November 20th, 2005~~Look what I received! I am sooooo very proud of this photograph. This is my paternal grandmother Dorothy Dimple Flack Owens. Her only living Thomas cousin (Allen Milford "Bud" Thomas--pictured further down my page here) and his daughter Shannon presented it to me this past week. Those of you who know me know that I call my grandmother "Mama Dimp", and that I refer to her as my mountain (my life stabilizer). The picture on the left is her when she was about one year old. The picture on the right was made on her eighty-seventh birthday in 2004. Mama Dimp passed on at age eighty-eight to keep her appointment with God on July 2nd, 2005. I love her so very much, and I miss her sooooo tremendously. Rest in Heavenly Peace, Mama Dimp.
Today, I am dedicating this page in memory of Mama Dimp.
TODAY APRIL 3rd, 2006 IS MAMA DIMP'S 89TH BIRTHDAY....I love you and miss you, Mama Dimp.
My maternal grandmother, Valerie Claudine Lyle Grantland Stanley was buried today. At age 88, she kept her appointment with God on Tuesday, December 13th, 2005. She was battling cancer. I call her "Big Mama". I love her so very much, and will miss her tremendously...but to wish to keep her while suffering with cancer would be very greedy on my part. Rest in Heavenly Peace, Big Mama.
I am re-dedicating my page today December 18th......
This webpage is now dedicated to the memory of my dear departed grandmothers,
Mama Dimp and Big Mama.
On November 28th, 2006, my husband Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Krebs kept his appointment with God and traveled on to be with our Maker in Heaven. I miss him so very, very much. We were around each other 25 years, and together 21 years. Larry was only sixty four years of age. Rest in Heavenly Peace, my darling husband.
The photograph above is one of our anniversary photographs.
My online memorial to Larry is located here.
I am again re-dedicating my page today December 8th, 2008.....
This webpage is now dedicated to the memory of my dearly loved grandmothers,
Mama Dimp (Dorothy Dimple FLACK Owens)
Big Mama (Valerie Claudine LYLE Grantland Stanley)
and my dearly loved husband,
Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Krebs.
I love you all so very, very much.....
and miss you even more. *wipes my tears*
Diamond Rio's song "In God We Still Trust" will not be played by major radio stations for it's not considered as "politically correct". This song was never released for sale to the public. Be patient, good five minute loadtime...but well worth the wait. Just minimize window while it loads...then go watch and listen after it loads fully....close old window to keep music from overlapping. Send a link to friends to spread this song around with its message.
In my daily life, I run across writings
which touch my heart, or cause me to think deeper about life
and all the people that share with me this world we live in.
I want to share those writings with you here.
A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said, 'Jesus knows you're here.'
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more, he shook his head and continued.
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard 'Jesus is watching you.'
Startled, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
'Did you say that?' he hissed at the parrot.
'Yes', the parrot confessed, then squawked, 'I'm just trying to warn you that he's watching you.'
The burglar relaxed. 'Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?'
'Moses,' replied the bird.
'Moses?' the burglar laughed. 'What kind of people would name a bird Moses?'
'The kind of people who would name a Rottweiler Jesus.'
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.
I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.
I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.
Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.
Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.
He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.
A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.
He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.
"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."
"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"
Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said. "But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is." Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.
Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.
"What's up?" I asked.
"I didn't get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said. "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup."
She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie.
Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.
Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: "truckers."
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.
I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.
"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!"
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.
"First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.
Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.
"There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. "Happy Thanksgiving,"
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.
Plant a seed and watch it grow. At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or share! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.
Do you remember aprons ?
A big thank you to my friend in Texas, Pat Overby, for sharing!
I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in pecans that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.
WITH MUCH LOVE AND PRAYERS FOR MY COUSIN JUDY GRANTLAND OSBORN
There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat.
He had an old rifle and three bullets. So, he decided that he would go out hunting and kill some wild game for dinner.
As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit. He shot at the rabbit and missed it. The rabbit ran away.
Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. The squirrel disappeared into a hole in a cottonwood tree.
As he went further, he saw a large wild "Tom" turkey in the tree, but he had only one bullet remaining.
A voice spoke to him and said, "Pray first, aim high and stay focused."
However, at the same time, he saw a deer which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer.
But, then he saw a rattlesnake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake.
Still, the voice said again to him, "I said 'Pray, Aim high and Stay focused." So, the man decided to listen to God's voice. He prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree and shot the wild turkey.
The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer.
The handle fell off the gun and hit the snake in the head and killed it.
And, when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond.
When he stood up to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and a turkey to eat for his family.
The snake (Satan) was dead simply because the man listened to God.
Moral of the story:
Pray first before you do anything, Aim and shoot high in your goals, and stay focused on God.
Never let others discourage you concerning your past. The past is exactly that, "the past." Live every day one day at a time and remember that only God knows our future and that he will not put you through any more than you can bear.
Do not look to man for your blessings, but look to the doors that only He has prepared in advance for you in your favor.
Wait, be still and patient: keep God first and everything else will follow.
USS NEW YORK: NEVER FORGET
Hey, Bin Laden and other terrorists!
Look comin' through the front door!! Back at'cha!
With a year to go before it even touches the water, the Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS New York has already made history. It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.
USS New York is about 45 percent complete and should be ready for launch in mid-2007. Hurricane Katrina disrupted construction when it pounded the Gulf Coast last summer, but the 684 foot vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the storm.
It is the fifth in a new class of warship designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.
“It would be fitting if the first mission this ship would go on is to make sure that Osama bin Laden is taken out, his terrorist organization is taken out,” said Glenn Clement, a paint foreman. “He came in through the back door and knocked our towers down and (the USS New York) is coming right through the front door, and we want them to know that.”
Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, Louisiana to cast the ship’s bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept 9, 2003, “those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,” recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. “It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.”
Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the “hair on my neck stood up.”
“It had a big meaning to it for all of us,” he said. “They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.”
The ship’s motto? ~ ~ ‘Never Forget‘
Read the story
Ben Stein's Memories of His Mother
The most permanent feature of life, when you are a child, is your mother.
She is always there telling you to study more, to stand straighter, to clean up your room, to speak more clearly. She is always warning you, cautioning you, telling you what a bleak future you are going to have if you don't mend your ways.
That, at least, was my mother. She had grown up with a father who died when she was nine, had to make it through the Great Depression by studying super hard and getting scholarships, and that was the way she saw life.
And, truth to tell, I didn't like her much for it. I didn't like her paying so much attention to me. I wanted her to leave me alone.
Time passed. My mother didn't leave me alone.
When I went off to college in a city where I knew hardly a soul, a city called New York, my mother wrote me a letter, sometimes two, every day, so I would have something in my mail box at Columbia. There were no e-mails then and long distance was expensive so she sat down with a pen and paper and wrote me letters, often hilarious, about her life in Maryland.
I had a girlfriend at the University of Chicago one year and my mother insisted on sending me a plane ticket to go see her--again, so I would not be lonely.
When I went to law school in New Haven, my mother also wrote me every day. She did not want me to be alone or lonely. She had been a lonely child and she knew it hurt.
When I got married, she called my wife or me every few days and wrote us frequent letters.
