  11. My problem with acorns is that as soon as you get rid of one acorn, another one plops right down in it’s place, I walk around it, kick it around, then finally DEAL with it and what do you know ANOTHER one OR TWO falls down and I say “Where in the world is THE TREE that all these acorns are not falling far from”? Then I wanted to know, what is THE TREE that is producing them? Is it my general lack of faith, Satan? If I could just chop down the doggone tree would I never be sidetracked by acorns again?

Leave a Comment