When I lost my job at the White House because my boss, Mr. Nixon, resigned, my mother called her high powered friends until she got me not just one but many job offers. I didn't take any of them, but there she was not leaving me alone again.
She loved dogs and she loved to travel. She was in France when my beloved Weimaraner, Mary, died. She offered to come home to help bury Mary. To Los Angeles.
When she grew old, I would go once a month to visit her and my Pop in Washington. When I would leave, she would follow me down the hallway at The Watergate and look at me as if she were trying to work me into her immortal soul forever. Wherever I went, she would be on the phone calling me before anyone else. She would not let me alone.
My mother died unexpectedly of heart failure on April 21, 1997. She left me alone, and I hate it. I hate that there are no more letters from her, no more long last looks as walking down the hall at The Watergate. I still look to see if there are any messages from her at the hotels where I spend most of my time.
I have a great wife and she pays attention to me, and I am old by now anyway. But I miss having someone telling me what to do, paying attention to me every single second at every moment of my life. When you are a child, it's a pain and a burden. But love it anyway. The time will come when your mother does leave you alone, and the silence is deafening.
And, yes, it's lonely.
WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE
OLDER AND STILL SHARP
I just HAD to add this joke....*giggles* *grins*
I was at the mall the other day eating at the food court. I noticed an old man watching a teenager sitting next to him.
The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors: green, red, orange, and blue. The old man kept staring at him. The teenager would look and find the old man staring every time.
When the teenager had had enough, he sarcastically asked, "What's the matter old man, never done anything wild in your life?
The old man did not bat an eye in his response, "Got drunk once and had sex with a peacock. I was just wondering if you were my son."
SWEET HOME USA
A PATCH OF HOME
My gratitude to Sandra George for sharing this with me.
Here is a soldier stationed in Iraq; stationed in a big sand box. He asked his wife to send him some dirt (good old United States soil), fertilizer and some grass seed so he can smell the sweet aroma of grass, and feel the grass growing beneath his feet.
When the men of the squadron have a mission they are going on they take turns walking through the grass and the American soil to bring them good luck.
If you notice, this soldier is even cutting the grass (good old American Daddy duty at home--but with a lawnmower) with a pair of a scissors.
Sometimes we are in such a hurry that we don't stop and think about the little things that we take for granted.
Upon reading this, please say a prayer for our soldiers that give and give (and give up) so unselfishly for us and our world.
"Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue"
THE SIX NICE BOYS
My gratitude to Colleen Dunn Compton for sharing this with me.
Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI, where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.
On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.
Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?"
I told him that we were from Wisconsin. "Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, cheese heads, and I will tell you a story."
This man's name is James Bradley and he just happened to be in Washington, District of Columbia to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who has since passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.
When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. Here are his words spoken to us that night.
"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called "Flags of Our Fathers." It is the story of the six boys you see behind me."
"Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members! of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called "War." But it didn't turn out to be a game."
"Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old."
He pointed to the statue. "You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph.....a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men."
"The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the "old man" because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country.' He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'"
"The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero.' He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?' So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 ... ten years after this picture was taken."
"The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away."
"The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press."
"You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain."
"When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'"
"So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."
Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.
Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom. Remember to pray praises for this great country of ours and also pray for those still in murderous unrest around the world. STOP and thank God for being alive and being free at someone else's sacrifice. And always pray for the souls of those who made that sacrifice for us.
Everyday that you can wake up free, it's going to be a great day.
My gratitude to Pat Overby for sharing this with me.
As I faced my Maker at the last Judgement, I knelt before the Lord along with the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives, like the squares of a quilt, in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life. But, as my Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I had endured, which were the largest holes of all.
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was
to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.
My Angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness and death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to
somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully; each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face
the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it had been.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with eyes wide. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image. The face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you."
May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.
An Old Farmer's Advice
* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is mean'r'n you.
* It don't take a very big person to tote a grudge.
* You can't unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life...when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timin' has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* Biggest troublemaker you'll prob'ly e'er have to deal with, watches you from the mirror ev'ry mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' 'im back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
At the end of this section, you are asked a question.
Answer it immediately. Don't stop and think about it.
Just say the first thing that pops into your mind.
This is a fun "test"... And VERY spooky at the same time!
Give it a try, then e-mail it around (including back to me here
to let me know how you did....I am amazed by this test. I was in 98 percentile.) and you'll see how many people you know fall into the same percentage as you. Be sure to put in the subject line if you are among the 98% or the 2%.
Now... just follow the instructions as quickly as possible.
Do not go to the next calculation before you have finished the previous one.
You do not ever need to write or remember the answers, just do it using your mind.
You'll be VERY surprised
How much is:
15 + 6
3 + 56
89 + 2
12 + 53
75 + 26
25 + 52
63 + 32
I know!! Calculations are hard work, but it's nearly over.....
Come on now!!!!! One more!!!!!
123 + 5
QUICK! THINK ABOUT A COLOR AND A TOOL!
Scroll further down now.....
A bit more.....
You just thought about a red hammer , didn't you?
If this is not your answer, you are among 2% of people who have a different mind.
A whopping 98% of the folks would answer a red hammer while doing this exercise.
Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if one stops the
car, or is walking by, one will notice something quite amazing.
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
Listening, one will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, one will see that it comes from the smaller
horse in the field. Attached to her bridle is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.
As one stands and watches these two friends, one sees how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.
Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.
He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by God and those whom he places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping
others see God.
Good friends are like stars.........You don't always see them,but you know they are always there."
WORDS OF MAYA ANGELOU
In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday.
Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.
And, there on television, she said it was "exciting." Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day...like her breasts. "They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first."
The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words!
Maya Angelou said this:
"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."
"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
"I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, >you'll miss them when they're gone from your life."
"I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as "making a life."
"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."
"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."
"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I >usually make the right decision."
"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."
"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back"
"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
SAD BUT TRUE SIGN OF OUR TIMES...NOT FUNNY
'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
'Twas the month before Christmas
and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
was anywhere to be found.
The people were all busy
with Christmas time chores
like decorating,and baking,
and shopping in stores.
No one sang "Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed".
Instead,they sang of Santa
dressed-up in bright red.
Mama watched Martha Stewart,
Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour upon hour the presents they'd wrap
When,what from the T.V did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad...
which told of a big sale at Sears.
So away to the mall they all flew like a flash...
Buying things on credit...and others with cash!
And,as they made their way home
from their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh,no...not at all.
Their lives were so busy
with their Christmas time things
No time to remember
Christ Jesus the King.
There were presents to wrap and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember who died for their sake?
To pray to the saviour...
they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time
to "Shop til they dropped!"
On Walmart!On K-Mart!
On Target!On Penney's!
On Hallmark!On Zales!
And a quick lunch at Denny's.
From the big stores downtown
to the stores at the mall
They would dash away,
dash away,and visit them all!
And up on the roof,
there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung up icicle lights
with his brand new step ladder.
He hung lights that would flash.
He hung lights that would twirl.
yet,he never once prayed to Jesus...
Light of the World.
Christ's eyes...how they twinkle!
Christ's spirit...how merry!
Christ's love...how enormous!
All our burdens...He'll carry!
So instead of being busy,
Let's put Christ back in Christmas
and enjoy some good nights!
A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A FAMILY BIBLE
- A busy time for me.
- Most of the family decided to read me through this year.
- They kept me busy for the first two weeks, but they have forgotten me now.
- Cleanup time.
- I was dusted yesterday and put in my place.
- My owner did use me for a few minutes last week.
- He had been in an argument and was looking up some references to prove he was right.
- Had a busy day first of the month.
- My owner was elected president of the PTA and used me to prepare a speech.
- Grandpa visited us this month.
- He kept me on his lap for an hour reading Cor 1:13.
- He seems to think more of me than do some people in my own household.
- I have a few green stains on my pages.
- Some spring flowers were pressed in my pages.
- I look like a scrapbook.
- They have stuffed me full of newspaper clippings - one of the girls got married.
- They put me in a suitcase today.
- I guess we are off on vacation.
- I wish I could stay home.
- I know I'll be closed up in this thing for at least two weeks.
- Back home at last and in my old familiar place.
- I have a lot of company.
- Two women's magazines and four comic books are stacked on top of me.
- I wish I could be read as much as they are.
- They read me a little bit today.
- One of them is very sick.
- Right now I am sitting in the center of the coffee table.
- I think the Pastor is coming by for a visit.
- Back in my old place.
- Somebody asked today if I am a scrapbook.
- The family is busy getting ready for the holidays.
- I guess I'll be covered up under wrapping paper & packages again....just as I am every Christmas.
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.....
JOHN THREE SIXTEEN
The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.
Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go." "Not without something hot in your belly." George said.
He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty, "Stew ... made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."
Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken."
George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.
"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."
George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new tires." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.
George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on.
"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.
As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground, bleeding from the left shoulder. The officer moaned, "Please help me."
George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.
"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance."
The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.
He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."
George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."
George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked. "None for me," said the officer. "Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.
The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.
"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.
"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."
The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"
The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."
He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pee shooter away."
George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week ."
George handed the gun to the cop. Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."
He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human.. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."
The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer."
"Shut up and drink your coffee." the cop said.
George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.
"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"
"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.
Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."
George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.
"That guy work here?," the wounded cop continued. "Yep," George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."
The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"
Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."
"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems."
George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."
The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."
"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."
George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."
The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.
"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said, "Now git home to your family."
The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."
"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."
George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"
"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"
"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was.. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."
The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George.
You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry.
The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.
The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists.
The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."
George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.
"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again."
The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."
George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.
"You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."
George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord."
O YE OF LITTLE FAITH
When I think of the kind of faith God wants us to have, I think of the story in Matthew 14:22-33 and Peter's request to walk on water. I envision Peter and the other
disciples out to sea on a crowded boat. Jesus was on shore because He had gone to the mountainside to pray.
Meanwhile, a storm brews amd blows across the sea. When Jesus descends the mountain, He sees the boat rocking in the wind.
Nothing extraordinary. Not yet.
I see the disciples huddling together; their faces filled with fear and frustration because they don't know what to do. As they look out into the rush of rain against the night sky, the form of Jesus emerges. It is the Savior walking towards them on the surface of the water. Rather than feel relief, the disciples are more fearful because surely this must be a ghost. No man can walk on water; they forgot that this man was the Son of God.
With courage that comes from faith and a touch of adrenalin, Peter makes an interesting request once he realizes this is not an apparition. He asks Jesus to call to him. he wants to walk on water. Can you imagine asking to get out of the boat ....at night during a storm.... to walk on water? how many of us would be cowering and fretting rather than asking for a personal miracle?
Ask for a Miracle.
Not only did Peter want to see a miracle, he wanted to be the leading character in a mircale. I love this! He is witnessing the miraculous as he sees Jesus coming toward him, but he understands that he too can experience this miracle in a personal way. That is faith, my friend. That is water-walking faith.
Peter, unfortunately, also models what many of us would do in such a situation. He goes from strong belief to a moment of fear just as Jesus is giving him the miracle. "But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:30-32). We cannot really fault Peter. After all, when we feel the pressure of the world ---- the winds of criticism or doubt---we often take a look at our miracle and think "this miracle must be all in my mind. Save me, Lord!"
We can learn a lot from Peter. His first desire was to trust in the Lord. And his first response was to ask for a miracle. How often do we make a general request to God to save us from a circumstance, trial, or the unknown, rather than asking for a specific, personal miracle? The problem is we don't fully believe. Not really. We praise God. We see Blessings in our lives and are thankful. We ask for the winds of the winds of change and turmoil to be calmed so we can paddle to shore and get back to safety. Yet we forget to ask for the extraordinary. We neglect to trust God completely with our lives. Our miracle stops with the shift in weather just when the real adventure of the faith life is beginning.
Don't you want to be the one who steps out of the boat with faith, conviction, and amazement? Is a storm brewing in your life today? Are you facing black skies and torrential rains right now?
Face your situation as a water walker. Ask for what you need, gather the hem of your garment, step over the bow and onto the waves, and believe
. Water walkers claim victory every day.
A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS POEM
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.....
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Grams'll always remember."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we matter to you as you matter to us.
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S THANSGIVING PROCLAMATION
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
George Washington. (1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation)
LESSONS ON LIFE
There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.
When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.
The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise.
The third son disagreed saying it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.
The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.
The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life.
He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.
If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.
- Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
- Don't judge life by one difficult season.
- Persevere through the difficult patches and better times are sure to come some time or later.
You know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years.
It seems just yesterday that I was a young girl, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all...
And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is...the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise...
How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my babies go? And where did my youth go?
I remember well ... seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like...
But, here it is...husband retired and he's really getting
gray...he moves slower and I see an older man now. He's in much better shape than me ... but, I see the great change... Not the one I married who was dark and young and strong ... but, like me, his age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.
Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore...it's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will...I just fall asleep where I sit!
And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things.
But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last...This I know, that when it's over...its over....Yes , I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done ,,,,,things I should have done. But indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done ... Its all in a lifetime.. .
So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly!
Life goes by quickly So, do what you can today, because you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not!
You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life...so, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...
"Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who came after. Make it a fantastic one."
LIVE IT WELL!!
THE VISITOR: I TOOK YOUR PLACE
One day, a man went to visit a church.
He got there early, parked His car, and got out. Another car pulled up and the driver got out and said,"I always park there! You took my place!"
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached Him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!"
The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.
After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to Him and said,
"That's where I always sit! You took my place!"
The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing.
Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and His appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on
His hands and on His sandaled feet.
Someone from the congregation noticed Him and called out, "What happened to you?"
The visitor replied, as His hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from His eye, "I took your place."
WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT
One day a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children.
The teacher asked a little boy, "Tommy do you see the tree outside?"
TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?
TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.
TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.
TEACHER: Did you see God up there?
TEACHER: That's my point. We can't see God because he isn't there. Possibly he just doesn't exist.
A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions.
The teacher agreed and the little girl asked the boy, "Tommy, do you see the tree outside?"
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?
LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the teacher?
LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?
LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today in school, she possibly may not even have one!
"FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT" II CORINTHIANS 5:7
WHITE LIE CHURCH CAKE
Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this -- especially all of the ladies who bake for church events.
Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Lutheran Church ladies' group bake sale in Tuscaloosa, but she forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets she found a dusty old angel food cake mix in the back of her kitchen cabinet and quickly made it while drying her hair and dressing and helping her son Bryan pack up for Scout camp. But when Alice took the cake from the oven the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured.
She said, "Oh dear, there's no time to bake another cake."
This cake was so important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of new friends. So, being inventive and not wanting anyone to think she was not the perfect woman able to handle all things at all times or that, God forbid, she not participating in her church's bazaar, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.
Alice found it in the bathroom -- a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing.
Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect! Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the minute it opened at 9:30, and to buy that cake and bring it home.
When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found that the attractive perfect cake had already been sold. Now there could be no way to bring it home and keep the secret.
Amanda grabbed her cell phone and called her Mom. Alice was horrified...she was beside herself. Everyone would know. What would they think? "Oh, my goodness; what shall I ever do?" she wailed! She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed. She would have to move or kill herself! All night Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing their fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.
The next day, Alice promised herself that she would try not to think about the cake and she would attend a fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a friend of a friend and try to have a good time. Alice did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa; but having already RSVP'd, she could not think of a believable excuse to stay home. The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old South.... and to Alice's horror the CAKE in question was presented for dessert.
Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake, she started to get out of her chair to rush into the kitchen to tell her hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "What a beautiful cake!"
Alice, who was still stunned and trying to formulate what words she would use to explain the situation, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, "Thank you, I baked it myself."
Alice smiled and thought to herself "Thank you, Lord!"
IN MEMORY OF BRIAN MOORE:
Using Work of Joshua Harris: The Room
On May 27, 1997, Brian Moore, a 17-year-old student at Teays Valley High School, about 15 miles southwest of Columbus, Ohio, survived hitting a utility pole, only to step on a live power line while exiting his vehicle. He was killed instantly. Hours after his death, his bereaving family found in his locker at school the story of "The Room"; a story on which he had focused his discussion at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting. The essay was read at his funeral and friends and family, in their grief, began forwarding it to others in earnest. It was published under Brian's byline in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch on June 1, 1999.
Unfortunately, Brian did not write "The Room." On June 2, 1999, the Dispatch, ran a follow-up piece in which they revealed that Moore was not the author. Rather, it was written two years prior by Joshua Harris, a missionary, author and, now, senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. "The Room" was originally published in the Spring, 1995, issue of Harris' "New Attitude" magazine. In the Dispatch article, Beth and Bruce Moore admitted that their son, Brian, had told them he wrote the essay as an assignment for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. "The Room" was re-printed in April, 1997 - just one month before Brian's death - as part of Harris' 1995 book I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
Joshua Harris states that he appreciates people getting the facts straight about the origins of "The Room" but is more concerned that people hear the message of the story than knowing who actually wrote it. He says it was something that he put on paper as the result of a dream he had while in Puerto Rico for the 1995 Billy Graham Crusade and published it in his magazine the same year.
The truth is, regardless of whether Brian stated he wrote this or not, it evidently meant much to him for him to have it in his locker at school. Rest in Peace, Brian.....
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird....."Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched", I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.
No, please....not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.
He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."-Phil. 4:13
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16
If The Room touched you to make you ponder this idea, send this page to friends and family you wish to see this, so the love of Jesus will touch their lives also. My "People I Shared the Gospel With" file just got bigger. How about yours?
Click on picture above to see a beautiful presentation called "The Interview with God"
...it is worth the time to load.....
PAUL HARVEY AND PRAYER IN AMERICA
Paul Harvey says, "I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going
to sue somebody for singing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."
I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my
high school teacher taught his theory of evolution.
Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered
because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game.
So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the
entire book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and
asking Him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans
going home from the game.
"But it's a Christian prayer," some will argue. Yes, and this is the
United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles.
According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all
others better than 200 to 1. So what would you expect-----somebody chanting
If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a
If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim
If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone
pray to Buddha. And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one
When in Rome.....
"But what about the atheists?" is another argument.
What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going
to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds.
If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go
to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer.
Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell
thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at
a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.
Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our
courts strip us of all our rights.
Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray
before we go to sleep.
Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and
their lawyers are telling us to cease praying. God, help us.
And if that last sentence offends you.......well..........just sue me.
The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we let that one
or two who scream loud enough to be heard by all know that the vast majority don't
care what they want. It is time the majority rules! It's time we tell
them, you don't have to pray...you don't have to say the pledge of
allegiance......you don't have to believe in God or attend services that
That is your right, and we will honor your right. But by golly, you are
no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back. And we
WILL WIN! God bless us one and all, especially those who denounce
Him... God bless America, despite all her faults, she is still the
greatest nation of all.....
God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray
and worship God...... "
TIME FOR A LITTLE FUN
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it denos't mtater in waht oredr the ltetres in a wrod are, the olny iprnoatmt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
if you can raed tihs psas it on !!
Watch the pink dots rotate.....
Now look at the black cross in the center and green dots will appear....
stare long enough and all pink dots will disappear....
through the desert.
During some point of the
journey they had an
argument, and one friend
slapped the other one
in the face.
The one who got slapped
was hurt, but without
wrote in the sand:
TODAY MY BEST FRIEND
SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.
They kept on walking
until they found an oasis,
where they decided
to take a bath.
The one who had been
slapped got stuck in the
mire and started drowning,
but the friend saved him.
After he recovered from
the near drowning,
he wrote on a stone:
TODAY MY BEST FRIEND
SAVED MY LIFE.
The friend who had slapped
and saved his best friend
asked him, "After I hurt you,
you wrote in the sand and now,
you write on a stone, why?"
The other friend replied
"When someone hurts us
we should write it down
in sand where winds of
forgiveness can erase it away.
But, when someone does
something good for us,
we must engrave it in stone
where no wind
can ever erase it."
LEARN TO WRITE
YOUR HURTS IN
THE SAND AND TO
BENEFITS IN STONE.
They say it takes a
minute to find a special
person, an hour to
appreciate them, a day
to love them, but then
an entire life
to forget them.
Take the time to live!
Do not value the THINGS you have in your life.
But value WHO you have in your life!
GOD IS LOVE
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art.
They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.
The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.
A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.
He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art."
The young man held out this package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.
The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay whatyour son did for me. It's a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle.
Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing
the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son.
Who will bid for this picture?"
There was silence.
Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."
But the auctioneer persisted. "Will somebody bid for this painting. Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"
Another voice angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"
But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son.
"I'll give $10 for the painting." Being apoor man, it was all he could afford.
"We have $10, who will bid $20?"
"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."
"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son.
They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"
A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!"
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."
What about the paintings?"
"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would
be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings......."
".......The man who took the son gets everything!"
God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: "The son, the son, who'll take the son?"
Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHO SO EVER BELIEVETH IN HIM, SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE...THAT'S LOVE
A STRANGER IN TOWN
A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long-time visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex.
His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you were to walk into my parent's den today you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?...
......His real name is television. But we just call him "TV".
LOVE ~~ THE SPIRIT OF GOD
By Beth Moore Apr 20, 2005 Knoxville Airport
Waiting to board the plane: I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say that because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least of which is your ego...
I tried to keep from staring but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy grey hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long. Clean, but strangely out of place on an old man.
I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered reading somewhere that he was dead. So this man in he airport... an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere?....
There I sat trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man. I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something drastic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind.
"Oh no, God please no." I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, "Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!"... There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, "Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane." Then I heard it..."I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair."
The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, "God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm you're girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am on him. I am going to witness to this man."
Again as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. "That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair." I looked up at God and quipped, "I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I suppose to brush his hair without a hairbrush?"...
God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: "I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works." (2 Tim 3:17) I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies.
I knelt down in front of the man, and asked as demurely as possible, "Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"
He looked back at me and said, "What did you say?"
"May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?"
To which he responded in volume ten, "Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you're going to have to talk louder than that.
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, "SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?"
At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Longlocks.
Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, "If you really want to."
Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, "Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush."
"I have one in my bag," he responded. I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but I must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.
A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair.
Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's.
His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's. I slipped the brush back in the bag, went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knees, and said, "Sir, do you know my Jesus?"
He said, "Yes, I do."
Well, that figures.
He explained, "I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior." He said, "You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself. What a mess I must be for my bride."
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the Significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it.
Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft. I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks.
She said, "That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?"
I said, "Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!"
And we got to share. I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted because you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way... all because I didn't want people to think I was strange. God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
1 Corinthians 3-4
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus."
LOVE FROM PAUL HARVEY
Paul Harvey Writes:
We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.
I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.
I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.
I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.
And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.
It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.
I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.
I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room,but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.
When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.
On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.
If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.
I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.
When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.
I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy\girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.
May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.
I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.
I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.
May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.
I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hannukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.
These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.
Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.
A BABY'S HUGS
We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, ''Hi there.'' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.
I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.
''Hi there, baby; Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,'' the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks,''What do we do?'' Erik continued to laugh and answer, ''Hi, hi there.'' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, ''Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.''
Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skidrow bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. ''Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,'' I prayed.
As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's ''pick-me-up'' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, ''You take care of this baby.'' Somehow I managed, ''I will,'' from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, ''God bless you,ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.'' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.
With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, ''My God, my God, forgive me.'' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.
I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, ''Are you willing to share your son for a moment?'' when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, ''To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children.''
THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM
Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.
The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room.
Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.
As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.
When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied,
"Things aren't always what they seem"
The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.
After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest.
When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears.
Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?
The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused.
The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.
"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied.
"When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it."
"Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."
Though they sometimes seem forgetful,
Or maybe just a li'l bit slow,
You should really try to listen
When they speak of what they know.
For if you pay attention,
Like you know you truly should,
It actually might change some things
And do a world of good!
Knowledge can be forgotten,
And sometimes even lost,
So it's up to you to save it,
No matter what the cost...
One day you'll look back
And see the wisdom that they share
Is a gift presented to you
Because of how much they care.
Grandparents are VERY special!
A RATHER REMARKABLE OBITUARY
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr. Common Sense.
Mr. Sense had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons such as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not kids, are in charge). His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Mr. Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her! lap and was awarded a huge financial settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.
He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights and Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, inform your friends of his passing; if not, join the majority and do nothing.
I called tonight
To talk a little while
I need a friend who'll listen
To my anxiety and trial.
You see, I can't quite make it
Through a day just on my own...
I need your love to guide me,
So I'll never feel alone.
I want to ask you please to keep
My family safe and sound.
Come and fill their lives with confidence
For whatever fate they're bound.
Give me faith, dear God, to face
Each hour throughout the day,
And not to worry over things
I can't change in any way.
I thank you God for being home
And listening to my call,
For giving me such good advice
When I stumble and fall.
Your number, God, is the only one
That answers every time.
I never get a busy signal,
Never had to pay a dime.
So thank you, God, for listening
To my troubles and my sorrow.
Good night, God, I love You too,
And I'll call again tomorrow!
NOW THAT IS GOD
It was one of the hottest days of the dry season. We had not seen rain in almost a month. The crops were dying. Cows had stopped giving milk. The creeks and streams were long gone back into the earth. It was a dry season that would bankrupt several farmers before it was through.
Every day, my husband and his brothers would go about the arduous process of trying to get water to the fields. Lately this process had involved taking a truck to the local water rendering plant and filling it up with water. But severe rationing had cut everyone off. If we didn’t see some rain soon...we would lose everything.
It was on this day that I learned the true lesson of sharing and witnessed the only miracle I have seen with my own eyes. I was in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and his brothers when I saw my six-year-old son, Billy, walking toward the woods. He wasn't walking with the usual carefree abandon of a youth but with a serious purpose. I could only see his back. He was obviously walking with a great effort ... trying to be as still as possible. Minutes after he disappeared into the woods, he came running out again, toward the house. I went back to making sandwiches; thinking that whatever task he had been doing was completed. Moments later, however, he was once again walking in that slow purposeful stride toward the woods. This activity went on for an hour: walking carefully to the woods, running back to the house.
Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I crept out of the house and followed him on his journey (being very careful not to be seen...as he was obviously doing important work and didn't need his Mommy checking up on him). He was cupping both hands in front of him as he walked, being very careful not to spill the water he held in them ... maybe two or three tablespoons were held in his tiny hands. I sneaked close as he went into the woods. Branches and thorns slapped his little face, but he did not try to avoid them. He had a much higher purpose. As I leaned in to spy on him, I saw the most amazing site.
Several large deer loomed in front of him. Billy walked right up to them. I almost screamed for him to get away. A huge buck with elaborate antlers was dangerously close. But the buck did not threaten him...he didn't even move as Billy knelt down. And I saw a tiny fawn lying on the ground; obviously suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion, lift its head with great effort to lap up the water cupped in my beautiful boy's hand. When the water was gone, Billy jumped up to run back to the house and I hid behind a tree.
I followed him back to the house to a spigot to which we had shut off the water. Billy opened it all the way up and a small trickle began to creep out. He knelt there, letting the drip, drip slowly fill up his makeshift "cup," as the sun beat down on his little back. And it came clear to me: The trouble he had gotten into for playing with the hose the week before. The lecture he had received about the importance of not wasting water. The reason he didn't ask me to help him. It took almost twenty minutes for the drops to fill his hands. When he stood up and began the trek back, I was there in front of him.
His little eyes just filled with tears. "I'm not wasting," was all he said. As he began his walk, I joined him...with a small pot of water from the kitchen. I let him tend to the fawn. I stayed away. It was his job. I stood on the edge of the woods watching the most beautiful heart I have ever known working so hard to save another life. As the tears that rolled down my face began to hit the ground, other drops...and more drops...and more suddenly joined them. I looked up at the sky. It was as if God, himself, was weeping with pride.
Some will probably say that this was all just a huge coincidence. Those miracles don't really exist. That it was bound to rain sometime. And I can't argue with that... I'm not going to try. All I can say is that the rain that came that day saved our farm...just like the actions of one little boy saved another.
I don't know if anyone will read this...but I had to send it out. To honor the memory of my beautiful Billy, who was taken from me much too soon... But not before showing me the true face of God, in a little, sunburned body.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all."
"One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy,sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, sympathy and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins, grandfather?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:
Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith.
That was the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.
It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange...very strange.
Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.
When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find God?"
I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.
"Why not," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."
I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, "Tommy! I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line "He will find you! " At least I thought it was
Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful.
Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I've thought
about you so often I hear you are sick," I blurted out.
"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks."
"Can you talk about it, Tom?" I asked.
"Sure, what would you like to know?" he replied.
"What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"
"Well, it could be worse."
"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies' in life."
I began to look through my mental file cabinet under 'S' where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)
"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, "is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you
said, 'No!' which surprised me. Then you said, 'But He will find you.' I thought
about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at
that time. (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!)
"But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that's when I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of Heaven. But God did not come out.. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit. "
"Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn't really care about God, about an after life, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: " The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be
almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.'"
"So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him. "Dad."
"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.
"Dad, I would like to talk with you."
"I mean . . It's really important".
The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"
"Dad, I love you I just wanted you to know that."
Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.
"The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.
We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me. "
"It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so
"I was only sorry about one thing --- that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to."
"Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. C'mon, I'll give You three days,
"Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him."
"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle
John said that. He said: 'God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.' Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told
me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn't be half as effective as if you were to tell it."
"Ooh I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class."
"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call."
In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by
his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.
Before he died, we talked one last time.
"I'm not going to make it to your class," he said.
"I know, Tom."
"Will you tell them for me? Will you tell the whole world for me?"
"I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best"
So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God's love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of Heaven --- I told them, Tommy as best I could.
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred
to him that he was dead.
He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the
road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.
When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl,
and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as
he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going
with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.
As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."
"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.
"There should be a bowl by the pump."
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.
The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.
"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
"This is Heaven," he answered.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"
"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.
I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just
finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of
work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me
in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly
at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.
When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was
wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got
the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied "I know I can't help having
troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong
in the house with my wife and the children... So I just hang them up on the
tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in
the morning I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled," when I come
out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember
hanging up the night before."
IF I KNEW
If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.
If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.
There will always be another day
to say that "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance
to say our "Anything I can do?"
But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear
Take time to say "I'm sorry,"
"Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.
MY LOVE FOREVER TO MAMA DIMP
Oh, my dear sweet and loving grandmother.....
I have loved you as I have no other.
Two words of perfect combination.....
For you were grand, and a mother to me in every action.
With my birth, you took on a new roll.....
My new being combined with your soul.
No longer just daughter, wife, or mother
You then became a new grandmother.
You made me so many pretty dresses and rompers,
Even my homemade diapers...you bought my toe stompers.
You showed Mama when I started to teethe,
A wet bath cloth was all she would need.
One Christmas a new doll was on my wish list,
Santa brought that doll with her hair in a twist.
Daddy hand made her doll bed, rocking chair and more.
You made her homemade doll dresses that later I tore.
Then divorce struck my little family dear,
But with you I did remain near.
Though Mama from court did not come back,
I was with you, Daddy, Papa, Grandma and Grandpa Flack.
You saw me through the nightmares and fears,
All the illness and early morning tears.
By your bed you placed me to sleep at night,
Just to be near when I awoke in fright.
On one of our Hartselle visits to see Mama,
Jean had new cocker spaniel puppies.....I laid on the drama,
For I wanted one....it was so cute on my lap.
When Daddy arrived home, I named the dog Cap.
When he asked, what was his name.....
I looked up at him like it was a game.
And I saw the cap on Daddy’s head
“Cap.......like that” is all that I said.
We loved that old dog for many a year.
I knew if he was around no one would come near.
One day when you were going to spank me,
He showed his teeth and growled for you to see.
I remember your cakes and lemon meringue pies,
The mixing bowl and beaters were treasures to my eyes
On the spoon that Eagle’s Brand Condensed Milk did stick.....
You knew all of these I wanted to lick
Coffee I was not allowed to drink,
But biscuits and sugar in it did sink....
This I was allowed as a morning snack.
Though you said it would, my head never did turn black.
You taught me to spell, write and read
I learned from you as you planted the seed.
You called out words for me to spell as you worked in your garden,
Or hoed your flowers, and even when the ground did harden.
I will never forget the lesson of the silent “G”
The spelling of gnat to me was such a great mystery.
Of this I can remember the day so very clear,
We were driving along....I even still remember where.
When I entered school, I could already read and write,
Thanks to you for teaching me right.
While others were learning their ABC and 123,
Dick, Jane, Puff and Spot were being taught to me.
You and Papa on the dance floor could cut a whirl,
Your movements so fluid...combined as one graceful swirl.
We would all two step, buck dance or even square dance,
Just show us the dance floor and give us the chance.
Poetry in motion is all I can say,
You and Papa could show us all the way.
Fred and Ginger had nothing on you two.
In my mind this memory remains fresh and new.
Mama Dimp, these are just a few of my many wonderful memories of you.....
I miss you so very much.....I look up and smile love to you
I will not cry for I hold so many memories to keep me from being sad
I see Papa wearing his white dance shoes and dancing with you now....and I’m glad.
Til we meet again, my love and remembrance of you flows like a fountain..
You made my life whole and stable.....for you were my mountain.
I turn and cry anyway.....
I remain forever,
Your first and eldest grandchild,
Phyllis J. K. Owens (July 21st, 2005)
A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"
Hands started going up.
He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.
He then asked, "Who still wants it?"
Still the hands were up in the air.
Well, he replied, "What if I do this?"
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
"Now, who still wants it?"
Still the hands went into the air.
"My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened, or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE. You are special ~~ Don't EVER forget it."
You may never know the lives you touch, the hurting hearts you speak to, or the hope that you can bring.
Count your blessings, not your problems.
And remember: amateurs built the ark........professionals built the Titanic.
PUPPIES FOR SALE
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the four pups. And set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
"Mister," he said, "I want to buy "one of your puppies."
"Well," said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat of the back of his neck, "These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money."
The boy dropped his head for amoment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.
"I've got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a
"Sure," said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. "Here, Dolly!" he called.
Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain
link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up....
"I want that one," the little boy said, pointing to
the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy's
side and said, "Son, you don't want that puppy.
He will never be able to run and play with you
like these other dogs would."
With that the little boy stepped back from the
fence, reached down, and began rolling up
one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching
itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer, he said, "You see
sir, I don't run too well myself, and he will need
someone who understands."
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down
and picked up the little pup.
Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
"How much?" asked the little boy.
"No charge," answered the farmer, "There's no charge for love."
The world is full of people who need someone
RUN IN THE RAIN
A little girl had been shopping with her Mom. She must have
been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.
It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. So memories of running and splashing so carefree as a child came pouring into my head as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.
"What?" Her mother asked.
"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom, let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young
girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'"
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.
The Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did.....I ran.....I got wet.....I needed washing.
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories... So, don't forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.
One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick.
Suddenly, my daughter, Aspen, spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. "Dad, I'm thinking of something."
This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while, and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear.
"What are you thinking?" I asked.
"The rain!" she began, "is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away."
After the chill bumps raced up my arms I was able to respond. "That's really good, Aspen."
Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked... "Do you notice how the rain
keeps on coming? What does that tell you?"
Aspen didn't hesitate one moment with her answer: "We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us."
I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on.
ONE FLAW IN WOMEN
By the time the Lord made woman, He was into his sixth day of working overtime.
An angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much time on this one?"
And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable and able to run on Diet Coke and leftovers, have a lap that can hold four children at one time, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart -and she will do everything with only two hands."
The angel was astounded at the requirements. "Only two hands!? No way! And that's just on the standard model? That's too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish."
"But I won't," the Lord protested. "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart.
She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hour days."
The angel moved closer and touched the woman. "But you have made her so soft, Lord."
"She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."
"Will she be able to think?", asked the angel.
The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think. she will be able to reason and negotiate."
The angel then noticed something, and reaching out, touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."
"That's not a leak," the Lord corrected, "that's a tear!"
"What's the tear for?" the angel asked.
The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love, her loneliness, her grief and her pride."
The angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything! Woman is truly amazing."
And she is!
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
However, if there is one flaw in women.....
It is that they "FORGET THEIR WORTH".
Long distance email Happy Birthday wishes from my grandniece Sarena to her grandmother (my sister~Vonnie~"Nana").
THE YELLOW SHIRT
The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front. It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away. "You're not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"
"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class, Mom. Thanks!"
I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object.
The yellow shirt became a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it.
After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.
The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped.
I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15 years earlier.
That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom.
When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.
The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom. The shirt!
And so the pattern was set.
On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress. I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture. The walnut stains added character.
In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois. As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could make it on my own. I wondered if I would find a job.
I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."
I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt. Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed.
Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother. The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.
Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station. A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet.
Something new had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."
Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER." But I didn't stop there.
I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington, VA. We enclosed an official looking letter from "The Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds. I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box. But, of course, she never mentioned it.
Two years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers.
After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a pocket was a note: "Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother."
That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses: "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."
The shirt was Mother's final gift. She had known for three months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.
I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and I played for 16 years. Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art. And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.
A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart. Mom was my true friend....
April 3rd, 2005~~Mama Dimp on her 87th birthday with her cousin Allen "Bud" Thomas
On this date, she was the last living Flack first cousin, and she and Bud were the last two living Thomas first cousins
VERSE FOR VERSE
A new preacher was visiting in the homes of the church members.
At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door.
Therefore, he took out a card and wrote "Revelation 3:20" on the back of it and stuck it in the door.
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned.
Added to it was this cryptic message,"Genesis 3:10."
Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.
Revelation 3:20 begins "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."
Genesis 3:10 reads, "I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked."
My grandniece with butterfly gift
GOD AND THE SPIDER
During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.
Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed.
As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it be Your will, please protect me.
Whatever Your will though, I love You and trust You. Amen."
After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, "Well, I guess the Lord isn't going to help me out of this one." Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave.
As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.
"Ha!" he thought. "What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor."
As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while. "Lord, forgive me," prayed the young man. "I had forgotten that in You a spider's web is stronger than a brick wall."
We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget the victories that God would work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways. As the great leader, Nehemiah, reminded the people of Israel when they faced the task of rebuilding Jerusalem, "In God we will have success!" [Nehemiah 2:20]
And remember: Whatever is happening in your life, in God, a mere spider's web becomes a brick wall of protection.
TWAS THE NIGHT JESUS CAME
'Twas the night Jesus came and all through the house, not a person was
praying, not one in the house...
The Bible was left on the shelf without care, for no one thought Jesus
would come there...
The children were dressing to crawl into bed, not once ever kneeling or
bowing their head...
And Mom in the rocking chair with babe on her lap, was watching the Late
Show as I took a nap...
When out of the east there rose such a clatter, I sprang to my feet to
see what was the matter...
Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and
lifted the sash...
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Angels proclaiming
that Jesus was here...
The light of His face made me cover my head, it was Jesus returning just
like He'd said...
And though I possess worldly wisdom and wealth, I cried when I saw Him
in spite of myself...
In the Book of Life which he held in his hand, was written the name of
every saved man...
He spoke not a word as he searched for my name, when He said "it's not
here," my head hung in shame...
The people whose names had been written with love, He gathered to take
to his Father above...
With those who were ready He rose without sound, while all of the others
were left standing around....
I fell to my knees but it was too late, I'd waited too long and thus
sealed my fate...
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight, Oh, if only I'd known
that this was the night... In the words of this poem the meaning is
clear the coming of Jesus is now drawing near...
There's only one life and when comes the last call, We'll find out that
the Bible was true after all...
JESUS LOVES YOU!!!
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak..."I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three lit! tle wild birds,
shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, "What you got there, son?" "Just some old birds," came the reply.
"What are you gonna do with them?" I asked.
"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em
and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real
"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What
will you do?"
"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take
'em to them."
The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those
"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain
old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"
"How much?" the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?"
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He
placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.
The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the
alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot Setting the cage down, he
opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out,
setting them free.
Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the
pastor began to tell this story.
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come
from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I
just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used
bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"
"What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked.
Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to
marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to
drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and
bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!"
"And what will you do when you get done with them?" Jesus asked.
"Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly.
"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked
"Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take
them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill
you. You don't want those people!!"
"How much?" He asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your
Jesus said, "DONE!"
Then He paid the price.
This is almost overwhelming when you think about it.
Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going to do
They had to be fed, and feeding 2 million plus people requires a lot of
According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that
Moses would have to have had 1500 tons of food each day. Do you
know that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains, each at
least a mile long, would be required!
Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, so they would
have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4000
tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one
And just think, they were forty years in transit.
And Oh yes! They would have to have water. If they only had enough to
drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day
and a freight train with tank cars, 1800 miles long, just to bring water!
And then another thing!
They had to get across the Red Sea at night. Now, if they went on a
narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would
require 35 days and nights to get through. So there had to be a space in
the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5000 abreast to get
over in one night.
But then, there is another problem...............each time they camped at the
end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode
Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long........ think of it!
This much space for camping.
Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left Egypt? I think not!
You see, Moses believed in God. God took care of these things for him.
Now do you think God has any problem taking care of all your needs?
Our God is an Awesome God!!
Life is ALL Choices
John is the kind of guy most people love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"
He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."
I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins Wanna see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
He continued, ".......the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."
Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive....not dead."
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.
I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Life is all about choices.
Attitude, after all, is everything.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34
After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
Lunch with God
A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of corn chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.
Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God." Before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?"
She replied, "I ate corn chips in the park with God." Before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace all equally!
Have lunch with God........bring chips.
A Letter from God
As you got up this morning, I watched you, and hoped you would talk to Me, even if it was just a few words, asking My opinion or thanking Me for something good that happened in your life yesterday. But I noticed you were too busy, trying to find the right outfit to wear.
When you ran around the house getting ready, I knew there would be a few minutes for you to stop and say hello, but you were too busy. At one point you had to wait fifteen minutes with nothing to do except sit in a chair. Then I saw you spring to your feet.
I thought you wanted to talk to Me, but you ran to the phone and called a friend to get the latest gossip instead. I watched patiently all day long. With all your activities I guess you were too busy to say anything to Me. I noticed that before lunch you looked around, maybe you felt embarrassed to talk to me, that is why you did not bow your head.
You glanced three or four tables over and you noticed some of your friends talking to Me briefly before they ate, but you did not. That is okay... There is still more time left, and I hope that you will talk to Me yet. You went home and it seems as if you had lots of things to do.
After a few of them were done, you turned on the TV. I do not know if you like TV or not, just about anything goes there and you spend a lot of time each day in front of it not thinking about anything, just enjoying the show. I waited patiently again as you watched the TV and ate your meal, but again you did not talk to Me.
Bedtime- I guess you felt too tired. After you said goodnight to your family you plopped into bed and fell asleep in no time. That is okay because you may not realize that I Am always there for you.. I have got patience, more than you will ever know. I even want to teach you how to be patient with others as well.
I love you so much that I wait everyday for a nod, a prayer or thought, or a thankful part of your heart. It is hard to have a one-sided conversation.
Well, you are getting up once again. Once again I will wait, with nothing but love for you. Hoping that today you will give Me some time.
Have a nice day!
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."
The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?
That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."
Each of us has our own unique flaw.
But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives
together so very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
Have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!
The Good Old Days We Were Not Supposed to Have Lived Through
According to Regulators and Bureaucrats
According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 30’s, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's or even the early 80's probably shouldn't have survived.
Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.
We shared one soft drink with four friends from one bottle, and no one actually died from this. Might have shared a few colds, but no biggie. We could get a shot of penicillin to cure this quickly. Everyone must have ampicillin now....some may be allergic to this...no one was allergic to penicillin in those days.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones. If you knew where our fort was, you found us.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, or X-Boxes; no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no personal cell phones, no personal computers, and no Internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.
We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt!
We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?
We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment, and try harder.
Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Tests were not adjusted for any reason.....nor new languages established due to our inability to want to try to learn the King's english like everyone else.
Our actions were our own......no one's but our's.
Consequences were expected. You walk up and shake a hornet's nest, you expect the consequence of being stung.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law.
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovations and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
And, if you're one of us, congratulations!! We are the adults who had the luck to grow up as kids before lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good.
"If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. "
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.
As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!
He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.
The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,
"What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and the damage done by that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"
The young boy was apologetic.
"Please, mister..please!! I'm sorry, but I didn't know what else to do," he pleaded.
"I threw the brick because no one else would stop......."
With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car.
"It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."
Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts.
A quick look told him everything was going to be okay......
"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger from his wheelchair.
Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.
It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar.
The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:
"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"
God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts.
Sometimes when we don't have time to listen,
He has to throw a brick at us.
It's our choice to listen or not.
Thought for the Day:
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring.
He sends you a sunrise every morning.
Face it, friend - He is crazy about you!
God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain,
but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
The Mayonnaise Jar and The Two Cups of Coffee
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things---God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter to you like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked."
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."
(PJKO NOTE: This is The Mayannaise Jar and Two Cans of Pepsi to me......*smiles*)
Rules We Can All Live By
Rules from God
1. Wake Up !!
Decide to have a good day.
"Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
2. Dress Up !!
The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7
3. Shut Up!!
Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking.
"He who guards his lips guards his soul."
4. Stand Up!!...
For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything..
"Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..."
5. Look Up !!...
To the Lord.
"I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me."
6. Reach Up !!...
For something higher.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him,
and He will direct your path."
7. Lift Up !!...
"Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING."
And please remember: God answers Knee-Mail.
Twenty-Six Beautiful One-Liners
1. Give God what's right -- not what's left.
2. Man's way leads to a hopeless end -- God's way leads to an endless hope.
3. A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.
4. He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.
5. In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma--but never let him be the period.
6. Don't put a question mark where God puts a period.
7. Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the church for a face-lift.
8. When praying, don't give God instructions - just report for duty.
9. Don't wait for six strong men to take you to church.
10. We don't change God's message -- His message changes us.
11. The church is pr"ayer"-conditioned.
12. When God ordains, He sustains.
13. WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.
14. Plan ahead -- It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
15. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory position.
16. Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible.
17. Exercise daily -- walk with the Lord.
18. Never give the devil a ride -- he will always want to drive.
19. Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
20. Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
21. He who angers you controls you.
22. Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
23. Give Satan an inch & he'll be a ruler.
24. Be ye fishers of men -- you catch them & He'll clean them.
25. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
26. Read the Bible -- It will scare the hell out of you.
The Census Taker
by Darlene Stevens
It was the first day of census, and all
through the land;
The pollster was ready ... a black book in
He mounted his horse for a long dusty
His book and some quills were tucked close by
A long winding ride down a road barely
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting, up
through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into
She gave him some water ... as they sat at
And she answered his questions ... the best
she was able.
He asked of her children... Yes, she had
quite a few;
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and
His sister, she whispered, was napping in
She noted each person who lived there with
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee
He noted the sex, the color, the age...
The marks from the quill soon filled up the
At the number of children, she nodded her
And her lips quivered for the three
that were dead.
The places of birth she "never forgot";
Was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon ... or
They came from Scotland, of that she was
But she wasn't quite sure just how long
they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and
They could read some...and write some..though
really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job
there was done;
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward
We can almost imagine his voice loud and
"May God bless you all for another ten
Now picture a time warp ... its' now you and
As we search for the people on our family
We squint at the census and scroll down so
As we search for that entry from long, long
Could they only imagine on that long ago
That the entries they made would effect us
If they knew, would they wonder at the
yearning we feel;
And the searching that makes them so
We can hear if we listen the words they
Through their blood in our veins and their
voice in our heart.
Am I My Brother's Keeper?
A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.
"What food might this contain?" He thought.
He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning,
"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house."
The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."
The mouse turned to the cow. She said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."
So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.
The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.
The snake bit the farmer's wife.
The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.
But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.
So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, just remember this -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.
In the book of Genesis, Cain said this about his brother Able to God:
"Am I my brother's keeper?"
We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.
If Tomorrow Starts Without Me
If tomorrow starts without me and I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me,
I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things, we didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me,
as much as I love you!
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand
that an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand;
she said my place was ready, in heaven far above
and that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye
for all my life, I'd always thought I didn't want to die;
I had so much to live for, so much left yet to do,
it seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays, the good ones and the bad;
I thought of all the love we shared and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while;
I'd say good-bye, kiss you and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized that this could never be,
for emptiness and memories would take the place of me;
when I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow.
I thought of you and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through Heaven's Gates, I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me, from his great golden throne.
He said, "This is Eternity and all I've promised you."
Today your life on earth is past but here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow but today will always last;
and since each day's the same way, there's no longing for the past.
You have been so faithful, so trusting and so true;
though there were times you did some things, you knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven and now at last you're free;
so won't you come and take my hand and share my life with me?"
"Happiness is a Choice."
May God watch over you and your family now and always.
There is no right time to do the wrong thing. there is no wrong time to do the right thing.
Each person I have met while living my life
has touched my life in a very special way.
I thank God for each one of you
and count it a privilege to call you a "Friend or Loved One"!
May God Be With You ALWAYS in ALL WAYS!
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